Are Quartz Countertops Less Expensive Than Granite?

When it comes to choosing countertops for your kitchen or bathroom, two of the most popular options are quartz and granite. Both offer durability and style, but they differ in appearance, maintenance, and of course, cost. So are quartz countertops generally less expensive than granite?

An Overview of Quartz and Granite Countertops

Quartz countertops are engineered stone made from crushed quartz crystals combined with resins and pigments. The result is a non-porous, stain-resistant, and durable surface that requires little maintenance. Quartz comes in a wide variety of colors and patterns to mimic the look of natural stone.

Granite is a natural stone that is mined from quarries. It is an igneous rock composed primarily of quartz and feldspar minerals. Granite is valued for its speckled appearance and veins of color that make each slab unique. It is also stain-resistant but requires yearly sealing to prevent staining.

Cost Comparison of Quartz vs. Granite

When comparing the cost of quartz and granite, quartz is generally the less expensive option on average. Here is a breakdown of the cost differences:

  • Material costs: Uninstalled slab prices range from $30-100 per square foot for quartz. Granite slabs run $40-200 per square foot on average.
  • Installation costs: Installation is similar for both materials, averaging $40-100 per square foot for fabrication and installation.
  • Total costs: In total, a quartz countertop will run between $75-200 per square foot. Granite countertops range from $100-300 per square foot installed.

So while the material price of basic granite may be lower than some quartz, factoring in installation costs means quartz countertops are typically 10-20% less expensive overall.

However, granite has a wider spectrum of pricing depending on factors like stone rarity, color patterns, and edge options. Exotic granites can match or exceed the cost of luxury quartz lines.

What Impacts the Cost of Quartz Countertops

Several factors affect the price of quartz counters:

  • Color and pattern: Some colors like whites and neutrals are more affordable. Unique patterns and bold colors cost more.
  • Thickness: Standard 2 cm slabs are ideal for countertops. Going up to 3 cm thickness raises the price.
  • Quartz brand: Premium brands like Caesarstone and Silestone range from $75-150 per square foot installed. Budget brands like IKEA can be as low as $50 per square foot.
  • Fabrication: Complex edge styles, cut-outs, and other custom fabrication increase installation costs.
  • Contractor pricing: Which fabricator you use impacts pricing, so get multiple quotes. Big box home centers charge more for installation.

Factors that Influence Granite Pricing

Granite has several variables that affect the total installed price:

  • Stone color and pattern: More exotic, rare granites with unique markings are more valuable and expensive. Common colors like black, brown, and grey are affordable.
  • Country of origin: Imported granite from Brazil, India, and other countries has higher costs than domestic granite.
  • Thickness: 2 cm for countertops is standard, but 3 cm thick granite is preferred by some and adds cost.
  • Edging and cut-outs: The more complex the fabrication needed, the higher the installation fees.
  • Finishes: Polished, honed, and textured finishes have different costs.
  • Sealing maintenance: Annual sealing is required for granite, an added cost over quartz.

Pros and Cons of Choosing Quartz over Granite

Beyond just cost, here are some other pros and cons to consider when deciding between quartz and granite:

Pros of Quartz

  • Requires very little maintenance
  • Resists scratches, stains, and burns
  • Consistent color and patterning
  • Some styles mimic granite and marble
  • Non-porous so it does not need to be sealed

Cons of Quartz

  • Can chip if subject to hard impact
  • Limited number of styles/colors
  • Patterns are uniform, lacking natural variation
  • Resins make it susceptible to damage from high heat

Pros of Granite

  • Unique natural patterns and coloring
  • Can last a lifetime with proper care
  • Withstands heat better than quartz
  • Can be repurposed and recycled

Cons of Granite

  • Needs yearly sealing to prevent stains
  • More prone to chipping and cracking if not cared for
  • Patterns and coloring vary between slabs
  • Some very porous granites can stain

Are Quartz Countertops the Budget-Friendly Option?

In most cases, yes – quartz counters will be the less expensive option compared to granite of a similar grade and quality. The average total installed price of quartz is about 10-20% lower than granite.

Quartz is cheaper partly because it requires less human intervention to extract, process, cut, and polish during manufacturing. The resins also make it more sturdy for transportation and fabrication.

However, granite remains popular since no two slabs are the same. It also can last decades with proper sealing and care. Higher-end exotic granites may appeal to some homeowners despite the higher costs.

Talk to your kitchen designer or countertop retailer to determine exact pricing for your project. Be sure to get an itemized quote and compare the overall value, not just material costs. In general, those seeking an attractive and affordable countertop will find quartz counters very competitively priced versus granite.

Frequently Asked Questions about Quartz vs. Granite Costs

Is quartz cheaper than granite?

Yes, on average quartz countertops installed are 10-20% less expensive than granite. Quotes for basic granite and quartz in the same color and style will show quartz as the lower cost option in most cases.

Why is quartz cheaper than granite?

Quartz is engineered in a factory which reduces costs of extraction and fabrication. The manufacturing process also creates consistent coloring and a durable surface that requires less finishing work. Granite’s natural variability and finishing process make it more labor intensive.

What is the cheapest option for countertops?

Laminate countertops are the most budget-friendly at $10-40 per square foot installed. But for natural stone, quartz is generally cheaper than granite or marble. IKEA has the lowest prices starting around $50 per square foot installed.

Does quartz add value like granite?

While granite is still valued by many buyers, quartz has grown in popularity for its lower maintenance needs. Both granite and quartz are seen as premium countertops that can increase home resale value versus cheaper options like laminate.

Is granite worth the extra cost over quartz?

Granite is worth the higher price tag for those who prefer the unique natural pattern and colors. For others, quartz provides an attractive durable surface at a more affordable price point. Shoppers should compare quotes and weigh the pros and cons of each material.

Key Takeaways:

  • Quartz countertops are on average 10-20% less expensive installed than granite countertops.
  • The main factors affecting quartz pricing are color/style, thickness, brand, and fabrication complexity.
  • Granite cost depends on stone type, pattern, origin, thickness, finishing, and installation factors.
  • Benefits of quartz include lower maintenance and more consistent patterning compared to granite.
  • Granite remains popular for its natural beauty and longevity despite higher costs.
  • Quartz provides the best value for money if you want the look of stone without the higher price tag.