Choosing new countertops can be an exciting yet daunting task. With so many options like quartz and granite, it can be hard to decide which material is right for your home and budget. This comprehensive guide will examine the costs, pros and cons of quartz vs. granite countertops to help you make the best decision.
Kitchen and bathroom countertops are not only functional surfaces for cooking, cleaning, and storage. They’re also major design elements that can dramatically impact the look and feel of your home. Granite and quartz are two of the most popular countertop materials on the market today due to their attractive appearance, durability, and variety of colors and patterns available. However, they differ in terms of cost, maintenance, heat resistance, durability and more.
So should you go for natural stone granite or engineered quartz for your next countertop project? To find the right material for your needs and budget, it’s important to understand how the costs of granite and quartz compare. This article will examine the cost differences in depth, including:
- Material and installation costs
- Maintenance over time
- Pros and cons of each material
- Primary factors affecting the final price
- Cost ranges for granite vs. quartz
- Things to keep in mind when budgeting
Let’s dive in and find out what’s the better investment – quartz or granite countertops!
Factors That Impact Cost
There are several factors that influence the total installed price for granite and quartz countertops. These include:
The inherent cost of the actual slab materials is one of the biggest variables. On average, quartz is more expensive than granite per square foot before installation. However, material costs can fluctuate for both based on the specific color, grade, and source of the granite or quartz. Unique granite patterns and premium quartz blends with special colors or designs tend to be pricier.
Fabrication and installation charges add a significant amount on top of the base material costs. The total labor time required depends on the complexity of the job based on the countertop layout, edge profiles, number of seams, and other custom details. In general, quartz is slightly easier to install than granite.
The total square footage of countertops needed will heavily impact the final price tag for both granite and quartz. Larger, more expansive layouts will be pricier than smaller countertop surfaces.
The retailer or fabricator/installer may charge a certain markup percentage on top of their wholesale costs for the slabs and labor. Be sure to factor this into the total price estimate.
Location and regional availability of granite and quartz can cause costs to be higher in some areas than others. Supply and demand also impact pricing.
What is the Average Cost of Granite Countertops?
Granite countertops range from $40 to $100 per square foot installed. The exact price depends on the granite color, stone quality, thickness, amount of seams needed, edge profile preferences, and the complexity of the installation.
According to HomeAdvisor, expect to pay around $80 per square foot for mid-grade granite installed.
Here’s an overview of the factors that affect typical granite countertop costs:
- Stone Type & Color: The most premium granite slabs with rare colors and patterns cost $70 to $100+ per square foot. More common granite colors and styles range from $40 to $70 per square foot.
- Thickness: 3cm granite runs $40 to $60 per square foot installed. Full 2cm slabs cost $60 to $100 per square foot installed. Thicker slabs are pricier but offer more durability.
- Edge Profiles: Standard eased or straight edges add minimal cost. More decorative ogee, bullnose, or dupont edges increase the fabrication time and price per square foot.
- Seam Placement: Seams are usually $10 to $20 each. The more seams needed, the higher the price.
- Kitchen Size: Total square footage determines the overall price. Smaller projects under 15 square feet may have higher per square foot costs due to base fabrication fees.
- Complex Designs: Intricate kitchen layouts, unusual shapes, and details like cutouts drive up the installation time and price.
- Regional Labor Rates: Prices are generally higher in areas like New York City and Los Angeles where labor rates are higher.
With so many variables, it’s best to get an itemized quote for your specific project. Many homeowners spend $2,500 to $5,000 for granite on a 10-foot kitchen, but costs ultimately depend on the quality of materials used.
What is the Average Cost of Quartz Countertops?
On average, expect to spend $70 to $100 per square foot installed for quartz countertops. However, prices can range from as low as $50 per square foot up to $140 per square foot depending on the quartz brand, color patterns, and installation requirements.
According to HomeAdvisor, the average homeowner spends around $80 per square foot for installed white or gray quartz countertops.
Specific factors that impact quartz pricing include:
- Brand: Premium designers like Caesarstone or Cambria cost $90 to $140+ per square foot installed. Budget quartz options fall between $50 to $80 per square foot.
- Color Tones: Unique quartz patterns, colors, or special designs can increase cost by $10 to $15 per square foot on average.
- Edge Profiles: Decorative edges like ogee or routered edges have added fabrication costs over standard eased edges.
- Thickness: Thicker 3cm quartz is ideal for durability but costs $10 to $15 more per square foot than 2cm.
- Kitchen Size: Due to base shop charges, small kitchens under 15 square feet may be $10 to $20 per square foot higher.
- Complexity: Intricate layouts or installation sites drive up total labor time and price per square foot.
Overall, you can expect to pay around $2,500 to $4,500 for a 10-foot quartz kitchen countertop installation. Get an itemized estimate for your specific project details.
