Granite and quartz are two of the most popular materials for kitchen and bathroom countertops. While both offer durability and visual appeal, there are some key differences between them. Understanding the pros and cons of each can help you determine which is better for your needs.
Granite is a natural stone that is mined from quarries around the world. It is an igneous rock that forms when magma cools and solidifies. Granite contains minerals like quartz, feldspar, and mica that give it its unique coloring and veining. No two granite slabs are exactly alike.
Quartz is an engineered composite made from crushed natural quartz combined with polymer resins and pigments. The mixture is poured into molds to create slabs. The resin binds the quartz particles together to form a hard, non-porous surface. The pigments add extra color and pattern options.
Granite has an organic, natural look with unique veining, speckling, and movement in the stone. Colors range from gray, white, pink, green, blue, black, and reddish tones. The swirls and crystals in the stone make each slab one-of-a-kind.
Quartz offers a more uniform appearance, lacking the natural patterning of granite. The pigments mixed in create consistent coloring throughout the slab. Quartz comes in a wide array of colors from solid white to bold blues and blacks. Some varieties mimic granite or marble. Quartz can also incorporate glass flecks and metallic mica for added shimmer.
Both granite and quartz offer excellent durability for countertops. They resist scratches, stains, heat, and cracks better than many other options.
Granite is naturally hard and dense, rating between 6 and 9 on the Mohs hardness scale. The minerals in the stone make it very resilient. But granite can chip if subjected to a strong impact.
Quartz ranks around 7 on the hardness scale, making it nearly as tough as granite. The engineered nature of quartz creates an even more uniform surface than natural stone. Seams between slabs are less noticeable.
Granite requires periodic sealing to prevent stains from penetrating the porous surface. It should be sealed once a year. Avoid using harsh chemicals that could eat away the finish. Annual polishing helps enhance the shine and fill minor imperfections.
Quartz is non-porous, so sealing is not necessary. Simple cleaning with soap and water keeps it looking fresh. While quartz resists staining, spills should be wiped up promptly to prevent possible damage.
Granite holds up well against heat. Its natural minerals allow it to withstand hot pans and high temperatures. But some darker granites are prone to scorching if very hot pans are left directly on the surface. Using trivets is a smart precaution.
Quartz is not as heat tolerant as natural stone due to its resin binders. The adhesives can be damaged by prolonged heat exposure. Always use trivets or hot pads when placing cooking pots, pans, and baking sheets on quartz.
Granite pricing starts around $50 per square foot installed but can go up past $150 for rare varieties. More exotic stones and extensive custom fabrication will increase overall costs.
Quartz ranges from $70 to $120 per square foot installed. Simple countertop layouts with few seams or cutouts will fall at the lower end. Unique edge profiles, intricate patterns, and premium brands push the price higher.
Pros and Cons of Granite
- Completely natural material with one-of-a-kind aesthetics
- Extremely durable and scratch resistant
- Withstands heat well
- Available in many colors and patterns
- Porous and requires annual sealing
- Can chip if subjected to heavy impact
- Darker varieties prone to scorching
- Expense depends on slab rarity
Pros and Cons of Quartz
- Durable, non-porous surface needs little maintenance
- Consistent coloring and patterns
- Resists stains, scratches, heat, and cracks
- Available in wide range of colors and styles
- Not heat resistant
- Less natural look than stone
- Visible seams between slabs
- Higher cost than some materials
Frequently Asked Questions
What is quartz made of?
Quartz countertops are made of around 90% ground natural quartz combined with polymer resins and pigments that bind the particles together.
Can you set a hot pan on quartz?
It’s best to avoid exposing quartz to prolonged heat. Always use trivets or pads when setting down hot pans to prevent possible damage to the resin.
How often should you seal granite?
For frequent kitchen use, granite should be sealed every 6-12 months using a penetrating sealer to prevent staining and preserve the finish.
Does quartz need to be sealed?
No, quartz does not need to be sealed since it is non-porous. Simply cleaning with mild soap and water is enough to maintain its surface.
Can granite chips be repaired?
Small granite chips can often be filled in with an epoxy resin color-matched to the stone. Larger chips may require replacing that section of the countertop.
Is quartz tougher than granite?
Both materials are very tough. But quartz is slightly harder and more flexible overall, giving it a marginal edge in durability over natural granite.
When choosing between granite and quartz, consider factors like appearance, maintenance, durability for your lifestyle, and budget. Granite brings an unparalleled natural beauty that makes each kitchen truly unique. For a lower-maintenance, striking engineered surface, quartz offers endless options with strong resilience. Your countertop decision ultimately comes down to your own personal preferences and needs. With proper care, both granite and quartz can serve as beautiful, functional centerpieces in your home for many years.