Quartz vs. Granite: Is One Better Than the Other?
June 1, 2020
If there’s one thing designers, home buyers, and home renovators all have a strong opinion about, it’s countertop materials. However, not everyone is on the same page. Among all the possible options for your kitchen and bathroom countertops, quartz and granite reign supreme for their striking appearance and durability. But depending on who you ask, the question of which material is actually #1 is often contested.
So what’s the truth? Is either quartz or granite really that much better than the other? And how can you tell which material is not just the best, but the best for your project?
In this article, we’re walking you through the basic properties, strengths, and weakness of both quartz and granite so that you can decide for yourself which material has a place in your home. Let’s get started!
First, what are quartz and granite?
The first step in deciding which material is better is understanding what they both actually are. Granite is a 100% natural material. It’s mined from a wide variety of places around the world and polished to create the beautiful granite slabs that eventually become countertops. Quartz, on the other hand, is composed of about 95% raw, ground quartz that’s been mixed with about 5% synthetic resin.
One of the biggest reasons for quartz’s popularity is that it’s tough to find a better looking countertop material. Quartz countertops offer the look of natural stone while allowing for quite a lot of customization in terms of pattern and color. This means it’s easy to find quartz that matches pretty much any design scheme.
Also striking, granite is known for its organic, natural colors and patterns. Formed by the cooling and solidifying of molten materials, granite comes in a diverse array of colors and patterns but is not customizable in the same way that quartz is. This means that while granite countertops are absolutely stunning, it may be challenging to find exactly the color, texture, or pattern for your room depending on your design preferences.
Both quartz and granite countertops can be easily cleaned with a basic soap and water solution and a non-abrasive sponge. The porous, natural texture of granite calls for granite countertops to be sealed about once each year, whereas quartz countertops do not need to be resealed. This makes quartz the slightly lower-maintenance option.
A natural stone, granite is durable, holds up well to high heat, and is somewhat resistant to scratching. However, it’s porosity means that it can be stained if spills aren’t cleaned up promptly. It also may crack if your countertop takes a blow with a hard object, though this is atypical.
Quartz is a harder stone than granite, which means that it’s a more durable countertop material. It’s also non-porous, which means it won’t hold onto stains or bacteria the way a granite countertop can. Quartz is, however, less resistant to heat than granite, so quartz countertop owners need to be especially diligent about using hot plates and heat pads when cooking.
Cost-wise, quartz and granite are fairly similar. According to HomeAdvisor.com, the average cost to buy and install granite countertops is about $2,000-$4,000, whereas quartz comes in at between $1,500-$5,500. Quartz can incur extra expense during the installation process, because it’s heavy weight means that a professional may have to do extra work to ensure structural stability.
Last but not least, environmental impact should also be taken into consideration when deciding between quartz vs. granite countertops. While many people assume that granite’s all-natural nature makes it the more environmentally friendly option, mining and quarrying granite consumes quite a lot of energy. In addition, many people special order granite slabs from distant geographical areas, which means that the impact of shipping and transportation must also be considered. The most responsible way to purchase granite is to shop with a local supplier, choose indigenous stone, and keep an eye out for remnant and salvage pieces that you could reuse for your own project.
Since quartz can be engineered virtually anywhere, it doesn’t require the same amount of energy to produce that granite does. Using regionally manufactured stone and working with a local installation expert is the most environmentally friendly approach to installing quartz countertops in your home.