Deciding between quartz and granite countertops can be a difficult choice. Both materials have their advantages and disadvantages when it comes to factors like appearance, durability, maintenance, and cost. This article provides an in-depth comparison between quartz and granite to help you determine which is the better choice for your kitchen or bathroom countertops.
Granite is a natural stone that is mined from quarries around the world. It is formed over millions of years under intense heat and pressure, giving it a unique and varied appearance. No two granite slabs are exactly alike – the stone can exhibit dramatic veins, swirls, and speckles in colors like black, gray, brown, red, white, and even blue. The randomly-occurring patterns make each granite countertop a true one-of-a-kind.
Granite’s natural beauty is very popular, but the downside is that slabs vary greatly in appearance. It may be difficult to find a large enough slab with uniform coloring and patterning for a whole countertop.
Quartz countertops are engineered from quartz crystals and resin. The manufacturing process allows quartz to mimic the look of natural stone but with more uniform patterning and color consistency.
The resin binding gives quartz an appearance similar to granite. Popular quartz patterns include speckles, swirls, and veins in tones like white, gray, brown, and black. There is more variation in color and pattern available with quartz than natural granite.
Since quartz is engineered, the manufacturer has more control over the final look. It is easier to find matching quartz slabs for a seamless appearance throughout the countertops.
Granite and quartz are both attractive options that add a high-end, natural stone look to a kitchen or bath. Granite is especially prized for its unique patterning, while quartz offers more predictable uniformity. It comes down to personal preference – if you want something uniquely distinctive, choose granite. If you prefer less variation, go with quartz.
As a natural stone, granite is very durable and resistant to scratches, heat, and stains. It rates about a 7 on the Mohs hardness scale. The dense stone does not easily harbor bacteria. Granite can last a lifetime with proper care and maintenance.
However, granite is still porous enough that sealing is required periodically to prevent stains from penetrating. Cracks can form over time. Granite can chip if subjected to a hard impact.
With a Mohs hardness rating of about 7-8, quartz countertops are similarly scratch, chip, and crack resistant. The resin binding makes quartz non-porous, so sealing is not required. Quartz resists stains, bacteria, and heat very well.
Quartz is nearly indestructible for routine kitchen use. It maintains its durability and appearance for many years. Stress cracks and chips are less likely to occur with quartz.
While granite is very durable, quartz’s non-porous nature gives it an advantage for long-lasting use without the maintenance needs of sealing. For busy kitchens that will see a lot of wear, quartz is the better choice.
Regular cleaning of granite counterops involves wiping down with a damp microfiber cloth and pH-neutral stone cleaner. Disinfectant can be used occasionally. More intensive scrubbing may sometimes be required for sticky spills or cooking stains.
The main maintenance need of granite is periodic resealing, typically every 1-3 years. Resealing fills in the microscopic pores and prevents liquids from causing stains. A professional application is recommended to get full coverage.
Maintenance is one of the biggest advantages of quartz. Since it is non-porous, quartz countertops only need occasional cleaning with soap and water or a basic counter spray cleaner. No sealing or polishing is ever required.
The simple, low-maintenance routine keeps quartz counters hygienic with little effort. You don’t have to be as careful about spills and messes damaging the surface.
Quartz requires virtually no maintenance besides basic cleaning. Granite needs regular sealing to prevent staining and deterioration in its appearance and water resistance. The extra effort of sealing every year makes granite more high-maintenance.
Natural granite is quarried and cut into slabs, so there are more steps involved in getting it ready for install. The cost for granite countertops averages $60-$100 per square foot installed. Unique granite can be on the higher end while more common types are lower.
Since it is a natural material, pricing is also affected by availability – increasing demand drives cost up. Granite requires professional installation, which is an added expense.
Averaging $70-$100 per square foot installed, quartz counters are on par price-wise with natural granite. The engineered material keeps quartz pricing more consistent and avoids volatility from supply fluctuations.
Quartz doesn’t necessarily require professional installers, which can lower the overall investment. High-quality quartz is comparable to mid-range granite. Unique granite may exceed quartz in cost.
There is significant overlap in prices for installed granite and quartz countertops. Unless choosing very high-end or exotic granite, the cost difference is negligible. It comes down to budget and aesthetic preferences rather than a clear winner on affordability.
Which is Better: Quartz or Granite?
When choosing between quartz vs granite countertops, there are good arguments to be made for either option. Granite is naturally stunning and valued for its uniqueness. Quartz offers low maintenance and great durability. Both can be excellent choices for kitchen and bathroom remodeling.
Consider how the different factors align with your priorities:
Go with granite if you want:
- Unique natural appearance
- Prestigious high-end aesthetic
- Long lifetime if properly sealed
Go with quartz if you want:
- Consistent patterning and color
- Extreme durability and stain resistance
- Little required maintenance
- Seamless appearance
Both countertop materials add beautiful, luxury appeal. Make sure to inspect slabs in person before finalizing a decision. Consult with a professional fabricator for advice specific to your space. Weigh your options carefully to pick the best countertop for your needs.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is quartz or granite better for kitchen countertops?
For most kitchens, quartz makes the better choice due to its durability, stain resistance, and low maintenance. Quartz tolerates hot pans, food spills, knives, and heavy daily use while staying hygienic and looking like new. Granite requires diligent sealing and care.
Which is more expensive, granite or quartz?
The cost per square foot installed is similar for both materials, ranging from $60-$100 on average. Exotic granites can be more expensive than premium quartz. But for standard types, the prices overlap significantly.
Is quartz better than real stone?
It depends on the priorities. Quartz lacks the natural uniqueness of granite. But quartz performs better in durability tests and requires no sealing. Both are excellent options that provide the look of high-end stone.
Does quartz need to be sealed?
No. Because quartz is non-porous, it never needs sealing or polishing. Easy cleaning with soap and water is all that is required. Sealing is recommended 1-3 times per year for natural stone like granite.
Is quartz easier to maintain than granite?
Yes. Quartz only needs occasional wiping with a damp cloth. No sealing or polishing is required. Granite needs regular sealing treatments to maintain its water resistance and prevent stains. Quartz’s lack of required upkeep makes it the easier-to-maintain option.
While granite and quartz each have their pros and cons, quartz countertops are the lower maintenance, more durable choice for busy kitchens. The engineered material resists stains, heat damage, and cracking better long-term compared to natural stone.
However, granite is unmatched in its unique natural beauty. For those seeking a one-of-a-kind aesthetic, granite can be a stunning addition despite needing more care. Be sure to factor in your own priorities to decide between these two excellent countertop materials.