Quartz and granite are two of the most popular choices for kitchen and bathroom countertops today. But which one costs more – quartz or granite? The answer is not straightforward, as the pricing depends on various factors. This article provides an in-depth comparison of quartz vs granite countertops to help you determine which material best suits your needs and budget.
An Overview of Quartz and Granite Countertops
Quartz countertops are engineered stone made from crushed quartz particles combined with resin and pigments. The mixture is molded into slabs and hardened.
Granite is a completely natural stone mined from quarries. It is an igneous rock formed from magma or lava. Granite slabs are cut from huge granite blocks and polished.
Both offer a high-end, luxurious look and feel and are available in a wide range of colors and patterns. They are durable, low-maintenance, and heat and scratch-resistant. Key differences include:
- Appearance: Quartz has a more uniform look, while granite has natural variations.
- Maintenance: Quartz requires less sealing than granite.
- Heat resistance: Quartz can withstand hot pans better than natural stone.
- Staining: Quartz is less prone to staining than granite.
- Durability: Quartz is harder and less porous than granite.
What Factors Impact the Cost of Quartz and Granite?
The cost of both quartz and granite depends on several factors:
Stone Type and Color
- Rare granite varieties (like Black Galaxy) are more expensive than common types (like Absolute Black).
- Unusual quartz patterns and colors command higher prices than plain solid colors.
- Darker quartz and granite colors tend to cost more than lighter tones.
- Domestic granite and quartz is cheaper than imported materials.
- Popular materials from Brazil, Italy, and India cost more.
- Premium brands like Cambria, Caesarstone, and Silestone charge higher rates.
- Lesser known national brands and regional suppliers tend to be more affordable.
- Higher-grade granite and quartz with fewer imperfections costs more.
- Lower-grade materials are more budget-friendly.
- Thicker slabs (3 cm+) are pricier than standard 2 cm thicknesses.
- Granite is typically thicker than quartz for added durability.
Fabrication & Installation
- Complex installations with special cutouts and edgework raise costs.
- Basic countertop installations are more affordable.
- Professional fabrication and installation is generally pricier than DIY projects.
Average Costs: Quartz vs Granite
On average, across various stone types, grades, and brands:
- Quartz countertops range from $80-150 per square foot, installed.
- Granite countertops range from $60-135 per square foot, installed.
So while granite tends to have a lower starting price point, premium varieties can exceed the cost of a high-end quartz. Generally speaking, quartz usually costs $5-15 more per square foot than granite.
However, you need to evaluate specific product choices to get an accurate price comparison. Don’t assume granite is always cheaper than quartz or vice versa.
Factors That Make Quartz More Expensive Than Granite
Despite the average price ranges, there are some scenarios where quartz countertops can be more expensive than granite.
Unique Quartz Patterns and Colors
Specialty quartz selections like large-scale veining, distinctive swirls, and bold colors demand a premium price. A busy quartz pattern with high visual appeal can cost over $100 per square foot. In contrast, standard granite colors like Uba Tuba or New Caledonia typically range from $70-90 per square foot.
Thicker Quartz Slabs
While granite comes in standard 1.25-1.5 inch thickness, quartz slabs are often engineered at just 0.75-1.25 inches thick. Opting for a thicker, heavier quartz material for added durability increases costs. A 3 cm thick quartz slab will exceed the price of 2 cm granite.
High-End Quartz Brands
Luxury quartz brands like Caesarstone, Cambria, and Silestone charge more for the premium status of their materials. Price tags from these leading manufacturers can surpass more affordable granite options. Lesser-known quartz suppliers are typically more competitive with granite pricing.
Complex Quartz Installations
Quartz requires special adhesives and techniques for challenging installations like tile backsplashes and laminated edges. Intricate design elements also raise the fabrication and installation costs. Granite is an easier material for most installers to work with.
Large Quartz Projects
Ordering all your countertops in quartz gets expensive across a large kitchen or whole home remodel. The costs compound quickly compared to mixing materials like granite island counters paired with laminate or solid surface perimeter tops.
