granite versus quartz countertops

February 7, 2008

This was to be a simple kitchen remodel(?), but I am obsessing over everything. I need a vacation! My question of the day -- what is the advantage of quartz over a granite countertop? I have read and read. My contractor says the quartz is more uniform, but I like the way granite looks. Am I all alone or do any of you have the same problem? What are the reasons for choosing one of these materials over the other?

Comments (48)

  • chefkev

    I have been mulling over the same decision. Others in this forum may know more, but what I've found out so far: Quartz should be more resistant to heat and stains and doesn't require sealing. I have heard wildly varying advice on whether it is OK to put hot pots (under 400 degrees) directly on quartz - you definitely wouldn't put hot pots directly on granite. Also, if any seams are required, they are less likely to be visible with quartz.

    While quartz is more uniform, IMO, the natural irregularities of the granite are what make it more beautiful. From what I'm told there is variance in different granites - some are denser and therefore less pourous and more resistant to stains and possibly less likely to chip or crack. Prices seem to be similar with the lowest cost granites costing less than quartz and the fancier granites costing significantly more.

    Let me know if you find out anything more or different.

  • sue_ct

    Granite is a natural material with flaws that go with natural materials. In addition, depending on the granite you choose, you might have some maintenance for sealing the stone occasionally. White granites definately, black maybe never. Granite can have fissures and crack. It is also the most unique and for most types you really must take the time to pick your own slab. Cost can vary from significant less than quartz to significantly more. Much wider price range but also much more economical than quartz if you stick to one of the lower priced granites like Uba Tuba or New Venetian Gold.

    Quartz is uniform, there is only a small variation in color from lot to lot, so basically what you pick out is what you get. There is no maintenance at all, never seal. Seams can be a little tighter than granite. Comes in colors natural stone does not. It can stain, but is generally pretty stain resistant. Cost is more than most granite but equal or less than the higher priced granites. Usually equivalent to mid range or slightly higher granite. You don't get this as the most cost effective. You get it because you like it and find it the most practical for you.


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  • caligirl_cottage

    I prefer the quartz surfaces because of overall durability and beauty. I'm kind of "over" granite in terms of its appearance. Quartz is still a natural product as it's made of stone that's been recombined with other ingredients. I also like that it's not produced by quarying the stone like granite, a really invasive process environmentally.

  • mondragon

    "Quartz" is ground up quartz stone, mined out of the ground just like granite, that's mixed together with an epoxy resin, similar to those old clear resin countertops and Corian. I don't see that it's much different environmentallly.

    The main benefit it has over granite is that it doesn't need to be sealed (and as pointed out, some granites don't need to be sealed.) All the other differences are really subjective.

  • plants4

    In theory (hedging my bets here), the Caesarstone is left over quartz as opposed to stuff that is mined specifically to make the material. Their website has some sort of international environmental certificate and I do think it's used to get LEED credits, but don't quote me on that. There are other ones that are also sold as being easier on the environment.

  • peggross1

    I'm buying Caesarstone "Raven" for my perimeter counter tops. I'm using a marble recommended for use in the kitchen (I was shocked to learn such a thing existed!) called Danby Imperial (mined in VT) for my island top.

    The reflectiveness of a "polished" quartz surface is less shiny than polished marble or granite. I'm having my marble island fabricated with what the fabricator called a "satin" finish, which will be shinier than polished marble, but not as dull as honed marble. I did this to try to more closely match the quartz surface sheen with the island sheen.

    The pros of quartz for me were it is nonporous and needs no sealing and can be cleaned with bleach if I want with no damage whatsoever. The Raven color is not quite as uniform and manufactured looking as most quartz surface choices and after considering and rejecting Pietra de Cardosa, Pietra Bedonia, honed absolute black, soapstone, concrete for my perimeter counters I am finally very comfortable with the choice of Raven quartz. I was going for a dark gray, not highly reflective (I hate U/C lighting reflections in the counters) neutral countertop for my beaded inset, painted white cabinets. I have commissioned a very beautiful mosaic backsplash and didn't want anything with much movement to compete with it.

    Granite, while very beautiful, is too easily smudged in a honed finish and needs too much babying for me, personally. Even worse were the other counters I considered.

