Granite Vs Quartz

What is better, Granite Vs Quartz ?  A common question, frequently asked by our customers. We thought it best to have a page on this topic, the pro’s and cons with a full depth exploration of the subject.
On the surface it looks a simple question. What is the better surface? Usually it can be broken down to a few main issues:-

  • Price difference and cost
  • Suitability for prolonged use
  • What surface looks better
  • Care and cleaning

Before we delve into this topic and answer these and many other questions let us quickly look at  exactly what each material is

 

so what is granite ?

Granite

Granite – Granite is a real quarried rock, like a sandstone or marble it is cut from a quarry rock face in a large block. This block is sent to the quarries production facility where it is cut into large slabs (sort of sliced, like a loaf of bread- see image).
These single slabs are then polished on one side and placed back into the same block in the same order (in sequence so they match). From there the newly sliced blocks are sent onto our suppliers and us for re-sale.) Ultimately the single “slabs” from a block are cut down in size and shape to the kitchen worktops that are installed in our customers homes.

Granite worktops
so what is quartz ?

Quartz

Quartz is a type of gemstone, made up of silica and oxygen. Quartz worktops contain crushed quartz mixed with resin in a ratio of 93% quartz to 7% resin and colouring pigments . Quartz slabs are manufactured in a vast variety of different patterns and colours. Here are the basics of how its made.
Firstly, the raw materials are fed into mixers and blended together. The mixture is then poured into a mold and formed into slab sizes. next, the slab is compacted by a special vacuum and vibration process at a pressure of 100 tons before being moved to the curing kiln and heated. It’s this final part of the process that gives quartz slabs their ultimate strength and solidity. Slabs are then gauged, calibrated and polished to a perfect finish. Depending on manufacturer there are several different surface finish options such as suede, polished volcano and more.

Quartz worktops

Quartz surfaces- Pro’s and Cons

the pros

  • Quartz countertops are generally stronger than granite and have the added benefit of being more flexible. This makes them better for longer worktop lengths, especially if they have large cut outs for sinks and hobs.
  • Quartz is also generally easier to work with during the installation process.
  • Quartz is non-porous and does not require any sealing – ever. Quartz worktops offer a virtually no-maintenance material solution for worktops.
  • Quartz is very durable but cannot be considered indestructible either. It is highly stain-resistant so dropping a glass of wine on it simply requires a quick clean up.
    Quartz has many colours and lots of different variations. You can get very modern looking plain colours that wouldn’t be available in a granite. Quartz also have some perfect copies of marble colours that have all the positive quartz traits with none of the negative issues associated with Marble.

the cons

  • Quartz cannot withstand very high temperatures. Direct heat such as that of a hot pan straight from the stove or hob may either leave a ring mark or can crack the worktop through thermal shock.
  • Quartz cannot be used in an exterior locations as it will discolour over time when exposed to direct sunlight.
  • Harsh chemicals can damage the surface polish or the pigment used in the manufacture of quartz slabs. Most kitchen surface cleaners are ok but harsher chemical cleaners such as Cillit Bang or oven cleaner will damage the surface.
  • Prices can start to rise sharply as the top end of the price groups with all quartz manufacturers

If you have decided Quartz is what you would like for your new surface. have a look here at our page dedicated to Quartz worktops and surfaces. We cover the do’s and dont’s colour variation, joints and other popular questions.

Click for more information on Quartz surfaces

Granite surfaces- Pro’s and Cons

the pros

  • Granite has a glossier appearance on its polished surfaces than quartz.
  • On average a granite worktop will cost the equivalent or less of a lower price group 1 or 2 quartz, keeping costs down.
  • Pattern and colours of granite are more varied, vibrant and unique than a quartz.
  • With granite worktops, no two pieces are exactly the same, you will have something unique to everyone else.
  • Granite can take heat better than quartz, although not immune to excessive heat it can take a lot more than quartz before damage occurs.
  • On average, Granite slabs are also larger than quartz slabs so very often more worktops can be cut from a slab than quartz.(keeping costs down even further)
  • Granite can be used outside with no ill effects from weathering for many years.
  • Granite still has the prestige factor over quartz (although quartz is catching up)
  • Due to the nature of granite and its granular or patterned structure, repairs for chips are usually quite easy, well hidden and successful.

the cons

  • The appearance of granite is not uniform, it just is what it is, right out of the rock face, designed by nature.
  • Some granites have what can be termed as cracks but are actually naturally occurring fissures in the rock. While essentially the same thing, some granites will certainly have them. Be prepared for this.
  • Some colours of Granite worktops will need to be sealed before they are used. If for any reason the sealant on the worktop gets compromised, it could be stained.
  • Never buy granite from a sample. The samples that you see can differ from the stone that you receive.
  • On average, a granite kitchen will usually have more joints than a quartz kitchen.
  • Granite slab are often filled with a transparent resin during the polishing process. This is to try and fill any holes or fissures
  • We do not recommend 20mm thickness granite worktops with certain types of granite – 30mm is preferable in most cases.
  • Jointing of worktops in granite cannot always align the pattern to run through.

