When choosing kitchen counter tops, it can be easy to get confused by the many different material options that are available.
Stone products like granite and quartz are among the more popular materials used for counter tops due to their strength and durability. By comparing the features and benefits of granite and quartz, you’ll be able to select the right material to meet your family’s needs.
Granite is a natural product that is formed from minerals and stones. These materials are pressed together at extremely high pressure and temperatures deep within the earth, and eventually form granite stones as we know them. Quartz is a man-made product made from quartz crystals and resin. It is pressed, heated and colored to resemble natural stone, but is actually an engineered product.
Granite tends to have much more variation in its appearance than quartz. Quartz counter tops are fairly uniform in color and pattern, while granite has random markings that are unique to each piece. Some buyers prefer the natural beauty of granite while others prefer the consistency of quartz. When it comes to counter tops, quartz sections are easier to match up at the seams, while granite can show variation due to its natural design.
Granite is naturally hard and strong, and offers a high level of heat resistance. Because quartz is engineered, it tends to be even harder and more durable than granite, though it offers a similar level of heat resistance. Granite is much more porous than quartz, which can trap bacteria within the surface. Quartz is not porous and is much easier to keep free of germs and bacteria. While both materials are strong, quartz cannot be repaired if chipped or scratched. Damaged granite can often be repaired to minimize the appearance of scratches or damage.
The porous nature of granite means that it is more difficult to keep clean, and is also more vulnerable to stains and spills. It must be sealed upon installation and at regular intervals, often once a year. Quartz is non-porous and requires no sealing. It is naturally resistant to moisture and stains and requires no maintenance.
According to the Bob Vila Home Improvement website, both quartz and granite counter tops cost between $50 and $100 per square foot installed. The difference in cost between the two is often a matter of your proximity to natural granite sources or stone yards.
Engineered Stone Countertops
Natural stone is loved by many for its many wonderful qualities. Granite, for example, offers durability, scratch and heat resistance, and beautiful elegance. But of course there is a down side to natural stone as well. Natural stone is very porous which makes it susceptible to stains from oils, acids, wine, soda and some cleaning products. It is very important to periodically seal natural stone to protect it from such damages. As you can see, natural stone isn’t perfect.
Improvements are never ending and a perfect example of improvement comes in the form of engineered stone. This highly recommended countertop material, also called Quartz Surfacing, has been developed to form a material resembling natural stone but with improved qualities. Engineered stone is made by combining 93 percent crushed natural quartz with 7 percent resins and pigments which makes this material much harder, more durable, and easier to care for than any other countertop material. Only the diamond, topaz and sapphire are harder than quartz.
In addition to the durability and ease of maintenance, engineered stone countertops are also available in an array of colors, patterns, and textures. Similar to granite, engineered stone is usually polished to a high gloss shine and installed in solid slabs. However, the colors and patterns are more consistent with engineered stone and the surface does not require sealing either. Check out some of the wonderful benefits of engineered stone below.
Benefits of Engineered Stone countertops:
- The unique combination of quartz and resins makes engineered stone nonporous and resistant to heat, scratching, stains, chemicals, molds and bacteria.
- Engineered stone is more flexible, durable and easier to work with than natural granite.
- Engineered stone will not chip and fracture during everyday use as granite may.
- It retains its high-polished luster and never requires sealing.
- It is easily cleaned with warm, pH neutral soapy water.
- It resembles natural stone, but with a more consistent pattern and color meaning that your countertop will look very much like the sample you pick out.
- Engineered stone can be made to look like granite, marble, travertine, concrete, and other natural stone.
- Slabs are fabricated into countertops with edge profiles that range from simple bevels to bull nose and ogee.
- Engineered stone, made of quartz, resists scratches from objects such as stainless steel knives, ceramic pots, and mugs.
- Engineered stone counters are resistant to heat from hot plates of up to 350 degrees. However, it is still recommended that you the use trivets or hot pads.
- It will not stain from oil, fruit juices, acids, liquid food coloring, wine, soda, nail-polish remover, felt-tip markers and most common household cleaners.
- The colors, patterns and textures available are constantly expanding. Some patterns resemble natural stone and others offer bright variations of orange, red, blue, green, and yellow. Also, some engineered stone manufacturers offer products in a matte or “honed” finish.
