Granite vs quartz worktops – pros and cons, price and care
When you’re planning a new kitchen there are so many choices to make it can be easy to get decision fatigue. However, getting your counters right is key, as worktops are one of the most-used items in your house. With daily use they need to be hard-wearing and practical, without compromising on style. A common question is granite vs quartz? And finding out what works best for you.
Kitchen makers have upped their game in recent years, and there’s a vast range of worktops on offer that will make a real statement in your home, as well as adding a luxury feel to the room.
While quartz and granite may seem similar and are equally durable to withstand all the challenges a busy kitchen can bring, they have some key differences. The primary difference is that granite worktops are completely natural, while quartz worktops are engineered using natural quartz and resin.
Both have benefits and drawbacks. Read Good Homes’ guide to granite vs quartz worktops and which will work best in your home and with your lifestyle.
What is granite?
Having solidified from lava or magma, granite is a coarse-grained rock that covers over 70-to-80% of the earth’s crust. Getting its strength from its crystalline structure, its peppered colour comes from its components, most commonly, a mix of the three minerals: quartz (around 20%), mica, and feldspar.
The pale flecks of white come from the quartz; feldspar often has a salmon pink colouring; and biotite brings the dark browns and black. Granite colours can be more varied, especially if there are dark greens found from amphibole or flecks of gold from muscovite.
Granite is quarried from the ground in huge blocks and then thinner slabs, which will make up your worktop, are cut out of it with a diamond saw.
- Granite is a 100% natural rock, and each slab is completely unique
- If you’re looking for texture, stone can add a luxury quality to your decor
- Granite worktops absorb heat the best, so you won’t need to worry about hot pans damaging them
- For outdoor kitchens, granite is a durable option
- Granite can be the more expensive countertop choice
- Chipping is a higher risk factor with a granite worktop
Granite care and maintenance
Although it’s still low maintenance, granite is higher maintenance than quartz because it needs sealing every year.
You can test if it needs sealing by pouring a small amount of water on the worktop; if the water starts soaking into the worktop immediately, the granite has become too absorbent and needs sealing.
You’ll need to thoroughly clean the worktop and leave it to dry for 24 hours before sealing, and there are plenty of step-by-step guides you can follow to do the job, such as the one below. Before you start, check the guidance that comes with your worktop when its installed, as each granite countertop is different.
Aside from sealing, everyday care for a granite worktop is easy. Regularly clean your worktops with a damp cloth and mild soap; never use abrasive cleaning products or anything with harsh chemicals. Always avoid using bleach. Use a chopping board or a butcher’s block for food preparation so you don’t damage the surface.
What is quartz?
Quartz is one of the world’s most abundant minerals (made up of silicon and oxygen), and its hardy resistance to mechanical and chemical weathering makes it an excellent choice for your worktop.
However, while the quartz mineral is found naturally, a manufacturing process is involved in quartz worktops. The quartz is ground down into chips (or larger chunks) mixed with resin, and then poured into a mould.
The technology and machinery for quartz worktops were pioneered in Italy in the 1960s by the company BretonStone.
- A wide range of colours are available as pigments can be added to the bonded agent
- Unlike granite, quartz doesn’t need sealing as it’s non-porous
- Quartz countertops are often cheaper than their granite counterparts
- As quartz is non-porous, countertops are stain resistant
- UV rays can damage quartz, so it can’t be used in an outdoor kitchen
- Lower-quality quartz worktops can be easily scratched
- Due to its resin make-up, quartz can be prone to heat damage and hot pans can cause thermal shock to the worktop
Quartz care and maintenance
Quartz worktops are very low-maintenance and, once installed, require very little care. Clean them regularly with warm water, a non-abrasive cleaner (always do a small patch test first) and a soft cloth.
Don’t use any cleaning products with oils in them, as they risk dulling the polished surface. Bleach can also weaken the resin bond. Clean up any spills immediately to avoid staining the worktop. Don’t use abrasive sponges, as this can also dull or scratch the worktop surface.
Granite vs quartz, which is best for you?
Both quartz and granite worktops are premium products, that are hardwearing and durable. Which one is right for you, will depend on the look you want and how much maintenance you’re prepared to put in. Granite worktops are ideal for those who want a natural look and a tough, heat-resistant finish, but are prepared to seal their counters yearly.
Quartz countertops are available in a broader range of colours, delivering a consistent finish. Quartz doesn’t need to be sealed, so is easier to look after, but it’s not as heat resistant as granite.
If you’re after something different, then check out our guide to the best kitchen worktops.