By Nilla Lindgren, Kitchen and Bath Designer
Many customers ask me about the difference between Quartz and Granite and are often surprised to learn that quartz can easily exceed the price of granite. When granite entered the market place, it was expensive, and only the elite could afford it. Today, with so much granite flooding the market, prices have come down to where it is affordable for many.
Granite comes from all over the world and is basically rock comprised of different minerals, which make the different colors. It is mined straight out of a quarry, in huge blocks, that are sliced and polished to make slabs ranging in different sizes. They have no warranty, but have many different colors and patterns making them unique and beautiful. Normally, the wilder the pattern, the more expensive the granite.
Granite is porous and requires sealing. If not sealed, it can stain with items like red wine or strawberries. How often you seal it depends upon your lifestyle and the color of the granite. Dark colored granite will not stain as easily as light colored granite. Some say it needs to be sealed yearly, others say every 3 years. However, sealing granite is not any more difficult than waxing your car. You apply a special granite sealer, let it set for the recommended time, and then wipe it off. There is also a sealant, offered by DuPont, which needs to be applied by licensed fabricators, which will guarantee your granite to be free from stains for 15 years with no other homeowner maintenance necessary during that time.
Quartz, on the other hand, is a man-made product comprised of approximately 93% quartz, which is the 4th strongest mineral on the planet (diamonds, topaz and sapphires are harder) and approximately 7% colorants and resins. Quartz, because of the resins, is not porous, so does not require any maintenance.
Although they are both scratch resistant, you should not cut directly on the surface of either as it will ruin your knives. Neither material will allow you to set your hot pots directly on the surface either. Thermal shock can crack either stone or quartz. Hot pads are always recommended for both.
Quartz needs huge machinery to manufacture it and although predominately made on the same equipment, it is produced by different manufacturers. Cambria is made in the USA, Caesarstone is made in Israel, Silestone in Spain, Pental in Vietnam, Zodiaq, made by Dupont, is made in Canada and so on.
Advantages of Quartz
- Quartz manufacturers offer warranties ranging from 15 years to lifetime, which you do not have with granite
- It is non-porous so you can prepare your food directly on the surface of your countertop
- It never requires sealing so is maintenance free
- These are the only “stone” type materials that are approved for use in commercial food preparation areas such as restaurants
- Is not normally as “busy” as the patterns in granite
- Because of the high percentage of the mineral quartz, it is often stronger than granite
- Seams are often less visible because of the more uniform patterns
Advantages of Granite
- The 15 year warranty sealant that is offered on granite somewhat mitigates the advantages of quartz
- The random and sometime awe inspiring beauty of granite is hard to duplicate
- Quartz looks manufactured; however, this is rapidly changing as the manufacturers offer more “random” patterns
- You can buy granites at a lower price than any quartz
Let Reborn Help You Decide
Quartz has definitely become more popular recently; however every designer I know has picked granite for their personal home. Whatever you decide is right for your family, pick a pattern that you love!