    Had I seen the "satin" finished absolute black before I decided on Raven, I might have gone with that. The table I saw with that didn't show fingerprints a bit and looked just gorgeous.

  • ventupete

    A lot of granites have veins and varying patterns that make each piece different. Quartz looks very uniform. Just a matter of taste. I do take issue with the above post that says you can never put a hot pot on granite. We have been doing exactly that for over six years and have never had a problem. I suppose that if you had a lot of veins and put the pot right over one of them there could be a problem. Granite is such a good conductor of heat that if you put a hot pan right out of the oven on it for a minute, and then remove the pan and feel the surface of the granite, it will only feel lukewarm. Cracking happens when there is a dramatic temperature difference within a material which just doesn't happen with granite because the heat spreads out so quickly.

  • oruboris

    This is the sort of thread where someone is bound to get their feelings hurt: people get very, very invested in these issues.

    I agree with those who've suggested that the biggest difference is appearence: if you like a lot of movement, get granite. If not, consider a 'quiet' granite, or quartz.

    The quartz tends to cost a bit more than standard granites, way less than some of the premium varieties.

    The manufacturers of quatz have tried to make an issue of their products' certification for commercial kitchens, though this is often misconstrued: its impossible to certify natural stone since every slab-- even different areas within a slab-- can have different porosity and trace elements.

    Because of this natural variation, generalizations like 'honed granite smudges easily' isn't very helpful: some do, some don't. Lighter shades tend to be in the 'don't' category.

    As to hot pots, I've seen video of steaks being grilled on granite with acetilyne torches. It's generally going to be safe, but in theory if you place the very hot pot right beside a fracture, the stone on one side *could* expand faster than the other, causing the fracture to open. Ultimately, I'd advise against putting hot pots on any permanent surface unless you are having a very real emergency. Same goes with cutting: just don't! Buy a cutting board and a trivet, use them.

  • sail_away

    Are there any particular granites that are known to be harder (less porous) and, therefore, less prone to staining? Which ones generally don't need to be sealed?

  • ponydoc

    We chose quartz. I do believe the reason was zero maintenance. I love the look of soapstone but in reality I knew that even oiling every six months.....well let me just say I can guarantee it wouldn't get done.

    I love some of the variation in granite but the quartz got me at the "zero".

  • mondragon

    sail-away - because every stone is different, two stones that look the same can behave completely differently.

    In general light stones seem to need to be sealed more, very dark stones need it less if at all, and there are stones in the middle that go both ways. I've got a medium-toned swirly green/white/grey-green that's like glass, nothing soaked in unsealed. The only way to know is to not fall in love with a stone until you test an unsealed sample of it.

    Even though I was oversensitive about needing to seal, in reality I fell in love with a stone and then was relieved that it didn't need sealing. Most sealers last for years without needing to be reapplied so that it's just not something to worry about.

  • gwent

    I'll chime in here as I just went thru this decision process. We are going with Quartz for our craftsman- inspired kitchen having started with my being in love (infatuated?) with soapstone and pietra cardosa.Orgininally I wanted something matte and "organic"...but then changed my mind and after viewing all the input on this site abt maintenance issues we settled on Quartz Cambria Kensington. I didn't want a lot of movement,(the focus in my kitchen is on other elements ) , and the easy care of Quartz sold me. In the wise words of you senior GW-ers (not in terms of age but experience !) Go with what you like.

  • kitdreamr

    We also chose quartz -- for the zero maintenance. With kids, dogs and a well used kitchen, it was the best choice for us. Can anybody comment on the time it takes from template to installation for quartz? Is it as long as granite?

  • glad

    i started planning on quartz for the mainetnance, but ended up with granite for the movement. there are a bunch of us here that made the switch because, after looking at granite, the quartz that looked okay initially looked fake. i'm getting a medium tone (yellow river) that definitely needs sealing; hopefully it is not o bad to maintain.
    on the length of time from template to install, i think that probably varies. i got very lucky with my timing -- template tuesday, install this afternoon. :)

  • mlraff53

    We also chose Quartz. I love the swirls on the granite, but the zero maintenance and cheaper price sold me.
    I've been waiting for my counter top for 2 weeks and they said they won't be able to give me a date for at least another week. That will take me to 3-4 weeks. They promised 8 days when I bought it.

