Help need advice Granite vs. Quartz

cynmMarch 21, 2013

Hello everyone. We are upgrading our cabinets countertops appliances, etc. I am in a quandry. Granite or Quartz? We like the dark colored countertops. I am a klutz and do not want to worry about stains, etc. I know that there is now a treated granite (sensa) that does not require sealing for 15 years. Quartz is nice and uniform. Can both handle hot pots? What about seams? how long of a piece of quartz can you have without a seam. It seems (no pun intended) that i notice the granite seams right away in the showrooms. We have a 3 x 6' island we will also be putting this countertop on without anything like a cooktop or faucet on it - so that is a good-sized counter. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

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I have used just about every type of surface. Granite never makes my list of go to products. I have just installed Cambria and though I love the color and the durability, I have had to have the top replaced due to manufacturing issues and let's just say, Cambria is less than helpful. If you can find another brand, I would suggest that you might use them instead.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2013 at 2:30PM
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I am a fabricator.

TYpical quartz slabs are 119 X 54" usable. Some colors, mostly SileStone, are available in 128 X 63" slabs.

Granite slabs can be as large as 132 X 78". More typical would be 124 X 67".

Properly done a seam in quartz or granite should be barely noticable (meaning you have to look for it to see it). Quartz seams often look better primarily becasue quartz has a lot less movement in the grain of the stone. It's the grain transition that gives away the seam and to some extent this is unavoidable if the stone has a lot of movement (seams, whorls, waves, etc.)

Either quartz or granite will be very durable. In several thousand jobs we've had less than a dozen incidents of stains in granite or burns in quartz. Hot pots can damage quartz tops by scorching the resin binder. (usually it's done by a guest that has granite tops at home and is used to putting their pots wherever they want.)

In general you can't hurt granite with heat or stain quartz. Sealing granite is a 5-10 minute task once a year.

Most granites will be considerably more resistant to scratching than quartz since the resin component of quartz tops is soft.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2013 at 2:31PM
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Remodelers2- Why doesn't granite make your list? What advantages does quartz offer over granite that it makes your list?

    Bookmark   March 21, 2013 at 2:33PM
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I have a friend who had granite countertops that cracked twice because of heat - once from setting a roaster down on it, and once from an electric griddle. Here in California, it's much more common to have 2cm stone, which I'm guessing is the reason, but I would never say that you can't hurt granite with heat.

I have both granite and quartz in my kitchen, and I use trivets for both.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2013 at 3:15PM
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magdiego: you are correct to point out that 2CM would be more vunerable to cracking from heat. About 98% of my work is 3CM.

A properly insulated electric countertop appliance should not heat the countertop material appreciably. (this would just be wasted energy and todays more energy efficient appliances are properly insulated.)

We did see damage once to a quartz top from an older electric skillet that a lady used as a warmer during a party.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2013 at 3:32PM
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I think both provide a good surface for kitchens. I am pleasantly surprised by how nice some of the newer quartz counters look. Having said that, I would never do quartz in a kitchen, maybe pick one of the fun ones for a kid's bathroom or something, but that's just because I LOVE the look of natural stone.

I'm down to to two granites at my granite yard, and the person helping me said the lady there just before me would do nothing but quartz, which I had just vetoed. LOL So, I think it's largely personal preference. I have no problem with having to do the 'double wipe' on my dark granite, ie with one hand clean with dishcloth, with other polish with microfibre cloth. However my 80 year old mother said she wouldn't do dark granite again, cuz she doesn't like all the polishing involved! I don't know if quartz requires that same microfibre step to maintain a streakfree finish?

"Quartz is nice and uniform." Perhaps you are a candidate for quartz! LOL

    Bookmark   March 21, 2013 at 3:36PM
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Many of the dark granites like blue pearl, uba tuba, and absolute black (I think) are dense, don't require sealing, and are essentially bullet-proof and maintenance-free. I've had blue pearl for years without any issue. While it's true that in general granites are heat resistant, I believe in rare case they can crack if there's a fissure in the granite.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2013 at 3:41PM
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I think those that love quartz and will only consider it fall into three camps. 1) Those that don't like movement in stone and want as solid colored a counter as possible. 2) Those that have fallen for the marketing and think quartz is much more durable and easy to maintain than granite. 3) Those that only care about trends or think picking a more expensive material makes it better.

