If you are unfamiliar with quartz or granite countertops, they can look and feel similar, yet they are VERY different. Quartz has seen a huge rise in recent years being one of the top materials people are choosing for their kitchen countertops. Granite has taken a bit of a back seat, yet will always reign as being a “tried and true” constant in the home interiors industry.
Technological advancements have allowed quartz to take on the natural look of concrete and marble, and can even exhibit textures of natural stone. With marble looks being on trend for both bathrooms and kitchens, this has created more options for people to choose from who want the look but don’t necessarily want the price or natural features of marble. Whether you want soft and subtle movement in your marbled look or you want strong contrasting veins, there are many styles and colors to choose from that will get you the look you’re after.
In order to choose what countertop is best for your kitchen, it really comes down to your needs. Before we start breaking down your needs in the kitchen, let’s go over the background of each material.
Granite is 100% natural and is formed within the earth. It is then quarried directly from the earth in large blocks, cut into slabs, polished on one side at the quarry, and ultimately shaped by a fabricator to fit your countertop specifications.
Quartz countertops are a man-made engineered stone product that is made by combing about 90% ground quartz and about 10% resins, polymers, and pigments. It is an extensive process that basically “bakes” the crushed quartz and resin together, and flattens it to form a hard surface that can be used for countertops.
What Are Your Needs?
Ultimately, the material you choose for your countertops depends on how you plan to use your kitchen. Do you love cooking and plan to spend a lot of time in your kitchen creating culinary masterpieces? Do you have children who will be doing art projects or their homework at your counters? Do you entertain a great deal and constantly have guests in your kitchen? Is using natural materials important to you and your environmental ethics?
So many things to consider in this coveted space.
With a lot of cooking, usually comes spills, so if you plan on using acidic foods or drinks (i.e. tomatoes, lemons, coffee, wine, etc), you might want to consider quartz since it is non-porous making it nearly impermeable to stains. However, if you are trying to get the timing down for the perfect meal for your next dinner party and leave a boiling pan on the counter, you’ll want to choose a natural stone, such as granite, that won’t warp or stain from the intense heat. If pens, paint, and markers are going to be present in your kitchen, they might leave a permanent work of art on that gorgeous River White Granite you chose. And if the environment is a strong factor in which materials you are choosing for your home, you’ll of course want to choose a countertop that was made by Mother Earth herself.
- Non-porous so it resists staining and bacteria. Combats juice, oil, wine, tomato, coffee, etc.
- Wide variety of colors and styles, including: marble and concrete looks, solid tones, looks similar to granite, and even different textures or sheens.
- Extremely strong and durable material.
- ZERO maintenance required- no sealing ever again!
- Uses waste materials rather than quarrying new materials.
- What you see is what you get- quartz doesn’t have wavering styles that granite and other natural stones have.
- Scratch-, water-, and chip-resistant.
- Unique color and style choices since every slab is unique and unlike any other
- Can withstand high temperatures, so a boiling pot of water can be placed directly on the surface.
- No discoloration from natural sunlight.
- 100% natural and from the earth.
- “Tried and true” in the market and holds its value.
- Discoloration from sunlight will occur over time, especially if your kitchen gets a lot of natural light.
- Less resistant to high heat, so a boiling pot of water can discolor the quartz if placed directly on the surface.
- Only about 90% natural and from the earth (this is a pro for some though!)
- Maintenance required- needs to be sealed from time to time.
- Softer, more porous material, so it can scratch or chip.
- Prone to staining.
- Can have flaws and imperfections since it is a natural product (this is a pro for some though!).
Is There a Price Difference Between the Two?
Not necessarily. At one point, quartz was more expensive than granite, but technological advances have lowered production costs, so it is now similarly priced to granite. As with most products, the ornateness of the material is usually what drives the price. So, you’ll find varying costs with both materials.
Design Tools at Your Fingertips
If you’re still having trouble deciding between which material to go with, come check out the quartz and natural stone samples in our Pillar Stone private label collection, as well as other well-known brands, in our showroom. Compare textures, weight, and colors of quartz and granite side by side to help narrow down the selection process. You can also visit the virtual kitchen designer on our website by clicking here.