Granite vs. Quartz Cost Comparison
Now that we’ve examined price ranges for granite and quartz separately, how do they compare directly against one another?
On average, installed quartz countertops cost $10 to $20 per square foot more than granite. However, you can find stone granite and premium designer quartz options at similar price points on the high end as well as budget options for both materials.
Quartz tends to have a slightly higher starting price, but costs for both can vary drastically based on the quality and factors mentioned previously. To get the best value, compare itemized quotes with details for each specific product. Be sure to consider the total maintenance and lifespan too.
Here is a direct cost comparison overview for granite vs. quartz:
| Countertop Type | Average Material Cost Per Sq. Ft| Average Installed Cost Per Sq. Ft. |
| Granite | $40-$70 | $80 |
| Quartz | $50-$100 | $90 |
The average total project cost for a 10-foot kitchen countertop is around $3,000 for granite and $3,500 for quartz. However, your total price depends on your kitchen size, layout complexity, and material grades selected.
While quartz often has a higher starting price point, it does offer benefits like low maintenance, integrated pigments, and a wider array of consistent colors and patterns. Granite provides a classic, timeless look with unique natural veining in each slab.
Getting quotes with a detailed cost breakdown for each material is the best way to accurately compare overall value and make the right choice for your home and budget.
Pros and Cons of Granite Countertops
Now that we’ve compared the costs, let’s examine the pros and cons of using granite countertops.
- Timeless, classic material that adds value to homes
- Unique natural patterns, colors, and veining in every slab
- Extremely durable and heat resistant
- Easy to clean and sanitize
- Withstands cuts and scratches well
- Available in wide range of styles from white to bold colors
- Porous surface that can absorb liquids if not sealed properly
- Risk of cracks, chips or excessive staining if abused
- Periodic sealing required to prevent buildup in grout lines
- Some colors and patterns more prone to showing dust and grime
- Can have high environmental impact from quarrying natural stone
Granite is ideal for cooks who want excellent heat resistance and a kitchen focal point. When cared for properly, granite holds up beautifully for decades. Just be sure to factor in the periodic sealing and maintenance required.
Pros and Cons of Quartz Countertops
What about the key benefits and downsides of engineered quartz?
- Easy maintenance with no sealing required
- Resists scratches, stains, impact damage exceptionally well
- Naturally antimicrobial and resistant to bacteria growth
- Consistent color patterns available in wide range
- Less prone to damage from spills and daily wear and tear
- Non-porous so liquids don’t penetrate surface
- Withstands heat very well
- Scattered patterns hide messes and dust well
- Less color/pattern variation than natural granite slabs
- Can develop a hazy film over time without proper cleaning
- Not heat proof – hot pots and pans may scorch surface
- Seams more visible on solid quartz colors
- Higher cost for premium designer brands
For busy families, quartz offers unbeatable durability and hassle-free maintenance. The sleek modern styles are extremely popular for upscale kitchen and bathroom remodeling projects.
Primary Factors Affecting Price of Granite vs. Quartz
There are five major factors that determine the total installed price when comparing granite and quartz countertops:
- Base Material Cost
- Granite per square foot costs range from $40 to $70 on average
- Quartz per square foot costs range from $50 to $100 on average
- Installation Charges
- Include templating, fabrication, transportation, and countertop installation
- Range from $25 to $50 per square foot for materials and labor
- Countertop Layout
- Total square footage required affects price
- Intricate shapes or corners increase fabrication time
- Edge Profile Selection
- Straight polished edges are standard
- Decorative edges like ogee cost slightly more
- Brand Reputation & Quality
- Premium materials from top designers cost more
- Budget granite/quartz options available for less
Be sure to get an itemized quote breaking down these material and labor cost factors from 3+ countertop suppliers to accurately compare bids.
Cost Ranges: Granite vs. Quartz
Now let’s examine typical price ranges for granite and quartz countertops in more detail:
Granite Countertop Cost Range:
- Economy Granite: $40 to $60 per sq. ft. installed
- Mid-Range Granite: $60 to $80 per sq. ft. installed
- High-End Granite: $80 to $100 per sq. ft. installed
- Designer Granite: $100+ per sq. ft. installed
Quartz Countertop Cost Range:
- Budget Quartz: $50 to $70 per sq. ft. installed
- Standard Quartz: $70 to $90 per sq. ft. installed
- Premium Quartz: $90 to $110 per sq. ft. installed
- Luxury Quartz: $110 to $150 per sq. ft. installed
Budget granite and quartz options fall within about the same price range of $50 to $70 per square foot. Mid-range options are also fairly comparable around $70 to $90 per square foot installed. At the higher end, luxury quartz countertops can be $10 to $20 per square foot pricier than high-end granite.