Factors That Make Granite More Expensive Than Quartz
That said, don’t assume quartz is out of your budget compared to granite. Here are scenarios where granite can exceed the cost of quartz:
Exotic Granite Varieties
Rare, imported granites like Blue Bahia, Nero Assoluto, or Kashmir Gold cost over $125 per square foot. That’s more than many high-end quartz options which top out around $120 per square foot. Domestic granites like Uba Tuba and Santa Cecilia still offer luxury appeal for less.
Larger Granite Slabs
Granite slabs are quarried much thicker than quartz material. A 3 cm thick granite slab adds cost and weight compared to a 2 cm quartz countertop. If you prefer substantial thickness for your counters, granite will be your pricier option.
Unlike quartz, granite requires special cutouts for cooktops and sinks. Seam placement and matching also demands expert fabrication skills which raises costs. Simple slab granite installations are more affordable.
Importing unique granites from Europe, Africa, and South America increases costs. Having slabs shipped from overseas exceeds the price of domestic quartz shipping.
Large Granite Projects
Using premium granite across a large kitchen or whole home is more expensive than mixing different countertop materials. Price adds up quickly when using high-end granite everywhere compared to strategically using it just on key surfaces.
Price Comparison by Popular Selections
To give a sense of real-world price differences, here’s a cost comparison of some of the most popular quartz vs granite colors and styles:
|Quartz||Price (installed per sf)||Granite||Price (installed per sf)|
|Caesarstone Pure White||$70-90||Absolute Black||$70-95|
|Cambria Brittanicca Gold||$105-130||New Caledonia||$80-110|
|Silestone Et Calacatta Gold||$90-120||Uba Tuba||$70-100|
|Silestone Et Marquina||$100-125||Kashmir Gold||$125-150|
|Quartzite Carrara Venato||$115-140||Blue Bahia||$115-140|
As you can see, prices vary widely within each material category based on the specific selection. There’s significant overlap in pricing, especially on the lower end. The high-end exotic options for both materials command the top rates.
Should I Choose Quartz or Granite Based on Cost?
In most cases, cost should not be the deciding factor between quartz and granite. Focus first on visual appeal, practicality for your lifestyle, and overall fit for your home aesthetic.
Both materials have budget-friendly options under $75 per square foot installed. With smart shopping, you can likely find an attractive quartz or granite in your desired color and style at an affordable price point.
Evaluate the total project cost, not just the material. A simpler installation may balance out paying slightly more for your favorite surface.
Granite and quartz each have pros and cons to weigh beyond just price. Unless you have an extremely tight budget, pick the one that best matches your countertop dreams, then price shop options to find the best value. With due diligence, you can get the high-end look you love at a price you can afford.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is quartz worth the extra cost over granite?
Quartz is worth paying a little extra for its uniform appearance, lower maintenance, superior heat and scratch resistance, easier installation, and antibacterial properties. However, new sealing technologies help granite last longer with less upkeep. Both offer comparable luxury appeal.
Is quartz cheaper than granite in the long run?
Quartz may cost more upfront but saves in long term maintenance, so the lifetime cost difference evens out. Granite sealants also add ongoing costs. For budget buyers, regularly sealing granite is worth the initial savings versus quartz.
What’s the most affordable granite?
Absolute Black, Jet Mist, and Uba Tuba are among the most budget-friendly granites, starting around $60 per square foot installed. Domestic granites tend to be cheaper than imported varieties.
What’s the most affordable quartz?
Basic solids like Caesarstone Pure White and Silestone Helix cost between $70-90 per square foot installed. Low-end quartz lacks the striking patterns and swirls of higher-end materials but provides an attractive uniform look.
Is granite outdated compared to quartz?
Not at all! Granite remains incredibly popular. As a natural stone, it offers timeless appeal. Both materials create a high-end, luxury look. It comes down to personal style preference between granite’s uniqueness vs. quartz’s consistency.
The Bottom Line
While quartz often costs a bit more than granite, the prices are quite competitive, especially on the low end. With both materials, you can find quality countertops that fit most kitchen budgets. Focus first on the aesthetic you love, then compare pricing on those preferred styles.
For exotic high-end looks, both granite and quartz carry premium price tags. But their durability and beauty make them worthy lifetime investments to enjoy for decades in your home. With proper care, you can’t go wrong in terms of value by choosing either material to create your dream kitchen!