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Quartz vs. Granite Countertops – Which One is Best For YOUR Home?

Posted on April 4, 2022 by KylieMawdsley

GRANITE vs. QUARTZ: what are the BIG differences?

When it comes to updates that add value to your home, granite and quartz countertops are definitely the top contenders. And while there are some FABULOUS high-end laminate countertops, nothing beats the quality and popularity of granite and quartz.

Now, of course, there are other countertop options such as soapstone, marble and concrete, but these aren’t on today’s menu.

Why?

Because HANDS-DOWN, granite and quartz countertops are the most popular choices for style and DURABILITY. But when it comes to these two, it isn’t always about STYLE; there are a few other important considerations. This is why today, you’re getting the answers to the most COMMON questions related to these two competing surfaces.

White kitchen, Calacatta Botanica white quartz countertops, marble look. zellige tile backsplash, Benjamin Moore White Dove painted shaker style cabinets and walls. Kylie M Interiors Edesign

Countertop – MSI Calacatta Botanica / Cabinet colour – Benjamin Moore White Dove

But first, for those of you who are NEW to my blog – welcome to the club; a club where we talk about paint colours, decorating, wine and Ryan Reynolds ALL DAY LONG!

Seriously though, let me say that while paint colours are my JAM, I’ve spent two decades in the decorating and design industry, helping over 7500 homeowners create their dream homes – INCLUDING paint colours, countertops, home update ideas and MORE! I’m an industrious lil Ginger…

Now, let’s get this party started…

Quartz or granite countertops, whats the difference, heat proof, stain proof, modern. Kylie M Interiors decorating and design (1)

1. WHICH COUNTERTOP IS THE MOST HEAT-RESISTANT, GRANITE OR QUARTZ?

Granite is DEFINITELY the most heat resistant, but quartz certainly takes a shot at the title.

GRANITE & HEAT

Granite countertops are REMARKABLY resistant to heat. However, place the same hot pot on the same spot time and time again and you risk losing a bit of colour in your granite countertop. But aside from this, granite countertops are GENERALLY heat-proof. Still worried? Use a trivet.

Painted white kitchen cabinets, black granite countertop, beige taupe backsplash tile, Sherwin Williams Alabaster cabinets, Kylie M and Jenna Christian

Black granite countertops in a budget-friendly update with Sherwin Williams Alabaster cabinets

QUARTZ & HEAT

While quartz countertop does a GREAT job of withstanding heat (not including the less expensive/lower quality brands), even high-quality brands can be damaged by excess heat.

Remember, these countertops are VERY hardy and heat-resistant, they’re just not fool-proof.

This being said, I’m a HUGE fool in the kitchen and am hard-pressed to even wear an apron or bib, never mind putting a trivet under my hot pot of Kraft Dinner. And guess what? So far so good, and that’s in 10 years of homes with quality quartz countertops.

Kitchen with custom metal zinc range hood. Cabinets painted Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter darkened, Caesarstone Statuario Nuvo white quartz countertop, wood island & red oak floor. Kylie M Edesign (1)

Cambria Statuario Nuvo with Revere Pewter cabinets

See the above Tudor Kitchen Remodel HERE

My summary is that while quartz isn’t as heat resistant as granite, it’s better than laminate, butcher block or marble and is pretty darn hardy overall – I would NEVER hesitate to put it in my own home.

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2. DO GRANITE & QUARTZ COUNTERTOPS NEED TO BE SEALED?

Granite? HECK YES. Quartz? NEVER!

GRANITE & SEALANT

Because granite is a natural surface (like marble or soapstone), it will absorb liquids. This being said, it’s harder than marble and soapstone and FAR more resistant to staining, etching and loss of lustre. HOWEVER, if you don’t seal and maintain your granite (depending on how often your particular sealant needs to be reapplied), you risk not only staining and discolouration but MOULD and bacteria build-up.

Wood kitchen island, painted Sherwin Williams Urbane Bronze, orange hue granite countertop, wood floor. Kylie M Interiors Edesign diy

Granite countertop similar to Sienna Beige with Sherwin Williams Urbane Bronze on the island

I was talking to my fave installer and he told me a story of going to a home to install new countertops. The OLD granite countertops were unsealed (or maybe were originally and were never done again). Underneath the countertop in the lazy Susan corner, what was festering there? MOULD. Wooooof. Please, seal your granite.

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QUARTZ & SEALANT

While quartz countertops are approx 90-95% natural, the 5-10% *resin/filler in them makes them pretty darn bullet-proof as it relates to staining (they’re also EXCEPTIONALLY hard to scratch – trust me, cutting boards are against my religion and my countertops are in perfect condition).

*They can also have some pigments added for design/colour.

BUT WAIT, THERE’S AN EXCEPTION! 

With the price point of quartz and granite, it can be tempting to save money – don’t. Cheap quartz countertops are often made with a lower quality resin, making them less resistant to heat, staining and SCRATCHING – ask my neighbour who has a lovely red wine stain on her newer, inexpensive quartz countertop (white wine’s better anyway).

