When you’re looking at remodeling your kitchen or building a new one from scratch, you might wonder which kitchen countertop material you should choose – quartz or granite?
There’s no simple answer!
Both quartz and granite are incredibly popular materials for stone kitchen countertops, being pretty similar in price and popularity. However, these stones have very different qualities that might make them perfect or terrible for your specific kitchen.
Here we’re going to take a look at quartz vs granite countertops, find out what each stone is made from, and weighs up the pros and cons of each kitchen counter material.
Let’s get to it!
What is Quartz?
Quartz is a manmade stone (an “engineered stone“) constructed from around 93% quartz (a rock-like mineral) and 7% artificial resins, polymers, pigments, and other small pieces. You can find out how it’s made here. Sometimes additives like metal and glass are used to make up the 7% if they give the quartz a certain look.
Because quartz is an engineered stone, it’s easy for stone fabricators to create various different patterns, colors, and styles of quartz depending on what you’re looking for.
If you want an all-white plain kitchen, you could easily cut a quartz countertop in that color. If you want a natural-looking stone-like countertop, quartz could be produced in this way too.
You can really customize your design!
Because of the resin used in its construction, quartz countertops are almost completely non-porous, meaning they don’t let any water, spills, or bacteria inside. This makes them incredibly stain resistant, though you can often expect them to cost a little more money than granite.
What is Granite?
Granite is a natural stone found in quarries that occur naturally in the Earth. Granite slabs are removed from quarries, taken to a stone fabrication facility, and then cut and polished to perfection. It’s a bit like how diamonds are made, but on a much larger scale.
Because granite is a natural stone, it’s slightly porous and therefore needs to be “sealed” regularly. Sealing is a process whereby a special liquid called a “granite sealer” is poured onto the surface and allowed to sink in, effectively “plugging up” all the tiny pores in the granite.
However, granite sealing is usually only needed once every 6-12 months.
Because granite is a natural stone, it has unique, random patterns and veins that cannot be mimicked. The distinctive veins and patterns on a piece of granite are unique to that specific stone and you’ll never get two granite counters that are exactly the same.
Granite counters tends to be cheaper than quartz, though very high-end granite can cost a lot of money ($200-$300 per square foot)
Quartz and Granite Countertop Comparison Chart
Pros and Cons of Quartz vs Granite Countertops
- More consistent patterns and designs
- Easier to repair
- Easier to maintain
- Mold & mildew resistant
- Water & stain resistant
- NOT AS NATURALLY UNIQUE
- SEAMS CAN BE OBVIOUS
- Unique natural patterns with distinctive veining
- Mold & mildew resistant
- Often cheaper than quartz
- Burn resistant
- Scratch resistant
- SLIGHTLY POROUS
- HARD TO REPAIR
- REGULAR SEALING REQUIRED
If heat resistance is your main concern (i.e. you put a lot of hot pans on your countertops) then you probably want to choose granite. Granite can withstand temperatures up to 1200°F, which is obviously MUCH hotter than you’ll ever get in your kitchen.
On the flip side, the best high-end quartz can only withstand temperatures up to 200°F, and remember that water boils at 212°F. Now, that doesn’t mean that your quartz countertops will melt if boiling water gets on it, but it could cause damage or leave a burn mark if you’re unlucky.
The resin used in quartz naturally contracts and expands when subjected to heat, which is what makes this engineered stone more vulnerable to hot pots and pans.
However, as a natural stone, granite is totally inert – it’s chemically inactive. Granite has been sitting around in quarries for millions of years before it gets to your kitchen – extreme heat is not going to destroy it anytime soon. Granite is much more heat resistant than quartz.
If you want countertop materials that are easy to repair should something go wrong, then go for quartz. Because quartz is a manmande stone, it’s quite easy to repair or replace with new quartz that is manufactured so its identical (or very close) to the original quartz used in your kitchen.
On the other hand, granite is a naturally occurring stone, so there’s not much you can do to repair it if it gets significantly damaged. While you can get granite slabs replaced, every granite slab is unique, so you’ll never get slabs that look exactly the same.
If you’re worried about your kitchen countertop getting damaged and you want a surface that’s easy to repair and replace, go for the quartz countertops.
Because quartz is a man made stone, it can be produced in whatever color, style, or design you want and the resulting products will always look similar.
However, because granite is a natural stone, the patterns, colors, and veins are completely random, so slabs look very unique and perhaps inconsistent with one another.
It’s all about the style you desire.
