Thinking of a kitchen or bathroom remodel? Countertops are one of the most important decisions you’ll make. Not only do they take up a significant portion of visible real estate, but they also have to stand up to years of daily use. Porcelain and quartz countertops are two popular options, but which is the more affordable choice? This comprehensive guide examines are porcelain countertops cheaper than quartz. Read on for an in-depth look at how porcelain and quartz countertops compare on both cost and value.
When renovating your kitchen or bath, choosing the right countertop material is key. Countertops see a lot of action and need to be durable as well as beautiful. Porcelain and quartz countertops are two of today’s most popular choices because they offer an attractive look along with strength and longevity.
But if budget is a top concern, you may be wondering are porcelain countertops cheaper than quartz? The short answer is yes—porcelain generally costs less than quartz for both materials and installation. However, quartz counters offer their own advantages that may make the extra cost worthwhile for many homeowners.
Below, we’ll compare porcelain and quartz on affordability as well as look at the pros and cons of each material. This detailed information will help you determine which countertops offer the best value for your remodeling project and budget.
One of the biggest factors when choosing new countertops is cost. Let’s look at how porcelain and quartz stack up:
Porcelain Countertop Cost
Porcelain tile countertops run $40 to $100 per square foot installed. This cost range accounts for both materials and professional installation.
Factor in your total countertop square footage to estimate your total porcelain countertop cost. For example, for a 25 square foot countertop area, porcelain would cost $1,000 to $2,500 installed.
Porcelain tile slabs tend to be pricier, ranging from $80 to $150 per square foot installed. However, large-format porcelain slabs can mimic the seamless look of higher-end countertop materials.
Quartz Countertop Cost
Quartz countertops fall in the moderate to high price range, at $80 to $120 per square foot installed. With professional installation, expect to pay $2,500 to $3,500 for a 30 square foot quartz kitchen countertop.
Higher-end quartz with special colors or patterns can run $125 to $175 per square foot. Luxury brands like Caesarstone and Silestone are on the pricier end of the quartz spectrum.
Cost Comparison Overview
In most cases, porcelain tiles and slabs will be 25% to 50% cheaper than quartz countertops. While materials and installation for porcelain counters run $40 to $150 per square foot, quartz starts at $80 per square foot and goes up from there.
However, quartz often has a more seamless, ‘stone-like’ aesthetic that some homeowners prefer over the obvious tile grout lines with porcelain. For this premium look, paying extra for quartz may be worthwhile if it fits your budget.
Porcelain vs. Quartz: Pros and Cons
Beyond just cost differences, porcelain and quartz each have their own advantages in terms of appearance, durability, maintenance, and more. Comparing the pros and cons of each material can help you decide which provides the best value for your kitchen or bath remodel.
Porcelain Countertop Pros
Here are some of the benefits of choosing porcelain for new countertops:
- Affordable – As discussed above, porcelain generally costs less than quartz while still offering an attractive, durable surface. This makes it a budget-friendly option.
- Durable – Modern porcelain is extremely strong and scratch-resistant. It stands up well to heavy daily use.
- Stain-resistant – Non-porous porcelain resists stains from spills and everyday messes. It’s easy to keep clean.
- Heat-resistant – Porcelain tiles are fired at high temperatures, making the material able to withstand hot pots and pans.
- Easy to clean – Smooth porcelain needs just soap and water for routine cleaning.
- Wide range of styles – From modern subway tiles to stone and wood looks, porcelain offers endless design options to suit any kitchen or bath décor.
Porcelain Countertop Cons
There are also a few potential drawbacks with porcelain:
- Grout lines – The grout between porcelain tiles can trap dirt and require more maintenance. Sealer helps protect the grout.
- Prone to chipping – Dropping a heavy object on a porcelain tile corner can cause a chip. The material is still durable for normal use but may chip if seriously impacted.
- Sound amplification – Porcelain can amplify sound from items placed on the surface. This can be noisy in open kitchen layouts.
- Cool surface – Porcelain feels cool to the touch, unlike quartz and other stone that retain heat and feel warmer.
Quartz Countertop Pros
Quartz is renowned for these advantages:
- Stainproof – Non-porous quartz completely resists stains from oils, drinks, food, and more. No sealing needed.
- Scratch-resistant – Quartz stands up very well to regular use. Knives and pots won’t damage the surface.
- Heat-resistant – Safe for hot pans; will not burn or scorch.
- Low-maintenance – Little maintenance is needed beyond occasional cleaning with soap and water.
- Resistant to damage – Quartz is extremely hardy and able to withstand impacts. Chips and cracks are rare.
- Seamless look – Quartz is installed in large slabs, giving it a smooth, continuous look without grout lines.
- Wide color and pattern options – From vibrant solids to stone-like patterns, quartz offers endless options to suit your style.
