Overview of Quartz Countertops
Quartz countertops, sometimes referred to as engineered stone, have surged in popularity over the past decade. They’re made from crushed quartz that is combined with resin and pigments and then molded into slabs. The end result is a durable, low-maintenance, and stylish countertop. Here’s an overview of some of the key features and benefits of quartz:
Pros of Quartz Countertops
- Extremely durable – Quartz is hardy and resistant to scratches, stains, burns, and cracks.
- Low maintenance – Requires very little upkeep compared to other materials. Simple cleaning with soap and water is often all that’s needed.
- Non-porous – The resin makes quartz impervious to liquids, so it won’t harbor bacteria or allow stains to seep in.
- Consistent color and pattern – The pigments added during manufacturing allow for uniform, consistent aesthetics.
- Variety of styles – Quartz comes in a wide array of colors, patterns, and finishes to fit any design aesthetic.
- Heat and stain resistant – Quartz can withstand heat and is not easily damaged by stains.
Cons of Quartz Countertops
- Higher cost – Quartz is more expensive than materials like laminate. It’s competitive with granite but generally costs more.
- Seams may be visible – The seams between slabs may be noticeable, especially with darker colors.
- Limited customization – Options are more limited compared to natural stone like granite.
- Man-made material – As an engineered product, some people prefer natural stone.
Overview of Granite Countertops
Granite is a completely natural stone that’s mined from quarries. It has been popular for ages due to its timeless beauty, uniqueness, and durability. Here are some of the notable qualities of granite:
Pros of Granite Countertops
- Unique aesthetic – With natural variations, no two granite slabs are alike. Granite provides a one-of-a-kind look.
- Timeless appeal – Granite has been used for centuries and offers a classic, luxurious look.
- Heat resistance – Granite can withstand hot pots and pans, making it ideal for kitchens.
- Durable and strong – Granite is arguably the most durable natural countertop material available.
- Easy to clean – Granite resists bacteria growth and cleans up easily with mild soap and water.
- Adds value – Granite countertops increase a home’s resale value. They offer a high-end look without the high cost of materials like marble.
Cons of Granite Countertops
- Seams are visible – The seams between granite slabs are apparent and often darker than the granite itself.
- Susceptible to stains – Granite is porous, so oily stains can soak into the surface and cause discoloration if not cleaned up quickly.
- Requires periodic sealing – To help prevent stains, granite needs to be treated with a sealant every 1-2 years.
- Higher maintenance – While granite is quite durable, it requires more routine care compared to engineered quartz.
- Surface variations – Natural pits, cracks, and holes can sometimes form in granite slabs. These don’t affect durability but may impact aesthetics.
- Expense – Natural granite is one of the more expensive countertop materials. Costs vary based on the stone’s rarity, color, and design.
Quartz vs. Granite: The Key Differences
So when choosing between quartz and granite countertops, what are the most important differences to consider? Here’s a quick rundown:
- Appearance – Granite offers a more unique, natural look while quartz provides uniformity. Granite can be any color while quartz choices are more limited.
- Durability – Both materials are very durable. But quartz is practically indestructible while granite can chip or crack if subjected to significant impact.
- Maintenance – Quartz requires very little upkeep while granite is more porous and needs annual sealing. Granite needs to be cleaned up quickly if spills occur.
- Cost – Quartz is often a bit more affordable than natural granite, but both can be pricey countertop investments.
- Customization – Granite offers near endless options for a customized look. Quartz has far less diversity in colors, patterns, and finishes.
So in summary, for a low-maintenance countertop that holds up to heavy use, quartz is probably the better choice. If you want a one-of-a-kind natural look and aren’t as concerned with upkeep, then granite may be the way to go.
Frequently Asked Questions About Quartz vs. Granite Countertops
Is quartz or granite better for kitchen countertops?
If low maintenance is a priority, quartz easily wins out over granite in the kitchen. Quartz requires very little routine care compared to natural stone. It’s also impervious to stains and etching from acidic foods. However, some people prefer the unique beauty and timeless elegance of granite despite the higher maintenance required.
Which is more expensive, quartz or granite?
Quartz countertops are typically priced between $80-$140 per square foot installed. Granite slabs range from about $60 per square foot on the low end for more basic granite up to over $200 per square foot for rare, high-end slabs. So while ranges overlap, overall granite tends to be pricier than quartz for most kitchen projects.
Is quartz stronger than granite?
In terms of durability, quartz has the edge over granite. Made from crushed stone and durable resin, quartz is practically indestructible in the kitchen and can withstand cutting, impacts from heavy objects, hot pans, and more. Granite is also very strong but can possibly chip if subjected to significant impacts. Both materials add strength and durability compared to materials like laminate though.
Does quartz stain like granite?
No, quartz does not stain easily like natural stone granite. The resin binders fill in the pores, making quartz repel liquids and resist stains exceedingly well. Granite can absorb stains from spills like wine, coffee, and oil relatively quickly since it is naturally porous.
Is quartz environmentally friendly?
Granite is likely the more eco-friendly choice since it is harvested from natural quarries. There are some concerns about the resins used in engineered quartz, although advancements have been made to use fewer hazardous chemicals. Overall, both can be sound choices environmentally, but granite may have a slight edge for sustainability.
The Bottom Line
When choosing a countertop, it’s ultimately about finding the right balance of aesthetics, functionality, and cost based on your needs and lifestyle. For a low maintenance, durable surface that can stand up to heavy use, engineered quartz counters are virtually indestructible. If you want the timeless beauty of natural stone with unique colors and patterns, don’t mind the higher maintenance, and are willing to pay more, then granite could be a great choice. Carefully weigh the pros and cons for your goals before deciding between quartz and granite countertops.
In the battle of quartz vs. granite countertops, there’s no definitive winner. The choice between the two materials largely depends on your priorities in terms of appearance, maintenance, durability, and budget. Granite offers an unparalleled aesthetic with its natural elegance and variety. But quartz counters provide a virtually care-free, indestructible surface. For most homeowners, either option can provide long-lasting beauty and excellent performance for kitchen counters when the material is chosen carefully and installed properly. Just be sure to thoroughly research both options and review samples before investing in new countertops.