Granite and quartz are both popular choices for kitchen and bathroom countertops. They are natural stones that are very durable, stylish, and easy to maintain. But which one is the better option for your home? Here is a detailed comparison of granite vs quartz countertops to help you decide.
When choosing new countertops, you want a material that is resilient, low-maintenance, and visually appealing. Both granite and quartz check those boxes. Granite is an igneous rock made of interlocking mineral crystals, while quartz is made from one of the hardest minerals on earth. They are crafted into countertops that can last for decades with proper care.
So how do you choose between these two excellent options? We will examine the pros and cons of granite and quartz countertops, including differences in appearance, durability, maintenance, cost, and more. Whether you prefer the unique beauty of natural stone or the consistent pattern of engineered quartz, understanding the key distinctions will ensure you select the right material for your home.
One of the biggest appeals of granite is its stunning visual impact. Granite has a timeless, natural beauty with unique color variations, veining, and movement. No two granite slabs are exactly alike. Granite can be found in many colors from vivid blue to mottled black and everything in between. The irregular patterns and distinct characteristics give granite countertops lots of personality.
Quartz countertops provide consistent, uniform color and pattern. The speckled appearance comes from bits of quartz blended with natural stone and resin. Quartet is engineered for reliable performance, so there are no changes from slab to slab. The controlled color and pattern provide a clean, contemporary look. While quartz lacks the variegation of natural granite, the uniformity can be desirable for certain aesthetic preferences.
As one of the hardest structural stones on earth, granite is extremely durable. Granite rates from 7-8 on the Mohs hardness scale, meaning it can withstand impacts, scratches, and heat. The crystalline structure makes granite very resilient. With proper sealing, granite countertops can perform well for many years.
Quartz is composed of one of the hardest minerals, so it is also extremely durable for countertops. Engineered quartz rates around 7 on the Mohs scale, making it comparable to granite. The added resins create a very hard, non-porous material that can stand up to heavy usage. However, quartz can be vulnerable to damage from excessive heat.
Overall, granite and quartz are both very durable options that can handle the demands of busy kitchens. Granite is a bit more heat resistant, but quartz is also very strong. Both offer long-lasting beauty and performance.
Since granite is porous, it requires periodic sealing to prevent stains. Sealant fills the microscopic pores that could otherwise allow liquids to soak in. Annual sealing is typically recommended. Routine cleaning with mild soap and water is all that’s needed for day-to-day care. Avoid abrasive cleansers that could damage the surface.
One of the advantages of engineered quartz is that it never needs to be sealed. The resin makes quartz non-porous so spills and messes can be easily wiped away without staining. For routine cleaning, mild soap and water or a quartz-specific cleaner are recommended. Avoid abrasive pads or cleansers.
Overall, quartz requires less maintenance since it does not need ongoing sealing. Granite needs more care and attention, but is very durable when properly sealed and maintained.
In general, quartz countertops tend to cost a bit less than granite. Here are some typical price ranges:
- Granite: $60-$150 per square foot installed
- Quartz: $70-$120 per square foot installed
However, prices fluctuate based on factors like color, edge treatments, and local labor costs. Unique granite slabs with rare mineral compositions can top $200 per square foot, while inexpensive quartz options go down to $50 per square foot.
Over the lifetime of the countertops, regular sealing and occasional repairs add to the cost of granite. The lower maintenance needs of quartz make it more budget-friendly long-term in many cases.
Pros and Cons
- Unique natural beauty and variation
- Extremely durable and heat resistant
- Can be refinished and repaired as needed
- Timeless, classic aesthetic
- Requires yearly sealing
- Can stain without proper sealing
- More expensive on average
- Limited color/pattern options
- Consistent color and speckled pattern
- Non-porous so no sealing needed
- Stain and scratch resistant
- Easy maintenance
- Often more affordable
- Lacks natural variation
- Less heat tolerant
- Can be damaged by strong impacts
- Limited to engineered color/pattern options
Which is Better for Your Home?
There are great reasons to choose either granite or quartz countertops. Which is the better option comes down to your priorities.
For natural beauty and durability, especially in cooking zones, granite is hard to beat. But if low maintenance and contemporary uniformity are preferable, quartz makes an excellent choice.
Consider how the material aligns with your lifestyle, aesthetic tastes, and budget expectations. Get samples to see the color and finish options. A professional fabricator can also advise you on which material suits your space.
With proper installation and care, both granite and quartz can serve you well for many years. Ensure whichever you select is sealed regularly and cleaned with non-abrasive products. Take time to decide between the natural drama of granite vs the consistency of quartz to make the optimal choice for your home.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is granite or quartz better for kitchen countertops?
For most kitchens, granite is the better choice due to its superior heat resistance, natural beauty, and durability if properly sealed. Quartz works well too but may show damage over time when exposed to hot pots and pans.
Does quartz stain like granite?
No, quartz does not stain since it is non-porous. Granite can absorb stains if not sealed properly and regularly. Quartz resists damage from spills and messes.
Is quartz cheaper than granite?
On average, installed quartz countertops cost $10-20 less per square foot than granite. However, material prices can overlap depending on the specific products selected.
How often do you have to seal granite?
Sealing granite once a year is the general recommendation to maintain stain protection. More frequent sealing is a good idea for kitchens that see a lot of use.
Does quartz hold up as well as granite?
Quartz and granite have very comparable durability. Both can last for decades with proper care. Granite resists heat better, while quartz requires less maintenance.
Granite and quartz each have their advantages. Granite brings natural drama while quartz offers effortless maintenance. For most buyers, the decision between them comes down to priorities around looks, usage, and budget. Consider your needs to select the countertop that best fits your lifestyle and space. With either of these superb materials, you can enjoy beautiful, durable countertops for many years to come.