When it comes to choosing countertops for your kitchen or bathroom, two of the most popular options are quartz and granite. But which one costs more? There are a few factors that contribute to the cost of each material. In this article, we’ll compare granite and quartz on price, aesthetics, durability, maintenance, and more to help you determine if quartz countertops are more expensive than granite.
How Much Do Quartz and Granite Countertops Cost?
The cost for both granite and quartz countertops ranges widely depending on the quality, thickness, and rarity of the material. Here is a breakdown of average costs:
- Low end: $50 – $80 per square foot
- Mid range: $80 – $120 per square foot
- High end: $120 – $175 per square foot
Quartz slabs are engineered in factories, so pricing is relatively consistent between vendors. However, more unique, patterned varieties can increase the price.
- Low end: $40 – $60 per square foot
- Mid range: $60 – $100 per square foot
- High end: $100 – $200 per square foot
Granite is a natural stone that comes in many grades. Simple, abundant types like Uba Tuba are on the lower end. Rare, imported granites like Blue Bahia can cost upwards of $200 per square foot.
So, on average quartz is $10-20 more per square foot than granite. However, granite has a wider range in pricing due to rarity and import costs. Exotic slabs could end up costing significantly more than a high-end quartz.
Factors That Affect Quartz and Granite Countertop Pricing
Several factors go into the final price of countertops, including:
As mentioned, the specific type of quartz or granite impacts the base price. A rare granite will cost more than an engineered quartz.
Some colors, especially trendy whites and grays, fetch higher prices for both materials. Neutral tones have been popular recently.
The finish or patterning on the slabs can increase costs. Quartz with elaborate veining or flecks costs more than a solid color. The same goes for exotic granites.
The fabrication process involves cutting, edging, and polishing. More intricate edge profiles, cutouts, and other custom details will increase labor time and expenses.
Straightforward countertop installations will take less time than complex jobs with multiple seams and angles. The installer’s hourly rate is included in the total price.
Well-known quartz manufacturers like Caesarstone generally command higher prices than less common brands. Some even have proprietary styles that cost more.
Standard thickness is 3 cm for quartz and 3-4 cm for granite. Going up to a thicker 2 cm slab will significantly increase the price for either material.
Larger countertops will cost more in terms of materials, fabrication, and installation. However, pricing is usually calculated per square foot.
Is Quartz More Expensive Than Granite Overall?
When comparing total installed costs, quartz countertops tend to be slightly more expensive than granite. There are a few reasons for this:
- Quartz material costs are marginally higher than the average granite. Engineered quartz slabs involve more manufacturing than quarrying natural granite.
- Quartz requires less fabrication time. Granite is more challenging to cut and polish due to its hardness and inconsistencies.
- Quartz has become trendy. Its rise in popularity has driven up costs, especially for whites and grays. Rare, exotic granites can still cost more.
- Quartz is lower maintenance. Never needing to be sealed means lower long-term costs. Granite sealing is recommended yearly.
However, granite and quartz prices have significant overlap. You can find inexpensive quartz and expensive granites. The biggest differences come down to material, color, and pattern.
Quartz vs. Granite: Comparing Appearance
Beauty is subjective, so aesthetic preferences will help determine if granite or quartz is the right fit. Here’s how they compare visually:
Quartz exhibits consistent speckled patterns, veins, or aggregated design throughout the slab. Patterns can mimic natural stone.
Granite has random, unique patterning depending on where it was quarried. No two granite slabs are exactly the same.
Quartz comes in a wide array of solid colors and blended tones. Whites, grays, and blacks are especially popular.
Granite also comes in many colors, though shades of brown, red, pink, gold, and gray are most common. Rare “exotic” granites can be blue, green, etc.
Quartz has a smooth, consistent texture. Some types include flecks for visual interest.
Granite has varying textures depending on composition. It can be speckled, veined, or even glossy.
Quartz edges can be polished, squared, or gently rounded. Sharp edges may chip over time.
Granite can hold crisp, dramatic edges due to its hardness. Softer stones may need rounding.
Overall, quartz offers modern consistency, while granite provides rustic uniqueness. Your interior design style will help determine which aesthetic you prefer.
Quartz vs. Granite: Comparing Durability
Durability and longevity are important factors when choosing countertop materials. Here is how quartz and granite compare:
Quartz is engineered from roughly 90% ground quartz blended with resins and pigments. Granite is 100% natural stone.
Quartz ranks around 7 on the Mohs hardness scale. It’s less prone to scratches than softer stones.
Granite ranks from 6 to 8 on the hardness scale depending on mineral composition. It maintains its polish extremely well.
Quartz can tolerate moderate heat up to 150°F before possible discoloration. Don’t place hot pans directly on it.
Granite can withstand heat up to 500°F. Hot pans and baking stones will not phase it.
