Is there much of a difference between granite and quartz countertops? Most often, when deciding which to choose, it’s just a matter of taste, and for some of us, it’s pretty tough to even tell the difference between the two. Still, there are some differences, including where the materials come from, how much they cost, and what type of maintenance is required.
Learn The Difference Between Granite and Quartz
What is quartz?
Quartz is one of the most common choices for countertops, but did you know quartz is actually an abundant mineral that is found in the earth’s crust? Technically, minerals are also referred to as rocks, so you may hear quartz described as a rock as well. There are several types of quartz, including rose quartz, amethyst, and sandstone.
Quartz is mined, ground into a powder, and then fused with a resin material to form the rock-hard substance we use for beautiful countertops. During the process of binding the resin and minerals together, pigments are added as needed for color. This combination is considered engineered quartz, as it is no longer in its purest form. However, don’t let that be of concern. Engineered quartz is strong and beautiful.
What is granite?
Perhaps one of the most interesting facts about granite is that it contains quartz. Granite is an igneous rock, which slowly forms under the earth’s surface, and is made up of both quartz and feldspar, as well as other minerals.
If you were to see a piece of granite, fresh from the earth, you’d notice it has a large grain, which basically refers to the holes you see in a rock. Due to those holes, it’s easy to see the other minerals inside a piece of granite. It’s no wonder granite makes such a beautiful countertop, with so many variations, colors, and sparkles naturally formed in it.
Which one looks better?
This is most likely a personal preference; however, quartz and granite have one big difference that can influence their appearance: Granite is all-natural. As mentioned, quartz is engineered by combining materials, including man-made resin.
Although quartz can look like a natural stone, and it does have some natural qualities, there’s no comparison when it comes to granite and quartz countertops. Granite is a real slab of stone sitting on top of your kitchen cabinets or island. This isn’t to say quartz isn’t equally beautiful — because it absolutely is.
Basically, each homeowner has their own taste, so it really depends on what it is you’re trying to achieve. Do you love the idea of a rugged, all-natural vibe? Then granite will probably look better to you. If you aren’t concerned with your counter looking like it’s fresh from the earth, quartz counters come in several gorgeous shades and are a wise choice as well.
At MTM Granite Ltd., we recommend first considering the shade you want. Once that’s decided, you can compare different counter materials, such as quartz and granite. In the end, when it comes to beauty, it’s best to check other areas of concern when comparing. Quartz and granite are both attractive and appealing in their own way.
Which one is more durable?
Granite is formed in intense heat and is naturally impervious to high temperatures. Hot pots and pans won’t damage the surface, though they may damage any sealant on them.
Quartz, on the other hand, isn’t nearly as heat resistant. Even Silestone, one of the best-selling engineered stone manufacturers in the world tells you to never place hot objects on their product. Even they say that “It is always recommended to use a hot pad or trivet when placing hot objects on the surface”.
The resins used to give it flexibility and shape will warp and melt under high temperatures. Low-quality brands have been known to discolor under crock pots and electric skillets, so if you want to put hot pans directly on the counter, cross quartz off your list.
Another issue is that quartz scratches easier than granite. The same resin that makes quartz susceptible to damage from heat also makes it more likely to scratch.
While it’s not easily scratched under normal use, it’s definitely more likely than granite to see scratches from dropped pans or slipping knives.
Granite, the tough, rugged stone that it is, can handle you cutting vegetables directly on its surface. It’s so durable that it will actually dull your knives so invest in a wood-cutting block.
Lastly, accidents happen–dishes fall out of cabinets, kids drop things on countertops, and adults aren’t much better.
If you drop a heavy pot on granite or whack a corner with a heavy ceramic bowl, it’s more likely to chip than quartz. The problem is that those chips are notoriously hard to repair, but granite is fairly easy to fix and you can probably do it yourself.
It’s so simple to do and you can find granite repair kits at nearly every big box home improvement store. You can use similar kits with quartz but the repairs are usually more noticeable and hard to polish out.
No matter what, countertops are a big investment. You want that investment to be worth it. Improving the kitchen makes a big impact on your home and the way you feel about it. Granite and quartz are both rock-solid choices. There isn’t a huge difference between granite and quartz in cost, and both are durable and fairly easy to maintain when treated correctly.
Have questions about using granite in your home? Just contact one of our expert installers and we will be happy to help you.