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Quartz and granite are both excellent choices for bathroom or kitchen countertops. Granite has a more natural look but is often more expensive, while quartz is more budget-friendly and looks a little more artificial. Granite is more resistant to heat, while quartz is more resistant to staining. Use our guide to learn the differences between quartz and granite and decide which material is the best option for your new counters.
On This Page:
- What Is Quartz?
- What Is Granite?
- Environmental Impact
- Resale Value
- Is Quartz or Granite Better for Your Home?
- Quartz and Granite vs. Other Options
What Is Quartz?
Quartz is a mineral that forms when silicon crystallizes. It’s the second-most abundant material in the earth’s crust after feldspar. You’ll find quartz in almost all types of igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary rocks. Natural quartz countertops are, in fact, quartzite, while standard quartz worktops are engineered quartz.
Unless otherwise noted, we’ll be talking about engineered quartz in this guide.
Engineered quartz is a blend of crushed rocks that contain quartz and resin. Up to 90% of the composition is crushed quartz rocks, while the rest is resin to bind and hold the quartz in the required form. This engineered stone is “baked” into slabs in factories using synthetic polymer resins and pigments to color the slabs.
Because of its synthetic nature, engineered quartz is available in more colors and patterns than any natural stone, including quartzite and granite.
Quartzite is a natural stone. It’s a metamorphic rock that started as sandstone and metamorphosed into quartzite under intense heat and pressure. Quartzite usually has a slightly rough texture, giving counters an organic look.Ready to start your countertop installation?
What Is Granite?
Granite is an igneous rock that was formed from cooling magma. It contains lots of quartz, feldspar, and other minerals, giving it a distinctive look. Like quartzite, it’s mined in huge slabs.
Appearance isn’t everything, but it significantly impacts your home’s resale value and how much you enjoy your space. If you invest in new kitchen counters, they should please your sense of style.
|Can be dyed any color||Distinctive natural appearance|
|Can have any pattern added||Lots of natural hues available|
|Hides seams well||Each slab is unique|
|Consistent appearance||Naturally occurring imperfections|
|Color can fade with long-term UV exposure||Seams are more visible|
|Tends to look manufactured|
Quartz has a consistent, uniform appearance that appeals to many people. The uniformity makes it easy to hide seams but also gives the countertop a manufactured look. While quartz is most commonly seen in natural tones, it can be dyed any color, so you can choose a countertop that really pops if you want. However, dyed quartz can fade with exposure to UV light over time.
Granite has a natural look that’s hard to replicate in manufactured countertops. There’s a wide range of natural colors available, and every slab is unique because it’s a natural product. While the uniqueness is a big selling point, it also means that each section of the countertop has a less uniform appearance, and seams are more obvious than with quartz.
Cost is a significant factor when choosing a countertop material. If you want a quartz or granite countertop but the price is prohibitive on a large scale, think about using this material on an island or as a feature worktop.
Quartz countertops cost around $50 to $75 per square foot without installation. Premium quartz countertops like Silestone countertops cost around $50 to $100 per square foot, plus installation, while more budget-friendly options, such as Caesarstone countertops cost around $55 to $75 per square foot.
Factors that influence cost include the following:
- Special edges, including eased, beveled, and bullnose
- Seam joining
- Custom-dyed resin
- Custom patterns or veining
Granite countertops cost around $40 to $100 per square foot without installation.
Factors that influence cost include the following:
- Larger slabs
- Unusual colors
However tough your worktops are, they’ll need some ongoing maintenance and may eventually need repair. Granite and quartz are both tough and resilient.
Quartz scratches easily, but minor scratches are easily repairable with epoxy kits. However, cracks are extremely challenging to repair, and the end result is also usually obvious. Additionally, quartz countertops are naturally shiny and don’t require polishing. Plus, because it’s manufactured and nonporous, you won’t need to use special chemicals or cleaning agents; just mild soap or detergent works fine.
However, it’s important to note that heat damage is a genuine threat because of the resin. Hot pans can seriously discolor a quartz countertop, and this damage is permanent.
