4 Things You Didn’t Know About Quartz vs Granite

If you’re considering a countertop upgrade you’ll want to consider both granite and quartz. Let’s start comparing them with a brief rundown and then dive into some of the finer points.

Granite countertop on a kitchen island with stools.

A brief rundown of quartz and granite

Granite countertops are quarried directly from the earth as a single chunk. These counters are all natural stone that have been taken out as large blocks that can be later cut into individual slabs.

Quartz countertops contain crushed quartz mixed with resin in a ratio of 93% quartz to 7% resin. They are manufactured in a variety of different patterns and colors.

An in-depth look at the pros and cons of quartz

A brief rundown of quartz and granite

Granite countertops are quarried directly from the earth as a single chunk. These counters are all natural stone that have been taken out as large blocks that can be later cut into individual slabs.

Quartz countertops contain crushed quartz mixed with resin in a ratio of 93% quartz to 7% resin. They are manufactured in a variety of different patterns and colors.

An in-depth look at the pros and cons of quartz

As with granite, quartz countertops also have their own sets of drawbacks and benefits that go along with them.

  1. Quartz countertops are just as strong as granite but have the added benefit of being more flexible. This makes them easier to work with during the installation process.
  2. Quartz is non-porous and does not require any sealing – ever. These stones offer a virtually no-maintenance material solution for countertops.
  3. These counters are also very durable but they cannot be considered indestructible either. They are stain-resistant as well so dropping a glass of wine on them simply requires a quick cleanup.
  4. One drawback that you should definitely take note of is these counters can discolor over time when exposed to direct sunlight. If you have a part of your counter that receives some of the UV rays from the sun while another part doesn’t, over time you may see a color difference.
  5. These countertops need to be professionally installed and quartz is even heavier than granite.
  6. You can expect to see seams with a quartz counter but they will be less visible if you choose a slab that’s darker in color. As well, the seams are easier to hide when you choose quartz because the counter has been colored and manufactured. If you buy a quartz countertop in a solid color, it’s much easier to hide the seam to a certain extent.

With granite, the natural veins and colors in the stone will never allow the seams to appear less visible.

The benefits and drawbacks of granite

Here are some of the most important drawbacks and benefits of granite that you need to know:

  1. The appearance is not uniform. These stones are coming right out of the earth and are not perfectly designed by nature. For some this will be a benefit while others will consider it to be a drawback.
  2. Granite countertops will need to be sealed before they are used and this will need to be repeated year after year for as long as you own the countertop. Granite is a porous stone and can only be considered to be stain-resistant if it has been sealed properly. While some people only seal their granite countertops every 3 years, it’s best to be safe and to do it yearly. If for any reason the sealant on the counter gets compromised, your countertop can get stained.
  3. Countertops made of granite are extremely durable but should not be considered to be indestructible. It is a natural rock and can break or chip if subjected to heavy abuse. For regular day-to-day activities though, and with proper maintenance, this is a countertop that can last for a lifetime and beyond.
  4. The stones are heavy and require a professional installation. Don’t even think of hiring your neighborhood handyman to put in your new countertop to save a few dollars.
  5. It’s impossible to hide the seams in a granite counter. Expect the seams to show up once it has been installed.
  6. The samples that you see can slightly differ from the stone that you receive. Keep in mind that these are naturally occurring slabs so the samples cannot be a true 100% reflection of the stone you are ordering. There may be color variances or occlusions in the stone you receive that gives the slab a slightly different appearance.

White quartz countertop on mahogany cabinets.

It’s all about you – the reviews can get very confusing!

If you spend some time browsing through the internet you’ll find a range of different reviews about quartz vs granite. While one homeowner will tell you that you absolutely, positively must get a quartz countertop, another reviewer will insist upon buying granite counters. When you do spend some time reading through these reviews, however, you will notice one point that stands out.

Both quartz and granite countertop owners are defending their own personal choices with a vengeance because they are so completely pleased with their counters. At the end of the day, you can walk away from these reviews knowing that choosing either quartz or granite stones will provide you with a countertop that you’ll love!

Let’s compare the cost

This can be the biggest consideration when it comes to choosing between a quartz countertop and one that’s made of granite. If you’re like most people you have a budget that you’re trying to stick to for your countertop material.

