Kitchen Countertops: Quartz vs Granite

The quartz or granite dilemma is pretty common these days, so let us provide some insights to help you make the best decision about your kitchen countertop. Depending upon your design tastes and willingness to care for the surface, one will immediately go to the top of your list.

What is Quartz?

Natural quartz (quartzite) is a common form of solid stone, a mineral (silicon dioxide or SiO2) from the earth–and not usable for countertops in its natural state. Pure quartz is translucent and crystalline; it gives other rocks containing it a bit of sparkle. In fact, the white sand beaches near Tampa, Florida are made up of mostly ground quartz. Quartz is mined in the US (mostly in Arkansas) and large deposits are also found in Brazil. Quarts is not mined in slabs, like granite, but rather from smaller, hard-edged deposits shaped like rock salt. Manufactured quartz is the best-selling product on the market among kitchen designers, (and granite is a close second). The created or engineered quartz stone product is made from natural quartz particles, along with coloring and resin. It may contain ground glass and/or tiny metal flecks. Manufacturers each have their own special “recipe” to turn natural quartz pieces into a suitable countertop surface.

Top Reasons to Choose Quartz Countertops for Your Kitchen

  • Quartz is extremely stain, scratch and chip resistant, even when exposed to acid-containing food items. It’s nearly indestructible, but sustained heat (like a hot pan) can damage it. It can typically stand up under temps up to 360 degrees, but not for long. Don’t leave a hot pot sitting directly on the counter.
  • Quartz countertops require no sealing and won’t absorb water.
  • Quartz is an eco-friendly option, when manufactured using recycled stone. (That’s as opposed to mining new stone from the earth and shipping the heavy natural material. Mining and shipping create carbon emissions into the environment.)
  • Today’s engineered quartz countertops look natural, with a dappled, swirled or veined appearance that was not available in the past. The material can effectively mimic granite or marble.
  • Quartz is also available in bright, solid colors.
  • What you see is what you get. You can count on receiving a color that matches the sample, since this is a manufactured product.
  • Depending upon counter size and design, seams may be slightly visible. Kitchen designers can order larger pieces to avoid the need for seams.
  • Corners and edges can chip, but not as easily as granite. Professional repair would be required.

What is Granite?

Granite is a very common natural stone mined (blasted or quarried) from the earth. Large deposits of granite are found nearly all over the world. Your countertop slab may come from the Brazil, the US, Canada, Italy, China or India. Granite is naturally rough-textured, but is polished during countertop manufacturing to create a smooth, lustrous surface. Granite’s color comes from its natural composition. If the deposit location yields granite high in feldspar, it take on pink or red tones. If it contains a significant amount of quartz, it can have white or gray areas. Where mica is present, you will see black or brown veins. Each slab of natural granite is unique in shade and pattern/color variations.

Main Advantages of Granite Kitchen Counters

  • Granite is more porous than quartz and typically requires sealing.
  • Granite sealing may not need to be done often, depending upon the type of granite you select. Some types require sealing every 3 years, some only once for the lifetime of the counter. Very porous types, however, require annual sealing and you must take care to wipe spills quickly.
  • Granite countertop corners and edges can chip and edges would require professional repair.
  • Being natural stone, every slab is unique in color and not uniform across the entire slab. Look at the actual piece you are purchasing (rather than a sample) if you are very specific in your shade selection.

Out team designs and installs beautiful countertops in both granite and quartz, with many colors, textures and edge profiles to finish the look. For expert advice about countertops, or a total kitchen or bath remodel for your WV home, contact Miller’s Residential Creations today.

Brian Miller is the owner of Miller's Residential Creations, a custom home builder and remodeling company servicing Berkeley, Jefferson and Morgan Counties of West Virginia since 2004.
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