Porcelain and quartz are two of the most popular countertop materials on the market today. Many homeowners find themselves trying to decide between these two options when remodeling their kitchens or bathrooms. But which one typically costs more – porcelain or quartz? Let’s take a closer look at the typical costs of each material.
When budgeting for a kitchen or bathroom remodel, the countertops are often one of the biggest expenses. The material you choose can have a significant impact on the total project cost. Porcelain and quartz are both seen as premium countertop options that provide an elegant look and feel. But porcelain tile countertops tend to be more affordable than quartz on average.
Below we’ll examine the cost differences between porcelain and quartz countertops, including material and installation pricing. We’ll also look at the factors that influence costs for each material. With this information, you’ll be better equipped to determine if porcelain or quartz is the more budget-friendly option for your next remodeling project.
Porcelain Countertop Costs
Porcelain countertops provide the look of natural stone at a more affordable price point. Here are some typical cost ranges:
- Porcelain tile material: $15 – $35 per sq. ft.
- Installation: $10 – $25 per sq. ft.
- Total installed cost: $25 – $60 per sq. ft.
Porcelain is fired at high temperatures to create a very dense, durable ceramic material. It resists scratches, stains, heat, and moisture better than many other countertop materials. Porcelain comes in tile sizes like 12 x 24 inches or larger slabs. The tile format makes it relatively easy for do-it-yourself installation.
Some factors impacting porcelain tile pricing include:
- Tile size – Large format tiles are more expensive
- Thickness – Thicker tiles with 1⁄4″ thickness range higher in price
- Tile finish – Honed, matte, or textured finishes add cost over glossy
- Brand – Premium porcelain brands like Daltile, Marazzi, Emser have higher price points
- Color and pattern – Some colors and intricate patterns cost more
Porcelain tile offers extensive design flexibility in colors, finishes, textures, patterns, and visual styles. You can create a customized look that matches your overall kitchen or bath decor.
Quartz Countertop Costs
Quartz has surged in popularity in recent years as a stylish, low-maintenance countertop choice. Here are typical installed costs:
- Quartz material: $50 – $120 per sq. ft.
- Installation: $35 – $75 per sq. ft.
- Total installed cost: $85 – $195 per sq. ft.
Quartz is an engineered stone made from crushed quartz blended with polymer resins and pigments. It forms a solid surfacing material that is non-porous, scratch-resistant, and stain-proof when properly sealed. Thickness is typically 3⁄4″ to 1 1⁄4″.
Some variables impacting the cost of a quartz countertop include:
- Brand – Premium brands like Caesarstone, Cambria, Silestone range from $100 – $150 per sq. ft.
- Color and pattern – Unusual colors and styles increase cost.
- Edge treatments – Decorative edges like ogee and bevel raise price.
- Thickness – Going above standard 3⁄4″ thickness means higher cost.
- Installation – Complex layouts or greater cutting precision cost more.
With many color, pattern, and edge options, quartz allows plenty of customization while maintaining a stylish, high-end look.
Cost Comparison: Porcelain vs Quartz
Based on typical price ranges, porcelain tile countertops tend to cost less than quartz overall. The material cost for porcelain is about $25 – $100 less per square foot compared to quartz. Porcelain also has a lower installation cost since it uses a modular tile format.
However, you can find premium quartz on the low end around $85 per square foot installed. Whereas high-end porcelain tile with intricate patterning or mosaics can range up to $60 per square foot installed. So there is some overlap in potential costs for the two materials.
Below is a breakdown of average total installed costs:
- Porcelain tile countertops: $25 – $60 per sq. ft. installed
- Quartz countertops: $85 – $195 per sq. ft. installed
On average, porcelain provides cost savings of $25 – $135 per square foot compared to quartz. For a typical 25 square foot countertop area, that equates to total savings of $625 to $3,375.
Of course, your specific material costs depend on the product specs and complexity of your project. But cost is a key advantage of choosing porcelain over quartz.
Factors That Impact Cost
Beyond the material itself, several other factors influence the total installed cost for porcelain or quartz countertops:
Countertop size – Bigger countertop areas mean higher overall costs. Measure your existing layouts carefully.
Edge treatments – Decorative edges like ogee or bevel add laboring time and expense for both materials.
Seams – Keeping seams to a minimum reduces installation work. Seam placement also impacts cost.
Cutouts – Allowances for sinks and other fixtures demand precision cuts that raise pricing.
Demolition fees – Removing old countertops adds demo costs if not DIYing.
Countertop design – Tile patterns, quartz styles, special shapes, etc. increase costs.
Regional labor rates – Installer costs are higher in some markets like New York or San Francisco.
While porcelain is generally the budget pick, precise quotes from local countertop fabricators will give you a better sense of total project pricing for your specific kitchen or bath.
Pros and Cons of Porcelain and Quartz
Beyond just cost, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons of porcelain and quartz countertops:
Porcelain tile pros:
- Lower cost material and installation
- Highly durable and heat/stain resistant
- Easy to clean and sanitize
- Extensive design flexibility with tile patterns
- DIY-friendly format for simpler installations
Porcelain tile cons:
- Grout lines require sealing
- Tile pattern limits large continuous appearance
- Harder on fragile items if they fall on countertops
- Seamless appearance for continuous look
- Highly durable and scratch/stain resistant
- Requires very little maintenance
- Stylish upscale aesthetics
- Long warranty periods (10-15 years typically)
- Higher material and installation costs
- Limited color/style options for some brands
- Visible seams depending on layout
- Needs periodic resealing
When selecting a premium countertop material for your home, both porcelain and quartz provide quality choices that can last for decades with proper care. But porcelain tile does offer notable cost savings compared to quartz countertops in most cases. This can be an important factor for homeowners working within tighter kitchen or bath remodel budgets.
However, be sure to get multiple quotes for your specific project. There may be scenarios where certain quartz options are competitively priced with porcelain. Consider the full range of benefits of each material beyond just cost. Porcelain tile and quartz each provide beautiful, functional countertops. But understanding pricing can help guide you toward the best option for your needs and budget.