This is a topic that frequently, if not always, comes up in conversation for kitchen design. “Do I go granite or quartz? What are they?” This is a great place to start, what are they, what’s the difference and how does it benefit. I will try to leave no stone unturned.
Some commonalities between them are they’re both types of stone, both are very hard, especially in comparison to laminate or solid surface (yes, that’s the name of the material, a.k.a. it’s inventor company, Corian) and they both come in a variety of colours. But there are more factors that set them apart than similarities. For example, granite is a naturally occurring stone with its pattern, it is extracted from the earth using machines to cut into the mountain/mine in to slabs which eventually get cut and polished to install in our kitchen. Quartz, on the other hand, is man-made from natural materials. They’re typically between 90%-97% natural stone, and 3%-10% is resin and pigment. How quartz is manufacture, is they take real quartz stone from the earth, grind it down to size, usually between sand size and large pebble size, and then they mix it with the glues and tint to build it up to the size of a slab.
Granite Quarry source
Quartz Manufacturing Plant source
As granite is a natural stone, it is imperfect, meaning it can have air pockets sometimes, or weak spots (spots that chip more easily than others) and this also makes it a very porous material, similar to our skin, whereas quartz has no weak spots and is nonporous. With granite being porous it gives it other characteristics, for example, granite can be stained and, unlike our skin, it cannot be removed. Red wine is the worst for granite, the deep colouration and acidity buries itself into the pours thus creating a permanent stain, warning, red fruit juice basically does the same thing. Now don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t stain immediately, but if left to sit on the counter for a couple hours, it’s, as they say, set in stone. Granite is a material that should be sealed to avoid staining, this is recommended to be done every 3-5 years depending on wear-and-tear, but this means maintenance, not much mind you. Out of the two, quartz is a much stronger material, the likelihood of chipping or cracking your quartz countertop, with shier force, is extremely unlikely, again don’t get me wrong, granite is very tough, but it won’t take as bad of a beating. This is, again, due to the porousness of the granite.
Chipped Granite source
Stained Granite source
Another trait of granite is its variation in colour a pattern, I find myself repeating “what you see is, most likely, not what you’re going to get” Because granite is a natural stone, each piece is different in colour and pattern which makes it’s impossible to use the sample you see in the store. It’s always recommended that, if you’re able to, you go select your slab from the cutting warehouse, this way you have some influence on coordinating your kitchen. Quartz, on the other hand, makes each slab very similar in appearance, “what you see is the store is basically what you’re going to get,” the variation in colour and pattern is likely less than 5%. This makes quartz a much easier process to match up with other colours and patterns in the kitchen design.
Same stone different patterns/colours source
Subtle texture of a quartz sample source
One attribute that granite has is, although it’s a natural stone, it’s not as sustainable or eco-friendly as one would presume. The stone emits small traces of radon, a radioactive gas that can slowly leak into your home. There have been reports of people having high-sensitivity to radon gasses, using granite on many surfaces in their home, and having painful allergic reactions leading to the removal of all the new granite countertops to be replaced. So if you’re the type of person who has sensitivity to allergies, you’re just a stone’s throw away! Because quartz has no pours in it, there is nowhere for gasses to linger and slowly release, it’s completely emission-free.
One area I can really appreciate granite is on an island as an accent piece with the rest of the kitchen countertop a simple, subtly quartz finish. This can look very dramatic and give the space the “pop” it needs in some cases. Other plus sides of granite is that it looks very traditional, if you’re the type of person or have the house type with a very traditional style than granite works very well! Although, as a quartz fanatic, there are many quartz options for a traditional style home!
granite island accent source
granite kitchen source
Overall I feel quartz has a lot more benefits than granite does, not only that but the patterns and simplicity of quartz is much more stylish than granite. It comes in much simpler patterns that are basically solid colours, it comes in white and white marble patterns which cannot be stained and you can get colours that granite doesn’t come in. I’m sure this trending style of no-pattern countertop will phase out sooner or later, but I think for now it’s one of the best options, and as it becomes more in demand, the price also becomes more affordable. I think a kitchen with a simple quartz countertop can be described as nothing less than a stone cold fox!