Faceoff: Granite and Quartz for Kitchen Countertops

beautiful-kitchen-with-granite-countertops

If you had the chance to choose, what type of kitchen countertops would you like in your home? Most people today choose either granite or quartz countertops because they are both durable and beautiful. You can choose both for your kitchen in a material mash up, but you should still know how they compare to one another. A face-off between granite and quartz for kitchen countertops is in order.

Basic facts

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The nature of granite and quartz is their biggest difference. Granite forms naturally, while quartz does not. Quartz is a man-made stone, typically engineered to look like a natural stone. If you want only natural stones in your home, then granite is the obvious choice for the kitchen. However, if this is not the case, you will want more facts about these two materials.
Granite forms from the slow cooling of magma under the crust of the Earth, classified as an igneous rock. It is the most abundant type of rock in the world, so you are likely to find some type of it everywhere. The location of the granite will determine the color of the stone as different minerals in varying amounts will make up the mix. The one thing all true granites have in common is quartz, which should make up between 20% and 60% of the rock.

On the other hand, engineered quartz is mainly compressed natural quartz materials mixed in with resins and pigments. All manufacturers use a patented technology called the Bretonstone process. There are more than 50 companies with the license to produce these stones worldwide, although only a few of them are recognized brands in the US. These include Silestone, Cambria, and Caesarstone.

Toughness

Both granite and quartz countertops are very tough. This is due in part to the presence of quartz, which is one of the hardest minerals on Earth, and in part to the formation process.

With granite, the proportions can vary greatly, but the main components are quartz and feldspar. Feldspar is a tectosilicate mineral for forming rocks and makes up about 40% of the crust. It crystallizes as white or light colored veins in igneous rocks such as granite. Quartz and feldspar are both quite hard, rating 7 and 6 in the Mohs scale, respectively. These minerals make granite tough. Additionally, granite forms under intense heat and pressure over millions of years, and this also contributes to its toughness.
The best brands of engineered quartz contain a minimum of 90% quartz in the composition. The Bretonstone process uses vibration, compression, and vacuum technology to remove the air and combine the quartz, resins, and pigments into a tough, solid mass. Since it is almost all quartz, it is about as tough as most granite types, and perhaps tougher than some.

Heat resistance

Considering it formed from magma, which is a type of liquid rock like lava but under the surface, you might say that granite is born in fire. It should have no problems handling high heat, and it does not. Commercial grade granite can handle direct heat up to 600 degrees Celsius or 1100 degrees Fahrenheit without trouble. This is more heat than a normal kitchen can produce, which is why granite is so popular for kitchen countertops. Granite also has no problem handling wind, rain, and sunshine, so it is also ideal in outdoor settings.
Engineered quartz is a little more complicated. The quartz in its mix is resistant to heat, but because it also has plastic in there in the form of polymer resins, it would not be a good idea to expose it to any type of high heat. Placing a hot pan direct on the surface can melt the resins, leaving behind a permanent and unsightly mark. The heat might also alter the pigment, causing it to change color. Quartz manufacturers also warn against using quartz outdoors, as constant exposure to direct sunlight might fade the stone. In fact, using engineered quartz outdoors usually voids the warranty.

Appearance

All natural stones tend to be unique. Granite just tends to show this more because of the distinct crystals and grains of different minerals visible on the surface. You can expect the unexpected when shopping for granite slabs as not two are the same.
If you want something unique and beautiful in your kitchen, and you are willing to work with some weird matchups when joining two slabs together, then granite is your guy. You can get the best results if you hire a pro to fabricate and install your granite countertops.
However, if you are going for a uniform look, you need to look harder at quartz. As a manmade product, manufacturers can make it look like anything it wants, and duplicate that look repeatedly without fail. The results are some great looking slabs with consistent color and patterns that are easy to match, Since many brands have many models that mimic the look of granite quite well, you might just be able to get your cake and eat it, too.

Of course, the randomness you will probably get with granite countertops will not happen with quartz countertops. Whether this is a good thing or not depends on your personal sense of style. Granite and quartz come in a huge variety of colors and designs, so you have a good chance of getting a unique and beautiful kitchen whichever material you choose.

Price

In terms of price, granite and quartz countertops are about the same on average. They both cost about $60 per square foot, but this can go up or down depending on the type of granite or brand of quartz you choose. In many cases, remodeling companies will offer both these materials as packages that include installation.

Conclusion

In many particulars, there is not much to choose between granite and quartz countertops. They are both excellent choices for the kitchen for most homeowners. The only real advantage of granite over quartz is in its heat resistance, although using trivets and keeping quartz away from direct sunlight can usually address this failing. In other words, you can choose granite or quartz without fear of buyer’s remorse because they are worthy investments.

The thing you really have to worry about is choosing the right remodeling company. You want a reputable and reliable one that has the skill and expertise to carry out a project to your satisfaction. Fairfax Kitchen Bath guarantees you will love it for life!
We are a Class A, licensed and insured contractor, registered in the Commonwealth of Virginia, servicing the DC, MD and Northern Virginia metropolitan areas. We sell only top quality products for all your home renovation needs manufactured by leading brands in the industry.
You can see the products before you buy so you can decide for yourself if the quality is what you expect. We have a showroom in Fairfax, Virginia, which houses all our products, including actual granite and marble slabs as well as engineered quartz samples from which you can choose.

When you contract with us, you can be sure you will get a quick turnaround on your products, and receive it much faster than ordering what you need from big box stores. We specialize in kitchen remodeling and carry other products you might need, including sinks, faucets, shelves, tiles, backsplashes, knobs and pulls, hardwood flooring, and cabinets.

We carry only the top brands, such as Schrock Cabinetry, Silestone, Blanco, Kohler, and Mosaic Décor. These all come with manufacturer warranties that ensure your satisfaction with the quality and installation.

Contact us today to get a free quote and design consultation for upgrading your kitchen!

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Sam Kazanci <br/><span id="position">Owner</span>

Sam Kazanci
Owner

Sam Kazanci is the owner of Fairfax Kitchen Bath Remodeling. He has experience to build and remodel the kitchen and baths with his team and the author of fkb blog: You can find Sam on LinkedIn and Twitter.