Granite and quartz are two of the most popular countertop materials on the market today. Many homeowners find themselves trying to decide between these two attractive and durable options when renovating their kitchens or bathrooms. Though they share some similar traits, granite and quartz do have some key differences that impact their performance, appearance, and cost. Understanding the pros and cons of each can help you determine whether quartz or granite is the better choice for your countertop needs.
One of the top considerations when choosing a countertop material is its durability and longevity. Both granite and quartz are very resilient materials that can withstand years of heavy use and exposure to heat, stains, and scratches.
As a natural stone, granite is extremely hard and difficult to damage. It ranks around 7 out of 10 on the Mohs hardness scale, meaning it is more scratch and chip-resistant than materials like marble. Granite countertops can last for decades with proper care and maintenance.
Quartz countertops are made from ground quartz crystals combined with resins and pigments. This engineered composition creates an incredibly strong and durable material that ranks around 7-8 out of 10 on the Mohs scale. Though not quite as hard as natural granite, quartz offers excellent durability and longevity. Many quartz brands offer warranties of 15 years or longer.
Granite and quartz both come in a diverse array of colors and patterns to suit any design aesthetic. Granite’s natural patterning provides beautiful visual depth, while quartz offers a more uniform, consistent look.
Every granite slab has a one-of-a-kind appearance, with natural variations in mineral composition creating unique swirls, speckles, and veins throughout the stone. Granite can be found in many colors, though lighter neutral shades are most common. The natural patterning lends depth and visual interest to granite countertops.
Since quartz surfaces are engineered, manufacturers can create a wide selection of consistent, uniform patterns and colors. Quartz often mimics natural stone with replicated veining in multiple color tones. The overall look tends to be more uniform than natural granite. Bold solid colors are also available if desired.
Proper care is required over time to keep both granite and quartz looking like new. Which material is easier to maintain comes down to personal preference.
As a porous stone, granite is more prone to staining from spills like wine or oil and requires periodic sealing to prevent this. Acidic substances like citrus or tomatoes can also etch granite surfaces if not wiped up promptly. Overall, granite needs a moderate level of regular maintenance.
Since quartz is non-porous, it resists staining much better than granite. No sealing is required, and it is not vulnerable to etching from acidic foods either. However, quartz can be prone to water marks and needs to be wiped down more frequently. For those who want lower maintenance, quartz is a good choice.
Price is often a primary factor when selecting countertop materials. Both granite and quartz are considered premium options that carry higher price tags than laminate or tile.
Natural granite slabs are harvested from quarries across the world, so pricing can vary. On average, expect to pay $40-100 per square foot installed. More exotic granite types can reach over $100 per square foot.
As an engineered product, quartz pricing tends to be more consistent. Expect to pay around $50-120 per square foot installed. Some high-end designer quartz brands charge over $100 per square foot.
Is Quartz or Granite Better for Countertops?
When comparing granite vs quartz countertops, there is no definitive “better” option. Much depends on your priorities in terms of appearance, maintenance, and budget. Consider the following to decide which material fits your needs:
- Granite is the harder, more heat/scratch-resistant option that offers an unparalleled natural look. It requires more frequent sealing and care.
- Quartz is extremely durable and lower-maintenance but lacks the depth and variation of real granite patterning.
- Quartz costs a bit more on average but comes in a wider range of consistent colors and styles.
- Granite fits best for homeowners who appreciate the uniqueness of natural stone and don’t mind the required upkeep.
- Quartz is ideal for those who want a hassle-free countertop that maintains its beauty with minimal maintenance.
Whichever material you choose, proper installation is key to getting the most out of your investment. Be sure to research installers and check reviews to find an experienced professional in your area. With the right fabrication and care, both granite and quartz can serve as beautiful, functional countertops that will last for many years in your home.
Frequently Asked Questions About Granite and Quartz Countertops
Is quartz more expensive than granite?
Quartz countertops tend to cost slightly more than granite on average. The price per square foot installed is typically around $50-120 for quartz and $40-100 for granite. However, high-end exotic granites can exceed $100 per square foot, overlapping quartz pricing.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of quartz vs granite?
Quartz Advantages: More stain/scratch resistant, requires little to no sealing, wide color/style options, uniform patterning.
Quartz Disadvantages: Does not offer natural uniqueness of granite, more prone to water marks.
Granite Advantages: Harder and more heat resistant, beautiful and varied natural patterning.
Granite Disadvantages: Needs periodic sealing, more prone to staining/etching, limited color range.
Does quartz scratch or stain easily?
Quartz is very resistant to staining and scratching. Due to its hardness and non-porous nature, it stands up very well to heavy use. While no material is completely scratch-proof, quartz does not scratch easily under normal conditions. Avoid cutting directly on the countertop surface.
How often does granite need to be sealed?
Granite should be sealed once every 1-2 years to maintain stain resistance and prevent etching. Use a pH-neutral granite sealer specifically designed for natural stone countertops. For heavy use areas, seal granite once a year.
Does quartz need to be sealed?
No, quartz does not require any sealing, which is one of its major advantages over natural stone countertops like granite. Since quartz is non-porous, it will not absorb stains and liquids the way granite can. However, frequent wiping is still needed to prevent water spots and marks.
Is quartz less heat resistant than granite?
Yes, quartz has a slightly lower heat tolerance than granite. Quartz can withstand brief exposure to temperatures up to around 212°F before potential damage occurs. Granite can handle closer to 300°F. With either material, using trivets or hot pads is advised to prevent cracking or marks.
Which is harder – quartz or granite?
On the Mohs hardness scale, granite is slightly harder than quartz, rating around a 7-8 vs. quartz at 7. So granite has a minor edge when it comes to scratch and chip resistance. However, both materials are extremely durable for countertops. Quartz is rarely damaged under normal use and conditions in a home.
Does quartz offer as much variety as granite?
No. While quartz does come in a wide range of colors and patterns, it does not offer nearly the visual variation and uniqueness that real granite does. Granite has one-of-a-kind natural veining that quartz cannot precisely replicate. If a highly unique look is desired, granite is the better choice.
When it comes to choosing between quartz vs granite countertops, there are good arguments to be made for both options. Granite offers an unparalleled natural beauty and heat resistance but requires more maintenance. Quartz is highly durable, consistent, and low-maintenance, but lacks the depth and variation of real stone. Much depends on your priorities – whether you appreciate granite’s unique patterning or quartz’s minimal upkeep. With their comparable durability and style potential, either granite or quartz makes an excellent choice for kitchen or bathroom countertops that can provide lasting function and beauty. Carefully weigh the pros and cons to decide which material best suits your goals, needs and lifestyle.