Quartz and granite countertops are two of the most popular options for kitchen and bathroom remodels. With both offering durability, aesthetics, and value, many homeowners find themselves debating between quartz vs granite. When deciding between these two countertop materials, it’s important to consider factors like appearance, maintenance, durability, cost, and resale value. Understanding the key differences between quartz and granite can help homeowners choose the best material for their needs and budget.
A Comparison of Quartz and Granite Countertops
Granite is a natural stone that is mined from quarries around the world. It forms over millions of years in a variety of mineral compositions, resulting in a wide range of colors, patterns, and textures. No two granite slabs are exactly the same. Granite can have dramatic veining, speckles, and movement that gives each slab a unique appearance. Popular granite colors include black, white, grays, tans, browns, and vibrant blues, greens, and reds.
Quartz is an engineered stone made from crushed quartz bound together with polymer resins and pigments. The manufacturing process allows quartz to mimic the look of natural stone but with more uniformity and consistency. Quartz is available in a diverse palette of solid colors and realistic stone patterns. Popular options include white, gray, black, beige, and tan slabs with minimal veining. There are also quartz varieties designed to emulate exotic granite and marble.
For homeowners that prefer a consistent, seamless look, quartz offers more uniformity than natural granite. The bold veining and movement of granite create a one-of-a-kind look that some homeowners adore. Personal style preferences will determine whether granite’s or quartz’s aesthetic is more appealing.
One of the biggest differences between quartz and granite is maintenance. Granite is porous and requires sealing to prevent stains from penetrating the surface. Sealing needs to be repeated every 1-2 years. Granite is also prone to etching from acidic liquids like wine, tomato sauce, and citrus juices. Proper cleaning and care is required to keep granite looking its best.
Quartz has a non-porous surface that resists stains, etching, and water damage. Manufacturers state that sealing is not required. Simple cleaning with mild soap and water is often all that is needed to keep quartz pristine. The lack of required sealing and sensitivity to acids gives quartz very low maintenance requirements compared to natural stone.
For busy homeowners that want a low-maintenance countertop, quartz is the clear winner over granite. Homeowners that don’t mind the proper care required for natural stone will find granite manageable with proper sealing and cleaning.
Granite and quartz are two of the most durable countertop materials available. They are resistant to scratches, heat, and typical daily wear and tear.
Granite is incredibly hard and durable, ranking about 7 out of 10 on the Mohs hardness scale. The mineral composition gives granite the ability to resist scratches from knives and pots. One downside is that granite can chip if subjected to a heavy impact.
Quartz has a hardness rating around 8 out of 10, making it even more scratch and chip resistant than granite. The resin binders allow quartz to flex rather than chip when impacts occur. Brands tout quartz as practically indestructible for busy kitchens.
Both materials can withstand heat up to several hundred degrees. Hot pans and bakeware will not damage either surface. Granite and quartz offer comparable durability that far exceeds more delicate options like marble or limestone. For high traffic kitchens, either material will provide a durable and long-lasting option when properly cared for.
Cost is often an important factor when selecting countertop materials. Natural granite and engineered quartz are considered premium options that come at higher price points than materials like laminate or tile. However, they offer greater durability and resale value.
Granite countertops range between $80 – $150 per square foot installed. More exotic granite types can reach upwards of $175 per square foot. The final cost depends on the thickness of the slabs, complexity of the installation, and local labor rates.
Quartz countertops are priced between $100 – $140 installed on average. Some high-end designer quartz lines can be closer to $150 – $175 per square foot. The brand, style, and color choices impact the total quartz countertop cost.
In general, quartz runs about 10-15% more than granite. Homeowners that want an engineered stone can expect to pay a slight premium over natural granite. The exact costs vary based on the market and individual quotes from fabricators.
Along with cost, resale value is an important consideration, especially for renovations undertaken shortly before selling. Both granite and quartz offer excellent resale value and are expected by buyers looking at higher-end homes.
Natural granite often has an edge over quartz when it comes to potential home value increase. Granite’s prestige as a high-end material makes it especially desirable. Homes with granite countertops tend to command higher sale prices compared to other surface options.
However, premium quartz varieties have gained popularity and perceived value over the past decade. Either material is likely to be viewed as an asset by potential buyers down the road. Granite may have a slight advantage, but quality quartz countertops can also boost resale potential.
Pros and Cons of Granite Countertops
Below is a summary of the major benefits and downsides that come with installing granite.
Pros of Granite
- Unique natural beauty and prestige
- Wide variety of colors, patterns, and textural styles
- Extremely durable and scratch/heat resistant
- Easy to sanitize for food prep areas
- Increases home resale value more than most materials
Cons of Granite
- Requires regular sealing to prevent stains
- Prone to etching and marking from acidic liquids
- Chips and cracks more easily than quartz
- Individual slabs have variation that makes seamless looks difficult
- Higher cost than lower-end materials like laminate
Granite’s natural stone properties come with some extra maintenance needs. But proper sealing and care allows homeowners to enjoy granite’s strengths like durability, aesthetics, and value long-term.