- Unlike natural stone, manufacturers normally offer a 10-year warranty.
Drawbacks of Engineered Stone Countertops:
- Engineered stone countertops lack the natural and unique color and pattern variations that are loved with natural stone. Some of these variations are called “beauty marks” and flowing veins, known as the “movement” of the stone.
- Cutting on quartz will dull knives so cutting boards are recommended.
- There will be visible seams along the front edges and in the deck of the countertop because engineered stone is installed in solid slabs.
Pros & Cons of Quartz Countertops
Quartz is a material used in the manufacturing of countertops. Like any material, quartz comes with advantages and disadvantages.
According to Keidel.com, quartz grows in clusters. After mining and manufacturing, clusters become the slabs—in a variety of colors and patterns—used to make quartz countertops.
Quartz countertops don’t require sealant or surface conditioner to prevent staining or premature deterioration. Quartz countertops are stain-resistant and—because they are nonporous-quite resistant to bacteria as well.
One serious drawback to quartz countertops is that they are much heavier than most other countertops, including those made of granite. Safely and properly installing a quartz countertop requires several people—it should be done by trained professionals, urges Keidel.com.
Quartz countertops are more resistant to mold than most other types of countertops. They are also much stronger than most countertops, including granite, says galttech.com.
The overall cost of quartz countertop installation depends on the size of the project. According to December 2009 estimates from galttech.com, installation typically costs between $50 and $90 per square foot, including the cost of materials.
Granite VS Quartz Price
Price is a critical factor influencing the decision of any customer for choosing between granite or quartz. Likewise, price is always relative to some factors such as quality, distance from the stoneyard or supplier, size and thickness.
The price for both minerals vary in which location or state you are purchasing it. The average price of granite and quartz in the market is $30 to $150 and $40 to $120, respectively.
It is also wise to ask what is included in the price cost per square foot quoted for each material. The cost of the material or slab itself is much lower and increases when installation and other tasks are included.
The cost for granite slab range between $30 to $42 per square foot. When installation is included, the price increases to $60 to $175 per square foot. Some factors which can increase its cost include thickness and size of the slab, edging style, vein patterns and designs.
Meanwhile, the cost for quartz kitchen countertops can also vary depending on the quality, size, and installation cost per square foot. On average, the cost of quartz and installation cost is around $50 to $100 per square foot. Likewise, the installation cost per square foot for quartz range between $6.25 to $8.00. For a 54 square foot countertop, that will cost you roughly $2,700 to $5,400.
If we further breakdown the cost of quartz according to quality (standard, better, and excellent quality), the cost for the material itself are the following:
- Standard: $61.50 s.f.
- Better: $67.43 s.f.
- $72.50 s.f.
Granite VS Quartz Countertops Resale Value
Whether having granite or quartz for your kitchen countertops, both will have a substantial increment in the overall value of your home. Consequently, you need to weigh your investment and projected value increment from using either materials.
According to Robert Measer from Hunt Real Estate, granite kitchen countertops add around 25 to almost 100 percent of their retail value on the resale amount of any house. The higher percent contribution to resale value depends on the thickness and veining designs of the granite counters.
The percent contribution of quartz countertops in the resale value of houses is still close to 100 percent of its retail value. Similar to any stones or materials, it must complement to the overall design of the house to make it an effective asset.
However, choosing either of two materials is not an absolute guarantee that your home will get sold in the market. In order to make any material an effective asset in increasing the resale value of your home, here are some simple tips:
- In choosing which material, it must complement the overall design of your home so that the resale value appreciates.
- Remodeling your kitchen countertops is better than doing an entire kitchen in order to be cost-efficient.
- Most clients prefer a home that is ready and easy to move in.
- Oftentimes, the kind of material used by the majority of your neighbors is a good determining factor on what material you will use as well.
Pros and Cons: Granite VS Quartz Countertops
Granite and quartz are both elegant and durable minerals which are great for kitchen remodeling. Despite the numerous features to admire from both materials, it also has some setbacks that you need to know. Here, we will uncover some of the main differences between the two popular materials.
