Is Granite Countertops Better Than Quartz?

Granite and quartz are two of the most popular choices for kitchen countertops. But which one is better? Here is an in-depth comparison of granite vs quartz countertops to help you decide which material is right for your home.

An Introduction to Granite Countertops

Granite is a natural stone that is mined from quarries around the world. It is an igneous rock that forms when magma cools slowly underground. Granite is made up of quartz, feldspar, mica, and other trace minerals that give it its unique color patterns and veining.

Some key features of granite countertops:

  • Extremely durable and scratch-resistant surface
  • Available in a wide variety of colors and patterns
  • Can be polished to a glossy or honed matte finish
  • Heat and stain resistant but can be prone to etching from acidic liquids
  • Natural material that no two slabs are exactly alike
  • Requires periodic sealing to prevent stains

Granite remains one of the most popular choices for kitchen countertops due to its timeless beauty and longevity. The natural patterns in the stone add character and visual interest to any kitchen. Granite countertops increase the value of homes and are an investment that will last for decades with proper care.

An Introduction to Quartz Countertops

Quartz countertops, often referred to as engineered stone, have risen in popularity over the past couple decades as an alternative to natural stone surfaces like granite. Quartz countertops are made from ground quartz crystals combined with resins, pigments, and other compounds.

Benefits of quartz countertops:

  • Highly durable non-porous surface resistant to scratches, stains, and heat
  • Wide range of colors and patterns including realistic looking stone and marble
  • Requires very little maintenance without the need for regular sealing
  • Resists chipping and cracking better than natural stone
  • Consistent patterning with low variation between slabs
  • Some brands offer warranties up to 15 or 25 years

The man-made nature of quartz allows for more color consistency and flexibility in patterns compared to natural granite. Technological advances have produced quartz that closely emulates the look of marble and natural stone while exceeding its durability. Quartz offers the appeal of granite without some of the maintenance.

Comparison of Granite vs Quartz Countertops

Now that we’ve introduced the two materials, let’s compare them across some key factors you may be considering for your home.

Appearance and Styles

Granite exhibits more variation and movement in its patterning with distinctive veining, speckles, and swirls. Slab matching can be trickier with granite compared to quartz. Granite comes in a broader range of colors from bold blues and greens to muted grays and blacks. The natural appeal of granite has an elegant, Old World charm.

Quartz has a more uniform overall appearance since it is engineered. Some styles mimic marble or other natural stones, but with more consistency across the material. Quartz offers vibrant solid colors that may not be available in granite. There are hundreds of unique quartz patterns and aesthetics to match most design aesthetics.

Both materials can create beautiful countertops, so this category comes down to personal preference. If you want something more unique, granite delivers one-of-a-kind patterns. If consistency and specific colors are more important, quartz offers more control.

Durability and Maintenance

Granite is extremely hard and durable, making it difficult to scratch or damage without significant impact. Over time, the polished finish can develop minor pits and etches, affecting its appearance. Granite requires periodic sealing to prevent stains from penetrating the stone. Some granite may be prone to cracking if not properly installed.

Quartz countertops are engineered to be non-porous so they do not require regular sealing. The resins make quartz more flexible and resistant to cracks or chips. Quartz is highly scratch-resistant and stands up well to daily wear and tear from cooking and cleaning. The surface remains smooth and glossy for years without developing pits or etches like granite can.

For those wanting a low-maintenance countertop, quartz is the clear winner. Granite is also durable, but will require more routine sealing and eventual refinishing to look its best.


Granite countertops range from $60-$100 per square foot installed. More exotic granites can be over $100 per square foot. The final cost depends on the granite slab selected and installation factors. Granite offers an excellent value for a natural stone surface of its beauty and longevity.

Quartz countertops typically range from $80-$120 per square foot including installation. Higher-end designer quartz lines can be $140+ per square foot. The pricing gap between granite and quartz has narrowed in recent years.

Quartz often costs a bit more than granite, but advancements in quartz patterns and aesthetics have made it competitive with the look of high-end granites. Both offer durability and quality for the investment. Get quotes on specific materials you have in mind before deciding based on cost alone.

Heat and Scratch Resistance

Granite holds up well against heat and is unlikely to scorch or burn. However, prolonged heat exposure can cause cracks and fissures over time. Granite is highly scratch-resistant, but not completely scratch-proof. Pans scraped across the surface or impacts can leave marks on granite.

Quartz can withstand very high heat without issue and is heat-resistant up to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Quartz is also highly scratch-resistant, even more so than granite. Knives or pots slid across a quartz counter are unlikely to leave a scratch. However, quartz can be prone to damage from strong impacts.

Both materials are quite durable in the kitchen, but quartz maintains its smooth appearance better under the rigors of daily use. Granite can develop minor scratches and pits that require refinishing to remove.

