Countertops provide a level surface in your kitchen or bathroom to prepare food or get ready in the morning. If you’re looking for new countertops, you probably want an attractive, cost-effective and low-maintenance material. In that case, you may consider granite and quartz, two of the most popular countertop materials.
Quartz or granite countertops can enhance your home’s aesthetic and withstand all the activity that takes place in the kitchen or bathroom. If you need more information to make your critical choice in the home renovation process, this guide can help you discover the difference between quartz and granite, so you can choose the better option for your living space.
What Are Granite Countertops?
Granite is an igneous rock. It forms from liquid magma that has cooled and hardened to take on durability similar to diamond. This stone solidifies deep within the earth and under extreme pressure, resulting in a dense, long-lasting countertop.
In general, here is how manufacturers and fabricators create all-natural granite countertops:
- Quarrying: Since granite forms close to the earth’s surface, miners can acquire the stone from shallow quarries. To take granite from the ground, miners drill small holes and carefully plant explosives into the holes to create a sufficient blast to take the piece of granite away from the bedrock without damaging it. The blasting engineers need to direct the falling granite onto soft sand to prevent splitting or cracking.
- Transportation: The miners use earth-moving equipment to transport these blocks of granite onto trucks and send them to slab fabrication facilities worldwide. Countries such as Brazil, China and India are some of the prominent nations when it comes to exporting granite. These nations have the technology and machinery to cut granite into slabs for various applications.
- Cutting: Once the block arrives at a fabrication facility, the fabricator slices it into slabs using giant saws. The cutting devices might have a few large round blades next to each other or use diamond wire. Even though the process can typically take several hours, diamond wire saws and other advanced technology have enhanced the slicing procedure’s accuracy and speed. This time saved allows more granite to be available at a lower cost.
- Polishing: After the blades cut the granite into large slabs, slab polishing machines bring out the stone’s natural patterns and colors. This process consists of using large, fine, diamond-polishing pads that make the surface smooth and shiny. After this process, the edges may still be rough.
- Grouping and shipping: The fabricators group the newly polished slabs into bundles in the order they were cut from the block to keep a consistent color and pattern. These batches come to the United States by boat in large shipping containers. Once they arrive on land, they get sent to various wholesale suppliers and fabricators who cut, polish and install granite countertops.
- Measuring and cutting: When you select a granite color, we send a professional technician to your house to accurately measure your cabinets. We use computer-aided design (CAD) to create the most efficient plan for cutting each slab to highlight its unique pattern. We show you the projected appearance of your countertops through slab imaging as well before we begin cutting. Once you’ve approved the shapes and designs, waterjet cutting allows us to cut the granite into the precise shapes needed for your countertop.
- Polishing and edging: After we cut the slabs into the right size, we’ll use a computer numeric control (CNC) stone routing machine to polish and cut custom edges onto the granite slabs and create precise holes for sinks. This efficient technology reduces the time spent polishing it, resulting in lower costs for you. When the pieces pass through the CNC machine, our team examines each one and corrects any imperfections.
- Installing: After we cut, polish and finish the stone, we load your products onto our trucks and carefully transport them into your home, and begin the installation process. We attach the sinks to the granite, drill faucet holes and perfectly fit the countertop to the cutout.
What Are Quartz Countertops?
Quartz countertops contain about 70 to 93% quartz, along with other additives, such as pigments, polyester resin and styrene. The polyester resin binds the mineral pieces, and you may be able to see them in the design of your countertop slab.
Here are the typical steps that manufacturers take to create quartz countertops:
- Collection: To make this engineered stone, miners obtain the natural quartz crystals from the earth. Quartz is a specific chemical compound with a crystalline form and can come from all types of rock. Unlike quarrying like they do with granite, fabricators may find this material on quartz-bearing rocks or on beaches, in soil and in rivers due to erosion and weathering.
- Transportation: Even though most granite fabricators are out of the country, the United States has a few reputable places that mine and distribute quartz, such as in Arkansas. If you can find a distributor that gets their quartz from within the country, you can save money on the cost of shipping these products from far distances.
- Crushing and designing: Instead of slicing them like granite, manufacturers grind the quartz specks into an aggregate or dust. In several designs, manufacturers might add metallic flecks or recycled glass to the mix. They may also add pigments to the slab to give it a unique color. Because of its resins and various other materials, you may notice the same color throughout the piece or find accents or ribbons of different shades.
- Binding: After they figure out the appearance of the quartz countertop, the fabricator will fuse the components with resin binders, then pour them into a mold. Through vibration, compaction, intense pressure and heat, they form a dense slab.
