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 actually more expensive than granite?
The Short Answer
Generally speaking, yes – quartz countertops tend to be more expensive than granite. However, the pricing depends on several factors. While granite countertops start around $40 per square foot installed, quartz starts at $80 per square foot installed. High-end granite and quartz can both surpass $100 per square foot.
The Long Answer
There are a few key reasons why quartz countertops command a higher starting price than granite:
Quartz is an engineered stone made from approximately 90% ground natural quartz combined with polymers and pigments. This makes quartz non-porous, resistant to scratches, stains, cracks, and heat. Granite is a natural stone that can be slightly porous and prone to staining. This increased durability means quartz costs more to produce.
Quartz comes in a wide array of consistent patterns and colors. Granite is a natural material with random, unique patterning that can make matching slabs tricky. The engineered nature and customization of quartz leads to higher costs.
Quartz is easier to fabricate than natural granite. Granite is extremely heavy and requires special tools and handling to cut and install. Quartz is lighter weight and doesn’t require as much customized fabrication. This reduced labor helps offset some of the higher material costs for granite.
Quartz rarely needs resealing and heat, scratches, and stains do not affect it. Granite requires periodic sealing to prevent staining and can become damaged from heat or deep scratches over time. The increased care needed for granite makes quartz’s higher cost more worthwhile for many homeowners.
The biggest quartz manufacturers like Caesarstone, Cambria, and Silestone invest significant funds into research, design, and marketing. There is an inherent value and prestige in choosing these branded quartz products that gets passed onto the consumer through higher costs.
There are more costs associated with manufacturing and transporting engineered quartz slabs versus quarrying and cutting natural granite slabs. This factors into the higher starting price tag.
Cost Comparison Factors
Now that we’ve covered the main reasons quartz runs higher than granite, let’s take a more detailed look at the factors that influence the costs of both countertop materials:
Type of Stone
Granite and quartz each come in different grades, quality levels, and rarities that greatly impact the price. Exotic granite patterns or rare colors can match or even exceed quartz pricing. For example, white Macabus quartz starts around $70 per square foot installed. But a rare white granite like Fantasy Brown Leathered can cost over $100 per square foot installed.
Quartz has consistent speckled patterns and veins in a set color palette. Granite has random, natural variation in patterning and coloring. Certain premium granite colors like blues, golds, whites, and blacks command much higher prices due to rarity which makes quartz appear more affordable in comparison.
Natural materials like granite are quarried regionally so transportation costs get included in the pricing. Quartz is made globally so your location doesn’t drastically change what you pay. Granite is generally less expensive on the East Coast than the West Coast where it must be shipped farther.
Both granite and quartz are available in 2 cm and 3 cm thicknesses. The 3 cm options are more durable and cost 20%-30% more on average. Thicker slabs mean you get less countertop coverage per square foot, impacting budgets.
Decorative edge treatments like bullnose, ogee, dupont, waterfall, and laminated edges add cost over standard eased/pencil edge profiles. Complex edges require special cutting and finishing. Granite has more edge limitations than quartz due to its brittle nature and the special tools required.
Integrated backsplashes elevate installation costs for both granite and quartz countertops. Granite backsplashes need to be cut and finished to create seamless integration with the main slabs. Quartz can be ordered from the manufacturer with the polished backsplash already incorporated.
Basic edge and seam work during fabrication is included in the square foot price of both materials. Specialty fabrications like cutouts for sinks, cooking surfaces, or lighting increases the installation fees. Quartz is typically easier for fabricators to cut and polish.
Seaming together countertop slabs and mounting them correctly is a skilled trade. Hiring an experienced installer is key for either granite or quartz. Rare granite can be more difficult to work with due to fragility. Overall, quartz offers a simpler installation process.
Many quartz manufacturers offer 10- or 15-year warranties that cover manufacturer defects. Most granite installers only offer 1- or 2-year basic installation warranties. These added protections justify quartz’s higher costs for many buyers.
