Quartz and granite are two of the most popular materials for kitchen and bathroom countertops. Both offer durability, style, and ease of maintenance, but they differ in composition, appearance, and pricing. This article examines the pros and cons of quartz vs. granite countertops to help you determine which is the better choice for your home remodeling or new construction project.
What is Quartz?
Quartz countertops, also known as engineered stone, are made from ground quartz crystals combined with resins and pigments. The quartz content typically ranges from 90-94%. Polymer resins make up the remaining 6-10% and act as a binder.
The mixture is molded into slabs and hardened under intense vibration and pressure. It is then polished into the lustrous, non-porous slabs used for countertops. The resins give quartz its vibrant color consistency, translucency, and resistance to scratches.
Pros of Quartz Countertops
- Extremely durable – Quartz has a hardness rating of 7 on the Mohs scale, making it harder than granite (rated 6-7) and less prone to chipping or scratching. The resin binders provide added strength.
- Low maintenance – Non-porous quartz resists stains and doesn’t require regular sealing like natural stone. Simply clean with soap and water.
- Consistent color and pattern – Engineered stone has uniform speckles and veining throughout each slab. Natural stone has more variation.
- Heat and scratch resistant – Quartz can withstand heat up to 212°F. It won’t scorch like granite. The resins make it very resilient to scratches and etching.
- Non-porous – Liquid spills can’t penetrate the surface, minimizing potential staining.
- Wide range of colors and styles – Manufacturers offer hundreds of color/pattern options from neutral to bold. Some mimic granite and marble looks.
- More eco-friendly manufacturing – Quartz has a lower carbon footprint compared to natural stone extraction and processing. There’s less waste.
Cons of Quartz Countertops
- Expensive – Quartz typically runs $80-150 per square foot installed. Granite starts around $40 per square foot.
- Some limitations with edges/cutouts – Quartz has more flexibility than granite but can’t be cut quite as intricately. Curves and angles may be limited.
- Requires professional installation – Special tools are needed to cut and finish quartz precisely. DIY installation is not advised.
- Can appear artificial – The consistent speckles lack the depth and dimension of natural stone surfaces.
What is Granite?
Granite is a highly durable natural stone formed by volcanic activity. It’s composed of quartz, feldspar, mica, and other minerals that give it a speckled appearance. Granite forms large slabs within quarries, which are extracted and cut into countertops.
Pros of Granite Countertops
- Unique natural beauty – No two granite slabs are alike. Color, veining, and patterns vary for one-of-a-kind looks.
- Adds value – Natural granite is a luxury material that increases resale value. It conveys quality and style.
- Durable and heat resistant – Granite is nearly impossible to chip or crack. It won’t burn or scorch.
- Easier cutting for seamless look – Granite can be cut and edged with tighter seams between countertop pieces.
- Cooler surface temperature – Natural stone stays cooler than engineered quartz.
- Less expensive – Granite starts around $40 per square foot. Higher-end exotic types can be over $100.
- Eco-friendly & natural material – Granite is an abundant natural material that doesn’t use man-made resins.
Cons of Granite Countertops
- Requires periodic sealing – Granite is porous and needs resealing every 1-2 years to prevent staining.
- More color variation – Granite has natural fissures and tonality differences throughout each slab.
- Stains easier than quartz – The tiny pores make granite more prone to absorbing stains if not properly sealed.
- Needs strong reinforcement – Granite cracks under stress if not installed over a sturdy cabinet base.
- Limited styles – Most granites come in white/gray/beige tones. There are fewer dramatic colors and patterns.
- Hard on glassware – Granite can dull or chip glasses, pots, and pans if they are slid across the surface.
- Can harbor bacteria – Natural granite is somewhat porous and could allow bacteria to harbor if not cleaned properly.
Cost Comparison: Quartz vs Granite
Quartz countertops range from $80-150 per square foot installed. Granite counters typically cost $40-100 per square foot installed. Here’s a breakdown:
- Quartz: $80-100 per sq. ft. for mid-range options. $100-150 per sq. ft. for premium designer brands.
- Granite: $40-60 per sq. ft. for low-end granite. $60-100 sq. ft. for mid to high-end. Exotics over $100 per sq. ft.
Quartz requires less maintenance over its lifespan. But granite may increase home value more at resale due to its prestige. Overall, granite is the less expensive upfront option, while quartz offers more durability per dollar.
Quartz vs Granite: Which is Better for Countertops?
So which is the better material for kitchen or bathroom countertops? Here’s a quick rundown of the pros and cons:
- Extremely durable
- Low maintenance
- Resists scratches, stains, heat
- Consistent color and patterns
- More expensive upfront cost
- Can look too uniform for some tastes
- Limited edging options
- Natural material and beauty
- Increases home value
- Heat resistance
- Less expensive upfront
- Requires regular sealing
- More prone to staining
- Chipping if not properly supported
- Limited color/style options
If low maintenance, durability, and a stylish modern look are your priorities, quartz is likely the better choice. If you want natural stone beauty, don’t mind sealing, and want to add long-term value, granite may be the winner.
Get quotes from fabricators for both options after measuring your space. Be sure to factor in professional installation costs. While the upfront price is higher for quartz, reduced lifetime maintenance costs help offset the difference.
See quartz and granite slabs in person before finalizing your decision. Both are stunning options that will enhance your kitchen or bath for years to come. Let your personal style and priorities guide you to the best selection!
Frequently Asked Questions About Quartz vs Granite Countertops
Is quartz more durable than granite?
Yes, quartz rates 7 on the Mohs hardness scale compared to granite’s 6-7 rating. The resin binders mixed with quartz make it highly scratch resistant and less prone to chipping. Granite will show nicks and cuts over time with regular use.
Does quartz need to be sealed?
No. Quartz is non-porous so it never needs sealing. Granite must be sealed every 1-2 years to prevent staining.
Which material is heat resistant?
Both quartz and granite resist heat very well. But quartz can withstand slightly higher temperatures up to 212°F compared to granite at around 150°F.
Can you cut on quartz or granite countertops?
We don’t recommend cutting directly on either surface. Use a cutting board instead. However, minor nicks or cuts will be less noticeable on busy granite patterns compared to solid quartz.
Which material costs more?
Quartz typically costs $80-150 per square foot installed. Granite runs $40-100 per square foot. Exotic granites can be over $100 per square foot. Overall, quartz is more expensive.
Does quartz or granite add more value to a home?
Granite is regarded as a luxury material and can boost resale value more than quartz. But newer homes often favor quartz for its low maintenance and modern appearance. They increase value too but may not recoup quite as much cost at resale.
Is quartz or granite better for bathrooms?
Both work excellently in bathrooms! Quartz provides an easy-care, sanitary surface. But granite creates a nice visual contrast against tile and is naturally slip resistant. Ultimately personal style preference should determine the choice.
Which material is more eco-friendly?
Granite is a natural material, but quartz generates less waste from manufacturing. Look for quartz made with recycled content. Some quartz even uses bio-based resins. Granite quarrying reduces mountainside wildlife habitats. Overall, both materials have pros and cons.
Choosing between quartz and granite countertops largely comes down to priorities around budget, style, maintenance, and eco-friendliness. For most, quartz provides the best durability and easy care option despite the higher initial investment. But natural granite offers timeless beauty and value boosts for those willing to take care of it.
Carefully examine beautiful slabs of each material and get professional installation quotes. Consider how the style fits your kitchen or bath. Quartz and granite both make exceptional countertop surfaces that will serve you well for decades. Let your needs and personal taste thoughtfully guide you to the perfect choice!