This blog was updated February 25, 2021.
As designers, one of our favorite aspects of our job is introducing our clients to various materials that will create the dream space they envision. There are thousands of paint colors, hundreds of cabinet door styles, and dozens of countertop options.
Quartz and granite are the two most popular surface materials for countertops. But what are the pros and cons of quartz vs. granite? And when it comes to your kitchen or bathroom, which material is best?
Types of Kitchen Countertops
When looking at countertop materials, the possibilities are nearly endless.
- Wood/butcher block
- Stainless steel
Over the years, as countertops have evolved to become more functional, durable, and beautiful, two materials have emerged as timeless favorites: quartz and granite.
What is Quartz?
Quartz is a man-made product consisting of natural quartz as well as small pieces of glass and sometimes, metallic or sparkly flecks. It is non-porous, which helps prevent bacterial growth in high-traffic areas like kitchens and bathrooms. Since quartz is man-made, manufacturers can create beautiful pieces with unique color variations and veining.
What is Granite?
Granite is a natural stone that is mined from the Earth, largely in South America. Unlike quartz, granite is much more porous and requires sealing to avoid water damage and staining.
Granite is widely used in kitchens and bathrooms and is very durable. It features unique color profiles that make it very desirable for many homeowners.
Quartz vs. Granite: Which Surface Is Best?
To answer one of the most popular questions in the industry, here are key features that distinguish the two countertops.
When it comes to cleaning, both quartz and granite countertops can be wiped down easily with warm water and a non-acidic soap. But, since granite is a porous stone, it must be sealed every 1-2 years. Be sure to ask your contractor if your countertops were sealed before installation (most are), or if you’ll need to seal them before using them. This is one of the biggest disadvantages of granite in the quartz vs. granite debate.
Quartz and granite are both quite durable. Quartz countertops are manufactured to be extremely strong and long-lasting, while granite is naturally one of the strongest stones on earth. While granite may hold up slightly better to heat and abrasion, we never suggest cutting or setting hot items directly on either surface. Your countertops are an investment, and while they should be highly-functional, you also need to take good care of them to maximize their life by using cutting boards and trivets.
In the quartz vs. granite debate, style is one of the biggest deciding factors, as the two stones have very different visual appearances. Depending on the homeowner’s style and the existing color scheme and architecture of the space, one stone may be more suitable than the other.
Granite slabs are one-of-a-kind and have a variegated, speckled appearance with plenty of visual movement. There are also a number of treatments that fabricators can apply to produce a variety of looks with the same slab of granite. Granite countertops come in all sorts of colors including grey, brown, blue, green, and black.
Quartz is also available in hundreds of colors and patterns, but the slabs are typically more subtle and more consistent. Since they are man-made, the slabs are easily replicated if you need more for an extension or additional renovation down the line. Quartz countertop colors include grey, brown, blue, green, black, and even pure white (which can be difficult to find at a granite yard). Quartz has grown in popularity in recent years since it is able to mimic the look of trendy veined marble without the upkeep and maintenance that marble requires.
For many homeowners, price is a major factor when selecting a countertop material. Due to the natural origin and maintenance required for granite countertops, they are often slightly less expensive than quartz countertops. However, you’re more likely to see a price difference based on the quality of the surface you choose, rather than the material of quartz vs. granite.
Which is Best? Quartz vs. Granite
At the end of the day, the difference between quartz and granite lies in your personal tastes and needs. Both will give you a massive range of color and pattern options for your home. Plus, with a little TLC, both quartz and granite will still look beautiful even after years of use.