Pros and Cons of Granite vs. Quartz
To further illustrate the differences between the two countertop materials, here is a breakdown of the major pros and cons of quartz and granite:
- Extremely durable
- Resistant to scratches, stains, heat, and cracking
- Low maintenance/does not require sealing
- More consistent patterns and colors
- Pre-fabricated with easer installation
- Greater variety of edge profiles possible
- Longer warranties available
- More expensive starting cost
- Limited number of styles/colors
- Brand recognition leads to higher pricing
- Resale value not as high as granite
- Can have manmade appearance
- Natural beauty with depth and variation
- Kiln-dried process maximizes durability
- Cooler surface temperature
- Matches most cabinetry and décor easily
- Higher resale value than engineered surfaces
- Prone to chipping, cracking, and staining
- Regular sealing required
- Limited edge profile options
- Matching slabs can be tricky
- Needs periodic re-polishing and maintenance
Cost Ranges & Expectations
Now that we’ve weighed the pros, cons, and cost factors between quartz and granite, let’s look at typical price ranges and expectations for each material:
Quartz: $80-100 per square foot installed
Granite: $40-60 per square foot installed
The most affordable colors and basic edge profiles. Better quartz brands. Domestic granites like Uba Tuba or Giallo Ornamental in a basic color.
Quartz: $100-150 per square foot installed
Granite: $60-100 per square foot installed
Popular brand quartz like Cambria or Silestone. Higher-end domestic granites like River White or Santa Cecilia in premium colors and patterns. Bullnose edges and integrated backsplashes.
Quartz: $150-200+ per square foot installed
Granite: $100-150+ per square foot installed
Exotic quartz with semi-precious metals and glass fragments. Imported exotic granites in premium blacks, blues, golds. Complex waterfall edges, decorative laminations, and precision detailing.
Should I Choose Quartz or Granite?
At the end of the day, choosing between quartz and granite comes down to your budget, lifestyle, and personal preferences. Consider the following final tips when deciding between the two materials:
- Quartz generally offers more durability and less maintenance which can justify the higher initial investment, especially for busy kitchens.
- Granite provides an unbeatable visual impact and timeless elegance. If your heart is set on natural stone, the periodic upkeep is well worth it.
- Both materials are excellent choices that will enhance your space for years to come. If budget is a concern, granite can offer similar aesthetics for less.
- Do you love to cook? Quartz’s heat resistance can better suit avid home chefs. Granite requires using trivets and being cautious with hot pans.
- Smaller surfaces like bathroom vanities can be a smart place to install quartz to maximize durability in water-prone spaces while saving costs. Use granite on the larger kitchen surfaces.
- Visit showrooms to see slabs in person. The visual differences between quartz and granite are more dramatic than photos convey. Being able to see the materials can sway your decision making.
- Consult a professional fabricator for transparent quotes on both options. Remember to factor in install costs, not just material costs. An expert can walk you through the total investment.
Frequently Asked Questions
Still undecided between quartz and granite? Here are answers to some common questions about the cost differences between the two countertops:
Is quartz cheaper than granite?
In most cases, no. Quartz nearly always has a higher starting price point than granite. However, exotic high-end granites can be just as pricey as premium quartz.
Why is quartz more expensive?
The engineered nature of quartz, advanced technology used in production, brand recognition, research investment, and warranties lead to its higher costs versus the raw quarrying process for granite.
Is granite cheaper than quartz?
Generally, yes. For equivalent colors and styling, granite prices are typically about 30-50% less than quartz. Granite has a lower starting price point but quartz offers added benefits that can justify the increase in cost.
Is white quartz more expensive than white granite?
Often it is, but not always. Simple white granite can start around $50 per square foot installed. Pure white quartz slabs range from $70-100 per square foot installed. But intricately patterned exotic white granites like Fantasy Brown Leathered are over $100 per square foot installed.
Should I get quartz or granite?
If your budget allows, quartz offers amazing durability and minimal maintenance. For a classic high-end look on a possible budget, granite is stunning. Weigh your personal priorities around aesthetics, budget, and lifestyle needs.
Is it worth paying more for quartz over granite?
For many homeowners, yes, the durability and maintenance benefits make quartz worth the investment over granite. If natural stone with less upkeep is preferred, granite can provide similar elegance for less cost in many color options.
Does quartz retain its value like granite?
Granite countertops will retain or even gain value over time, making them excellent real estate investments. Quartz provides less return on investment and will slowly depreciate as styles change just like other home trends. Granite’s enduring legacy edges out quartz for resale value.
The Bottom Line
There is no definitive answer to the question “are quartz countertops more expensive than granite?” While quartz does come at a higher starting price point, exotic high-end granite can rival premium engineered stone in cost. The relative pricing depends on the specific materials, colors, and fabrication details chosen. For equivalent options, expect to invest around 30-50% more for a quartz countertop. But that increased cost may be justified by reduced maintenance needs and greater durability in high-traffic kitchens. Consult a professional fabricator to get transparent pricing estimates on both countertop materials. Consider your budget, kitchen needs, and design style preferences when deciding between quartz and granite countertops for an informed decision you’ll enjoy for years to come.