  • ponydoc

    Our template to install will probably be about 4 weeks. That is probably longer than needed but our builder is on vacation for a week and doesn't want the countertops installed while he is gone. We are new construction so it's not as urgent as a remodel!

  • mls99

    Quartz for me: 2 young kids, husband who doesn't wipe up very often, plus I want the clean all-white look, so lack of movement is a positive for me.

  • laurap_2007

    I'm going with quartz (Blanco Maple pattern by Silestone) because I want a maintenance-free, durable, light colored countertop that isn't too "busy." While granite can be gorgeous, I don't want to have to seal it, and most patterns I've seen are either too dark or too busy for my small, narrow kitchen.

  • vrjames


    I am not going to wade in much here.......just to say Sue has nailed it in my opinion.

    Chef, I have placed my "oven" hot items directly on my granite for 6 years now... There is a video linked on the MIA's website where they heated a resined slab to 1000degrees then cooked a steak on it.

    Caligirl.... the "invasive" process is so regulated in most countries the quarries must be left as found minus the stone removed. The creation of the epoxy is documented as extremely toxic. The materials for Epoxy are all extremely toxic until they are combined and cured. So how is it you consider them more enviro friendly?


  • mondragon

    I'm saying this in a happy tone of voice, not questioning the people who have chosen quartz, but when I see over and over the same line - "quartz because it's zero maintenance" - I really feel like I need to speak up and say that most granite is also as close to zero as you can get without actually being zero - and a significant amount is equal to quartz composite.

    I'd hate to see someone who loves the look of granite deny it to themselves because others talk about the amount of maintenence required as though granite by definition required substantially more than quartz composite. It doesn't.

  • ventupete

    Agree with Mondragon. We have had a "Tobacco" granite for over six years. I tried to seal it initially, but virtually none of the sealant absorbed into the granite. I have not sealed it since. With three kids, and a wife who cooks extensively, all kinds of nasty things (some of which is my DW's cooking) have been left on it overnight without any evidence of staining or other damage. It is truly zero maintenance (wish I could say the same for our polished marble bathroom counters!).

  • chefkev

    vrjames - I didn't claim to be an expert on either quartz or granite, was just trying to share current information I'd gathered. I am actually a real life chef, so the counter I'm most familiar with is stainless steel, but don't want that in my home kitchen. I have great respect for the "experts" on this forum and have learned a ton. This is my first ever home kitchen remodel so I'm new at this. It's great that two have posted that granite is very heat resistant, but at the price I was quoted for granite counters, I'd be afraid to put really hot stuff on it for fear that I'd be the unlucky person who put it on a hidden fracture and ruined it. What really surprised me was the people selling the quartz countertops saying don't put hot stuff on it. Can't tell if they're just afraid of a lawsuit and it's really OK to put hot stuff on it, or if there's really a significant risk. Still haven't decided what to get. Thanks to everyone for all the great posts - They've been a huge help!

  • sue_ct

    The problem with the quartz is not the quartz component but the resin used to glue it together, I think. Anyway, there have been problems with seams popping, and it is the resin that makes it less then completely stain proof also.


  • fondantfancy

    The hot pot issue is an important one for me. Yes I know I can use a trivet, but the trivet is never there where I need it.

    We have ceramic tile surfaces at the moment, which I put hot pots on all the time. I am having butchers block on my island, but wanted granite next to the oven/cooktop and by the sink. If I can't put hot pots on it I don't want it.

    I'm going to see the granite for the first time this morning so I will ask the question, but I am reassured to hear people have used granite for years without problems.

  • soupgirl

    This forum is a wonderful source for information and I enjoy it immensely but you will learn, once you've been here awhile, that people are passionate about their countertops and feel whatever they have chosen is the best. Truth is every countertop material has its pluses and minuses.

    You should pick the countertop that fits your budget and appeals to you. Since you said you like granite best, then I'd go with granite. There are plenty of granites that require no sealing if zero maintenance is important to you.

