Interior designers and many homeowners think of either granite or quartz when choosing a material for kitchen countertops today. Both granite and quartz have great features that make them ideal for this use, particularly their durability. They are equally versatile and each beautiful in their own way, so making a choice can become hard. Which is the better material, then?
The quick answer is, it depends. The best choice for you will depend on your personal preference and needs, and this usually means looking at different factors. Here is some information you can chew on to help you decide on one over the other.
Granite is a natural stone, formed over millions of years from slowly cooling magma under the surface of the Earth. It is the most prolific type of rock in the world, so even centuries of extracting them for various uses, including kitchen countertops, has not even made an appreciable effect on what is available.
Despite being quite common, all granite slabs are unique. They are either 2 cm or 3 cm thick, but other than that, each one is distinct. You only have to visit our showroom and look over the hundreds of labs we have available to know this is true. This distinctiveness is due to the differences in the composition and circumstances of its formation, which is a typical feature of any naturally occurring material.
Quartz countertops do not come from a natural source. Technically, it is made of a natural material (quartz), but the slab itself is manmade. Since it is made using an artificial process, all slabs of a certain design or model are the same. Even though they may resemble natural stones such as granite and marble, quartz countertops do not have the same degree of uniqueness.
Granite is a natural stone known for its durability. It can withstand direct exposure to very high heat, which makes it ideal for kitchen use. This is because it formed under conditions of extreme heat and pressure, so it is unlikely to sustain damage from any degree of heat a typical kitchen can produce,
Granite is also scratch resistant, so you can (but should not) cut vegetables and meat directly on its surface. While it is slightly porous, it does not stain easily if sealed properly. As long as you wipe up spills as soon as possible, you are not likely to find keeping it in good condition a difficult job.
One of the best things people like about granite, however, is the way it looks. Granite formed slowly, so it gave the various minerals in the mix time to form distinct crystals visible to the naked eye. This is the origin of the name granite, which comes from the Latin word “granum,” meaning grain. The different minerals in the mix also give granite its depth as well as a wide range of colors and patterns.
The one problem with granite is availability. Because it is a natural stone, you cannot have it made to order. You need to work with what is available in the showroom, or wait for the color and design you like to become available from quarries from all over the world.
Additionally, you might have a problem matching slabs for long countertops, as mentioned earlier no two slabs are exactly alike. In fact, slabs from the same source, or even the same block, may look completely different.
The main component of engineered quartz stone is quartz, making up 90% of the mix at a minimum, and this gives this material its durability. Quartz mineral is extremely durable, just a couple of steps lower than diamonds in the Mohs hardness scale. Since granite has only a maximum of 60% quartz, engineered quartz is overall more durable than granite.
Most hard materials tend to be brittle, meaning they are not flexible. Engineered quartz, on the contrary, is flexible enough not to break during fabrication, shipping, and installing.
Engineered quartz is also non-porous, so it does not need (and should not be subjected to) sealing. Sealing engineered quartz will make it look lackluster, because the impregnating sealer will not be able to permeate the stone and just sit there on the surface.
This gives it a slight edge over granite, which is slightly porous. This is not a big deal, as granite is resistant enough to staining with proper sealing to make no difference. In any case, both quartz and granite countertops are food safe.
Engineered quartz slabs of the same model have a uniform look, which can cut both ways. While it is easy to match quartz countertops, it is also easy to make your kitchen look like any other kitchen with the same quartz countertops. The good news is there are several quartz stone brands, each one with many colors, designs, textures, and finishes available. Statistically, it is unlikely you will know someone or visit another kitchen with exactly the same quartz countertops.
A serious issue with quartz countertops, however, is its sensitivity to heat and sunlight due to the resins and pigments included in the mix. Resins are plastic materials, which can melt under high heat and affect the color of the stone. The pigments, especially for darker quartz stones, can fade under direct sunlight over time. For these reasons, most quartz brands have generous product warranties they usually void when you use the product outdoors.
Finally, quartz tends to be slightly more expensive and heavier than granite. This is not a big deal when you have only a small area, but it makes a significant difference over larger spaces.
Taken as a whole, granite and quartz countertops are practical choices for most kitchens. There is not much to choose between them, unless you have strong opinions about natural versus engineered stones. A good way to make your choices is to look over granite slabs and samples of quartz stones and find one that tickles your fancy.
Silver Marble Granite is your best bet in the areas of Washington D.C., Alexandria, Arlington, Falls Church, Fairfax, Chantilly, Herndon, Centreville, among others. You can visit our showroom in Sterling, VA to see the products before you buy.
We are your ONE-STOP SHOP for home improvement, and we specialize in the best kitchen countertops in Northern Virginia. And we have no hidden fees, and for a limited period, we offer big discounts for our granite and marble products!
We work only with the best brands in the business, and can offer better prices and faster turnarounds than big box stores. We carry top brands in engineered quartz, including Silestone, MSI, Cambria, and Caesarstone as well as granite and marble slabs.
Waste no time and visit or call us today for a free estimate for your quartz or granite countertops!