Quartz resists stains very well and never needs to be sealed. Some deep coloring may occur.
Granite is fairly stain resistant but requires yearly sealing to prevent stains from soaking in.
Chips and Cracks
Quartz rarely chips due to its durability. Chips can be repaired by filling. Cracks are unlikely.
Granite can chip along the edges or hairline crack internally. Minor chips can often be polished out.
Quartz resists everyday wear and tear scratches very well. No sealing needed.
Granite is highly scratch resistant, but softer stones may show fine marks without proper sealant.
Overall, quartz performs excellently day-to-day with easy maintenance. Granite is harder and more heat tolerant but requires yearly sealing.
Maintaining Quartz vs. Granite Countertops
Upkeep requirements are another consideration when choosing between quartz and granite. Here’s how maintenance compares:
- Quartz – Clean with soap and water or stone cleaner. Avoid abrasive pads.
- Granite – Clean with stone soap and water. Don’t use harsh chemicals.
- Quartz – Never needs sealing due to non-porous resins.
- Granite – Requires sealing every 1 – 2 years to prevent stains.
- Quartz – Almost never needs re-polishing. Has permanent factory finish.
- Granite – Can be periodically re-polished to maintain shine.
- Quartz – Chips and cracks can often be filled and restored.
- Granite – Minor chips may be buffed out. Cracks require professional repair.
Quartz is virtually maintenance-free, while granite requires more routine care. For busy homeowners, low-maintenance quartz may be preferable.
Pros and Cons of Choosing Quartz over Granite
Weighing the advantages and disadvantages of quartz vs granite will help determine which is better suited for your home:
Pros of Quartz
- More consistent colors and patterns
- Great for contemporary style
- Performs well for heavy day-to-day use
- Stain and scratch resistant
- Low maintenance, no sealing needed
- Chips and cracks unlikely
Cons of Quartz
- Less heat tolerant than granite
- Trend-driven; popular styles can be overdone
- Less dramatic than rare granites
- Lower resale value than high-end granite
- Environmental impact of engineered materials
Pros of Granite
- Unique natural beauty and variation
- Matches traditional or Old World decor
- Extremely durable and heat tolerant
- Highest end granite rivals luxury materials
- Natural material, no manufactures involved
- Highest resale value of any countertop
Cons of Granite
- Susceptible to stains if not properly sealed
- Needs yearly sealing and periodic polishing
- Chips and cracks, especially on softer stones
- Rare exotic types are very expensive
- Matching patterns across slabs can be tricky
FAQs About Quartz vs Granite Countertops
Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about how quartz and granite compare:
Is quartz healthier than granite?
- Both materials are considered food-safe and non-toxic when properly sealed. Neither harbors bacteria growth.
- Quartz does not require yearly sealing so it does not use solvents over time. Granite sealers have low VOC emissions.
- For health, make sure to use low-VOC sealers and cleaners on either surface.
Which material is best for busy kitchens?
- Quartz is a bit better suited for heavy day-to-day use. It requires less diligent maintenance and develops fewer chips and cracks over time.
- However, granite can work very well in busy kitchens with proper sealing and care. Both materials are excellent options.
Can quartz have the look of natural stone?
- Yes, quartz manufacturers are getting very skilled at mimicking granite, marble, and other stones. You can find quartz with veining, flecks, and movement.
- However, discerning eyes may notice the uniformity of engineered quartz compared to natural granite.
Does quartz need to be sealed?
- No, quartz countertops never require sealing due to their non-porous nature. This quality also makes them resistant to staining.
- Granite must be regularly sealed to prevent deep staining. Without sealing, liquids can soak into the microscopic pores.
Which material has the best resale value?
- High-end, exotic granites generally retain their value very well and even increase home resale value.
- More common granite types and quartz may not significantly impact home value. Trendy styles can fall out of favor.
- For best investment, choose timeless, high-quality slabs in popular neutral colors.
When choosing between quartz and granite countertops, there are pros and cons regarding appearance, performance, and costs. Here are some key points:
- Quartz runs $10-20 more on average per square foot. But exotic granites can cost much more.
- Quartz offers consistent, contemporary styles. Granite provides rare, unique beauty.
- Quartz needs virtually no maintenance. Granite requires yearly sealing.
- Quartz withstands daily use very well. Granite is more heat and scratch resistant.
- Both materials make excellent, durable countertops with proper care. Budget and lifestyle should help guide your decision.
At the end of the day, it comes down to your personal preference on appearance, ideal maintenance level, and budget. If you appreciate modern consistency, quartz may be the way to go. But real granite’s natural artistry is tough to beat for some. By weighing all the factors, you’re sure to make the perfect choice for your home. Both quartz and granite can provide lasting beauty and enjoyment for years to come.