Stain Resistance

Granite is generally stain-resistant, but not completely stain-proof since it is porous. Spills that are not wiped up promptly have the potential to soak into the granite leaving a stain if not properly sealed. Acidic liquids like wine, lemon juice or vinegar can etch and dull the granite surface over time.

Quartz resists stains much better than granite since the material is non-porous. Most spills can be wiped away without any staining. However, prolonged exposure to strong chemicals and cleaners can damage quartz. Food and drinks are unlikely to penetrate a properly sealed quartz counter.

Quartz certainly bests granite when it comes to stain resistance. However, both materials perform well when properly cared for and maintained. Sealing granite is key to minimizing staining issues.

Ease of Cleaning

Granite requires minimal maintenance to clean aside from sealing. Soapy water or a mild granite cleaner easily removes most messes. Avoid abrasive scouring pads and powders that may dull the surface. Granite can develop etches and wear over time that require professional refinishing and polishing to remove.

Quartz resists etching and staining so it keeps its smooth surface with basic cleaning. Warm water and mild soap or cleaners designed for stone surfaces are best for routine maintenance. Quartz rarely needs refinishing or polishing treatments like granite requires.

The non-porous quartz surface makes it a breeze to keep clean. Granite requires careful cleaning practices to avoid damaging the surface, especially once etching or scratches develop.

Installation and Repairs

Granite countertops must be professionally cut and installed to create seams between slabs. Improper installation and seaming can lead to cracks and instability. Repairing any damage to granite requires an expert fabricator to polish, seal, and refinish the stone.

Quartz also requires professional installation but is easier to repair chips and damage. Minor chips and cracks can be filled at home with special kits. However, poor seaming and installation flaws with quartz are harder to correct than with granite.

Overall, both materials should only be cut and installed by experienced professionals. Quartz offers a bit more flexibility for do-it-yourself repairs down the road.

Frequently Asked Questions About Granite and Quartz Countertops

Looking to learn more about deciding between granite and quartz? Here are answers to some frequently asked questions:

Which is better for resale value, granite or quartz?

Both granite and quartz are premium countertop materials that can enhance resale value. Granite has traditionally been favored, but quartz has gained popularity in recent years. Stylish modern kitchens may favor quartz. Go with the material that best fits your kitchen’s design aesthetic.

Is quartz healthier than granite?

Both materials are non-toxic and safe for food prep when properly sealed. Neither harbors bacteria growth. Some granites may release trace levels of radon gas, while quartz emits zero radon. Overall, both are considered food-safe and healthy countertop choices.

Is quartz cheaper than granite?

In most cases, installed quartz countertops range from about $80-$120 per square foot compared to $60-$100 per square foot for granite. However, premium designer quartz can approach the cost of high-end exotic granites. Get quotes on specific materials to accurately compare pricing.

Which material is more environmentally friendly?

Granite is a natural material, making it inherently eco-friendly as long as the stone is sourced and cut responsibly. Quartz contains recycled materials and polymers but is man-made. If environmental impact is a concern, choose granite from a supplier with ethical quarrying practices.

Does quartz stain more easily than granite?

No, quartz is far more stain-resistant than granite due to its non-porous nature. Granite requires diligent sealing and wiping up of spills to prevent stains from penetrating the stone. Quartz rarely stains or etches under normal use.

Is quartz or granite better for busy kitchens?

With its added durability and scratch-resistance, quartz stands up better to heavy usage in busy kitchens. The slick surface resists etching and burns while also repelling stains better than natural granite. Quartz makes an excellent choice for avid home cooks.

Does quartz lose its shine and get dull over time?

One of the benefits of quartz is that it maintains its glossy polished surface for many years without dulling. Granite will gradually develop tiny pits and become dull from etching. Proper cleaning and care keeps quartz looking fresh and shiny for the lifespan of the countertop.

Which material offers more variety in colors and patterns?

Granite features a vast spectrum of colors and unique patterning from bold and vivid to neutral and subdued. No two granite slabs are exactly the same. Quartz provides a wide range but naturally has more uniformity across batches. Those wanting a one-of-a-kind look tend to favor natural granite.

The Bottom Line

Granite and quartz each have their pros and cons. Choosing between the two materials ultimately comes down to aesthetic preferences, budget, and lifestyle needs. For a classic luxurious look and vibrant patterns, granite delivers unique natural beauty. If low maintenance, extreme durability, and consistent appearance matter more, quartz excels as an engineered alternative.

Whichever material you select, investing in granite or quartz countertops will increase the functionality and style of your kitchen for decades to come. Consult a knowledgeable countertop provider to view slabs in person and fully compare granite and quartz options. An experienced installer can also guide you through selecting the right material to match your goals, needs, and design vision.

At the end of the day, picking between granite and quartz leads to a win-win – two exquisite countertops that enhance any kitchen they are installed in for a lifetime of beauty and performance. Let your personal taste and style needs drive the decision between these two premier options. For most homes, you truly cannot go wrong with either granite or quartz countertops.