When designing your kitchen, selecting the perfect countertop can be a difficult and lengthy process. The wide variety of countertop materials can be a challenge when choosing the one that best suits your lifestyle.
Your ideal countertop should have an individual style and durability, with a minimal need for maintenance. Two popular materials that meet these criteria are Granite and Quartz.
Choosing either granite or quartz countertops for your kitchen is a great option. These stones will not only bring life to your house but also present many other benefits. Neither granite nor quartz disappoints in terms of style or aesthetics.
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What Are Quartz Countertops?
Quartz is a naturally occurring crystalline mineral that is primarily made of silicon and oxygen. It is also one of the hardest and most abundant minerals on the planet.
Quartz countertops are a solid surface product, but they are not pure quartz stone. In fact, quartz countertops are considered synthetic as they are manufactured from a large proportion (more than 90%) of quartz minerals combined with resin and adhesives.
The combination of these materials is formed into slabs that are eventually cut into countertops. Coarsely ground quartz produces designs with larger specks, while finely ground quartz creates a smoother speckled finish.
Quartz countertops possess the unique quality of having both a hard and scratch-free surface, like granite, and a uniform colour pattern, like Corian. As quartz countertops are synthetic, they are non-porous and have a manufactured sheen that is easily renewed by polishing.
Key Features of Quartz Countertops
Sanitary benefits. One of the advantages that quartz presents is its zero porosity and its texture. These combine to prevent bacteria from expanding and mean that the worktop resists stains. This, in turn, preserves the health of you and your family and provides easier cleaning.
For this reason, it is not necessary to seal quartz countertops and they can be cleaned with soap and water. However, there are specific products to treat these worktops, if you would prefer these for your family.
Hardness. Natural quartz is one of the hardest minerals in the world. It is only surpassed by the diamond or the ruby. Even though the quartz stones are combined with resin for quartz countertops, they still retain much of this hardness. This makes them less vulnerable to scratches and cracks, increasing lifetime and durability.
Colour variety. In addition to the durability that quartz provides, the aesthetics of the material and its diversity of tones attract attention. You can choose from a large variety of colours. Some of them in different finishes including polished, extra matt or rough.
Pros and Cons of Quartz Countertops
- Hard and durable. Quartz will last you a lifetime.
- Non-porous. Does not require sealing and resealing.
- Stain-resistant and scratch-proof.
- Easy to clean.
- On average, more expensive than granite.
- Sensitive to strong chemicals.
- Damaged by high temperatures.
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What Are Granite Countertops?
Granite is a hard igneous rock made of volcanic material. It is formed when magma slowly crystallizes just below the Earth’s surface. Granite is made of composite minerals including quartz and feldspar. As it is an igneous rock, granite is also porous.
Because of its mineral composition, granite usually has various shades of colour, including red, pink, white, grey, green, blue, and brown. The shades of colour are due mainly to the large size of mineral deposits that are visible to the naked eye.
Granite countertops, unlike quartz, are completely natural stone. Granite is ideal for countertops because of its natural hardness and durability. As a countertop, it has a hard surface that resists most scratching or abrasions and it is able to bear heavy loads.
Key Features of Granite Countertops
Resistance. Being such a strong stone, granite does not spoil with scratches and is also capable of withstanding high temperatures without deteriorating.
Unique pieces. As it is a natural material, granite does not present as many colour opportunities as each piece is unique. However, this does mean your granite worktop is completely your own – no one else can have one like it.
Organic material. Being a natural stone, granite is not chemically treated and does not contain synthetic waste. Granite can also be cleaned with soap and water, which means it is easy to maintain.
Pros and Cons of Granite Countertops
- Durable. It lasts a lifetime.
- Increases the value of your home. Makes your kitchen appealing and attractive.
- Heat resistant.
- Easy to clean and disinfect.
- Porous. Requires treatment and sealing to keep it top-notch.
- No consistent colour and pattern between slabs. Because granite is a natural material, you get what you get!
- Labour-intensive to install, and as expected, more expensive to install.
- Quite heavy and needs a more sturdy or reinforced support, especially for long slabs.
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What is the Price of Quartz and Granite Countertops?
Quartz worktops cost ranges between £50 and £175 per square foot.
Granite worktops cost ranges between £40 and £180 per square foot.
There is a lot of overlap in price. With so much choice in colour and finish on the market, the price you pay can vary quite dramatically.
However, in most cases, you’ll end up paying less for granite.
Durability and Care of Quartz and Granite Countertops
Both materials have an almost infinite lifespan. Manufacturers advise mild, non-abrasive cleaners so that neither quartz nor granite lose their shine.
Quartz countertops, thanks to their composition, are non-porous and don’t need any sealing. However, granite has to be sealed. This is typically done by the manufacturer before installation. However, you may have to do some polishing or new sealing treatment over time.
Quartz and Granite both have advantages that make them great options for your kitchen. Aesthetically, granite has a unique and natural look, but the colour variety of quartz countertops offers more combination possibilities.
If you like the charm, depth and natural variations in countertops then granite is the way to go.
If, however, you want that particular colour guaranteed across your kitchen countertops to achieve a perfectly uniform look to your design. Then Quartz is countertop choice for you!