HOWEVER, if you’re looking at one of these products for your bathroom, a more affordable lower-end quartz works if you don’t have to worry about heat tools or use abrasive cleaners.  Right now, we have older granite countertops in our ensuite and they have absorbed a few hair products and whatnot, leaving a few spots (we’re replacing them soon – don’t tell Tim).

Sherwin Williams Agreeable Gray greige taupe off white painted cabinets, White Macaubus quartzite countertops, wood floor. Black hardware. Kylie M Interiors Edesign

MSI White Macaubus with Sherwin Williams Agreeable Gray cabinets, tile backsplash TBA

3. ARE GRANITE & QUARTZ NATURAL PRODUCTS?

Granite? YES. Quartz? Almost.

GRANITE IS 100% NATURAL

While granite has to go through a manufacturing process, it’s 100% natural, which is why you’ll see WILD and unpredictable variation in patterns.

Sherwin Williams painted off white cabinets with granite countertop. Kylie M Interiors Edesign, online paint colour consulting (1)

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QUARTZ IS 90-95% NATURAL

Whereas granite countertops are just like me – alllll natural baby, quartz countertops are like the ‘botox’ versions of the countertop world.

What does this mean?

They’ve been injected with resins and/or fillers to improve their look and performance.

What are these improvements?

1. These resins help to prevent bacteria and mould from forming as the countertops don’t ABSORB anything (kind of like when Tim talks to me). This is also why granite DOES get sealed, as it doesn’t have these resins in it.

2. The use of resins in the creation of quartz countertops allows for altered colours and patterns.

Sherwin Williams Colonnade Gray, Cambria Summerhill quartz countertop, similar to Alabaster painted cabinets

Cambria Summerhill quartz with Sherwin Williams Colonnade Gray paint colour

However, it’s this same resin that can cause discolouration when exposed to HIGH heat, which is why using a trivet is important.

Pendant lights Wayfair , Cambria Brittanica Warm quartz countertop, Urbane Bronze Sherwin painted cabinets. Kylie M Interiors Edesign

Cambria Brittanica Warmsee more of this home HERE

4. WHICH IS HARDER- GRANITE OR QUARTZ?

Both countertops are pretty darn hard based on the MOH’S scale (which measures the hardness of minerals). However, quartz is a weee tiny bit harder, coming in with a score of 7 to granite’s 6 (but this can vary slightly). At the end of the day, they’re pretty comparable.

And personally, unless I’m dealing with a LEGIT soft product like soapstone or butcher block, hardness isn’t a huge consideration for me when choosing between quartz or granite. As for muscles, that’s a whole ‘nother story.

Sherwin Williams High Reflective White cabinets, marble subway tile backsplash, LG white quartz countertop. Kylie M Interiors Edesign, diy decorating ideas

Viatara Rococo with Sherwin Williams High Reflective White

Caesarstone bathroom countertop Bianco Drift with gray and greige tones. Maple vanity painted Benjamin Moore Metropolis. Kylie M Interiors E-design and Color Consulting

Caesarstone Bianco Drift with Benjamin Moore Metropolis vanity

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Want to learn more? READ THIS from MARBLE.COM Is Quartz Harder Than Granite

5. WHICH COUNTERTOP IS THE MOST SCRATCH-RESISTANT – GRANITE OR QUARTZ?

This is where the HARDNESS of a surface comes in handy, especially if you’re considering a countertop OTHER than quartz or granite. The higher its rating on the MOH’S scale, the more resistant a surface will be to scratching and etching.

COUNTERTOPS – SOFTEST TO HARDEST

While there’s a bit of variation depending on the source, this is a good GENERAL guide for hardness (I’m doing my best to not include any innuendos…it’s hard…that’s what she said).

Which countertop is the hardest, quartz, granite, marble, soapstone. Kylie m Interiors

BTW, butcher block/wood and laminate countertops can’t be rated as they don’t fall under this scale/system. If I put myself on the same scale, I’d say I’m a solid 8 – wink wink.

Kylie, what do YOU think is better – quartz or granite?

THESE DAYS, whether you want to hear it or not, quartz is the more MODERN choice. With granite countertops, you’ll never know whether they were installed in the early 2000s or yesterday #truthbomb.

Why?

Because granite is 100% natural, there are rarely any great BREAKTHROUGHS in pattern or colour combos – if Mother Nature doesn’t make it, you ain’t gettin’ it.

Many of the granites being installed today are the SAME ONES that were used 20-30 years ago.

Dark maple red cabinets painted warm neutral gray paint colour, Benjamin Moore Classic Gray. Granite countertop. Kylie M Interiors Edesign, diy blogger

The above granite countertop is one of the more MODERN looking versions – Bianco Antico

Sherwin Williams Alabaster warm white painted wood cabinets, black granite countertop, wood floor. beige backsplash tile, Kylie M Interiors Edesign, Jenna Christians home

A well-chosen black granite can be a timeless, more flexible choice than many other granite countertops

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How to Update Your Older Granite Countertops

This doesn’t make granite a BAD CHOICE, but it isn’t always the most MODERN choice.