- Measuring, polishing and installing: After we receive the quartz countertops from fabricators, we’ll take the same steps necessary for granite. We use a CAD drawing machine to produce accurate measurements of the countertops you need and run the slabs through a CNC stone routing machine to polish them. When our team arrives at your house, we attach the quartz to your bathroom vanity or kitchen cabinets, drill faucet holes and line up the countertop to the cutout.
Quartz vs. Granite Countertops Appearance
As you think about the pros and cons of granite and quartz, appearance is a necessary factor for your desired design. You may want to examine the space where you want to install your countertops to determine the color scheme and pattern for this piece of stone. Consider the aesthetic characters of each countertop material.
This all-natural stone features a speckled appearance and can have several different finishes. This material rarely needs a replacement if you want to change your room’s design, and it comes in various color options. Consider a granite countertop that matches the color or design of your kitchen cabinets or bathroom vanity.
Here are some of the visual advantages of granite:
- Since granite is a natural stone and undergoes cooling and solidifying of molten materials, no two granite countertops look the same.
- Whether you want a subtle complement to your kitchen or a bold slab that stands out, you have a wide variety of countertop color and pattern options.
You may also want to keep the following cons of granite design in mind:
- It tends to display seams more often than quartz.
- It has naturally occurring imperfections, but you might enjoy this irregularity for your kitchen or bathroom’s unique color scheme.
- You can only choose colors for your granite countertop that exist in nature. However, you still have a broad palette of colors to find the right one for your stone slab.
In general, quartz has a uniform appearance, but its design depends on the components manufacturers use to create it. Because of the resins and various other components in a slab of quartz, you may notice the same color throughout the whole piece or find accents or ribbons of different shades.
Consider the advantages of how quartz looks in your kitchen or bathroom:
- This engineered stone typically has a uniform, consistent appearance.
- You can get the look of natural stone with customizable colors and patterns.
- Even though granite provides plenty of design options, you may have to search for the right product to compliment your color scheme. With a quartz countertop, you can customize a unique slab specifically for your application.
- Since the quartz gets its color from pigments, it can come in almost any color you can imagine, whether you want a natural stone look or bright, bold colors.
Here are some of the drawbacks of quartz’s appearance:
- Over time, exposure to direct sunlight may cause the slab’s resin to fade or change color.
- Because of its uniform look, it doesn’t look like a natural stone. However, based on your design preferences, this drawback may be an advantage.
Which Looks Better as a Countertop Material?
Whether you choose quartz or granite countertops depends on your style. If you’d rather have a unique, natural stone in your kitchen or bathroom, you may want to install granite countertops. On the other hand, if you wish to have a uniform pattern or more control over the design, quartz may be better for you. Both are aesthetically pleasing materials that can enhance your living space. If you’re unsure, you can browse through our project gallery to determine which one would best complement your space.
Quartz vs. Granite Countertops Cost
Both granite and quartz countertops tend to be high-end materials, but you may find that one is more affordable than the other. Granite countertops may cost $50 to $100 per square foot. However, a quartz countertop costs between $50 and $125 per square foot, so quartz can be more expensive than granite.
What you end up paying depends on several factors, such as the following:
- Manufacturing: For many years, manufacturers have tried to reduce the cost of creating and installing granite to be more affordable for the average homeowner. On the other hand, quartz is more available than granite, so manufacturers can also distribute it at a competitive price.
- Location: Most granite slabs come from manufacturers overseas. Since these stones come via boat, the price to ship them depends on the cost of petroleum, distance and tariffs. If you have to get your materials from the other side of the world, you may have to pay more money. However, since quartz is more readily available in the United States, it may cost less money than granite.
- Installation: Since quartz and granite are both heavy stones, it’s best to leave the countertop installation to a professional team. As you shop around for the best rate, ask each distributor whether the installation cost is included in the estimate so you can compare them all fairly.
- Customization: The cost to install brand-new quartz countertops depends on the style you prefer and the edging treatment you request. You may customize your quartz slabs, but each color or pattern option can raise or lower your price. Granite countertops tend to be more consistent in terms of their prices based on their color schemes.
Which Countertop Material Is More Cost-Effective?
Your countertop’s price depends on several factors, such as installation and where you buy it, but granite tends to be the more affordable choice at face value. However, keep in mind that you may have to pay the same fee as you would for quartz countertops if you get custom-made granite. If money is a concern for you, try to reach out to your local stone distributor and discuss what customization options can best accommodate your budget without compromising your design preferences.
