Granite Vs. Quartz Better Than Other: Stone Countertop
We break down the two most controversial countertop materials.
At the end of this article, you can vote for which one you prefer.
Before we get into all of that though, what exactly is granite and quartz ? Granite is a very hard stone and 100 percent natural. It’s mined from quarries all around the world, cut down to a manageable size, and then polished to a fine finish. Quartz is slightly different in that it is not 100 percent natural.Instead, countertops are manufactured using 95 percent ground natural quartz and 5 percent polymer resins.
The stone surrounding the range hood has the warm, comforting look of a fireplace, and spice pull-outs and corner drawers maximize storage space. With quartz, the selection process is much easier. You can save money by purchasing the material from a wholesaler and doing some of the preliminary work yourself but the actual fabrication and installation of the countertops should be left to a professional. You can do some of the preliminary work to save money, but because engineered quartz is heavier than other stone surfaces, a professional installer needs to make sure the space is structurally sound. Try using indigenous stone when possible or visit salvage shops for pieces that can be cut to fit your needs.
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This cuts down on the distance the material needs to be transported. Some oils and acids can stain so do your homework first to avoid stains.
To ensure the longevity of your investment, consider having your countertops resealed once a year. White, glass appliances keep with the color scheme and streamlined look. The solid surface means that there is no need to have your countertops resealed. Due to its porous nature though, there can be some staining if spilled liquids are left sitting and damage can be done if your counter receives a high impact blow. In fact, quartz is nearly indestructible, and because it isn’t porous like granite, it’s easy to keep your countertops relatively bacteria-free. On the surface (pun intended), quartz appears to be the winner. It’s easier to maintain, longer-lasting, more environmentally friendly and easy to customize. However, it can be pricey depending on the options you choose and the uniqueness of granite remains appealing to many. Consider your budget and specific needs before making a decision but you really can’t go wrong with either one. So yes, granite is a “renewable” resource. However, since it takes thousands of years to create, many industry professionals do not consider granite a true green product. It is important to note the stone industry has made huge strides in recent years to adopt responsible quarrying and production practices.
Since granite countertops can last a lifetime, contain no harmful chemicals and do not emit harmful radiation or gasses, they have a place in the green building movement. Granite countertops will not melt or blister when exposed to heat. They are one of the most heat-resistant countertops on the market. If you take a hot pan out of the oven, you can place it directly on your countertop surface without any harm. Experts do recommend the use of a trivet when using appliances that emit heat for long periods of time, such as crockpots.
Since the material is so dense, there is a small possibility heating one area of the top and not the entire thing, could cause the countertop to crack. This means that very few minerals are able to scratch it. You can cut on it, but it isn’t recommended since this will dull your knives and possibly leave a metal residue behind that can be difficult to remove. Depending on the color of granite you choose, average slab size will vary. A typical expectation can be set at 9 feet by 5 feet.
Large islands can typically be done without seams.
The good news is that many fabricators will mix custom color epoxy to adhere the seams together which does a great job at disguising them. Expect the seam to be around 1/8-inch thick. Undermount sinks are common in granite countertop installations.
This allows crumbs and spills to be wiped directly into the sink without being caught on the lip of a surface mount sink. You can consider using several types of sinks including cast iron, stainless steel or solid surface. Fabricators will cut and polish the sink hole to match the shape of your chosen sink. Coved backsplashes that are common in laminate countertops are not available with granite. Typically, a separate 4” piece of the stone slab will be adhered on top of your countertop surface. Tile and full-height granite backsplashes are also used. Granite countertops should be repaired by a professional. It is rare to get a crack or chip in your countertops, but if you do, contact the fabricator who installed your countertops to schedule a service call. Most of the time, a color-matched epoxy can be used to fill the void and it will be virtually invisible. In a pinch, you can use superglue to fill a chip. If you use heavy cast iron pans, be careful when placing them into your under-mounted sink. The edge of these cutouts is the most common place to get chips.
