Quartz granite countertops, also known as engineered stone countertops, are a popular choice for kitchen and bathroom remodeling projects. But what exactly are these countertops made of, and how do they differ from natural stone and solid surface materials? Keep reading to learn more about what to call quartz granite countertops.
What is Quartz Granite?
Quartz granite is an engineered stone made from crushed quartz combined with polymer resins and pigments. It is manufactured into slabs that can be cut and installed as countertops. Here are some key things to know about quartz granite:
- Quartz granite contains over 90% crushed quartz, which makes it very durable and resistant to scratches, heat, and stains.
- Resins bind the crushed quartz together into a hard, non-porous material.
- Pigments added during manufacturing give quartz granite its color and pattern. It is available in a wide range of colors and styles.
- Slabs are made in factories under controlled conditions, making quartz very consistent.
- It is sometimes referred to as “engineered stone” since it is manufactured, not a purely natural material.
- Brand names for quartz granite countertops include Cambria, Caesarstone, Silestone, and Viatera.
Quartz vs. Granite Countertops
While the word “granite” appears in the name, quartz granite differs from natural granite in some important ways:
- Composition: Quartz granite is made from crushed quartz and resins, while granite is a natural stone mined from quarries.
- Consistency: Quartz has uniform coloring and patterning since it is engineered. Natural granite has natural variations.
- Maintenance: Quartz needs little maintenance compared to porous granite that requires annual sealing.
- Durability: Quartz is harder than granite, making it more scratch and chip resistant. Granite can also crack or stain.
- Appearance: Quartz offers a wide array of consistent colors and patterns. Granite comes in natural, unique patterns.
So while the names are similar, the materials differ in origin, consistency, and durability. Quartz is the engineered alternative to natural granite.
Is Quartz Granite Considered a Natural Stone?
Quartz granite is often categorized alongside natural stone countertops like granite, marble, and soapstone. But it is not technically a natural stone since it is engineered and manufactured. Key reasons it differs from natural stone:
- Quartz granite is made from crushed quartz and resins, not quarried as a natural material.
- The color and pattern consistency comes from controlled manufacturing, not natural variation.
- Quartz has a uniform appearance while natural stones vary slab-to-slab.
- Natural stones like granite are porous and require sealing while quartz is non-porous.
While quartz granite mimics the look of natural stone, it is not derived from natural materials like true stone countertops. It is considered an engineered stone or engineered quartz product.
Pros and Cons of Quartz Granite Countertops
Quartz granite offers many benefits that make it a top choice for countertops:
- Extremely durable and scratch resistant
- Easy maintenance without sealing required
- Resists stains, burns, and chips very well
- Wide variety of consistent colors and patterns
- Less likely to crack compared to granite
- Non-porous so does not harbor bacteria
- Can mimic look of natural stone
- Higher cost than materials like laminate
- Not heat or scratch proof (but resistant)
- Lacks uniqueness of natural stone
- Limited number of patterns compared to granite
- Can be damaged by strong chemicals
- Resins may yellow over time with sunlight
Is There Such a Thing as Quartzite Granite?
Quartzite is sometimes confused with quartz granite, but they are very different materials. Here’s how to tell them apart:
- Quartzite is a metamorphic rock that originated as sandstone. It is 100% natural stone.
- Quartz granite is an engineered composite of crushed quartz and resins.
- Quartzite comes in a limited color range, usually white, grey, or beige.
- Quartz granite is available in many colors and bold patterns.
- Quartzite is prone to etching from acids like lemon juice or wine. Quartz granite resists etching.
- As a natural stone, quartzite needs periodic sealing. Quartz does not require sealing.
So quartzite granite does not exist. But both quartzite and quartz granite make excellent countertop materials with their own unique benefits.
Frequently Asked Questions About Quartz Granite Countertops
What are other names for quartz countertops?
In addition to quartz granite, engineered stone and engineered quartz are common names used to describe these countertops.
Does quartz granite stain?
Quartz granite is non-porous and resistant to stains. However, prolonged exposure to strong chemicals and dyes can damage the surface and lead to discoloration over time.
Is quartz granite durable?
Yes, quartz granite is an extremely hard and durable material resistant to scratches, cracks, heat, and everyday wear. However, it can be damaged by heavy impacts or excessive force.
How is quartz granite installed?
Quartz countertops must be custom cut and installed professionally as a countertop surface. The slabs cannot simply be placed on top of cabinets. Proper adhesive, seam placement, and support underneath are vital.
Does quartz granite need to be sealed?
No. Since quartz granite is non-porous, it does not require any sealing or ongoing maintenance besides cleaning. This provides major advantages over natural stone.
Quartz granite, sometimes called engineered stone, combines crushed quartz with polymers to create a durable, low-maintenance countertop. While it mimics natural granite, it is manufactured with uniform colors, patterns, and durability that natural stones can lack. Its resistance to scratching, staining, and cracking make quartz granite a top choice for countertops. With an understanding of what quartz granite is and how it compares to other materials, you can decide if it is the right choice for your space and décor.