When choosing a material for kitchen countertops, two of the most popular options are granite and quartz. Both offer durability, style, and value, but which one is the more budget-friendly choice? We’ll compare the costs of granite vs quartz countertops to help you decide which is less expensive.
Kitchen countertops see a lot of wear and tear and need to stand up to heat, moisture, stains, and impact. Granite and quartz are two of the leading choices because they are incredibly strong and long-lasting. But they differ in appearance, maintenance needs, and price point.
Understanding the cost implications of each material will help you select the most affordable option for your kitchen remodel or new construction project. We’ll examine the factors that affect the granite vs quartz cost comparison, from material and installation to associated maintenance fees. Read on to find out whether granite or quartz countertops offer more value for your money.
Granite Countertops Cost
Granite is a natural stone that is mined from quarries around the world. It is an igneous rock formed from cooled magma, giving it a very hard composition. The mineral crystals in granite result in its unique speckled appearance. No two granite slabs are exactly alike due to the variations in mineral deposits.
Here are the main factors affecting the installed price of granite countertops:
- Material cost – Prices range from $25-$150 per square foot based on the granite slab’s rarity, color, and origin. More exotic granites are more expensive.
- Edge styles – Simple eased or straight edges are the most affordable at $5-$15 per linear foot. Decorative ogee, chamfered, or beveled edges run $15-$35 per linear foot.
- Installation – Fabricating and installing granite averages $40-$100 per square foot. Complex projects or tile backsplashes cost more.
- Maintenance – Granite must be sealed to prevent staining every 1-2 years at around $4 per square foot.
Overall, expect to pay $60-$150 per square foot for materials, fabrication, and installation of granite countertops. A 30 square foot kitchen would cost $1800-$4500.
Quartz Countertops Cost
Quartz countertops are engineered stone made from crushed quartz combined with polymer resins and color pigments. The resin binds the quartz into a durable, non-porous slab. The manufacturing process allows more customization of colors and patterns versus natural stone.
Factors impacting the installed costs of quartz countertops include:
- Material cost – Ranges from $50-$120 per square foot. More elaborate quartz styles with intricate patterns cost more.
- Edge profiles – Simple eased edges start at $5 per linear foot while decorative edges can be $25-$35 per linear foot.
- Installation – Fabrication and installation averages $40-$100 per square foot, with intricate tile backsplash increasing costs.
- Maintenance – Requires almost no sealing or conditioning, saving maintenance costs down the road.
In total, expect to spend $80-$150 per square foot for quartz countertop installation. A 30 square foot kitchen would be $2400-$4500.
Cost Comparison of Granite vs Quartz
When comparing material prices alone, quartz is often more expensive than granite. However, professional installation costs are very similar between the two. The maintenance savings from quartz can add up over time.
Granite remains more affordable for larger, intricate projects due to the wider range of prices per square foot. For a basic kitchen with eased edge profiles, granite and quartz prices should be quite comparable.
Quartz offers more predictability with pricing since it is manufactured, while granite prices can vary dramatically based on which slab you choose. If you have flexibility with granite colors, you may find a bigger bargain.
Pros and Cons Impacting Costs
Beyond the upfront costs, the unique characteristics of granite vs quartz impact long term value:
- Wider range of prices can potentially be very affordable
- Natural material offers one-of-a-kind visual appeal
- Requires regular sealing to prevent stains
- More prone to chipping or cracking if impact occurs
- Consistent pricing between quartz products
- Needs virtually no maintenance like sealing
- Flexible customization during manufacturing
- Limited color and pattern options compared to granite
- Lacks the natural uniqueness of granite
Should I Choose Granite or Quartz for Value?
If keeping your budget low is the priority, granite and quartz both offer affordable options. Granite can potentially be a bargain with the right stone and simple edges. But quartz will maintain its appearance with less upkeep in the long run.
Make sure to get quotes for your exact project size and layout. The total cost difference for a small kitchen may be negligible between the two materials.
Granite is the way to go if you want an eye-catching stone with natural variation. Quartz offers more consistency and requires less maintenance over time. Both can be cost-effective choices that add beauty and value to your kitchen. Consider the pros, cons, and quotes for your specific project to determine whether granite or quartz offers more value overall.
FAQ About Granite and Quartz Costs
Which is more expensive granite or quartz?
The materials alone for quartz often surpass granite in price per square foot. But professional installation costs are very similar for granite and quartz countertops. Maintenance fees down the road are lower for quartz since it doesn’t require regular sealing. Overall costs can be comparable between granite vs quartz.
Is granite or quartz better for resale value?
Both granite and quartz are premium countertop materials that add resale value to your home. Granite remains widely popular for its natural beauty. But quartz is also valued for its consistent durability and low maintenance needs. Either option will appeal to buyers.
Why is quartz more expensive than granite?
Quartz fabrication involves crushing natural quartz and blending it with resins and pigments under heat and pressure. This engineered process allows customization but incurs more costs than simply cutting and polishing natural granite slabs. The need to import rare granite also impacts costs.
Is granite cheaper than concrete?
Granite is almost always more expensive than concrete for countertops. You can get precast concrete counters for as low as $50 per square foot installed. Granite ranges from $60-$150 per square foot fully installed. The higher cost comes from limited material supply and intricate fabrication needs.
Should I get granite or quartz for rental property?
Quartz is preferable for rental properties because it is almost maintenance free compared to granite. Granite requires regular sealing to prevent stains. Quartz is also less prone to chipping if treated roughly. Both offer durability, but quartz will retain its beauty with less upkeep from tenants.
When choosing between granite vs quartz for your kitchen counters, weight the upfront costs against characteristics like maintenance needs, appearance, and customization options. Simple granite with easy edges can potentially be your most affordable option. But quartz offers greater consistency between products and needs little ongoing care.
Be sure to get an in-person quote for your specific project. Costs can overlap for smaller jobs. Consider both the purchase price and long term value of natural stone vs engineered quartz. With either material, you’ll gain beautiful, durable countertops that add value to your kitchen for years to come.