A more likely scenario, though, is to experience an increased number of broken dishes.
Most fabricators will apply a sealer to granite countertops before they are installed which will protect them from absorbing liquids too quickly. If liquids are left on the surface for long periods of time, they will eventually absorb.
But just like they absorb, they will also evaporate. Depending on what the substance is that needs to be removed, you can apply different poultices to speed the process along. However, many will evaporate on their own without the use of chemicals or cleaning products.
Granite Slabs and Tiles
Other countertop materials such as solid surface and quartz surfacing are non-porous.
There are things that can stain them though, such as permanent marker which can be removed from granite. Granite countertops are considered to be alow maintenance countertop surface. The likelihood of needing to be repaired or resurfaced is low. Technology for sealers has come a long way over the years, and many will last more than 10 years before needing to be reapplied. When they do need to be reapplied, it is something that most homeowners can do on their own as the process is similar to cleaning. Simply apply the product and wipe off the excess.
It is a good idea to ask your installer which sealer was initially applied and use the same kind to reapply.Some sealers don’t play nicely with each other and when mixed, can create a sticky mess.
There are a lot of variables such as edge profile, total square footage, backsplash, etc. Don’t be fooled by the stereotype that all granite is expensive. Lower-range granites will cost less than high-range laminate. Do be careful when comparing pricing between different companies.
Your final quote should include material, fabrication and installation.
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If you are looking for something truly unique, consider an exotic granite. As with most things in life, price is determined by supply and demand. Some quarries are not easily accessible and/or only able to be quarried for short periods of time throughout the year. If these circumstances exist in a quarry with gorgeous stone, the price will be driven upward. With all natural stones, including granite, we are limited to the colors and patterns mother nature produces.
You won’t find a lot of solid patterns or bright colors, but both do exist. Also, watch for a large range of color and pattern within the same color of stone. It’s always a good idea to view the exact slab(s) that will be fabricated for your kitchen to make sure they are what you expected to see from the sample. Another factor is that many exotic types of granite have huge flowing waves, and a small sample will not be an accurate representation of the whole slab. Granite is not considered one of the countertop surface options with a wide range of colors.
You will find a wider range of options with laminate, solid surface and quartz. In general, darker granites are very dense and sometimes don’t even require a sealer. Lighter granites are more porous and may require multiple coats of sealer to be considered stain resistant.Either way, if properly treated, granite is a stain-resistant countertop surface. They are quarried from the ground and their natural state, and sliced into slabs for use in your kitchens.
Though quartz surface materials claim they are also natural stone, the reality is they are mostly resin, with a small percentage of crushed natural quartz. Granite countertops are very resistant to chemicals.
Acids and bases will not harm the material. Do be careful of repeated use, though, as some chemicals will wash away the sealer over time, causing the need for re-sealing before the recommended time. Consider price, durability, and maintenance. If granite has made it to the top of your list, read through the article below to determine if its advantages and disadvantages make it a good choice for your family. If you compare performance characteristics in a kitchen environment, granite is the better choice. Quartzite is generally harder and denser and the pattern is more like marble which is appealing to many homeowners.
In fact, many slate quarries are limited to tile production because of the sizes of usable material that exist. Many homeowners are choosing to use a combination of wood and granite, or another hard surface, in their kitchens.
They are made of acrylic and come in many colors.
They are easy to clean and heat resistant. They are quite porous and even with sealer, can easily be stained. And of all the countertop materials you can buy, stone is the gold standard for both durability and character. Every rock pulled from the earth has its own mineral color, veining, and speckles, brought vividly to life by stoneworkers’ saws and polishing wheels.
So whether you select a solid burgundy quartzite, a sky-blue granite, or a beige travertine-embedded with fossilized seashells, it will be as distinctive as an original work of art. Unaffected by hot pans or water, a stone countertop will last as long as your house—maybe even longer.