If you have decided granite is what you would like for your new surface. have a look here at our page dedicated to granite worktops and surfaces. We cover thye do’s and dont’s colour variation, joints and other popular questions.

Click for more information on granite surfaces

The main issues

So now we have examined some of the pros and cons of both materials , lets try to answer our original questions to see whats better , Granite Vs Quartz and reach a conclusion.

Price difference and Cost

Generally speaking granite will cost you less than quartz . This isn’t true of every colour and we sell far more quartz colours than granite. On average a granite slab is bigger (so you get more out of it) and the price is cheaper than that of an average slab of quartz. There are always exceptions to this, choosing a group 1 quartz is going to be more cost effective than a high end granite. Ultimately it’s not all down to cost though, colour is the main driving focus with most customers. After all, if money was the issue you wouldn’t be here reading this, you would be looking at laminates. We do understand that everyone is working to a budget, big or small and its important to try and stick as close to it as possible. Fortunately, as we sell many, many colours we are pretty confident that you will find the perfect colour at an affordable price (and one your bank manager loves too!)

prices

Click below to find out more on prices for granite and quartz surfaces

Click for prices
“…..Ultimately, both granite and quartz will last you a lifetime if cared for properly. There is no clear “better surface” here , especially as a kitchen worktop……”

Suitability for prolonged use

Both materials  do well here and they both have there pros and cons . Quartz is non-porous but granite needs sealing. Granite can be used outside but quartz cannot. Quartz carries a 10+ year warranty (25 years in the case of silestone) yet there is none with granite. Both materials are easy to clean, highly scratch and chip resistant (up to a point) . Colour has more of a factor with regard to chip repairs as very plain quartz colours will not hide the repair well. Ultimately, both granite and quartz will last you a lifetime if cared for properly. There is no clear “better surface” here , especially as a kitchen worktop, either surface works equally as well, as long as you treat it with respect.

What looks better, granite or quartz?

Both quartz and granite worktop owners will defend their own personal choice with a vengeance because they are so completely pleased with the finished result. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, as they say. At the end of the day, you can walk away from this review knowing that choosing either quartz or granite will provide you with a kitchen worktop or bathroom vanity unit top that you’ll love! The point here is that ” YOU” love it, not your neighbour, relative or friend. It’s a personal decision and one that you should make to suit you. One thing is for certain, you’re going to be spoiled for choice if you have no preference between granite or quartz as the choice is immense! There is pretty much every colour, shade, shape and formation imaginable! There is no answer to what looks better as both materials look superb when installed.

Granite vs quartz
“…..Both granite and quartz clean up very easily with the correct method and products. The more important question is , How much upkeep is needed with the colour that’s chosen?……..”Mr. WordPress

Care & Cleaning

What is easier to care for and clean, granite or quartz?
Both granite and quartz clean up very easily with the correct method and products. The more important question is “How much upkeep is needed with the colour that’s chosen?”
Basically it’s all down to colour and pattern, not the choice of surface material. Take Jet black granite for instance. A solid colour with a plain and glossy finish, a bit like a black mirror. If you have enough spare time on your hands to care, clean and polish it everyday, it won’t be a problem. This exact same surface would be a struggle for anyone who has 3 children, a full time job and a busy life. With little time to keep regularly cleaning the surface, they’re going to get fed up pretty quickly. It’s not the materials fault, the customer just bought the wrong surface for them.
I would always recommend, especially to busy families, something like a speckled white quartz worktop such as silestone Stellar Blanco. I personally think this is the best sort of surface for a busy family kitchen. It’s easier to clean and doesn’t need polishing or sealing. It’s light speckled pattern hides smudges, spills and finger prints better than darker colours. If the worst should happen and you damage it, scratches it won’t show as much and chips can be easily filled with very little evidence there was ever any damage.
Seeing things in designer magazines is all well and good but living with them can be something entirely different. When we see customers in our showroom we always go through all this information with them as it’s an important step that’s sometimes overlooked. Best of all, if you do visit us we can give you samples of the material your looking at to test at home.