Granite vs. Quartz Countertop Durability and Maintenance
Both granite and quartz need regular maintenance to keep them looking their best, but each requires different levels of care. Consider some of the characteristics of each type of stone to determine how often you’d need to clean and treat your countertops.
Even though granite is a naturally resilient stone, you may need to clean your granite countertops every day with soap and water or a mild household cleaner. To prevent permanent stains, it helps to wipe up liquid spills and food residue immediately. A few acids and oils can also damage your countertops, so be careful about which cleaners can go on the surface. You may also want to consider using a sealant to make cleaning easier and to prevent etching.
As with granite, you might want to clean the spills off your quartz countertops with a mild household cleaner or water and soap. Since it’s nonporous, you don’t need to reseal this material because it’s less likely to absorb liquids and grow bacteria on the surface. Quartz is uniform throughout, so it’s less likely to crack, making it a durable material you can use in the kitchen or other high-traffic areas. It may help to wipe up liquids or foods with bold dyes that could stain the counter.
Which Countertop Material Is Easier to Maintain?
Due to its resistance to liquid damage, quartz appears to be easier to maintain than granite. However, if you like the look of granite and want a stone that’s easy to maintain, we provide a life-time countertop protection sealer for your granite countertops, so they don’t need to be resealed annually.
Quartz vs. Granite Countertops Moisture and Heat Resistance
Another critical factor for choosing between quartz and granite is each material’s resistance to water and high temperatures. If you want to install one of these stones in the kitchen, keep in mind how often you use hot plates and boiling water as you cook and clean. You need a material that can withstand heat, moisture and daily use, so you won’t have to replace them often. Consider the ability of each material to resist moisture and heating.
This countertop material can withstand moisture and staining as long as it’s properly sealed. If a liquid spills onto the surface and you haven’t been maintaining it correctly, the moisture could penetrate the stone and stain or crack it.
On the other hand, granite is highly resistant to heat because of its molten lava contents. You can place hot pans or pots on the surface without causing any major damage. It does help to exercise caution, though, when you place hot items on the surface, using trivets and hot pads when you can.
Since quartz is non-porous, it can withstand liquid better than granite, even without sealing it. Even though it’s moisture-resistant, keep in mind that you still need to clean up any food or drinks that spill or the materials can stain the surface.
Quartz may be resistant to moisture, but the resin holding the surface together is sensitive to heat. If you put a hot plate or pot on the countertop, the binding agent can melt and pull it apart. You may need to use trivets or hot pads to prevent damage if you choose to install quartz countertops in your kitchen.
Which Countertop Material Is More Resistant to Moisture and Heat?
Granite is more resistant to heat, but quartz is better at withstanding liquids and spills. Consider how much durability your countertops need based on the room where you’ll install them. A stone’s ability to resist moisture is essential in the wet bathroom or near a sink. However, it helps to think about investing in a material that’s durable against heat when you’re working near an oven or cooking. Regardless of which material you choose, both granite and quartz have the potential to last a long time in your home.
Which Is Better, Quartz or Granite?
Granite and quartz both offer substantial benefits to your home. Even though choosing the material for your countertops is essential, you can easily select either of these two options and add value to your living space. Your ultimate choice depends on several factors, including:
- Where you’re installing it: Since granite is more durable against heat, it probably works better in the kitchen than quartz does. You can cook and use hot plates with the peace of mind that you won’t damage your countertops. Quartz is still a useful countertop material in the kitchen because of its resistance to staining from food and beverage spills. However, it may be more helpful to put it in the bathroom where more moisture is present, as well as other items like toothpaste and soap that could potentially stain granite.
- The overall design: Your choice of countertop material depends on what look you want. If you want a consistent look, consider installing a custom-made quartz slab. On the other hand, if you’d prefer to install natural stone with a speckled design that complements your room’s color scheme, granite might be the better option for you.
- Where you’re willing to compromise: Even though both materials are relatively similar in quality and appearance, you should think about what is most important to you. If you’d rather have a low-maintenance countertop, you may want to install quartz. However, if you care about having an all-natural stone with a unique look, consider choosing granite countertops.
Reach Out to Us to Learn More and Visit Our Showroom in Dallastown, PA
After you’ve considered the pros and cons of quartz and granite, you can reach out to us to get more information about choosing the right countertop for the new room in your house. At Atlantic Custom Granite, we’ll teach you what you need to know to make an informed decision instead of guessing which one is better for you. You can visit our showroom to discover information about all of our countertop materials. For more information about our inventory, contact us online or call 717-244-3494.