It needs only a little routine care and forethought to ward off water marks, stains, and etching typically caused by acidic foods.
All About Stone Countertops
But even if the worst happens—a chipped edge, a red wine spill—most stones can be restored by a professional. We explain the differences between the various stone types, offer money-saving tips, and cover the basics of stone care. By the end, you’ll know what it takes to bring your kitchen, beautifully and dramatically, into the stone age. Sink and faucet holes and fancy edges are extra. Impervious to heat and water but will chip if, say, you bang a cast-iron skillet on an edge. Thanks to improved factory-applied sealants, some stones now come with lifetime antistain warranties.
Wipe spills promptly with soapy water or stone cleaner. Apply sealer as needed; for granite, that’s every one to three years.
At a stone yard you can pick the exact slab you want; at a big-box store you choose from display samples.
The big-box price may be lower, but don’t expect your slab to match the sample exactly. A stone restorer can repolish a slab in your home. A stone’s resistance depends on its chemical makeup and microscopic fissures that formed millions of years ago. But you don’t need to be a geologist to determine whether your counter will stand up to a little spilled vino. Get a sample piece (it’s okay if it’s not from the same slab, as long as it comes from the same source). Pour test dollops of ketchup, olive oil, red wine, and lemon juice. You’ll see how well it stands up to untended spills.
Nonporous; food can’t etch it, stains are easy to remove, sealers aren’t required. Hot pans can scorch or crack it; knives can nick it. Sensitive to acids and requires frequent sealing. Very hot pots may cause superficial damage. It comes in 32 vibrant colors and is a heftier version of ceramic tile but without annoying grout lines.
This stone has sealer with 15-year antistain warranty. Very resistant to scratches and acids; seal every two to five years.
No sealing required; can be treated with mineral oil to darken color. Soft and easy to scratch; buff scratches out with an abrasive pad.Just put some water on it; if it beads up, the sealer’s still good, but if the water soaks in, your counter is due for a dose. Unlike surface-type sealers, which can affect a stone’s color, impregnators penetrate without altering appearance. Apply the sealer with a paint pad, let stand for 5 minutes, then wipe off the excess with a clean rag. Give it 2 hours to cure before putting your coffeemaker back on the counter. Or you can buy your slab from a retailer who just sells stone and find your own fabricator. They lay the new counter and fill any joints between slabs with a color-matched resin. If your walls get dinged, expect him to pick up the tab for the painter you hire. Cover the edges with thin tile strips, or wrap them in metal nosing or wood bands (shown). Typically sold as 96-inch-long solid slabs, they still require a fabricator to cut sink and faucet holes.
No two slabs are exactly alike, so they’re best used on straight runs without seams.
These tops are typically cut to someone else’s kitchen layout, so plan on adjusting yours to fit. Selection is limited, and you pay for any custom cuts.
Pair a creamy travertine with a clear-coated cherry, for instance. Avoid trendy or extreme colors that you (or the next owner) will likely tire of. Variegated patterns also hide stains and grime better than those with uniform coloration. Some stones, such as soapstone and slate, can’t be polished; a matte, honed finish is your only choice. Keep in mind that the surface treatment can also affect maintenance. Polished granite, for example, is easier to keep up because it resists stains and water marks better than honed. To get the look for less, ask your installer to glue or “laminate” a strip of stone to the edge of a ¾-inch slab. In a quality job, these edge strips will be cut from the same slab and the transition will look seamless.
Granite is often seen as kitchen and bathroom countertops, but has become a favored surface in mudrooms and utility workshop areas.
Celebrate your home with the beauty of natural stone. Because of the unique characteristics in color and pattern of each natural stone slab, it is always recommended and often required, for the customer to select the slab for their project. With thousands of slabs and hundreds of colors , you’ll feel welcome and comfortable while shopping in our well-lit, climate controlled slab showroom & warehouse. They are quick to turn around a bid request and work with our schedule as best they can when measuring and installing one of our jobs.