Granite has been a sought after material for countertops in homes for years. Whether it be a beautiful new-build, a much needed renovation, or a simple remodel, one of the first things many homeowners make note of is that they must have granite countertops in the kitchen.
But is granite all that it’s cracked up to be? In most recent years, a new material has begun to get the attention of contractors and designers: quartz. This engineered stone has given granite some strong competition in terms of durability and longevity, but is it truly better? Or just a new trend?
We have put together a comparison of granite and quartz, including their makeup, appearance, durability, and maintenance.
Natural Stone vs. Engineered Stone
Granite is a natural stone that can be found all over the world. Originally mined from quarries in large slabs, it is later cut down to more suitable sizes for homes. As it is a material that is naturally found on Earth, it can have a variety of textures, but it is polished to a smooth finish and is gen ready for installation. Granite is known for being extremely hard and virtually indestructible.
Quartz countertops, on the other hand, are not entirely natural stone, but rather are manufactured and engineered. Quartz is a stone that can be found in nature, but it tends to have a dull look. While pieces of this natural quartz are incorporated into quartz countertops, about 93-95 percent actually, they then must be mixed with pigment for coloration and resin to bind them.
If you can imagine the various stones you may see while you are in nature, you will notice different shades of tan, gray, gold, brown, and ivory. All of these natural colors are what you will typically expect in granite color options, which may not be enough variety for some buyers.
However, thanks to the fact that granite is naturally created, each slab will have unique veining, patterns, and colors that are impossible to recreate inside of a lab.
If you are looking for something that offers nearly endless possibilities of colors and shades, then quartz may be a better choice for you. Due to its engineering, quartz can be matched perfectly to your design palette, versus designing around the particular colors that are available to you.
It will not have as much variation in specks and patterns, but as a whole, it still resembles a natural stone.
One of the biggest reasons homeowners originally began turning to granite for countertops and bathrooms was its extreme durability. Granite is resistant to heat, most stains, and is difficult to crack or scratch. Although it is hard to do, granite is more likely to chip than quartz, due to its natural elements.
Granite is also required to be sealed in order to ensure its longevity, whereas engineered stone is not. Depending on the level of wear and tear, as well as the color and type of granite you have, this sealing should be repeated every one to three years, which can be an added inconvenience for some families.
Even though it may seem impossible, quartz is an even harder substance than granite and is nearly indestructible, making it a popular option for young families or homeowners looking at long-term value. Unlike granite, quartz is nonporous, so bacteria and spills cannot be trapped inside the surface.
Quartz can be damaged by heat, so if it vital to keep hot pots off the surface or ensure they are on heating pads at all times. Quartz never has to be resealed, making it a generally low-maintenance option.
While granite is an extremely hard material, it is porous in nature, meaning that is has extremely small holes in which spills or bacteria can get into if they are left sitting for long amounts of time. The best way to prevent this is to clean up spills as soon as they happen.
It is also recommended to clean the surface daily with soap and warm water or a mild household cleaner. This ensures that bacteria does not have a chance to settle in and multiply.
Similar to granite, all that quartz requires is soap and water or a mild household cleaner, recommended daily. As mentioned, quartz is nonporous, so it is extremely easy to keep clean and bacteria-free. Although it is harder to stain, it is still advised that spills should be wiped away as soon as possible in order to maintain its long lifespan.
Whether you decide on natural granite or engineered quartz, you will not be disappointed. Granite comes in beautiful earth-tones, is resistant to heats and scratches, and has unique patterns and veining. It is also generally less expensive than quartz.
On the other hand, quartz is nearly indestructible, easier to keep bacteria-free, and comes in almost every color you can imagine. Both of these options will make your kitchen or bathroom shine, and are sure to last for years to come.