I think when choosing between granite and quartz you should look at the actualy colors and choose one that you like best. If similar colors are available in both granite and quartz then you should start evaluating price and the miniscule differences in the properties of the two materials

    Bookmark   March 21, 2013 at 3:51PM
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I think it's mostly a matter of what looks better in the kitchen you're planning. We have quartz (Caesarstone), chosen because we wanted a uniform color. I'm not a fan of busy granites, but there are some granites I find quite striking, and may have used if it fit the look I was going for. Both are durable, easy to maintain surfaces.

We haven't tested our quartz by placing hot pots directly on it. It hasn't stained, but we generally wipe things up before they sit too long. We don't baby it, but we are 2 adults so we aren't particularly harsh on it either.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2013 at 4:25PM
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I will add my 2 cents.
I went with quartz as granite is a stone and is porous. I have a friend who managed a lab and said - granite harbors bacteria - so just couldn't put in my kitchen - even thought I don't really put food on the counters anyway.

I love the look of granite and some of the styles don't need to be sealed - although it makes me nervous.

I do put a trivet down on my quartz as a precaution - but would do so with granite also - maybe just force of habit from so may years with Formica as a kid until my first remodel.

There was a recent thread on a light color - I think it was Silestone that stained.

My Cambria Buckingham has no stains - of course it might be hard to find even if there was one...

As far as seams - it is a fabricator thing. I can see our seams if I am looking but they are so tight and smooth that I have trouble feeling them...

Here is the seam at the front of the cooktop - I wanted to keep seams away from the sink area...

Here is our corner seam

    Bookmark   March 21, 2013 at 8:24PM
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My old kitchen of 11 years had a dark blue-green granite top and it was the most maintenance-free countertop I could imagine. I never (re)sealed it, polished it, nothing. It looked as good as new when we moved. I don't know what kind of granite it was because I didn't have it installed, nor did I care for how it looked. I just renovated a different kitchen with quartz. I don't think it will be any more durable than granite and I can't put hot pans directly on it. However, I wanted a clean look, no movement, and quartz was the only option I considered. I am extremely happy with the quartz so far - it is white, I don't baby it at all, and have had no issues with staining. Our seams are almost invisible - but a good installer is essential for good seams in granite or quartz. Good luck with your decision!

    Bookmark   March 21, 2013 at 8:26PM
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I chose my quartz because it was the color and minimal movement I was looking for. It didn't matter to me whether it was granite or quartz.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2013 at 8:35PM
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I think it's mostly about aesthetics. I was open to both granite and quartz; I was initially adamant about granite since I love the look of natural stone but in the end, we chose a Silestone color since we wanted a sleeker look for our modern kitchen. The fact it could be a tad lower maintenance didn't hurt. I don't think you can wrong either way!

    Bookmark   March 21, 2013 at 8:51PM
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You will find all sorts of experiences here - people with all types of countertops who may love or regret their choice, and everything in between. I have found people's personal experiences - whether good or bad - so helpful. Everyday we are so happy with our quartz - for all the reasons why we knew we wanted that material. I guess that's the key - knowing why you want the material you are choosing - at least that's what helped me as I tend to like every type of counter I see.

You might enjoy reading through our Resident Rock Whisperer threads (the most recent one below, and in that thread is a link to the 1st thread that maxed out on posts.) Long after my kitchen was done, I finally felt like I learned a thing or 2 about countertops.

Here is a link that might be useful: Resident Rock Whisperer

    Bookmark   March 21, 2013 at 9:46PM
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Like I said up thread, I have both quartz and granite in our kitchen: granite on the island, and a white quartz on the perimeter.

