Quartz vs Granite: Choosing the Best Material for Your Countertops
You have a lot of choices today for the material you use on your kitchen countertops. According to recent surveys by the NKBA, two of the most popular materials are quartz and granite. Both materials will give you a beautiful, durable surface for your kitchen counters that will enhance the room and your home’s value.
Quartz vs Granite Countertops Comparison
The debate of quartz vs granite can sometimes be confusing. Both materials are slabs, and both contain over 90% natural stone. Both also have many pros and cons to consider when you are choosing what material will work best in your kitchen.
Kitchens are busy places that see food, drinks, spills, and more. So, the maintenance that your countertop requires needs to be considered.
“Granite” is the generic term used for many different types of natural stone that all contain some levels of quartz, feldspar, and silica. These stones may be actual granite, or they may be gabbros or dolomites. Each one will have a different degree of maintenance. Some will require very little, like Absolute Black – a gabbro. And some, like Giallo Ornamentale, a dolomite, will require a lot more.
You won’t know exactly how much maintenance your granite countertop needs until you test it. This is usually done by pouring lemon juice and water onto the stone and letting them sit for a few minutes. If the stone has changed color or surface texture when the liquids are wiped away, then it requires maintenance like sealing.
Typical quartz counters are actually made up of roughly 90–93% quartz and 7–10% resin. This resin makes the countertops non-porous and impervious to liquids and acids that may harm a granite countertop. Because quartz is made consistently, you don’t need to test it to find out how high maintenance it will be – it will not require sealing no matter what color you choose.
Both granite and quartz are durable countertop materials made from stone. But “granite” is made of a mixture of different stones and minerals. This means that the durability of granite is ranked from A to D with Class A stones being extremely durable and Class D stones being weak. A weak stone will have natural fissures - or cracks in its surface. It may also have pits, and if you want to use a weak stone with an unsupported overhang, it will likely begin to bend and crack over time.
Quartz countertops are more consistent. Made from more than 90% quartz - one of the strongest materials on earth - an engineered stone counter will never have fissures or pits. In fact, ranking 7 on the Moh’s Hardness scale, quartz ranks only behind diamonds (which receive a 10) topaz, and sapphire. An engineered stone countertop can also handle a much larger unsupported overhang without bending and cracking.
You won’t need to worry about whether or not the piece of quartz you selected is durable or not, because quartz counters will always be consistently durable.
One of the best things about granite countertops is their colors. Granite is a natural material, and depending on the minerals present in its makeup, it can take on a variety of different shades, color patterns, and veins. It may vary from piece to piece or within one piece.
For some homeowners, this is a positive; no two slabs of granite are ever exactly the same. For other homeowners, however, this can be a drawback. The slab you get may vary from showroom samples, or it may have some color changes where you don’t want them. To avoid these issues, it’s recommended that you choose the exact slab of granite you want from the stone yard.
Quartz counters are more consistent in color, veining, and tone. While dye lots can mean subtle variation from piece to piece, there is no variation as dramatic as granite. Quartz countertops come in many styles, however, including some that mimic marble veining and some that mimic the granular patterns of granite or limestone.
It’s possible to find bold colors in quartz that may not be available in granites, as well. For homeowners that like consistency or want to know what to expect, quartz can offer that.
When considering quartz vs granite countertops, you also need to consider their costs. Granite prices can fluctuate wildly, because granite itself can fluctuate wildly.
Remember that “granite” can actually be a number of different stones. Some are common, while others are very rare. Common stones can be fairly inexpensive, while more exotic stones and colors can cost hundreds of dollars a square foot. For example, blue granites are some of the most expensive stones available, and the bluer the color, the higher the price.
In the quartz vs granite countertops price comparison, quartz is much more consistent. Quartz costs about the same amount as a mid-priced granite. This is true of most colors of quartz, including bold colors, such as blue. For a homeowner that wants an exotic color in their kitchen, quartz can be the more affordable option.
5. Fabrication and Installation
Both quartz and granite countertops are sold as slabs. This means that they will need to be cut and fabricated to order just for your countertops. This is done by making a template of your current counter and transferring it to the slab.
In most cases, this process is nearly identical between the two materials. One issue that may occur with some types of granite, however, is slab size. The size of a slab can vary in granite, which means that you may need more slabs, or you may have more seams in the final installation.
Quartz slabs are also more consistent in size, as well as in color and durability. This makes for easier installation with less potential for waste and other issues.
Granite vs Quartz: Making the Right Choice
Granite countertops are beautiful, durable, and will enhance any kitchen they are installed in. They are also inconsistent, higher in maintenance, and have more widely varying costs than quartz.
If you want a beautiful, durable countertop that will be consistent each and every time, choose quartz for your next kitchen project.
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