Granite and quartz are two of the most popular countertop materials used in kitchens and bathrooms today. Both offer durability, style, and functionality, but which one is the more affordable option? Here we’ll compare granite vs quartz countertops on factors like material cost, installation, maintenance, and resale value to help you decide which is the cheaper countertop choice overall.
When it comes to the raw material itself, quartz countertops are generally less expensive than natural stone granite.
Quartz is an engineered stone made from roughly 90% ground natural quartz aggregates combined with resins and pigments. It is manufactured into slabs in factories, making production more efficient and cost-effective. The widespread availability of quartz helps keep costs down.
Granite, on the other hand, is mined from limited natural stone quarries. No two granite slabs are exactly alike due to natural color variations. The rarity and uniqueness of granite drives the material price up. Exotic granite varieties can cost 3-4 times more than basic quartz.
On average, quartz runs $50-100 per square foot, while granite runs $60-200 per square foot. The range in pricing allows for overlap, but overall quartz slate is the less expensive starting point before installation.
When it comes to installation, quartz and granite counters have similar costs, averaging $40-50 per square foot installed.
The installation process is virtually identical. Slabs are cut to size, polished, and secured to the cabinetry. The main factors affecting overall installation cost are:
- Countertop layout complexity – Straight, simple countertops are cheaper than those with multiple seams and cutouts. Granite and quartz have comparable installation costs for basic layouts.
- Edge treatments – Decorative edges like bullnose, ogee, and chiseled add labor and material costs. Fancier edges increase the installed price for both granite and quartz.
- Professional labor rates – Labor makes up half the installed cost. Regional labor rates cause the wide range in national installation pricing.
Overall, the countertop material itself has little bearing on installation costs. The complexity of the job is the main price factor. Assuming a straightforward layout, granite and quartz should have very similar installation fees.
When comparing long term costs, quartz requires less routine maintenance than granite.
Granite must be regularly sealed to prevent stains and etching from acids. Sealing costs around $3-5 per square foot and must be repeated every 1-2 years. If neglected, granite can develop irreversible damage requiring costly honing/polishing.
Quartz has non-porous resistance to stains and etching. It never needs sealing. At most, occasional cleaning with soap and water keeps quartz looking like new. This makes quartz practically maintenance free.
Over 5-10 years, the maintenance costs for granite far exceed that of low-maintenance quartz. Avoiding sealant costs is a significant money saver.
Will granite or quartz yield a higher price when it’s time to sell your home?
Overall, granite offers a marginally better return on investment. As a rare natural stone, granite maintains desirability longer. But quartz counters still add value without the markup of a premium material.
According to the Remodeling Cost vs. Value Report by Hanley Wood, midrange granite countertops recoup around 68% of costs at resale, while quartz recoups around 62%. However, pricey exotic granite exceeding $125 per square foot had more difficulty recouping costs.
For the typical homeowner, the small resale differential does not justify choosing granite solely for ROI reasons. Quartz still boosts resale potential. Many factors beyond counters, like overall home condition and market conditions, affect home pricing.
Is Quartz Really Cheaper Overall?
When weighing the cost factors of material, installation, maintenance, and resale value, quartz consistently comes out as the more affordable countertop option compared to granite.
The main advantages of quartz:
- Lower material costs, averaging $50-100 per square foot
- Virtually no ongoing maintenance fees
- Straightforward installation with no special requirements
- Adds value for resale only slightly less than granite
For budget-conscious homeowners, quartz delivers beautiful, durable countertops for less overall cost compared to granite. Going with a lower-priced quartz rather than premium granite minimizes total spend while still gaining an attractive, functional kitchen centerpiece that cooks will appreciate. Quartz offers the best combination of affordability and modern style.
Factors That Affect Quartz Countertop Pricing
Now that we’ve established quartz as the lower cost stone countertop choice, what makes some quartz counters more expensive than others? Here are the main factors affecting quartz pricing.
Quartz pricing varies by manufacturer. Price jumps significantly for luxury designer brands:
- Lower end: Cambria, Vicostone, Silestone start around $50/square foot
- Mid range: Caesarstone, MSI, QuartzMaster range $70-100/square foot
- High end: PentalQuartz, Compac, Dupont Zodiaq cost $100-150/square foot
Stick with a mid-tier brand to maximize looks while minimizing budget.
Color and Pattern
Quartz slabs come in a spectrum of colors, from whites to bold brights. Popular white/neutral hues tend to cost less. Unique colors and patterns, like vivid blues or heavily flecked slabs, bump the price up.
Standard thickness is 3/4″. Going up to 1 1/4″-2″ thick slabs adds cost but provides more durability for heavily used kitchen counters.
