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Choosing Granite or Quartz as a Countertop Material December 6, 2013

For most of our customers, purchasing a stone countertop is an intimate experience. The countertop ties together the decor of the kitchen and it’s an important decision.

Factors To Consider When Choosing Your Counter Top

  • Scratch Resistance: Both granite and quartz have qualities that make them extremely scratch resistant. Granite is largely made up of Quartz, and Quartz rates a 7 on the Mohs hardness scale.
  • Stain Resistance: Quartz countertops are typically touted by Quartz manufacturers as being more stain resistant than granite countertops. The reason is that Quartz is a non-porous product and therefore should be more resistant to staining. What is typically ignored or omitted is the fact that granite is sealed by most fabricators before being installed in much the same manner that grout is sealed on a tile floor. Sealing the stone will make it resistant to staining. In our experience, red wine, Kool-aid, olive oil, or other similar kitchen items that are known for staining will always stain these surfaces if they are left on them regardless of whether it is Quartz or Granite.
  • Heat Resistance: For the purposes of a kitchen application, granite and quartz are about the same as far as heat resistance. We recommend the use of a common trivet whenever possible, but granite and quartz countertops could both handle a pot of boiling water or other hot items to be set on top of them. Neither material should be exposed to a flame. However, we often use a propane torch in the shop to aid in drying the tops before being moved to the next process.
  • Maintenance: Quartz is advertised as the “no maintenance” product. This is true from the standpoint that no sealing or additional care beyond wiping down the countertops is required. However, if this is the sole reason that a customer is purchasing quartz instead of granite the we explain to the customers the simplicity of sealing granite. The process takes less than 15 minutes and involves cleaning the tops as you normally would and then spraying on the sealer. If you wait about 10 minutes and wipe off the excess sealer with a clean terry cloth, then you should not need to seal again for at least 12 months.
  • Price: Several years ago, granite prices went through the floor. We could sell a granite kitchen for as much as 30% less than a similar quartz countertop. Today, there has been a dramatic increase in the amount of competition amongst quartz suppliers. Common brand names would include Silestone, Caeserstone, Cambria, LG Viatera, Samsung Radianz, and many many more. This increase in players in the quartz market has driven prices down to a point where they are basically equal to granite prices. In most cases, granite and quartz will have similar starting price points for many colors.

Granite or Quartz: Which Look Do You Prefer?

So now we’ve identified the key factors of stain resistance, scratch resistance, heat resistance, maintenance, and price points of both materials. The characteristic that is the most relevant in our opinion is aesthetics and it is usually the one that our customers have not considered. A simple experiment that we run with our customers is to place 2 similarly colored materials side by side. One is granite and one is quartz. Most customers naturally gravitate towards one material or the other even though the color is the same. The reason is the LOOK of the material.

  • Granite: Customers who like granite love the variation to pattern and color found in granite. They find that granite has “character” much like wood. They like that the countertops can be the focal point of the kitchen.
  • Quartz: Customers that prefer Quartz like it because it is typically simple, “clean” looking, and is uniform throughout (there are no variations of color or pattern). One section of quartz will always look like another section of quartz. Quartz is not overpowering and typically isn’t used as a focal point of the kitchen. It usually works much better to balance the décor in the rest of the kitchen.

For a kitchen application, basically all the factors aside from aesthetics are the same. When we explain this to customers in this manner, they often choose a material opposite of the one they started with. Both granite and quartz are excellent materials for kitchen applications. The truth is that a customer won’t be disappointed with either material, but understanding the differences and similarities between them can help make the decision much simpler.