There’s no doubt that with either product you’re going to have to be digging deep into your pockets. A slab of granite is usually priced starting at $60 a square foot but the prices rise quickly from that point on. For quartz countertops, you’ll generally be paying anywhere from $67 up to $95 per square foot. For a 28 ft.² counter made of quartz you’ll have to budget for approximately $2200 – $3100. Here are some more details to help you get a closer estimate.

In most cases you’ll end up paying more for granite unless you find something in the $60 range that you love. Prices can vary according to the manufacturer, the pattern and the color of the granite slab. Fortunately, during recent years, the prices on granite countertops have come down significantly since they first made their appearance on the market.

Granite can often end up costing a bit more than quartz since it is a natural rock. This means that the complete slab needs to be excavated from the earth as one chunk of stone. This extraction along with the shipping of the product consumes a lot of energy, time and ultimately money. When it comes to granite slabs, you’ll need to be willing to pay the price for a thicker piece. The thinner the granite is, the weaker it will be as well.

All in all, you may have to pay slightly more for granite, but the cost difference won’t be all that significant. The important thing is to choose a budget and then do your best to stay within it by choosing the quartz or granite stone that you think will look fantastic displayed in your kitchen.

When it comes to aesthetics…

This is personal choice only. Don’t let anyone else tell you which one looks better. There are some very beautiful brands that make quartz like Caesarstone and Cambria. If you’re looking at a painting and absolutely love it and then someone else comes along and tells you how bad it is, you’ll still love the painting despite the bad critique. The same goes for quartz versus granite. They both make lovely countertops and there is going to be one that grabs your fancy more than the other. It’s just human nature and you’ll have to decide for yourself which one you prefer the best.

Some people like the look of granite more than quartz because it has a natural earthy aspect to it. Others prefer the sleek uniform look of quartz. The great news is that you can never go wrong by choosing either one!

Why does granite seemed to be so much more popular than quartz?

Back in the 1990s, granite officially became a status symbol in the world of countertops. You had “made it” once you owned a counter that was made of natural stone. There’s something about granite and its “back to nature” appeal that simply cannot be replaced by any type of quartz, marble or stainless steel countertop.

It has secured its place as a must-have high-end stone and even nowadays it is deemed to be more prestigious than its counterparts. Granite continues to be the best-selling natural counter that you can find on the market, even though quartz continues to gain ground and even now that the prices of Silestone and other quartz manufacturers have come in line with granite. You can also get some very good deals on countertops at Ikea.

The indoor air quality of your home

There has been a lot of concern about the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that may be present in either quartz or granite counters. Quartz countertops are comprised of approximately 90% quartz and 10% epoxy binder (resin) and acrylic. This means that most quartz tops have more VOCs than countertops made of granite. On the other hand, some granite slabs contain radon in very low levels. For the most part though, both of those countertops are considered safe for indoor use.

Adding to the value of your home

Adding a stone countertop to your home will definitely increase its value. While there are a lot of renovations you can do that will not contribute to the overall home’s value, a good stone countertop will raise the price value. You can expect to get back the value of your purchase when you resell your house later on. Adding a new natural stone counter can also help your home sell faster.

It’s hard to believe what a difference a quartz or granite countertop can make when it comes to selling a home. Some potential home buyers will even ask their real estate agents if the home comes with a granite countertop. As well, if a buyer is looking at 2 homes that are similar and one has a stone counter while the other has a laminate one, the odds are good that the home with the quartz or granite counter will be the chosen one. If you had to compare Silestone and granite countertops you probably wouldn’t let that sway your decision as you would with an inferior surface.

Going back to the status symbol effect of a granite countertop, you may want to keep in mind the effect it can have on a potential buyer if you’re planning on selling your home in the not-too-distant future. Granite countertops attract home buyers like honey!

The environmental impact

Today’s consumers are trying to make the best sustainable choices when remodeling their homes. In terms of countertops, quartz materials generally leave less of a carbon footprint. Many of these products contain content that has been recycled and the manufacturing process is more environmentally friendly. Granite needs to be quarried from the ground and then shipped across the world to the manufacturing site. While quartz is also mined oversees and then shipped to the United States, there is one company that does its own processing in this country.

Satin nickel faucet on a granite kitchen work surface.