If you’re designing a modern kitchen, you probably want to go for quartz due to its consistency. This is especially true if you’re looking for a solid-color countertop – quartz is often used in contemporary all-white kitchens.
On the other hand, granite is much more old-school and cannot be created in a consistent way – what you see is what you get. Some people like that, while others prefer to have more control and consistency over their kitchen home improvement renovation.
If you want a low-maintenance kitchen, go for quartz. This engineered stone countertop material doesn’t require any maintenance apart from regular everyday cleaning – it’s very hard to stain quartz, and it’s almost non-porous so bacteria and spills rarely get inside it.
It’s a simple countertop solution!
On the other hand, granite is a slightly porous natural stone, meaning that spills and bacteria can get inside it if you’re not careful. Granite countertops require regular “sealing” to keep their tiny pores “sealed”. You usually need to seal granite countertops every 6-12 months depending on how much you use it.
To be clear, granite sealing is a fairly easy project that you can do yourself at home, but it puts your countertop out of use for a day, which is annoying. If you buy quartz, you’ll never even have to think about this kind of thing – just clean it and treat it nicely.
If you’re worried about your precious stone countertops getting scratched, then you should go with granite. Granite tends to scratch less easily because it’s an inert natural stone. It’s very difficult to significantly scratch a material that been sitting in the earth for millions of years.
On the other hand, quartz is made from 93% minerals and 7% resins and polymers, so quartz is not as stable as granite when it comes to scratches. It would be very difficult, but quartz may scratch if you tried hard enough.
You’d have a very hard time scratching granite, and even then, the natural veining and patterns tend to hide minor scratches anyway.
When it comes to overall hardness and durability, you’ll find conflicting answers when you search for “granite vs quartz countertops”.
Most stone fabricators say that quartz is tougher and more impervious to force overall, though some disagree and claim that granite is much more difficult to drill holes through than quartz in their professional experience.
The jury is still out on this one.
However, when it comes to overall durability in your kitchen, you’ll find that granite and quartz are both very good.
Granite tends to do better when subjected to heat and scratches, but it requires more maintenance.
Quartz is much more stain-resistant and bacteria-resistant, but can burn and scratch more easily.
Ultimately, it depends on how you use your kitchen and what works best for the cooking methods used most in your home. If you do a lot of cooking with hot pans that you need to put somewhere, go for granite countertops. If you have children and often get stains and spills on your kitchen countertops, go for quartz countertops instead.
Which is the best kitchen countertop?
So, which is the best kitchen countertop material in terms of quartz vs granite? Here are the main things to consider when choosing:
If you’re going for a contemporary kitchen design, then you’re probably looking at plain, solid colors instead of stone-like patterns and veins. If this is the case, quartz is perfect for you because it can be specifically created to match the design aesthetic you’re after.
On the other hand, if you’re after a more traditional design or you simply like the feature of a traditional stone countertop, then granite is the best choice for you. The natural patterns, veins, and colors of this natural stone are unique to each and every slab, so you can take advantage of its natural beauty and uniqueness. Need inspiration? View countertop color options here.
Entry-level granite costs around $35 per square foot compared to around $65 per square foot for entry-level quartz.
If you’re in the middle range price-wise, I would suggest prioritizing durability and style over price.
Rare precious granite can cost anywhere up to $300 per square foot, whereas even the fanciest of quartz countertops will only cost you around $150 per sq. ft.
So, to summarize:
ENTRY-LEVEL – granite is cheaper
MID-LEVEL – both materials cost roughly the same
HIGH-LEVEL – quartz is cheaper
When it comes to everyday maintenance, there’s no doubt that quartz is much easier to maintain than granite. If you take care of it and clean it regularly, you’ll never have to do anything fancy to keep your quartz countertops in great condition.
However, granite countertops require regular sealing – a process by which a sealer (a special liquid) is soaked into the granite, helping to reduce its natural porosity. Now, this process doesn’t need to be done very often (usually once every 6-12 months) but it can be inconvenient and your kitchen will be out of use for a day.
So if you’re looking for a low-maintenance kitchen countertop material, go with quartz for your home. However, remember that while granite needs more upkeep, it’s better at resisting high heat and scratches.
Make the best choice for you!
Indoor or Outdoor Kitchen
Most of you reading this will have an indoor kitchen, but sometimes you might want countertops for an outdoor kitchen space if you live in a luxurious home.
Granite countertops are best for OUTDOOR kitchens
Both quartz and granite can work for INDOOR kitchens
If you’re going to have a kitchen outside, you should not use quartz, ever. This is because the quartz will fade in the sunlight over time due to the artificial pigments and resins it’s made with.
