Quartz Versus Granite Countertops
Deciding on what finishes to use in various parts of a newly constructed house can be overwhelming, especially given the myriad of options available these days.
There are so many quality finishing materials to work with. Whether constructing a new home or remodeling an already-existing one, you have to consider finding a finishing that is practical, durable and aesthetically fit. Meanwhile, you have to make sure you don’t break the bank.
For most homes, countertops will mostly be needed in the kitchen, receptions, vanities, kitchen islands, outside kitchens, and the bar area (for homes with a bar). Installing quality countertops in your home expands your entertainment capabilities and simply gives you a beautiful space to admire in your abode.
The most common options when it comes to countertops are:
- Quartz (Engineered stone)
- Stainless steel
- Composite granite
- Solid-surface material
- Ceramic tile
In this piece, we’ll focus on quartz vs. granite countertops and the main distinctions between the two. We’ll also cover other options if one’s budget varies. At Future Vision Remodeling, we pride ourselves on providing premium quality residential contracting in the San Jose area. Here’s our guide to quartz and granite.
Quartz is a human-made engineered stone, unlike granite, which is an all-natural stone. Quartz countertops contain 93% stone-like particles as well as 7% binders, which can either be cement or polymeric based.
Stones, as well as other materials such as ground waste granite, ceramics, and glass and binder substances, are part of the engineering ingredients used in the process of forming quartz slabs. This engineered stone was created as a superior alternative to granite and marble, and quartz is easy to work with and integrates well with other materials.
The reason why quartz is an excellent countertop option
1. Controlled engineering process
Because quartz worktops are made using minerals and quartz stone, the end product is engineered to be impervious to water and fluids. Quartz is therefore 100% non-porous, meaning it does not stain. This aspect is a major reason why homeowners opted for quartz as a countertop option.
A quartz work surface is not only non-porous and stain resistant, but also scratch proof. That means if properly installed, it can serve as an effective countertop for many years to come. It also remains aesthetically pleasing for a long time because it’s not prone to easy damage.
3. Tough and durable
The quartz countertops are durable, so longevity is guaranteed even in high use kitchens and bathrooms. Unlike other countertops where wood is used as a base then bonded with about 66% organic material and 33% inorganic binding resins, the appearance and strength of engineered 93% stone and 7% percent binding material is far more superior and durable. This also allows it to be very effective against high temperatures.
Some manufacturers will add an antibacterial agent to quartz to ensure higher levels of hygiene. Quartz, like granite, does not wear out. That, coupled with the fact that it does not scratch or stain, guarantees that the material maintains its aesthetic and hygienic qualities for several generations. Maintenance is close to zero in comparison with granite since quartz is non-porous. With this stone, there’s no need for sealant application or any adhesives.
The cost of quartz is often slightly higher than granite or at the same level as granite owing to its superior qualities. It offers excellent qualities just like granite and is equally high in quality.
Granite is easily the most popular material used for countertops. And because of its durable nature and aesthetically pleasing characteristics, granite use is not restricted to countertops only. It’s often used as a flooring material as well as for dressing the face of buildings. Other applications of this stone include on stair treads, cemetery monuments, paving stone, and curbing.
For those not familiar with granite, granite is a naturally occurring stone. A light-colored igneous rock that comprises of large enough grains that can be seen with the naked eye.
Granite forms naturally from the slow crystallization of magma below the earth’s surface. The granite stone is mainly composed of several materials such as quartz, meager amounts of mica, biotite, amphiboles, minerals as well as feldspar. It’s the presence of these minerals that gives granite stone its pink, gray, white or red color with visible dark mineral grains throughout the stone.
Reasons why granite is a desirable option countertop
Granite happens to be one of the most quarried rocks as a dimension stone. A dimension stone is a definition given to a quarried natural stone that is cut into slabs or blocks of specific thickness, lengths and widths. Granite provides a beautiful finish for worktops for the following reasons.
1. Can be polished
Granite can be polished to achieve a brilliant finish. Irrespective of the shade and pattern of a granite slab, a thorough polish brings out a smooth, shiny surface. The surface of polished granite is so smooth and shiny that one can see their reflection on it.
Impressively, the color and patterns of granite to select from are incredibly vast numbering well above 3000 different options. That trait, as well as the myriad of beautiful patterns that granite comes in, is the typical reason why homeowners settle for this material.
Other than granite’s sheen when polished, the material is tough enough to resist abrasions. With a granite countertop, one does not have to be worried about the surface getting scratched. That means that your countertop will remain shiny, clean, and abrasion-free for generations to come.
