Choosing the right countertop material for your kitchen remodel or new construction project is an important decision that requires careful consideration of factors like durability, maintenance, appearance, and cost. Two of the most popular natural stone options on the market today are granite and quartz. But which one is the better choice for kitchen countertops? Here is an in-depth comparison of quartz vs. granite to help you decide.
When it comes to durability, quartz and granite are both excellent options that will stand the test of time.
Granite is incredibly hard and scratch resistant. It’s unaffected by knives or pots and pans, so it can handle heavy day-to-day use in the kitchen. However, granite can chip if subjected to a heavy impact.
Quartz is made from ground natural stone combined with resins and pigments. This makes quartz more flexible and resistant to chips and cracks compared to natural granite. Quartz won’t scratch or etch easily either.
Both materials are non-porous, so they won’t harbor bacteria or stains. Overall, quartz edges out granite slightly when it comes to durability.
In terms of maintenance, quartz once again is the easier option.
Quartz requires very little maintenance – just wipe with a damp cloth to clean. It won’t need periodic sealing like natural stone. You don’t have to worry about damaging the surface with acidic foods either.
Granite is also simple to clean with mild soap and water. However, it is porous and requires yearly sealing to prevent stains. Spills must be cleaned promptly before they can seep into the stone. Granite can also etch when exposed to acidic substances like wine, fruit juice or vinegar.
Granite and quartz are both beautiful materials that add a luxurious, high-end look to any kitchen. However, they differ quite a bit visually.
Granite is an all-natural stone with distinctive veining, speckles and movement. No two granite slabs are exactly alike. The unique patterns and color variations add depth and one-of-a-kind appeal. Granite comes in diverse shades like bold black, lovely light grey, vibrant green and deep red.
Quartz has a more uniform look since it is engineered. The color and patterns are consistent throughout the slab. However, manufacturers have become very adept at creating quartz that mimics granite and other natural stones. There are many quartz options that have beautiful veining and movement to resemble marble for example. Quartz also comes in a wide array of colors from neutral white and cream to striking blue and glossy black.
The appearance comes down to personal preference. Granite brings natural uniqueness, while quartz offers consistent color and patterns.
In terms of price, quartz countertops tend to cost more than granite. The exact price difference depends on the quality, rarity and color of the granite versus the quartz selection.
Basic granite may start around $40 per square foot installed. Quartz slabs often run between $70-100 per square foot installed.
However, unique granite can run upwards of $200 per square foot. There are also some high-end designer quartz options that cost over $100 per square foot.
It pays to get quotes for specific materials you love for an accurate price comparison. Be sure to get an installed price estimate as that includes critical details like cutting, edging and seam placement.
Which is Better for Kitchen Countertops?
So all factors considered – durability, maintenance, appearance and cost – is quartz or granite better for kitchen countertops?
For busy kitchens that see a lot of use, quartz is the practical choice. The superior durability and lower maintenance requirements make quartz well suited to withstand the rigors of daily kitchen life.
Granite is a great option for those who don’t mind the periodic sealing and etching care requirements in exchange for the natural beauty and uniqueness of the material.
Both offer excellent performance and visual appeal. It ultimately comes down to setting realistic expectations for required care and choosing the look you find most appealing for your kitchen design vision.
To recap key differences:
- Quartz is harder and more resistant to chips, cracks and scratches.
- Granite requires yearly sealing and can etch from acidic liquids.
- Quartz has an engineered uniformity. Granite provides one-of-a-kind natural patterns.
- Quartz is often more expensive than granite.
Consult a kitchen design specialist for help selecting the perfect countertop to suit your needs and style. Be sure to view large samples in person. A professional fabricator can also advise on performance characteristics of specific quartz and granite types.
Frequently Asked Questions
Below are answers to some common questions about using quartz and granite for kitchen countertops.
Is Quartz Completely Maintenance Free?
While quartz requires far less maintenance than natural stone, it’s not 100% maintenance free. You should use a soft damp cloth to clean up spills as soon as possible (especially oils, which can stain). It’s also a good idea to use a gentle cleanser along with water periodically to keep the surface pristine.
What Causes Etching on Granite?
When acidic liquids like lemon juice, vinegar or wine sit on the granite surface, they can react with the minerals in the stone. This causes a chemical reaction that eats away at the polish, leaving a dull mark or etch. Sealing provides some protection, but spills should still be cleaned up right away.
Is Quartz Heat Resistant?
Quartz is very resistant to heat. However, extremely hot pans or objects taken directly from the oven or burner can potentially scorch the surface. It’s best to use trivets or hot pads to be safe.
Does Quartz Need to Be Sealed?
Unlike granite, quartz does not need regular sealing. The resins make quartz non-porous, so it will naturally resist stains without a sealant. However, you may choose to apply a sealer occasionally for added protection and sheen.
Does Granite Stain Easily?
Granite is prone to staining because it is porous. Oils in particular can soak in and leave dark marks. That’s why it’s critical to seal and maintain granite countertops. Higher quality, dense granite is less porous and therefore more stain resistant.
Is Quartz Stronger Than Granite?
Quartz is harder and denser than natural granite due to its engineered nature. This means quartz rates higher on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness, making it more resistant to scratches. Quartz also doesn’t crack or chip as easily as granite since it’s more flexible.
Is Granite Going Out of Style?
Granite has been cherished as a high-end counter material for years. While some trends come and go, granite remains a timeless, elegant option. The natural material never goes out of style. New granite colors and finishes are always being introduced for more modern looks too.
In summary, quartz and granite each have their pros and cons for kitchen countertops. Get to know each material’s properties, benefits and ideal uses. This helps set realistic expectations for performance and maintenance needs. Choosing the right countertop for your lifestyle and design preferences is the key to long-lasting satisfaction. With proper care, both beautiful granite and durable quartz can serve you well for many years in your dream kitchen.