Granite and quartz are two of the most popular choices for kitchen countertops. Many homeowners find themselves trying to decide between these two beautiful natural stone materials when remodeling their kitchens. One of the biggest considerations is cost – so are granite countertops cheaper than quartz?
When it comes to kitchen countertops, both granite and quartz make excellent choices in terms of durability, aesthetics, and value. Granite is a natural stone that has been popular for decades. Quartz countertops contain ground quartz particles combined with resins and pigments to create an engineered stone. Both offer the look of natural stone with some key differences when it comes to cost.
Understanding what impacts the pricing for both granite and quartz will help homeowners decide which material best fits their budget. Factors like material costs, fabrication, installation, maintenance, and more combine to determine the overall investment for new countertops. By weighing these price considerations, it becomes clear whether granite or quartz offers the better value.
The cost of the actual stone materials is one of the biggest drivers of overall countertop expense. For granite, material prices are generally lower than quartz. Granite is mined from quarries around the world in very large blocks. It is available in many countries, including the United States, Canada, India, Brazil, Italy, and China. The widespread availability of granite means material costs are more affordable.
Quartz slabs are engineered in factories out of quartz crystals, resins, and pigments. It is not as readily available worldwide compared to granite. Quartz material costs are typically 15% to 20% higher than granite. For the same sized kitchen, quartz will be $200 to $500 more in materials than granite.
However, material costs make up only about 15% to 20% of total installed costs for countertops. The fabrication and installation involved play a much bigger role in determining the final price for homeowners.
Fabrication is an important factor when pricing granite vs. quartz countertops. Skilled technicians fabricate the slabs by cutting and finishing them to your exact kitchen specifications.
Granite is a natural stone that needs to be cut precisely to achieve the desired edging and shape. It’s very durable, but also brittle. Granite fabricators must take care to avoid cracking or chipping the slabs during the cutting process. This specialized stone work results in slightly higher fabrication prices for granite.
Quartz fabrication on the other hand is a simpler process. Quartz is an engineered material designed to be more flexible and factory cut into standard slab sizes. The slabs can be fabricated quickly and easily with minimal cutting required. Overall, quartz fabrication costs tend to be a bit lower than granite.
When combined with material costs, the total cost of materials and fabrication is typically about the same for quartz and granite countertops. The stone and fabrication averages $40 to $70 per square foot for both. Where granite often gains an advantage is in installation cost.
Installing kitchen countertops requires experienced professionals to get a perfect custom fit. Granite countertops can be heavy, weighing up to 15 pounds per square foot, but installers are used to maneuvering the slabs. The installation process is straightforward, without any special requirements.
Quartz slabs are a bit lighter than granite, but the installation process can take more effort. Adhesives and brackets may be needed to join seamless edges. The engineered stone can also be more prone to damage if the installation is not handled properly. This extra care translates to quartz installation pricing being up to 25% higher than granite.
When looking at the total investment for countertops, granite comes out ahead for many homeowners thanks to the lower installation costs. Granite countertop installation averages between $35 and $75 per hour. Quartz installation is typically $50 to $100 per hour.
Once the countertops are installed, ongoing maintenance is required. All natural stone needs some periodic sealing to prevent stains and damage. Granite is no exception. Sealing granite every 1 to 2 years is recommended, at a cost of approximately $4 per square foot.
Quartz is virtually maintenance free when it comes to sealing. It never needs to be sealed due to the resin binders used in its production. This gives quartz a slight advantage in terms of long term maintenance costs.
However, both materials need routine cleaning and care to look their best. Quartz can stain if spills are not wiped up quickly. Over time, granite can lose its polish and require professional honing or polishing. These routine maintenance costs balance out over time, making this category a wash between the two countertop materials.
Pros and Cons of Cost
To summarize the cost comparison:
- Lower material costs
- Lower installation costs
- Slightly higher fabrication costs
- Requires periodic sealing
- No sealing required
- Lower fabrication costs
- More expensive materials
- Higher installation costs
While quartz fabrication is less expensive, the higher materials and installation costs for quartz outweigh the advantage when comparing granite vs quartz prices overall. Granite comes out as the cheaper option in most cases.
