If you’re considering remodeling your kitchen, you are likely considering what material to use for your countertops. Granite countertops are still in high demand for their beauty and durability. Quartz countertops, often called engineered stone countertops, are similar in appearance and performance, yet quite different in their makeup. Although the favorite in the past has been granite, the National Kitchen and Bath Association stated that 89 percent of their members said they used quartz in their kitchen remodeling projects.
Is there a clear choice between the two? Not quite, both types have their enthusiasts. The key is to understand them more fully, and when you do, you’ll know which one suits your purposes the best.
Solid Stone vs. Engineered Stone
Granite counters are mined from pure stone. The stone is sawed into slabs or made into tiles and then polished for installation. Quartz countertops are manufactured from crushed quartz that is mixed with pigment for coloration and resin as a binder. The quartz content is typically 92% to 94%.
If you want authentic stone countertops, then granite is your only choice here.
The Appearance of Granite and Quartz
Both types have their strong point. Granite shows slight, natural variations in the hue of the stone. Colors ranges from earth tones to blues, greens and roses. The coloration of quartz is more consistent, and it is available in a wider array of colors since they are produced with pigments added to the quartz.
Which one is “better?” Beauty is in the eye of the beholder here. They are both very good looking. As you browse your options, you’ll get a feel for which one you prefer.
The Issue of Durability
While natural granite is strikingly beautiful, it does have its weaknesses. The stone needs to be sealed at installation and resealed on a regular basis. Quartz doesn’t require this level of care. In addition, natural stone countertops including granite, slate and sandstone stain quite easily. Granite that has been sealed with a resin-based product during manufacturing will be more resistant to trouble than standard granite, but still not as resistant as quartz.
Finally, granite can crack and chip more readily than engineered stone. Both have a lifespan of 25-50 years depending on the level of care they are given and how they are used. In the area of durability, engineered stone – quartz – has the advantage over granite.