Granite is extremely durable and hard-wearing, so maintenance and repair should be minimal. A professional can repair minor scratches and polish out the damage. You should avoid abrasive cleaning products and harsh chemicals when cleaning granite and clean up spills right away to prevent stains and damage. Also, seal your granite countertops regularly to avoid bacteria and moisture buildup.
Kitchen and bathroom counters put up with a lot. They must be durable and hard-wearing enough to withstand dropped pots, scratches from knives, and chipping or cracking from kitchen implements. And countertops need to cope with moisture, chemicals, and heat, too.
Quartz is less prone to breaking than pure natural stone because it has a certain amount of flexibility due to the resin used to bond the crushed stone together. However, it’s not scratch-proof, and when quartz does get scratched, it’s pronounced because the pattern is otherwise so uniform.
Quartz is nonporous, so it doesn’t require sealing, and it’s waterproof and won’t absorb moisture, cleaner, or chemical residue. It’s not the best for resisting heat, however. Quartz can cope with temperatures up to 150 degrees Fahrenheit but quickly discolors when exposed to temperatures higher than this, so you need to take extra care and always use pot holders or trivets on kitchen countertops.
Granite is strong and extremely hard. However, the countertop edges and corners are vulnerable to cracks and breakage if something heavy is dropped in just the wrong spot. It is, however, resistant to scratches and chips from utensils and everyday wear and tear.
Granite is water-resistant if it’s sealed regularly. But if granite isn’t sealed or you leave moisture standing on the surface for any length of time, it can stain. And because it’s porous, moisture will penetrate the stone, leaving an irrevocable stain if the granite isn’t sealed.
Unlike quartz, granite is heat-resistant and won’t discolor if you put a hot pan on it. However, thermal shock is a risk. If your counters are particularly cold and you put a really hot pan on it without a hot pad, there’s a danger of causing thermal shock and cracking the granite slab.
Each type of material has a different set of challenges when it comes to installation. Because both quartz and granite are constructed mainly of natural stone, they’re exceptionally heavy, challenging to work with, and unsuitable for DIY installation.
Quartz is comparatively easy to install, as it’s manufactured to fit your kitchen exactly. Plus, it doesn’t need sealing, which reduces installation time. You’ll need to reinforce the cabinets, though, as quartz is heavy and requires specialty moving and transportation equipment.
As with quartz, granite is extremely heavy and requires reinforced cabinets and specialty transport and moving equipment. But despite its durability, granite is fragile and prone to cracking during transport, so you must take extra care. Because of their weight, granite slabs are pre-cut by granite fabricators for easier installation, but minor measuring mishaps can mean you have to return the granite to the supplier and recut.
Environmental friendliness is something many homeowners think about before making a purchase, and that extends to remodeling and construction projects, too.
Of the two, quartz is more environmentally friendly than granite. Because it’s made from crushed rock, you can use smaller chunks. Additionally, manufacturing quartz uses waste products from other industries, reducing waste and the need to mine more rocks.
Granite mining and transportation consume tremendous energy and fuel because it’s heavy and mined in huge slabs. Therefore, it has a significantly higher carbon footprint than mining quartz. You can help reduce this issue by choosing locally sourced stone or using remnants if you’re flexible with your color choices.
Even if you have no immediate plans to sell your property, it’s still worth considering what value your new kitchen or bathroom counters will add to your home.
Quartz has a good life span, and you should get a return on investment close to the money you spent installing it. But engineered quartz doesn’t have quite the appeal or reputation of granite, so it’s less sought-after.
Adding granite countertops can increase home value by 100% of their original cost. Granite is considered a luxury material and is highly sought-after by buyers. Having granite countertops in pristine condition can encourage buyers to act quickly.Ready to start your countertop installation?
Is Quartz or Granite Better for Your Home?
