When it comes to choosing a countertop for your kitchen or bathroom, two of the most popular options are granite and quartz. But which one is the better material? There are pros and cons to both, so it really comes down to your own personal preferences and needs. Here is an in-depth comparison of granite vs quartz countertops to help you decide which is right for your home.
Durability and Maintenance
Granite is one of the most durable natural stone options for countertops. Made from crystallized magma, it’s incredibly hard and scratch resistant. It can last for decades with proper care. However, granite is somewhat porous, so liquids can potentially stain it without proper sealing. It needs to be resealed about once a year to maintain water resistance. Avoid using harsh chemicals on granite, as they can eat away at the surface.
Quartz countertops are made from ground quartz crystals combined with resins and pigments. This engineered material makes quartz more durable than natural stone. It’s non-porous, so it never needs to be sealed. Quartz is essentially maintenance free and can be cleaned with mild soap and water. It’s also harder than granite, so it’s more resistant to scratches, chips and cracks. The resins make quartz more flexible, so sudden impacts are less likely to damage the surface.
Granite has a timeless, luxurious look with natural variation in the veining patterns. No two granite slabs are exactly alike. Granite comes in many different colors from vivid blue to burgundy red to speckled black and white. The natural patterning gives each granite countertop a distinct, unique appearance. Keep in mind that the sealing required for granite can eventually lead to visible wear if not maintained properly over time.
Quartz countertops have a more uniform appearance since they are engineered composites. The quartz crystals and pigments create random but controlled patterns for a modern, sleek look. Quartz comes in a wide selection of colors and styles to suit any design aesthetic. Many quartz options emulate the look of natural marble and granite. An advantage of quartz over natural stone is that the patterns are consistent across the entire surface with no flaws or weak points.
Granite countertops are only moderately expensive, making them a great value investment. The price typically ranges from $40–$100 per square foot installed. More exotic imported granite can be pricier.
Quartz tends to cost a bit more, averaging $70–$120 per square foot installed. The higher prices come from the advanced technology used to engineer the material for optimal performance. Overall, quartz is an affordable option that looks stunning without breaking the bank.
Granite is naturally heat resistant and can withstand hot pots and pans. However, thermal shock from rapid temperature changes can potentially damage granite. Using trivets and hot pads is recommended to be safe.
Quartz is not quite as heat tolerant as natural stone. Prolonged direct heat exposure from pots and pans can potentially scorch or crack quartz. Trivets or hot pads should always be used. However, quartz holds up very well to brief everyday heat exposure when cooking or baking. Just avoid exposing the surface to extreme direct heat.
Granite is somewhat prone to staining since it is porous. Oils, grease and acidic liquids like wine, coffee and fruit juices can soak into the surface and leave discolorations if not promptly cleaned. Proper sealing is key to minimize staining.
Quartz is non-porous, making it highly resistant to stains. It can withstand common food and beverages without absorbing them. However, prolonged exposure can still lead to very faint staining. But quartz will maintain its clean, like-new appearance for many years with virtually no staining issues.
Granite is naturally antibacterial and resistant to harboring bacteria due to its density and acidity. Keeping granite properly sealed is important for eliminating any pores that could trap germs.
Quartz contains antibacterial properties within its resins to prevent bacterial growth. The non-porous surface leaves no place for germs to hide. This makes quartz an extremely hygienic option.
Which is Better for Kitchen Countertops?
For kitchen countertops that need to stand up to heavy daily use and potential abuse, quartz is generally the better choice. The superior durability, stain resistance, and low maintenance requirements make quartz an ideal surface for food prep and cooking. Granite can work well too, but it requires more routine sealing and careful maintenance.
Which is Better for Bathroom Vanities?
For bathroom vanities, granite and quartz are both excellent options that can deliver lasting beauty. The choice comes down to personal preference regarding appearance and maintenance needs. Granite offers a timeless, elegant look at a moderate price point. But quartz will better resist moisture and the potential for water spots.
Granite vs Quartz: The Final Verdict
When choosing between granite vs quartz, there are reasonable arguments to be made for either material. Granite brings natural beauty, timeless appeal, and good value. It works well when maintained properly. Quartz offers superior durability, stain proofing, and hassle-free care. But it comes at a higher price.
Ultimately, quartz makes an exceptional countertop overall if you want minimal maintenance. But classic granite remains a great option if you appreciate natural stone and don’t mind yearly sealing. Be sure to inspect stone slabs in person during the selection process to get a true sense of each material. And consult with an experienced countertop installer to decide which material best suits your home and lifestyle.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is granite or quartz better for resale value?
Both granite and quartz are premium countertop options that can boost resale value. Granite may have a slight edge due to its timeless appeal. But quartz is rapidly gaining popularity for its performance and understated elegance.
Is quartz healthier than granite?
Both materials are non-toxic and safe. But quartz resists bacterial growth better than natural stone. Quartz requires virtually no sealing, eliminating potential issues with grime in pores. This enhanced hygiene makes quartz a marginally healthier choice.
Which material is more eco-friendly?
Granite is generally more eco-friendly, as it is an abundant natural material that requires little processing. Quartz relies on engineered resins, so manufacturing has a larger carbon footprint. However, technology keeps improving to produce greener quartz.
Does quartz scratch easily?
Quartz is highly scratch resistant. It takes significant force to scratch quartz. Day-to-day use will not mar or damage quartz countertops when properly cared for.
Can you set a hot pan on quartz?
It’s best to use trivets or hot pads on quartz. While brief contact with hot pans is ok, prolonged direct high heat can potentially damage quartz. Granite is a bit more heat tolerant.
Does quartz need to be sealed?
No, quartz never requires sealing. Its non-porous surface prevents any moisture absorption. This alleviates the need for routine sealing required by natural stone.
Granite and quartz both make excellent choices for kitchen and bathroom countertops. Quartz stands out for its superior durability and stain resistance. But classic granite remains a popular option for its natural elegance. Consider the pros and cons of each material carefully, along with your own lifestyle needs. And be sure to view stone slabs and quartz designs in person before making a decision. Investing in high quality countertop installation is also key to getting a result you’ll love. With quartz or granite, you can achieve countertops that will stay beautiful for decades to come.