We’ve all seen it on HGTV – it has to have granite countertops or its not “updated” enough to sell or flip. But is granite your only option when it comes to upgrading your kitchens and baths? The answer is NO. Quartz countertops are quickly gaining in popularity and, depending on your lifestyle and the look you want, they offer another viable option to consider in any remodeling project. But what are the differences between the two and what makes one product more suitable for a project than another?
Granite is 100% naturally quarried stone, taken from the earth in large chunks, and carved into slabs and prepared for installation as solid sheets of stone. Because it is a natural rock formation, its appearance is not usually uniform – nature makes each piece unique. This provides a limitless selection with no two pieces ever exactly alike. Granite countertops are usually created in one large piece and require professional installation because of their size and weight. With granite, it is impossible to hide seams, which makes it advantageous to install in one piece, if possible.
Granite is NOT indestructible – it can break or crack and can stain if not cleaned regularly due to its porous qualities. Granite requires daily cleaning with soap and annual resealing to prevent staining, but is resistant to heat and other kitchen elements.
Quartz is also a mineral that is found naturally, but quartz countertops are created with a mixture of 93% crushed quartz and 7% polymer resin. Because the product is man-made, it is as strong as granite but a little more flexible to work with during the installation process. It can be installed with seams connecting individual pieces, but the seams are much less visible than those used with granite, and the color and pattern are generally much more uniform than raw granite.
Quartz comes in many more color and style varieties and does not require annual re-sealing to avoid stains and discoloring. Quartz countertops are nearly indestructible because of the polymer resin ingredient and are nonporous so it’s easier to keep them bacteria-free. Quartz products can be damaged by excessive heat and do contain more volatile organic compounds, but with regular cleaning they are a great alternative to solid sheets of granite.
If you are planning a bathroom or kitchen remodel and are looking at new countertops, either product is great option to consider. Both require professional installation due to their weight and size, and granite tends to appeal to those who want the unique look of natural, one-of-a-kind stone, but quartz provides a great look with similar properties to granite that makes it a great additional option when planning your design.