Quartz vs. Granite Kitchen Countertops

How to Choose the Best Countertop for Your Kitchen Design

The best countertops for your lifestyle. Spacious white kitchen with Cambria quartz countertops.
A kitchen island with a Cambria quartz countertop in a white and grey marbled design elevates this kitchen space and adds a bright and airy aesthetic. (Interior Design by Carla Bast | Carla Bast Design)

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Multi-colored granite countertops in grey and white kitchen
A classic subtle multi-colored granite countertop gives a sense of timelessness to this creamy traditional white kitchen. (Interior Design by Carla Bast | Carla Bast Design)

If you’re in the process of selecting your countertops for your kitchen renovation, you know that choosing the best countertop material can be overwhelming. You can get it down to the two most common and popular countertop options – quartz and granite. But deciding between them can leave you feeling lost in all of the information. Of course, you can always split the difference and use both for a truly unique design (think perimeter kitchen counters in dark granite and the kitchen island in white quartz).

We want to make the design process as simple as possible for you. So we’re breaking down the basics for selecting the best counter option for your lifestyle. If a quick how-to guide sounds right up your alley, scroll on down. We’ve got the pros and cons all laid out. It’ll be the only reference guide you’ll ever need.

What is quartz?

Quartz countertops are made up of natural materials (stone). But they are also manufactured with additional compounds, making it technically “engineered.” This means that, as a man-made product, it is much more customizable than granite. So, a wider range of colors and patterns are available to choose from. The appearance overall is more consistent and predictable. Quartz options can mimic the color and look of natural marble, but without the hassle of being damage-prone (natural marble is very porous and easily etches and stains). In this way, you get the high-end look you want without those potential problems. In addition, you can opt for oversized slabs with certain quartz types to avoid seams on larger kitchen islands.

Grey and white marbled Cambria kitchen counters
Quartz countertops are available in an extensive variety of colors, patterns, and styles. This is a close-up shot of one of our kitchen island designs that used Cambria quartz and gave the countertop a beautiful marble-like look. (Interior Design by Carla Bast | Carla Bast Design)

Pros

Quartz is an easy-to-maintain countertop material , built for daily wear and tear. It isn’t porous (due to the engineering process), so it repels stains and spills. Additionally, it’s also antimicrobial, slightly more durable, and less prone to chips, cracks, or imperfections. Maintenance, as a result, is straightforward. Simply clean spills as they happen and use a mild soap and water combo or cleaner. Quartz ranks a bit higher than granite in terms of sustainability since there is less cost involved with sourcing materials and transporting slabs. 

Grey and white kitchen with Cambria quartz counters
Marbled white and grey Cambria quartz anchors this bright white kitchen, giving it a high-end look and countertop durability to last. (Interior Design by Carla Bast | Carla Bast Design)

Cons

Because of its engineering, quartz is quite a bit heavier than granite. So, installation could possibly be more expensive. Price-wise, it is almost identical to the cost of granite, though (depending on the quartz manufacturer). Thus you won’t be saving much in your budget going for this option. Additionally, should you have any damage occur on your quartz countertop, repairs can be more complex and costly. However, some quartz manufacturers do have a warranty (versus no warranty options for granite countertops).

White quartz kitchen countertops with charcoal kitchen island and stainless steel appliances
Streamlined quartz kitchen countertops with white perimeter cabinets make this contemporary kitchen shine, contrasting beautifully against the charcoal kitchen island. (Interior Design by Carla Bast | Carla Bast Design)

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What is granite?

Granite is a 100% natural excavated stone cut into slabs and polished to perfection before being sold. Each slab is entirely unique with natural imperfections and unexpected veining and striations in the stone. Kitchen granite countertops aren’t customizable like quartz. This means the selection process can be lengthy if you’re looking for a specific color or overall appearance. Each slab is one-of-a-kind. If you love a good dose of character in your design, then granite is the aesthetic choice for you.

Quartz kitchen countertops on kitchen island, leathered granite countertops on perimeter counters
Granite is sold in large slabs and each piece is entirely unique. From black granite to white granite (and everything in between) there are endless options to choose from. In this kitchen, we used dark granite in a leathered finish (as opposed to a polished finish) for the perimeter countertops and white quartz countertops for the kitchen island. (Interior Design by Carla Bast | Carla Bast Design)

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Pros

Granite is a classic choice and absolutely a high-end solution for kitchen countertops. And beyond its natural and unique appearance, perhaps the biggest pro is its strength. It’s a countertop that will last for years – even decades – to come (unlike less expensive laminates or butcher block countertops).

White kitchen cabinets and grey kitchen island, traditional white kitchen style
This creamy white kitchen is anchored by a traditional multi-colored granite countertop that pairs perfectly with the warm grey subway tile backsplash. (Interior Design by Carla Bast | Carla Bast Design)

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Cons

However, though granite is undoubtedly durable, it is slightly more prone to damage overall. It is, though, much easier to repair, should damage occur. But in general, it does take more effort to maintain. Granite is porous, spills need to be cleaned immediately. You will need to use mild soap and water combos or granite-specific cleaners. So, white kitchen countertops with granite are definitely more susceptible to stains from your daily coffee pour or glass of wine. Furthermore, to keep your granite in tip top shape for the long haul, it’s best to treat it with a granite sealer at least once per year for protection against germs and stains.

Reclaimed wood kitchen island with granite countertops and white cabinets
The unique granite in this kitchen allows for a seamless transition from the reclaimed wood kitchen island to the crisp white cabinets. (Interior Design by Carla Bast | Carla Bast Design)

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Both quartz and granite offer a beautiful addition to your kitchen, and are absolutely worthy of consideration. You just need to decide which aesthetic or maintenance level you are personally comfortable with. At the end of the day, you can’t go wrong with either.

So, now that you’ve got your best countertop picked out, it’s time for the fun part. You’re ready to select the exact stone that will make your kitchen design pop. And if that still feels overwhelming? You can always start with our style quiz to narrow down your personal aesthetic! And don’t forget – we’re here to help. Drop us a line and let’s talk about how we can transform your kitchen into the cooking and entertaining room of your dreams. 

By Megan Johansson, Contributor to Carla Bast Design

6 Responses

  1. Beautiful kitchen inspirations! Quartz is trending here in new construction, but I love how you have laid out the pros and cons of each material so clearly. And you really can’t go wrong with either choice! The biggest mistake I see is choosing a stone from a small showroom sample – with a natural product you absolutely HAVE to look at the slabs you are going to buy to see what you are getting.

  2. So timely – my daughter is in the process of building a house and just asked about this – I’ve shared the article with her. Thanks for having my back!

  3. This is a great post filled will valuable pros and cons of each product. You have made a challenging decision easy to understand. Filled with valuable information, what a great post!

  4. Where I live, most clients are choosing quartz over granite for many of the reasons you listed above.

    When choosing granite, we always go to the yard to hand select. Yet, while quartz is a man made product, I still go and view the slabs and hand select the quartz for kitchens.

    This is a great breakdown Carla!

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Choose your paint colors with confidence

Hi I’m Carla

carla-bast-interior-designer-and-blogger

I’m glad you’re here! You are in the right place if you are feeling overwhelmed at the thought of embarking on a remodeling or interior design project. Living with and outdated 90s era home and don’t know where to start? I’ve helped families like yours update their home and create spaces that reflect what’s important to them for over 25 years.

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