When it comes to choosing new countertops for your kitchen or bathroom, two of the most popular options are quartz and granite. Both offer beauty and durability, but they differ quite a bit when it comes to price. Understanding the cost differences between quartz and granite can help you determine which material best fits your budget.
An Overview of Quartz Countertops
Quartz countertops, often referred to as engineered stone, have surged in popularity over the past decade. Made from roughly 90 percent ground quartz particles combined with pigments and resin, these non-porous slabs are manufactured in factories for consistent quality.
The main advantages of quartz countertops include:
- Durability – Quartz is nearly indestructible, resistant to scratches, heat, and stains.
- Low maintenance – Quartz requires very little upkeep compared to natural stone.
- Consistent pattern – The color and pattern runs throughout the slab.
- Variety of colors – From solid white to bold blacks and blues, numerous color options exist.
- Non-porous – Unlike granite, quartz does not need to be sealed.
While more affordable than granite, quartz countertops come at a higher price than materials like laminate. The precise cost depends on the brand, color, and style selected.
What Impacts the Cost of Quartz Countertops?
Many factors play into the total expense of quartz countertops. Here are some of the key considerations:
One of the biggest influences on quartz pricing is the brand. Well-known manufacturers like Caesarstone, Cambria, and Silestone come with a higher price tag. Lesser-known brands are more budget-friendly.
Caesarstone and Silestone quartz starts around $60 per square foot installed. Cambria, a luxury brand, ranges from $70 to $100 per installed square foot.
Lighter quartz colors tend to be the least expensive options. Whites, creams, and grays use less pigment than bold, darker hues. Unique colors like blues and blacks cost more.
Standard quartz thickness is 3/4 inch. Going up to 1 1/4 inches thick adds durability but also increases cost by about 15%.
Simple eased or straight edges are the most affordable edge options for quartz. Decorative edges like ogee, bevel, and bullnose add complexity and therefore extra cost.
Adding a coordinating quartz backsplash along with the countertops adds to the total price.
Fabrication & Installation
Cutting quartz slabs to fit your space and seamlessly installing them requires skilled fabrication and installation. These costs can range from $40 to over $100 per hour.
What is the Average Cost of Quartz Countertops?
The average price for installed quartz countertops falls between $80 and $100 per square foot. This estimate assumes a mid-range brand, standard thickness, and simple edge profile.
According to the Remodeling Calculator, a widely used remodeling cost guide, here are the typical price ranges for quartz countertops:
- Low end: $50 per square foot for inexpensive brands and basic installation.
- Mid-range: $80-$100 per square foot for most mid-level quartz in popular colors.
- High end: $125+ per square foot for premium brands like Cambria in upgraded thicknesses.
Total average costs:
- For a small kitchen with 20 square feet of counter space, expect to pay around $2,000 for quartz countertops.
- For a medium kitchen around 40 square feet, budget $3,500 to $4,000 for installed quartz.
- A larger upscale kitchen with 60 square feet of counters could cost $6,000 to $7,500 for nice quartz materials and fabricaton.
What is Granite?
Like quartz, granite is an excellent choice for kitchen and bathroom countertops. As a natural stone, each granite slab has an utterly unique appearance.
Granite forms over millions of years as liquid magma beneath the earth’s surface cools and hardens into a crystalline structure. Composed primarily of quartz and feldspar minerals, granite comes in a spectrum of colors and patterns:
- Whites: Stark bright white with grays and blacks.
- Tans: Warm beiges and browns.
- Browns: Darker chocolates and bronzes.
- Blues: Cool tones of blue and gray.
- Blacks: Deep, dramatic black with silvery flecks.
Granite’s benefits include:
- One-of-a-kind aesthetic
- Heat and scratch resistance
- Extreme durability
- Easy maintenance
- Timeless appeal
However, granite also has some downsides:
- Needs yearly sealing
- More prone to staining
- Higher cost than quartz and other materials
Factors Affecting Granite Countertop Pricing
Granite involves a higher materials cost than quartz right from the start. But several other elements also impact the total price:
Rarer granites like blacks, blues, and quartzite cost more than common colors like tans and browns. Some unique varieties can be over $200 per square foot before fabrication and installation.
Larger slabs with fewer seams are pricier but yield a more seamless look. Smaller pieces cost less but require greater cutting labor and more joints.
Like with quartz, straight polished granite edges are the most budget-friendly. Specialty edges like ogee, dupont, chamfer, and more add cost.
Most granite is 3/4 inch thick, but heavier 1 1/4 inch slabs have greater durability and higher cost.
Backsplashes & Additional Pieces
Any granite backsplashes, island pieces, or other additions raise the total price.
