Choosing new countertops for your kitchen or bathroom remodel? Granite and quartz are two of the most popular options on the market today. But which one is the better choice for your home? Here is an in-depth comparison of granite vs quartz countertops to help you decide.
Durability and Maintenance
Durability and ease of maintenance are two critical factors when selecting countertop materials.
Granite is an extremely hard natural stone that can last a lifetime with proper care. It is practically scratch-proof and highly heat and stain resistant. However, granite is somewhat porous and requires yearly sealing to prevent stains from penetratating the surface. Avoid using harsh cleaners on granite, as it can damage the sealant. Overall, granite is a durable surface that just needs simple maintenance.
Quartz countertops are engineered from natural stone and resins. This makes quartz non-porous, so it never needs sealing or polishing. Quartz is highly scratch, chip, and crack resistant. It is also unaffected by acids and heat. However, the resin binders in quartz can be damaged by strong chemicals. Quartz only requires gentle cleaning with soap and water to keep it looking like new. It is virtually maintenance-free.
Winner: Quartz – Being non-porous and not requiring yearly sealing gives quartz a maintenance advantage.
Appearance and Styles
Granite and quartz both come in a wide array of colors and patterns to suit any design aesthetic.
Granite is available in vibrant colors like reds, blues, and greens from its natural mineral pigments. Granite forms random, unique patterns, giving each slab an artistic, one-of-a-kind look. It provides a high-end, luxurious appearance.
Quartz engineering gives it a more uniform look than natural stone. The patterns are pleasing but less unique slab-to-slab. Quartz offers over a hundred colors and styles from subtle whites and grays to bold, dramatic designs. The consistent pattern can better disguise seams after installation.
Winner: Tie – Granite and quartz offer numerous aesthetic options. It comes down to whether you prefer natural stone uniqueness or consistent engineered patterns.
Budget is a key factor that sways many homeowners toward quartz versus natural granite.
Granite is only sourced from quarries around the world, so it is limited in supply. Due to its rarity and import costs, natural granite is one of the most expensive options for kitchen countertops. Expect to pay $80-$150 per square foot installed. Unique granite colors and patterns can cost even more.
Quartz is engineered, so it is easier to produce in high quantities at lower costs. Pricing is typically in the range of $50-100 per square foot installed. Even premium-grade quartz costs less than many granite options. This makes quartz the more budget-friendly choice.
Winner: Quartz – Being manufactured gives quartz a cost advantage over the limited supply of natural granite.
Heat and Scratch Resistance
How well a countertop holds up to daily wear and tear is a priority.
Granite is extremely hard and scratch resistant. Resistant to heat up to 210°F, it can handle hot pots and pans. However, sudden temperature changes can cause granite to crack or chip. Granite’s main downside is its somewhat porous surface.
Quartz resists scratches, stains, chips and cracks even better than granite, thanks to its resin binders. It also withstands temperatures up to 300°F. Non-porous quartz never needs sealing and is unaffected by acids or alkaline. This makes it virtually scratch and heat-proof in the kitchen.
Winner: Quartz – Engineered quartz outperforms natural granite in tests of heat and scratch resistance. It is less prone to damage from daily use.
Kitchen countertops need to maintain clean, sanitary surfaces.
Granite is naturally anti-microbial, discouraging the growth of bacteria. However, since granite is porous, sealing is required to prevent bacteria from accumulating in pits and crevices in the surface. Cracks in the sealant can allow germs to collect.
Quartz is non-porous so it leaves no room for germs to hide. The resins make quartz highly resistant to mold, mildew and bacteria growth. Quartz requires no sealing, so there are no cracks to trap germs. This results in excellent sanitary properties.
Winner: Quartz – Being non-porous gives quartz the edge in cleanliness and sanitation.
Today’s consumers are environmentally-conscious about their purchase choices.
Granite is a 100% natural material, sourced responsibly from quarries. Local granite suppliers minimize environmental impact by sourcing stone regionally. Being natural, granite is highly eco-friendly and easily recycled.
Quartz is engineered in factories which have higher carbon footprints. However, technology advances are making production increasingly sustainable, especially with recycled content. Still, quartz lacks the inherent eco-benefits of a natural product like granite.
Winner: Granite – As a locally-sourced natural material, granite has the lowest environmental impact.
Granite vs. Quartz Countertops Comparison Chart
| Factor | Granite | Quartz | Winner |
| Durability | Extremely hard and durable with proper sealing. Lasts lifetimes. | Highly scratch, chip, and crack resistant. Requires no sealing. | Quartz |
| Maintenance | Requires yearly sealing. Avoid harsh cleaners that damage sealant. | Never needs sealing or polishing. Wash with soap and water. | Quartz |
| Styles/Appearance | Wide range of unique natural patterns and colors. Luxurious, high-end look. | Engineered for consistent patterns and colors in over 100 options. | Tie |
| Cost | $80-150 per sq. ft. installed average. More for rare granites. | $50-100 per sq. ft. installed. Premium grades cost less than luxury granite. | Quartz |
| Heat/Scratch Resistance | Resists scratches. Withstands heat up to 210°F. Prone to chips/cracks. | Highly scratch, stain, chip and crack resistant. Handles heat up to 300°F. | Quartz |
| Sanitary Properties | Naturally anti-microbial. Requires sealing to prevent germ trapping in porous surface. | Non-porous prevents bacterial growth. No sealing needed. Easy to sanitize. | Quartz |
| Eco-Friendliness | 100% natural material locally sourced from quarries. Easily recycled. | Manufacturing has larger carbon footprint but advances improving sustainability. | Granite |
Frequently Asked Questions
Below are answers to some common questions about granite and quartz countertops.
Is granite or quartz better?
Both materials make excellent countertops, but quartz performs better across most factors. Being non-porous and not requiring sealing gives quartz an advantage in durability, maintenance, heat/scratch resistance, and sanitary properties. It also costs significantly less than natural granite.
Is quartz healthier than granite?
Yes, quartz is generally regarded as the healthier choice. Being non-porous, quartz resists bacteria growth and requires no sealing to prevent germs from accumulating in cracks and pores. Quartz rarely needs harsh chemical cleaners that may come in contact with food prep.
Is quartz worth the extra cost over granite?
Quartz actually costs less than granite, with an average installed price of $50-100 per sq.ft compared to granite’s $80-150 per sq.ft. This makes quartz the more budget-friendly option while still outperforming granite in most aspects. The higher initial cost of granite may not justify choosing it over quartz.
Does quartz stain like granite?
No, quartz does not stain like natural stone. Granite requires yearly sealing to repel stains, while quartz is non-porous so stains cannot penetrate the surface. Quartz is highly scratch, chip, crack, and stain resistant without the need for sealing.
Is quartz cooler than granite?
Yes, quartz stays cooler than natural stone granite or marble. Quartz absorbs less heat so remains closer to room temperature than traditional stones which become cold or hot to the touch. This makes quartz more comfortable on bare skin.
When choosing between granite vs quartz countertops, quartz comes out ahead for most home kitchens and bathrooms. The engineered stone offers superior durability, maintenance, resistance, sanitary properties, and affordability compared to natural granite. While no material is perfect, quartz makes an excellent long-lasting countertop for busy spaces that need to stand up to heavy use. With over 100 color and pattern options, quartz brings beauty and practicality at relatively low cost. For most homeowners, quartz represents the better overall value for countertops.