A brief rundown of quartz and granite
Granite countertops are quarried naturally from the earth as enormous chunks of stone.
After they leave the quarry they are cut and polished into the familiar countertop shape.
Quartz countertops contain crushed quartz mixed with resin in a ratio of 93% quartz to 7% resin. They are manufactured in a variety of different patterns and colors.
An in-depth look at the pros and cons of quartz
As with granite, quartz countertops also have their own sets of drawbacks and benefits that go along with them.
- Quartz countertops are just as strong as granite but have the added benefit of being more flexible. This makes them easier to work with during the installation process.
- Quartz is non-porous and does not require any sealing – ever. These stones offer a virtually no-maintenance material solution for countertops.
- These counters are also very durable but they cannot be considered indestructible either. They are stain-resistant as well so dropping a glass of wine on them simply requires a quick cleanup.
- One drawback that you should definitely take note of is these counters can discolor over time when exposed to direct sunlight. If you have a part of your counter that receives some of the UV rays from the sun while another part doesn’t, over time you may see a color difference.
- These countertops need to be professionally installed and quartz is even heavier than granite.
- 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. As well, the seams are easier to hide when you choose quartz because the counter has been colored and manufactured. If you buy a quartz countertop in a solid color, it’s much easier to hide the seam to a certain extent.
With granite, the natural veins and colors in the stone will never allow the seams to appear less visible.
The benefits and drawbacks of granite
Here are some of the most important drawbacks and benefits of granite that you need to know:
- The appearance is not uniform. These stones are coming right out of the earth and are not perfectly designed by nature. For some this will be a benefit while others will consider it to be a drawback.
- Granite countertops will need to be sealed before they are used and this will need to be repeated year after year for as long as you own the countertop. Granite is a porous stone and can only be considered to be stain-resistant if it has been sealed properly. While some people only seal their granite countertops every 3 years, it’s best to be safe and to do it yearly. If for any reason the sealant on the counter gets compromised, your countertop can get stained.
- Countertops made of granite are extremely durable but should not be considered to be indestructible. It is a natural rock and can break or chip if subjected to heavy abuse. For regular day-to-day activities though, and with proper maintenance, this is a countertop that can last for a lifetime and beyond.
- The stones are heavy and require a professional installation. Don’t even think of hiring your neighborhood handyman to put in your new countertop to save a few dollars.
- It’s impossible to hide the seams in a granite counter. Expect the seams to show up once it has been installed.
- The samples that you see can slightly differ from the stone that you receive. Keep in mind that these are naturally occurring slabs so the samples cannot be a true 100% reflection of the stone you are ordering. There may be color variances or occlusions in the stone you receive that gives the slab a slightly different appearance.
If you spend some time browsing through the internet you’ll find a range of different reviews about quartz vs granite. While one homeowner will tell you that you absolutely, positively must get a quartz countertop, another reviewer will insist upon buying granite counters. When you do spend some time reading through these reviews, however, you will notice one point that stands out.
Both quartz and granite countertop owners are defending their own personal choices with a vengeance because they are so completely pleased with their counters. At the end of the day, you can walk away from these reviews knowing that choosing either quartz or granite stones will provide you with a countertop that you’ll love!
Let’s compare the cost
This can be the biggest consideration when it comes to choosing between a quartz countertop and one that’s made of granite. If you’re like most people you have a budget that you’re trying to stick to for your countertop material.
There’s no doubt that with either product you’re going to have to be digging deep into your pockets. A slab of granite is usually priced starting at $60 a square foot but the prices rise quickly from that point on. For quartz countertops, you’ll generally be paying anywhere from $67 up to $95 per square foot. For a 28 ft.² counter made of quartz you’ll have to budget for approximately $2200 – $3100.
In most cases you’ll end up paying more for granite unless you find something in the $60 range that you love. Prices can vary according to the manufacturer, the pattern and the color of the granite slab. Fortunately, during recent years, the prices on granite countertops have come down significantly since they first made their appearance on the market.
Granite can often end up costing a bit more than quartz since it is a natural rock. This means that the complete slab needs to be excavated from the earth as one chunk of stone. This extraction along with the shipping of the product consumes a lot of energy, time and ultimately money. When it comes to granite slabs, you’ll need to be willing to pay the price for a thicker piece. The thinner the granite is, the weaker it will be as well.
All in all, you may have to pay slightly more for granite, but the cost difference won’t be all that significant. The important thing is to choose a budget and then do your best to stay within it by choosing the quartz or granite stone that you think will look fantastic displayed in your kitchen.
When it comes to aesthetics…
This is personal choice only. Don’t let anyone else tell you which one looks better. There are some very beautiful brands that make quartz like Caesarstone and Cambria.
Some people like the look of granite more than quartz because it has a natural earthy aspect to it. Others prefer the sleek uniform look of quartz. The great news is that you can never go wrong by choosing either one!
Why does granite seemed to be so much more popular than quartz?
Back in the 1990s, granite officially became a status symbol in the world of countertops. You had “made it” once you owned a counter that was made of natural stone. There’s something about granite and its “back to nature” appeal that simply cannot be replaced by any type of quartz, marble or stainless steel countertop.
It has secured its place as a must-have high-end stone and even nowadays it is deemed to be more prestigious than its counterparts. Granite continues to be the best-selling natural counter that you can find on the market.
The indoor air quality of your home
There has been a lot of 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. On the other hand, some granite slabs contain radon in very low levels. For the most part though, both of those countertops are considered safe for indoor use.
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 the overall home’s value, a good stone countertop will raise the price value. You can expect to get back the value of your purchase when you resell your house later on. Adding a new natural stone counter can also help your home sell faster.
It’s hard to believe what a difference a quartz or granite countertop can make when it comes to selling a home. Some potential home buyers will even ask their real estate agents if the home comes with a granite countertop. As well, if a buyer is looking at 2 homes that are similar and one has a stone counter while the other has a laminate one, the odds are good that the home with the quartz or granite counter will be the chosen one.
Going back to the status symbol effect of a granite countertop, you may want to keep in mind the effect it can have on a potential buyer if you’re planning on selling your home in the not-too-distant future. Granite countertops attract home buyers like honey!
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 is more environmentally friendly. Granite needs to be 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, there is one company that does its own processing in this country.