GRANITE OR QUARTZ?
Choosing between Granite (natural stone) and Quartz (engineered stone) is one of the first choices to make when selecting a counter top material. Both share many of the same characteristics, but also have their own unique characteristics. In the end, it may come down to preference and the design scheme, than about one being superior to the other. Granite and Quartz are the two most popular choices for stone countertops and fabrication. Other options of natural stone are Marble, Quartzite, Soapstone, Gemstone and Limestone.
Granite is made up of stone extracted from the earth at a quary. There are quarries which harvest unique stone from all around the world. The stone is then cut into slabs, and a penetrating resin is applied to give it strength.
Quartz is a man-made product. It is made up of crushed stone, pigment and a resin adhesive. It is then formed into slabs to produce countertops and other uses.
Granite offers a natural stone look. It is formed by liquid hot magma, that cools over time under the earth's surface. Each slab is unique in appearance from another. It may have grains, markings, or vibrant patterns which are beautiful and enjoyed by many. It is not uncommon when searching for a slab to be amazed by the designs of nature. A granite island, counter, backsplash or shower can be a focal point to a room.
Quartz, being a manufactured product, typically has a uniform consistent look. This is because the crushed stone and adhesive is mixed and then formed, giving an equal distribution of ingredients across the slab. Some prefer this uniform consistent look. It is more predictable and can be easier for a designer to make it work with their desired scheme.
In recent years however, quartz is now being produced to mimic natural stone. This provides the look of a natural stone product with better durability and less maintenance.
Granite and Quartz both have wide ranges of pricing. Granite will increase in price as more exotic and rare materials are desired. That being said there are many beautiful slabs of stone which can be considered affordable. Quartz can also increase in price as the quality of the ingredients goes up, and different brand names are selected.
In general however, whether choosing granite or quartz, both have similar pricing and a customer should be able to find material that will fit their desired design scheme and price range.
Regardless of your choice, your Quartz and Granite counter will last for a lifetime and will look new for years after your purchase. Both maintain their shine, resist heat and are scratch resistant.
Granite however, depending on the material, may be more porous, and more susceptible to damage and chipping. Some varieties of natural stone are soft, while others are more dense and hard. A penetrating resin applied is granite at the time of slab manufacturing add strength. That being said, if not abused, damage to the product should not occur. Chipping can be easily repaired and Black Pearl Granite Inc. offers a 1 year limited warranty for chip repairs. Granite is more resistant to heat, but using a hot plate is recommended. Granite is also more scratch resistant, but a cutting board is recommended as well.
Quartz is less susceptible to chipping, since it is crushed stone mixed with adhesive and has better bonding properties. It is overall a more durable product. However, some varieites of quartz are not as heat resistant and susceptible to burning so using a hot plate is recommended. Quartz has a high resistance to scratching as it is a very hard product, but a cutting board is still recommended to maintain the factory surface finish.
Over the life of each product, the maintenance required for both granite and quartz is negligible.
While quartz is technically less maintenance since it never needs to be sealed, granite requires minimal maintenance. Depending on the material, Granite only requires a surface applied sealer once every 1-3 years. Sealing is straight forward and only requires spray and a wrag. A typical kitchen should only take 15 minutes to seal.
Porous Properties and Staining
Staining is uncommon with both quartz and granite. Both products are among the best when considering what to use as a counter top surface. Both are still less pourous than concrete, wood and some plastics. However, to a degree, Granite and Quartz are both susceptible to being pourous and reacting to spills. Most of the time spilled liquids will over time evaporate away and not leave a mark. The pourous nature will depend on the type of stone counter material selected.
With Granite and marble, a penetrating resin is applied at time of manufacturing and offers a great deal of protection which will stop most stains. After that, the pourous and susceptibility to stains depends on what has been spilled, the type of granite, and how quickly it is wiped away. Some material is very hard and dense in which case spills do not as easily penetrate. Other materials may be soft and light where spills may show if left unwiped (spilling red wine, or soy sauce onto a white marble, for example).
Quartz also has the same protective resin applied at the time of manufacturing. It is best to wipe away spills in a quick manner. Staining may stand out more with quartz due to the aesthetics of having a blemish on a consistent appearance. In contrast, in the rare case of a a stain on natural stone it may blend in to the markings of the patterns in the stone.