Quartz vs Granite: The Great Kitchen Countertop Debate

When it comes to kitchen countertops, it almost always comes down to quartz or granite. These two materials are the most popular for building different types of countertops. And for good reason: they are both durable, easy to clean, and aesthetically pleasing.

However, their differences have had interior designers and homeowners picking camps for years.

Let’s do a deep dive into the differences between quartz and granite.

Manufacturing & Composition

Granite comes directly from deep within the earth. It is composed of different types of rocks, such as all-natural feldspar, quartz, sand, and other minerals. material is mined at quarries around the world, mostly in Brazil, Italy, India, and China. Granites from different countries have distinct characteristics. For example, Brazillian granite is nicknamed Blue Fire, as it is known for its trademark searing blue color. These natural stones are then cut into slabs, polished, and manufactured into countertops in factories.

Quartz countertops are man-made engineered stone countertops formed by combining 90% crushed mineral quartz with 8-10% resins, polymers, and pigments. The pure mineral quartz is clear, but impurities added during the manufacturing process turn the material into a kaleidoscope of soft colors, such as purple, white, black, citrine, and rose. Quartz brands tend to change up their design with every batch.

After the materials are mixed together, they are made into slabs through massive amounts of pressure. This part of the process also creates a smooth, non-porous surface. These slabs are then cured and polished, before being fabricated into quartz countertops.

Appearance

Granite and quartz are extremely polished materials that can instantly beautify your home. The key difference in appearance lies in uniqueness.

Quartz can be made to imitate the look of any natural stone. It is the next best (and cheaper) alternative to marble countertops, minus the high-maintenance upkeep of marble. It is also extremely sleek and suitable for a modern look.

While quartz is also able to mimic the look of natural granite, its man-made process leaves little in the way of variation. Each vein in a slab of quartz is almost identical, which makes for uniform countertops.

On the other hand, granite countertops have a more natural quality due to their porous surface. Every granite countertop has a unique design, with veining that forms one-of-a-kind patterns within each slab.

Ultimately, it boils down to your personal design preference.

Durability & Maintenance

Granite countertops will not get damaged by kitchen elements as the material is heat-resistant. However, staining might be an issue due to its porous nature. It is important to not leave liquids sitting on granite for an extended period of time. It might also be damaged from high-impact blows.

Quartz is extremely hard, second only to diamond. This makes it more durable than granite and less likely to be damaged by force. While it is essentially indestructible, quartz is not immune from heat. It can be damaged by direct contact with sizzling hot pots and pans. If you own a quartz countertop, heating pads can come in handy.

Quartz countertops are easier to clean, as the surface is smoother as compared to granite’s porous surface. Additionally, quartz also comes pre-sealed from the manufacturing process. This makes quartz countertops more low-maintenance than granite ones, which require the application of a sealant.

Cost difference

As with any material, there are both luxury and budget versions of quartz and granite. The cost of granite ranges from $50 to 200 per square foot. The average cost of buying a granite countertop, from materials to installation, ranges from $2,000 to $3,250.

The cost of a quartz countertop ranges between $50 to $150 per square foot. The average cost of purchasing a quartz countertop, factoring in the cost of installation, ranges from $1,500 to $3,500.

You can cut costs by doing the preliminary work yourself and buying from a wholesaler, instead of going through a third party. However, it is advisable to leave the delivery and installation to the pros.

Sustainability

In terms of sustainability, quartz countertops take the cake. Granite is quarried from various mining sites around the world. This process definitely contributes more carbon emissions and causes harm to the environment, particularly in terms of air and water pollution. According to the EPA, granite countertops may also contain small amounts of radon, a radioactive gas.

Quartz is one of the most eco-friendly materials around. Quartz is the second most abundant material on earth. Many manufacturers opt to use pure quartz and other minerals that are by-products of the granite mining process. This means that quartz does not add extra damage to the environment. It is in fact, reducing waste caused by mining.

If you’re looking to go green, do some research on the manufacturing practices of quartz and granite suppliers before purchasing.

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