Granite and quartz are two of the most popular choices for kitchen countertops today. Both offer beauty and durability, but which one costs less? Here is a detailed comparison of quartz vs granite countertops to help you decide which is the more affordable option for your home.
When renovating your kitchen or building a new home, one of the biggest decisions you’ll make is your countertop material. The counters see heavy daily use and impact the look of the whole kitchen, so it’s important to choose wisely. Granite and quartz are leading choices because of their aesthetic appeal and strength. But if your budget is a concern, you’ll also want to consider the cost differences between them.
There’s no universally correct answer on which is cheaper, quartz or granite. The price depends on the specific stone you select, the complexity of the job, and more. However, looking at average costs and the factors that drive pricing can give you a good sense of what to expect. Let’s compare granite vs quartz countertops on affordability.
Durability plays a major role in long-term costs. More durable materials generally last longer before needing replacement. Here’s how granite and quartz compare:
- Extremely hard and scratch-resistant surface
- Resists heat up to 425°F before potential cracking/chipping
- Porous so can stain from spills if not sealed properly
- With proper sealing and care, can last decades
- Not quite as hard as granite but still very durable
- Resists heat up to 300°F
- Non-porous so more stain resistant
- Does not usually need sealing
- With care, quartz counters last 15-20 years on average
Winner: Granite is ultimately more durable and will likely outlast quartz by many years. However, quartz is nearly maintenance-free.
Average Material Cost
The specific type of stone makes a big difference, but in general:
- Granite: $40-$100 per square foot installed
- Quartz: $70-$120 per square foot installed
Quartz slabs tend to be more expensive at most stone suppliers. There are some granite options at the higher end that may overlap with quartz, but on average, granite is the more affordable material.
Installation and Labor
Installation and fabrication costs are a significant portion of your total countertop investment. In most cases, installation prices will be very similar for granite vs quartz. Slight differences in hardness and techniques required do not drastically impact overall labor time. Expect to pay within the following ranges for a typical kitchen installation:
- Basic countertop installation: $40-$100 per hour
- Complex job with specialty edge treatments: $70-$150 per hour
For reference, a typical 30 square foot kitchen with a basic edge and standard-size pieces may take 10-15 hours to fabricate and install.
Factors That Increase Cost
Several other factors can drive up costs for both quartz and granite:
- Complex edge treatments – Ogee, bevel, eased, etc.
- Thick slabs – Jumbo 3cm slabs cost more than standard 2cm.
- Specialty patterns – Stones with unique veins or movement.
- Premium materials – Some exotic stones can cost up to $200 per square foot.
- Intricate job – Multiple seams, niches, complex layouts.
- Backsplashes/sidesplashes – Adding matching backsplashes adds cost.
Upkeep is another area where long term costs may differ.
- Sealing – Requires sealing every 1-2 years at ~$4 per square foot.
- Refinishing – May need periodic honing/polishing if surface becomes dull. $150+ per visit.
- Resealing after refinishing – IMPORTANT to reseal after honing granite!
- No sealing required – Maintenance is minimal.
- Refinishing not common – Doesn’t dull like granite so refinishing rarely needed.
The maintenance costs of sealing and refinishing granite over many years adds up. Quartz’s lack of required upkeep makes it cheaper in the long run.
Is Granite or Quartz More Affordable Overall?
When considering just the material and fabrication costs, granite countertops are generally the more budget-friendly option. However, maintenance costs must also be factored in, especially for long-term homeowners. The lack of required sealing and polishing for quartz makes it very competitive when taking a big picture view.
There is some overlap in prices, where high-end granite may exceed lower-priced quartz options. But in most cases, quartz countertops will cost $10-$30 more per square foot compared to granite of equivalent quality. Over the lifetime of the counters, proper granite maintenance also adds costs that quartz does not incur.
For buyers on a tight budget, granite likely provides the best value overall. But quartz remains reasonably affordable for most, and requires very little long-term investment. Both offer quality and beauty to enhance your kitchen for decades to come!
Frequently Asked Questions
Is granite cheaper than quartz?
In general, yes – granite is often $10-$30 less expensive per square foot than quartz. But high-end exotic granite can approach quartz pricing.
Is granite or quartz cheaper to install?
Installation costs are very similar – around $40-$150/hour with total costs varying based on job size and complexities. Most installers will charge roughly the same rates for either material.
What is the most affordable granite?
Some affordable and popular granite options include Giallo Ornamental, New Venetian Gold, and Ubatuba. Expect to pay $40-$60 per sq. ft. for more budget-friendly granite slabs.
What is the most affordable quartz?
Affordable quartz options to consider are Cambria Skara Brae, Caesarstone Cloudburst Concrete, and Viatera Circle. These often cost around $70-$90 per square foot.
Is quartz worth the extra cost over granite?
Quartz does cost a bit more upfront. But for homeowners who value low maintenance, quartz’s lack of required sealing and refinishing provides better long-term value for many.
The Bottom Line
While granite is generally cheaper per square foot than quartz for the materials, quartz makes up for it somewhat by not requiring regular sealing, polishing, and resealing over its lifespan. There is no definitively “cheaper” option – prices vary widely within each category. Carefully compare material costs, installation complexity, and maintenance when deciding which countertop is more budget-friendly for your specific kitchen project. With either of these beautiful and functional materials, you can gain a high-end look without overspending.