Formica and quartz are two popular countertop materials, each with their own sets of pros and cons. Many homeowners debate which one is ultimately more durable and long-lasting. Here is an in-depth comparison of formica vs quartz countertops to help you decide which is the better choice for your home.
What is Formica?
Formica is a brand name that has become synonymous with laminate countertops. Laminates like Formica consist of decorative paper bonded to particleboard or MDF, covered with a clear plastic laminate coating.
Benefits of Formica Countertops:
- Budget-friendly – Formica is one of the most affordable countertop options.
- Easy maintenance – Requires just mild soap and water to clean. Resists stains, scratches and heat.
- Durable – Formica resists chipping, scratching, heat and stains. With proper care it can last many years.
- Wide range of colors and patterns – Formica offers over 150 different color/pattern options to match any style.
Drawbacks of Formica:
- Not as resistant to heavy impacts as natural stone.
- Prone to damage from very hot pots/pans without trivets.
- Seams are visible.
- Not as “luxurious” looking as stone.
What is Quartz?
Quartz countertops are engineered stone made from crushed quartz blended with polymer resins for binding. The resulting slabs are non-porous and highly durable.
Benefits of Quartz Countertops
- Extremely durable – Quartz has high resistance to scratches, stains, heat and impacts.
- Non-porous – Does not require sealants and resists bacteria growth.
- Stylish natural look – Replicates look of stone without the maintenance.
- Easy maintenance – Requires just soap and water for cleaning.
- Seamless appearance – Quarts slabs can be fabricated into a seamless appearance.
Drawbacks of Quartz:
- More expensive than laminates like Formica.
- Limited color/pattern options compared to laminate.
- Can chip if subjected to very heavy impact.
- Needs trivets for very hot pans to prevent damage.
Durability Comparison of Formica vs Quartz
Formica – Has good scratch resistance for everyday use unless subjected to cuts from sharp objects.
Quartz – Extremely scratch resistant surface, even against sharp cutting objects.
Winner: Quartz is more scratch resistant.
Formica – Highly stain resistant to common kitchen stains like wine, oil, vinegar etc. Stains can be removed with mild detergents.
Quartz – Non-porous so almost no stain absorption. Easily wipes clean.
Winner: Draw – Both Formica and Quartz offer excellent stain resistance.
Formica – Withstands temperatures up to 350°F before possible damage/discoloration. Requires trivets for hot pans.
Quartz – Can withstand very high heat. Trivets still recommended to prevent damage over time.
Winner: Quartz is more heat tolerant.
Chip and Crack Resistance
Formica – Prone to chips and cracks if subjected to heavy impacts or dropped objects.
Quartz – Very resistant to chipping due to its durable composition. Unlikely to crack under normal use.
Winner: Quartz is much more chip/crack resistant.
Formica – With proper care, Formica can last 10-15 years on average.
Quartz – Expect a lifespan of 15-20 years or longer with routine maintenance.
Winner: Quartz tends to outlast Formica by several years.
Are Formica Countertops More Durable Than Quartz?
Based on the durability comparison, quartz countertops are generally more durable than Formica in terms of scratch, stain, heat, chip and lifespan. However, Formica remains a budget-friendly option that provides good durability for daily use.
Quartz’s durability comes at a price – it is significantly more expensive than Formica. But its strength and longevity make it a worthwhile investment for most homeowners.
Key Factors When Choosing Between Formica vs Quartz
- Budget – Formica is the cheaper option.
- Durability Needs – Quartz is better for high-traffic kitchens.
- Aesthetics – Formica offers more color/pattern options. Quartz has a more “luxurious” look.
- Maintenance – Both require minimal care. Quartz needs no sealing.
FAQ About Formica and Quartz Countertops
Is Formica more durable than granite?
No. Granite is generally more durable and heat/scratch-resistant than Formica. However, Formica is much more affordable than natural granite.
What is the most durable quartz brand?
Caesarstone and Cambria are considered two of the most durable and high-quality quartz brands. But many manufacturers like Silestone and Vicostone also offer durable quartz.
Is Formica outdated?
While Formica may seem “dated” to some, its retro vibe is coming back in style. Advancements in Formica patterns and colors also give it a more modern look. It remains a practical and affordable option.
Does quartz need to be sealed?
No. A major advantage of quartz is that it never needs sealing due to its non-porous nature. This makes maintenance easy.
Can you cut on Formica countertops?
It’s best to avoid cutting directly on Formica. Use a cutting board to protect the surface. Moderate pressure with serrated knives should not damage Formica though.
How thick should quartz countertops be?
A thickness of 2-3cm is recommended for quartz countertops. This provides an ideal balance of durability and weight.
Quartz countertops are generally more durable than Formica, especially in terms of resisting scratches, heat damage, cracking and chipping. However, Formica remains a budget-friendly alternative that provides good functionality for everyday use.
When choosing between the two, consider factors like budget, maintenance needs, kitchen traffic and your preferred visual style. This will dictate whether durable quartz or affordable Formica is the better fit for your home. Consult with countertop experts to determine the best option for your goals.