Granite and quartz both have many attractive qualities. They’re durable, long-lasting, and add value to your home. One key factor that should influence your decision is which room you’re remodeling. The best countertop material depends on your budget, the room you’re remodeling, and the finish you want. If you’re still unsure, speak to a local granite countertop installer or a local quartz countertop installer.
|Appearance||Uniform, manufactured look||More natural look|
|Cost||$50 – $75 per sq. ft.||$40 – $100 per sq. ft.|
|Durability||Nonporous, waterproof||Resists heat|
|Installation||Requires reinforced cabinets||Requires reinforced cabinets|
|Environmental Impact||Uses waste product from other materials||Higher carbon footprint|
|Resale Value||Can recoup up to 100% of cost||Can increase home value by 100% of original cost|
For Bathroom Countertops
In the bathroom, quartz wins. Its nonporous nature means it’s impervious to water damage. Quartz also won’t stain or incur marks from toothpaste, shampoo, and other bathroom essentials. Plus, it’s easy to clean and keep germ-free.
For Kitchen Countertops
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In the kitchen, granite wins for longevity and heat resistance. You can stand a hot pan on the counter and not worry about permanently damaging the finish. Yes, you need to reseal granite periodically to remain moisture-resistant, but its other qualities make it a top choice for the kitchen.
For Outdoor Countertops
For the outdoors, quartz wins if the countertops are exposed. Even though dyed quartz can fade over time, it’s nonporous so won’t absorb rain and tiny bits of debris. And it’s easy to clean, so even after a cold, wet winter without much use, you can wipe it down with some hot soapy water.
Quartz and Granite vs. Other Options
There are plenty of inexpensive alternatives to granite and quartz. You’re not just limited to natural stone and engineered stone look-alikes.
Marble is beautiful and considered supremely elegant. However, there are better kitchen or bathroom countertop materials. It scratches easily, is very porous, and is susceptible to damage from acidic foods and commercial cleaners. It’s also expensive and high-maintenance.
Vs. Solid Surface
Solid surface countertop prices are affordable compared to granite and quartz. It’s functional but basic, and while it does provide a usable work surface, it doesn’t elevate your property in the same way as natural or engineered stone.
On the other hand, your choices of colors and patterns are much wider than with granite. And it’s reasonably easy to repair yourself. If the worktop incurs damage, you can sand out the scratches.
Laminate countertops cost a fraction of the price of real stone or resin. It’s another basic but functional option with many color and style options. It can’t be easily repaired and isn’t heat-resistant. However, this could be a good option if you’re working on a tight budget.
Concrete countertops cost less than quartz and granite, so make a good compromise when you want something solid but want to keep your budget on stone.
Concrete is also heat-resistant and can be dyed or textured to your specifications. However, it’s porous, so it does need regular resealing.Ready to start your countertop installation?
Here is a good comparison of granite and Quartz
We had a black polished granite countertop for the 12 years we lived in our last house. We never sealed it. During all of that time it never showed a scratch or stain and was very easy to maintain. It looked as good when we moved out as it did when we moved in. By contrast, we have friends with quartz countertops who complain about glass rings and staining. I don’t know how to reconcile this experience with some of the comments in this good article.
Our granite counters are now 21 years old. They have never been sealed. The only maintenance has been a damp sponge and paper towels to keep it clean. Spills clean up perfectly and effortlessly. Hot pots have no effect. There is not a single scratch or ring. It looks like it was installed yesterday. Not sure where your writer is getting his data, but our experience with granite has been quite different.
Is there any data on longer term deterioration of the plastic resin that binds the Quartz particles. If its like other polyester resins in my experience, it may need a lot of restoration to look new in a decade or two. Granite is already a few million years old, so I would be surprised if another millennium or two would matter.
Friends built a house in 2014, same year we did. Now 5 years later, our unique, one of a kind granite counters still look stunning and without a single blemish. Hot pots and frying pans right off the stove were never a problem. My friend, however, with quartz has had rings, uneven spots, and damaged areas. So very glad I chose granite!
We have a dark blue speckled Silestone countertop in our kitchen that after 15 years looks like new even though we place hot pots on it regularly. It requires no maintenance other than dusting.
We have engineered quartz in our kitchen, granite countertops in one bathroom and the laundry room. and marble in another bathroom. The marble is definitely the most susceptible to scratches and staining. The granite has been durable but is definitely susceptible to staining from liquids, which must be wiped up quickly (we should probably reseal soon). The engineered quartz is definitely the best choice for the kitchen, with no stains, scratches, or damage of any kind. Of course, we never use it as a cutting surface, and we always use trivets for anything hot. It looks great after two years — and we’re hoping it will continue to look great into the future.