The granite is pretty busy with a lot of movement. Even so, because of the highly reflective polish, it's easy to see smears. Oddly enough, it totally hides crumbs and other kitchen detritus (I just wiped a black ball point pen off that was hiding in the pattern!). We've had it less than a year, so we haven't had to reseal yet.

The quartz isn't as highly reflective, which I like (my husband wanted the high gloss on the island). The more uniform color let us go with a busy mosaic backsplash, which we couldn't have done with our busy granite. It seems more "smear" resistant than the granite, and the light color makes it easier to keep clean, because I can see when and where it needs wiping down.

As far as staining, I haven't had trouble with either surface. Two days after install, I left a box of blackberries on the quartz overnight, not realizing a pool of juice had soaked through. That left a shadow, but it came off immediately with a little Soft Scrub.

And as far as heat, as I said, I'm kind of paranoid. It's not that hard to use pot holders, cutting boards and trivets, so that's what I do.

Both surfaces have great qualities, it comes down to what you want to see in your kitchen.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2013 at 11:16PM
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a2gemini, have you ever heard of someone getting sick from the "bacteria" supposedly in granite? Any surface can collect bacteria - but sealed granite it not porous so no more bacteria would grow in it than any other sealed surface.

The resin used for manufactured quartz can scratch and bacteria could grow in the scratches. Same with laminate.

Don't fall for marketing hearsay, unless you have data showing that people get food poisoning when cooking in kitchens with granite countertops, please don't propagate myths... it is great that you are happy with your quartz, but I hate to hear marketing claims with no truth or evidence behind them repeated.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2013 at 1:10AM
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Both granite and quartz are big investments (relative to laminate). DH and I have chosen a quartz countertop for our kitchen remodel, because we fell in love with the color. I was all set to go with laminate in our new kitchen, but felt the splurge was worth it to get something we both loved.

I think the best choice between quartz, granite, marble, wood or laminate is the one that makes you happy. What a boring world it would be if we all liked the same thing!

    Bookmark   March 22, 2013 at 1:33AM
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I never heard about the marketing information until after I ordered my counters but based the information on a highly respected lab manager. My SIL also makes a lot of noise on how she hates granite which probably influenced me as well. 3rd strike for me was my totally germ-a-phobe DH.

Since then, I have read several research articles(I don't have the links handy)

DH and I had severe campylobacter food poisoning several years ago at a pot luck. It was not from our dish.

We never identified the source - but regardless if granite or quartz, excellent kitchen hygiene is critical.

That being said, I never saw such beautiful granites until I joined GW. I might even consider for my BR.

It is a personal decision but I don't eat off my quartz and would not eat off granite either. It has been proven without a doubt that the 5 second rule does not prevent contamination. If the bugs are on the counter- the food can pick up the bugs instantly.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2013 at 6:48AM
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SEveral people commented on the "look" of their stone.

IMHO that is the most critical attribute of your countertop selection. Quartz and the various natural stone options all have plus's and minus's. You are going to see your countertops every day.

Pick the look you want. That said, try to make sure you understand the negatives of whatever you pick so you are not unpleasantly surprised. A good fabricator will make SURE you've been advised....

.... and I would still never use limestone for kitchen counters.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2013 at 10:29AM
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We had marble counters in our old place, and both the etching and the maintenance drove us nuts. While re-sealing theoretically only takes a few minutes, in practice it was a much bigger hassle that involved clearing everything off of the counter, cleaning the counter, applying sealant, buffing off sealant, and keeping the counters clear and dry for at least several hours afterward. Maybe we were using the wrong sealant or going about it wrong, but we found the process to be fairly disruptive. Now marble is probably higher-maintenance that granite, but when we re-did the kitchen in our new place the prospect of re-sealing granite every year or two did not sound appealing. We also like the look of quartz and chose something without a lot of variation or movement (Caesarstone Raven), so it was an easy decision for us. We also found the quartz selection process to be really easy--no going to the fabricator to review the slab, no issues or decisionmaking with templating. And our seams are almost invisible. I agree with others that the look is probably the most important consideration, but we are thrilled to have beautiful counters that require zero maintenance.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2013 at 10:49AM
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