When it comes to choosing a countertop material for your kitchen or bathroom, two of the most popular options are quartz and granite. Both offer durability and visual appeal, but they differ in some important ways. Here is an in-depth comparison of quartz vs granite countertops to help you determine which is the better choice for your home renovation or new construction project.
Quartz Countertops Overview
Quartz countertops, also known as engineered stone, are made from ground natural quartz crystals combined with polyresin binders under high pressure. The result is a man-made material that is non-porous, highly durable, and stain-resistant.
Some key advantages of quartz countertops:
- Extremely durable – Quartz is harder and less prone to chipping/scratching than granite.
- Low maintenance – Requires no sealing and easily cleaned with soap and water.
- Resistant to stains – The non-porous surface prevents liquids from penetrating.
- Consistent patterning – The manufacturing process creates uniform speckled patterns.
- Variety of colors – Available in wide range of colors and styles.
- No sealing required – Unlike granite, quartz does not need periodic sealing.
Popular quartz countertop brands: Silestone, Caesarstone, Cambria, LG Viatera, Quartz Master
Granite Countertops Overview
Granite is a natural stone that is mined from quarries around the world. It is an igneous rock formed from magma below the earth’s surface. Granite countertops add timeless beauty and value to kitchens and baths.
Benefits of granite countertops:
- Unique natural patterns – No two slabs of granite are the same due to natural variations.
- Heat resistance – Granite can withstand hot pots/pans without damage.
- Timeless elegance – Visually appealing and luxurious, granite counters add style.
- Durability – Though not as hard as quartz, granite is very durable for daily use.
- Large slab sizes – Granite comes in very large slabs for fewer seams.
- Can be repaired – Small scratches and chips can often be repaired vs. replaced.
- Increases home value – Granite counters add value for resale.
Popular granite colors: Ubatuba, New Caledonia, Absolute Black, Santa Cecilia, Kashmir White
Quartz vs Granite: Key Differences
| Comparison | Quartz | Granite |
| Composition | Ground quartz + resin binders | Natural stone |
| Patterns | Consistent | Unique variations |
| Colors | Wide variety | Limited natural shades |
| Maintenance | None, just clean | Periodic sealing needed |
| Heat resistance | Good | Excellent |
| Scratch resistance | Excellent | Good |
| Cost | $50-100 per sq.ft. installed | $40-150 per sq.ft. installed |
| Durability | Extremely durable | Durable with proper care |
Which is Better for Kitchen Counters?
For most kitchen settings, quartz often gets the edge over granite for a few reasons:
- Requires no sealing or special cleaners
- Highly scratch and stain resistant
- Easier to keep looking pristine over years of use
- More variety in colors and patterns
However, granite is unbeatable in terms of natural beauty and elegance. It also holds up better under extremely hot pans and resists scratches from sharp knives. Granite makes a superb choice if you don’t mind the periodic sealing and avoidance of harsh cleaners.
Which is Ideal for Bathroom Vanities?
In bathrooms, quartz and granite offer similar advantages. The low-maintenance nature and water-resistance of quartz lends itself well to bath vanities. However, granite will bring an extra level of elegance to a master or powder bath. Both materials stand up excellently to the humidity and splashes common in bathrooms.
Quartz and granite have similar overall installed costs, averaging $50-100 per square foot. However, quartz is available at lower price points than high-end granites. The final costs for both depend on:
- Base material cost per slab
- Cutting fees for shaping
- Installation charges
- Special options like polished edges
Be sure to get an all-inclusive installed quote from your countertop company. An experienced fabricator can guide you to affordable options for your budget.
Is Quartz or Granite Better for Resale Value?
While granite and quartz are both seen as premium counters, real estate agents report that granite tops add slightly more value at resale than quartz. However, quartz counters will still recoup a majority of their cost.
The best approach is choosing the material you most prefer for usability and style. Both offer good return on investment.
Quartz vs Granite: Which is Right for You?
When weighing granite versus quartz, consider your own priorities in terms of budget, style, and practicality. Key deciding factors include:
Consider Quartz if you want:
- Low maintenance convenience
- Resistance to scratches and stains
- Uniform speckled patterns
- Large variety of colors
Go for Granite if you value:
- Natural stone beauty
- Distinctive veins and patterns
- Heat resistance for kitchen use
- Classic, timeless elegance
Frequently Asked Questions
Is quartz more durable than granite?
Yes, quartz is harder and more resistant to chips, scratches and cracks than granite. However, granite is nearly as durable for everyday use with proper care.
Can you damage quartz counters?
Quartz is very tough but not damage-proof. Impacts from heavy objects dropped on quartz can potentially chip or crack it. Avoid direct blows and use cutting boards.
Does quartz need to be sealed?
No. Unlike granite and marble, quartz does not absorb liquids so sealing is not needed. Simply clean with soap and water.
What are the cons of granite counters?
Granite requires more maintenance than quartz. It needs periodic sealing to prevent stains and harboring bacteria. Granite can also chip if struck hard by a heavy pan.
Is quartz cheaper than granite?
The costs are similar, but low-end quartz can be a bit cheaper. High-end designer granites are more expensive than luxury quartz. Overall installation costs are comparable.
How often does granite need to be sealed?
Sealing granite once a year is recommended for kitchen counters. Bathroom granite vanities may need sealing every 3-4 months due to greater moisture exposure.
Can you burn quartz countertops?
While resistant to heat damage, leaving very hot pans directly on quartz can potentially scorch the surface. Use trivets or hot pads. Granite has higher heat tolerance.
Does quartz stain easily?
No, quartz is non-porous so spills cannot penetrate the surface. However, stains should still be cleaned promptly to avoid possible etching.
While granite and quartz each have their pros and cons, both offer great durability and style for kitchens and baths. For most buyers, low maintenance quartz counters provide the easiest user experience without sacrificing aesthetic appeal. But classic granite remains a top choice for its allure and prestige. Carefully weigh the factors that matter most to you. An informed decision will lead to lasting satisfaction with your new countertops!