Are Quartz Countertops Safer Than Granite?

Granite and quartz are two of the most popular countertop materials for kitchen and bathroom remodeling projects. Both offer durability, low maintenance, and a range of design options. However, potential health risks have been linked to granite countertops, leaving many homeowners wondering if quartz is the safer alternative. Here’s an in-depth look at quartz vs. granite safety.

Safety Concerns with Granite Countertops

Granite is a natural stone that contains trace amounts of radioactive minerals like uranium, thorium, and radium. As these elements decay, they release radon gas. Long-term exposure to high levels of radon has been linked to an increased risk of lung cancer.

The radon levels in most granite countertops are very low. However, the EPA warns that all stone products produce some radon and recommends testing levels in the home.

Other potential health risks of granite include:

  • Fragility – Granite can chip or crack if subjected to a heavy impact. Sharp edges may pose a laceration hazard.
  • Breeding Ground for Bacteria – The porous nature of natural stone makes granite susceptible to bacteria growth if not properly sealed. Proper cleaning and disinfecting are essential.
  • Staining – Acidic foods and liquids can stain granite countertops. Strong cleaners may also etch the surface. Care must be taken to prevent discoloration.

So while the risks associated with granite countertops are generally low, they do exist. Quartz offers a non-porous alternative without the radon concerns.

Is Quartz Safer Than Granite?

Quartz countertops are engineered stone made from ground quartz crystals held together with resin. The combination creates a non-porous, stain-resistant, low-maintenance surface. Unlike natural granite, quartz does not require annual sealing. It resists scratches, heat, and cracks better than granite.

From a health and safety standpoint, quartz has some clear advantages over granite:

No Radon Concerns

Quartz is not a natural stone, so it does not contain trace minerals that produce radon gas. Quartz emits extremely low levels of radiation, well below safety limits.


With a non-porous surface, quartz does not allow bacteria penetration the way natural stone can. Quartz won’t harbor bacteria growth without proper cleaning.

Crack/Chip Resistant

Quartz is less prone to chipping, cracking, and breaking than granite. Sharp damaged edges that may cause lacerations are less likely.

Stain Resistant

Quartz repels liquids, oils, and stains much better than granite. Acidic substances like wine, juice, and tomatoes won’t permanently stain the surface.

Heat Resistance

Quartz holds up better to direct heat exposure. Granite can crack under extreme temperature changes.

Lower VOCs

Natural granite releases higher levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Quartz emits lower VOC emissions once installed.

Are There Any Safety Risks with Quartz?

Quartz is one of the safest countertop materials in terms of health risks. However, it’s not without any concerns:

  • Quartz contains crystalline silica, a dust created during fabrication that has been linked to lung disease with prolonged exposure. Manufacturers take precautions to limit worker exposure.
  • Pigments used to color quartz can contain trace amounts of heavy metals like titanium and antimony. However, these are encapsulated within the material and don’t pose a risk for homeowners.
  • Quartz is very heavy, making installation risky. Slabs weigh nearly twice as much as granite and may require extra bracing.

Overall, quartz represents a very low risk to homeowners compared to most other countertop materials. It beats granite in nearly every safety category.

The Safest Choice: Quartz vs. Granite

When evaluating kitchen countertop materials, quartz is the clear winner in safety. The engineered stone offers:

  • Extremely low radioactivity and zero radon concerns
  • Non-porous, stain/bacteria-resistant surface
  • Crack/chip/heat resistance
  • Lower VOCs

Granite isn’t unsafe, but does come with more inherent risks that require sealing and special care. For homeowners prioritizing safety and low maintenance, quartz is the superior option.

Quartz provides peace of mind knowing food prep surfaces won’t harbor bacteria or leach chemicals. The non-porous material keeps its like-new shine for years with simple cleaning.

While granite can be stunning, quartz offers comparable beauty without the safety worries. Evaluate countertop materials closely and opt for worry-free quartz.

Frequently Asked Questions about Quartz vs. Granite Safety

Is quartz more sanitary than granite?

Yes, quartz is more sanitary because it is non-porous, preventing bacteria from penetrating the surface. Granite can harbor bacteria in tiny pores if not properly sealed and disinfected.

Is quartz safer for food prep than granite?

Quartz is safer for food prep as its non-porous surface resists stains, etching, and bacteria growth that can occur on granite over time. Quartz requires less stringent cleaning and offers more food safety peace of mind.

Does quartz emit radiation like granite?

No, quartz emits extremely low levels of background radiation well within health safety limits. Natural granite contains trace levels of radioactive minerals that produce radon gas as they break down. Quartz has zero radon risk.

Can quartz chips and cracks like granite?

Quartz is less prone to chipping, cracking, and breaking than natural stone like granite. Engineered quartz is designed to be more flexible and impact resistant. However, any stone material can crack if subjected to an extreme impact.

Is quartz resistant to stains from wine, oil, tomatoes?

Yes, quartz is highly stain resistant unlike absorbent materials like granite, marble, and wood. Its non-porous surface means spills wipe up easily without any staining or discoloration.

Does quartz require sealing like granite?

No. Because it is non-porous, quartz never requires sealing. Granite must be re-sealed annually to maintain its resistance to stains and bacteria. Quartz maintains its factory seal for the life of the product.


When it comes to kitchen countertop safety, quartz is the clear frontrunner compared to granite. Engineered quartz offers a non-porous, stain, bacteria, and chemical resistant surface with zero radon risk. While granite is not unsafe, it does require special sealing and care to prevent issues that quartz naturally resists. Homeowners prioritizing health should opt for low-maintenance quartz countertops for peace of mind.