Before we draw this to a conclusion there is one other question that I am asked all the time. “What surface do you have in your own kitchen?” Well, it’s quartz. I have an island unit top made from Caesarstone’s Bianco Drift (polished finish) and other worktops in a Silestone Dinux (Suede finish). Don’t assume that I have these surfaces because I feel quartz is better than granite or that these brands of quartz are better than Cambria or Compac Quartz. I have them because I liked the colours. I love the subtle, marble effect of Bianco drift while the suede “matt” effect of the silestone adds another dimension to the kitchen design. In our last house we had Cosmos Black granite for over 10 years and it was a superb surface. It still looks great today and the new owners love it, the granite worktops certainly helped to sell the house.

“….Some people forget that it’s a natural material, thinking of granite as a coloured piece of flawless glass….”

Natural materials are not perfect – Granite Vs Quartz .

The problem is that people know that granite is a natural material but don’t fully grasp what that means. The very imperfections make it what it is. Granite is full of its own little natural variations, veins, marks, fissures (that weaken the material), patches and shades of colour. Sometimes these patches even give a different surface texture (that may be filled to make it smoother to the touch) Some people forget that it’s a natural material, thinking of granite as a coloured piece of flawless glass. Truthfully, this isn’t a problem with granite itself. It’s the perception people have of granite in opposition to what it actually is. After all the above, I still wouldn’t say that quartz is “totally perfect” but as it’s manufactured to a colour and pattern specification, its magnitudes better than granite in this instance.

Long worktop lengths with large cut outs- Granite Vs Quartz

Simply put, quartz is stronger than granite. Once you start getting over 2200mm x 600 in granite with a cut out in the worktop, you start to get an issue. Not every granite to be fair, some are far worse than others. The problem is that on the whole, people don’t want joints in the kitchen. They want that 3m long run with no joints and a large 700mm hob cut out in the middle. Quartz is far better for this and not an issue but generally, granite worktops would have to be jointed. (read our write up on granite surfaces as this make some interesting points for you to consider on fabricators / suppliers who are willing to do longer lengths and what this could mean for you)

“…..The problem is that people don’t want joints in kitchen worktops. They want 3m long run with no joints and a large 700mm hob cut out…..”
“…..With the advent of Dry treat, Stain-proof treatment for granite worktops and surfaces this really is no longer an issue…..”

Staining and marking -Granite Vs Quartz.

A few short years ago staining of granite was certainly more of a problem than it is today. With the advent of Dry treat, Stain-proof treatment for granite worktops and surfaces this really is no longer an issue. Either quartz or Granite are superb materials to use in a kitchen but the fact that quartz doesn’t need any anti-stain treatment at all makes it the winner here.

Value for money Granite Vs Quartz

To look at the basic cost, granite is the winner. Once you start to talk about value for money, quartz edges back into the winning position. With little upkeep and not needing a sealer, slightly easier to clean and the reasons mentioned above, it’s clear to see that for many people quartz surfaces would be a better option (even if it did cost a little more). With regards to cost you need to factor in the timescale Vs price. Worktops will be there for 10, 20 or 30 years? let’s say that a quartz worktop cost an additional £500 more than a granite, over ten years that’s an additional £0.97p, 20 years its £0.48p, and 30 years its £0.32p per week more.

“…..With little upkeep and not needing a sealer, slightly easier to clean and the reasons mentioned above, it’s clear to see that for many people quartz surfaces would be a better option…..”

Final conclusion

In conclusion I have to admit, if pushed to decide on what I think is better, I would have to say quartz. This is from a technical perspective of someone who fabricates and sells both materials. it’s not a question of what looks better, there are some granites that are far more stunning to look at than any quartz. It’s really a question of what’s the all-round, better option in a kitchen.

If you’re looking for new worktops and trying to make the decision between Granite Vs Quartz then I hope this guide has helped you. In the end I wouldn’t put anyone off buying granite for a kitchen or bathroom surface, it’s a fantastic material.
When I am next due to remodel my own kitchen, If I preferred a granite I wouldn’t hesitate in using it. You just have to factor in the limitations (that goes for both granite and quartz). At the moment I have quartz surfaces and I am very mindful that it can’t take heat from very hot pans or roasting trays. It’s not an issue, we just use a trivet (pan stand). It’s simply a matter of adjusting the way you do things to suit the surface you have. Whatever you choose, like most quality home enhancements, if you look after it, then it will last you a life time.