Granite and quartz counter-tops consistently rank as a top pick for new home buyer upgrades. It’s no wonder why; quartz and granite counter-tops add an element of luxury and style to any space. Quartz and granite run neck and neck in terms of popularity and price. Both are attractive, durable, and stain resistant. However, each has its own unique benefits that can determine which is best for a new home.
How are they made?
The main difference between quartz and granite composition; quartz counter-top material is ‘man-made’ while granite is organic.
Quartz is a naturally hard mineral and ranks at a 7 on the Mohs hardness scale. When this rock is combined with resins and polymers to create a quartz slab for a counter, the result is a material comprised of 90% quartz. The process and materials used in making quartz counter tops qualify it as a ‘manufactured’ material.
In contrast, granite is a 100% natural and mined from quarries. Slightly less hard than natural quartz, granite requires mining, cutting, and polishing for use as a counter-top.
Color Options and Availability
Granite is a composite of mostly of quartz, mica, and feldspar. These different minerals give granite its signature appearance of varying colors and textures. Granite is available in a wide array colors that feel natural, eye catching, and stylish. This look is unique to granite; quartz is beautiful but doesn’t mimic granite’s trademark speckles and veining.
Regardless, quartz also offers many color options. Quartz can’t duplicate the look of granite, but can be pigmented and customized to suit a new home buyer’s desire. Additionally, the pigment in a quartz counter-top is more consistent than in granite. While a new home buyer might search many suppliers for a granite to suit their size and color needs, quartz is readily available.
Because granite is naturally occurring, the size and shape of available slabs isn’t predictable. This means a slab might be cut in uneven sizes in order to make it work for a specific counter. For new homes with unconventional or large spaces, it could be difficult to find granite. Conversely, quartz slabs are uniform in size and can be made to order if necessary.
Quartz counter-tops are essentially non-porous and resistant to stains, moisture, and bacteria. A 2018 stain test by Consumer Reports determined quartz exhibited 2% more stain resistance than granite. Granite is naturally more porous than quartz. This porous nature of granite makes it more likely to stain and retain bacteria and moisture. Because of this granite requires sealing on a regular basis. Quartz does not require sealing, giving new home buyers one less task to complete.
When it comes to being damage resistant both materials hold up well. Consumer Reports rated both materials as equal in terms of abrasion, heat, and impact resistance. However, because quartz counter-tops contain resin and polymers there is a chance very high heat could cause warping. While care should be used when placing hot items on either material, quartz may be more likely to warp under high heat.
When compared head to head, there appears to be a tie between quartz and granite. New homeowners should consider their unique needs regarding stain and moisture resistance, durability, and availability of materials. No matter which material is selected, the result is sure to be beautiful.