Quartz or Granite That is the Question
After Thirty Years it was Time for a Change
I stared at my kitchen countertops for the hundredth time wondering why I was still using bleach to remove the stains that my Formica countertop loved to absorb. Sure I made a mistake thirty years ago when I decided to have an almond colored matte finish on my kitchen counter, but did that mean I had to keep living with this mistake? I was tired of cleaning up messes that left traces behind, but I also did not want to face the decision regarding which material should replace my Formica.
I was a curator for twenty-five years. Research was my business, so why was I procrastinating? No answer was forthcoming, so I made the decision to make this long overdue change.
Where Do I Start
The Internet of Course
Determined not to make the same mistake twice, I sat down at my computer to begin my research. Wow, was I surprised. It seems that this controversy has been going on for quite some time.
There were so many sites devoted to the quartz vs granite question. I started my research by eliminating those sites that were selling quartz or granite products, since they would be biased in their assessment. I wanted both professional and personal opinions derived from experience not from advertising.
I also checked with friends who had replaced their countertops. The problem with their opinions was that they had not been using their new countertops long enough to evaluate their durability.
The Trendy Trap
Some of the information I found was not based on evidence but on taste, style and trends. There is no question the trend is toward granite. It has a cache that quartz just doesn't have, at least not yet.
All the new homes I visited boasted that the kitchen contained granite countertops. The more expensive the home, the more likely it was the builder used granite. Just because something is the flavor of the moment does not mean it is the right thing to purchase.
The only reason that anyone should ever consider a remodeling trend is the resale value, But let's face it, if you do not plan to sell your home near the time of the renovation and the product you use is not durable, it will not matter one wit that it was trendy at the time you installed it. So my goal was not to fall into the trendy trap unless the trend had durability written all over it.
Pros and Cons of Granite
Not What You Think
Granite is natural stone straight from mother earth. It is polished, coated with a protective coat and cut into slabs, but usually not manipulated in any other way. If having natural stone is your hearts desire, then granite has natural written all over it.
One of the biggest advantages of granite countertops is that their luminous surface gives a very rich look to the kitchen.
There is a certain thrill to saying that your countertop is granite that cannot be duplicated with any other countertop surface.
If you drop something heavy on it or put too much pressure on the area that hangs over the sides it can crack or even break.
If you clean granite with the something that has ammonia in it you will create dull areas in its surface.
Let's say you take something off the cooktop or out of the oven and forget to protect the surface with a trivet, on your granite countertop you will more than likely leave a mark that cannot be removed.
Granite countertops need to be resealed periodically to protect their finish.
The jury is still out on whether granite contains Radon, a radioactive material that can leach out and cause lung cancer. Slab granite had the most Radon leaching, but so far there is little indication that this is a serious problem.
Numerous natural flaws are present in slab granite, that is granite that has not been engineered or manipulated in any way to alter its natural flaws. Natural granite also has the potential for having inherent flaws that could eventually crack. Engineered granite does not have these problems, but then you are not getting an entirely natural product.
Pros and Cons of Quartz
But Will You Be Happy With It
Compared to granite countertops, quartz are less porous, so food doesn't stick to it and stains are easily removed.
The color of a quartz countertop is uniform. This is not true of granite because it is a natural product with natural color variations.
Quartz countertops are twice as hard and twice as durable as granite.
Quartz counters are cheaper to install than granite, because the weight of granite requires a special support.
Quartz countertops are engineered products, about 90% quartz mixed with 10% manmade product or close to that ratio.
Since quartz is partially manmade, there is a better chance that its color can be matched if a replacement area is ever needed.
Quartz countertops do not need to be sealed or treated regularly with any product to protect the surface.
Quartz resists stains and is easy to clean.
Quartz comes in solid colors, if that is what you want. You cannot purchase a solid color granite countertop.
Quartz patterns do not come close to the intricate patterning found in granite. Many quartz manufacturers have been experimenting with colors and patterns that mimic granite, with limited success. Some come close, others not so much.
What Did I Choose
What Has Been My Experience
During my research I not only checked open houses, friends' kitchens and the internet, I went to every kitchen and bath shop in and around my area. I looked at every color of granite and quartz in the largest slabs possible. I brought them both home and photographed them on my kitchen countertop.
I weighed the pros and cons of being trendy and being practical without sacrificing beauty and practicality won. My kitchen countertops are quartz.
I have owned this countertop for a year. It looks great in my kitchen, matches perfectly and wears and cleans like a dream. I purchased Cambria Quartz and the company sent me a twelve by twelve inch slap of the color I chose with rubber feet on the bottom. I use it to do everything you are not suppose to do with stone countertops.
I put hot pans right from the oven to cooktop on this quartz square. I cut my food on it with a very sharp knife and I pound my chicken breasts on it. So far there is not a drop of damage, stain, crack or otherwise on this square. My countertops clean easily with a paper towel and water. No matter what I drop on it, no stain is left behind.
For the woman who labored over a dull, stained Formica countertop for thirty years, my quartz countertop is a dream come true.
Why Stop At Kitchen Remodeling
I do Love Quartz
Well, I told you I loved my quartz kitchen countertop. Now I am going to tell you that I redid my bathroom and my laundry room and used quartz in the remodeling.
My laundry room had the old utility plastic utility sink and not much space for storage, so I replaced my cabinets, added more put in a new sink and topped it off with quartz.
I did the same thing in my bathroom. I took out the modular tub shower, replaced it with a walk in shower, added a cabinet and replaced the vanity and used quartz for the top.
Perhaps I went overboard in using quartz for all my remodeling, but the durability and beauty of the product was hard to resist when I decided to go ahead with other projects. I am more than happy with my decision, but I do not want to talk anyone into quartz countertops. I just wanted to share my experience and let you decide for yourself what is right for you should you ever consider a remodeling job that requires countertops.
Here is more information on kitchen remodeling. I used lots of books for ideas and some even suggested quartz, although I must say that granite won out of quartz in most remodeling books.