  • verynewcook

    I too, have been struggling with this choice. However, I have to say I have had a very large granite slab and counters for over 8 years and have never sealed it since installation. It has been maintenance free, I put hot pots on it all the time and have seen nothing. Perhaps there is a lot of variation depending on the type of granite, otherwise I can't make sense of folks experience of it being higher maintenance than quartz outside of its initial sealing.

    Also, just as a note, in my research online I found a website that had a long discussion that asserted that these large quartz companies mislead the public on the the advantages of quartz over granite (that it is easier to maintain for one, that it is more environmentally friendly etc.) The discussion purported that this was all about marketing and confusing the consumer all in the name of profit. I am not saying this is true, just what I read. However, it is certainly something to consider when we know large corporations with lots of marketing dollars are involved and there is the potential for massive profit if the American public leaves granite for a product like Silestone or Ceaserstone. Just trying to get to the truth here and not be mislead by marketing tools. It is hard to know what is true!

  • sue_ct

    I know people who have quartz and each one loves it. No maintenance, no problems. I also know people with granite who love it and have had no problems. Now, it has a lot to do with which granite you pick. Ask about it, and get one you will be happy with. For example, Costa Esmeralda is known to have a lot of fissures in it. I probably would not plan on putting pots and pans directly from the oven or stove top on it. A more consistent granite with few fissures would probably be a lot better for you if want to do that. And stick to a darker color for no maintenance. Ask the stone experts here for stones with few fissures that don't need sealing and you will probably get a list of granites better suited for you than some others. It would be easier if it were, but the truth is that it is just not as simple as "granite is this" and "quartz is that" Now, ask the experts, but I am thinking some good ones might be Uba Tuba, Black Galaxy, Absolute black. If you have color preferences, mention those also. I am sure you would get some good, very appropriate suggestions.


  • jakkom

    It's always wise to remember that what is called granite by vendors, often is NOT. It's stone, but not technically granite. Especially those beautiful blue "granites" - the blue color comes from sodalite, an extremely soft and easily damaged rock.

    Granite is beautiful, and each piece is unique. That is a strength (its one-of-a-kind attraction) and a weakness (there are a number of people here who have panicked when their slabs were cracked or damaged in the fabrication or install).

    Quartz and solid surface counters have consistency, which can be in itself a plus if you are designing a kitchen with other "bling" elements that you would prefer not have upstaged by the countertops. Or, in our case, we were replacing counters but not cabs, so I ran around with a cabinet door in my car for two months before I found the right color that would work.

    Simply put, they both will work, it just depends on which one will fit best into your overall kitchen design.

  • berryberry

    We were initially planning quartz after buying into the no maintenance hype. However, our mindset is now granite because of the better look (we like movement) plus we learned that granite is virtually maintenance free as well.

    Now, if one liked sameness of pattern with no movement, then quartz may be a slightly better choice

  • lesteck

    No one has mentioned the new Permasealed Granite. This new material, sold by Home Depot (no plug intended, but it is an exclusive licensing) has a 15 year gaurentee for no maintenance, and is a granite countertop in various pattern/sources. A super-high heated sealant that absorbs and is cooled to prevent 100% staining.
    We're looking at this but are a little hesitant because it is so new. Any advice?

  • pompeii

    Anyone with quartz, please be careful putting hot pots directly on your countertops. They can "burn" (I think the epoxy actually melts a little) and cannot be repaired. I was a countertop expediter at Expo Design Center up until about three years ago, and we had to replace some quartz countertops because they were sold as heat proof but in reality were not. I'm not taking sides here, I just don't want anyone to damage their tops.

    There is another 15 year sealer called Stain Proof that you can purchase to apply to any granite, previously sealed or not. You can just purchase it and put it on yourself. Just in case you want the peace of mind but don't want to have to purchase one of HD's permashield colors.

    Here is a link that might be useful: stain proof

  • kas81057

    quartz here, and i do love it but
    also admire so much of the granite i see here
    comes down to personal choice

    for the question on how long does it take after templating (for Cambria's quartz)?
    Mine was under a week.
    Pretty quick, as the contractor said. He told me that it is shipped overnight to them.

