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Anyone used 'Granite Shield'? Go with granite or quartz?

April 8, 2011

We are still deciding on our countertops -- stuck between granite (pretty/organic looking/less $$) and quartz (low to no maintenance might suit our messy family better/also pretty in a different way). My husband loves the no-maintenance/no-worry aspect of quartz. (We have left, and will in the future, a glass with a ring of red wine on the counter overnight, and we don't want to worry about staining.) He also prefers the consistent look of quartz (although we're looking at New Venetian Gold or Giallo Ornamentale granite, which don't have a LOT of movement.)

One yard/fabricator that our kitchen designer has worked with (and recommended) really pushes the "Granite Shield" permanent sealer. Is this a gimmick, or is it a way to get the best of both worlds? Anyone have experience with Granite Shield -- good or bad?

Or -- any last advice to push us one way or the other on the counter-top choice fence (quartz or granite)?


Comments (12)

  • austennut

    As I write this, our granite is being installed. And it has the permanent sealer that has a 20 year warranty, or something like that. So I think it's going to work, and if it doesn't, there's a strong warranty backing it up. So I wouldn't have the sealant be your determining factor. I'd base it on which look you think will be better for your kitchen.

  • coloradoroots

    Look very, I mean very closely at the warranty on any 10+ year sealer products. Also read the fine print on quartz stone products......

    This goes for any warranty, sometimes they are just an up-sell.

  • jgs7691

    That was my sense, colorado -- I am not typically one to rely on extended warranties, and I would want this to actually enhance the granite, not just make us feel better that we would have someone to complain to if it stains.

    That brings me to another concern about granite -- even if I were to have a nice warranty, and they were unable to get a stain out, yada yada, and had to replace the stone -- how in the world can I ever expect to get a slab that matches the rest of the kitchen, perhaps years down the road?

    Maybe I should just go with what a friend said, "so many people have granite -- how can it possibly be rocket science to maintain it?"

  • chrisfoster

    I have been in the home building business for more the 25 years and in the high end market for about 10 years. We have built many inventory homes in the 1.3 to 1.8 million dollar range and have used a lot of Silestone counters in those homes.

    We were never disappointed with the look after they were installed but on one job where we used a honed - dull looking surface, we were not to impressed with that surface. A satin or brighter finish looks a lot nicer in our opinion.

    We did on one occasion use an absolute black granite on the island and a terracotta colored Silestone on the balance of the tops. It looked awesome. Quartz countertops are more durable then granite and are bacteria resistant as well.

    Granite does give a one of a kind look which is great but you have the maintenance concerns. I am not familiar with the sealer that you are suggesting but I think that I would have heard about it by now.

    The uniformity of quartz is attractive in its own right and the seams are less noticeable. Granite has been so much over the years that it is kind of overused...

    Here is a link that might be useful: silestone countertops

  • Cloud Swift

    One thing to look for in a warranty is whether it says that it covers defects in materials and workmanship but not misuse or abuse. Most warranties say something like that. It gives the manufacturer an out because almost any problem can be attributed to misuse or abuse.

    That said, I think that the "worry-free" aspect of quartz (engineered stone) counters is over emphasized. In Gardenweb postings when we were doing our kitchen there were people who have had chips in their quartz counter and in some cases, they were told it was due to abuse and wasn't covered.

    At the same time, the "maintenance" issue on granite is over emphasized - especially if you choose a stone that is naturally less porous. We checked samples of 3 o 4 stones that we were considering by leaving wine, vinegar and such on them overnight and didn't have staining on any. There definitely are stones that need the sealant to protect them, so I'm not saying that all stones would be the same as that.

    Our "granite" (Azul do Mar is really a quartzite) has been in for 6 years and we haven't done anything to it other than cleaning the surface as needed. We have no staining problems. In our multi-cook household, people aren't always careful. I've found dried on spots of wine, jam or such on the counter and wiped it off easily.

    Even on the more porous granites, stains usually aren't permanent. A friend has one of the more porous granites and did have a stain shortly after it was put in because it hadn't been sealed enough but the stain worked its way out over a few days of cleaning it each day. In more extreme cases, a poultice can be used on a stain to remove it (something that will dissolve the stain and some absorptive material to absorb it as it comes out of the stone).

