Quartz vs Granite Countertops – A Decision Not Written in Stone

Quartz and granite are comparable materials that offer a different look and feel if inspected carefully. Quartz is the dominant surface material as a result of the bold and resilient colors it offers, as well as it being increasingly associated with modern work and living interior design. This article helps designers and home owners understand their options when considering an immaculate surface.

We will look into the more common Granite and Quartz countertops and weigh the cost and benefits of each. We will compare the Characteristics, Environmental Impact, Price, Durability/Maintenance, Availability and Sourcing.

Technology and manufacturing advances has made stone countertop affordable for the mass population than ever before. Over the past century there has been various home style trends on countertops: 

  • Laminate on MDF (Medium Density Fiberboards) or plywood
  • Butcher board 
  • Stainless steel
  • Granite
  • Quartz

Often you can tell the age or the era of the home based on the original kitchen cabinets and countertop. As time pass, so does the trend of kitchen design and materials used. A comprehensive list can be found here for the varied counter top materials.

Trends study provided by Houzz, a popular online home restyling and design website, states that Quartz has been the “most popular material for countertops” while Granite have seen a “three-year decline”. This is a resulting from new home and home renovation trending away from “Iconic modern and traditional styles” to more “transitional, contemporary and farmhouse style homes” (source).

What is Granite and Quartz surface materials?

Granite is a 100% natural stone extracted from the earth in the form of slabs. Each slab is refined through various manufacturing processes to unveil its unique patterns and colors. Some of the world’s finest Granite come from Italy but unique colors and patterns are available to different regions of the world (source).

Quartz is a man-made stone comprising of approximately “93% Quartz and 7% polyester resin” by definition (source). This process enables designers and homeowners to adjust the colors, sparkle and patterns of the countertop to match the popular contemporary and modern décor – mainly solid colors that natural stone will not have. 


Granite Unique Colors with Natural Porous Surface

  • Unique colors and patterns specific to each slab of Granite. This allows designers and homeowners to pick specific slab that best fit their home design, décor and individual taste. This is especially important where dark Granite can consist of patterns with warm colors or vice versa. 
  • Porous surface – natural stone are porous in nature meaning the surface is never truly sealed to the elements. As part of the maintenance and upkeep, Granite requires regular cleaning and sealing to keep the natural colors and the polished shine. This is not necessarily a bad thing because of the layers, blemishes or even burn marks can be buffed out with the right tools. 

Quartz Engineered for Polish and Durability

Man-made stone that is manufactured into consistent patterns with minimum or maximum sparkle and color spectrum. This characteristic is very popular amongst modern and contemporary home design because of the simple and solid colors. On the flip side, Quartz can be made to mimic similar patterns of Granite and Marble however the patterns do not have the natural venous patterns in Granite or other natural stones.

Quartz Has Lower Environmental Impact

Quartz is man-made as opposed to Granite and other natural stone that requires heavy machinery for extraction and transportation. The process to quarry a natural stone results in environmental damage of the landscape, carbon footprint of machineries used and wildlife disturbance. This makes Quartz an environmentally-friendly alternative to natural stone. (source

Less Variability in Price Range with Quartz as Compared to Granite

The price of Granite and Quartz used in everyday residential homes are roughly the same price per square foot.  Quartz is a man-made, tightly manufactured process, have a narrower price range whereas the residential grade Granite have a slightly wider price spectrum. 

The graphical is approximated by pricing statistics from Counter Top Guides and buyer should note that prices are often not indicated by suppliers of Quartz or Granite since pricing varies based on fabricator and installer services.

Durability & Maintenance

Both Granite and Quartz are durable and will outlast the traditional laminate, tiles and wooden countertops. Stone countertop is still susceptible to chips and cracks but they will withstand the day-to-day kitchen activities without extra caution. Chips and cracks can be filled and often unnoticeable (source).

Stains & Scratch

In terms of stain and scratch resistance between Granite and Quartz, Granite have slight advantage in the list provided based on analysis from This Old House, although some reviewers find quartz to be more stain resistant as it contains fewer porous features per square inch.

Heat Resistance – both Quartz and Granite can Resist Up to 400 F

The heat resistance profiles of these two products are similar and the following differences are outlined

  • Quartz is typically heat resistant up to 400 degrees – Fahrenheit has a lower temperature tolerance and hot pot or pan will leave a burn mark on the surface. (source)
  • Granite have a high tolerance to heat – therefore hot pots and pans will not damage the stone when left unattended for short period of time (source)

Ease of Maintenance – Quartz is Generally the Safer Bet

  • Quartz is man-made stone that is “completely” sealed. From personal experience, wet newspaper, water and rust stains and lastly markers can stain the surface. Cleaning supplies and some elbow grease will remove 99% of the stain marks. (source
  • Granite comes out of the suppliers already sealed however regular upkeep and sealer is recommended, as often as once per year and is typically more work in comparison (source)

Common Issues Quartz vs Granite Counterops

  • Observed limitations of Quartz  (source)
    • Discoloration from UV exposure/sunlight (breakdown of resin)
    • Where seams are unavoidable, they are more visible because of the resin used to seal the two pieces does not match the tone of the Quartz.
    • Not heat resistant – susceptible to burn marks from hot pots and pans
  • Common Limitations with Granite (source)
    • Porous surface and chemicals
      • Using abrasive chemicals to clean surfaces resulting staining the surface 
    • Standing on the counter resulting cracks
    • Forgetting to seal or upkeep counter 

Availability and Sourcing of Quartz vs Granite Countertops

Quartz is at crowded market with hundreds if not thousands of brands available for consumers choice. A quick search on Google will quickly reveal these top brands along with KStone being a leader in integrated quartz manufacturing and supply.

On the other hand Granite doesn’t have any major names that stands out as suppliers and resellers often stock various slabs from various regions of the world. 

Experience and Observation

  • Prices between everyday residential Quartz and Granite countertops should not be primary factor because the differential is minimal in the overall kitchen renovation. Focus on the interior design and the synergy of the cabinets, tiles and décor. 
  • Prices are similar between the two materials however the edging of the stone can affect the overall budget of your project. There are various profiles on the edge ranging from simple round corners to unique grooves. 
Diagram courtesy of Stone Edge
  • Do not stand on the counter! Unlike the wood based laminate or tile countertops, stone countertops cannot support flex and will be prone to crack if weight is distributed poorly.
  • Size and dimension of the stone can affect the price dramatically because vendors/suppliers will charge for the odd ends or larger slab needed to avoid seams (where applicable). Example: an extra 2 inches on an island counter can result in a significant cost if a larger slab is required. 

Don’t Let Price Drive your Decision for Granite or Quartz – but rather Design

When deciding between Granite and Quartz countertops, price cannot and should not be the only consideration for your new home or renovation. Consider the interior design and layout of your home, your cooking habits and the cleanliness of your household. Take the time to observe showrooms with various kitchen designs before making your next countertop project. 

This article was took it from KStone