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Quartz vs Granite for Counter Tops: Is There Really a Difference?

The age old question finally has an answer! Check out this comparison of quartz vs granite countertops and learn the pros and cons of both all in one place!

Replacing your home’s countertops is a great way to get the most value in your home for the least amount of money. It’s a small change that can have a big impact on how much you enjoy your home (and the value you’ll get if you decide to sell).

But which material should you choose? For many homes, it’s easy to narrow down the list. If your house is modestly priced, ornate marble counters might look too excessive, and not match your decor well. But plain laminate doesn’t have the chic look or functionality that you want in your home, either.

There are many great mid-range countertop options out there. Quartz vs granite are two of the most popular, making it hard to decide which to go with. Wondering about the pros and cons of each material? Keep reading for what you need to know!

What is Quartz?

One of the main appeals of these two countertop choices is that they’re made of natural materials.

Quartz is an igneous rock that comes from cooled silica, forming crystals as it cools. It’s often found in grains of sand on the beach, and can be melted into glass for all kinds of purposes.

Quartz occurs naturally on the planet, but it often takes a long time to show up. The molten quartz has to work its way out from below the Earth to the surface, where it can cool. Then, faster-eroding minerals gradually erode away, leaving behind deposits of hardy quartz.

Since it’s so strong, it sounds like a great material for countertops — and it is. But the quartz used in countertops isn’t the same as the pure quartz harvested from the Earth. Countertops use mainly pure quartz, but about 10 percent of the blend is manmade. This percentage usually includes polymers, resins, and pigments.

These manmade additions are necessary to keep cracks and pores from staying open in your countertops, as well as to make them more durable. The pigment ensures that the counters retain a natural quartz color.

What is Granite?

Granite is another type of igneous rock. It’s made up of a mix of different rocks melted together, and one of those ingredients is quartz. The rest might include mica, feldspar, and a variety of minerals.

This mix is why granite comes in such a wide variety of colors, and why the texture varies as well. As molten rock cools and hardens, it can become granite. It’s formed deep underground, and then makes its way to the surface of the Earth, much like pure quartz does.

Granite is known for being hard, but some conditions can also cause cracking and weakness. There are different qualities of granite, and the more high-quality yours is, the more durable your counters will be.

Quartz Countertop Pros

One of the benefits of quartz countertops is the variety of patterns and colors you can get thanks to the added pigments. But although the mix and color is manmade, these countertops look totally natural.

These durable counters are very low maintenance after installation. Quartz doesn’t get stained, and is pretty much impervious to damage even without being sealed. And it won’t absorb anything toxic, or hold bacteria, since it’s not porous. This means it’s easy to get it completely clean just by wiping the surface off.

Finally, quartz has a bit more flexibility than granite. It’s less brittle, so it won’t chip as easily. This makes it one of the most durable materials for your kitchen.

Quartz Countertop Cons

Although quartz is quite durable, high heat can damage it, so you can’t set hot pans directly on the surface.

Many people are concerned about showing seams when they install their kitchen countertops.

Unfortunately, quartz seams do tend to remain visible. If you want to hide them, you’ll need to try a dark color that can camouflage seams. You can also design your kitchen so that elements like sinks are added where the seams would be, making them less obvious.

Quartz also doesn’t have the same elaborate, variegated look that granite does. The colors and patterns tend to be more simple. Finally, quartz tends to cost more than granite, because it’s manmade and more durable. Discover more here about the specific price differences.

Granite Countertop Pros

As an all-natural stone with no manmade additions, granite offers the most interesting and unique patterns. You’ll never find two pieces of granite with the exact same design.

For the most part, granite is quite durable. It’s actually strong enough to dull knife blades! It’s also strong enough for outdoor use. And with a sealant added, it will resist stains quite well.

Although the best-quality granite can be very costly, you can find many more affordable options on the market, too. This variety of pricing is good for many budgets.

If you want to avoid seams, you can often find extra-large granite slabs that will cover all the space you need. Since granite has such intricate and interesting patterns, even imperfections in the design can actually add beauty.

Granite Counter top Cons

Unless you can afford a huge slab to avoid seams, you will have to deal with visible seams in your counters, just like with quartz.

Granite is naturally absorbent. Although your counter should be sealed, if the sealant isn’t properly applied or gets damaged, you’ll end up with stained counters that absorb and hold bacteria. You’ll also need to reseal the counters yearly to keep them impenetrable.

Granite counter tops can also chip or even crack sometimes, like if you drop a heavy object on them. Finally, granite isn’t the most environmentally friendly option, since quarrying granite uses tons of energy. Using local or salvaged granite is a good way to minimize the environmental impact.

Quartz vs Granite: Which Should You Choose?

Choosing between quartz vs granite is largely a matter of personal preference. You might care more about having a beautiful look, or having a low-maintenance kitchen. After weighing the pros and cons of granite vs quartz counter tops, you should be able to see which one is best for you.

Not sold on these materials yet? Check out more kitchen counter top ideas here.