Quartz Countertop Cons
- Higher cost – As we’ve covered, quartz costs significantly more than porcelain. It’s one of the pricier countertop materials.
- Requires professional installation – While DIY porcelain tile is doable, quartz slabs require hiring a pro for installation. This adds to costs.
- Can stain from oils – Quartz resists most stains but oil and grease can penetrate the surface over time if not cleaned up.
- Seams may be visible – Seams between quartz slabs are usually tightly fitted but still may be noticeable on close inspection, which some homeowners dislike.
- May chip if severely impacted – Significant impact, especially at edges and seams, can cause chips with quartz. But this is rare under normal conditions.
- Limited outdoor use – Outdoor kitchens and other wet areas are not recommended for quartz, which can damage the material. Porcelain is a better outdoor choice.
Are Porcelain Countertops Cheaper Than Quartz?: Key Takeaways
- Porcelain tile countertops range from $40–$100 per square foot installed, while quartz starts at $80 per square foot and goes up in price from there.
- The grout lines on porcelain can be a disadvantage. Quartz offers a more continuous, stone-like look but costs more.
- Both materials are very durable, resistant to staining and heat, and easy to keep clean. Porcelain can chip if impacted but quartz can too.
- Quartz comes in a wider range of colors and patterns. But porcelain also offers lots of style options plus the ability to create custom designs.
- Porcelain can better tolerate outdoor use. Quartz is not recommended in wet areas as moisture can gradually damage the material.
- For kitchens and bathrooms that get heavy daily use, either porcelain or quartz will provide a strong, sturdy surface that can stand up to years of wear.
Overall, porcelain tile provides a more budget-friendly option that still offers beauty and durability. But for some, quartz may be worth the extra cost to achieve the smooth, seamless look they desire. Considering your own budget, design goals, and how you use your kitchen or bath space will help determine if lower-cost porcelain or higher-end quartz is the better choice for you.
Frequently Asked Questions About Porcelain vs. Quartz Countertops
Still deciding between porcelain vs. quartz for new counters? Here are answers to some common questions homeowners have when comparing these popular countertop materials.
Is porcelain cheaper than quartz?
Yes, porcelain tile or slab countertops are generally 25% to 50% less expensive than quartz. On average, expect to pay $40–$150 per square foot for installed porcelain counters compared to $80–$175 per square foot for installed quartz.
Is porcelain tile a good choice for kitchen countertops?
Yes, porcelain makes an excellent material for kitchen countertops. It provides a durable and stain-resistant surface that can stand up to heavy daily use. The tile grout requires some periodic sealing but overall porcelain is an affordable kitchen countertop option.
What are the downsides to porcelain countertops?
Porcelain has a few disadvantages to be aware of. The grout between tiles can trap dirt and needs occasional sealing to prevent stains. Porcelain has a tendency to amplify noise and feels cool to the touch. And while durable, it can potentially chip if subjected to a heavy impact.
What are the benefits of quartz kitchen countertops?
Quartz is a low-maintenance option that offers excellent stain, scratch, and heat resistance. It has a beautiful seamless look and feels warmer and quieter than porcelain. The durability and wide style options of quartz make it ideal for busy kitchens.
Is quartz worth the extra cost over porcelain?
This depends on your budget and design preferences. For a classic stylish look, quartz may be worth the higher price, especially if you prioritize an unbroken surface with no grout. But porcelain costs significantly less while still providing strength and easy care, so it offers greater value for budget-minded renovations.
Is it better to get quartz or porcelain for bathroom countertops?
In bathrooms, either option works very well. Porcelain tiles resist water and humidity while offering lots of style choices. Quartz brings durability and its seamless appearance but has a higher price tag. For heavy use and kids’ bathrooms, quartz is a good investment. But porcelain is better if seeking an attractive, affordable option.
Can you put porcelain tile directly on existing countertops?
Tiles can be installed directly onto existing countertops in good condition if the underlying surface is completely smooth. The old countertop must be totally free of any warping and uneven areas, otherwise these would show through the new tile. It’s often better to remove old countertops and start fresh with a clean, even sub-surface for best tile results.
Finding the right countertop comes down to your budget, kitchen or bath design plans, and how you use the space. In terms of affordability, porcelain tile reigns supreme over quartz. But quartz offers seamless beauty and luxury style for those who can accommodate a higher price point.
Both materials have unique advantages that make them smart choices for busy kitchens and bathrooms. For lasting good looks that can handle workhorse use, porcelain and quartz counters check all the boxes. Assess your space and weigh cost versus benefits to decide if low-cost porcelain or higher-end quartz is the best fit. Either option will give you years of enjoyment in a renovated kitchen or bath tailored to your needs and taste.