For some, it’s the most important customization in the kitchen — even the whole house. We’re talking about countertops. As the primary surface for many of your practical needs, the countertop needs to be a reliable, durable surface that can withstand constant use and abuse. But it can’t just be functional — it should be a showstopper. You’ll want your countertops to be consistent with the look and feel you’re trying to achieve with your kitchen.
Thankfully, there are two great products that every homeowner should consider for their kitchen countertops; products that perform, as well as look great. They are quartz and granite.
There are a few differences between the two of which you should be aware. Despite both being hard-surface countertops, granite and quartz vary in make, size, maintenance and durability. So how should you choose? We’ll help you make the right decision for your home.
Make: Natural Versus Man-made
Granite is a beautiful natural stone that comes in a variety of natural colours from black and brown to beige and cream. But, because it is all natural, it means there is less that can be done to customize its look — what’s available in nature is what’s available. Its natural composition also makes granite more subject to change over the years.
Quartz on the other hand is made in a factory — but that doesn’t mean its “unnatural”. A quartz countertop is made up of approximately 94% ground quartz, which is one of the hardest and most durable minerals on Earth. The other ingredients in a quartz countertop are polyester resins (to bind the materials together) and pigments. Unlike granite, manufacturers are able to dye quartz and pull different colours from it to produce a specific aesthetic; quartz countertops come in natural looking colours similar to granite, as well as bright tones like lime green or fire-engine red. The combination of ingredients helps to create an especially stable product that will not alter year-in, year-out.
Size: Seams and Slabs
Both granite and quartz countertops are usually 1 ¼ inches thick.
Manufactured in a facility, quartz typically comes in a standard-sized slab of 118 by 54 inches. Unlike quartz, granite slabs can vary in size depending on what the manufacturers are able to pull out of the quarry. For this reason, it’s possible to find granite slabs large enough to create a smooth look with no seams. However, because granite is a natural material, the variant sizes of slabs available can be less customizable to exact preferred specifications.
Maintenance: The Needs of Nature
Being a natural product, granite is susceptible to the wear and tear that comes with time. Light finishes in particular can stain and show the stress of daily use more prominently. Therefore, granite needs to be resealed approximately once every six months to maintain the quality of its finish and protect the stone.
If no-maintenance is your preference, then quartz can be a great alternative. Quartz is made with a strong, permanent, non-porous coating that does not need to be refinished. It does not stain and requires no maintenance at all.
Quartz and granite both have their advantages and disadvantages. The best choice for your home will depend greatly on your personal style and the amount of maintenance you’re willing to commit. Thankfully, your decision-making doesn’t need to be influenced by the price tag: there isn’t a notable difference between the prices of granite and quartz. Both are priced along a level system, and both granite and quartz are available at all levels (1-4), including the standard. So you can choose the option that’s right for your lifestyle and your taste.