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, dozens of flooring options; the options are endless. Among these selections, countertops are always a point of discussion. Quartz and granite are the two most popular surface materials for countertops but what’s the difference?

To answer one of the most popular questions in the industry, here are key features that distinguish the two countertops.

Quartz is a man-made product consisting of natural quartz as well as “small amounts of glass or metallic flecks”.  According to well-known quartz brand Silestone, quartz “is a non-porous material, its texture does not allow bacteria to grow and resists against stains”.  Granite is a stone, pulled directly from the mines of South America, India, Brazil and a dozen other countries. Like a stone in your backyard, the surface is naturally extremely porous.

Which material is easiest to clean? Warm water and non-acidic soap will clean most surface messes on quartz countertops. Nowadays both materials share similar cleaning properties with one exception. Unlike quartz, granite must be sealed to maintain a usable surface. Most manufacturers seal granite prior to installation. Be sure to ask when purchasing if your granite has been sealed or not. If your stone has not been sealed, this will require additional cleaning maintenance of sealing your stone every 1-2 years.

How durable is granite compared to quartz? Just like cleaning, both quartz and granite share similar durability qualities. Quartz is made for its extreme strength and resistance while granite is one of the strongest stones on Earth. We never suggest cutting directly on either surface or putting scorching hot items directly on the top. Protect your investment by using cutting boards and trivets whenever necessary.

When it comes to usability of both materials, both rank about the same. At Kitchens by Eileen we like to hone in on the style of the space when deciding which to use. Quartz and granite have a very distinct difference in appearance.

You will never find two granite slabs alike. Granite is known for its variated appearance and visual movement. There are hundreds of stones to choose from in all different colors and textures. Fabricators can polish, hone, and even leather the stone’s surface to provide a variety of looks. Quartz is available in hundreds of colors as well, often with more subtle and consistent patterns. Slabs are easily replicated because of the creation process. The “marble” look trend is made possible with quartz material. You can achieve the look of marble without all the maintenance.

Moving forward with your next renovation project should be a little easier armed with this information under your belt. No matter how you use your space or what style you like, there will be a piece of quartz or granite that will fit your needs.