If you’re looking for the friendliest environmental choice it’s coming from Cambria in the form of a quartz countertop. Most of their products are made in the United States, which helps to support the local economy while saving on fossil fuels that would be required for shipping from abroad. Their products are also Greenguard Certified, meaning that they do not have any type of impact on the air quality indoors. This company also recycles all of the water used during the manufacturing process.

When it comes down to it, there is a lot of energy being used for the manufacturing and excavating of both of these stone countertops. On the other side of the coin, however, they are both extremely durable and can last a lifetime when cared for properly. In this regard, they can be viewed as a sustainable countertop that can conceivably last the entire lifetime of the home.

Most people are only going to remodel their home 2 to 3 times during the span of their life. During the time delay between these remodeling efforts, a lot of changes can occur. The newer generations are looking for something different than their grandparents had and not all consumers are choosing granite just to make an impression. Today’s homeowners put more value on individuality and are often looking at new ideas for countertops. The ease-of-use and aesthetics of all stone countertops, including granite and quartz, are also important factors when it comes to countertops that fit into today’s busy lifestyles.

So which one should you choose?

The one that you find the most aesthetically pleasing, fits into your budget and highlights the mood and ambiance you are trying to create in your kitchen. Because when it comes down to it, there really is no wrong choice. There’s just personal preference.

{ 30 comments… add one }

  • Adam December 16, 2013, 9:18 pm

    I think both countertops are completely over rated. There are much less expensive options that work just as well.

    Reply
    • Anthony Greer December 16, 2013, 9:21 pm

      Hi Adam, Would you mind sharing some of those ideas with us?

      Reply
  • Michelle January 14, 2014, 1:21 am

    Anthony Greer, Thanks for the information! Can you comment on Quartzite? Since it’s a slab like granite does it have the same pros and cons?

    Reply
  • Ryan January 31, 2014, 1:51 am

    I read most of this page. Thank you so much for the pros and cons for both countertop.

    Reply
    • Anthony Greer January 31, 2014, 3:21 am

      Hi Ryan. You’re very welcome. I’m glad you found it helpful.

      Reply
  • Tony Lamley February 13, 2014, 5:27 am

    You mention sealing annually, what is the best product for this?

    We have a new granite countertop in our remodeled bathroom and love its look.

    We needed it so we could have an under mount sink.

    Reply
    • Anthony Greer February 15, 2014, 3:10 pm

      Hey Tony,

      Undermount sinks are a beautiful look. Nice choice!

      Do you have a stone yard in your area. I would talk to them and see what they sell for sealants. Their options will be much higher quality than those from stores like Home Depot.

      Reply
  • Sasha February 15, 2014, 8:31 am

    Thanks, really clearly explained. Nice to know either way I am going to love my work top. I have chosen quartz because I like the patterns better than granite.

    FYI reading this in the UK, isn’t the internet great!

    Reply
  • Sharon February 16, 2014, 6:54 am

    Thank you, reading all the pros and cons helps. I’m still not sure, but I’m leaning toward the granite. I liked your information on the sealants. All your knowledge is helpful.
    My question for you is what do you have for your own countertops?

    Reply
    • Anthony Greer February 17, 2014, 4:46 pm

      haha, good question Sharon. I have quartz in my kitchen.

      Reply
  • Melody Church February 17, 2014, 11:43 pm

    Thank you so much for all this information. I’m rebuilding my house after a tornado and trying to decide between quartz and granite. What about heat factors?

    Thank you,
    Melody Church

    Reply
    • Anthony Greer February 18, 2014, 4:38 pm

      I’m so sorry to hear about that, Melody. Both resist heat equally well. You can feel comfortable putting hot pots and pans on either surface. Accidents do happen however, so it may be prudent to use a trivet when you can. The little bit of hassle is probably worth protecting your investment.

      Reply
  • Tamar David February 18, 2014, 4:09 pm

    Like you stated it’s a personal preference and everyone will defend what they like. We are building a house and all four bathrooms and kitchen counter are granite ,however had I read the comparison prior. I’d go with quartz. I love the durability and really I don’t have time for this sealing process.

    Reply
  • Patti February 23, 2014, 8:23 pm

    What about cleaning both, any issues with cleaners?

    Reply
    • Anthony Greer February 26, 2014, 2:12 pm

      Hi Patty,

      No issues. Just be sure to check with the manufacturer and use a recommended cleaner. But generally, things like windex, formula 404, and vinegar solutions are completely safe.

