Wouldn’t it be great if all countertops were created equal? If this were the case, you would spend less time researching and shopping around for the perfect material to use for your kitchen and bathroom counters. Two of the most popularly used stones used for countertops are granite and quartz. Both come with pros and cons, which can help make the decision buying process a bit easier. Doing your due diligence is always recommended before you make major purchases, especially for home remodeling projects.

Granite, as most people know, is a natural stone created by mother nature. Quartz, on the other hand, is engineered by man. Quartz is man’s improved version of granite, or at least that’s what it was intended to be. A lot of people still lean more towards granite for various purposes. Quartz was created around the 1960s, but didn’t grow in popularity until around the 90s, early 2000s. But the debate still remains ’til today – granite vs quartz…which is better?

Granite 101

Before we can decide which is the best option for your kitchen or bathroom countertops, you first have to learn the differences between the two. We’ll first start with granite. In a nutshell, granite is a natural stone known as igneous rock. It’s 100 percent natural, but oddly enough also contains a bit of quartz. It’s a fine mixture of a variety of minerals, such as amphiboles and feldspar.

To date, granite has been widely used in various applications, such as in residential and commercial kitchens and bathrooms. Some even use it for their fireplace mantles, floors and staircases. It’s grains are easy to identify with the naked eye. Because of its beauty, it has been used as a luxury addition to décor. No one can deny that granite is a stylish piece of stone slab.

So What is Quartz Really?

We already established that there’s a bit of quartz in natural granite stone, but the quartz countertops you’ll find in many people’s kitchens and bathrooms isn’t all-natural. It’s composed of natural elements, but not naturally created. Mankind played a role in its development, which was done by combining resins, pigments and polymers. There are different brands of quartz counters, some containing 75 percent recycled materials, such as mirrors, glass, porcelain and other similar materials.

Now, that you have a clearer picture of the differences between granite and quartz, let’s dive into the pros and cons of each.

What’s So Great About Granite?

Surely, you know some people who are die-hard fans of granite. They may even have their homes decked out with granite floor tiles, granite fireplaces and countertops. Why are so many people in love with it? Let’s take a look:

• It’s easy on the pocket. Especially when you compare it to quartz. The average rate of granite is generally cheaper than quartz, which can be anywhere between $45 per sq ft (entry-level granite) to $85 per sq ft (for exotic slabs). These rates normally include installation and fabrication. The price does add up, depending on how large of a space you’re installing granite to. According to The Kitchn, the cost can rise up to $400 per sq ft installed if the stone is rare and from a unique origin.
• It has a distinct look, making it all your own. No two slabs look exactly the same, giving you your own unique style of granite. It’s a natural stone, which means the variations will be quite extensive. Nature is the artist in this case, so you’re at the mercy of mother nature. Man-made stone slabs have small differences in style. So if you like being unique, then granite is a thumb’s up.
• The slabs are much larger, averaging around 10 feet. You can also obtain jumbo slabs from certain manufacturers. If you have a big kitchen, you can use these large slabs without worry of seams. Some people go with the longer 11 to 12 foot slabs.
• Perfect for indoor and outdoor applications. It’s a natural stone, so it’s designed to withstand outdoor elements. It doesn’t fade away after being out in the sun and rain for a long time. Quartz can’t say the same. If you have an outdoor kitchen, then this would be the ideal stone to go with.

Why Would Anyone Choose Quartz?

It’s easy to see why so many people love granite materials, so why would anyone venture over to quartz? Like granite, it has its pros and cons. Let’s see why some people opt for quartz over granite countertops:

• It’s more eco-friendly than granite, but it does still have an impact, since it requires natural resources to create. According to The Kitchn, quartz is the second most abundant material found within the earth’s crust. However, the way it is mined is rather toxic (which takes place in underdeveloped countries). The good news is that a lot of manufacturers of quartz are GreenGuard certified, which means they have low emissions.
• It’s 100 percent stronger than granite. Quartz is made with more quartz than what’s found in granite, which is why it’s more durable. Cambria is one brand of quartz, which is known to contain about 93 percent pure quartz. Granite, on the other hand, only has between 40 and 60 percent quartz. The durability of quartz allows manufacturers to be more creative with the edge shapes.
• The maintenance is minimal. This is great news for homeowners who don’t want the hassle of dealing with a high-maintenance countertop. Granite is porous, which means it requires sealing to keep from getting stained. This has to be done every so often to keep the countertop looking food. Quartz doesn’t need sealing and doesn’t stain easy either.
• More styles to choose from. There’s a larger variety of quartz slabs to choose from, some patterns resembling natural stones and others a bit more solid. This gives you more freedom to choose a slab that fits your home’s décor.

It doesn’t matter which route you decide to take, both granite and quartz countertops are amazing materials and will look great in any style kitchen. Just make sure to hire an experienced contractor to ensure you get a beautiful installation.