Quartz and granite are two of the most popular countertop materials for kitchens and bathrooms. Both offer durability, style, and value, but they have some key differences. Here is a detailed comparison of quartz vs granite countertops to help you decide which is better for your home renovation or new construction project.
Granite countertops are generally more expensive than quartz. On average, granite costs $60-$150 per square foot installed, while quartz runs $50-$120 per square foot installed.
Here is a breakdown of typical installed costs:
- Entry-level granite: $60-$80 per square foot
- Mid-range granite: $80-$120 per square foot
- High-end granite: $120-$150 per square foot
- Entry-level quartz: $50-$80 per square foot
- Mid-range quartz: $80-$100 per square foot
- High-end quartz: $100-$120 per square foot
Quartz is cheaper because it is engineered from natural stone and resins while granite is 100% natural stone. Quartz also requires less labor for fabrication and installation compared to granite.
However, within each category of stone, prices can vary dramatically based on factors like:
- Color and pattern
- Edge treatments
- Local supply and demand
- Installer fees
So it is possible to find some quartz products that are comparable in price or even more expensive than some granite options. The range of prices for both materials is wide.
Granite and quartz offer different aesthetic options.
Granite is only found in nature, so it has an organic, unique appearance with color variations and natural patterns. No two granite slabs are exactly the same.
Quartz has a more uniform, consistent look since it is engineered. Patterns and colors are added during manufacturing. There are hundreds of quartz styles mimicking granite, marble, and other natural stone as well as solid colors and graphic patterns.
If you want a vibrant, colorful countertop with visible veining and movement, granite is the better choice. If you prefer less variation and more consistency, quartz offers that.
Both materials come in a wide array of colors from neutrals to bold hues. It’s easy to find tones that suit any design style.
Quartz and granite are both very resilient materials that can last a lifetime in the kitchen or bathroom. However, quartz is harder and more scratch resistant.
On the Mohs scale of mineral hardness, granite rates from 6 to 9 out of 10. Quartz consistently ranks at 7. This makes quartz more scratch resistant than softer granites.
Quartz also has superior resistance to cracking and chipping. It can handle heavy impact better than natural stone.
Neither material stains easily, but spills can permeate and discolor softer granite. Quartz resists stains, though some dark colors are prone to showing fingerprints.
Over time, sealants on granite can wear away, increasing susceptibility to staining. Quartz never needs sealing.
Quartz requires very little maintenance other than cleaning with a soft cloth and mild soap and water. It does not need regular sealing or polishing. Simply avoid abrasive cleaners that can dull the finish.
Granite is easy to maintain as well, but does require periodic sealing every 1-2 years to prevent stains and staining. It also needs occasional polishing to keep its luster. Granite is sensitive to acidic liquids like lemon, tomato, and wine. Immediately wiping spills prevents damage but is an extra step.
Quartz has outstanding heat resistance compared to granite. It can withstand brief exposure to temperatures up to 300°F without damage.
Granite is more prone to scorching or cracking under a hot pan, especially lighter colors and polished finishes. Prolonged heat exposure creates permanent marks and damages sealants. Granite requires using trivets and hot pads.
Quartz composite material makes it very suitable near cooking zones. However, leaving a very hot pan directly on quartz for an extended time can still cause damage.
Quartz resists bacteria incredibly well compared to most other countertop materials. Its nonporous surface leaves nowhere for microbes to attach and grow.
Granite is also very sanitary since it’s impervious to liquids. But some granite is slightly more porous if not properly sealed, which allows minuscule surface bacteria growth. However, granite won’t harbor dangerous bacteria internally like some other natural stones.
Both materials are highly recommended for kitchens and baths due to their resistance to germs.
Granite slabs are heavy, weighing up to 18 pounds per square foot. Not all homes support this weight, especially upper floors. Extra reinforcement may be needed.
Quartz is about half the weight since it contains resins. At around 9 pounds per square foot, it puts less strain on the home’s structure.
Quartz also has more flexible installation options. It can be installed right over existing countertops or cabinetry in some cases, avoiding demolition. Granite cannot be installed over old countertops.
Both materials are considered environmentally friendly options because they are natural, long-lasting, and contain no VOCs.
However, quartz has a clear edge when it comes to sustainability. Only a portion is natural stone, and the resins are non-toxic. There is very little waste produced during manufacturing compared to quarrying granite. Quartz uses at least 5% recycled materials as well.
Pros and Cons Comparison
|$60-$150 per sq.ft. installed
|$50-$120 per sq.ft. installed
|Unique natural patterns and veining
|Consistent solid colors and patterns
|Withstands scratches and stains with proper sealing
|Extremely scratch and stain resistant
|Prone to cracking and scorching
|Resists temperatures up to 300°F
|Nonporous and sanitary if sealed
|Naturally inhibits bacteria growth
|Requires annual sealing and occasional polishing
|Easy cleaning with soap and water
|Heavy material, reinforcement often needed
|Lighter weight, installs over old counters
|Natural but mining has high environmental impact
|Contains recycled materials, less waste
Should You Choose Quartz or Granite?
Granite provides a timeless, luxurious look that fits any style. It demands some maintenance to stay looking its best. Durability is excellent with proper sealing.
Quartz lacks the natural beauty of granite but offers endless custom colors and patterns. It requires virtually no maintenance and withstands daily wear exceptionally well.
If budget is a primary factor, quartz generally provides more value. If you want a traditional elegant stone look and don’t mind yearly sealing, granite is ideal.
Consider your interior design, usage, and maintenance tolerance. Both offer quality and beauty for decades to come.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is quartz cheaper than granite?
Quartz countertops are generally 10-20% cheaper than granite installed. Quartz ranges $50-$120 per square foot while granite runs $60-$150 per square foot. Exact pricing depends on the specific materials chosen.
What’s more durable, quartz or granite?
Quartz is harder and more scratch resistant than granite. It rates 7 on the Mohs hardness scale while granite is typically between 6-9. Quartz also resists chips, cracks, and heat damage better than granite. However, both materials are very durable.
Does quartz stain like granite?
No, quartz is nonporous and highly stain resistant. Granite can absorb stains if not sealed properly. Quartz never requires sealing or polishing to maintain its stain resistance.
Is quartz better than granite in kitchens?
Quartz is preferable for kitchens because it better withstands heat, stains, and scratches. Its nonporous surface resists bacteria growth. Quartz also comes in many colors, though it lacks the natural patterned look of granite. Ultimately both work well in kitchens.
Does quartz have radon like granite?
Natural granite contains traces of uranium that can produce radon gas. However, quartz is engineered so it does not contain uranium and does not emit radon. This makes quartz the safer choice if radon is a concern.
Is quartz eco-friendly?
Yes, quartz uses a blend of natural quartz stone and recycled materials with non-toxic resins. It also produces less waste than granite production. Both quartz and granite are among the most eco-friendly countertops.
Quartz and granite offer comparable advantages. Quartz performs better for durability and maintenance while granite provides a richer, natural appearance. Weighing cost, aesthetics, and practical factors like usage will help determine whether quartz or granite best fits your space and lifestyle. With proper care, both natural stone surfaces will serve as beautiful, functional countertops for decades. Discuss your needs with countertop specialists to choose the right material for your home.