Simple countertop layouts with few seams and cuts take less fabrication time versus complex designs.
Fabrication & Installation
Skilled granite shaping and installation requires experienced professionals. Costs typically range from $40 to $100 per hour.
What’s the Average Price of Granite Countertops?
According to HomeAdvisor’s TrueCost Guide, homeowners report paying between $2,550 and $3,900 for granite countertops, with most spending around $3,000. As a natural stone, prices vary more than with manmade quartz.
Here are typical price ranges:
- Low budget: $50 – $70 per square foot for lower-end granite and fabrication.
- Mid-range: $80 – $120 on average for widely available granites like Santa Cecilia and Uba Tuba that make up over half of installations.
- High-end: $130 – $185+ per square foot for rare designer granites with advanced edges and fabrication.
Average total costs:
- Small kitchen (20 sq. ft.): $3,000-$4,000
- Medium kitchen (40 sq. ft.): $5,000 – $7,000
- Large luxury kitchen (60+ sq. ft.): $7,000-$10,000+
Although granite countertops cost more upfront than quartz and other materials, they can potentially add property value to your home for resale. Their stunning good looks and prestige make them worthwhile for many homeowners.
Price Differences Between Quartz and Granite
So how do quartz and granite costs stack up against each other?
Granite countertops almost always cost more than quartz. According to the 2020 Remodeling Impact Report, granite countertops nationally average $3,507 per project while quartz averages $2,970.
On average, expect to pay:
- 20% to 50% less for quartz than granite per square foot.
- Around $1,000 less overall for the average medium-sized kitchen.
However, the gap in price shrinks for premium-grade quartz from luxury brands compared to lower-end granites. A high-end quartz may overlap the cost of an inexpensive granite.
The biggest differences arise in the most expensive designer granites that cost hundreds of dollars per square foot more than even high-end quartz.
How to Decide Between Quartz vs. Granite
With the cost differences between quartz and granite in mind, how do you choose which material to invest in?
Key factors to consider include:
- Budget – Quartz fits smaller budgets best, while granite works if you have more funds allocated.
- Visual appeal – Granite offers a richer, unique aesthetic many find worth the cost.
- Low maintenance – Quartz never needs sealing and resists stains. Granite requires yearly sealing.
- Use – For heavy prep areas, quartz’s durability makes it more ideal than granite.
- Resale value – Granite may help a home sell for slightly more. Either material adds value over lower-end options.
Also visit kitchen and bath showrooms to see slabs of each material in person. This gives you a better sense for costs, colors, and styles before finalizing your countertop decision.
FAQs About the Cost of Quartz vs. Granite Countertops
Is granite or quartz more expensive?
Quartz countertops almost always cost less than granite. On average, expect to pay around 20-50% less for quartz on a per square foot basis. Overall costs for a full kitchen are typically $1,000 less compared to granite.
Why is quartz cheaper than granite?
Since quartz is engineered from manufactured materials, it is more budget-friendly to produce than rare natural granite. Quartz also requires less installation labor since fewer seams are needed versus working around granite’s natural fissures.
How much more expensive is granite than quartz?
For mid-range materials and average kitchen sizes, expect to pay around $1,000 to $1,500 more for installed granite countertops than quartz. Granite costs range from $80 – $185 per square foot, while nice quartz runs $60 – $125 per square foot.
Does quartz add value like granite?
While granite countertops may add slightly more resale value, a 2021 Zillow survey found 93% of agents said potential buyers would find quartz counters appealing. So while not valued quite as highly, quartz also boosts a home’s worth.
Is quartz cheaper to install than granite?
Yes, quartz usually costs less for installation and fabrication. Quartz requires less cutting labor since slabs are more uniform than unique granite. Simple countertop layouts with few seams also make quartz faster to install than granite.
What is the most cost-effective countertop material?
If on a tight budget, laminate is the most affordable at just $20-$30 per square foot installed. But for an attractive and durable upgrade, quartz offers the best value, giving you the look of stone for less than natural granite.
Is Caesarstone more expensive than Silestone?
Caesarstone and Silestone are two of the top quartz manufacturers. Caesarstone tends to come at a 20-30% higher price point than Silestone for comparable colors and styles. Both offer quality and appeal.
The Bottom Line
When comparing quartz vs. granite countertops, quartz provides an attractive, durable, and low-maintenance option that costs less than natural granite. But for those drawn to the rare beauty and prestige of granite, the higher price tag can be worthwhile.
Carefully consider your budget, kitchen use, and style preferences when deciding between these two excellent countertop materials. Consult with kitchen designers to view slabs in person before making your final selection. This will ensure you get the perfect countertops to match your needs and home.