Quartz vs. Granite Countertops: The Complete Comparison

quartz vs granite countertopsBefore you spree on a new quartz or granite countertop, make sure you’re getting the product best suited to your wants and needs. There are a lot of assumptions and misconceptions about quartz and granite (such as neither one stains) that cause customer satisfaction to be rather short-lived.

The following guide breaks down all the pros, cons and facts about quartz and granite countertops, so you know exactly what to expect from that slab of rock in your kitchen. If you’re still a little uneasy about it or just paranoid about getting ripped off, check out this five-star home improvement project survivor course.

A Fundamental Difference Between Quartz And Granite

Granite: Before we get into the ways in which these countertops differ, let’s highlight the one outstanding difference between quartz and granite countertops. Granite countertops, as many people know, are mined as large, single sheets. The granite that you buy occurs naturally in nature, is 100% natural stone and for this reason no two slabs of granite are exactly the same. This appeals to many people because they can purchase a unique, beautiful, interesting and one-of-a-king product.

Quartz: Quartz countertops are manufactured. They might look natural (that’s the point), but the truth is that quartz is crushed and traditionally mixed with resin or another binding agent. The patters and colors that appear in quartz countertops are 100% artificial. The quartz itself is real, of course, but everything else was designed by a human being (as opposed to mother nature).

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Pros And Cons Of Granite

1. Imperfect

Because granite is mined in large, natural chunks, and because it is not treated by manufacturing, granite slabs are imperfect. They are stunning to the eye, but some people find it hard to find a slab that has enough consistency to fit in their homes. For others, however, this is granite’s strongest asset. The imperfections make it unique.

2. Seam-ly

Unless you are using granite for a small, square countertop, you will need several different pieces to complete your project. Where these pieces join, the seams, are impossible to hide. A professional installer can usually match the seam color to the granite, as well as make the cuts in the most unobtrusive manner, but the seams will still be quite noticeable if you’re looking for them.

3. Durable, But Not Unbreakable

Granite is unusually strong, but it has a tendency to chip if it suffers a severe blow from a dropped pan. If you own granite for long enough, and use it regularly (in the kitchen), you will probably suffer a few very small (dime sized) chips. But it’s not uncommon for granite countertops to last for 50 years without a scratch. It all depends on how well they are maintained.

4. Maintenance

Best practices for maintaining granite countertops require you to seal them every one to three years, depending on use. The sealant keeps the countertop from collecting liquid and staining. Granite is not naturally stain-resistant. It is extremely porous and only a strong seal will keep it from staining under heavy use.

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Pros And Cons Of Quartz

1. Stainless

Certainly one big advantage quartz has over granite is that it is stainless and never needs to be sealed. The quartz countertop requires zero maintenance, which is a significant incentive for a lot of people.

2. But Not Quite Stainless

And yet, while no Earthly products may stain quartz, over-exposure to sunlight can cause it to discolor. If your countertops are in front of large windows, you might think twice before spending thousands of dollars on a quartz countertop.

3. Strength vs. Weight

Quartz and granite are relative equals when it comes to which one chips easier, but quartz tends to be considered stronger because it is more flexible. Granite that is not installed properly or that received tremendous weight strain is more liable to crack than quartz. On the other hand, quartz is even heavier than granite, and that’s saying something. Both granite and quartz need to be professionally installed, they’re simply too heavy and unwieldy for the average amateur.

4. No Seams

Yes, the seams are still there and yes, they are still barely visible, but most darker quartzes do not show their seams, which makes for a very clean, modern look. Quartz that has multiple colors or patterns can be more difficult to hide, but almost nothing would be as conspicuous as granite.

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Which Is More Expensive?

Quartz: Let’s talk installation costs so that we can get a realistic, final price. Quartz has historically been more expensive than granite, but times have changed, technology has improved and now the discussion is not so cut-and-dry. Quartz generally runs from about $65-$100 per square foot installed. So your average quartz countertop of, say, 40 square feet will run from $2,600-$4,000.

Granite: Granite comes in a much wider variety of pricing. Your cheapest, lowest quality granite can be installed for $30 per square foot (although these low-end quotes have a tendency of incurring unseen costs). But high end, rare or exotic granite can run upward of $150 per square foot, though it should be noted that the average cost of installed granite is around $60 per square foot, making it slightly less expensive than quartz. If you want to see what real people paid for their countertops, read this brief article-and-response published by The Kitchn.

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