How to Tell if You Have Granite or Quartz Countertops

Granite and quartz are two of the most popular countertop materials used in kitchens and bathrooms today. While they are both natural stone products known for their durability and visual appeal, there are some key differences between granite and quartz. Here is a detailed guide on how to tell if you have granite or quartz countertops in your home.

Examine the Color and Pattern

One of the easiest ways to distinguish between granite and quartz is to look closely at the color and pattern.

Granite countertops display a wide variety of natural colors and dramatic veining in tones of black, brown, red, gray, and white. No two granite slabs are exactly alike due to the natural variations in the stone. Granite often has visible flecks of mica and feldspar minerals that sparkle in the light.

Quartz countertops are engineered from ground quartz crystals combined with resins and pigments. This allows quartz to exhibit more uniform patterning and consistent coloring throughout the slab. Quartz typically has a speckled appearance in white, gray, or black. There are some quartz varieties designed to mimic natural stone, but the patterning tends to be more subtle.

Check the Surface Finish

The type of surface finish can also indicate whether your countertop is granite or quartz.

Granite has a glossy finish that brings out the depth and dimensionality of the natural stone. It can be polished to a smooth, shiny surface or given a honed matte look.

Quartz has a non-porous surface that resists scratching and heat damage better than natural stone. Quartz is not able to be polished in the same way as granite, so it has a flat matte finish. Some quartz may have a lightly textured appearance.

Test How Cool the Surface Feels

An easy way to distinguish quartz from granite is by touch. Place your hand flat on the countertop and see how cool it feels.

Granite is quarried from natural bedrock, so it readily absorbs and retains heat. Granite countertops will feel noticeably warmer to the touch compared to surrounding materials.

Quartz is engineered from quartz crystals and resins that do not retain heat as readily. Quartz countertops stay cooler on contact and have a noticeable temperature difference from natural stone granite.

Check for Scratches and Chips

Due to the hardness of natural granite, it can be more prone to chipping and scratching over time. Inspect the countertop surface and edges for any signs of damage.

Quartz is blended with durable resins that make it very resistant to damage. While no material is scratch-proof, quartz is less likely to show signs of wear and scratches with normal use.

Test with a Granite Cleaner

Use a store-bought granite cleaner on a small inconspicuous area of the countertop. See if it etches or lightens the surface over time.

Granite is porous and susceptible to staining and etching from acidic liquids like lemon juice or vinegar. Granite-specific cleaners contain chemicals that can break down and dull the natural stone surface.

Quartz’s non-porous surface resists staining much better than granite. Quartz should remain unaffected when cleaned with a granite-specific product. No change to the quartz surface indicates it is not real granite stone.

Consult an Expert

If you are still uncertain whether your countertop is granite or quartz, consult a stone fabrication and installation professional. They can examine the countertop in person and identify key characteristics that distinguish quartz from real granite. Most installers can also check paperwork associated with the original job to verify the exact materials used.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can you tell the difference between granite and quartz visually?

Granite has visible natural stone patterns and flecks of mica minerals that make each slab unique. Quartz has a more uniform, consistent solid color or subtle stone-like pattern.

Does granite or quartz scratch more easily?

Quartz is engineered to be more scratch-resistant than natural granite. Granite can chip or scratch more readily from impact or sharp objects.

Which material costs more, granite or quartz?

Quartz countertops tend to cost significantly more than granite. The engineered quartz manufacturing process is more expensive than quarrying and cutting natural granite.

Can you etch or stain quartz countertops?

No, quartz resists staining and etching much better than granite due to its non-porous surface. Acidic substances like wine or tomatoes are unlikely to damage a quartz countertop surface.

Does quartz feel warmer or cooler than granite?

Quartz feels noticeably cooler to the touch than granite. Granite absorbs and retains heat, while quartz does not readily conduct heat.

How do installers tell the difference between materials?

Experienced countertop installation pros can identify key visual characteristics to distinguish real granite from engineered quartz. Installers will also have paperwork confirming the original materials purchased.


Identifying whether your countertop surface is made of natural granite versus engineered quartz is relatively straightforward once you know what to look for. Examining the color patterning, surface finish, temperature, signs of wear, and reaction to cleaning products can help differentiate between the two popular countertop materials. When in doubt, consult a professional fabricator or installer to conclusively determine if you have granite or quartz countertops.