Quartz or Granite?

We are putting in new kitchen cabinets and can’t decide if we should go with quartz or granite. Here is what I know about them:

  1. Granite needs to be resealed. Latest sealers claim to have a 15 year warranty.

  2. Granite may have slight color variation across the slab as it is mined not manufactured.

  3. Quartz (silestone, ceasar stone, cambria) claim to withstand heat and scratches a little more. Not sure if that is true or not.

  4. Granite seems to be a good selling point for a house. Not sure how quartz measures up to that.

  5. They cost roughly the same.

Anyone have any other thoughts they’d care to share? If you had to choose, what would you go with?

We have been leaning towards granite, but I agree that its a tough decision, especially as pricey as it is, its not like you can change your mind in a year!

I don’t get the appeal of stone countertops. You’ll be spending the next 30 years having to put dishes down extra-carefully so that nothing breaks.

otternell - What is making you lean towards granite? At first I thought granite was the top of the line and I wanted to make the investment. Then I read more about quartz and came to the conclusion quartz is probably better since it isn’t porous and has a more consistent color. But then the contractor I’m leaning towards installing the cabinets only installs granite so I began to waffle again.

Do you mean the dishes or the countertops?

I actually hadn’t considered that it would be harder on the dishes.

I sell counter tops for a living! I like granite better overall because it’s prettier, and except for being non-porous I don’t think quartz has any advantages. It’s also much cheaper (in certain colors).

There’s all kinds of technology with the sealants, different chemicals and application methods. Most slabs are installed sealed with a higher-tech sealant. I still recommend resealing once a year with the simpler ones - main ingredient, mineral oil. But it’s not a big deal. Plenty of people don’t seal at all. As long as you don’t leave grease sitting on the counter, staining is not much of an issue.

Granite is beautiful, and varies quite a bit, yes. This is why you need to find a provider (NOT Home Depot) that will send you to a granite yard to handpick an 18-ft long slab so you know exactly what you are getting. Picking from tiny samples is next to useless when it comes to predicting color and pattern. Quartz of all brands is pretty consistent so picking from 2" samples is fine. But it looks boring IMO.

Heat, maybe (I’ve heard 2nd-hand accounts of granite cracking when someone does something stupid like put a red-hot cast-iron pancake griddle on the counter). Scratching, not at all. We have a terrible time in my show room with scratching the quartz tops (it’s hard to do, but not hard when you have granite and quartz samples being dropped on the counters!). And scratches on quartz are much more visible than on granite for some reason - the interior of the stone always shows up lighter.

Quartz is #1 consumer rated and gaining in popularity. I think it will be the next big thing.

You can usually get granite much, much cheaper - but it depends on the store. Here in PA we sell granite starting at $52 per square foot (our price levels aren’t quality based like the box stores). Quartz of all brands starts in the 70s.

If you decide to go with granite, make sure you find a place where the stones are sold by color in terms of rarity and difficulty of transport, NOT by quality (the cheaper the stone, the more flawed and unstable).

We’ve had granite for 6 years now, and have yet to break a dish or glass on the counters. And I’ve got 3 young kids, so there not much putting down extra carefully going on. And I love being able to put hot pots/pans/etc. down wherever I feel like it.

rhubarbarin - Thanks for all the great info!

I’m a little unclear on this, though:

I never intended to go with home depot, so no worries about that. Why wouldn’t I want to go with some place selling less flawed, more stable granite at a higher price?

We just got granite. We’d been thinking about Silestone or Cambria because we thought it would be easier to match the color to the cabinets, but we found a slab that worked really well for us. We decided that the natural variation of the granite made it more attractive than the engineered products, but that’s just a personal aesthetic choice. The granite was cheaper than the Cambria, too.

I had quartz (Silestone) in my previous residence, and I loved it. ZERO maintenance. Plus it fit with the look of the kitchen, so while I can understand the aesthetics arguments in favor of granite, there are plenty of situations where quartz is just as appropriate.

We got granite put in a couple of years ago, this thread is the first time I’d heard of quartz. I don’t know how it’s sealed or how long it should last. Ours is a very uniform look and we have about 10-12 linear feet of countertop plus an island that’s at least 4x6. Ours is black with silvery and blue flecks, we really like the look against our white cabinets. Have never had any issue about damage to dishes or glasses. (However, falling to our synthetic stone floor is certain death for a glass.)

There are three grades of granite- A, B, and C, or premium, 2nd best, and commercial. All slabs of a given color are given their appropriate grade, based on their color, polish/smoothness, and integral flaws, when imported - although it is not an exact science.