However, granite is a natural stone that’s been subjected to UV rays and various forms of pressure over millions of years without losing its color or vibrance. These countertops will be able to sit in direct UV sunlight for decades without ever losing their color.
When it comes to indoor kitchens, quartz can still fade, but most modern home windows are fitted with UV filters that will stop the quartz from fading. Granite, on the other hand, is one of the most robust natural stones and will be just fine no matter what type of windows you have.
Which is more expensive granite or quartz?
When it comes to price, granite and quartz are usually quite similar these days. However, for entry-level materials, granite is usually a bit cheaper.
For entry-level kitchen countertop, you can expect to pay:
- $35 per square foot for granite
- $65 per square foot for quartz
Once you get to the mid-level materials, then the prices start to become quite even. Most homeowners go for the mid-tier countertop materials, so price doesn’t end up being a major factor in their decision process as the cost of quartz and granite will be very similar at this price point.
However, if you’re looking to create a high-class luxury kitchen, the granite will be the most expensive option. The highest-quality quartz rarely costs more than $150 per sq foot, whereas high-end granite can set you back up to $200-$300 per square foot depending on its origin.
This is because high-end granite is extracted from quarries in specific parts of the world where a particular style of granite veining, color, or pattern is desired. The rarer and more precious the granite stone, the higher the price will rise.
On the flip side, quartz is manmade, so it’s not “rare” in the same sense because it’s being manufactured by people in a factory – it’s not been lying around in the ground for millenia waiting to be discovered and turned into a kitchen countertop.
Free Countertop Chart
We Compared Marble, Granite, Laminate, Solid Surface and Quartz Countertops!
Does quartz scratch easier than granite?
Yes, quartz does scratch more easily than granite. This is because around 6-7% of quartz is man-made polymers and resins, so the overall material is less stable and tends to be a bit more flexible than granite. When you scratch a quartz counter, the flexibility of this resin can make scratches easier to inflict.
Still, it would require a lot of force to scratch a quartz countertop significantly.
Granite is a natural stone that’s totally inert, meaning there are no chemical reactions going on inside the stone – it’s just a very hard stone. As such, it’s much more difficult to scratch granite countertops. Even if you do manage to scratch a granite countertop, the natural patterns and veins can often disguise scratches easily.
Are quartz countertops safer than granite?
Both granite and quartz countertops are safe for most kitchens due to their durability, making them both ideal countertop materials. However, some people get concerned about the levels of radon emitted by both the stone materials.
Granite naturally emits a small amount of radon, whereas quartz emits little to zero radon.
This is not really a big deal. If you’re living a regular life of driving cars, walking around cities, going on airplanes, and doing other modern things, then you’re going to be exposed to a small amount of radon in the air all the time. Your granite countertop is not going to cause any significant harm to you or your family.
If you’re really concerned about radon emissions, then go for quartz. However, we wouldn’t recommend that you factor this into your decision-making process to begin with.
Does quartz or granite fade over time?
Granite will not fade over time. It’s been sitting around in the earth for millions of years, so a decade or 2 in your kitchen isn’t going to do anything extreme enough to make it fade. The surface of granite is not affected by the UV rays of the sun, which makes it perfect for outdoor kitchen spaces in direct sunlight.
Quartz is a different story.
The resin in quartz countertops can fade when exposed to direct sunlight over several years, so you might find that your kitchen countertop starts to look a little faded as the years go by.
However, modern windows are fitted with UV-filtering qualities that should block out the harmful UV rays of the sun, allowing your indoor quartz counters to resist fading. If your kitchen windows are old, you should probably upgrade them before getting a quartz counter installed.
Which countertop material has a better seam?
Generally speaking, quartz countertops tend to have a better seam and go together more closely and easily. This is partially because they’re easy to cut and the patterns are manmade, so they can be carefully planned out so that they match.
Nonetheless, opinion is divided on this. Lots of kitchen installers say that quartz seams look more obvious because the uniformity of the quartz makes the seam stand out a lot more.
On the flip side, granite countertops have naturally random veins and patterns that draw your eye away from the seams, but it’s basically impossible to “match” one slab of granite with another one.
So there’s no easy answer to this question. Technically quartz will fit together more snugly and create a tighter seam, but it may look out of place. Granite will fit together awkwardly but the natural randomness of the stone distracts from the seam lines in the first place.
It all depends on the look you’re going for!