    As an aside, another thing he told me, which may be a comfort to some posters who have issues with their cabinetry not being correct(myself included) he does jobs all over the NY suburbs and no matter where, who, etc. the cabinets are from, there is ALWAYS a problem. He has been in the business for years and has yet to see a problem free job(in relation to the cabinets).
    Made me feel a little better......

  • Happyladi

    I have had quartz countertops for almost 5 years now. People think it is granite, sometimes I tell them, sometimes I don't. I am very happy with it. Even If I got granite I would pick one without a lot of movement.

    I think granite and quartz are both great countertop materials. If you get granite, you can get a sample to take home and test to see if it stains.

  • Cloud Swift

    First, neither "quartz" or "granite" are accurate names. Quartz is a mineral which is found in some of the "granites" as well as in the "quartz" countertops. The "quartz" countertop materials are made of a mix of quartz and resin so engineered stone is a more accurate name. The commercial stone industry uses "granite" for just about any hard metamorphic or igneous rock. Some of them are geologic granites (which are always igneous) but there are many other types of rock sold as "granite".

    lesteck, the HD permaseal stuff is fairly limiting - they only use the most common colors and most of it is the fairly uniform granite. Because granite or quartz installation quality is very dependent on the fabricator, I would prefer to chose my own fabricator after seeing samples of the work they do. Also, HD may not let you choose or even approve your slabs and how the templates are placed on it (even with the more uniform ones I would want to do that). I don't think their sealing is anything magic. There are plenty of good sealers out there.

    jkom and sue, one can't generalize granite by colors. While more light granites may be more porous than dark granites, there are some that are light and still low porosity. One beautiful blue stone, Blue or Azul Bahia, is a sodalite-syenite (type of stone that can have etching and staining issues), there are other blue stones that don't have that issue. The worst thing about blue is that it often costs more because there aren't many brilliant blue stones.

    For example, some on this forum have installed Van Gogh (Blue Luise), Azul Macaubas and Azul Do Mar - stones that have white and aqua blue tones. Those are quartzite (not engineered stone containing mainly quartz - stone formed in the ground from mainly quartz). It is durable, hard and low porosity. Our Azul Do Mar has some white areas and they don't stain at all.

    One really needs to get a sample and test it to know how a particular granite will perform. There is a chart that includes water absorption numbers for some granites on (the FAQ has a link to the charts), there are so many granites and granite naming is so variable that many will granites aren't on the chart and when one has a name that is on the chart it is difficult to know for sure that it is the same as what was tested.

    Be sure to test with kitchen acids like lemon juice or vinegar - a very few of the stones sold as "granite" can etch. Porosity can be fixed by sealing, but etching can't.

    I would say that the main difference between quartz and granite is aesthetic - one can get some granites that are as uniform as quartz but one can't get quartz with the veining/ movement and color variations of granite; one can get some colors in quartz that are difficult to find in granite. And difference comes from that variability of granite - you could go in and buy just about any quartz knowing about how it will perform (mostly but not entirely true since some of the fancier newer colors have had fading or chipping issues) but buying granite you need to be a little careful - test the stone, ask here and on the stone advice forum whether that granite is known to have issues.

  • ctkathy

    I looked at guartz and granite. Wanted little movement and really wanted limestone, but too afraid of maintenance. I had granite for 10 years in old kitchen and never a problem.

    Granite is very cold, especially on your arms in the morning at the island.

    I put hot pans on granite--no problems to date.

    I settled on granite for this kitchen because I could not get one slab of quartz big enough for my island (5.5 x 9)and I didn't want a seam if possible.

  • lkremodel

    I wonder how much advertisizing costs contribute to the product cost? It occurs to me that one doesn't see as many granite ads (only local suppliers in local newspapers) vs the more visible quartz ads in national publications.

  • caligirl_cottage

    vrjames, just to clarify my point about granite and it's impact on the environment. Most granite these days is coming from China which first of all is thousands of miles of transport, and secondly, there is little in the way of protection and re-establishment after the quarry is completed. However, your point is taken about epoxy though I'm not sure about each and every one, when resin is used it's often a pretty inert natural base. What I know is that the ceasarstone product can be used towards a LEED credit, so for some reason it's considered eco-friendly. I'd guess it's the recycled content.