Because quartz (in a small part), is man-made, we have the flexibility to make new varieties – ones that shift with the trends. This flexibility allows us to choose a WIDE variety of colours, patterns, veining, flecks and finishes.

Revere Pewter kitchen cabinets, Cambria Brittanica warm quartz, URbane Bronze island, oak wood floor. Kylie M Interiors Edesign (1)

Cambria Brittanica Warm with Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter / AMES tile backsplash

White kitchen cabinets with white bevelled subway tile backsplash, navy blue le creuset accents. Kylie M Interiors Edesign, online paint color consulting and blogger

Viatara Minuet with Sherwin Williams Pure White

And this isn’t to say granite isn’t gorgeous, IT IS – some of my favourite countertops are granite (I LOOOVE the versatility of black granite). However, if you’re looking to update your home, especially with the potential of resale, quartz is HANDS-DOWN the most popular choice.

WANT TO LEARN MORE?

How to Update Your Older Granite Countertops

The New Era of Laminate Countertops & Why They Rock!

3 Ways to Save Money On Your Laminate Countertop

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NEED HELP?

Check out my Online Consulting Packages – talk to the EXPERT! 

The best gray or white paint colours for kitchen or bathroom cabinets. Edesign, online paint color services. Diy home decorating ideas blogger.market

Chat soon,

Kylie M Interiors Edesign, signature, online paint colour consultant using Benjamin Moore and Sherwin Williams paint colours. DIY update advice ideas



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Comments

  1. Wouldn’t quartz looking “modern” now, mean it will look “dated” or “out-dated” in 10-15 years? If the colors and veining in quartz is constantly tweaked to follow trends, it would seem that it would follow that it would, in the future, become a very constant clue as to when the home was built or remodeled.

    I guess I see granite more like wood floors in being a classic choice. The reason you still see the same granites 20-30 years later is because they work. People will have preference in which pattern, just like they might prefer oak or pine, but in general, they can work. Not that there isn’t the occasional granite where you wonder why they didn’t just leave that at the quarry, but generally, you can figure something out.

    Full disclaimer, we just redid our kitchen choosing granite over quartz. The current trends in quartz absolutely did not go with our cabinetry (back to my point about quartz following trends and going to look dated in 10-15 years). And quartz was about 3 times the price over an more unique (non-builder grade) granite. So I could change my mind 3 times on granite for the price of quartz.

    1. Post
      Author

      Hey Marissa, these are very fair points! A lot of it comes down to RESALE. If you plan on living in your home for a long time, you’ve got to do what YOU love best. However, if you’re thinking resale, it’s better to stick with what’s trendy at the time or at least a bit more timeless. I deal with sooooo many granite countertops in my work from the early 2000s that are dated looking and don’t go with more modern approaches to finishes and paint colours – they’re a HUGE talent. This being said, I’m a BIG fan of black granite – it’s DEFINITELY timeless!

  2. I pondered this for a long time — well, actually I was choosing between quartz and marble because I wanted light counters and didn’t like any of the light granites — and ended up with a lovely Fantasy Macaubus quartzite for my kitchen. I’ve been told it has similar durability to granite, while being a 100% natural material. We’ll see how it holds up (and yes, I’ll seal it).

    For all the other countertops (laundry and bathrooms) I went with an inexpensive plain white quartz. The cost for Cambria quartz from my local distributor — not in a big market though — was MORE than US-sourced marble or the quartzite that I ended up picking. I’m hard on my kitchen counters, but bathrooms get much less wear-and-tear, especially as I don’t use heat tools on my hair.

    1. Post
      Author

      Hey! I LOOOOOOOVE Fantasy Macaubus, it’s stunning – a great choice! And yes, in bathrooms, wear and tear are definitely less of an issue, unless you use abrasive cleaners or heat tools – in which case a more cost-effective quartz can be great. I should bring that up in the blog post – thank you!

  3. We’re in the process of starting a kitchen redo and I’m pretty sure we’re going with black granite for the main kitchen countertops. But I love some of the quartz patterns too, so I may consider using that for the island since it won’t be the main cooking/prep area. Best of both worlds!

  4. I definitely prefer the look of quartz. Is the quartz you get from big box stores lower quality than say Cambria or Ceasarstone? Any brands that you would stay away from?
    Thanks. I love all the helpful info you post.

  5. We love the look of quartzite because it looks less busy than most granite and there are many beautiful examples of the stone. We had a nice Taj Mahal selected but were just told in time that there is a problem with quartzite that is cropping up all over the world and it has to do with water staining. It does not happen right away but after several months. My fabricator says they think it is some process that is different from the past practices in the quarrying of the stone. Something in the cleaning process or use of some acid or something that is somehow affecting the stone. So some fabricators are choosing not to use quartzite or requiring customers to sign a waiver similar to that used for marble. So we are now going to choose something other than quartzite. I hope quartzite users don’t have this problem with theirs but be they should be extra careful around water sources such as a sink!

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