Granite and quartz are two of the most popular countertop materials. Many homeowners struggle to decide between quartz and granite when renovating their kitchens or bathrooms. Though they have some similarities, there are important differences between quartz and granite countertops that impact appearance, durability, maintenance, and cost. This guide examines what is a better countertop – quartz or granite? to help you make the right choice for your home renovation.
Overview of Quartz Countertops
Quartz countertops, also known as engineered stone, are made from ground quartz crystals combined with resins and pigments. The quartz content typically ranges from 90-94%. Here’s an overview of the key characteristics of quartz countertops:
- Quartz comes in a wide variety of colors and patterns. The resin allows mimicking natural stone as well as bold solid colors.
- Has a uniform appearance since the color and pattern run throughout the slab.
- The pattern tends to be more consistent than natural stone.
- Glossy/matte finishes are available. Matte is gaining popularity for a more natural look.
- Extremely hard and scratch resistant. It does not need to be sealed.
- Stain resistant. Won’t absorb liquids like some natural stones.
- Withstands heat better than granite. Can be used around ranges.
- Chips and cracks are rare since it’s engineered, not natural.
- Low maintenance. Simple cleaning with soap and water.
- Does not need regular sealing or polishing.
- Higher priced than laminate but more affordable than natural stone.
- Costs $40-100 per square foot installed.
Overview of Granite Countertops
Granite is a natural stone quarried from the earth. It’s composed primarily of quartz and feldspar minerals. Here are the key qualities of granite counters:
- Available in a vast array of natural colors and patterns. No two slabs are alike.
- Natural stone has more variation than engineered quartz.
- Can have dramatic veins, speckles, and swirls depending on type.
- Extremely hard, scratch resistant surface.
- Porous so sealing is required to prevent staining.
- Can crack or chip since it’s a natural material.
- Sensitive to heat and can crack near ranges.
- Sealing required periodically to prevent stains.
- Can etch from acidic liquids so these need quick cleanup.
- Periodic polishing may be desired to maintain the glossy finish.
- Higher priced than quartz at $60-200 per square foot installed.
- More expensive than quartz, but seen as more “luxurious”.
Quartz vs. Granite Comparison
Now that we’ve outlined the key characteristics of quartz and granite, how do you choose between them? Here’s a chart summarizing the differences:
| Factor | Quartz | Granite |
| Appearance | Consistent patterns and speckling. Wide color selection including bold solids. | Natural variations in veining and patterns. Limited to natural stone colors. |
| Durability | Extremely hard. Resists scratches, chips, cracks. | Hard but can chip or crack more than quartz. |
| Heat Resistance | Can withstand heat better. Good near ranges. | Can crack with high heat exposure. Avoid near ranges. |
| Stains | Non-porous so very stain resistant. | Requires sealing to prevent stains. |
| Maintenance | Low maintenance. No sealing needed. | More maintenance. Requires regular sealing. |
| Cost | $40-100 per sq. ft. installed. | $60-200 per sq. ft. installed. Pricier than quartz. |
Which is Better: Quartz or Granite Countertops?
So what is a better countertop – quartz or granite? The right choice comes down to your priorities:
Go with quartz if you want:
- A lower maintenance stone.
- Superior resistance to stains, scratches and heat.
- Modern styles and bold, consistent colors.
- A more affordable stone countertop.
Choose granite if you want:
- A natural material with more variation in patterns.
- The prestige and luxurious feel of real stone.
- A classic, timeless look.
- Unlimited color and pattern options.
Both granite and quartz make excellent countertops that will enhance your kitchen or bath with beauty and durability. It depends whether your personal taste leans more towards the natural stone aesthetics of granite or the high-tech easy care benefits of quartz.
Evaluate what qualities matter most – appearance, maintenance, or budget. This will help you determine what is a better countertop – quartz or granite – for your home renovation goals. With this overview of the pros and cons of each material, you can decide which stone surface is right for your space and lifestyle.
Frequently Asked Questions about Quartz vs. Granite Countertops
Is quartz or granite better for kitchen countertops?
For most kitchens, quartz often makes the better choice. It offers greater stain and scratch resistance plus stands up better to daily use and cooking splatters. The lack of required sealing is also a plus in busy kitchens. Granite can work well too but requires more maintenance.
Which is more expensive, quartz or granite?
Quartz is generally the more affordable option. It costs $40-100 per square foot installed compared to $60-200 per square foot for granite. However, rare high-end granite types can be costlier than premium quartz.
Is quartz or granite more durable?
Quartz is the most durable overall. Being engineered in a factory results in a harder, more consistent material. Granite is also extremely durable, but as a natural stone it can be more prone to chipping or cracking.
Which material is better for bathrooms?
Both quartz and granite work beautifully in bathrooms. Quartz with its superior resistance to water, stains, and mildew has practical advantages. But granite brings a luxurious feel some homeowners specifically want for their master bathrooms.
Does quartz stain easily like granite?
No, quartz is essentially non-porous so it rarely stains. Granite is porous and requires sealing to prevent stains from being absorbed. With quartz very little liquid is absorbed.
Can quartz burn or crack like granite?
Quartz is much more resistant to heat damage. Granite can crack near hot ranges or pots. Quartz can better withstand typical cooking heats and temperature changes.
Is a quartz countertop completely maintenance free?
Low maintenance is a major perk of quartz. But occasional cleaning with soap and water is still recommended, especially after cooking to remove oils and food residues that can build up over time. An annual deep clean is also a good idea.
Granite and quartz each have their pros and cons for countertops. Granite offers a timeless, luxurious look with unique natural patterns. But quartz counters beat granite in terms of durability, stain resistance, low maintenance, and heat tolerance. The choice between the two comes down to your budget and personal preferences regarding appearance, maintenance, and how the counter will be used. Both are great options that will enhance your kitchen or bath with beauty and quality performance. Evaluate the key differences highlighted here as you decide what is a better countertop – quartz or granite – for your home renovation.