Choosing new countertops for your kitchen or bathroom remodel involves carefully weighing numerous options. Granite and quartz both rank among the most popular choices for countertops today. But notable differences exist between these two materials that impact their appearance, performance, maintenance needs, and costs. Understanding those key distinctions will ensure you select the best countertops to match your needs, lifestyle, and budget.
Granite and quartz share the ability to provide an elegant, high-end look in any space. But granite constitutes a natural stone, while quartz countertops comprise an engineered composite material. Each offers unique advantages and disadvantages to consider before making your final decision. Explore the core contrasts between quartz vs. granite countertops outlined below.
How They’re Made
Granite forms naturally as molten rock or magma cools slowly below the earth’s surface. It gets mined as large slabs from granite deposits and cut into countertops. The stone derives its signature speckled pattern from various mineral deposits present in the parent rock. No two granite slabs look exactly alike due to these random organic variations.
Quartz countertops originate as engineered surfaces made from roughly 90 percent ground quartz particles combined with polymer resins and pigments. Manufacturers carefully control the production process to create a consistent look and texture. The resins bind the quartz grains together into a durable, non-porous material. Adding color tints also enables unlimited customization options.
- Created by nature as igneous rock
- Mined in large slabs from granite deposits
- Displays random, unique organic patterns
- Engineered composite material
- Contains approximately 90% crushed quartz
- Combined with resins and pigments
- Offering unlimited color options
- Consistent patterns and textures
The intrinsic differences between the natural and engineered origins of granite and quartz lead to pronounced variances in their aesthetic options, as well as performance capabilities.
Granite’s natural beauty stems from the unique mineral deposits that form within each slab. The swirling colors and patterns inherent to granite make every countertop unique. However, the lack of consistency can potentially cause visual mismatches across seams or between separate components.
Conversely, quartz’s engineered compositions allow for unlimited flexibility in colors, patterns, and finishes. Seamless visual harmony can be achieved throughout an entire quartz installation. But some homeowners appreciate granite’s organic uniqueness that prevents mass production.
- Distinct natural beauty from mineral deposits
- Each slab displays unique patterning
- Colors range from red, blue, brown, pink, white, black, and green
- Matches across separate pieces not guaranteed
- Consistent engineered patterns and textures
- Seamless look achieved across installation
- Hundreds of color and pattern options
- Some view surfaces as less natural than granite
Granite offers one-of-a-kind artisanal appeal, while quartz provides endless possibilities for customized designs. Your interior décor will likely guide which aesthetic you prefer.
Both granite and quartz deliver outstanding durability, making them appropriate choices for busy kitchens or baths. But quartz’s engineered compositions and resin bindings create a somewhat tougher material.
Dense natural granite remains stain-, scratch-, and chip-resistant. But its porous structure requires diligent sealing to prevent potential damage. Acids and oils can lead to etching or discoloration without proper maintenance. Quartz lacks pores to allow penetration but can potentially scrape or dull over time.
- Extremely hard and dense natural stone
- Resists scratches, stains, and chips
- Porous material requires regular sealing
- Acids and oils can potentially etch surface
- Non-porous, stain-resistant surface
- More flexible resin helps prevent chips and cracks
- Withstands scratches and heat damage
- Not fully scratch- or damage-proof
- Can lose shine without re-polishing over time
Quartz rates slightly higher for durability overall. But both materials deliver excellent performance when properly cared for.
Home chefs and busy families often gravitate toward quartz countertops due to the minimal maintenance the engineered material requires compared to natural stone granite. The latter demands regular sealing to retain its integrity and beauty long-term.
You can care for everyday spills and messes on quartz using just soap and water since liquid cannot penetrate the surface. Granite needs prompt cleaning and sealing after any exposure to potential staining agents. Acidic liquids like wine or juice especially require immediate action if spilled on granite.
