Once there was only one countertop contender. It wasn’t very long ago that everyone in the home design arena would entertain one, and only one, option in countertops. Granite. Prospective homeowners on House Hunters on HGTV swooned over their top “must have” item: granite countertops. While granite is still a most popular countertop option, it might want to move over a bit, as there is a new kid on the block: quartz. If you are in the market for a new home, or due for a kitchen or bathroom remodel, you may be wondering which option is best for you.
First, let’s start by breaking down what exactly granite and quartz are made of.
HGTV states, “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.”
“Quartz can vary,” according to the popular real estate and renovation channel. “It is not 100-percent natural. Instead, countertops are manufactured using 95-percent ground natural quartz and 5-percent polymer resins.”
Next we discuss the factors that typically come into play when homeowners are choosing their countertops, things like cost, resilience, and of course, beauty. Unless you are a geologist, you may not get too hung up on whether your countertops are natural or manufactured, but may be more interested in the pros and cons of each surface.
In the cost battle of granite versus quartz, the winner is . . . well, it’s really a toss-up. Granite has dominated the countertop material market in recent years, transitioning from a rare luxury to a common requirement in many kitchens. Quartz, on the other hand, has just recently begun to catch up to granite’s popularity. If you have matters of money in mind, you will probably save more dollars if you opt for an entry-level granite. According to Houzz, “granite styles under $45 per square foot installed are plentiful, it’s difficult to find a quartz under $50 per square foot installed.” However, if you take the cost of sealing granite year after year into consideration, you may find quartz to be the best option in the long run.
Natural vs. Engineered Beauty
Ain’t nothin’ like the real thing. That’s how some people feel, and we imagine these people will gravitate toward granite because it is a natural stone. Granite comes in an endless array of colors and patterns, some subtle, while others are statement makers. As a time honored choice for kitchen countertops, granite also offers longevity. Quartz is beautiful, however it is heavily manufactured. Quartz mimics the appearance of stone but is customizable because it’s man made using natural components. Quartz is popular because many of the designs mimic the beauty and elegance of luxurious stones and marble, paired with a durability that is next to none.
Image Source: Cambria
Maintenance and Durability
While granite is low maintenance, quartz is basically no maintenance. Quartz countertops are extremely resilient and resistant to stains, scratches, heat, and general wear and tear. While quartz is practically indestructible, it’s heat resistance only applies up to a certain degree. (This may vary between manufacturers. Always refer to your specific manufacturer’s guidelines). Granite countertops are durable and tough but they aren’t as indestructible as quartz. In addition, granite countertops require sealing about once or twice a year (this may vary depending on the sealer and granite source).
Purchasing environmentally friendly countertops is probably not a priority for most homeowners, but it doesn’t hurt to know the environmental impact of your countertop choice. Granite is generally considered an eco-friendly choice. However, as HGTV points out, granite is a natural stone that must be quarried, requiring a lot of energy output. In addition, “Transport also can be expensive and environmentally detrimental if the stone needs to be shipped a great distance.” On the other hand, while quartz is made of some non-renewable properties, it does not require quarrying and therefore it typically doesn’t need to be transported from such great distances. Quartz is also non-toxic, giving off practically no VOC’s.
Our final recommendation is . . . whatever choice is best for you! Granite and quartz are both solid choices for your kitchen and bathroom countertops. They are both resilient, beautiful, and generally comparable in price. There are slight variations in style, cost, and durability that may help you choose one over the other, but both granite and quartz will make a stunning statement in your home.