Granite and quartz are two of the most popular materials for kitchen and bathroom countertops. Many homeowners find themselves trying to decide between quartz vs granite when choosing a new countertop. An important factor in making this decision is the weight of the materials. So which is heavier – quartz or granite countertops?
Overview of Granite Countertops
Granite is a completely natural stone that is mined from quarries around the world. It is an igneous rock that forms when magma cools slowly within the earth’s crust. Granite’s mineral composition gives it incredible hardness, durability, and heat resistance.
Some key facts about granite countertops:
- Available in a wide variety of natural colors and patterns from speckled to veined looks. No two slabs are exactly alike.
- Resistant to scratches, stains, and heat up to temperatures of over 200°F. It won’t burn or scorch.
- Extremely durable and can last for decades with proper care and maintenance.
- Sourced from quarries worldwide including Brazil, India, Norway, Italy and Canada.
- Needs to be sealed to prevent staining from spills. Resealing required every 1-2 years.
- Naturally antibacterial but should still be cleaned regularly.
When it comes to weight, granite is one of the heaviest natural stone countertop options.
Why Granite Countertops Are So Heavy
The weight of granite countertops comes down to the natural properties of the stone itself:
- High density – Granite is made of tightly compacted minerals and compounds like quartz, feldspar, mica, and other trace minerals. This gives it a very high density.
- Thickness – Granite slabs are usually cut to a thickness of 2 or 3 cm for countertops. Thicker slabs weigh more than thinner pieces.
- Limited porosity – Being non-porous, granite has low absorption and voids. This increases its density and weight.
- Mineral composition – The minerals that make up granite are very dense, weighing more than common lightweight filler materials.
Typical granite weights per square foot are:
- 2 cm thick – 18-19 lbs/sq.ft
- 3 cm thick – 27-30 lbs/sq.ft
A 30 square foot granite countertop would weigh 540 to 900 pounds depending on thickness. That’s incredibly heavy!
Overview of Quartz Countertops
Quartz countertops provide an engineered stone alternative to natural granite surfaces. They are made from:
- Ground quartz aggregate – Gives hardness, strength, and resistance to scratches.
- Polymeric resins – Bind the quartz together into slabs and provide flexibility.
- Pigments – Added for color consistency. Allows a wide range of colors and patterns.
Some benefits of quartz countertops:
- Highly resistant to stains, scratches, burns, and damage.
- Non-porous so no sealing required.
- Easy to keep clean. Does not require special cleaners.
- Color consistency from slab to slab.
- Molding capabilities allow custom shapes and built-in designs.
- Warranties up to 15 years from major brands.
Why Quartz Countertops Weigh Less
When compared to granite, quartz countertops have a lower weight per square foot for these reasons:
- Thinner slabs – Quartz is typically fabricated in 1.2 cm to 2 cm thicknesses, thinner than granite.
- Ground quartz aggregate – Natural quartz crystals are crushed into a lightweight filler, not dense natural stone.
- Binding resins – Polymeric resins are lighter weight than natural minerals like in granite.
- Lower porosity – Being non-porous, quartz has less density-increasing air pockets.
Typical quartz countertop weights are:
- 1.2 cm thick – 11 lbs/sq.ft
- 2 cm thick – 15 lbs/sq.ft
A standard 30 square foot quartz countertop weighs between 330 and 450 pounds.
Quartz vs Granite Weight Comparison
Based on typical thicknesses and material properties:
- Granite weighs nearly twice as much as an equal-sized quartz countertop.
- A 2 cm quartz countertop weighs approximately 15 lbs/sq.ft.
- The same size 2 cm granite weighs around 19 lbs/sq.ft.
- 3 cm granite is even heavier at about 30 lbs/sq.ft.
So in terms of sheer weight and density, granite countertops are clearly heavier than quartz. The difference is quite significant.
Weight Considerations for New Countertops
The weight difference between quartz and granite countertops brings up some installation and usage considerations:
Structural support – Heavy granite requires strong cabinetry and support structures. Quartz can work on somewhat lighter bases.
Cutouts and overhangs – Granite’s weight limits the size of unsupported overhangs and cantilevers. Quartz allows bigger overhangs.
Mobility and handling – Granite is challenging to maneuver and needs special lifting equipment. Quartz can be moved more easily.
Shipping costs – Granite slabs incur higher shipping fees from quarries due to weight. Quartz has lower freight costs.
DIY installation – Professional granite installers are needed. Quartz can potentially be DIY-installed by determined homeowners.
Long-term floor loading – Heavy granite can place more ongoing strain on floors compared to quartz.
The Bottom Line – Quartz is Lighter than Granite
When choosing between quartz and granite countertops, the weight per square foot is an important consideration. Granite slabs are significantly heavier than quartz surfaces of equal size. Keep this in mind when designing and installing new countertops.
While granite offers unrivaled natural beauty and longevity, its extreme weight requires professional handling, robust cabinets, and structural reinforcements. For homeowners that prefer a lighter-weight material, quartz countertops provide similar aesthetic and performance qualities while being easier to handle and install.
By understanding how the composition and thickness of these two materials affect overall weight, homeowners can make an informed decision on the best countertop option to meet their functional needs and design goals. Evaluating weight alongside other factors will lead to a kitchen or bath remodel with stunning countertops that can be enjoyed for decades to come.
Frequently Asked Questions About Granite and Quartz Weights
Is a thicker quartz countertop better than a thinner granite?
Typically a 3cm granite countertop will still be slightly heavier than a 2cm quartz countertop. However, the thickness also impacts durability. A thicker quartz surface may be more resistant to cracks or damage. Consider both weight and longevity based on thickness.
How heavy is a typical 5 ft by 10 ft countertop slab?
A 5×10 slab of 2cm quartz weighs around 75 lbs. The same slab in 2cm granite weighs around 95 lbs. In 3cm granite it reaches 140 lbs, nearly double the weight of the quartz!
Can standard cabinets support granite countertops?
Some homeowners underestimate how heavy granite really is. Standard cabinets with particle board may sag or break over time. Consult with professionals to assess cabinet reinforcement needs for heavy granite.
Does thickness affect the look of quartz and granite?
Thicker slabs generally have a richer, more natural stone-like appearance. But even thin quartz and granite have attractive looks. Visual depth and dimension varies more by color pattern. Prioritize thickness based on weight capacity.
How much overhang is safe with heavy granite counters?
A conservative overhang limit for granite is around 6 inches. Standard is 10-12 inches with adequate support. Anything beyond 12 inches carries risk with heavy granite. Quartz allows overhangs up to 16 inches in some cases.
When comparing the weight of quartz vs granite countertops, granite is clearly the heavier material due to its thick dense slabs of natural stone. Understanding the large differences in weight per square foot helps when planning for transportation, installation, structural support, and use. For most homeowners, visually stunning quartz provides an appealing balance of durability, aesthetics, and more manageable weight. Carefully evaluating both options ensures you select the ideal countertops to match your needs and home.