When choosing a countertop for your kitchen or bathroom, two of the most popular options are granite and quartz. Both have their advantages and disadvantages in terms of appearance, durability, maintenance, and cost. Here is a detailed comparison of granite vs quartz countertops to help you select the right material for your needs.
Granite is a natural stone that is mined from quarries around the world. It is an igneous rock that contains quartz, mica, and feldspar minerals. Granite comes in a wide variety of colors and patterns, from solid black to vibrant red and blue hues with speckles and veining. No two granite slabs are alike, giving each countertop a unique, one-of-a-kind look. Granite has an elegant, timeless appearance that works well in both traditional and contemporary kitchens.
Quartz countertops are engineered stone made from ground natural quartz crystals combined with polyester resins and pigments. The manufacturing process allows quartz to mimic the look of natural stone but with more uniform coloring and patterning. Quartz comes in a diverse range of styles from solid colors to granite-like patterns. It lacks the distinctive veining and speckles of real granite but makes up for it with consistent coloration. The uniform appearance of quartz gives it a more modern, sleek look compared to natural granite.
Verdict: For those who want a truly unique appearance full of natural variation, granite is the winner. If you prefer a neater, tailored aesthetic, opt for quartz.
As a natural stone, granite is very hard and durable. It has excellent compressive strength and resists scratches, stains, heat, and wear and tear. However, granite can crack or chip if subjected to heavy impact. Being porous, granite requires sealing to prevent staining from spills. With proper sealing and care, granite countertops can last for decades.
Quartz has a non-porous surface making it highly resistant to stains and etching from acidic foods and liquids. It does not require regular sealing like granite. Quartz is also slightly more flexible and impact-resistant due to its resin binders. It stands up very well to heavy usage in busy kitchens. Heat and scratch resistance for quartz is about equal to that of granite. Overall, quartz offers better long-term durability with little maintenance.
Verdict: Quartz is the clear winner when it comes to durability and resilience. It is almost indestructible when cared for properly.
Granite requires more maintenance than quartz. Resealing granite every 1-2 years is highly recommended to prevent staining and etching. Spills, particularly acidic liquids like wine or fruit juice, should be wiped up quickly. Avoid harsh cleaners and abrasive scouring pads as they can dull and scratch the granite surface. Special stone cleaners are ideal for routine cleaning. Honing and polishing may be needed periodically by a professional to restore the granite’s factory finish.
Maintenance for quartz is minimal. No sealing is required. Quartz can withstand most household spills without staining. You can clean quartz with soap and water or any non-abrasive cleaner. Weekly cleaning is sufficient to keep quartz looking like new. While it does not need polishing or refinishing, quartz can dull over time from normal wear and tear.
Verdict: Quartz’s superior stain and scratch resistance gives it very low maintenance needs compared to natural stone like granite. This makes quartz a great choice for busy kitchens prone to spills.
Natural granite is an expensive material, costing $60-$200 per square foot installed. The final price depends on the granite color and rarity, stone thickness, and installation work needed. Complex countertop layouts, seams, cutouts for sinks and faucets, and edge profiles will increase the final cost. Due to its high initial price tag, granite is often seen as a luxury material but one that adds tremendous value and beauty to any home.
Quartz countertops range from $80-$140 per square foot installed. While there are budget-friendly options starting around $50 per square foot, most quality quartz costs about the same as mid-range granite. The biggest advantage of quartz is color consistency which means minimal waste and simpler installations resulting in potentially lower labor costs. Overall, quartz pricing can be comparable to granite.
Verdict: The cost difference between granite vs quartz countertops is quite small, typically within $20-$30 per square foot on average. Granite can be higher for rare colors and patterns. Both offer design value on par with their price.
Granite vs Quartz: Which is Best for Countertops?
When choosing between these two beautiful and functional materials, the right choice comes down to your priorities:
- For unique natural beauty, unrivaled aesthetics, and prestige, granite is the winner. No two granite countertops will ever look exactly the same.
- If easy maintenance, superior durability, and a streamlined appearance matter most, quartz is ideal. Quartz offers worry-free ownership.
- On price, granite and quartz are competitive depending on the stone grade and quality. Both offer great value for the investment.
- For resale value and popularity with buyers, granite still edges out quartz slightly, but not by much.
- If going green is important, quartz has far less environmental impact since it is engineered versus mined.
While the final choice between granite and quartz depends on your needs, you can feel confident that both offer incredible performance, beauty, and enjoyment for years to come. With proper care, either of these countertops will serve you well and increase the value of your home.
Frequently Asked Questions about Granite and Quartz Countertops
Here are answers to some common questions about granite and quartz countertops:
Which is better for kitchen countertops?
For kitchen countertops, both granite and quartz are excellent choices that can handle heavy daily use. Quartz requires less maintenance making it ideal for busy kitchens, while granite provides a richer, unique appearance.
What are the disadvantages of granite countertops?
Granite’s disadvantages include its need for regular sealing, potential cracking/chipping if impacted, and staining from spills if not sealed properly. It also has natural variations that not everyone appreciates.
What are the disadvantages of quartz countertops?
Quartz has a more uniform look that lacks the natural patterning of real stone. Its appearance is not as prestigious to some homeowners. Quartz can scorch at very high temperatures.
Is quartz or granite better for bathroom countertops?
In bathrooms, quartz holds up better to high humidity and water splashes. Both quartz and granite are good for vanity tops but quartz will show fewer water spots and rings.
Is quartz cheaper than granite?
In most cases, installed prices for quartz and granite are very similar – within about $20-$30 per square foot on average. Cheap granite can be lower cost, while premium quartz prices can be higher.
Which material is most stain resistant?
Quartz has the best stain resistance, while granite needs periodic sealing to prevent staining. For kitchens, quartz resistance to wine, oil, tomato sauce, and other spills makes it the easiest care.
Can you damage quartz countertops?
Quartz is very durable but not indestructible. Heavy impacts may chip the edges. Very high heat from hot pans can scorch the surface. But quartz stands up well to normal daily use when cared for properly.
Granite and quartz each have their pros and cons for kitchen and bathroom countertops. While quartz is practically maintenance-free and granite needs regular sealing, both are excellent choices that will enhance your home’s beauty for decades to come. Consider how each material meets your own priorities – whether natural stone beauty, low maintenance, or budget – to select the best countertop for your needs. With some smart planning, you can enjoy stunning granite or quartz surfaces that stay looking beautiful year after year.