  • jgs7691

    @chrisfoster -- you made a very good point about the uniformity of quartz being part of its beauty. My husband explained that one of the reasons why he likes quartz is because "it's what counters should look like." I think that may be what he was getting at, too -- we're used to living with (and liking) pretty uniform countertop materials. I think the uniformity of the quartz allows the counters to be functional spaces rather than art, and I mean that in a good way.

    And I do take the "bulletproof" quartz and "stain-prone" granite comments with a grain of salt. I know that "mileage may vary" depending on everyone's different circumstances and habits (and luck of the draw on a good fabrication or piece of stone, for that matter.)

    So, as of 6:30 eastern time, Saturday April 9, I am tilting over the quartz side of the fence.

    Would love additional comments or insights on these issues, though.

  • charlikin

    I went back and forth about granite vs. quartz also. Especially once I discovered that some of the darker granites were considered pretty bullet-proof and didn't need to be sealed. Ended up with quartz because it gave me more peace-of-mind. I read a few posts from people who had one of the supposedly bullet-proof granites and got etching anyway. Of course, I didn't notice any of the posts about possible chips in quartz until after it was installed (and I chose one of the quartzes with the bigger pieces in it that's more prone to chipping).

    All of that said, I'm very happy with my quartz. No chipping. Spills clean right up - even after I've accidentally left them overnight. Looks gorgeous. Yeah, I like the big sweeping patterns you can get with granite, but the quartz is still very pretty.

    Make sure there's a particular quartz that you like. Some of them looked "flatter" to me - like the patterns were painted on. The one I chose had translucent pieces that gave the stone more "depth", more like a "real" stone. If I hadn't found that one, I might have gone with granite after all.

  • Buehl

    I originally wanted engineered stone (quartz) b/c I had heard how maintenance-intensive granite was...in particular, having to seal it several times a year.

    I did some research and discovered that in reality, most granite is NOT labor/maintenance-intensive, it's pretty easy. Granted I do have one of the so-called "bullet-proof" stones (Absolute Black Premium), but even for those that aren't, sealing is really only needed once or twice a year and is actually pretty easy.

    Regardless of what anyone tells you, nothing, including engineered stone, is "bullet-proof".

    I have some rainbow "stains" around my sink cutouts & faucet holes that are due, I think, to fabrication and nothing can be done about it...but nothing else has happened to it and it's never been sealed.

    Engineered stone has resin, so some thought about being careful with heat is in order (melting/scorching). I suspect it's not a huge risk, but it's possible. Granite might crack due to thermal shock if you put a hot pot on it...again, I don't know how big a risk is, but it is a risk.

    Both can be chipped.

    Both can be scratched if something harder than it is dragged across it (like a diamond ring!)

    Even engineered stone can stain...I've seen a post or two about that (it's been awhile, but I remember the shock!)

    I suggest that whatever you decide on, take home a sample of your slab (if granite) or a sample of your chosen engineered stone and test it. See the "Read Me" thread for some of the tests to perform. Scroll down to the "Miscellaneous Information" topic (it links to a "stone advice & checklist" thread).

    Here is a link that might be useful: Read Me If You're New To GW Kitchens!

  • breezygirl

    Ditto what Buehl said, and regarding the intimation that granite is not bacterial resistant I say phooey. It's been shown over and over than granite is not a bacteria problem. The myth seems to have been created by the engineered stone manufacturers to sell more of their product by bashing the natural stone.

    Test whatever you're interested in and know that nothing is stain, scratch, or chip resistant. Oh, and the lighter quartzes can yellow over time with exposure to sunlight.

  • sas95

    I went with Caesarstone quartz solely because I love the uniform look. It is clean and modern, and exactly what I wanted for my kitchen. Vast, sweeping, swirling patterns look great in some kitchens, but they don't go with every design, and certainly did not create the look I was going for.

    In the end, I think both materials are durable and good choices, but when you have the busier grantites, they need to be the focal point of the room or things get out of hand. A cleaner countertop material gives you more leeway to use more color, pattern and texture in other parts of your kitchen, imo.

  • weissman

    You can get a uniform, bullet proof, granite if you go with a darker, denser granite - some examples are blue pearl and uba tuba. I've had blue pearl for 10 years and no stains whatsoever. Even the lighter granites can be sealed and resist stains. The bacteria issue is nonsense.

  • sushipup1

    Robin, we call it spam. Please flag all self-promoting posts.

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