If you are considering renovating your kitchen or bathroom, but aren’t sure what materials to use for countertops, start with how you plan to use your kitchen or bathroom. Do you cook a lot or very little? Do you have small children or teenagers? Do you entertain guests frequently? There are many materials out there today, but the 2 most popular is quartz or granite. Today, quartz is in every Kitchen and Bath Showroom and rightly so as it is now the leading countertop material surpassing granite. Quartz is a manufactured man made material comprised of 97% natural ground quartz and 2% polymer resins. Granite on the other hand is a 100% natural hard stone mined from quarries around the world, cut down and polished to a fine finish. There isn’t anything quite like the beauty and elegance of natural stone. So, what are the other differences between quartz and granite?
Granite is not uniform and comes in many different colors and patterns (due to the way it’s formed during the cooling and solidifying of molten materials). This can be appealing to some people who like the natural formation of mineral inclusions, colors, and designs of granite. Quartz on the other hand can mimic the look of natural stone and also offers a lot more options in terms of appearance. Whereas granite is not uniform in terms of appearance (no two granite slabs are the same), quartz comes in both a uniform look if that’s your preference as well as an inconsistent look similar to natural stone.
Granite can cost anywhere from $45/sq ft. to $65/sq ft. on the high end. To cut down on the cost of granite, opt for a thinner slab. Instead of the standard 1-1/4″ thickness, select a thickness of 3/4″. You can easily spend $2000 on the low end to over $4500 for a granite countertop (material and installation). An advantage is that granite comes in larger slab sizes than quartz. Quartz costs $50/sq ft. to $90/sq ft. depending on the grade level of quartz. Material cost and installation of quartz runs from $1000 to $5000. Based on today’s statistics, quartz is more expensive than granite and heavier than other stone surfaces, so please leave the installation to professionals. Some quartz brands such as Caesarstone requires a certified fabricator to fabricate and install the countertops. Quartz countertops is not for DIY people.
Granite is a durable material that is resistant to heat and not susceptible to scratches. It can be also be very resistant to stains and won’t absorb liquids when properly sealed. It’s important to seal granite countertops correctly since it is porous. A poorly-sealed countertop can also harbor bacteria in its pores. Quartz is more durable than granite as it’s impervious to stains and stands up to acidic foods. You don’t need to seal quartz. In fact, quartz is nearly indestructible because it isn’t porous like granite and it’s easy to keep relatively bacteria-free. Some quartz brands such as Silestone include Mircoban in their manufacturing process which prevents bacteria and mold from growing, although there is some concerns about the safety of Microban as no one knows what’s actually in Microban. It’s also scratch and chip resistant although I would do further research because some people have had issues with quartz countertops chipping easily.
Granite is easy to maintain and should be cleaned daily with soap and water or a mild household cleaner. To ensure the longevity of your granite countertops, please make sure to reseal your countertops once a year to prevent bacteria, mold, and stains from damaging the natural stone. With quartz countertops, maintenance is similar to granite countertops. Clean up any spills with soap and water or a household cleaner. You don’t need to reseal quartz since it isn’t porous.
Since Granite is quarried, it uses a lot of energy, especially if you select a high end slab from Italy, transportation costs will be involved. Try using indigenous stone when possible or visit stone yards for salvage pieces that can be cut to fit your needs. Since quartz is engineered, it can be more environmentally-friendly than granite if you use regionally manufactured stone and local fabricators. This cuts down on the distance the material needs to be transported which is less harmful to the environment.
Check out these lovely kitchen designs. Are the countertops granite or quartz?