Countertops 101: Granite vs. Quartz

April 30, 2019

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One of the questions we get asked the most about countertops is “what is the difference between granite and quartz?” A lot of people don’t know the difference, so today we are going to clear all of that up!

Where does it come from?

Granite is a slab of stone mined from quarries around the world and cut into slabs. These slabs are polished to show their natural design and then sealed before installing in them. Quartz is mined as well, but in WAY smaller sizes. Quartz comes in small particles that are then crushed and manufactured into a slab; a typical quartz slab is 96% quartz and 4% resin. The design in quartz slabs is created with pigment and resin. Some quartz designs are made to look like granite, marble, concrete, and others are just a solid color.

Can you tell which is granite and which is quartz in the photos below?

So, which is which?! If you guess the top is granite and the bottom is quartz, well you’re right!

Maintenance and Durability

Maintenance and durability are usually persuading factors for many of our clients. Granite is a porous material which means it needs to be sealed annually to prevent bacteria growth and staining. That being said, the sealing process is pretty straightforward. You can purchase a sealant from many locations, and you simply wipe it on and let it dry for a day.

Quartz on the other hand is maintenance free and does not have to be sealed yearly. It is also more durable than granite; quartz is a level 7 on the Mohs Hardness Scale, while granite is usually a 5 or a 6. And just for a fun reference, diamonds are a 10.

Quartz is also non-porous, and so long as you’re buying a reputable brand, it should be resistant to stains – and a lot of them are antimicrobial. That being said, we have heard of people buying cheap quartz and having issues with staining because subpar ingredients were used in the slab creation.

Heat Resistant: The Biggest Myth

How many of you have heard that granite is heat resistant and it’s ok to put a hot pot directly on it? Well, the sad truth is that no natural stone is heat resistant so whatever you do, DON’T DO IT! Both granite and quartz countertops CAN crack if something extremely hot is set on top of the stone. The thermal shock can cause stress fractures and therefore it is recommended to use a hot pad or trivet on both types of countertops.

Price Point

Another key differentiator is the price point. Granite can start as low as $35/sf and goes up to over $100/sf for more exotic types. Quartz on the other hand falls between $75 to $150/sf, so price is definitely a key factor when clients are deciding what to use.

What is the right choice for you?

While we love quartz for the beautiful designs, both options are great. Typically, we find that clients who choose granite have the ‘nothing beats the real thing’ mentality and also appreciate its lower price point. Clients who select quartz do so for the fact that it is maintenance free, and usually because they want a countertop that looks like marble without all the issues. And this is where quartz knocks it out of the park.

If you do go with granite, make the commitment to seal it properly once a year, keep it clean to eliminate stains and bacteria, and overall just take a little extra care of it to extend its longevity.

Some of our favorite granite installs are:

And some of favorite quartz ones:

So tell us in the comments below – which do you prefer? Granite or quartz?

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