When choosing between granite and quartz countertops, it’s vital to consider the visual appeal and practical aspects like durability, longevity, and maintenance requirements.
At a glance, quartz proves its mettle in terms of durability, providing longer-lasting surfaces that withstand daily kitchen rigors.
However, the natural allure and unique granite patterns should not be discounted. Both these materials have virtues and downsides, and deciphering which one wears better is no simple task.
In this article, we will delve deep into comparing and contrasting the wear and tear of granite and quartz countertops, providing you with comprehensive insights to make an informed choice.
What is it Made Up of?
From my experience, understanding what exactly you’re investing in is crucial. So, let’s start with the basics.
Granite is a natural rock composed primarily of quartz, feldspar, and micas. It’s formed from cooled magma deep within the earth, making each piece an authentic slice of our planet’s history.
1. Natural Aesthetics
One of the reasons I fell in love with granite is its unique, natural aesthetics.
Each slab is like a work of art from Mother Nature, with no two pieces identical.
Its intricate patterns and colors lend a touch of elegance that is hard to replicate.
2. Heat Resistance
As someone who loves cooking, the heat resistance of granite is a standout feature for me.
I’ve often placed hot pots and pans directly onto my granite countertop without worrying about it scorching or staining.
3. Scratch Resistance
Another feature that won me over is granite’s scratch resistance.
I remember once dropping a heavy kitchen gadget on my countertop.
Instead of a nasty scratch or dent, my granite was unscathed, proving its toughness.
1. Porosity and Sealing
However, not all that glitters is gold.
Granite’s natural beauty does come with a compromise – porosity.
It can absorb liquids, potentially leading to stains.
In my experience, this has meant regular sealing to ensure my countertop remains spotless and stunning.
2. Limited Color Options
Another consideration is the color palette.
Granite doesn’t offer the same wide array of color options as other materials.
While this never bothered me because I enjoy its natural hues, I know that it may be a limitation for those seeking a specific color scheme.
3. Cost Considerations
Finally, there’s the cost.
Granite can be a pricier option, which can be a deterrent for some.
But I’ve always considered it an investment that pays off with durability, elegance, and a unique character that adds a dash of personality to my kitchen.
The Manufacturing Process
Unlike granite, which is a natural stone, quartz countertops are man-made.
They’re composed of roughly 90% quartz – one of the hardest minerals on earth – and 10% resins, polymers, and pigments.
This unique composition is what gives quartz its strength and durability. I’ve toured a quartz manufacturing facility once and I was amazed by the process.
The raw quartz is ground up, mixed with resin in a ratio that ensures optimal hardness, and then it’s poured into a mold of the desired shape and baked under intense heat and pressure. Truly a marvel of engineering!
1. Durability and strength
My first encounter with a quartz countertop was at my friend’s house.
Its resilience blew me away.
Quartz counters are incredibly hard and durable, and thanks to their composition, they’re even more resistant to chipping or cracking than granite.
2. Non-porous and hygienic
Quartz counters are non-porous, meaning they don’t absorb liquids like granite.
This makes them highly resistant to staining and extremely hygienic.
When preparing food, I have peace of mind knowing that my quartz counter isn’t harboring any bacteria.
3. Versatile designs
Quartz offers far more color options than granite.
It can be manufactured in nearly any color, and modern techniques can even mimic the look of natural stone.
I’ve seen some quartz counters that I could have sworn were natural stone until I was told otherwise.
1. Limited heat resistance
One of the few downsides of quartz is its lack of heat resistance compared to granite.
I learned this the hard way when I placed a hot pan directly on my quartz counter and left a slight discoloration.
2. Potential discoloration
Another drawback of quartz is that, over time, it can discolor when exposed to direct sunlight.
If your kitchen receives a lot of natural light, you’ll want to consider this.
3. Cost considerations
Finally, like granite, quartz can be on the pricier end of the spectrum.
However, considering its durability and low maintenance, I’ve always considered it a worthwhile investment for any kitchen.
1. Scratch Resistance
Granite vs. Quartz
From my experience, both granite and quartz are highly resistant to scratches.
I remember my kids often did their school projects on the kitchen counter—cutting, gluing, and more.
With granite, I always saw some minor scratches after their crafting sessions.
However, even after these DIY projects, my quartz counter remained remarkably unscathed, proving its superior scratch resistance.