  • live_wire_oak

    Quartz advertises itself as 93% quartz, with the rest being an acrylic resin. THat is true IF you count by weight. By volume, the resin content is over 50%, so that is why it's less heat resistant. The plastic content is higher than most are led to believe by the advertising. The advertising would also have you believe that all quartz countertops are equal in their properties. They are not. SOme of the newer colors which use more of a quartz flour rather than larger quartz crystals can be quite soft and damanged by ordinary tough kitchen use. The other aspect of it is that, similar to Corian, because the resin is an acrylic one, any scratches will show white rather than the base color. And, even though you can scratch some of the softer quartz countertops, resurfacing that scratch is definately NOT a DIY job which Corian possibly can be.

    THe Stonemark granite ( sold at Home Depot at least does offer some form of confidence in their sealer and it's process by offering a 15 year warranty against staining (not abusive staining) and for the structural integrity of the stone. That warranty, and the fact that it is backed by Home Depot, can at least assure customers that in a market with very little regulation (stone) at least one major retailer will back their product and put their money where there mouth is. Of course, most of the granites offered under the Stonemark process are ones that really don't need sealing in the first place, so take it all with a grain of salt on that. BUt, if you're interested in a lighter granite, they are worth checking out.

  • jakkom

    cloud_swift, I remember your gorgeous counter photos! Thank you for your always clear explanations. I admit I was not thinking of quartzite when the OP mentioned quartz. You are quite right that blue quartzite (quartz is rated harder than granite, I believe?) has no issues with etching and staining as the softer blue granites do.

    Again, that points up the weakness in the stone industry. The names aren't consistent, and neither is the quality of the stone itself (no matter what type) nor the installers. It remains a "cottage industry" in many respects, which is why YMMV, as reported in many a discussion thread here.

    I think it's great that we have so many choices these days, even if it does drive one slightly crazy!

  • lynninnewmexico

    For me, the bottom line was easy maintenance. Over the years, I'd already been through every type of counter and appliance and was looking for long-lasting, good quality and very low maintenance with this new kitchen. I went with Silestone and am loving it!

  • sarschlos_remodeler

    I am looking at quartz, granite and soapstone. Haven't made any decisions so I have no emotional investment in any of the three yet. I do like that soapstone is easy to repair if it chips or dings. I have heard of quartz counters getting chips that can't be repaired.

  • supremesurface

    High quality countertop surfaces made from quartz or granite, can offer a dramatic statement to virtually any room. If your considering an update to your kitchen counters, bath vanities or bar tops, your bound to stumble upon quartz or granite countertops. These popular countertop surfaces are not only about the most desirable options, they are also your most durable options. I hope the contents of this article help sift through the conflicting opinions as to which surface is truly better for your home. To read the whole article visit

    Here is a link that might be useful: Quartz or Granite Countertops

  • supremesurface

    I had to edit the url because I put a www. in front of the blog. If your interested in the whole article about quarts or granite follow the useful link.

    Here is a link that might be useful: Quartz or Granite Countertops

  • tomson2101_yahoo_com

    Choose what you have your heart set on. They are both valid options for your kitchen worktop.

    Here is a link that might be useful: Worktops

  • odara32_yahoo_ca

    have you try pre fab quartz. It will save you so much money. check this company out

    Here is a link that might be useful: stone company

  • ggrr8t

    My understanding of the maintenance on granite is you simply spend approx. 20 minutes once a year to wipe in a sealer.
    How can that be a problem? why would anyone not choose it for that ONE REASON alone? The time and effort put into your new kitchen, then not use counter-top because you need 20 minutes once a year to seal?

  • wgolemon_hotmail_com

    I was renting a place with 7 other college guys and there were marble countertops in the kitchen. She didn't tell us they were marble and needed extra care until after we moved in. SHe bought us plexi glass to cover the counters but still water seeped in and marked the counters. there were also a few marks and cracks already there. But we did significantly mark and rough up the counters just from glasses and the water getting under the plexi glass. do you think we are responsible for the fixing cost? if it is un fixable the replacement cost? Thanks

  • yinglislu_hotmail_com

    Does anyone know if certification of radiation level on the slab is provided by vendor? If not, who could provide such service and what cost?

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