Differences between granite and quartz
9 Mar 2012

Differences between granite and quartz

Karli Wilson, Estimator

Granite or engineered stone countertops? For many, this is a decision that can not be made effortlessly. In fact, for many, the distinction between the two countertop types may be hazy at best. So what are some of the differences one might find? Let's take a look and hopefully we can begin to unravel the mystery that is... what is the best countertop that suits you!

When comparing engineered countertops to slab granite countertops, granite will always stand alone as the most unique. Granite is mined directly from the ground, cut into slabs directly from the earth, and then shipped home, polished, sealed and groomed for its exuberant new owner. This lack of processing is what gives granite countertops their natural raw stone essence, and what gives it its depth of light, texture, natural beauty and uniqueness.

For the homeowner that values modernity, uniformity and clean lines, however, engineered stone countertops may be the way to go. Most engineered stone countertops (or quartz countertops) are composed of 93% natural quartz aggregates merged together with 7% colour pigments and polymer resins. This conglomeration of ingredients allows for the production of a fairly consistent product that maintains the look and properties of stone, but allows the customer unbridled creativity in a design aspect and a clean uniform-looking countertop that even mom could be proud of.

Still not sure what type of countertop is the right fit for you? Below is a table that compares many of all the important countertop decision-making variables that may or may not make your decision any easier:

Granite Countertops Engineered Stone Countertops
Composition Natural stone. 93% Natural quartz stone, 7% resins and colours.
Maintenance Re-sealing or reconditioning is recommended once a year. Does not require sealant or surface conditioner.
Stain Resistance Non-porous once sealed therefore stain resistant. Non-porous therefore stain Resistant.
Corrosion, Mould, Mildew and Bacteria Resistance Nonporous once sealed therefore Corrosion, Mould, Mildew and Bacteria Resistant. Nonporous therefore Corrosion, Mould, Mildew and Bacteria Resistant.
Scratch Resistance Most are very scratch resistant however some are softer than others. Very scratch resistant.
Heat Resistance Highly heat resistant. Less heat resistant due to resin component.
Strength Due to veins and fissures, natural stone may be less strong and could require more structural support such as brackets. Strong. Overhangs can be deeper and may require fewer brackets.
Appearance - Less Homogenous and have natural variations such as veins and fissures.- Have a more natural, translucent and elegant look.- Can give a rich appearance - Colour of engineered quartz is more uniform throughout.- More manufactured look and more regular pattern.- Tend to lack the depth of light of natural stone and may look flat.
Variety Infinite Many
Uniformity Between Slabs Each slab is unique. Slabs have more texture and variation. Easier to find large slabs that are exactly the same in colour and pattern.
Seams Seams are required for longer pieces and are visible. Seams are required for longer pieces and are visible.
Cost Granite, depending on the level and availability, is generally slightly cheaper because it is less process-involved. Quartz is generally slightly higher in cost because there is more process involved in production.