Granite vs. Quartz Countertops: What’s the Difference?
Are you trying to pick the perfect countertops for your kitchen? If you’ve done some research, you’re already well aware that granite and quartz are two of today’s most popular choices for kitchen counters. While they may seem quite similar at first glance, each of these materials comes with its own set of pros and cons. That’s why it’s so important to carefully consider each one before making a final decision. Take a look at this guide to learn more about the differences between quartz and granite countertops.
If having a distinctive and naturally beautiful countertop is important to you, granite is likely the better fit for your tastes. Granite is mined in large slabs, so each piece is entirely unique and one of a kind. And while you can choose from a variety of overall colors and styles, the final look of the granite is unpredictable since it is sourced straight from nature. Granite is a natural stone product, so part of its appeal is the natural pattern that has developed through the stone.
Quartz, on the other hand, is an engineered product made from natural materials. Ground quartz crystals are combined with resins that bind them together under intense heat and pressure. This forms a slab that resembles natural stone but is actually a fabricated material. So while it doesn’t look as natural as granite, quartz is more predictable in terms of the final look of each slab. The material is carefully designed to deliver a certain type of color and pattern, so some homeowners prefer to choose quartz to achieve a more uniform look for their kitchen.
Some homeowners are concerned about air quality with quartz due to the fact that it contains epoxy binders known as resin. These resins, and other materials like pigments and acrylic, typically make up 10 percent or less of a quartz slab. Compared to granite, which is comprised entirely of natural stone, quartz does have more volatile organic compounds (VOCs). However, some granite slabs contain very low levels of radon.
In general, these materials contain such miniscule amounts of these potentially harmful substances that they are not actually dangerous in any way. Both options are considered completely safe for indoor use as long as you purchase the materials from a reputable company.
Both granite and quartz are considered durable materials. However, quartz countertops definitely have the upper hand when it comes to toughness and maintenance needs. This material is resistant to both stains and cracks. It’s also non-porous, so it’s less likely to develop bacteria, mold, or mildew when spills occur on the surface. Quartz does not need to be sealed with any type of coating, and it’s extremely easy to keep clean.
Granite can potentially come with natural flaws that make it prone to cracking. It also has a porous surface that needs to be resealed about once per year. If the top coat wears down, the stone becomes susceptible to harboring mold or other bacterial growth.
One drawback to consider with quartz countertops is potential fading. This material may display some discoloration when exposed to direct sunlight. If parts of the counter may receive harsh UV rays every day, you may see differences in color over time.
You may want to select quartz for your countertops if sustainability is a priority for your home renovations. Quartz leaves a smaller carbon footprint due to the fact that many of the materials used to make it are recycled. In addition, the manufacturing process is more environmentally friendly, and there is an abundance of quartz stone available to work with without the need for quarrying.
The manufacturing process for granite is less eco-friendly in comparison. This material must be quarried before being shipped across the globe. While the material itself is 100 percent natural, a larger carbon footprint is required to procure it.
One environmentally friendly benefit of both quartz and granite is that they are incredibly durable and long-lasting countertop options. When cared for properly, they can last a lifetime in your home, which makes them relatively sustainable options regardless of the production processes.
Quartz and granite are both high-end home renovation materials, so they both have high price tags to match. However, granite starts at a lower price point of about $40 per square foot while quartz starts around $70 to $80 per square foot including installation. The finest quartz tops out at about $175 per square foot, while granite can cost as much as $200 per square foot.
Fortunately, quartz and granite costs have come down slightly in recent years. Quartz, in particular, has become more affordable as the materials for basic countertops have become more widely available. However, certain designers, styles, and colors come with high-end pricing.
Homeowners should not attempt to install their own granite or quartz countertops. Both of these materials are extremely heavy and difficult to install without proper equipment and training. The biggest concern is damaging such an expensive material. Don’t risk your investment by trying to save a bit of money with DIY installation. Instead, hire professionals to install your quartz or granite countertops safely and correctly.
Both granite and quartz will increase the resale value of your home and attract potential buyers. These stone countertops are highly desirable and can help potential home buyers to take interest in your property.
Because the kitchen is one of the most frequently used spaces in the home and is usually highly visible to guests, having high-end finishes like quartz or granite countertops is a major selling point. Many buyers also want to avoid a kitchen renovation since it causes such an interruption to their daily routine, so already having stylish, high-quality countertops ensures that they can move in without having to deal with a big project right off the bat.
As you can see, both quartz and granite countertops are great choices when it comes to kitchen renovations. However, they have distinct benefits and drawbacks that need to be carefully considered when choosing which one will work best for your home. Use this guide to help decide between these two high-end countertop materials.