Your dream kitchen must have a stylish kitchen countertop made from the right material. While granite is in high demand because of its extreme durability and natural beauty, quartz countertops are equally popular. This is because both are top-of-the-line products within the same price range. Both are available in a wide range of colours and patterns and are extremely durable. With these similarities, choosing between the two comes down to your individual requirements. Therefore, knowing the differences will surely ease your decision-making process.
Granite vs. Quartz Countertops
Let’s take a look at the different factors you should be aware of when choosing between a quartz and granite countertop.
All-natural granite is mined straight from quarries and cut into thin slabs. It is later polished and fabricated to form countertops. Quartz countertops, by contrast, are engineered stone products that contain a large amount of natural quartz, along with other minerals.
Unlike granite, quartz countertops are not made from slabs of quarried stone. Instead, they are formed from ground-up stone by-products.
In terms of colours, granite shows more variations in the stone’s hue, from earth tones and blues to greens and roses. By contrast, quartz shows a more consistent colouration. One advantage of granite over engineered stone is that the mineral pattern and colour of each slab is different; this makes every granite countertop unique. Since quartz countertops are engineered, their appearance is more uniform.
However, quartz comes in a wide variety of colours and patterns that differ significantly from granite.
Simply stated, if you prefer the appearance of natural stone, granite is the better choice. But if you are not determined to get a truly natural product, quartz countertops are better than natural stone.
3. Maintenance and Durability
Even though both materials are highly durable, quartz has a clear advantage over granite when it comes to durability. Since granite is relatively porous, it needs proper sealing during installation and regular resealing. Quartz slabs are uniform throughout and, as they use resin in their fabrication, do not require additional sealing. Granite sealed with a resin-based sealant during manufacturing may prove more resistant but do not come close to standard quartz.
However, when you compare the endurance of both materials, you must consider several factors.
- Heat Resistance
Granite is formed under extreme heat, making it naturally impervious to high temperatures. You can, therefore, rest assured that your beautiful granite countertop will not sustain much damage from hot pots and pans. The same cannot be said about the sealant.
By comparison, quartz is not nearly so heat resistant. The resin which gives the product flexibility and shape will melt under too much heat. You may notice some discolouration under slow cookers and electric skillets as well if you choose low-quality brands.
So, if you plan to put hot pans directly on your countertop, quartz is not the right choice.
- Scratch Resistance
Granite is a rugged stone that can survive rough use. Want to cut vegetables directly on your countertop? Go right ahead. In fact, granite countertops are so durable that your knives will probably become dull if you do not use a wood cutting block.
As for quartz, the same resin that makes it vulnerable to heat also makes it more prone to scratches. If you use a quartz countertop, be careful about dropping pans.
- Cracks and Repairs
Granite cracks and chips faster than engineered stones like quartz. Both can last a long time depending on your use and level of care, but it is true that quartz is more durable than granite.
Although granite cracks more easily than quartz, it can be repaired more easily as well. Repairs to quartz are often more noticeable and tougher to polish out.
- Stain Resistance
One major weakness of granite is its susceptibility to stains due to its porous nature, unless you seal it at regular intervals.
The artificial resin used to create quartz is non-porous and therefore resistant to stains. This makes quartz a lower maintenance product than granite.
Before you decide which is better, remember the negative impacts the resin coating has on quartz, such as discolouration and low resistance to heat (refer to sections i and ii).
4. Environmental Impact
Granite is a more environmentally friendly material, even though components of both countertops are manufactured using natural materials. Quartz countertops may contain a majority of natural materials but the final product is bonded with colour pigments and polymer resins. As a result, natural granite production causes fewer carbon emissions than quartz production.
Granite is collected by mining, while quartz is made mostly from stone by-products. On the other hand, a lot of energy and resources are spent crushing these stones and adding non-organic resins to glue all the pieces of quartz together. Granite is simply collected, cut into slabs and polished.
5. Radioactive Emissions
There is a common notion about granite countertops emit radon gas. This is a colourless and odourless radioactive gas produced by the breakdown of decaying uranium. And there have been traces of radioactive materials found in granite. In fact, around 2008, a media-induced fear circulated regarding granite countertops emitting radon. However, recent studies contradict this theory, with the United States Environmental Protection Agency remarking that
“[i]t is extremely unlikely that radiation from granite countertops would increase annual radiation doses above normal, natural background levels.”
If you are concerned about these small doses, especially if your home’s foundation has cracks, quartz countertops emit less radon.
It is very unlikely that granite will fade due to direct exposure to sunlight for extended periods. But noticeable changes can be observed in quartz countertops after just a few weeks of direct sunlight.
7. Real Estate Value
Granite and quartz both tend to improve your home’s real estate value. Both are high-end materials that are bound to impress potential buyers. However, some may favour granite since it is a more natural product.
The bottom line is that both granite and quartz are premium products, each with its own pros and cons. While granite tends to appeal more to people due to its completely natural materials, quartz is often given priority because of its low maintenance and slightly higher durability.