Monday, March 05, 2018

The Difference Between Quartz And Granite Countertops

Selecting the right countertop materials for a home renovation or building project is one of the most challenging decisions a homeowner makes. The color, design, and pattern within the material are only overshadowed by the composition of the countertop product itself. In fact, many homeowners struggle to understand the difference between granite and quartz countertops, often referring to both as granite, stone or rock.

But there are distinct differences between quartz and granite countertops that every homeowner should know.

What’s The Difference Between Quartz and Granite Countertops?

There are some substantial differences between the various countertop materials on the market today.

Quartz and granite are among the two most popular kitchen and bathroom counter options, and they are both completely different materials.

What are granite countertops?

Granite is a completely natural stone material that is quarried from the ground in massive blocks. These blocks are then slowly and meticulously sawn into slabs that vary from 1 ¼ to ¾ inches thick, depending on the intended application of the countertop. The thicker slices of granite are often used for kitchen counters, whereas the slimmer versions are typically reserved for bathrooms. Once cut into slabs, the granite material is atomized and polished to beautiful gleaming finish.

There are no man-made components contained within granite. Granite is found in in the ground naturally and is completely free of human creation. Granite is considered to be one of the hardest natural rock materials, making it extremely durable for counter surfaces.

What are quartz countertops?

 Quartz countertops are usually comprised of around 90% natural quartz material and then combined with approximately 8-10% polymer resins. Quartz countertops are considered to be an engineered stone material which is created by using a ground-up component of the natural hard mineral quartz and then compressed into forms with hardening resins, polymers, and pigments to form a very hard granite-like slab.

The Advantages of Quartz and Granite Countertops

Both types of the most popular countertops have their advantages and disadvantages, but understanding them is imperative. Because many homeowners’ refer to all stone-like counters as granite, it highlights the fact that there are misunderstandings that should be clarified. Below we will break down some of the advantages and disadvantages of both quartz and granite counters.

Advantages of quartz countertops:

  • Quartz is one of the most abundant mineral resources around the world; therefore its harvest has a minimal environmental impact.
  • Quartz countertops result in an extremely durable and hard surface material which is ideal for counters.
  • Quartz counters are a non-porous material that does not require any sealing and limited maintenance.
  •  Quartz countertops are stain and crack resistant.
  •  Countertops made from quartz come in an extremely wide range of colors and patterns due to their man-made process.
Disadvantages of quartz countertops:

  • Quartz countertops are typically around 30-30% more expensive than granite counters.
  • Quartz does not tolerate heat well and as a result, care must be taken to protect them from hot cooking pots and utensils.
  • Quartz counters are extremely heavy and often require seams for larger surface areas.
  • Professional installation of quartz countertops is highly recommended.
  • Some quartz countertop material can discolor over time when exposed to prolonged and direct sunlight.

Advantages of granite countertops:

  • Granite is naturally formed by nature, therefore making each piece totally unique in color and pattern.
  • Granite material for countertops was formed through pressure and heat allowing them to perform perfectly when they come in contact with hot pans and utensils.
  • Granite countertops are often favored, due to the perceived value over quartz by many homebuyers, therefore granite counters can add to the home’s value over the long-term.
  • Granite is extremely hard and can last forever.
  • Granite can be less expensive than quartz countertops.

Disadvantages of granite countertops:

  • Granite is naturally porous; therefore it requires sealing and significantly more maintenance.
  • Granite countertops can be brittle and crack easily when significant force is applied.
  • Granite is a natural material, so creating a completely seamless look can be challenging when installing.

Selecting Quartz or Granite Counters

The main considerations that a homeowner should weigh when selecting the countertops for their home should be both use and preference. How you cook, the way you use your counters and the durability requirements are extremely important. Next, your preference to color, look and patterns should determine your final selection process. This will ensure that the net result of your new kitchen or bathroom depicts what you originally envisioned.

Furthermore, there is always a cost consideration that you will have to weigh. If budget is the dominant concern, we always recommend our customers consider natural granite options. However if budget is not driving the most significant criteria and the priorities are in matching specific colors or patterns, along with finding a low maintenance material, then we suggest they take a good look at quartz.

Finally, be mindful of the tile or wood flooring that you will be using in your kitchen or bathroom space and how that will pair or contrast with your countertop selection. Since kitchens and bathrooms are the most important living spaces within your home, you will want to make sure that everything compliments your counters perfectly.

Author Bio:

Tom Michaud is the CEO of Simple Floors Portland, located in Portland, Oregon. Tom’s decades of experience providing homeowners and contractors with quality home building and renovation materials focuses on wood flooring, countertops, tile, laminate floor, and carpeting.