You can find granite and quartz options at nearly any price point. Focus on finding the right colors, patterns, and overall look that fits your kitchen design rather than basing your decision solely on price. Be sure to factor in the maintenance and your countertop needs as well.
Cost to Install Granite Countertops
The typical cost to install granite countertops is $60 to $105 per square foot. According to HomeAdvisor, most homeowners spend between $2,800 and $4,500 to have granite countertops installed in a 10×10 kitchen. This covers close to 30 square feet of counter space.
For a basic 10-foot granite countertop installation, you can expect to pay:
- Materials: $1,000 to $2,000 for average granite slabs
- Fabrication: $500 to $800 for templating and cutouts
- Installation: $800 to $1,200 for transportation and expert fitting
- Sealant: $50 to $100 for protective sealers
- Total: $2,500 to $4,500 on average
This covers cutouts for a sink and stove, straight front edge, and backsplash. Upgrades like decorative edges, trims, or additional countertop seams or cutouts will increase the final costs.
Be sure to get an itemized written estimate outlining the projected slab, fabrication, installation, and material costs. Many fabricators charge around $70 per square foot for a turnkey installed price.
Cost to Install Quartz Countertops
For a 10-foot quartz countertop installation in a mid-sized kitchen, expect to pay an average of $3,500 to $5,000. HomeAdvisor indicates the typical range is between $75 to $105 per square foot for materials and professional installation.
The costs for a basic 30 square foot kitchen quartz countertop project include:
- Materials: $1,500 to $2,500 for quality quartz slabs
- Fabrication: $600 to $900 for custom cutting and edges
- Installation: $800 to $1,200 for expert fitting
- Total: $3,500 to $5,000 on average
This covers straight front/end edges, sink and stove cutouts, and backsplash. Upgraded edge profiles, 3cm thickness, or large islands will increase costs.
Obtain a detailed written quote outlining the quartz material, fabrication, installation, and other project costs rather than a square foot estimate alone.
Things to Keep in Mind When Budgeting
Here are a few important tips to keep in mind when budgeting and comparing estimates for granite vs. quartz countertops:
- Get quotes for the exact slabs, colors, and styles you want. Material costs can vary drastically.
- Expect to pay more for specialty edges, cutouts, built-in drainboards, and multiple seams.
- Factor in maintenance – granite needs periodic sealing while quartz requires less upkeep.
- Thicker slabs and premium designer brands cost more but add value.
- Include costs for countertop removal and disposal if replacing existing counters.
- Review what warranties are offered and coverage details. Many provide 10+ years of protection.
- Buying the materials yourself and hiring an installer separately can potentially save money.
- Remember that quartz has higher heat resistance than natural stone granite.
Getting multiple itemized bids makes it easier to accurately budget and compare your options. Be sure to factor in total costs over the lifespan, not just initial pricing.
Granite Countertops Cost FAQs
Looking for more details on budgeting for new granite countertops and what impacts the pricing? Here are answers to some frequently asked questions:
Does thickness affect the cost of granite?
Yes, thicker slabs are more expensive but also more durable. Most granite is either 2cm (about 3/4″) or 3cm (around 1.25”) thick. 3cm granite costs $15 to $30 more per square foot on average.
How much does edge profile affect granite countertop cost?
Fancy edges like ogee, dupont, or triple bullnose add $10 to $25 per linear foot to the fabrication costs over standard eased or straight edges.
Does the granite color affect the price?
Yes, dramatically. Rare exotic granites can cost up to $200 per square foot. More common colors like white, black, or grays cost $60 to $80 on average. Unique patterns are pricier.
Is it cheaper to buy remnants for granite countertops?
Sometimes. Smaller remnant pieces are cheaper but require more seams. Make sure remnants have enough usable area for your project before purchasing.
Can I install granite myself?
It’s possible, but fabricating and installing granite properly requires specialized tools and experience. Most homeowners hire a pro to ensure it’s done right.
How much does backsplash add to granite countertop cost?
Basic 4” backsplash can be included in most fabrication estimates. Larger granite backsplashes or special materials like tile cost $25+ per linear foot more.
What are common hidden costs for granite?
Demolition and disposal fees for old countertops, permitting/inspection fees, additional cutouts or seams, and thicker edges can sometimes get left out of initial granite quotes.
Quartz Countertop Cost FAQs
Do you have more questions about what impacts the total budget for quartz countertops? Below are answers to several frequently asked questions:
Is quartz more expensive than granite?
On average, yes. Quartz often ranges from $70 to $120 per square foot installed compared to $60 to $100 per square foot for granite. High-end options for both can overlap in pricing though.
Does quartz thickness affect the price?
Quartz is available in 2cm (3/4”) and 3cm (1.25”) options. Thicker 3cm slabs range from $10 to $15 more per square