Quartz or Granite? Differences Between the Counter Top Material
One of the most common design decisions that stumps many home owners is choosing between a quartz or granite counter top. You often hear about the counter top material used as a selling feature in real estate advertising - “This condo has (insert granite or quartz counter top here)! We should buy this condo!!” But what makes the counter top materials so special? Even better - what makes them different? We're here to give you the low-down on granite and quartz counter tops to help you make your future renovation and home buying decisions that much easier!
Let's start with the basics:
What is Granite? Granite is a stone which is formed by the crystallization of magma below Earth's surface. It is then mined, cut down, and then polished to create it's smooth finish. Unlike quartz, granite is 100% natural.
What is Quartz? Similar to granite, quartz is also a product of crystal formation below the earth's surface, however, it's structure is much weaker than that of granite. Because of it's weaker structure, natural quartz is mined, ground into an aggregate, which is then mixed with resin and processed to create the finished product. Unlike granite, Quartz is manufactured using 94-96% natural quartz and 4-6% polymer resins.
The Major Differences: Appearance, Cost, Durability and Maintenance
One of the first things that you may notice about quartz and granite counter tops is their appearance. Because Granite is 100% natural, the product has many variations and random markings which makes each piece 100% unique. No other person in the world will have the same granite slab as you! The natural quality of granite is often why some prefer the material over engineered quartz.
Because quartz is engineered to create it's final form, the appearance of the product can be manipulated to mimic the look of granite, or it can be manufactured to create a more uniform appearance. Because quartz is an engineered product, it can be customized into many different colours and levels of variation – allowing the material to be easily incorporated into a variety of colour schemes. Who doesn't love versatility?!
Because granite is a natural product, the price is usually much more than that of quartz. However, quartz can be processed at varying degrees to increase the durability and longevity of the product. Unlike granite, quartz can be customized in a variety of ways which increases the cost of the product. Depending on the level of processing and customization the quartz my undergo, it can increase the cost of the product more than some natural granite products. Also, having a granite or quartz counter top installed in your home can increase it's resale value. Investing more really does pay off!
3. + 4. Durability and Maintenance
Because granite's natural structure is porous, it requires a sealant to keep out moisture before it can be installed in your home. Over time, the sealant will wear off, requiring the granite to be resealed on a yearly basis. Without this preventative barrier, granite is not only susceptible to surface damage from moisture – it also damages the product internally when moisture enters its pores. When the unsealed, moisture damaged product experiences a high impact load, it can cause the granite to chip or crack.
Because quartz is a heavily engineered product, it does not require any sealants to prevent moisture from entering the product and damaging its surface. This engineering process also increases the product's internal strength – allowing it to be resistant to high impact loads. Between granite and quartz, granite requires much more maintenance to preserve its strength, while quartz is must more durable and does not require any extra care.
Ultimately, choosing a granite or quartz counter top for your home all comes down to personal preference, lifestyle, and price range. If you value the natural look of granite, are committed to keeping up with its regular maintenance and is within your budget – granite may be the way to go for you! On the other hand, a quartz counter top may be a better option for those with a busy lifestyle and smaller budget (depending on the type of quartz, of course!). In either circumstance, both materials will certainly add value and beauty to your home !!