Kitchen countertops are one of the most important elements of any kitchen design. They need to be beautiful, durable, and easy to maintain. Two of the most popular options for countertops are quartz and granite. But which one is the better choice? Here is an in-depth comparison of quartz vs granite countertops to help you decide.
Granite is a natural stone that is mined from quarries. It comes in a wide variety of colors and patterns, from solid hues to speckled mixes. No two granite slabs are exactly alike, so your countertops will be unique. Granite can be polished to a glossy shine or honed to a matte finish. The natural patterning gives granite a timeless, elegant look.
Quartz is an engineered stone made from quartz particles bonded with resin. It is available in a wide array of consistent colors and patterns. The color runs all the way through the slab. Quartz offers more uniformity than natural granite. It has an attractive, modern appearance. The glossy polish makes quartz very reflective.
Beauty is subjective. Both granite and quartz come in stunning colors and patterns. Granite offers more uniqueness, while quartz provides more uniformity. It comes down to personal preference.
Granite is an extremely hard, durable natural stone. It is not easily scratched, chipped or cracked. High-quality granite can last a lifetime with proper care. However, granite can be porous and prone to staining from spills. Sealing is required periodically. Avoid acidic substances like wine, fruit juice or vinegar that may etch the surface.
Quartz is also extremely durable. The resin binds the stone particles, making quartz non-porous and resistant to scratches, chips and cracks. Quartz requires very little maintenance, with no sealing needed. It holds up well to stains, etching and daily wear and tear.
With superior stain, scratch and acid resistance, quartz is the more durable option for busy kitchens. Granite requires more care and maintenance.
Granite is heat resistant, able to withstand pots and pans straight from the oven or stove. However, prolonged direct heat exposure can potentially cause hairline cracks or discoloration over time. Using trivets is recommended to prevent damage.
Quartz is not quite as heat tolerant as granite. While it can handle brief exposure, hot pans can potentially scorch or discolor the surface. Trivets or hot pads must be used. Quartz manufacturers warn against exposing the surface to temperatures above 150 degrees Fahrenheit.
Granite is more resistant to high temperatures from cooking. Quartz requires more care and protection from hot items.
Granite requires periodic sealing to prevent staining and etching. A sealant needs to be applied every 1-2 years on average. Routine cleaning is done with mild soap and water. Avoid abrasive cleaners or chemicals that can dull the surface. Granite is relatively high maintenance compared to other counters.
Little maintenance is needed for quartz countertops. No sealing is required. Simply clean with mild soap and water. You can use a wider variety of cleaners since staining and etching are not concerns. Quartz is very low maintenance.
With simple cleaning and no sealing needed, quartz clearly wins when it comes to easy maintenance. Granite requires more regular upkeep.
Natural granite is priced in the mid to high range for countertop materials. Expect to pay $40-$150 per square foot installed. More exotic varieties can be significantly higher. The final cost depends on the stone’s rarity, thickness, edge treatments, and regional labor rates.
Quartz has a similar price point, ranging from $50-$120 installed per square foot on average. It’s comparable to granite overall in cost. More complex quartz patterns and colors may be pricier. Location affects the rates, like all countertop materials.
There is not a major difference in price between granite and quartz countertops. Both are in the middle to upper end of the price spectrum. Choose based on your budget constraints.
So is quartz or granite better for kitchen counters? Here’s a quick recap:
- Appearance is subjective – both materials are attractive in different ways
- Quartz is more durable and lower maintenance
- Granite is naturally heat resistant, while quartz requires protection
- Quartz is the easier care option, not needing periodic sealing
- Cost is similar between granite and quartz
Quartz comes out ahead in most categories except for heat tolerance. It is the more durable, stain-resistant, low-maintenance option. But some still prefer natural stone. Granite offers an unparalleled look. It simply comes down to your priorities – easy care or natural beauty? Both granite and quartz make gorgeous, functional countertops that will serve you well for years. Consult with your kitchen designer to select the best material for your needs, lifestyle and taste.
Frequently Asked Questions about Granite vs Quartz Countertops
Is quartz or granite better?
In general, quartz is better for most homes because it is nearly maintenance free, stain resistant, and durable. Granite is heat-resistant but requires periodic sealing. Ultimately it depends on your priorities.
Is quartz more expensive than granite?
No, quartz and granite have a similar installed price per square foot on average. More exotic varieties of either material may cost more. Location also impacts rates.
Is quartz better than real stone?
It depends. Quartz is superior in terms of durability and maintenance. But natural stones like granite offer unmatched beauty and uniqueness. It comes down to personal preference.
Does quartz stain like granite?
No. Quartz is non-porous so it resists stains much better than natural granite. Granite can absorb liquids if not properly sealed. Quartz rarely needs more than soap and water for cleaning.
Is quartz countertops high maintenance?
No. Quartz requires very little maintenance compared to most other countertop materials. Simple cleaning with mild soap and water is all that is needed in most cases.
Is quartz heat resistant?
To some degree. Quartz can withstand brief exposure to moderate heat. But the resin binders can be damaged by very high temperatures from pans straight from the oven. Granite is more heat resistant.
Does quartz need to be sealed?
No, quartz countertops never need sealing due to their non-porous nature. This is a major advantage compared to natural stone like granite that requires sealing.