How to Choose the Best Countertop for Your Kitchen 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.
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.
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).
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.
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).
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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.
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