Deciding on the material of your countertop is an important step in the kitchen remodeling process. Two of the more popular options for countertops are Quartz and Granite. Both are slabs of stone that are mined from rock quarries before being cut into the final shapes for your countertops. These materials both have their pros & cons, we will describe each to provide you the information you might need to determine which is best for your new countertops.
Quartz countertops are a mix of quartz, which is a hard, crystalline mineral composed of silicon and oxygen atoms, and man-made resin. The resin penetrates the gaps within the quartz material and creates a protective layer.
Pros and cons of quartz countertops
- Quartz countertops are just as strong as granite but have the added benefit of being more flexible making them less likely to chip or crack.
- Quartz is non-porous and does not require any sealing – ever. This material offers a virtually maintenance free kitchen work surface.
- While very durable they cannot be considered indestructible. They are stain-resistant, so spilling wine or olive oil simply requires a quick cleanup.
- One drawback that you should definitely take note of is that quartz can discolor over time when exposed to direct sunlight. If part of your counter receives strong UV rays from the sun while another part doesn’t, over time you may see a color difference.
- You can expect to see seams with a quartz counter but they will be less visible if you choose a slab that’s darker in color.
- Quartz countertops are more susceptible to damage from heat than granite countertops, but are less likely to stain.
Granite is a natural igneous stone, meaning it was created by volcanic action. Granite is porous and needs to have a sealer applied to help prevent from stains and moisture. Granite usually comes in shades of white, pink, or grey, depending on the minerals found inside. Granite countertops also cost less than quartz.
Pros and cons of granite countertops
- They are not uniform in color or appearance. For some this will be preferred while others might consider it to be less than desirable.
- Granite countertops will need to be sealed as long as you own the countertop. As a rule of thumb less is best. You can buy cleaner sealers at most retail stores. It’s important to recognize “cleaner/sealer” and not another combination of benefits. Use mild dish detergent to wipe the surface as needed. Avoid detergents and cleaning supplies with citrus or anything abrasive.
- Granite is extremely durable but is a natural rock and can break or chip or scratch if not careful, and when properly maintained they’ll last a lifetime.
- It’s impossible to completely hide the seams in a granite counter, but a good fabricator will minimize the appearance as best is possible.
- The samples that you see at the store can slightly differ from the stone that you receive, and you should ask if you can select the slabs that will be used in your countertops at the slab yard.
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Cost of Quartz vs Granite Countertops
Granite on average costs less than quartz. Average starting costs for granite is $55 per sq ft, with quartz at $70. Granite can cost as much as $200 per sq ft and quartz as high as $105 per sq ft.
In most cases you’ll end up paying less for granite. Prices can vary depending on many variables such as where it is mined, demand, etc.
Fortunately, the price of granite countertops has come down. It used to be that granite would end up costing a bit more than quartz but since quartz has been directly competing with granite for the last 15 years the price of granite has fallen while quartz manufacturers have raised their prices as the material increases in popularity and demand.
Aesthetics of Quartz vs Granite Countertops
When it comes to choosing a Quartz or Granite countertop based on looks, this is completely a personal choice. There are some very beautiful brands that make quartz like Caesarstone https://www.caesarstone.com.au/colours and Cambria https://www.cambriausa.com/designs/design-palette/.
Each material offers beautiful, durable countertops and you’ll have to decide for yourself which one you prefer. Choose the material that looks good, it is your kitchen or bathroom after all. You’re the one that will be looking at it every day, so choose what you like.
Why Does Quartz Seem So Much More Popular Than Granite?
In the 1990’s granite became the popular material to replace your laminate countertops and it remained popular for years.
When quartz entered the market many suppliers and sales people recommended the durability and performance of quartz and the variety of colors resulted in quartz popularity increasing to almost the preferred countertop.
Granite continues to be the best-selling natural counter that you can find on the market, even though quartz has overtaken it in overall popularity. Now that the prices of Silestone and other quartz manufacturers have increased more than granite, some are electing granite to manage the budget.
The indoor air quality of your home
There has been reports and concern about the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that may be present in either quartz or granite counters. Quartz countertops are comprised of approximately 90% quartz and 10% epoxy binder (resin) and acrylic. This means that most quartz tops have more VOCs than countertops made of granite. See below more about this issue and Greenguard Certified
Adding to the value of your home
Adding a stone countertop to your home will definitely increase its value. While there are a lot of renovations you can do that will not contribute to your home’s value, a good stone countertop will have an impact on the bottom line. You can expect a return for the investment of your purchase when you resell your house later and may help your home sell faster. With an expected ROI between 50% to as much as 80%+ https://www.remodeling.hw.net/cost-vs-value/2018/
The fact is that granite and quartz countertops attract home buyers. https://www.zillow.com/sellers-guide/kitchen-remodel-roi/
The environmental impact
Today’s consumers are trying to make the best sustainable choices when remodeling their homes. In terms of countertops, quartz materials generally leave less of a carbon footprint.
Many of these products contain content that has been recycled and the manufacturing process and may be more environmentally friendly. Granite is quarried from the ground and then shipped across the world to the manufacturing site. While quartz is also mined oversees and then shipped to the United States for manufacturing purposes.
If you’re looking for an environmentally friendly choice Cambria products are made in the United States, which helps to support the local business. These products are also Greenguard Certified, meaning that they do not have any type of impact on indoor air quality. Cambria also recycles all of the water used during the manufacturing process. Grey water is recycled waste water used to process.
So, which one should one choose?
Most of us are only going to remodel our home once so we want to get it right. We want something that fits into our busy lifestyle, doesn’t require much maintenance, and will make a lasting impression on us every time we walk into the kitchen.
When it comes to the final decision, there really is no wrong choice, a function of personal preference and what you look for in your new countertops.
If you spend some time browsing the internet you’ll find a range of different opinions about quartz vs granite countertops. Opinions differ between individuals who tell you that you should choose a quartz countertop, another will recommend granite.
When you do spend some time reading through these reviews, you’ll begin to notice a common theme.
No matter which material you choose, quartz or granite will provide you with countertops you’ll love!