Pros and Cons of Quartz Countertops
Below are the main advantages and disadvantages of engineered quartz worktops.
Pros of Quartz
- Consistent color and styling with minimal maintenance
- No sealing or conditioning required
- Resists stains, scratches, heat, and etching extremely well
- Easy to keep clean with just soap and water
- Flexible surface that resists chipping from impacts
Cons of Quartz
- Slightly higher cost than natural granite
- Limited number of styles compared to stone
- Repairs and flaws harder to conceal on uniform surface
- Less prestige and resale value than high-end granite
- Some varieties prone to fingerprints
For those turned off by the higher maintenance needs of granite, quartz provides an ultra-durable surface that retains its beauty with simple care. Drawbacks are minimal and often come down to aesthetics and price perceptions.
Factors to Consider When Choosing Between Granite and Quartz
Kitchen and bath remodels offer so many options that the decision process can feel overwhelming. Focusing on your needs, lifestyle, and project goals makes the countertop decision less stressful. Some key considerations include:
Your Design Style – Granite pairs well with both modern and traditional kitchen designs. The natural veining has a timeless appeal. Uniform quartz works best for streamlined, contemporary aesthetics.
Color/Pattern Preferences – Granite offers a wider range of colors and dramatic patterns. Quartz provides uniformity and consistency in colors and styling.
Low Maintenance vs. High-End Appeal – Quartz is a practical low-maintenance choice. Granite provides prestige but requires more care.
Budget – Both materials are premium-priced, with quartz costing slightly more on average. Overall project budget plays a role.
Professional vs DIY Installation – Quartz requires more precision cutting for a flawless look. Granite’s natural variation hides small imperfections during installation.
By weighing your own priorities against the nuances of each material, you can confidently decide whether quartz or granite best fits your kitchen design and lifestyle. Many factors go into the decision, but there is no universally “superior” material.
Granite Countertops: Styles, Colors and Patterns
Thanks to its natural origins, no two slabs of granite look exactly the same. From solid colors to exotic multicolored variations, granite provides one-of-a-kind looks. Some popular granite styles include:
Black Granite – Deepest shades of black granite have an elegant, modern appeal. The Absolute Black granite variety remains a top choice.
White Granite – Crisp white granite slabs create bright, contemporary kitchens. Options like Fantasy White granite are growing in popularity.
Gray Granite – From light gray flecks to bold dark gray backgrounds, the versatile neutral hue pairs with any color scheme.
Brown Granite – Rich chocolate browns and tan beiges mimic natural wood tones. Brown Fantasy granite blends creamy beige with black speckles.
Red Granite – Vibrant reds, burgundies, and russet colors add warmth and drama. Red varietals like Crimson Red granite can make a bold statement.
Green Granite – For an earthy yet modern look, green granite delivers. Varieties range from darker natural shades to vivid emerald colors.
Multicolored Granite – Many slabs combine several mineral tones for exotic splashed patterns. Blue Bahia granite shifts from gray to brown to black with aqua accents.
The finish also impacts the overall look. Polished granite has a shiny, reflective surface that enhances the colors and patterns. Honed granite is matte and more muted. Other unique finishes like leathered, flamed, and brushed add texture.
Quartz Countertop Styles, Colors and Patterns
While not as variable as natural granite, quartz provides diverse aesthetic choices thanks to advanced manufacturing techniques. Some popular options include:
Solid Quartz – From pure white to deepest black, uniform solid colors create a sleek, contemporary look. Brands like Caesarstone offer extensive solid color lines.
Quartz that Mimics Granite – Many quartz patterns seek to emulate exotic granites. Varieties like Azul Platino replicate blue granite while remaining uniform.
Quartz that Mimics Marble – Some quartz strives to achieve the look of pristine marble. Options like Calcutta Quartz have delicate gray veining on a white background.
Farmhouse Quartz – Earthy beiges and creams coupled with subtle patterns give a French farmhouse feel. Bradley Quartz is one well-known farmhouse-inspired line.
Wood-look Quartz – Warm brown colors and realistic wood grain patterns create natural wood aesthetics without the maintenance needs.
From bold solids to faux marbling, reputable brands offer diverse quartz collections with different colors, patterns, and textures to accommodate almost any design vision.
How to Choose a Quartz Slab
Choosing a quartz slab for a kitchen or bathroom requires balancing aesthetics, functionality, and budget. Follow these tips to select the perfect quartz variety:
- Gather inspiration – Search through home magazines and websites like Pinterest and Houzz to create an “idea book” for your style. This helps narrow the aesthetic.
- Visit showrooms – Quartz manufacturers partner with local suppliers that showcase slabs in their showrooms. See and touch different options.
- Bring measurements – Having the dimensions of your countertop spaces allows you to visualize how different quartz styles will look installed.
- Consider your cabinets/appliances – Choose quartz in a color that complements your existing kitchen or bath elements like cabinetry and hardware.
