Granite Vs. Quartz: Is One Really Better Than the Other?

We break down the two most controversial countertop materials.

By: Ryan Reed

There are few design elements that spark heated debate and divide homeowners as much as granite and quartz. Don’t believe me? Tune into any episode of House Hunters and you’ll likely hear the prospective buyer/renter wax poetic about their preferred countertop material and shun the other vehemently. But is one really better than the other or is it merely a matter of aesthetics?

House Hunters

To help break down the granite vs. quartz quandary, we came up with five categories to help show the differences between the two. At the end of this article, you can vote for which one you prefer. Before we get into all of that though, what exactly is granite and quartz?

kitchen-backsplash-for-granite-countertops_4x3

kitchen-backsplash-for-granite-countertops_4x3

What is Granite?

Granite is a very hard stone and 100 percent natural. It’s mined from quarries all around the world, cut down to a manageable size, and then polished to a fine finish.

Green Home Kitchen Counter

Green Home Kitchen Counter

Closeup of a kitchen countertop with tiled backsplash and dark cabinetry.

What is Quartz?

Quartz is slightly different in that it is not 100 percent natural. Instead, countertops are manufactured using 95 percent ground natural quartz and 5 percent polymer resins.

Now that you know the basics, let's see how they compare against each other.

1: Appearance

Contemporary Kitchen

Contemporary Kitchen

The two seats at the end of the kitchen countertops provide a small sitting area to congregate when entertaining. The stone surrounding the range hood has the warm, comforting look of a fireplace, and spice pull-outs and corner drawers maximize storage space.

Granite

Granite comes in many different colors and patterns due to the way it’s formed (cooling and solidifying of molten materials). Whether you’re looking for a subtle complement to your kitchen or a standout slab with unique mineral inclusions, there is an almost limitless selection to choose from and no two granite countertops are the same.

White kitchen with red island countertop

White Kitchen with Red Countertop

Quartz countertops can be a great way to dress up a traditional kitchen. At the HGTV Green Home 2010, contrasting white and red countertops bring life to this otherwise neutral kitchen.

Quartz

One of the main reasons quartz has exploded in popularity is due to appearance. Quartz has the look of stone while also allowing homeowners to customize the design. While granite offers many options in terms of appearance, you may have to search for the right piece that matches your color scheme. With quartz, the selection process is much easier.

2: Price

White Kitchen with Island

Oversized Kitchen Island with Plenty of Space

This kitchen has plenty of white cabinets for storage, a white kitchen island, granite countertops, and stainless steel appliances.

How Much Does Granite Cost?

According to HomeAdviser.com, the average cost to purchase granite and have it installed can cost between $2,000 and $4,500. You can save money by purchasing the material from a wholesaler and doing some of the preliminary work yourself but the actual fabrication and installation of the countertops should be left to a professional.

How Much Does Quartz Cost?

Depending on the quality of quartz and style of edging, HomeAdvisor.com places the average cost to install quartz countertops in a kitchen at between $3,000 to $7,500. You can do some of the preliminary work to save money, but because engineered quartz is heavier than other stone surfaces, a professional installer needs to make sure the space is structurally sound.

3: Environmentally-Friendly

Granite

The only way granite ends up in your kitchen is if it’s quarried and that uses a lot of energy. If you opt for a high-end slab from Italy, for example, there will be considerable transportation involved. Try using indigenous stone when possible or visit salvage shops for pieces that can be cut to fit your needs.

Contemporary Kitchen with Quartz Island

Contemporary Kitchen with Quartz Island

The backsplash takes the stage in the kitchen with the beauty of green and teal glass, placed against a dark espresso wood. The clean and contemporary design is brought throughout the entire space including the light gray quartz countertops.

Quartz

Since quartz is engineered, it can be more environmentally-friendly than granite if you use regionally manufactured stone and local fabricators. This cuts down on the distance the material needs to be transported.

4: Maintenance

DKCR305H_Outdoor-Kitchen-Granite-Countertop_4x3

DKCR305H_Outdoor-Kitchen-Granite-Countertop_4x3

The Keller's new rooftop kitchen features a state of the art grilling area, a bar with a granite countertop and fridge and a dining table under a pergola with retractable canopies, after transformation by the crew of DIY Network's original series, Kitchen Crashers.

From: Kitchen Crashers

Photo by: Jean-Marc Giboux

Jean-Marc Giboux

Granite

Granite countertops should be cleaned daily with soap and water or a mild household cleaner. Some oils and acids can stain so do your homework first to avoid stains. To ensure the longevity of your investment, consider having your countertops resealed once a year.

Modern Red And White Kitchen

Sleek Modern Kitchen With Red Accent Wall

Sleek, white cabinets and quartz countertops pop against the red accent wall for a striking, bold statement. White, glass appliances keep with the color scheme and streamlined look.

Quartz

Like granite, you’ll want to clean any spills on quartz countertops with soap and water or a household cleaner, but that’s about it in terms of maintenance. The solid surface means that there is no need to have your countertops resealed.

5: Durability

Granite

Granite is a durable material that’s resistant to heat and many other kitchen elements. Due to its porous nature though, there can be some staining if spilled liquids are left sitting and damage can be done if your counter receives a high impact blow.

Quartz

Quartz is actually harder than granite and thus, more durable. In fact, quartz is nearly indestructible, and because it isn’t porous like granite, it’s easy to keep your countertops relatively bacteria-free. Be careful with cooking pans though: Quartz can be damaged by excessive heat, so use heating pads at all times.

Conclusion

More Inspiration

On the surface (pun intended), quartz appears to be the winner. It’s easier to maintain, longer-lasting, more environmentally friendly and easy to customize. However, it can be pricey depending on the options you choose and the uniqueness of granite remains appealing to many. Consider your budget and specific needs before making a decision but you really can’t go wrong with either one.

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