Any cutouts for sinks/faucets or special edge profiles require custom fabrication and increase total spend. Minimal cutouts are ideal.
Regional labor and material availability impact quartz pricing too. Costs are usually lowest in areas nearest major quartz manufacturing plants.
Even within the same brand, prudent selection of low-demand colors and standard sizing in affordable locations yields excellent savings on quartz. Compare supplier quotes and seek specials to keep your budget on track. With smart decision making, you can gain beautiful quartz countertops for less overall cost than natural granite alternatives.
How Does Quartz Compare to Other Countertop Materials?
Quartz offers an attractive combination of beauty, durability, and value. But it’s not the only player in the countertop materials game. How does quartz compare cost-wise to other popular countertop options?
Granite – More expensive upfront and long term
Marble – Similar initial cost but requires frequent sealing/polishing
Soapstone – Comparable initial cost but needs ongoing sealing
Stainless Steel – Similarly priced but lower resale value
Tile – Cheaper material but potentially higher installation cost
Laminate – Much cheaper but lower durability/resale value
Concrete – Comparable cost but extra sealing/maintenance needed
Butcher Block – Cheaper but requires careful maintenance
Solid Surface – Often cheaper but less durable than natural quartz
For natural stone look and feel at a better price point than granite, quartz is a clear winner. The durability and low maintenance also edge out other top contenders like marble, soapstone, and concrete. If seeking an even more budget-friendly option, laminate or tile could work, but sacrifice on resale potential.
Should I Choose Quartz?
Here are a few key reasons quartz may be the right choice for your home:
Seeking an affordable alternative to granite – Quartz delivers substantial cost savings versus granite. You don’t sacrifice much on beauty, durability, or resale value.
Want low maintenance counters – Never sealing quartz keeps long term costs down. Quartz doesn’t etch from acids either.
Have kids or pets – Quartz’ stain resistance makes it ideal for busy family kitchens. No sealing needed.
Prefer modern style – Sleek quartz in today’s popular whites and grays creates a fresh, contemporary look.
Eco-friendly is important – Made from natural stone and recycled materials, quartz suits sustainability goals.
With the above perks plus quartz’ relative affordability, choosing quartz over pricier granite makes excellent financial sense. You can gain gorgeous, functional counters that will serve your home well for years without breaking the bank. Investing in quartz is sure to pay off when it comes time to sell.
Is quartz cheaper than granite?
Yes, when comparing both material and installed costs, quartz consistently costs less than granite. On average, quartz materials run $50-100 per square foot, versus $60-200 per square foot for granite. Assume saving at least $10-15/square foot by choosing quartz.
How much do quartz countertops cost installed?
The typical installed cost for quartz countertops falls between $80-120 per square foot. This includes materials in the $50-100 per square foot range and installation labor around $40-50 per square foot. Higher end quartz and more complex installations exceed $120 per square foot installed.
Should I get quartz or granite?
If cost is your primary concern, quartz is the clear value winner over granite. The only reason to choose granite is if you have a strong preference for rare natural stone beauty and don’t mind paying a premium. Durability, maintenance, and resale value are comparable between the two.
Is Caesarstone cheaper than Silestone?
Caesarstone and Silestone are two leading mid-priced quartz brands. Caesarstone tends to have a lower starting cost, with prices from $70 per square foot. Silestone’s offerings start around $80 per square foot. For the most affordable option, Caesarstone quartz is the better value choice between the two brands.
What is the cheapest quartz?
Cambria and Vicostone offer some of the most affordable quartz starting around $50 per square foot. Low-demand neutral colors from leading brands like MSI, Caesarstone, and Silestone also reach the $50 range for budget buyers. Look for specials through suppliers to save even more on select quartz slabs.
Does quartz add value to a home?
Yes, adding quartz countertops boosts your home’s value versus lower cost plastic laminate or tile counters. In general, granite counters yield a slightly higher resale value. However, for a cost-conscious homeowner, quartz provides around 90% of granite’s ROI for lower initial spend. The bonus of low maintenance costs also makes quartz a smart investment.
The Bottom Line
When evaluating the critical factors of material and installation costs, maintenance fees, and resale value boost, quartz countertops consistently beat out granite and other materials as the more affordable choice. The only major advantage granite offers is prestige as a rare natural stone.
Savvy homeowners who want the sleek style and conveniences of quartz without the high price tag of premium granite will be happy with their decision. Quartz offers comparable durability and appearance to natural stone for less overall investment.
Going for mid-priced quartz in whites, grays, and other versatile neutral tones maximizes appeal for future buyers too. While no remodeling project is cheap, choosing quartz over granite provides beautiful, functional countertops without blowing your budget. Invest in quartz counters to add modern style and value to your home for less.