How to Tell if a Countertop is Granite or Quartz

Granite and quartz are two of the most popular countertop materials used in kitchens and bathrooms today. They are both natural stones that are durable, stylish, and add value to a home. However, there are some key differences between granite and quartz that you can use to determine which type of countertop you have.

Examining the Appearance

The most obvious way to distinguish granite from quartz is by examining the visual appearance.


  • Granite has a natural, raw look with visibly noticeable flecks, veins, and movement in the stone. No two granite slabs are exactly alike.
  • The color variations and patterns in granite give it a one-of-a-kind, artistic look. Granite comes in a wide array of colors from light tans and creams to deeper blues, greens, reds, and black.
  • Granite has a glossy, shiny finish when polished but is also available with a honed or leathered matte finish.


  • Quartz has a more uniform look than granite. While it can be made to mimic granite, the patterning is more subtle and consistent.
  • Quartz typically has less dramatic veining and movement. The small flecks are usually uniformly distributed for a smoother, more consistent visual.
  • The color palette for quartz tends to be more limited with cleaner, solid colors or occasional small flakes.
  • Quartz has a glossy polished surface by nature. A matte finish requires an additional treatment.

Comparing the Texture

Feeling the surface texture is a great way to identify quartz vs granite.


  • Granite has a coarse, porous texture. Small pits, holes, and grains can be seen in the surface.
  • It feels noticeably rough and textured to the touch.


  • Quartz has a smooth, glassy texture without pores or pits.
  • It feels cool and slippery, similar to a porcelain surface.
  • There is no texture or graininess to quartz like with natural granite.

Scratch Test

An easy way to test granite vs quartz is to see how easily they scratch.


  • As a natural stone, granite is prone to scratches, especially from knives or sharp objects.
  • It ranks about a 7 on the Mohs hardness scale. You can scratch the surface with a steel knife.


  • Quartz is extremely scratch resistant due to its durability. It ranks around an 8 on the Mohs scale.
  • Quartz is less prone to scratching, staining, and damage from daily use.
  • It is difficult to scratch quartz. Something harder like quartzite or diamond is needed to mark the surface.

Check for Seams

The seams on a countertop provide clues to identify the material.


  • Granite countertops usually have visible seams where multiple slabs are joined.
  • The seam lines stand out because of the variegated color and pattern of natural granite.


  • Quartz countertops are often seamless with a smoother transition between slabs.
  • Manufactured quartz can be engineered to blend colors and patterns, disguising seams.

Is it Heat Resistant?

Quartz and granite differ in their ability to resist heat damage.


  • Granite countertops can withstand significant direct heat from pots, pans, and other kitchen items.
  • The natural stone composition is very heat resistant without damage.


  • Quartz countertops are more prone to heat damage than granite.
  • Prolonged direct heat exposure from hot pans can potentially cause cracks, marks, or discoloration.
  • Quartz requires using a trivet or hot pad to protect the surface.

Check the Edges

Examine the countertop edges for clues about the material.


  • Granite has a distinctive polished or finished edge.
  • Edges can be left natural, rounded, beveled, or laminated.


  • Quartz has a clean, squared off edge, although edges can also be customized.
  • There is no natural roughness or variation along the edges.

Is it Sealed?

Sealer is required for granite but not for quartz.


  • Granite is porous and requires periodic sealing to prevent stains. It will absorb spilled liquids if not sealed.
  • You can test by sprinkling a few drops of water on the surface. If it beads up, it is sealed. If it darkens the stone, more sealer is needed.


  • Quartz is non-porous so it does not require sealing or treatment with any stone sealers.
  • Liquids will bead and wipe off the surface without absorbing or staining.

Check the Price

There is often a noticeable price difference between granite and quartz.


  • Natural granite is relatively affordable, making it one of the most budget-friendly options.
  • Granite pricing starts around $40 per square foot installed. High-end granite can reach $100 per square foot.


  • Quartz is a man-made engineered stone that is more expensive to produce.
  • Quartz countertops start around $70 per square foot installed and can go up to $140 per square foot.
  • Expect quartz to be about 20-100% more expensive than granite.

Consult an Expert

When in doubt, ask a professional countertop fabricator or installer. They work hands-on with both materials daily and can quickly identify key traits to distinguish quartz from granite. They will examine the color, pattern, texture, durability, edges, seams, and more. Their trained eyes can spot the subtle cues that set natural granite apart from engineered quartz.


By looking at the appearance, texture, scratch resistance, seams, heat tolerance, need for sealing, edges, and price, you can accurately determine whether you have granite or quartz countertops. Granite has an organic, speckled look while quartz has a more uniform appearance. Quartz feels smooth while granite has a coarse texture. Quartz won’t easily scratch but granite will. Granite requires sealing and has visible seams. Quartz can’t withstand direct high heat like granite can. Once you know what clues to look for, identifying your existing countertop material or choosing between them for new counters is easy. With their durability and aesthetic appeal, either granite or quartz is sure to enhance your kitchen or bath with natural beauty and practicality.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is quartz cheaper than granite?

No, quartz is generally more expensive than granite. On average, quartz costs $70-140 per square foot installed, while granite runs $40-100 per square foot installed. The man-made production process makes quartz a premium priced material.

How thick is a granite countertop?

A typical granite countertop is 1 1⁄4 inches to 1 1⁄2 inches thick. Thicker slabs of up to 2 inches can be cut for greater durability and support. Edges can be built up to double thickness as well.

What are the disadvantages of quartz countertops?

Disadvantages of quartz include higher cost, susceptibility to damage from heat, limited color/pattern options compared to natural stone, and a manufactured appearance. Quartz requires more routine maintenance than granite.

Does quartz stain easily?

No, quartz does not stain easily. One of the advantages of quartz is that it resists stains, etching, and absorption. Spills can be quickly wiped away without leaving a trace. However, prolonged exposure to strong chemicals can damage quartz.

Is quartz toxic?

No, quartz countertops are considered non-toxic and safe for food preparation when manufactured properly. Quartz is made from crushed natural quartz stone bound with plastic resin. Good quality quartz does not release volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

How often should you seal granite countertops?

It is recommended to seal granite countertops every 1 to 2 years to maintain protection. More frequent sealing is needed for granite that is heavily used or prone to staining. Annual sealing is ideal for most kitchen granite countertops.

Is granite or quartz better?

Granite and quartz each have their own pros and cons. Granite is more affordable, heat-resistant, and has natural beauty. But quartz is more durable, stain-resistant, and low-maintenance. The better choice comes down to your priorities such as budget, style, and usage.

How do you disinfect quartz countertops?

Quartz can be disinfected using soap and water, hydrogen peroxide, bleach, or mild alcohol solutions. Avoid abrasive cleaners that could scratch the surface. Quartz resists most viruses, bacteria, and microbes without extensive disinfection required.

Can you scratch quartz?

While resistant, quartz can be scratched by objects harder than quartz such as sand, diamonds, broken ceramics, or metal scouring pads. Be aware of scratch-causing materials contacting the surface. Most daily kitchen use won’t scratch quartz though.

Does quartz add value to home?

Yes, quartz and granite countertops are recognized as premium materials that add value and desirability to a home. Natural stone counters in desirable colors and patterns contribute an average of about 4-5% ROI if selling the home. Quartz often recoups over 50% of the installation cost.