- Factor in usage – Quartz used in a busy kitchen should prioritize durability. Bathrooms can focus more on looks.
- Mind the maintenance – Review what each manufacturer recommends for cleaning and avoid white quartz if you don’t want to deal with frequent wiping.
- Set a budget – Prices vary among quartz brands, colors, and patterns. Set realistic expectations before falling for a look outside your budget.
With some forethought, you can select the perfect quartz countertop to complete your intended design in a practical, cost-effective way.
How to Choose a Granite Slab
Since no two are alike, choosing a granite slab requires more attention than uniform man-made surfaces. Tips for picking the perfect granite include:
- Determine your priorities – Durability? Low maintenance? Bold colors? Decide what matters most before viewing options.
- View multiple slabs together – Don’t decide on an isolated sample. Comparing several slabs helps make the best choice.
- Mind the edges and cutouts – Pay attention to edges/patterns to envision how cutouts for sinks, etc will look.
- Consider the final look – Will you polish or hone the surface? What finish complements the granite type?
- Have realistic expectations – Natural stone varies. Understand no slab will be perfect or an exact match to a small sample.
- Plan for variations – Expect some differences where slabs join. Professionals can plan for consistent grain/patterns.
- Be open to the beauty of imperfection – Natural flaws add character. Don’t over-focus on tiny marks that get lost in the entire surface.
Granite’s variations mean the search for the perfect slab requires a flexible, creative eye. Focus on how the overall kitchen or bath design comes together.
How Quartz Countertops Are Made
Quartz countertops combine ground quartz crystals with polymer resins to create an engineered stone. Manufacturers follow several key steps:
1. Quartz crystals are mined – Natural quartz is located around the world, including the United States, Brazil, and China. Mines crush and process the crystals into a fine sand-like powder.
2. Pigments are added – Coloring agents give the powdered quartz the desired shades and hues. Additional materials provide patterns like veining and speckles.
3. The quartz is combined with resins – Polymer resins like polyester act as binders to hold the quartz powder together into a solid slab.
4. The mixture is compacted into a slab – Hydraulic presses squeeze the quartz/resin formulation into a mold to produce a countertop slab.
**5. The slab is cured in an oven **- Heat cures and hardens the countertop slabs into solid surfaces. Temperatures reach over 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
6. Finishing and polishing – Coatings provide gloss, enhanced stain resistance, and easier cleaning. Precision cutting and shaping yields the final product.
By manipulating the ingredients and processes, brands create unique quartz varieties tailored to home aesthetics and performance needs.
How Granite Countertops Are Made
Turning raw granite into countertops is a labor-intensive process:
1. Granite slabs are cut from quarries – Using explosives or cutting equipment, massive granite blocks are freed from quarry walls.
2. Blocks are transported and cut into slabs – Thick slabs are cut from granite blocks at processing plants. Modern diamond-tipped blades make precise cuts.
3. Slabs are polished – The first round of polishing uses abrasives to hone the surface. Final polishing applies the glossy finish.
4. Slabs are quality checked – Experts scan for cracks, chips, or other defects that would render granite unusable.
5. Computer imaging maps out cutting – Custom software helps maximize each slab by mapping cutouts to minimize waste.
6. Precision cutting creates countertops – Cutters use cutting diagrams to expertly slice slabs into final countertop shapes for installation. The edges are often profiled.
7. Installation and finishing – Craftsmen seam edges together flawlessly and apply any final touches onsite to complete the granite installation.
The journey from mountainside quarry to kitchen countertop requires considerable manpower, technology, and skill.
Do Quartz Countertops Need to Be Sealed?
One of the biggest advantages of quartz countertops is that they do not require regular sealing like natural stone. Here are some key facts about sealing quartz:
- Quartz resists staining – The polymer resins create non-porous, stain-resistant surfaces, unlike porous granite. This minimizes the need for sealing.
- Most manufacturers say sealing is unnecessary – Major quartz brands like Caesarstone and Cambria do not recommend sealing their products.
- Sealing may cause more harm than good – Unnecessary sealing can create a film buildup that actually detracts from stain resistance.
- Quartz can be sealed for added protection – Though unnecessary, it is possible to seal quartz. This provides an added layer against highly pigmented stains.
- Sealing requires specialty stone sealers – Household sealers like wax are ineffective. Quality solvent-based impregnating sealers formulated for dense surfaces are required.
- Re-application is needed overtime – As with granite, maintaining the protective layer would require reapplying a special sealer every 1-2 years.
While sealing quartz is an option, most quartz countertop owners can enjoy their low-maintenance worktops without the time and hassle of sealing treatments.
Does Granite Need to Be Sealed?
Unlike manmade options like quartz, natural granite countertops require periodic sealing. Here is a look at key facts on granite sealing:
- Sealing is crucial for stain prevention – Granite is porous, making sealing vital to prevent stains from penetrating the surface.
- Sealing should be done after installation – Homeowners or installers need to