Kitchen countertops see a lot of action and are susceptible to stains from spills, oils, and daily wear and tear. Two of the most popular options, quartz and granite, are both praised for their durability and stain resistance. But which truly stains less? Here’s a detailed comparison of how resistant quartz and granite are to common kitchen stains.
Stain Resistance of Quartz Countertops
Quartz countertops are engineered from crushed quartz crystals combined with resins and pigments. This makes them non-porous, so spills and stains have difficulty penetrating the surface. Here are some key facts about stain resistance of quartz:
- Quartz resists most everyday stains like wine, coffee, tea, juice, grease, and food. The pigments make quartz resistant to fading or discoloration over time.
- Acidic substances like lemon juice or vinegar can etch quartz leaving a dull mark if not wiped up quickly. But quartz stands up better than marble.
- Heat resistance up to 212°F means hot pans generally won’t scorch or stain quartz. However, prolonged heat exposure can cause damage.
- Quartz has superior stain resistance compared to laminate or solid surface countertops.
- With proper sealing and care, quartz countertops are very stain-proof in kitchen settings.
Stain Resistance of Granite Countertops
Granite is a highly durable natural stone made of quartz, mica, feldspar, and other minerals. But as a porous material, sealing is vital for maximum stain resistance. Here’s an overview:
- Being naturally porous, granite can absorb stains without sealing. Proper sealing makes granite highly stain-resistant.
- Granite resists most household spills like wine, coffee, juice, and olive oil if sealed. But acids like lemon juice may etch the surface.
- Heat resistance up to 350°F means granite can handle hot pots and pans without burning or staining.
- Oil and grease can penetrate granite without sealing. Good sealants protect against oil-based stains.
- Granite stains less than marble, concrete, or natural stone tile countertops which are very porous.
With diligent sealing and cleaning, granite can be almost as stain-resistant as quartz. But quartz generally requires less maintenance to retain its stain-proof properties.
Which Stains Less: Quartz or Granite?
When comparing quartz vs granite in terms of stain resistance, quartz often gets a slight edge for these reasons:
- Non-porous quartz rarely needs resealing, unlike porous granite which requires resealing every 1-2 years.
- Quartz resists permanent staining without sealants needed, while granite is prone to oil absorption without sealing.
- Acidic substances like wine, lemon juice, and tomato sauce stain granite more easily than quartz.
- Quartz maintains its stain resistance longer over time compared to granite sealants which can erode.
- Routine cleaning is easier with quartz than granite which may need occasional re-sealing.
However, when properly sealed and maintained, granite can be almost as stain-resistant as quartz for daily kitchen use. The main advantage of quartz is convenience, since it retains its stain resistance with minimal maintenance.
Tips to Keep Quartz and Granite Resistant to Stains
- For quartz, prompt cleanup of spills prevents etching. Use a pH-neutral cleaner for daily washing.
- Reseal granite countertops every 1-2 years using a penetrating sealer. Avoid film-forming sealants.
- For both materials, blot spills quickly instead of wiping to prevent staining.
- Use trivets and hot pads under hot pans, baking sheets, or appliances.
- Don’t cut food directly on quartz or granite surfaces. Use a cutting board.
- Clean with a non-abrasive sponge or soft cloth. Avoid harsh cleansers.
- Check quartz or granite manufacturer guidelines for approved cleaners and stain removal techniques.
Can Stains on Quartz and Granite be Removed?
- Shallow stains on quartz can often be removed by scouring with a white Scotch-Brite pad and Ajax, Soft Scrub, or Bar Keepers Friend. Avoid excessive pressure.
- For stubborn stains, consult a pro. Sanding or refinishing may be required in severe cases.
- For granite, reseal stained areas after cleaning. Try poultices or hydrogen peroxide for oil-based stains.
- For etched granite, wet sanding and resealing may help. But deep etching may be permanent.
In summary, quartz generally stains less than granite since it’s non-porous and requires less sealing. But sealed granite can also be very stain-resistant with proper care. For busy kitchens prone to spills, quartz provides the most stain protection with minimal maintenance. But granite remains a classic choice if sealed regularly. Paying attention to manufacturer care guidelines for both materials is key to prevent stains. With the right precautions, both quartz and granite can stay beautiful for years of heavy use.
Does Quartz or Granite Stain Less Frequently Asked Questions
Here are answers to some common questions about stain resistance of quartz and granite countertops:
Does quartz stain less than granite?
Yes, quartz generally stains less than granite because it is non-porous so spills do not penetrate the surface easily. Unsealed granite can be prone to oil-based staining. However, sealing granite properly makes it highly stain resistant for daily kitchen use.
What stains does quartz resist?
Quartz resists most household items like wine, coffee, vinegar, lemon juice, cooking oils, grease, and food spills. Prolonged exposure to strong chemicals or acids can damage quartz. Heat can damage quartz if hot pans are left directly on the surface.
What stains does granite resist?
When sealed properly, granite resists stains from coffee, wine, food, oils, and juices. But acidic substances like vinegar and citrus can etch and stain granite more easily than quartz unless wiped up quickly. Heat generally does not stain well-sealed granite.
Does quartz need to be sealed?
No, quartz does not require any sealing because it is non-porous. But regular cleaning with a pH-neutral cleaner keeps quartz stain-free. Avoid abrasive cleansers on quartz.
Does granite need to be sealed?
Yes. Since granite is porous, sealing is highly recommended every 1-2 years to prevent stains. Use a penetrating sealer, not a topical coating. Reseal granite after heavy use in kitchens. Unsealed granite can absorb stains more readily.
What is the best sealant for granite countertops?
Silicone-based impregnating sealers work best for granite countertops. Look for a sealer that protects against oil and water-based stains. Reapply sealant yearly in busy kitchens. Avoid shiny surface sealants which scratch easily.
Can stains be removed from quartz?
Many shallow stains can be removed from quartz countertops by gently scrubbing with a Scotch-Brite pad and ajax, Soft Scrub, or Bar Keepers Friend. Don’t use too much pressure. For deep stains, consult a countertop professional for resurfacing.
How do you remove stains from granite?
Resealing stained granite can help draw out oil-based stains. Baking soda or hydrogen peroxide can also help remove some stains from granite. For etched marks, try honing granite lightly with wet sandpaper. But deep etching may be permanent.
Quartz requires less maintenance than granite overall to retain its factory stain resistance. But diligent sealing and cleaning makes granite highly resistant to common kitchen stains too. The choice comes down to convenience versus the natural look. With proper prep and care, both quartz and granite can minimize ugly stains.