Price Range Factors
There is some overlap in prices between lower cost quartz and higher priced granite. The price differences depend on the specific materials chosen. Here are some factors that lead to variability within the granite vs quartz price ranges:
Stone Type – Granite comes in many varieties. More rare granite like exotic stones from Brazil or Italy command higher prices. Locally sourced granite tends to be more affordable.
Stone Color – Unusual granite colors like blues, greens, and blacks are in high demand. Standard colors like tans, browns, and grays are widely available at lower cost.
Stone Finish – Polished, glossy finishes are more labor intensive for fabricators, increasing costs. Many homeowners prefer the natural honed or leathered finishes that cost less.
Stone Grade – Higher grades of granite have fewer imperfections and veining. These more pristine slabs are cut from the center of granite blocks, at higher material costs.
Custom Edges – Granite edges like ogee, bevel, and eased cost extra for specialized fabrication. Simple eased or straight edges keep costs lower.
Complex Patterns – Intricate granite slab layouts require meticulous cutting and fabrication at higher costs. Simple slab installations are most affordable.
Brand – Premium quartz brands like Caesarstone and Cambria range from $50 to over $100 per square foot installed. Budget brands cost as little as $45 per square foot.
Patterns – Unusual quartz patterns and colors are exclusive and therefore pricier. Neutral solids and speckled quartz are widely available at lower cost.
Thickness – Thicker 3cm slabs command up to 25% higher installed costs than standard 2cm quartz. Thinner 1.2cm options are also now available, providing savings.
Custom Details – Specialty edges and custom fabrications will boost quartz costs. Stock edges and simple slab layouts are budget friendly.
Cost Comparison by Brand
To give a real world cost comparison between specific granite and quartz options, here is an overview from major national brands:
| Brand & Material | Average Cost Per Square Foot Installed |
| MSI Granite | $39-$79 |
| Home Depot Granite | $49-$99 |
| Lowe’s Granite | $49-$119 |
| Silestone Quartz | $57-$105 |
| Caesarstone Quartz | $57-$126 |
| Cambria Quartz | $80-$125 |
MSI, Home Depot, and Lowe’s entry level granite prices start around $40. Their premium granite ranges up to $120 installed per square foot.
Silestone offers affordable quartz in the $55 range, but goes up to over $100 for rare colors and patterns. Caesarstone has a similar overall range, while Cambria commands luxury pricing, starting at $80 per square foot installed.
As shown, granite prices from leading national suppliers tend to stay very competitive or beat the prices of most quartz options. Homeowners on tight budgets can likely find more affordable granite choices compared to quartz from the same manufacturer.
Are granite countertops cheaper than quartz?
When comparing granite vs quartz countertops, granite comes out as the more cost effective choice overall in most cases based on total installed pricing. Due to the lower costs for materials, fabrication, and installation, granite averages 10% to 30% less expensive than quartz countertops.
There is certainly overlap in prices, where higher end granite may exceed lower priced quartz options. However, cost-conscious homeowners looking for an attractive natural stone countertop will generally find better value with granite. The range of granite choices makes it possible to find beautiful options that fit nicely into home renovation budgets.
Understanding the factors that impact price gives homeowners confidence that their investment in new granite countertops will provide lasting quality and beauty at the best possible value. With proper routine care, granite countertops will last a lifetime, making them an economical and stylish option when making long term upgrades to a home’s kitchen.
Granite vs Quartz: Which is Better for Your Budget?
Choosing between granite and quartz ultimately comes down to your design priorities, lifestyle, and budget. If finding an attractive, durable countertop at the most economical pricing is your goal, granite is very likely the better choice. With some smart shopping and cost comparisons, you can find gorgeous granite countertops that give you the look you love for less.
However, for some homeowners, quartz may be worth the higher investment. If you love the consistency and unique patterns available from quartz, don’t require a full granite slab layout, or simply prefer never having to seal countertops, the extra cost may be justified. Your contractor can price out quotes for both materials to help you analyze the options fully.
