For many customers, there tends to be confusion between the contrast in granite and quartz countertops, and that’s okay. You would never have needed to think about their distinctions until you decided to remodel your kitchen, so you’ve had no reason to know all the gritty details!
From an outside perspective, it may not seem like these two materials are that different, but that is far from the truth. Keep reading to find out which of these two countertop materials will best fit the bill for your remodel, both functionally and in reference to your unique design style.
If you’re looking for a strong countertop material to withstand the everyday wear and tear that happens in your kitchen, neither of these options are going to steer you wrong. Granite and quartz are the two most durable countertop surfaces that exist on the market. While this is true, they do differ slightly in their strength.
Granite is a natural material that is mined and quarried from the earth, making it extremely tough, but it is rather porous due to its natural properties. Granite can stain or fracture if it is hit with a hard enough impact. But if it is properly cared for, you should not fear this to be a problem. It is also heat resistant, and many people with granite countertops tend to set hot pots and pans right onto its surface. We definitely don’t recommend that. We can confirm that granite is resistant to heat, however the seal used on the stone will be damaged and likely violated if a hot pot or pan is placed on it.
While granite is a contender, quartz is known as the hardest countertop surface, and some argue it is virtually indestructible. Quartz is man made, so elements contributing to its fabrication are controllable and consistent. This material also does not require the maintenance that granite does, but it is not as heat resistant as granite, so using hot pads under pots and pans (as with any countertop surface) is always strongly recommended.
Maintenance and Upkeep
If rated for ease of upkeep, quartz would have to come in first. Granite and quartz are generally easy to care for, comparatively. Even though most of the maintenance and care instructions are the same across the board, there is an important difference to bear in mind when considering which you might prefer. It is recommended that granite be sealed every 12-18 months. On the other hand, quartz does not require resealing. It is maintenance-free in this respect, and it is one of quartz’s most attractive features for customers looking to choose between these two materials. Granites need for resealing this frequently makes it a high-maintenance material, especially compared to quartz effortless appeal. It’s not an ‘easy’ process per say. Some homeowners find the chemicals in the resealing formula concerning as well, so bear this in mind.
Other than sealing, daily maintenance and upkeep is consistent for each kind of countertop. Removing liquids and spills immediately after they occur will prevent any staining. Neither surface needs common household cleaners; water and a soft sponge or cloth will do just fine. Both are resistant to scratching, but using a cutting board is still recommended to avoid any imperfections.
Cleanliness and Safety
As was previously mentioned, cleaning and maintenance is fairly similar for both granite and quartz, but for cleanliness and safety, there can be some small differentiation between the two. Because granite requires frequent resealing due to its porous nature, it can sometimes hold dirt and bacteria if there are imperfections on the surface of the countertop. This is, however, avoidable with proper upkeep and maintenance. On the other hand, quartz is known for its near indestructibility, so it is a more bacteria-free surface. Some quartz countertops are even deemed food-safe for preparation and cooking.
Both types of countertops can be easily cleaned with a mild soap, or simply water and a sponge or soft towel. While these are both great options for safe food prep and help to avoid bacteria buildup, they should still be cleaned regularly after use to avoid cross contamination between foods and different substances that stick to the surface.
While these two surfaces prove to vie for top popularity with homeowners, they do have many similarities and comparative properties. This is not true, however, when it comes to the environmental impact they each have on the planet. While neither is deemed good for the environment, there are some profound differences in their production and manufacturing processes.
Granite requires mining and quarrying, which requires a lot of heavy equipment powered by gasoline. From there, the material must be transported to a fabrication facility, creating vehicle emissions. Once it is at the factory, it must be cut anywhere from 3-5 times before it is even measured and cut for the home it will be installed in. Every cut uses hundreds of gallons of water, and it also requires polishing, which also requires water.
Quartz, on the other hand, does not need to be mined or quarried. It is engineered in a factory, and typically, these countertops are made up of 93-95% quartz, and 5-7% resin. Some companies will use recycled materials to start with. Fabricating and making quartz still requires electricity and water, but the material is usually only cut 2-3 times total before being installed.
With that said, if you are looking for a more environmentally conscious countertop for your kitchen remodel, quartz is likely the better choice between the two.
Price is one of the most important factors for customers when making a purchase, and especially when remodeling their kitchens. If price is a concern for you regarding your countertop, these two options are both on the higher end of the price scale. But, in comparison to one another, there is not a huge difference between them.
Granite tends to be slightly more affordable, but factors such as brand, quality, grade, style, rarity, and size can cause the price to fluctuate. Granite has a wider range of prices, but a lower price for granite usually means you compromise the quality you are likely seeking in a stone countertop.
Quartz, on the other hand, tends to be consistent in price from piece to piece. What does impact the price can depend on the design’s complexity, as well as the size of the slab your remodel requires.
Because they are comparable in price, it usually just comes down to what you prefer aesthetically. There are some significant differences in the appearance of each material.
Design and Appearance
Quartz can resemble granite but tends to have a more consistent and controllable pattern. Quartz can also have little to no pattern at all and can be close to one solid color. Granite is a natural stone, meaning no two slabs will look the same. Seams in granite will be more obvious because of the inconsistency of the natural stone and its differing patterns. The sample of granite you see might vary from the slabs installed in your home. It tends to have a more speckled look, whereas quartz often will have more of a flowing pattern.
When it comes to the look and aesthetics of your countertop, this is solely based on preference. There tends to be a profound debate on which countertop material is more visually appealing in the remodeling world, but for your space, that’s for you to decide.
A “Hard” Choice
Deciding on the right countertop material is an extremely important decision, both practically and aesthetically, and there are many factors to consider. But when it comes down to it, both are time tested and popular options, as well as durable, long lasting, and easy-to-clean surfaces that will stand the test of time in your kitchen.
Check out Kitchen Magic’s countertop gallery, or call us at (866) 525-0012 for a free Design Consultation to find out more about which type of countertop is the best fit for your remodeling project.