Kitchen & Bath Blog

Granite vs. Quartz: A Grudge Match for Countertop Dominance

There’s a new victor this year in the kitchen industry. According to the 2018 Houzz Kitchen Trends Study, engineered quartz has taken over the top spot from granite as homeowners’ go-to countertop choice. 

For the past twenty years or so, granite reigned supreme, but quartz came along in the early 2000s with some unique benefits that have gradually won over the American consumer. 

Both materials are exceptional choices for your kitchen that will give it an upscale, luxurious look and feel, so you really can’t go wrong with either. With that said, here are some of the key differences between the two materials. 

One is natural, one is not 

For some homeowners, it’s all-natural or it’s a no-go. If that’s you, you’ll want to go with a granite countertop. 

Granite is a natural stone composed of quartz, feldspar and mica and mined from around the world. The natural variation in pattern, veining and color is dictated by nature, meaning no two slabs will ever be exactly alike. 

Most homeowners will need multiple slabs of granite for a kitchen project resulting in seams that will show up where the two slabs are joined. Since every slab will have some color and pattern variations, it’s also important to see the slab you are using in person rather than just making your choice from a sample. 

Consistency is king 

For some homeowners, it’s extremely important to them that their countertop maintain a uniform appearance throughout their kitchen and that’s something granite cannot accomplish. 

Although some quartz countertops are made of quarried slabs of the natural stone, engineered quartz is created through a manufacturing process that mixes approximately 95 percent ground natural quartz with five percent polymer resins. 

The result is a super-hard, low-maintenance, natural-look countertop available in a dazzling array of consistent colors and patterns. You may still have to contend with seams on a quartz countertop if your counter is extremely large or involves a complex configuration, but seaming is easier since the pattern and color are the same throughout. 

No sealing required 

Granite is a natural stone and thus porous — it contains minute spaces through which liquid or air can pass. Most countertops come pre-sealed when they are installed, but they might require resealing over time. A simple test using a drop of water can determine if resealing is required in that area of countertop. If the drop of water is absorbed rapidly once placed on the countertop, then that area requires resealing. There is no need to reseal areas where the water is not absorbed rapidly.

The resealing process isn’t difficult. Your countertop must be well cleaned about 24 hours prior to sealing and then a penetrating sealer needs to be applied to soak into the granite, filling in the holes and preventing oily and liquid spills from discoloring your counters or mildew and mold from forming. 

Engineered quartz on the other hand, thanks to its non-porous nature, is mold, stain- and mildew-resistant with no sealing required. 

Cooking al fresco 

Planning on an outdoor kitchen installation? Plan on using granite. The great outdoors is one spot where engineered quartz is not a good option. The sun’s rays can break down the resin in the countertop and cause it to fade and warp. 

Engineered quartz can be much more expensive than other countertop materials, so price as well as preference must be considered when selecting a countertop. 

At the end of the day, though, no matter which material you choose, your kitchen will have a stunning surface adding beauty and value to your home. 

Want to learn more about what you can and can’t do on your kitchen countertops? Check out our blog, can you put a hot pan on a granite countertop?
DREAM IT. DESIGN IT. LIVE IT.  |  Kitchen & Bath Center

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