Lately, the kitchen countertop of choice is trending toward quartz and away from granite, and it’s being felt in a big way.
It’s actually part of a bigger trend that emerged during the recent recession. We’ve moved away from earthier palettes and heavy layers of the late 90’s and early 2000’s and towards cleaner lines and fresher, brighter colors. With its eye-catching, cleaner, more refined patterns the aesthetic of quartz fits right in, especially when you compare it to the larger scale and more irregular characteristics of granite.
Performance is also important. Quartz is 93% natural stone and 7% manufactured fillers. The 7% of manufactured fillers actually adds strength to the material and gets it to a 7 rating for hardness. By comparison, diamonds are a 10 on the hardness scale. So quartz is stronger than granite, which means fewer stains, pits, chips, and maintenance. Another plus is that quartz doesn’t require any sealing.
Do a quick Google search and you’ll see that public opinion varies on whether you need to seal granite or not. I’ve had my granite counters for 13 years and have never sealed them. They have chipped in a few places but they’ve never stained. I put everything on them, including hot cast iron pots, and have never had an issue.
Consistency is also a major difference when considering quartz vs. granite. With quartz you can look at a small sample, and then when you get your large slab it’s usually exactly what you expected. With granite, you can look at a small sample and when you get a large slab, it can look completely different.
Another thing to keep in mind is that countertop suppliers private-label their granite. This means that one supplier’s Baltic Brown could be the same as another supplier’s Giallo Antico. The natural and unpredictable characteristics of being manufactured by mother nature adds one more step to the process in assuring you’ve made the right choice in granite.
When buying granite, you should ALWAYS select your slabs in person. And remember that there is waste associated with granite. You have to buy the entire piece. Even if you only need 3 feet, you may have to buy 5 feet because that’s the size of the slab. By comparison, quartz can be ordered in any size and has very little waste.
So to sum it up, those on the trendier side of design are choosing quartz for aesthetic and performance reasons. Those who prefer the natural and irregular patterns and color variations of granite and don’t have big durability issues may prefer granite. The natural patina of granite can be beautiful after many years of lovin’, and some just prefer the real thing.
But the bottom line is: do your homework, and choose what’s best for your taste, needs and wants. For instance, a short glance through Houzz.com’s gallery of quartz vs. granite countertops should give you some idea of the plethora of choices awaiting you.
No matter what you choose, just remember – there are no rules that are carved in stone.