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Quartz vs. Granite Countertops

Are you shopping for countertops and trying to decide between quartz and granite? Both quartz and granite are good choices when it comes to beautiful and durable countertops. However, there are some differences worth noting that can help you make a more informed choice. For starters, granite tends to have a more natural look, while quartz requires lower maintenance. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at quartz and granite countertops so you can walk away knowing the pros and cons of choosing each one for your kitchen project.

What is the Difference Between Granite and Quartz?

Granite

Granite is a 100% natural stone. It’s formed during the cooling of hot magma. The flecked pattern seen on quartz comes from mica and other trace minerals. The combination of the different minerals gives granite its unique color. Whites and creams are common granite colors, but pink and red color variations and darker colors like black are also available.

Quartz

Quartz, the second most abundant material in the earth’s crust, is created when silicon crystallizes. When we talk about quartz, we generally are discussing two different types of quartz.

  • Quartzite – a naturally occurring form of sandstone that has undergone intense heat and pressure. Quartzite countertop slabs are very common, but like other natural stones, the porous surface needs regular resealing.
  • Engineered Quartz – fabricated, unlike quartzite. It’s made by crushing rocks and then binding them together with resins. Caesarstone and Cambria are the two major manufacturers of engineered quartz.

So, which is better when it comes to your countertops? It really just depends on your goals. What we can do is break down the characteristics of granite and quartz by evaluating aesthetics, affordability, durability, and maintenance.

Appearance & Colors

Granite

Pros
Cons
  • Natural appearance
  • Found in a wide variety of colors ranging from common off-whites to exotic blacks and greens.
  • Seams are more noticeable.
  • Can have naturally occurring imperfections, although some consider this appealing.
  • Can only be found in naturally occurring colors.

 

Quartz

Pros
Cons
  • Can come in almost any color you can imagine, from a natural marble look to bright greens and reds. White with light gray or beige highlights are most common
  • Slabs have a consistent look throughout, which reduces the appearance of seams.
  • Over time, exposure to direct sunlight can discolor the resin that binds the slab.
  • Some think it doesn’t look as ‘natural’ as other types of stone, because of the more uniform look and size of the crystals.

 

Most Natural Looking Winner: Quartz

 

Cost Comparison

Granite

  • Averages $60 per square foot. If it features unusual colors or larger sizes, the price can be increased. Smaller pieces or tiles come in at a lower price point.

Quartz

  • Averages $75 per square foot. Special edges can increase the price.

The Most Affordable: Granite

 

Maintenance 

Granite

Pros
Cons
  • Natural stone is very durable and can last a long time when properly cared for.
  • The porous stone will absorb spilled liquids if they’re not wiped up quickly, resulting in stains and bacterial growth.
  • Regular sealing every 1 to 2 years is a must to help resist absorption.

 

 

Quartz

Pros
Cons
  • The non-porous material is highly resistant to staining and bacterial growth as it will not absorb liquids.
  • Some liquids or foods with heavy dyes can stain the surface of the counter, so make sure to wipe clean right away.

 

The Easiest Maintenance Winner: Quartz

 

Installation

Granite

Pros
Cons
  • Slabs can be cut to fit precisely into the exact shape of your kitchen counter layout.
  • Professionals should be used to measure and cut because a small mistake can require re-cutting or even replacing an entire slab.
  • Extra care should be taken during the transportation of the slab and placing to avoid cracking.

 

Quartz

Pros
Cons
  • Manufacturers will shape the slab to fit your requirements. Any seams will be less noticeable.
  • Cabinets will need to be reinforced because of the heavy weight of quartz. Special equipment is needed to transport, carry, and move into place.
  • Aligning cutouts for sinks can be a challenge to get right if you choose to install yourself.

 

The Ease of Installation Winner: TIE

 

 

Durability, Hardness, & Strength

Granite

Pros
Cons
  • Chip, crack, and scratch-resistant. However, it’s not recommended to use your countertop as a cutting surface.
  • Can chip if struck with hard objects.
  • Edges and corners are vulnerable to chipping. Rounded edges can help reduce this risk.

 

Quartz

Pros
Cons
  • Highly resistant to chipping and cracking.
  • Because of resin used in the manufacturing process, it’s more flexible than natural stone, making it less prone to breaking during installation.
  • Although it’s very scratch resistant, it’s not 100% scratch proof.
  • Scratches that do occur may be more visible because of the uniform color.

 

The Toughness Winner: Quartz

 

Heat Resistance

Granite

Pros
Cons
  • Because it’s formed through the cooling of molten rock, granite is very heat resistant.
  • A possibility of cracking from thermal shock exists. Always use a trivet and never place hot pots or pans directly on the surface.

 

 

Quartz

Pros
Cons
  •  Can easily take temperatures up to 150 degrees, so hot water or warm plates pose no threat.
  • Although its relatively heat resistant, the resin used to bind the stone together can become discolored when repeatedly exposed to excessive heat. Always use a trivet or hot pad.

 

 

The Heat Resistant Winner: Quartz

 

Moisture Resistance

Granite

Pros
Cons
  • Resistant to moisture and staining when polished well and sealed with a proper sealing compound.
  • Sealant wears down over time, making the stone more susceptible to moisture.
  • Moisture absorbed by the stone can result in staining.

 

 

Quartz

Pros
Cons
  • The non-porous surface will not absorb moisture.
  • Dark-colored liquids with dyes can stain the surface if left sitting for extended periods of time.

 

 

The Moisture and Staining Resistant Winner: Quartz

 

Repair and Maintenance

Granite

Pros
Cons
  • Repairs for small chips or scratches can be done with an epoxy kit that is available at most home improvement and flooring stores.
  • Can be accomplished yourself, but for larger or multiple scratches, it’s best to hire a professional.

 

 

Quartz

Pros
Cons
  • Small nicks and cracks can be easily filled with epoxy.
  • Discoloration from heat is permanent.
  • Cracks are difficult to repair because the consistent coloring makes them more visible.

 

 

The Ease of Repair  Winner: Granite

 

Environmentally Friendly

Granite

Lots of energy is used to mine and transport large pieces of natural stone. Buying locally is one way to reduce the carbon footprint.

Quartz

Made from crushed rock, the mining is easier, and there is no need to preserve large slabs. Sometimes “waste” product from other uses is the raw material for engineered quartz slabs.

 

The Green Choice Winner: Quartz

 

 

Resale Value

 

Granite

It USED to be that granite countertops were specifically sought out when buyers were looking for a home and it USED to be that having granite in the home added resale value that was equal to 100% of the initial cost. But, alas…it seems quartz is becoming the new granite.

Quartz

Quartz is all the rage these days, and can actually be the tipping point when a buyer is making a choice between your home and another one without quartz countertops.

 

The Most Likely to Pay for Itself Winner: Quartz

 

The Winner: Quartz

Whether you’re planning an upcoming bathroom remodel or have your sights set on the kitchen, we feel quartz is the way to go. In the bathroom, countertops receive a lot of moisture that can sit for prolonged periods of time. Unless you want to always be wiping up water on your bathroom countertop, stain-resistant quartz is the better choice. In kitchens, quartz yet again edges out granite as the better choice. Just like bathrooms, your kitchen countertops receive a lot of moisture, especially around the sink. Plus, quartz is more heat resistant and has a wider variety of colors to choose from. But, if you love granite and are diligent with maintenance, it can work great for your kitchen remodel as well. Feel free to reach out to us for more information at 970-691-6995.