- Requires sealing every 1-2 years
- Sealing helps prevent stains from penetration
- Spills must be cleaned ASAP, especially with acidic liquids
- May need periodic professional deep cleaning
- Polishing needed to remove etches or wear over time
- Does not require regular sealing
- Simple soap and water cleaning for most spills
- Resists stains without sealing pores
- Occasional re-polishing helps restore shine
- Avoid abrasive cleaners that can damage surface
Quartz countertops essentially clean themselves, while granite requires diligent sealing and cleaning routines. That contrast may dictate which choice best fits your lifestyle.
In general, quartz costs 20% to 30% more than natural granite. Prices fluctuate based on factors like stone rarity, quartz patterns and colors, and regional availability of materials. Expect to budget $40 to $100 per square foot installed for granite, compared to $55 to $125 for quartz.
Granite’s natural beauty carries a premium cost, as does quartz’s high-tech engineering. More exotic granite patterns can cost over $200 per square foot. Similarly, quartz with intricate designs or rare colors may far exceed a typical square foot price. Shopping sales or remnants can net big savings on either material.
- $40-$100 per square foot installed
- Exotic granite slabs up to $200+ per square foot
- Factors like stone rarity impact pricing
- Sales/remnants may lower costs significantly
- $55-$125 per square foot installed
- Simple patterns on the affordable end
- Unique quartz designs up to $140+ per square foot
- Sales and remnants also reduce costs
Both countertops carry significant value added to kitchens or baths. But quartz delivers slightly higher long-term ROI. Focus more on performance, maintenance, and visual features when weighing granite versus quartz prices.
Below find answers to some frequently asked questions regarding the differences between granite and quartz countertops.
Is granite or quartz better?
No definitive answer exists regarding whether granite or quartz makes the superior countertop choice overall. Quartz rates higher for durability and maintenance ease. But many homeowners prefer granite’s natural beauty and organic patterning that ensures a one-of-a-kind look. Consider your own priorities for aesthetics, upkeep, and budget when deciding between them.
Does quartz stain like granite?
No, quartz does not stain like natural stone granite since it lacks pores that allow penetration. Properly sealed granite can still experience staining from oils or acids without prompt cleaning. You can typically wipe most spills off quartz using just soap and water without worrying about stains.
Is quartz healthier than granite?
Both countertop materials qualify as inert surfaces that don’t impact indoor air quality. Natural granite releases very low levels of radon gas that don’t pose exposure risks in home settings. From a health standpoint, no major differences exist between quartz and granite. Focus instead on keeping either surface properly cleaned.
Which material costs more granite or quartz?
Quartz countertops tend to run 20% to 30% higher in price than granite. But material costs comprise just a portion of the total installation price. Exact pricing for either surface depends on factors like stone rarity for granite and design intricacy for quartz. Expect to budget $40-$100 per square foot installed for granite, compared to $55-$125 for quartz.
Does quartz need to be sealed?
No, quartz requires no sealing during routine care and maintenance. The engineered material is non-porous, so liquids cannot penetrate the surface. Granite must be sealed regularly to prevent potential staining or damage. The sealing advantage makes quartz a virtually maintenance-free countertop.
Is quartz cooler than granite?
Quartz and granite feel similar in temperature to the touch. Both surfaces quickly adopt the temperature of their surroundings. Each remains relatively cool compared to other countertop materials that can absorb heat when exposed to hot pots or pans. Granite and quartz offer comparable performance for kitchen tasks.
In the quartz versus granite debate, no universal best choice exists. Granite’s natural beauty and quartz’s high-tech engineering each offer distinct advantages. Consider how factors like aesthetics, maintenance, durability, and cost align with your priorities. Home chefs and busy families often gravitate toward low-maintenance quartz countertops. But traditionalists may prefer granite’s timeless artisanal look. Understanding the key contrasts between these premier counters helps ensure you select the perfect fit. With either material, you can enjoy elegance and value in your kitchen or bath remodeling investment.