      Reply
  • Jim Tobola March 1, 2014, 1:41 am

    We just went with stained concrete counter tops for a 1/3 the price!! No seams or mismatched comor patterns!!! Could not be happier with the acid stained counters we have!!!

    Reply
  • Bryce March 10, 2014, 3:02 am

    A good comparison. I’ve been in the industry for many years. It’s interesting how the pros and cons change when you add the aspects of fabricating the material. I’m pro granite but think that Quartz has made several improvements the last few years. Leading the way is Cambria with a line of colors that few can match. Anthony I do have to say that most cleaners are fine to use on Granite. You’re right that it won’t hurt the stone but most cleaners will strip the sealer. The best and cheapest cleaner is warm water. There are only a handful specific cleaners out on the market today. Dupont has a great one and really probably makes everybody else’s. The key is finding a ph balanced cleaner. Water is ideal having a ph of 7 anything higher becomes acidic and anything lower becomes basic. Both can strip the sealer from the counter top. As far as not sealing Quartz, I like to use a cleaner that has sealer properties in it on both. It gives a nice luster with giving a great cleanability aspect to the surface for either option.

    Reply
    • Anthony Greer March 25, 2014, 2:43 pm

      Thanks for your insight, Bryce.

      Reply
    • Laura March 30, 2014, 10:18 pm

      Coming from someone else in the industry I would agree with everything above!

      Reply
  • Lynne Nelson March 13, 2014, 10:12 pm

    Hello,

    Your information is great – thanks, I’m steering away from granite, the only concern is your comment on it fading under sun light, is there anything you can do to rectify this?

    Reply
    • Anthony Greer March 25, 2014, 2:38 pm

      I wouldn’t worry too much about it too much, Lynne. It’s pretty rare. If you think that you do get enough sun for this to happen go with a lighter color. It won’t prevent it but it will make it much less obvious.

      Reply
  • Cindy March 17, 2014, 4:41 pm

    I just completed a kitchen renovation and needed to make a countertop choice between granite and quartzite. My back counter is 17 feet long so I chose quartzite (Fantasy Brown) because of the marble-like flow. It does not have to be sealed and it doesn’t stain. In my area (Northeast) Quartzite costs more and I was told by several realtors and stone dealers that it is now the more desireable countertop for home buyers. What I can’t seem to get info on, is if I can put hot pans/pots/bowls on it?
    Thanks!

    Reply
    • Anthony Greer March 25, 2014, 2:34 pm

      Hi Cindy,

      Are you sure what you bought is quartzite and not quartz? The answer is different depending on what you have. Is there a brand name?

      Reply
      • Laura March 30, 2014, 10:09 pm

        Fantasy Brown is not man made or engineered, the slabs are mined naturally. There is no “brand name”. I have the leathered texture installed in my house and we put hot things on it.

        Reply
  • laura March 23, 2014, 3:50 pm

    I’ve only heard negative comments about concrete.

    Reply
  • Laura March 30, 2014, 10:15 pm

    In my area quartz is significantly higher in price than the majority of the granite colors. I recommend to all of my customers (I am a kitchen designer) to choose what they like in terms of colors and patterning. The only time I recommend engineered stone is if you are looking for a color that just doesn’t occur in in nature, which leads back to the advice of “choosing what you like”

    Reply
  • Brendan April 1, 2014, 5:07 am

    Very well summed up Anthony. Many people come into our showroom and don’t know the differences. I’ll send them to this link and your site for more information.

    Cheers

    Reply
  • Cindy April 14, 2014, 1:17 pm

    I am not sure if my Fantasty Brown is quartz or quartzite – I am not sure where I picked up the quartzite term. Laura seems to have answered that. My update is that I did learn it is as tough or tougher than granite, I can put hot things directly on it, it doesn’t stain and it never has to be sealed, like granite. My slabs came from Haverhill, MA and I could not be more happy with them. Due to the length of my back counter, I had to have two seams. Because this stone has waves like marble – it is much more difficult to match at the seams. The stone people did a great job keeping a similar flow to the counter. If seams bother you – this may not be the stone for you.

    Reply
  • Cindy April 14, 2014, 1:21 pm

    I forgot to mention that my stone company suggested (and gave me) a cleaner that has sealing properties in it. The quartz does not have to be sealed but they recommended I use it for the seams.

    Reply

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