Businesses, besides box stores, who sell by grade often won’t make it clear - they will give you prices on this and that, but won’t always tell you what slabs are which grade and what the flaws of a certain stone may be. They might also be selling B grade stones at A grade prices.

It makes everything a lot less complicated if you buy your slab from a reputable yard who is clear that they only sell grade A/premium grade. All the slabs you see will be of the best possible quality and true to type for that color. Prices in general will be higher, but not much higher than for a true premium slab at someplace that sells by grade.

And also, be aware of the possible problems with higher-priced ‘Exotic’ stones (rare colors/patterns, iridescence) because they are often exempt from some of the regular grading rules, and salespeople aren’t always honest about that. They tend to be brittle (one reason the price is higher - they are hard to transport and work with), for instance, and more likely to be ruined during the cutting/transport/install (you shouldn’t be charged for this, but it’s a PITA). For this reason you will notice that the high-priced stones at a yard selling only premium stones often have a fiberglass matting glued to the back, to try to hold it together. Once the granite is installed it usually isn’t more prone to issues than a non-matted type, of course.

We just liked the look in the samples we had seen. Honestly, its nothing more than that. Unfortunately, our personal financial condition has been a bit more battered lately, and I am desperate to have my kitchen done, so we are compromising on a free countertop we were able to get from family (MIL works with custom homes, someone rejected the laminate we are now using). I have been without my regular kitchen for 7 years, so I am willing to compromise to have a kitchen.

I will never be involved with remodeling a home ever again. Never ever. :(:mad:

We had granite installed a couple of years ago. We initially considered other materials, but the local stone yard and their personnel really influenced our buying process and we went with the granite. The sales people were great. They educated us on stone, varieties, pricing, etc.

Before going to the yard, we looked at samples and picked out what colors/patterns we liked best. We were partial to sapphire blue, dakota mahoghany and autumn tree. We didn’t want a lot of green or red, didn’t want plain black or white. In the end, we went with a sapphire blue. The yard had 3 large slabs from the same lot without any “blemishes” that would fit well. The slabs of dakota were too red, they didn’t have enough autumn tree in stock and weren’t getting any more anytime soon.

You can’t always go by the small samples they have in the showroom, you have to go and pick out and approve the slab yourself. Our kitchen island is pretty big and the centerpiece of the kitchen. I would not have been happy if I didn’t get to personally pick the stone for that area.

We have not had any issues. Nothing broken. No chips or scratches. I clean it with simple green’s stone cleaner. We do need to re-seal it, but haven’t gotten around to it.

I’m kind of surprised nobody else has asked this yet - what kind of home do you live in? In a home that’s not remodeled overall, or if you’re in an area where your neighbors wouldn’t be likely to have granite, I’d say it would stick out like a sore thumb. Also, if you live in a trendy, strongly upper-middle to upper class neighborhood, it would show you had no idea about quality and price point . Granite - IMHO - screams “I’m middle class and I’m not going anywhere”.

Granite has been, in my impression, a fashionable but not truly quality investment - like getting stainless appliances that aren’t high quality, and being unaware how easily they take fingerprints. I’d much rather see quartz, but I do know that a buzzword people look for is granite, if you’re concerned about resale in the not too distant future.

I have both–granite in the bathrooms and silestone (quartz) in the kitchen. I love the silestone for its ease of care–spritz with a little windex and you’re good to go. We have it not only as countertop, but as backsplash as well. We have some really wild looking patterns on the granite that work great in a small area, but would be overwhelming in larger areas like a kitchen. In my location, granite is less expensive than quartz.

Good points. We live in a strong middle to maybe upper middle class neighborhood. The house next door to mine has granite counter tops.

My house is 20 years old and so hasn’t really needed much remodeling up until now. We bought it 5 years ago and this is the first major project we are doing on it. Eventually we’ll move onto other things, but for now this seemed like a good place to start.

Out of curiosity, when was your neighbor’s kitchen remodeled? If you’re concerned with being on even keel with the neighborhood, it sounds like you might want to go with granite. If you’re trying to get ahead on a trend that may pay off, you do a lot of cooking, don’t mind the added expense and don’t want to seal it annually, I’d go with quartz.

There are quite a few comparison sites out there too: http://www.keidel.com/design/select/tops-matl-compare.htm
http://www.e-counters.com/einfonew/compare101.cfm
http://www.vancouversun.com/mikeholmes/Granite+versus+quartz/1862745/story.html

My own preference would be quartz because of the stain resistance - we do a lot of ethnic cooking, and tumeric has powers to stain anything it feels like.

Do let us know what you decide on, even if it’s awhile down the road.