3. Can bear significant weight
The standard thickness of granite material is often one inch, one and a half inches or two inches when used on countertops. Any of the mentioned thicknesses is strong enough to bear significant weight. One could sit on the countertop with very little issue. The material also has a high threshold of heat resistance, and placing hot items such as pans directly on it doesn’t cause damage. This sort of strength in bearing weight as well as resistance to abrasions and heat goes to show that granite is very durable and practical countertop option.
4. Ages well
Most homeowners want a countertop material that’s beautiful yet practical. The uncompromising nature of granite in addition to the above-mentioned traits, ensures the longevity of granite. But more importantly, it’s a durable stone whose quality does not diminish with age if properly installed and maintained. It does not wear out with age, which means your top maintain their aesthetic appeal for the longest time.
5. Relatively affordable
The cost of granite, although not cheap, is considered relatively affordable and good value for money. It’s far cheaper than marble and possesses above-average aesthetics with extensive durability.
For all the practical qualities that granite has, it happens to have a glaring flaw. Like marble granite it’s also porous to a degree and therefore It’s possible for oils and colored fluids to stain it when left on for a significant amount of time. The way around this flaw is to use a high-quality sealant on the stone once or twice a year.
Besides Granite and Quartz, there are other countertop options worth looking into depending on one’s budget.
The most expensive option
Marble is often considered a luxury option for countertops. The patterns or veining in marble are exceptionally unique and beautiful.
If a homeowner is looking for exclusivity, then marble is a great option because it’s a natural stone. However, it’s one of the most expensive options when it comes to countertops. It’s also not without flaws. Marble is porous and therefore stains easily in addition; it’s not scratch proof. Therefore maintenance is not as easy. With a proper sealant that’s applied frequently, some of these flaws can be managed.
The Cheapest Option
Not every homeowner will have a huge budget for countertops, so marble may not be an option. When working with an impossible budget, homeowners have resorted to concrete tops, which are extremely hardy in all practical aspects. They feature characteristics such as durability and non-porousness, not to mention zero maintenance other than the occasional scrubbing with detergent and bleach to remove dirt and grime that might accumulate over time. The only drawback is that a concrete top has zero aesthetic appeal.
Tiles are perhaps the next best option when working with an impossible budget. It’s a far cry from the aesthetic blandness that a concrete countertop presents and when done properly using large tiles of 0.6 square meter tiles, the outcome can be quite presentable. The only issue is the fact the several tiles have to be used and therefore one cannot avoid having numerous joints on the countertop. This means the finish will not be seamless.
A good quality tile is nonporous but may not be scratch proof. But at the very least, they will not cost an arm and a leg. Given that ceramic tiles offer a decent amount of patterns and colors to work with, one can always find a shade or pattern that will complement their general color scheme.
Above are two opposite extremes of countertop material options that one can work with. One has stunning exclusivity and aesthetic appeal but is prohibitively expensive. The other cheaper options do not deliver anywhere near the same aesthetic value but are affordable to anyone building a home or remodeling on a budget.
A complimentary material
Solid Surface Counter
For homeowners who have extensive worktop areas that cannot all be covered by quartz or granite due to cost restrictions, a solid surface counter can be a good complement for such scenarios. This material is manmade, comprised of synthetic acrylic particles and resin pressed into sheets and other desired shapes. The material seeks to mimic stone but it’s not stone. Rather it has a discernable feel of plastic with stony patterns or freckles. Because it’s manmade, it offers a huge range of color options and patterns to work with.
Solid surfaces are often sold under several brands, like Corian, Avonite and Swanstone. The material makes a decent worktop with lesser jointing depending on the shape and length of the countertop area. The seams are barely visible and the material is stain resistant. It can come with an integrated sink of the same material.
One glaring drawback of solid surface countertop is the fact that it’s vulnerable to heat. So one should remember to use heat pads when placing items such as hot pots and pans on this surface.
Because there’s always construction waste such as ceramic, glass, mirrors, granite and so forth, quartz countertops use such materials in their construction and therefore seems like the more environmentally friendly option.
In a roundabout way, quartz saved granite. Granite used to be very expensive due to shipping costs. But since the existence of quartz countertops, granite prices have reduced so has its demand. That’s a good thing for granite reserves as they now less likely to get depleted.
A helpful approach to homeowners for reducing costs when opting to use granite or quartz countertops is to source the materials locally. The shipping costs that make these materials prohibitively expensive. You can check out our showroom to browse our quartz and granite options.