There are ways to add value and save money with either material:
Value Tips for Granite
- Ask fabricators for remnant granite pieces for a unique look at a discount
- Select locally sourced stone for lower material transport costs
- Choose standard edges and simple layouts requiring less fabrication
- Look for honed, flamed or leathered finishes over polished
- Save money by sealing granite yourself every 1-2 years
Value Tips for Quartz
- Look for low cost solid color or simple pattern slabs
- Choose standard 2cm thickness over 3cm options
- Inquire about smaller remnant pieces for bar tops or backsplashes
- Select a budget-friendly brand over premium names
- Install quartz yourself or hire separate fabrication & install crews
Whichever material you choose, be sure to get quotes from 3-5 reputable countertop suppliers in your area to find competitive pricing. Discuss ways to maximize value while still achieving your ideal aesthetic. With smart planning, it’s possible to get beautiful countertops that enhance your home within your planned budget, whether you opt for granite or quartz.
Granite vs Quartz: Frequently Asked Questions
Is granite cheaper than quartz?
In most cases, yes, granite is cheaper than quartz for new countertops. The typical installed price per square foot for granite ranges from $40-$70. Quartz ranges from $50-$100 installed. Granite’s lower material costs and easier installation make it the budget friendly choice overall.
Why is quartz more expensive than granite?
Two main factors lead to higher prices for quartz compared to granite:
- Materials – Quartz is engineered from quartz crystals and resins, while granite is mined from abundant natural deposits. This leads to higher material costs for quartz.
- Installation – Quartz often requires adhesives and specialized handling to install seamlessly. Granite installs directly on cabinets easily. More complex installation increases quartz costs.
Should I get quartz or granite based on cost?
If budget is your top concern, granite generally provides an attractive natural stone look at a lower price point. However, quartz may be worth the extra investment if you prefer a more consistent pattern, no sealing requirement, or another quartz benefit. Get quotes for both materials to compare options for your project.
Does quartz add more value than granite for home resale?
Neither material clearly wins in terms of adding resale value. They are both seen as high end countertops that appeal to buyers. Darker, neutral granite colors may have broader appeal to home buyers. Unique quartz patterns could be seen as more stylish by some. Overall resale value is likely comparable.
Is it cheaper to fabricate quartz vs granite?
Fabricating quartz is often less costly than granite. Quartz is engineered for easy fabrication. Granite requires special cuts made carefully to avoid cracks and chips. However, lower granite installation costs typically make up for the higher fabrication prices.
Can you find cheap granite?
Yes, there are affordable granite options even from luxury brands. Factors that reduce granite costs include locally sourced stone, standard edge styles, neutral colors, and simple slab layouts. Remnants and smaller pieces can also provide budget savings for some kitchen projects.
Should I negotiate quartz countertop prices?
Absolutely. With any major home renovation project, it is smart to get quotes from 3-5 installers and negotiate pricing. There may be room to negotiate on quartz material markups, fabrication, installation, sink cutting, etc. Be sure to compare apples-to-apples project details.
Is quartz worth the extra cost over granite?
Quartz is worth the higher price for homeowners that want added consistency in patterns, no sealing required, high heat/scratch resistance, or other specific quartz benefits. For those prioritizing natural beauty and budget value, granite is likely the better choice over quartz. Your needs will determine if quartz warrants the premium price.
The decision between granite vs quartz countertops involves many considerations from aesthetics, durability, maintenance, and cost. While quartz often wins praise for its consistent patterns, durability, and low maintenance needs, granite remains a top choice for homeowners focused on maximizing value.
Thanks to lower material costs, fabrication requirements, and ease of installation, granite countertops are generally 10% to 30% cheaper than quartz. Total installed costs average $40-$70 per square foot for granite, compared to $50-$100 per square foot for quartz.
For homeowners watching their budgets, it is smart to be aware of the pricing differences and get quotes for both options. Comparing total countertop costs for your specific kitchen will help identify whether granite or quartz makes the most financial sense for your home improvement plans. With some smart shopping, beautiful and affordable granite can provide lasting quality and style to enhance your home’s value for years to come.