Is Quartz Cheaper Than Granite Countertops?

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 options when remodeling their kitchens or bathrooms. One of the biggest factors in making this decision often comes down to cost. So, is quartz actually cheaper than granite?

The Cost of Granite Countertops

Granite is a completely natural stone that is mined from quarries around the world. It is an igneous rock that contains quartz, mica, and feldspar minerals. Granite comes in a wide variety of colors and patterns depending on its mineral composition.

The cost of granite countertops depends on several factors:

  • Stone Type – More rare granite varieties tend to be more expensive. Basic granites like Ubatuba or Absolute Black average $50-$70 per square foot while exotic granites like Blue Bahia or Taj Mahal can cost $100 per square foot or more.
  • Edge Styles – The edges of granite slabs can be left rough or finished in different ways. Simple eased or straight edges are the most affordable while premium edges like ogee, dupont, or full bullnose cost more for fabrication.
  • Thickness – Granite counters are typically 1 1/4” thick but can be ordered in 1 1/2” or 2” slabs for an upcharge. Thicker slabs are more durable and robust for installations like kitchen islands.
  • Installation – Fabrication and professional installation of granite countertops averages $40-$60 per square foot. Simple countertop layouts are cheaper than complex designs.
  • Transportation – Natural stone has to be transported from the quarry to your home. Costs are higher for exotic imported granites versus domestic granite.

Overall, most homeowners spend $60-$100 per square foot for installed granite countertops on average. Higher-end granite with premium edges and thicker slabs can range from $80-$150 per square foot.

The Cost of Quartz Countertops

Quartz counters are engineered stone made from roughly 90% ground quartz particles mixed with polymer resins and pigments. It is manufactured into slabs using heat and vibration. The main brands of quartz are Caesarstone, Cambria, and Silestone.

The cost of quartz countertops includes:

  • Quartz Type – Basic whites and solid colors start around $40 per square foot. Unique quartz with patterns or special finishes range from $60-$100 per square foot.
  • Edge Styles – Quartz has fewer edge options than granite. Simple edges are standard, with bullnose or ogee as upgrades.
  • Thickness – Quartz slabs are made in 1 1/4”, 1 1/2” and 2” thicknesses, with thinner versions being more affordable.
  • Fabrication – Cutting and fabricating quartz averages $40-$60 per square foot depending on complexity.
  • Installation – Professional installation of quartz countertops ranges from $40-$100 per hour.

In general, expect to pay $70-$105 per square foot for installed quartz counters. On the low end, basic whites and solids start around $60 per square foot. High-end designer quartz with special edges can be $100-$150 per square foot.

Is Quartz Cheaper Than Granite Overall?

When comparing overall price ranges, quartz countertops tend to have a lower starting cost than granite. Basic quartz options start around $60 per square foot while basic granites are typically $70 and up.

However, high-end exotic granites have greater variation in pricing than premium designer quartzes. Unique granites can be much more expensive than even the nicest quartz.

So in summary:

  • Basic quartz is generally $10-$15 cheaper per square foot than basic granite.
  • Higher-end quartz counters cost about the same as mid-range granite, around $100 per square foot.
  • Exotic high-end granites can cost much more than even designer quartz.
  • You can find good deals on both materials, so shop around for pricing.

While quartz may have a slight starting price advantage, there are other factors that determine the total cost of a countertop installation. Which material is ultimately cheaper can vary case by case. Be sure to get quotes for both granite and quartz fabricators in your local area.

What Makes Granite More Expensive?

There are a few reasons why nice granite slabs tend to be pricier than quartz:

  • Natural Variation – Granite’s natural beauty comes from its color variation and crystal patterns. No two slabs are exactly alike. Rare exotic granites are more valuable than common types.
  • Limited Supply – Granite quarries have limited yields, especially for rare granite colors. Quartz manufacturers can pour endless slabs.
  • Transportation – Granite is heavy, making shipping costs from distant quarries quite high. Most quartz is made regionally to reduce transportation expenses.
  • Fabrication Waste – The intricacies of granite patterns lead to more wasted cuts compared to uniform quartz. Skilled granite fabricators minimize waste but some loss is inevitable.
  • Durability – Granite is harder and stands up better to heavy use than quartz. Natural stone rates higher on strength tests like abrasion resistance.

For those willing to pay a premium, granite provides a stunning and durable natural surface unmatched by manufactured quartz. Quartz delivers consistent performance at a more modest price point in comparison.

Factors that Determine Overall Cost

While material costs are important, the full price of countertops also depends on the scope of your project:

  • Total square footage needed
  • Layout complexity – simple shapes vs. intricate tile patterns
  • Backsplashes and accent walls – more coverage equals higher cost
  • Demolition of old counters and plumbing modifications
  • Access limitations – kitchen islands or upper floor installs cost more

Get quotes from 3-4 installers and be sure to compare “apples to apples” – the exact same materials, edges, and scope of work. Discuss your budget and expectations up front to avoid any surprises. Many shops offer competitive financing if needed.

Both granite and quartz make excellent countertop choices that can enhance your home for decades when properly installed. Consult a professional to determine whether natural stone or engineered quartz best fits your design vision within your budget.

Frequently Asked Questions About Granite vs. Quartz Costs

Is quartz cheaper than granite for kitchen countertops?

In most cases, yes. Basic quartz options start around $60 per square foot while basic granite slabs are typically over $70 per square foot. High-end designer quartz can be price competitive with nice granite though.

What is the most affordable countertop material?

If you are on a tight budget, laminate countertops start around $20-30 per square foot installed. Butcher block and tile can also be very budget friendly options under $50 per square foot.

Is Caesarstone cheaper than granite?

Caesarstone is one of the top quartz brands. Basic Caesarstone colors are often $10-$20 less per square foot than basic granite. However, unique Caesarstone designs can rival the cost of mid-range granite prices.

Is Silestone cheaper than granite?

Also a popular quartz brand, basic Silestone quartz options are cheaper than most entry-level granite counters. Exotic Silestone styles approach luxury granite pricing but not usually over it.

What brand of quartz is the most affordable?

The lowest-priced quartz often comes from brands like Vicostone, MSI Quartz, or Viatera that offer a good range of value quartz options. Stick with solid colors or basic white patterns from any brand for the best deals.

Is quartz worth the extra cost over granite?

Quartz provides an attractive, no-maintenance alternative to natural stone. For those unable to stay in their home long-term, quartz may be worth the small upcharge over granite since it recoups costs better at resale.

Final Thoughts

When choosing new countertops for your kitchen or bath, be sure to weigh all the pros, cons, and costs associated with granite versus quartz. Consult a professional to determine the best fit for your home and budget. Keep in mind that while quartz may have a slight starting price advantage over granite, you can find bargains and deals on both materials with diligent shopping.