How to Choose the Best Countertops for your Kitchen or Bathroom
If you’re in the process of selecting new countertops for your home, you know that choosing the best countertop material can be overwhelming. You can get it down to the two most popular choices – quartz and granite. But, which one is a better choice for you? 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).
I want to make the design process as simple as possible for you. So I’m breaking down the basics for selecting the best countertop option for your lifestyle. I’ve got the pros and cons all laid out so you can make the best choice.
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What is quartz?
Quartz countertops are an engineered stone product made up of natural quartz (93%). But they are also manufactured with additional compounds such as polymer resins, making it technically “engineered.” This means that, as a man-made product, it is much more customizable than granite. So, a wider range of applications, colors and unique patterns are available to choose from. The appearance overall is more consistent and predictable. You can even choose from many solid colors for a more modern look. Quartz options can mimic the color and look of natural stone (like marble countertops) but with a non-porous surface, and without the hassle of being damage-prone. In this way, you get the high-end look you want without those potential problems. In addition, because this an engineered product, you can opt for oversized slabs with certain quartz manufacturers to avoid seams on larger kitchen islands.
What are the Pros and Cons of Quartz Countertops?
Quartz Countertops – Pros
Quartz is an easy-to-maintain solid surface 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. The color pigments used in the manufacturing of
Quartz Countertops – Cons
Because of its engineering, quartz is quite a bit heavier than granite. So, installation could possibly be more expensive. 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).
What is granite?
Granite, which is an igneous rock, was formed hundreds of millions of years ago from scorching magma buried deep within the earth’s crust (I know, this sounds intense). It is 100% natural material. Stone is excavated, 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. Granite countertops aren’t customizable designs 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.
What are the Pros and Cons of Granite Countertops?
Granite Countertops – 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 laminated countertops or butcher block countertops).
Granite Countertops – 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. I recommend using a professional top do this job.
What Countertop is Best for Kitchens?
Both quartz and granite counters 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.
Are quartz countertops heat resistant?
It’s not advisable to place hot pans directly on quartz counters. While these have some heat resistance, exposing them to high heat from a hot pan can lead to material damage. It’s recommended to use a trivet to protect the quartz countertop from potential discoloration or cracking caused by heat.
Are granite countertops heat resistant?
A granite surface does have some inherent heat resistance. It can tolerate brief contact with hot pots without enduring damage, as long as the heat distribution is even. Nonetheless, my advice is to refrain from placing hot pans on directly on your granite countertop. Use trivets and hot pads to avoid excessive heat and protect your investment.
What countertop is fade resistant?
Quartz countertops meant for inside your house might lose their color if they’re exposed to lots of direct sunlight. Don’t worry too much unless you’re using them outdoors. Granite has an exceptional resistance to fading making it a great choice for outdoor kitchens.
Which is more expensive granite or quartz?
When choosing between granite and quartz countertops for your kitchen or bathroom, most of my clients want to consider the price difference. We all have a budget, right?! For granite countertops, the average cost ranges from $60 to $100 per square foot depending on the granite slabs. The price of granite fluctuates based on factors such as the uniqueness and origin of the stone. With quartz countertops, usually fall in the $85 to $130 per square foot range. The variation in price between these two countertop materials is mainly due to the manufacturing process of quartz and the distinct patterns and colors available in granite. So, while both granite and quartz offer attractive options for your home, the price may play a factor when making your choice.
Which countertop material is non-toxic?
If you’re taking a non-toxic approach to your home project, you will want to choose a material with low to no VOCs (volatile organic compounds). Quartz is a great choice, however, be sure to check certifications for the product you are using to validate its safety. All quartz products are not equal, but overall it provides good indoor air quality and compatibility with non-toxic cleaning products. However, similar to the radiation levels found in granite, the VOC levels found in quartz are considered trace, and safe.
What types of countertops are sustainable?
Granite, a natural stone, offers durability and low toxicity, but its environmental impact comes from mining and transportation. Opt for locally sourced granite to reduce emissions. Engineered quartz provides consistency, is non-porous, and can have recycled content, though its production process requires energy and resources.
What countertops go with oak cabinets?
I know there are a few of you out there asking this important question…check out my post HERE to get the scoop!
What are other natural stone options for countertops?
More natural stone countertops…
- Quartzite Countertops: Offer durability, natural beauty, and some resistance to heat and scratching (pros), but they may require more maintenance, can be prone to etching (cons).
- Marble: Renowned for their timeless elegance, unique veining patterns, and a cool, luxurious feel (pros), but they are susceptible to staining, etching, and require regular sealing and careful maintenance (cons).
- Serpentine Countertops: Prized for their distinctive, greenish colors and natural variability, often featuring intricate patterns, and they tend to be heat-resistant (pros), but they can be relatively soft, making them prone to scratching and requiring more care to maintain their appearance (cons).
- Slate Countertops: Appreciated for their earthy, rustic appearance, resilience to heat, and minimal maintenance needs (pros), yet they can be susceptible to chipping, may require periodic sealing, and have a more limited range of available colors and finishes (cons).
- Limestone Countertops: Exude a soft, natural beauty and are often available in warm, earthy hues, making them ideal for a rustic or classic aesthetic (pros), but they are relatively porous, which can lead to staining and require regular sealing, and they are more vulnerable to scratching and acidic substances (cons).
- Sandstone Countertops: Offer a unique, textured look with natural variations, good heat resistance, and are relatively low-maintenance (pros), but they are susceptible to staining, can be porous, and may require periodic sealing, and their surface can wear down over time (cons).
- Soapstone Countertops: Cherished for their timeless appearance, excellent heat resistance, and natural darkening over time, which can add character (pros), yet they are prone to scratching and may require regular oiling for maintenance, and their color options are somewhat limited (cons).
- Onyx Countertops: Prized for their stunning, translucent appearance, creating a dramatic focal point, and they can be backlit for a mesmerizing effect (pros), but they are very delicate, easily scratched, vulnerable to etching, and require meticulous care to maintain their beauty, making them a high-maintenance choice (cons).
- Travertine Countertops: Appreciated for their warm, earthy tones, natural veining, and timeless elegance, often used in rustic or Mediterranean-inspired designs (pros), but they are porous and prone to staining and require regular sealing and delicate handling to prevent damage, limiting their suitability for high-traffic areas (cons).
In the grand showdown of Quartz vs. Granite countertops, we’ve sifted through them both to unveil their unique personalities and perks. So, whether you’re Team Quartz or Team Granite, remember, there’s no wrong choice, to choose your best option it ultimately comes down to your personal preferences on style, budget, and lifestyle. Let me know your choice in the comments!