With countertops being such an integral part of any kitchen, it’s important to choose a material that is both beautiful and durable. Two of the most popular options for countertops are quartz and granite. But when it comes to durability, which one has the advantage? Here’s a detailed comparison of quartz vs granite countertops to help you decide which is the better choice.
What is Quartz?
Quartz countertops, also known as engineered stone, are made from ground natural quartz crystals combined with resins and pigments. The quartz content typically ranges from 90-94%. The remaining 6-10% consists of polymer resins that bind the quartz together and provide additional properties like flexibility, hardness, and stain resistance.
Some key features of quartz countertops:
- Non-porous – does not require regular sealing
- More flexible and less prone to cracks/chips than natural stone
- Resists scratches, stains, heat damage better than granite
- Easier to maintain – just needs occasional cleaning with mild soap and water
- Wide range of colors/patterns including realistic stone and marble looks
- Can be fabricated into intricate shapes and custom designs
What is Granite?
Granite is a natural stone that is mined from quarries. It is an igneous rock composed primarily of quartz and feldspar minerals. Granite comes in a diverse range of colors and patterns based on its mineral composition.
Some characteristics of granite countertops:
- Each slab is completely unique in patterning
- Harder and more heat resistant than quartz
- Prone to staining and etching from acidic foods/liquids
- Needs periodic sealing to prevent staining
- Can chip or crack if subjected to impact
- Limited color options compared to engineered quartz
- Requires professional installation
Durability Comparison Between Quartz and Granite
When evaluating the durability of quartz vs granite, there are a few key factors to consider:
- Quartz is more scratch resistant than granite. While granite is also very hard, quartz countertops are essentially immune to cuts and scratches in day-to-day use. They can withstand impacts from kitchen tools and objects placed on them without showing marks.
- Granite can get scratched by knives or abrasive cleaners if not cared for properly. Small scratches tend to show up more visibly on the polished granite surface.
- Quartz is non-porous so it does not absorb stains from spills. It repels water and most household stains can be easily wiped off the surface.
- Granite is slightly porous and can absorb liquids if left for prolonged time. Acidic substances like wine, tomatoes, citrus can stain the granite if not cleaned up quickly.
- Granite needs to be periodically re-sealed to maintain its stain resistance whereas quartz does not require sealing.
- Granite is better able to withstand heat exposure from hot pots/pans compared to quartz. Prolonged direct heat can potentially damage quartz and cause cracks.
- However, quartz can tolerate brief heat exposure up to around 212°F which is acceptable for a kitchen setting. Just don’t leave very hot pans sitting on it for long periods.
- Both materials can withstand heat from the edge of a pan or trivet. Granite has a minor advantage for direct high heat tolerance.
Chip and Crack Resistance
- Quartz is engineered to have high flexural strength so it does not crack or chip easily. It can handle minor impacts without damage.
- Granite is more brittle and prone to chipping on the edges if subjected to force. Cracks can form over time if the slab shifts or settles unevenly underneath.
- Overall, quartz offers better crack/chip resistance making it a more durable choice.
- Quartz requires very little maintenance – just gentle cleaning with soap and water keeps it looking like new. No need for sealing or polishing.
- Granite needs periodic sealing, may need occasional polishing, and is overall higher maintenance than quartz. The regular care adds to long-term costs.
Is Quartz More Durable Than Granite?
When all factors are evaluated, quartz does appear to have an edge over granite in terms of durability. The main advantages of quartz over granite are:
- Better scratch resistance
- Superior stain resistance
- Does not require regular sealing
- More flexibility so lower chance of cracking/chipping
- Withstands minor impacts without damage
- Lower maintenance needs
However, granite is still an extremely durable natural stone countertop option. It excels in heat tolerance compared to quartz. And many homeowners appreciate the uniqueness of natural granite patterns.
Ultimately, quartz seems to be the more durable overall choice for countertops that can better withstand the rigors of everyday kitchen use. But granite remains a classic natural stone option with its own unique appeal. Careful consideration of your needs and priorities can help determine which one is the right fit for your home.
FAQs About Quartz vs Granite Durability
Is quartz more durable than granite in kitchens?
Yes, quartz generally outperforms granite in most durability factors that are important for kitchen countertops. Its non-porous surface better resists scratches, stains, impacts, and needs less sealing and maintenance. This makes quartz an ideal choice for busy kitchens.
Does quartz stain more easily than granite?
No, quartz is highly stain resistant and does not readily absorb stains like natural stone can. This gives it an advantage over granite which needs diligent sealing and cleaning to prevent staining.
Is quartz prone to chipping and cracking?
Quartz is engineered to be resistant to chips and cracks. Its resin binders make the material flexible so it can handle minor impacts. Quartz maintains its durability edge over natural stone like granite when it comes to resisting chips and cracks.
Does quartz need to be sealed?
No. Because it is non-porous, quartz does not require any sealing to prevent stains. This gives it a big advantage over granite which needs periodic resealing to maintain its appearance.
Is quartz good for heavy use kitchens?
Yes, quartz is an excellent choice for heavy-use kitchens where durability is a priority. Its stain, scratch and crack resistance allow it to stand up well to constant daily use. Quartz requires very little maintenance making it ideal for busy kitchens.
Does quartz lose its shine over time?
No. The glossy sheen of a quartz countertop will remain consistent for years. Unlike granite, it does not depend on a polished surface that can lose its luster over time. However, dark colors may show light scratches that require occasional buffing.
While granite is undoubtedly durable, quartz exhibits better durability across most factors that are important for kitchen countertops. Its consistent performance in resisting scratches, stains, impacts, and heat makes quartz the more durable all-round option. When ease of maintenance is also considered, quartz is the clear winner for demanding kitchen applications. However, granite remains a classic natural stone choice appreciated for its uniqueness. Ultimately, choosing between quartz vs granite requires determining which qualities are most important for your needs.