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Quartz vs. Granite Countertops: The Pros and Cons

Stone countertops have been popular for several years as both an elegant and durable part of any kitchen. During a remodeling project, chances are you’ve had to decide between the two most popular stones for countertop designs: granite and quartz. Similar to any renovation choices, both stones have their pros and cons.

In the ongoing debate of quartz vs. granite, specifications such as cost, heat resistance, durability, and more factor into a homeowner’s final decision. Ultimately, your choice should depend on where the countertops are being installed and the kind of use and abuse they will endure.

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Appearance

Quartz: Quartz countertops are made of individual pieces of crystals and rock cemented together with an artificial resin to create a speckled look. Since the resulting quartz slab is manmade, your countertop’s colors and patterns will stay largely uniform.

Granite: Granite countertops actually are solid slabs of natural granite. While natural stone provides stunning colors and patterns, it also means you can’t predict what you get. No two granite slabs will look alike, so your countertops may differ from one another in shades, colors, grain size, and other factors.

Stain Resistance

Quartz: The resin mixture and seal in quartz countertops repel most stains quite effectively. However, your countertops can still stain if a spill is left untreated, so make sure to clean up any stains quickly with mild soap and warm water.

Granite: Most granite countertops come sealed with resin similar to the binding agent in quartz countertops, making them less prone to stains. However, since the resin is only coating this porous rock rather than mingling with it, the seal is slightly less effective. While sealed granite is less prone to stains, it will still absorb other colors more readily than quartz will. Clean up any spills quickly and make sure to reseal your granite at least once a year.

Heat Resistance

Quartz: Because of its high concentration of resin, quartz is not especially heat resistant. An occasional hot pot or pan placed directly on quartz countertops won’t cause any immediate damage. However, to avoid long-term problems, it’s best to use a hot pad.

Granite: As a solid stone, granite is incredibly heat resistant. Homeowners can safely put a pan straight from the oven on a granite countertop without fear of damage.

Pro Tip: You may have heard the rumors a few years ago that granite countertops emitted radon, a radioactive gas known to cause lung cancer. You can rest assured that your granite countertops are most likely safe. According to the EPA, the amount of radon produced is rarely more than you would get from normal sunlight.

Scratch and Chip Resistance

Quartz: You can think of quartz as a type of cement: pieces of rock bonded together into a hard, strikingly durable slab of engineered stone. Breaking a quartz kitchen countertop requires far more abuse than even kitchen accidents are likely to cause. The resin seal is also quite effective at preventing scratches, though it’s not a guarantee. You can easily seal and smooth any scratches with a wax polish such as Gel Gloss.

Granite: A solid chunk of unbroken stone naturally chips and cracks more readily than a cement-like countertop, and granite is no exception. While not exactly brittle, granite can chip under a good deal of pressure or abuse.

Maintenance

Quartz: Quartz countertops require virtually no maintenance beyond periodic washings and scratch polishing. You can rest assured that your countertops will last a long time.

Granite: Due to its porous nature, granite requires regular maintenance on its resin sealing. Homeowners should take care to immediately buff out any scratches and reseal the entire counter at least once a year. With proper care, granite can last a long time.

The Best Countertop Material

Even after weighing the pros and cons of quartz and granite countertops, it’s hard to decide on a clear winner. A better approach may be to consider where the countertop will be used. For instance, granite’s high heat resistance will make it perfect for the kitchen, while its porous nature may invite mold to grow in a bathroom fixture. Meanwhile, quartz’s high water resistance could make it perfect for a bathroom sink while its low heat tolerance could damage it in the kitchen. Ultimately, it comes down to your preferences as the homeowner and how much time you can dedicate to maintenance.

Want more ideas on how to choose the perfect countertop material for your project? Join the conversation to see what other homeowners chose.