In the quest for the perfect countertop, you will undoubtedly compare granite and quartz materials. Although these counters often have similar appearances, they have vastly different qualities.
The choice between granite and quartz will depend on your budget, your personal preference for one material over the other, and the type of project.
With the introduction of several brands of quartz slabs into US market and aggressive promotion of these products by home improvement stores across the country, homeowners have a big choice between granite and quartz countertops.
Origin of Granite
Granite is a natural material quarried from the earth. The excavation process involves pulling out large blocks of granite and then slicing them into slabs and polishing them to show their inherent beauty.
Origin of Quartz
Quartz is a manmade material and that is why it is also called engineered stone. The term quartz countertops should not be confused with natural quartz slabs quarried from earth.
However, 90% of the components of Quartz are derived from naturally found materials. Quartz counters contain a crushed mixture of natural quartz and resin and they are manufactured with a patented process invented by Breton, an Italian based company.
Physical Characteristics of Granite Vs Quartz
Granite has feldspar and quartz as its main constituents that give it its hardness and natural beauty.
Quartz is manufactured with 93% of crushed quartz powder combined with 7% of epoxy resins to hold it together along with the addition of manmade pigments to give its color.
Both granite and quartz counters carry a higher price tag than laminate countertops, like Formica or solid surface countertops like Corian. The final price of granite or quartz depends on the particular slabs you choose.
The price of granite counters starts from $39 per square foot for the entry level granite colors, and it may go to as high as $150 for the high end and rare granite colors. Most of the desirable granite countertops fall in the price range of $45 to $75 per square foot.
Quartz materials vary depending on the brand of the materials. A basic quartz counter begins at about $60 per square foot. The highest grade quartz tops out at about $100 per square foot. Most of the desirable colors of Quartz countertops range from $70 to $85 per square foot installed.
Both quartz and granite require professional installation. Quartz and granite are both very heavy materials.
The physical properties of quartz make the installation process for quartz easier than granite. Quartz is more flexible, which makes it easier to handle.
Both granite and quartz are very durable and last as long as the home they are installed into.
Quartz counters are sensitive to UV rays but granite counters are not. If a portion of a quartz counter receives regular sun exposure, the color will change over time. This is because of the epoxy resins used in manufacturing the quartz surfaces. That is why quartz countertops are not recommended for outdoor use.
Because quartz is an engineered material, the coloring throughout the material will generally be uniform.
On the other hand, one part of the granite slab may not be exactly like the other corner of the same slab. Color variations in granite are natural, which makes them imperfect and varied. The unique patterns and natural beauty are admired by lot of home owners.
If you are a perfectionist and do not like the natural blemishes or imperfections found in the granite, then manmade quartz countertops may be your ideal choice. Your personal taste will dictate whether you prefer the uniform patterns and colors of quartz, or the natural variations of granite.
Seams in the countertops
Both granite and quartz may need seams if your countertops are longer than the slabs. A talented granite installation company can often hide seams during the installation of a quartz or granite counter tops.
Since granite is a naturally formed material, we do not have control over the colors that appear in granite. Engineered quartz slabs are manufactured in different colors like red, white, blue, yellow, orange, green, pure white etc., through the addition of different manmade pigments.
Quartz surfaces are a choice material for home owners or kitchen designers who want to use some particular color pattern in their kitchen or bathroom décor. For example if the home owner is looking for a pristine white color for their kitchen, they may choose a color called Zeus White quartz from Silestone brand.
There is nothing like a completely pure white granite or marble in existence.
Granite counters require an application of sealant to protect against the stains and you may need to reapply sealant once a year or once in 3 years depending on the sealer choose.
The engineered quartz surfaces do not need sealant application.
Both granite and quartz countertops are easy to maintain. Clean granite with a gentle dish soap and water. Always wash away the soap to prevent residues from drying on the granite surface. Clean quartz in the same way, using gentle dish soap and water. Avoid using harsh abrasives on both granite and quartz materials.
If you are looking for the beauty of natural granite or searching for a particular color of Silestone or Caesarstone countertops, Arch City Granite & Marble is an ideal destination in St.Louis, Missouri. We stock a wide inventory of granite and marble slabs, and we are an approved fabricator and installer of the engineered stone brands Silestone and Caesarstone.
Visit our showroom to choose your preferred material, either Granite or Engineered Quartz.
See also: Marble Vs Granite
image source: http://www.caesarstoneus.com/gallery/ultra-modern/
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