Life happens in the kitchen. It’s where families spend time together, talking and laughing over a good meal. It’s the place people naturally congregate during any get-together, and it’s often the room that gives visitors the strongest first impression of your home. It’s no surprise that kitchens are usually the first room that homeowners think of when it comes time to remodel.
If you’re considering kitchen remodeling in Phoenix, AZ, one of the first decisions you’re likely to face is whether to use granite or quartz for your countertops. These two countertop materials are by far the most popular, but is one better than the other?
To help you decide which is right for your remodel, we’ll compare and contrast the five main characteristics of granite and quartz in this article:
Although many people assume that granite and quartz are both completely natural materials, there is a difference. Granite is very hard, 100 percent natural stone. The granite is mined in stone quarries, cut into slabs, polished, and then made into countertops based on your desired dimensions.
On the other hand, quartz is man-made or engineered stone. Usually composed of about 93 to 95 percent ground, natural quartz stone (chips or dust), the quartz countertops’ material is mixed with color pigments to change the appearance and polymer resins to hold it all together.
Because granite is all-natural, no two slabs are the same. Granite is formed when molten materials deep in the earth cool and solidify. Variations and inconsistencies in mineral color and veining patterns are to be expected, depending on the volcanic activity at the time of formation. Minerals in different areas of the world produce a wide range of colors and patterns that match different styles. Many homeowners appreciate the natural look and unique nature of granite.
Since quartz is engineered, it is much more customizable and generally more uniform in appearance than granite. Quartz can be manufactured to look similar to granite or marble, or mixed with different pigments, glass, minerals, and resin to achieve a simpler and cleaner look. Homeowners who want a consistent pattern and appearance or who want more control over the color of their countertops to match their style and decor tend to go with quartz.
Both granite and quartz are higher-end materials, so the costs are similar. Prices for both vary widely based on availability, shipping prices, your design choices (e.g., beveled, waterfall or mitered edges can increase costs), the complexity of installation, and more. Sometimes, granite can be slightly more expensive depending on where it’s sourced and the cost of quarrying, transporting, cutting, and polishing the stone.
According to Home Advisor, the average costs of buying and installing granite or quartz countertops are very close, with granite at $50-130 and quartz at $60-230 per square foot, including labor.
If you’re hoping to cut some of your remodel costs with DIY projects, your kitchen counters are not the place. Both granite and quartz are very heavy and difficult to cut with tools you might have at home. It’s always best to have professionals manufacture and install kitchen countertops to your specifications.
As you might expect, granite is very durable. In fact, most manufacturers’ estimates for the life expectancy of granite countertops run anywhere from 30 to 100 years, depending on use and proper maintenance.
Warranties on quartz countertops usually run from 10-15 years. However, it’s highly likely that your counters will outlive your home. As a man-made product, quartz is actually harder than granite and is slightly more resistant to damage.
Since these materials will be used in the kitchen, it’s important to understand how they respond to heat. Although both are heat-resistant, granite holds up much better against higher temperatures. Quartz can be subject to scorching and damage when exposed to high temperatures, so it’s always a good idea to use a hot pad and avoid putting pots or pans directly on your quartz countertops.
Because of the way it’s formed, granite is porous in nature. As a result, it’s important to clean up liquid spills quickly to avoid damage or staining. On the other hand, the resins used to bind quartz together make this material much more resistant to liquids and staining.
Again, the porous nature of granite means that your granite countertops might have some natural flaws. Be careful around these areas because those flaws make them more prone to cracking. Also, even though granite is a very hard material, it is possible to chip, crack, or damage them by dropping something heavy (e.g., a cast-iron pan) on them.
As an engineered product, quartz is highly consistent and uniform throughout. Cracks and damage are rare.
Granite countertops are sealed when they are installed to help protect against stains, cracks, chips, etc. It’s a good idea to have them resealed regularly to ensure the protective coating remains effective. Cleaning your countertops daily with mild soap and water or a kitchen cleaner is recommended.
Quartz countertops do not need to be sealed. Cleaning daily with soap and water or a mild cleanser is all it takes for maintenance. Some homeowners also like that the non-porous surface of quartz countertops helps resist dirt and bacteria, since they cannot penetrate into the surface.
Whichever material you choose, granite or quartz, when taking on a kitchen remodel, it’s important to work with professionals to make sure everything gets done right. At JMG Contracting, our passion is to bring your vision to life. We can do it all!
We are a one-stop shop with qualified designers, project managers, craftsmen, and support personnel working with you from start to finish. Whether you already know what you want or are looking for ideas, give us a call or send us a message today to get started. We can’t wait to make your kitchen dream a reality!