Deciding between granite and quartz countertops for your bathroom remodel? Both materials have their pros and cons. Here’s a detailed comparison to help you choose the best option for your space and needs.
When it comes to bathroom countertops, granite and quartz are two of the most popular options. They are both natural stone materials known for their durability, aesthetics, and low maintenance. However, there are some key differences between the two that are worth considering.
Granite is a natural stone that is mined from quarries around the world. It is an igneous rock composed primarily of quartz, feldspar, and mica. Granite forms over millions of years as magma cools far below the earth’s surface. It is an extremely hard and dense stone.
Quartz countertops are engineered stone made from crushed quartz bound together with resin. The resin makes quartz non-porous and harder than granite. Many quartz options today also incorporate recycled materials like glass or mirror fragments. This allows more flexibility in colors and patterns compared to natural granite.
Below we’ll compare granite vs quartz on factors like appearance, durability, maintenance, cost, and health and environmental impact to help you select the best material for your bathroom remodel.
Granite slabs are unique in their coloring and patterning. Granite can be found in a wide range of natural colors like gray, pink, black, white, brown, red, green, and blue. Swirls, speckles, and veining make each granite slab one-of-a-kind. The natural beauty of granite creates an elegant, high-end look.
Quartz offers a wider array of color options since pigments can be added during manufacturing. Quartz patterns are more uniform than granite. Quartz often mimics the look of natural stone with flecks and veining in the material. There is a diverse selection of quartz countertops to match any design style.
If having a unique pattern is important, granite may be the better choice. For a wider selection of colors and ability to match a specific design aesthetic, quartz has more versatility.
Granite is arguably the most durable material for bathroom countertops. It has excellent scratch, stain, and heat resistance. However, granite can chip if subjected to a heavy impact. Sealing is recommended every 1-2 years to maintain water resistance.
Quartz has extremely high durability as well. It is harder than granite, making it very scratch resistant. Quartz also resists staining and heat very well. But like granite, quartz can chip if impacted heavily. No sealing is required with quartz since it is non-porous.
Both materials are excellent choices in terms of durability for bathroom spaces. Quartz requires slightly less maintenance without ongoing sealing needs. Granite holds up well with regular sealing.
Granite requires some periodic maintenance. It needs to be sealed every 1-2 years to prevent stains from penetrating the porous surface. Granite should be cleaned with pH-neutral stone cleaners only. While durable, acidic cleaners can etch and damage the surface over time.
One of the greatest benefits of quartz is that it requires very little maintenance. Since it is non-porous, quartz does not need regular sealing. Simple cleaning with soap and water is enough to keep quartz pristine. Quartz is not bothered by acidic cleaners either.
For busy households, quartz’s lack of required sealing and hassle-free cleaning may make it the preferable choice. Granite needs more careful, regular maintenance to uphold its water- and stain-resistance.
Natural granite slabs tend to cost $40-$100 per square foot installed. More exotic granite types can be over $100 per square foot. The final price depends on the stone’s rarity, color, and veining patterns. Professional installation also impacts total costs.
Quartz countertops range from $80-$140 per square foot installed. Some high-end designer quartz lines can be $100+ per square foot. The color, pattern, and quartz brand will determine the overall price. Installation costs also factor into the total expense.
Quartz tends to cost a bit more upfront than granite. However, quartz requires less sealing/maintenance over time. Granite is more affordable at initial purchase but requires lifelong professional sealing. This helps even out long-term costs between the two materials.
Health and Environmental Impact
Granite is a natural material free of VOCs (volatile organic compounds). Some granites contain trace amounts of radon gas which should be measured during installation. Granite is an abundant natural resource. Quarrying does have some environmental impacts that need mitigation.
If you are chemically sensitive, quartz contains resin with trace VOCs that dissipate over time. Quartz often incorporates recycled glass and mirrors, giving it eco-friendly appeal. However, some quartz contains radionuclides like granite. Quartz requires more energy intensive manufacturing than simply mining granite.
Both materials can be good options for eco-conscious homeowners. Be sure to vet the stone’s sources carefully and understand radon risks fully before making a selection. Proper installation is key to minimizing health hazards.
Which is Better for a Bathroom – Granite or Quartz?
So which material should you choose for your bathroom countertops? Here are some key takeaways:
- Granite offers a classic, elegant look full of natural variation. Quartz provides more color/pattern options for contemporary spaces.
- Quartz requires less everyday maintenance without ongoing sealing needs.
- Granite is often more affordable upfront, while quartz may save over time without frequent sealing costs.
- Both offer fantastic durability for bathroom spaces. Quartz is slightly harder and less prone to staining/etching.
- Consider health factors like radon and VOCs if you have chemical sensitivities.
Weigh your own priorities in terms of appearance, maintenance, cost, and health impacts. For a busy family bathroom, low-maintenance quartz may be preferable. For a natural stone look with unique veining, classic granite can create a stunning statement. With good research and professional installation, either material can be an excellent choice to create your dream bathroom.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is granite or quartz better for bathroom countertops?
It depends on your priorities. Granite offers a classic elegance and unique natural patterning. Quartz provides vast color options and requires very little maintenance without ongoing sealing. Both materials are highly durable choices.
Does granite need to be sealed in bathrooms?
Yes, granite should be sealed every 1-2 years even in bathroom spaces. Sealing granite helps prevent stains from penetrating the porous material. Proper sealing maintains granite’s water- and stain-resistance.
Is quartz cheaper than granite?
Generally no, quartz tends to cost more per square foot than granite. But quartz often ends up cheaper in the long run since it never needs professional sealing like granite requires over time.
Is quartz or granite more durable?
Quartz and granite have excellent and comparable durability. Both resist scratches, stains, and heat very well. Neither material is impact proof. Quartz is slightly harder and less prone to etching. Granite holds up with regular sealing.
Does quartz stain in bathrooms?
No, quartz is non-porous so it resists stains very well. Simple soap and water cleaning is enough to maintain quartz countertops without worries about staining. This makes quartz an excellent low-maintenance option.
When selecting a bathroom countertop material, granite and quartz both have outstanding advantages. Granite provides timeless, natural beauty impossible to replicate with a wide spectrum of colors and patterns. Easy-care quartz offers cutting-edge style with its vast array of modern options.
Consider the style you want along with practical factors like maintenance demands. Get samples to see both materials in the space. A knowledgeable interior designer can also help assess your needs to select the perfect countertop material for your new bathroom. With some thoughtful planning, you’re sure to end up with a beautiful and functional bathroom you’ll enjoy for decades to come.