Appearance or Designs
- More natural and beautiful veining designs and patterns
- Color range from white to streaks of green and black
- Seams are more visible
- Has several imperfect designs and features
- Colors and designs are limited
- Colors and designs are more consistent and there are more options to choose from
- Designs can look like natural but still noticeable to be synthetic at some points
- Seams are not obvious
- Long exposure to direct sunlight can fade the color of the slab
- The consistency of the color and design makes it appear more synthetic than natural, but it looks good
Sealing Maintenance, Cleaning and Sanitary Function
- Easy to clean and wipe off with spills
- Has good stain-proof abilities
- Has good antibacterial abilities
- Good non-porous ability
- Avoid abrasive cleaners as it will remove the sealant coatings of the countertop
- Immediately wipe off spills from the surface to prevent it from seeping down
- Requires periodic or annual re-sealing maintenance to have good constant non- porous ability
- High resistance against stains and spills
- Excellent sanitary function due to its superb non-porous ability
- Requires less cleaning
- Heavy stains can affect the luster of the countertop, so immediately wipe off spills
- Avoid using acidic or basic cleaners
- DIY installation can be done but hiring professional installers are preferred to minimize mistakes and added cost
- Customize cut size can be requested from suppliers
- Accurate measurements must be taken to avoid re-cutting which increases installation cost
- Granite slabs are heavy and prone to cracks when mishandled
- Customized cut size can be requested from suppliers
- Large quartz slabs are better for less noticeable seams
- Structure of cabinets where quartz will be installed needs to be reinforced as it is heavy
- Accurate measurement of the cut-out must be secured to prevent re-cutting and increasing installation cost
Durability and Hardness
- Hardness of any mineral can be measured using the Mohs scale of hardness which range from 1(softest) to 10(hardest). In this scale, granite has a hardness rating within 6 to 6.5.
- Effective resistance against cracks, chips, and scratch marks
- Despite having excellent hardness, it is still prone to chips and cracks when hit by harder objects
- Having a round edge can be mitigate the risk for chips and cuts
- Corners of the countertops has higher risk for chips and cuts
- In the Mohs scale of hardness, quartz has a rating of 7.
- The presence of resin binders makes it more flexible compared to natural stones
- Great resistance against chips, scratches, and cuts
- Scratch marks can still be made using sharp objects
- Scratch marks and dents are more visible because of the consistent design and color of quartz
Resistance to Heat
- Highly resistant to heat considering how it is naturally made from magma
- Hot pans can be placed on top without leaving any dark burnt marks
- Heat resistance range up to 150 degrees, comparable to hot pans
- Hot pans and objects must not stay long on the surface without any protection as it will discolor the countertop
Resistance to Moisture
- Excellent moisture and stain resistance if periodic or annual re-sealing is done on the granite countertop
- Sealant coatings can degrade as time goes by, which increases the risk for stain and moisture contamination
- Spills and stains must be immediately wiped off from the surface to prevent it from sipping down surface
- Excellent moisture and stain resistance due to the high non-porous feature of quartz
- Spills that have strong and dark colors can stain the surface if allowed to sit for few hours
Repair of Chips and Cuts
- Chips and cuts from granite countertops can be fixed using an epoxy kit suitable for your counter. The seams may still be noticeable but it is totally fine and less troubling.
- Discoloration or fading can be resolved by polishing and re-sealing the granite countertop.
- Chips and cuts can still be fixed using an epoxy kit but it is more visible compared to granite because of the consistent design of quartz
- There is permanent discoloration on the surface due to hot objects or pans placed on top.
- The natural source of granite slabs are mined underneath which uses substantial fuel both for mining and transportation of the mineral. In order to minimize carbon emission, source your granite slabs from nearby suppliers.
- The mineral components used to make this can come from waste crushed minerals and from mined quartz deposits.
Quartz VS Granite in Bathroom
Comparing bathroom and kitchen, the latter has harsher conditions compared to the former. Several things and actions done inside the kitchen can affect and test the limits of your countertop. Eventually, granite and quartz can both be a great option for your bathroom remodeling.
Let us first consider granite in your bathroom. This mineral has excellent hardness to resist chips, cuts, and scratches which is perfect for bathroom countertops and vanity tops. If you are aiming to use this material in your bathroom, you need to enhance its sealant properties in order to maintain excellent non-porous abilities for a longer time.
