by Kathleen Murray Harris, Southern Living
Inch for inch, your countertops will have the most visual impact on your kitchen. That’s why choosing the right material can be such an agonizing decision! With the abundance of material options and access to millions of inspiring makeover photos, it can be downright hair raising. If you’ve decided on a stone material surface for your countertops, the most popular question is: granite or quartz? Let’s get to the bottom of this debate.
Material: Granite countertops are 100 percent natural. It’s a durable, natural stone that’s mined from quarries around the globe. The slabs are cut and polished for production.
Style: Granite comes in a variety of color palettes from earth browns to solid black, but since it’s natural, each slab will look different from the next (making it harder to choose a pattern). You can expect some “imperfections” in the stone, which gives the counter a more unique feel.
Maintenance: Granite countertops are strong, heatproof, waterproof, and do not deteriorate with age. They’re not easily scratched or stained or damaged by short exposure to foods and oils. Downside, they are slightly porous, which means you might have to get your counter resealed over time. Here’s how to tell: Splash a few water drops on the counter—if the water beads, you’re under seal; if not time to reapply.
Material: Quartz is also a type of hard, natural stone, however the crushed quartz is manufactured with a small percentage (around 5 to 7 percent) of resin or other polymers. Quartz countertops, while mainly a natural material, are man made.
Style: With Quartz you’ll have endless color and pattern choices, making the selection process easier than granite. It will have a more uniform look.
Durability: Quartz countertops are more durable than granite, water resistant, and can withstand higher heat (up to 400 degrees F!). Because they are manufactured and sealed, they’re easier to clean and won’t require much long-term maintenance.
Because these two materials are now more similar in price (around $60 to $90 per square foot, including installation), the decision comes down to what’s most important to you: a natural look (granite) or an easier-to-maintain surface (quartz).