Granite has long reigned supreme as the countertop of choice for modern kitchens, but quartz is quickly gaining ground thanks to its tremendous strength and durability, low maintenance requirements and impressive design versatility. Understanding the key differences between these materials can help you make an informed choice for your home the next time you're in the market for new countertops.
How It's Made
Granite is a natural stone and is mined from quarries and cut into large slabs. These slabs are polished and sealed, then cut to fit over the cabinets in your kitchen. Quartz countertops have man made compositions. Roughly 94 percent of a quartz countertop consists of quartz crystals, which are mined from the ground and crushed into a fine powder. The crystals are then mixed with resin, which acts as a binder, as well as pigments, flecks of metal and bits of recycled glass for color and style. The mixture is poured into a mold, then polished or honed to create the desired finish.
Quartz tends to offer more flexibility than granite in terms of design. The resin content gives the quartz a tiny bit of flexibility, allowing manufacturers to create curved edges or profiles more easily. The fact that quartz countertops are man-made also means that you are less limited in terms of size. With granite, you may not be able to find a slab large enough to cover a large area. With quartz, slabs can be made to any size you desire, and manufacturers can even make matching floor or wall panels with the exact same colors and patterns to match your countertops, a feat which is more difficult with granite.
Granite is natural, and comes with all the natural beauty and imperfections found out in the real world. Quartz countertops are man-made, and once had a reputation for being rather bland. Today's quartz, however, can be made using various additives, minerals and metals, giving it a granite-like appearance. In fact, it can be difficult to distinguish these materials from one another, even from up close.
To keep granite looking fresh and clean, you'll need to seal it once per year. Quartz is easier on homeowners with busy schedules because it requires no sealing ever, and can be cleaned using a damp rag and manufacturer-recommended cleaning products.
Both quartz and granite cost about the same, with prices ranging from $60 to $90 per square foot on average, including installation. Like granite, quartz is not meant for DIY installation due to its extreme weight.
For more information, visit Artisan Granite & Marble.