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. One of the biggest factors in making this decision often comes down to cost. But is quartz really the more affordable option when compared to granite? Let’s take a closer look.
Durability Differences Between Granite and Quartz
When evaluating the costs of granite and quartz countertops, it’s important to consider durability. Granite is an entirely natural stone that is mined from quarries. It is an extremely hard material that can last for many decades with proper care and maintenance. Granite resists scratches, stains, and heat very well. However, it can be prone to cracking or chipping if subjected to a heavy impact.
Quartz countertops are engineered from ground quartz crystals combined with polymer resins and pigments. The resulting material is also highly durable, but not quite as hard or heat resistant as natural granite. Quartz stands up well to daily wear and tear and resists stains, scratches, and burns. But cutting directly on a quartz surface can lead to scoring and damage over time.
In summary: Granite is harder and more heat-tolerant, while quartz is nearly as durable for everyday use.
Cost Comparison Between Granite and Quartz Countertops
Now let’s break down the cost differences between granite and quartz.
Granite Countertop Cost
Granite slabs are quarried and cut into countertops, so no two pieces are exactly alike. The rarity and uniqueness of granite means it is priced in a range:
- Low end granite starts around $40 per square foot installed.
- Mid-range granite costs $50-70 per square foot installed.
- High-end granite can range from $80-150 per square foot installed.
The exact price depends on the granite color, pattern, and availability. More exotic granites will be at the higher end of the price spectrum.
Quartz Countertop Cost
Quartz countertops have more consistent pricing since they are engineered in a factory:
- Low to mid-range quartz costs $45-75 per square foot installed.
- Higher-end designer quartz runs $80-120 per square foot installed.
The cost increases for unique quartz patterns and colors outside the mainstream options.
Is Quartz Cheaper Overall?
When comparing granite vs quartz prices, quartz often has a lower starting price point. The most affordable quartz options undercut the cheapest granites by $5-10 per square foot.
However, high-end luxury quartz can overlap with the upper end of granite pricing. The most exotic premium quartz slabs could potentially exceed the cost of some granites.
The biggest savings comes from consistent pricing of quartz vs the variability of granite. With quartz, you always know what you will pay per square foot. Granite pricing fluctuates depending on the source and availability of the stone.
In general, you will likely pay a little less overall for quartz countertops compared to granite when doing an average home kitchen. Quartz provides a small measure of cost savings while still offering a luxe high-end look.
Factors That Impact the Final Price
Keep in mind that the total project cost includes more than just the countertop slab prices. Other factors that affect your final budget include:
- Installation: Most installers charge $40-70 per hour for labor. Complex projects or specialized cutting can increase installation time and cost.
- Countertop edges: Decorative edged like bullnose or ogee can increase the price for extra fabrication time and skill.
- Backsplashes: Adding a granite or tile backsplash adds more in material and labor costs.
- Plumbing work: Accommodating sinks and faucets may require extra time and cuts.
- Specialty countertop shapes: Angled, curved, or extended sections often cost more.
- Transportation costs: For exotic imported granites or ones quarried far away, transportation fees get passed onto the customer.
Get an itemized quote from your countertop company to understand all the variables that impact total cost. This will allow you to accurately compare granite vs. quartz for your specific kitchen layout and features.
Pros and Cons of Granite vs Quartz Countertops
Beyond just costs, weigh the pros and cons of granite and quartz countertops:
- Stunning natural beauty and variation
- Extreme durability and heat resistance
- Can be repaired via seam polishing and crack filling
- High resale value for homes
- Expensive, especially for exotic material
- Porous and requires yearly sealing
- Can chip, crack, or stain if not cared for
- Heavy weight limits design options
- Lower starting cost than granite
- Consistent pricing for easier budgeting
- Resists scratches, stains, and burns
- Easy maintenance with no sealing needed
- Less durable against impacts than granite
- Man-made look lacks natural stone charm
- Seams more visible on some patterns
- Limited selection of colors/designs
Is Quartz or Granite Better for You?
There is no definitively “better” option between quartz vs. granite. The right material comes down to your priorities:
Choose quartz for:
- Cost savings
- Low maintenance needs
- Minimalism or contemporary style
Choose granite for:
- Stunning visual impact
- Maximizing home value
- Withstanding heavy use
- Old world or luxury aesthetic
Talk to a kitchen designer to determine whether to invest in granite or save with quartz when planning your next countertop project. They can help you choose the right material for your space, lifestyle and budget. Be sure to get an itemized quote for total costs including installation and any special fabrication. With some smart planning upfront, you can get the high-end countertops of your dreams while minimizing the financial impact by understanding if granite or quartz is more affordable.
FAQ About Granite vs Quartz Costs
Is quartz countertops cheaper than granite?
In most cases, yes, quartz countertops are slightly cheaper than granite. The starting price of basic quartz options is lower than the lowest cost granites by $5-10 per square foot. However, exotic high-end quartz can reach the upper pricing levels of luxury granite.
What is the most affordable countertop option?
If seeking the most budget-friendly countertop, laminate is the cheapest at around $20-40 per square foot installed. But laminate lacks durability and resale value. Quartz gives you an attractive, durable option that is only moderately more expensive than laminate.
Can you get cheap granite countertops?
Cheap granite countertops typically start around $40 per square foot. This is for basic granites imported from India, China, or other Asian countries. The least expensive domestic granites are usually in the $50 per square foot range.
Is Caesarstone more expensive than granite?
Caesarstone is a premium brand of quartz known for quality and innovative designs. Many Caesarstone patterns are comparable in price to mid-range granite, averaging $60-70 per square foot installed. However, exotic imported granites can exceed the cost of all but the priciest Caesarstone options.
Is Carrara marble cheaper than quartz?
No, Carrara marble is almost always more expensive than quartz. Basic Carrara marble starts around $70 per square foot. The pricing overlaps with higher-end designer quartz that ranges from $80-120 per square foot installed.
While making a decision between granite vs quartz countertops, the cost difference of just $5-10 per square foot for quartz adds up quickly across an entire kitchen. Quartz delivers on the visual appeal of natural stone with a more budget-friendly price tag in most instances. Consider your style, priorities and project budget when deciding between these two outstanding and versatile countertop materials. With good planning, you can achieve the upscale kitchen of your dreams economically whether you choose traditional granite or modern quartz surfaces.