My husband is a custom builder of 30 years and I work for him. We are in the process of building our 5th and last personal home. I will be going with granite throughout–quartz was manufactured to look like granite, so why mess with the original? We’ve had granite in our last 3 homes and I love the one of a kind characteristics and durability. Most installers now apply a 10 year sealer and even if they didn’t, I believe the absorption properties of granite are misleading. We have never had a problem.
Our quartz countertops are rich looking in white with gray marking. I dropped coffee, wine, oil and never had a stain. After 11 years, they look like a million and never worry about bacteria hiding in holes like granite.
Having used both granite and quartz in the kitchen, I feel it’s important to compare heat resistance. For example, though quartz is tough it can only withstand 150 degrees F because of the resins in quartz. Where as you can use a blowtorch on granite and nothing will happen making granite’s heat resistance far superior for a cook’s kitchen. There is also the subject of etching from acids in vinegar, citrus and some soaps for example. Quartz can be prone to liquids like these etching the surface. Typically, polished granite is not as effected except by rust remover products with hydrofluoric acid. Left on granite, they can etch. I have found that acids used daily in food prep like, vinegar, lemon, lime or tomato juice do not etch polished granite. No matter what the trends may be, I feel granite is the superior investment in a truly working kitchen.
My granite countertop around the sink is broken by moisture intrusion through the gap between the sink rim and the countertop. Three mistakes were made by the installer. First, too much gap between the sink rim and granite. Second, the use of cheap interior plywood under the granite. I’m using a 4×8 sheet of 3/4″ plastic in the next install because plywood with water “explodes”. Plastic is waterproof. Third, never use sanded grout between the granite and sink rim. Sanded grout is porous and will decay rapidly. Use clear silicone seal instead. Lather it on the sink rim so moisture will never intrude. All 3 of these demands will make your installer crazy but it’s your house. Buy the plastic sheet and silicone seal yourself.
During a kitchen remodel in 2006, we installed granite countertops to replace the original beveled-edge laminate countertops. The other options were available then, as now, with Silestone and Cambria as two of the big names in quartz, along with the solid surface suppliers. The selection of granite was actually quite easy: all of the competition were trying to mimic the real deal: that is, natural stone, but make it more homogeneous in appearance. Installation on any of the types greatly affects how they look and maintain: we had a good solid based even though it was on floor joists (vs concrete slab) that maintained the seams without movement or cracking. When we sold the house in 2019, the countertops looked as good as the day of installation: no scratches, marks, blemishes, cracks or gaps. We did regular cleaning after use and did seal occasionally because that’s what the instruction stated. We loved the look of natural stone with the swirls, twists, and sparkle, which is not available in the competing products; that stated, there are some cuts of granite that we did not like. It was more cost effective that quartz or solid surface products. Overall, we would choose granite again over any of the competing products.
Our granite countertops were installed in both our kitchen and bathroom as part of a large house renovation six and a half years ago. The look is beautiful – swirling shades of gray, black and white which could never be achieved with quartz. We have never had it sealed. There is not one stain on the counters and it is scratch free, despite heavy and frequent cooking with high stain ingredients such as coffee and blueberries. My feeling is that the recommendation to refinish every couple of years is sales-hype.
I was also all concerned about the resealing maintenance of granite, but mine do not show any indication of porosity and doesn’t stain. Haven’t bothered resealing as it doesn’t seem necessary. It all depends on the slab you get, most likely.
Experience with granite being porous varies because natural stone varies in porosity. Yes, it depends on the slab. Granite is not one thing, think of it like a mixture of all the different little pieces (these are minerals that make up the rock) There can be space between them. Proper sealing is crucial. The standard wipe on, wipe off that installers do is not sufficient if you get a porous slab. Wipe on the sealer enough to puddle, let it sit for 30 min to an hour, wipe off, wait an hour, repeat. My experience – after ruining a windowsill with bacon grease ring (very porous slab), we sealed it all properly and never had another problem. I lucked out on where that bacon grease went.