2. Heat Resistance
Granite vs. Quartz
As I mentioned, quartz doesn’t hold up quite as well to heat as granite. I’ll never forget the day when I placed a hot baking sheet directly on my quartz countertop, only to find a discolored mark later.
In contrast, I’ve placed hot pots and pans directly on my friend’s granite counter with no issue.
3. Stain Resistance
Granite vs. Quartz
Quartz’s non-porous nature makes it a clear winner in the stain resistance category.
I remember an incident where I accidentally spilled some red wine on my quartz counter.
To my surprise, it cleaned up quickly with no trace left behind.
On the other hand, my previous granite counter would have absorbed some of the spills, leaving a stain that’s difficult to remove.
4. Maintenance Requirements
Granite requires a little more TLC compared to quartz.
It needs to be sealed upon installation, and this process must be repeated periodically to maintain its stain and bacteria resistance.
I recall having to seal my granite countertop every year, which was a bit of a hassle.
Quartz, on the other hand, doesn’t require sealing or any other special treatment.
It’s essentially maintenance-free, which I appreciate as a busy homeowner.
I only need to wipe it down with a damp cloth and mild detergent to keep it looking as good as new.
When it comes to family-friendliness, quartz steals the show. With kids in the house, spills and accidents are an everyday occurrence.
I cannot express enough how comforting having a worry-free, stain-resistant countertop has been.
From spilled juices to art project messes, the quartz countertop has survived, with cleanup being a breeze every time.
As an enthusiastic home cook, my countertop sees a lot of action. Quartz countertops have proven to be a boon.
I can knead dough directly on it and chop vegetables without fear of scratches, and it can sustain the weight of my heavy stand mixer.
Though I’ve had to be cautious about not placing hot pans directly onto it, using trivets and potholders has become second nature.
Frequency of Use
When it comes to frequency of use, quartz takes the lead again.
It’s not just a countertop; it’s my workspace, my children’s study table, our family’s dining spot.
It endures daily heavy use and returns to its original glory with a simple wipe.
Finally, the long-term durability of quartz is exceptional. Over the years, despite heavy use and minor accidents, my quartz countertop looks as pristine as the day it was installed.
Yes, it was a little pricier upfront than granite, but the lack of additional maintenance costs and its lasting beauty make it a winner in my book.
Initial Installation Costs
1. Granite Pricing
When considering installing granite countertops, I was looking at a price range of about $40 to $60 per square foot.
These costs were just for the material and didn’t include installation, which could add substantially to the overall price.
It’s essential to remember that granite comes in various quality levels, and the price will increase accordingly.
2. Quartz Pricing
On the other hand, Quartz came with a bit of a higher price tag. The quartz prices ranged from $50 to $70 per square foot, excluding installation costs.
However, I saw this expense as an investment in the premium quality of the material, its durability, and the peace of mind it provided.
Long-Term Cost Considerations
1. Maintenance Costs
With granite countertops, I was told that they would need to be resealed regularly, about once a year, to keep them in top condition.
This added maintenance would add to the total cost of the granite countertop over time. On the contrary, quartz countertops didn’t require sealing, which was a big plus for me.
2. Resale Value
Looking into the future, I considered the potential resale value of both options.
Having a quartz countertop could positively impact the resale value of my home because of its modern appeal, durability, and low maintenance.
Granite, while also adding to the home’s value, may not command as high a value due to the potential for wear and tear and the additional maintenance costs for the new owner.
To me, quartz seemed like the better long-term investment.
In weighing the pros and cons of granite and quartz, one of the most significant deciding factors for me was durability.
Granite, a natural stone, is hardy but susceptible to chipping or staining if not regularly sealed.
On the other hand, quartz, engineered from crushed quartz and resin, is non-porous, stain-resistant, and arguably more durable.
I remember spilling red wine on my friend’s quartz countertop and the ease with which it was cleaned. It left no stain, which was highly impressive.
My choice between granite and quartz may not be the best fit for everyone, as the decision largely depends on personal needs and preferences.
For those who love a rustic, natural look and don’t mind a bit of maintenance, granite could be a great fit.
I have a friend who finds the annual resealing therapeutic and part of her house-proud routine.
On the other hand, if you value durability and a modern look and want to skip maintenance, quartz may be more suitable.
My cousin, a busy working mom, swears by her quartz countertops, praising their resistance to her kids’ creative cooking attempts.