The great thing about granite in your bathroom is its elegant veining patterns and designs which greatly enhances the ambiance and value of your bathroom.
Meanwhile, considering quartz has higher non-porous ability, it can withstand the frequent exposure to moisture and several cosmetic products. There is no periodic or annual re-sealing maintenance with quartz. Moreover, quartz has great aesthetics which also elevates the value and appearance of your bathroom.
Granite VS Quartz Weight
A mineral with a greater density weighs more compared with those that are less dense. In this situation, granite is denser compared to quartz. The former has a density of 2.7 to 2.8 g/cc while the latter is 2.65 g/cc.
The thickness of granite slab has a direct effect on its weight per slab. For instance, we have a 1-1/4” and 3/4” thick granite slab. The respective weights of each slab is 19 pounds per s.f. and 13 pounds per s.f.
Meanwhile, the standard slab size of quartz is 120” x 55” where its thickness can vary: 2-cm (3/4”) and 3 cm (1-1/4”). The average weight of a 3 cm and 2cm quartz slab is 710 lbs and 475 lbs, respectively. Putting it in other words, quartz weighs around 22.5 pounds per s.f. or 180 pounds per cubic foot.
Quartz VS Granite Heat Resistance
Placing hot pans or pots on top of your kitchen countertop is an inevitable thing. So you want to choose a material which has great tolerance for heat. Both granite and quartz have a high tolerance for heat, yet both reacts at different levels.
Typically, granite has higher heat resistance than quartz with the former up to 450 degrees and the latter up to 150 degrees. Despite these levels of heat resistance, both materials must not be in contact with hot objects for long hours as it stains and discolors its surface.
Eventually, you need to protect your countertop from hot pans and pots by using cutting boards and placing them on top instead of having direct contact with the surface. Directly placing hot objects on top of your countertop can leave marks and stains from your burner.
Granite VS Quartz VS Marble
We hope you are not yet fed up with lots of information we had discussed already in comparing quartz and granite. Now, let us try to insert marble as a third option for your kitchen countertop.
Among the three, marble can be a middle option between granite and quartz. Marble has cheaper price compared to quartz but slightly higher than granite. In terms of aesthetics, it has comparable elegance and designs with quartz. Both marble and granite have natural veining designs and colors unlike quartz having consistent patterns.
The main advantage of quartz against marble is hardness. The former has higher resistance against scratches, dents, chips and cuts. Marble is a softer natural mineral compared to granite. Comparing quartz and granite, the former is slightly harder and tougher.
Another factor we look into is the cleaning and maintenance requirements for the three minerals. Among the three, quartz has the least requirement for cleaning and maintenance due to its high non-porous feature. Unlike marble and granite, quartz does not need any re-sealing maintenance to maintain its stain-proof and sanitary function.
Marble and granite requires periodic or annual re-sealing to maintain good non-porous features. Further, marble requires a high level of cleaning and care as it is easily prone to etch, scratch, dents, and acidic/basic liquids.
Quartz VS Granite Countertops Consumer Reports
When it comes to kitchen remodeling particularly on countertop, two distinct minerals rival for popularity, that is, quartz and granite. Through the years, these two materials have grown huge market demands in the United States and in other countries.
Every customer you ask will have a difficult time choosing whether granite or quartz for their kitchen countertop. The reason? Because both displays excellent features and qualities in various aspects such as hardness, aesthetics, price, installation, cleaning and maintenance.
Definitely, there is a silver lining between these two minerals when it comes to being a superb material for kitchen countertops. If you plan to sell your house and do some kitchen remodeling to increase its resale value, you need to consider other things aside from the material itself.
First, you need to consider what are the current materials used by your neighbors in their kitchen counters. Eventually, the prospect client will make this a factor for consideration when looking for other houses nearby.
Second, you need to make sure if the material will definitely complement and appreciate the overall aesthetics and value of your home. Moreover, you also need to do some calculations against your investment and projected income from having the sale.
All these things will definitely matter for any kitchen or bathroom remodeling. So before making any decision, make sure you have done sufficient research on your side. The last decision will always be yours.