Granite and quartz are two of the most popular choices for kitchen and bathroom countertops. But which one is better? Here is an in-depth comparison of granite vs quartz countertops to help you decide.
When it comes to countertops, both granite and quartz have their pros and cons. Granite is a natural stone that offers a timeless, elegant look. Quartz is an engineered stone that is harder and more stain-resistant than granite. Determining whether granite or quartz is the better choice depends on factors like appearance, maintenance, durability, cost, and environmental impact. Evaluating these key differences allows homeowners to select the best countertop material for their needs and budget.
Granite slabs are unique pieces of natural stone, each with its own distinct coloring, patterning, and veining. The array of granite options allows for great customization. Granite can have an earthy, organic appearance in hues of gray, brown, red, pink, blue, black, and white. The natural patterning gives each granite slab a one-of-a-kind look. The stone’s shine comes from polishing and sealing the surface.
Quartz has a more uniform appearance, with a consistent speckled pattern across the slab. While less unique than granite, quartz offers a wider range of colors and options like metallic flecks. Engineered quartz allows manufacturers to include recycled materials like glass and mirrors that create glittering effects. The polished surface resists dulling and water markings.
As a porous natural stone, granite requires more maintenance and sealing to prevent stains. Acidic liquids like wine or fruit juice can etch and dull the surface over time. Granite needs thorough cleaning and resealing every 1-2 years. Avoiding abrasive cleaners is also important to maintain the shine.
Quartz is non-porous, making it very stain resistant without ongoing sealing requirements. While not immune to damage, quartz stands up well to most spills, scratches, and heat. Routine cleaning is simple with hot water and mild soap. The lack of regular maintenance is a major perk for busy homeowners.
Granite is incredibly durable as natural stones go. At a Mohs hardness of 6-8, it maintains its polish well under normal use. The mineral crystals in granite help it resist scratches and cracks better than softer stones. Proper sealing provides protection from erosion and stains over time.
With a Mohs hardness of 7-8, quartz is harder than granite. The adhesive resin makes quartz more flexible under force as well. Engineered quartz is highly resistant to chips, cracks, scratches, and heat damage in kitchen environments. The lack of grout lines can also improve durability.
Natural granite is an expensive material, costing $40-150 per square foot installed. Exotic granites can range even higher. The stone’s availability, thickness, finish level, and complexity of the installation impact the overall price. Most granite costs $60-100 per square foot on average.
At $70-120 installed per square foot, quartz counters are competitively priced with granite. More complex quartz patterns and styles can exceed $100 per square foot. Overall, quartz delivers an attractive, durable surface for roughly the same cost as natural granite.
Granite is an abundant natural material that only requires quarrying and finishing. There are some environmental concerns around quarry runoff and mining operations. But responsibly harvested granite is not depleting limited resources. Reusing and recycling granite can also reduce its ecological impact.
Quartz surfaces contain up to 95% recycled materials including metals, glass, and mirrors. However, the adhesives used in production tend to have higher VOC emissions. And Quartz fabrication generates more waste than granite installation. But quartz offers sustainability benefits over other engineered surfaces.
Granite vs. Quartz: Which is Better for Countertops?
So when considering granite vs quartz countertops, which is the better choice overall?
Granite is the better option when you want:
- A classic, timeless natural stone look
- Unmatched visual uniqueness
- Superior customization with endless color/pattern options
- Strong overall performance at budget-friendly cost
- An environmentally responsible natural material
Quartz is the better choice if you prefer:
- Modern, consistent appearance with vibrant colors
- Low maintenance and superior stain resistance
- Excellent durability and longevity
- Smoother surface with fewer grout lines
- Slightly higher heat and scratch tolerance
Both granite and quartz make excellent countertop materials with their own sets of pros and cons. Key factors like budget, kitchen use, and personal style preferences can help homeowners decide between granite vs quartz. With proper care, either surface can provide years of beauty and durability. Consult a countertop specialist to determine whether natural granite or engineered quartz is better for your next remodeling or new construction project.
Frequently Asked Questions About Granite vs Quartz Countertops
Is granite or quartz more durable?
Quartz is slightly harder and more flexible than granite. But both materials have excellent durability for countertops, resisting scratches, chips, cracks, and heat.
Is quartz healthier than granite?
Both materials are considered food-safe and non-toxic when sealed properly. Neither has a clear health advantage. Granite can harbor more bacteria if not sanitized.
Does quartz need sealing like granite?
No, quartz does not require regular sealing because it is non-porous. Granite must be sealed to prevent staining and damage to the porous surface.
Is granite or quartz cheaper?
The cost is similar – granite runs $60-150 per square foot installed, while quartz ranges from $70-120. More complex designs of either material can increase the price.
Does quartz stain like granite?
Quartz is near stain-proof without sealing. Granite can stain from spills if not sealed properly and requires careful maintenance.
Which material is better for the environment?
Granite is a natural material, while quartz contains up to 95% recycled content. But quartz production emits less pollution. Either can be an eco-friendly option.
Is quartz easier to clean than granite?
Yes, quartz only needs simple soap and water cleaning. Granite requires sealing and avoiding harsh chemicals to limit etching or dulling the surface.
Does quartz lose its shine over time?
No. The resin finish retains its gloss and resistance to watermarks and clouding. Granite can become dull without proper upkeep.
Can you repair quartz or granite if damaged?
Minor damage can often be sanded and polished out of either material. But deep scratches, cracks, and stains may require a professional repair or replacement.
When choosing a new countertop, both natural granite and engineered quartz offer beautiful, functional options. Granite provides an elegant, unique look that fits traditional or rustic aesthetics. For minimal maintenance and contemporary styling, durable quartz counters can be a smart investment. Carefully examine the pros and cons of each material against your goals, lifestyle, and budget. With proper installation and care, both granite and quartz can significantly enhance your kitchen or bath with their resilience and timeless beauty. Consult a countertop specialist to determine if granite or quartz is the right surface for your next project.