Which is More Expensive: Quartz or Porcelain Countertops?

When choosing new countertops for your kitchen or bathroom, two popular options are quartz and porcelain. But which one costs more? Here is a detailed comparison of quartz vs porcelain countertops to help you understand the differences in cost.

What is Quartz?

Quartz countertops, also known as engineered stone, are made from crushed quartz crystals combined with resins and pigments. The mixture is molded into slabs and hardened.

Some benefits of quartz:

  • Extremely durable and scratch-resistant
  • Easy to clean and maintain
  • Resistant to stains, heat, and moisture
  • Available in a wide range of colors and patterns
  • Non-porous so does not require sealing

What is Porcelain?

Porcelain countertops are made from refined clay that is molded and fired at high temperatures. The clay contains kaolin, quartz, and feldspar minerals.

Some benefits of porcelain:

  • Very hard, dense, and durable
  • Stain, scratch, heat, and moisture resistant
  • Can be made to resemble natural stone
  • Available in matte or glossy finishes
  • Non-porous and does not need sealing

Cost Comparison Between Quartz and Porcelain

On average, quartz countertops tend to be more expensive than porcelain. Here is a breakdown of the typical installed costs:

  • Quartz countertops range from $80 – $140 per square foot installed.
  • Porcelain slabs range from $40 – $100 per square foot installed.

However, the exact costs can vary based on:

  • Brand – Higher end brands of quartz and porcelain cost more.
  • Color and pattern – Unusual colors and intricate patterns increase the price.
  • Thickness – Thicker slabs (2 or 3 cm) are more expensive than thinner ones.
  • Edge treatments – Decorative edges like ogee or bullnose add to the cost.
  • Fabrication – Complex custom shapes and cutouts add labor fees.
  • Installation – The installer’s skill level and project scope impacts cost.
  • Location – Prices are higher in some regions than others.

What Makes Quartz More Expensive?

There are a few reasons why quartz countertops tend to be costlier than porcelain:

  • Material cost – Natural quartz crystals and polymer resins are pricier than clay and minerals.
  • Manufacturing – Quartz is made in batches using complex machinery and processing.
  • Transportation – Quartz slabs are heavier, increasing freight expenses.
  • Brand popularity – Big quartz brands like Caesarstone command a price premium.
  • Low maintenance – Quartz is stain proof and more forgiving than porcelain.
  • Consistent appearance – The man-made process yields uniform quartz slabs.

Factors That Increase Porcelain’s Cost

Though porcelain is generally cheaper than quartz, certain factors can increase its price:

  • Thicker slab – 3 cm porcelain can match quartz in price.
  • Larger format tiles – Porcelain in a huge single slab is pricier.
  • Special coatings – Finishes like Nanotech make it stain-proof.
  • Custom digital printing – Patterned/veined slabs are more expensive.
  • Shipping overseas – Imported Italian porcelain is costlier.
  • Stronger density – High-density porcelain with premium clay exceeds quartz.
  • Designer brands – Luxury and exclusive porcelain labels charge more.

Price Difference Based on Quality

The highest grade porcelain such as Neolith and Dekton can rival premium quartz in price. But lower-end porcelains are no match in performance compared to quality quartz.

You get what you pay for – investing in top-tier porcelain provides strength, beauty, and longevity similar to high-end quartz. But budget porcelain is likely to be less durable and consistent than even mid-range quartz.

Which is the Better Value Overall?

For most homeowners, quartz provides a better balance of quality, durability, and value over the long run. The higher initial investment pays off with years of trouble-free, low maintenance use.

Porcelain can make sense for cost-conscious buyers on a tight budget. But quality concerns may arise down the road.

To determine true value, consider your budget, priorities, and how long you plan to keep the countertops. Higher lifetime use warrants spending more on resilient, top-grade materials.

Key Takeaways: Quartz vs Porcelain Costs

  • Quartz typically ranges from $80 – $140 per sq.ft installed, while porcelain runs $40 – $100 per sq.ft installed.
  • Quartz is generally more expensive due to higher material and production costs.
  • But premium brands of porcelain can rival high-end quartz prices.
  • Quartz delivers consistent quality so can be worth the extra cost for longevity.
  • Focus on performance, durability, and long-term value, not just initial price.

Which countertop is best for your home? Consult a countertop specialist to evaluate your options. With expertise and product knowledge, they can recommend the ideal surfaces based on your kitchen, budget, and lifestyle. Invest wisely to enjoy beautiful, durable countertops that will last for years to come.