Granite vs. Quartz: How to Decide Which Is Best for Your Countertops
When choosing countertop materials for a kitchen or bathroom, many homeowners prefer the look and durability of stone over laminate, tile, or wood. Stone countertops are available in a wide array of unique colors and patterns, and quartz and granite are two of the most popular materials. Continually a top choice for countertops, granite is a natural stone that is mined from quarries, cut into slabs, and polished before installation. Although quartz also occurs naturally, it's considered an engineered stone because the surface is manufactured using crushed quartz crystals that are combined with pigments and resin for binding. The composite material replicates the look of real stone and is growing in popularity as a countertop material.
Both quartz and granite offer beautiful texture and long-lasting durability for kitchen and bathroom surfaces. If you're unsure which of these materials is best for you, use this simple quartz vs. granite guide to help inform your decision. We compare the differences between quartz and granite in price, appearance, durability, and maintenance so you can choose the right countertop material for your space and lifestyle.
Appearance of Granite and Quartz
As with any material, the visual differences between granite and quartz are a matter of taste. Some people prefer the natural and unique look of granite countertops. Granite countertop colors are typically grouped into 10 basic categories: beige, black, blue, brown, burgundy, gray, green, red, yellow, and white. The most popular choice is black, though lighter shades of granite can open up a kitchen. The least common granite colors are red, blue, and green.
Others like the wider variety of patterns and colors offered by quartz countertops. Because it is manmade, quartz countertops are available in patterns that offer the look of high-end marble at a lower price.
Durability of Quartz vs. Granite
Stone countertops are popular in kitchens for a reason. Granite is often cited as the most durable natural countertop material available and is known for resisting cracks and chips. As a manmade material, quartz rates a bit higher on the hardness scale and is slightly more resistant to damage.
Both countertop materials can be cleaned with mild soap and water. Gentle cleaners are also suitable for quartz countertops, but some all-purpose cleaners might be too harsh for granite. Plan to use a cleaner designed for granite ($6, Target) to best protect the surface. It's best to wipe up spills as soon as they happen to prevent stains from forming. Quartz countertops are highly resistant to stains, but if stains do happen, you can typically remove them with glass cleaner and a non-abrasive sponge. For stains on granite, remove them using a granite stain remover ($8, The Home Depot) that will lift the stain from the surface without the need for scrubbing.
Maintenance and Repairs for Quartz and Granite Countertops
Because granite is a porous material, it needs to be resealed every year. With a proper seal, granite countertops are very resistant to stains. Minor scratches or dings in granite can be filled in with color-matching epoxy or resin from the home improvement store, but professional installers should repair cracks larger than an ice cube.
Quartz countertops are nonporous, which allows the surface to repel coffee, oil, and even food coloring without sealing. Damaged quartz is trickier to repair and should always be done by a professional, which could drive up quartz countertops cost overall.
Installation and Price of Quartz vs. Granite
Both granite and quartz countertops should be installed by a professional, as they are extremely heavy and difficult to handle. Additionally, cutting holes for the sink is no easy task. Granite and quartz countertops are priced similarly per square foot, each with a price range starting at about $80. High-quality quartz countertops might cost up to $140 per square foot, while granite can cost up to $175 or more. The price depends on the color, pattern, and surface treatments the stone receives. In either case, slab remnants can save big money if your countertop is small enough.