This is one of the top questions we get from homeowners looking to renovate their kitchen.
When comparing the two, quartz has many more positives than granite. As you can see below, quartz is more durable, easier to work with and maintain, and has more value that granite. Additionally, quartz hides seams much better than granite does. Although granite is much more unique and therefore more attractive, there is still overwhelmingly more reasons to choose quartz over the former.
|Easier to work with||✔|
|Ease of maintenance||✔|
Granite contains fissures, which are inconsistencies within the stone. When you cut holes in granite for a sink or faucet, the granite weakens and can fracture. In fact, granite can fracture years after installation. I once encountered a granite countertop that had cracked five years after being installed with a sink. This does not happen with quartz, and I have yet to hear of a quartz counter fracturing.
Easier to work with
Sometimes quartz counters can be templated incorrectly by fabricators and require modification. This does not have to be a huge problem, however, because quartz is easy enough to work with that it can be modified on site. Cutting and modifying quartz can get pretty dusty, so make sure your installers take it outside to avoid making a mess inside your home! Oppositely, a smart installer would never risk modifying a granite counter on site, as the risk of fracturing it is too great. Therefore, there is less risk involved when using quartz rather than granite since it is much easier to modify is a problem arises.
Ease of maintenance
Quartz counters are sealed during the manufacturing process, and many companies claim that they never need to be resealed. On the other hand, granite counters are sealed upon installation, and it is recommended that the homeowner gets them resealed once a year. Resealing granite is necessary because granite is more likely to be stained if red wine or oils are spilled on the counter and not immediately wiped up. Therefore, quartz is a much easier material to maintain long-term.
Overall, granite is exceptionally more unique and more pleasing to the eye than quartz. Many people choose granite because the natural patterns can be quite mesmerizing (Azul Bahia is my absolute favorite!). I have done kitchens for customers that have chosen granite, and there is no doubt that the uniqueness and beauty of the slab is the deciding factor. However, newer quartz patterns are beginning to mimic the look of granite in order to improve their aesthetic value.
Quartz is manufactured in a way that makes the seams virtually invisible. However, the uniqueness of a granite pattern can make it harder to hide a seam. But, a really good installer can make seams in granite disappear and a bod installer can make seams in quartz look unsightly.
In terms of value, I will look at the initial cost and the addition of variables such as durability and maintenance. Granite can start around $50.00 per square foot, while quartz can start around $70.00 per square foot. An average size kitchen has around 50 sq. ft. of counter space, so the starting difference in cost is around $1,000.00, with quartz being more expensive. However, at starting prices, you will be choosing between substandard granite with a unique pattern or a bland but sturdy piece of quartz. Counters usually have about a 20 year life span, so the difference between quartz and granite would only be about $50.00 more a year. Remember, you do not need to seal quartz, but, you are advised to seal your granite once a year.
In order to reseal your granite counters, you will need to spend around $40.00 each time in order to buy the sealer and other necessary products. A normal resealing operation consists of removing everything from the counters, masking and covering floors and base cabinets to prevent stains, and applying the sealer. The process of sealing can take anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes, and you are advised to let the sealer cure for at least an hour. Lastly, you should avoid cleaning the counter for another 24 hours. In summary, spending $40.00 a year in addition to the nuisance of having to reseal your counters annually can be avoided by picking quartz.
As mentioned above, durability also affects the value. Remember the example about the granite fracturing in front of the sink? The cost to repair that counter was $350.00. Most quartz companies have a warranty of at least 15 years for a case like this if it is due to a defect in the product. Ordering from Cambria will provide you with a warranty for as long as you own the product.
Since granite is a natural product, many people believe that it would be a more environmentally friendly choice. However, quartz manufacturers like Cambria and Viatera are made in the USA (granite is mined overseas), and both of these companies use recycled water in their manufacturing processes. Buying locally made products is more environmentally conscious because it cuts down on pollution caused by international travel and transportation.
As you can see, quartz is a better option in terms of durability, maintenance, modifications, and long-term value. Even though granite is much more aesthetically pleasing, quartz companies are making more natural-looking patterns every day. If you still decide to choose beauty over utility, make sure you understand the costs and risks associated with maintaining and repairing granite.
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