Spoiler Alert: Quartz isn’t better than granite, but granite isn’t better than quartz, either. That’s like asking whether red or white wine are better. Like the best wines, it all comes down to personal taste, and what you are pairing it with. Quartz is the more resilient of the two, but some kitchens don’t look right without the unique colors and flow of granite. While we won’t be able to tell you which one is right for you, we can definitely help you get closer to making the right choice.
Like the best wines, it all comes down to personal taste, and what you are pairing it with.
Natural Stone Vs Engineered Stone
Granite—a natural stone—is indeed 100% natural as it is quarried directly from the earth in large blocks. These blocks are then sliced into slabs and polished on one side at the quarry before being shipped to the broker or fabricator. Fabricators cut shapes from the slabs according to your countertop specifications. They then profile and polish the edges.
Quartz, on the other hand, is an “engineered” stone, meaning a manufacturing plant uses various grades and sizes of quartz crystals and mixes them with resin and pigment (for color) in a ratio of 93% quartz to 7% resin (yes, we’ll still refer to quartz as natural stone, but it’s not as natural as granite). Fabricators create quartz countertops in much the same way as they do granite countertops: by cutting the shapes from the slab and then profiling and polishing the edges.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Which is stronger?
Quartz is one of the strongest materials on the planet; significantly stronger than granite. However, just because granite isn’t as strong doesn’t mean it’s a wimpy choice either.
Q. Which stone looks better?
We are back to red wine vs white wine. Quartz looks simpler and has excellent color choices, but every granite countertop is one of a kind. Granite slabs are known for having a lot of “movement” and variations in its natural color, while quartz tends to be less dramatic in its colorization. If you are a minimalist that prefers a monochromatic kitchen, go with quartz. If you want a counter with character that is unique as you are, go with granite, especially if you enjoy a sunlit kitchen. (More on that later…)
Q. Which stone is easier to clean?
A. It’s a tie.
Both are easy to clean, but granite is more prone to staining than quartz, since natural stone is porous, and quartz is not. Warm soap and water will get the job done on either surface. The better question is…
Q. Which stone is easier to maintain?
Quartz wins this one, hands down. Not to say that granite is a nightmare – you just need to seal it once a year – but quartz requires zero maintenance. Keep your counters clean, and they will take care of you.
Q. Which stone should I use for my outdoor grill/table/decor?
Granite takes the crown this time. Quartz will discolor over time in direct sunlight. Even in your kitchen, you should try to keep the sun away from your counters so they maintain the same look they had when they were first installed. If you like sunlight, go with granite.
Q. Which stone is more expensive?
A. Here’s the thing…
Quartz used to be more expensive than granite, but things have changed fairly recently. With advances in technology and production methods, both quartz and granite are now closely priced. Granted, you may come across some rare exotic slab of granite that was unearthed in a remote Brazilian jungle during a lunar eclipse, but for the most part, the cost is a non-factor.
So, Who Wins?
So what do truly “objective” sources have to say in the debate between granite and quartz? Every year, Consumer Reports puts out an issue that ranks kitchen countertop materials. Quartz and granite are always neck-and-neck.
But as we said in the beginning, the debate comes down to this: what’s the right countertop material for your specific needs, your lifestyle, your design? Do your homework, answer those questions, and then decide.