Granite and quartz are two of the most popular materials for kitchen and bathroom countertops. But which one is more popular these days? There are good arguments on both sides. Here is an in-depth look at granite vs quartz countertops, including the pros, cons, costs, and styles of each to help you decide which is right for your home.
An Introduction to Granite Countertops
Granite is a natural stone that has been used for countertops and other applications for many years. It is an igneous rock formed from magma cooling slowly beneath the earth’s surface. Granite’s timeless beauty, unique natural patterns, and durability make it a coveted material for kitchen and bath surfaces.
Some key facts about granite:
- Extremely hard and durable – resistant to scratches, heat, and stains
- Available in a wide range of colors and patterns
- Can last many years with proper care and maintenance
- Adds value and luxury appeal to a home
- Natural material – no two slabs are exactly the same
Pros of Granite Countertops
- Timeless, classic material that suits any style
- Unique natural patterns and colors
- Extremely durable and long-lasting
- Easy to clean and maintain
- Resistant to scratches, heat, and stains
- Adds value to home
Cons of Granite Countertops
- Expensive compared to some other materials
- Can chip or crack if subjected to heavy impact
- Porous and requires yearly resealing
- Some very dark granites can show spots and stains
- Natural material – limited color and pattern options
Granite remains beloved for its unparalleled beauty and longevity as a countertop material. It has graced luxury homes for decades and continues to be a top choice today.
What is Quartz?
Quartz countertops, often referred to as engineered stone, have surged in popularity in recent years as an alternative to natural stone surfaces like granite. Quartz is made from ground natural quartz crystals combined with polymer resins and other materials. The result is a man-made material that mimics the look of granite without some of its downsides.
Some quick facts about quartz:
- Non-porous so it never needs to be sealed
- Highly resistant to stains, scratches, and heat
- Available in wide range of colors and patterns
- Durable but can chip or crack under heavy impact
- Does not possess the natural beauty of real stone
Pros of Quartz Countertops
- Requires very little maintenance
- Highly stain and scratch resistant
- Easy to keep clean
- Consistent colors and patterns
- Non-porous – never needs sealing
- Mold and mildew resistant
Cons of Quartz Countertops
- Less durable than granite
- Manufactured material lacks natural beauty of real stone
- Limited to colors and patterns created by manufacturer
- Higher cost than materials like laminate
- Can chip or crack under heavy impacts
With its practical qualities and constantly expanding color and pattern options, quartz continues to grow as a popular countertop choice to rival granite.
Granite vs. Quartz: Comparing the Pros and Cons
So how do these two materials stack up against each other? Here is a direct comparison of some of the key pros and cons of granite and quartz:
- Most durable and heat/scratch resistant
- Natural material with unparalleled beauty
- Retains value well and adds luxury to home
- Available in wide range of colors and patterns
- Requires yearly sealing
- Can stain, chip or crack
- Very heavy requires strong cabinets
- Never needs sealing
- Highly resistant to stains and scratches
- Easy maintenance
- Consistent patterns and colors
- Mold/mildew resistant
- Not as durable as granite
- Made from manufactured materials
- Limited color/pattern options
- Can chip or crack under impact
- Lacks natural beauty of stone
As you can see, each material has its own sets of advantages and disadvantages. Granite is unmatched in its durability, but requires more maintenance. Quartz is highly stain-resistant and needs little upkeep, but cannot replicate granite’s natural elegance.
Cost Comparison: Granite vs. Quartz Countertops
Another major consideration is cost. In general, both granite and quartz are premium countertop materials that cost significantly more than options like laminate. However, quartz usually comes at a higher initial price point than granite.
Here is a basic overview of cost for granite vs. quartz:
- $40-$100 per square foot installed
- More affordable than quartz
- Wide range based on stone type, color, and thickness
- $80-$120 per square foot installed
- 20-50% higher cost than granite
- Narrower price range than granite
However, the initial cost does not tell the whole story. Granite requires yearly sealing which adds to long-term maintenance costs. The extra upfront cost of quartz may pay off down the road due to lower maintenance needs.
Styles and Color Options
When it comes to appearance, granite and quartz each offer their own set of design options.
Granite is only limited by what nature can provide. It is available in a vast spectrum of colors like bold blacks, vibrant greens, creamy whites, rich reds, and more. No two slabs are ever exactly the same. Granite can be polished to a glossy shine or finished with a sleek, honed matte look.
Quartz offers limitless color possibilities since it is engineered to customer specifications. Popular options include whites, grays, beiges, blues, glossy black, and imitation marble patterns. The aggregate mix can also be varied to create different textured appearances.
This means both materials provide extensive options to match your personal style. Granite brings natural beauty, while quartz offers cutting-edge colors and patterns.
Which is Ultimately More Popular?
So taking everything into account, which countertop reigns supreme in popularity? Based on research from sources like Consumer Reports and surveys of interior designers, granite remains the most widely used material for kitchen and bathroom countertops by a slim margin.
However, quartz has become a very competitive second option, with its popularity rising steadily in recent years.
Here are some key reasons granite edges out quartz for now in overall popularity:
- Natural material unmatched in beauty by man-made products
- Available in wider range of colors and patterns
- Seen as more luxurious and valuable
- Slightly more affordable overall
Quartz, however, is rapidly gaining ground:
- Requires no sealing which saves on maintenance costs
- Offers cutting-edge engineered colors and patterns
- Highly scratch and stain resistant
- Perceived as more modern and sleek
Homeowners today have two fantastic options to consider for countertops. While granite retains the top spot for now, quartz provides serious competition with its easy-care qualities and ultra-modern style. As trends evolve, it is possible quartz may overtake granite at some point given its rising popularity.
The takeaway is that both materials have their merits, with granite valued for its elegance and durability and quartz praised for its low maintenance and contemporary appeal. The right choice comes down to your budget, lifestyle, and personal taste in finding a countertop to suit your unique style.
FAQs About Granite and Quartz Countertops
Which is more popular for kitchen countertops?
For now, granite still edges out quartz as the most widely used kitchen countertop material. However, quartz is a very close second and is rapidly gaining popularity.
Is quartz healthier than granite?
Both materials are considered non-toxic and safe for food preparation when sealed properly. Neither presents any major health risks.
Is granite or quartz better for resale value?
Granite is generally seen as adding more value to a home for resale. Natural stone is viewed as more high-end than engineered quartz.
Which material is more durable?
Granite is the most durable overall. Quartz is also very durable but may chip or crack under heavy impacts that granite can withstand.
Which is most stain resistant?
Quartz is more stain-resistant since it never needs sealing. Granite requires yearly sealing to prevent stains from penetrating the porous stone.
Which material costs more?
Quartz generally has a higher initial installation cost than granite. However, granite requires ongoing sealing which adds to long-term maintenance costs.
The Bottom Line
When choosing between the two most popular countertop materials – natural granite vs engineered quartz – there is no universally right or wrong option. The pros and cons of each must be weighed against your budget, lifestyle, and style preferences. Granite remains the traditional favorite prized for its elegance and durability. For those seeking a lower maintenance, cutting-edge look, quartz brings contemporary appeal and technology. With their unique advantages, granite and quartz ensure you can find just the right countertop to create your dream home.