honed granite vs. quartz. Any opinions?

eugenie11September 1, 2011

I have my honed Black Absolute granite slab picked out and was down at Ring's End looking at wooden island tops and the woman there told me I would regret my granite choice because honed Black Absolute shows every fingerprint and speck of dust and is impossible to clean and needs continual sealing.

She said I would do better choosing a black quartz countertop, I believe the name is Cambria, that looks exactly like Black Absolute and requires no maintenance. Well, that sounded good! But is there a downside to quartz? I know nothing about it.

Would love to hear from GWers with experience, opinions, advice.

Thanks in advance!

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hi eugenie. The fingerprint issue has come up many times here. People usually park squarely in one camp or the other on black/dark granite. Many will swear it never shows prints or that they don't notice. Many others say the prints other other issues like very visible dust drives them bonkers. Quartz is fairly maintenance-free, but nothing is "bullet proof.". You might try searching for some old threads on the subject.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2011 at 11:49AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

thank you breezygirl - that's where I am right now, searching the forum for old posts!

I guess I should have asked in my original post - is quartz cheaper, um, more economical (!) than granite?

I'll keep looking around. Love this site!

    Bookmark   September 1, 2011 at 12:10PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

The other thing about quartz (well, Cambria specifically at least) is that is has less % sheen than regular polished granite. So rather than honed granite, you might be okay with finger prints on the Cambria (as compared to polished granite at least).
As for price, mine was included with cabinets, so I don't have a breakdown. I think it's slightly more per sqft than granite (at the big box stores here it's priced that way). That being said, all edges are the same price with Cambria.
(And they send you a free cutting board!)

    Bookmark   September 1, 2011 at 5:52PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I think quartz is often more money. I don't have black counters, so I don't know, but if black honed granite shows dust, doesn't black quartz show the same dust? Is Cambria dust-repellent? If not, the only issues are fingerprints, and again, does black Cambria react differently from honed black granite? I wonder if she was thinking of polished black granite. I did touch honed dark granite - uba tuba, maybe - at a yard, and the oil from my fingers did make a mark. Maybe Cambria doesn't react to skin oils in the same way.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2011 at 8:14PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Sophie Wheeler

Black counters of any kind are high maintenance. It's not a granite vs. quartz issue. It's a black counter issue. They show fingerprints and dust much more readily than something in a mid or light tone. Honed is especially difficult to clean, and clean evenly. It can look "splotchy" because the texture of the honed holds on to oils from fingerprints. Sealing won't help with this, and actually makes it worse because black granite is too dense to absorb sealer.

Black counters are gorgeous. But you need to be aware of the cons as well as the pros. It's walking into it blind that irritates most people, not the additional effort to maintain them in a pristine manner.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2011 at 10:52PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have honed "Cambrian Black" granite (not to be confused with Cambria quartz, the brand of quartz) .... Oils from our hands showed up the first month after install. After that, I think we "broke in" the countertops enough that those prints never showed again (a layer of oil probably is coating the counter evenly..?) Almost 12 months, 11 of which have been fingerprint free.

Polished granites and quartz, from my experience, do not absorb oils since they have the polished finish. At the very least, you can't tell that they do.

My granite shows dust if there is a lot of sunlight on the counter directly and I move my eyes to the right angle (so, near windows.) I feel like the honed finish HIDES the dust more than it would if it were a polished/quartz finish. The honed finish makes the black granite look more gray (closer to the lighter color of dust.) Very busy granites with lots of color variation would definitely hide dust.... but is that good or bad? I don't have a dust issue showing up often, but it's nice to know when I need to clean!

Last comment.... water marks/food drips show up on my counter if left for a while. They require some elbow grease to buff them out. This is the main negative. Polished countertops are much easier to wipe up..... very little elbow grease required. As far as I know, quartz will clean up easily.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2011 at 11:32PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I would have to agree with the above posts regarding honed black granite. I spoke with many friends who have it, and all seemed to agree that it shows fingerprints (honed Jet Mist) but that it was worth it since it looks like soapstone but is easier to deal with. As for cost, we were planning from day one to get Cambria in Fieldstone and it is exactly 1,000 more than the Steel Gray granite we also like. So, Quartz is definitely more $$ - it is supposed to be easier to maintain though, and you never have to treat it. When people say it is bulletproof, I think they mean it is absolutely non-pourous. If you have the extra $ and like the look, I would go for the Quartz -- I might not be able to, but somebody should! I is a green product, and Cambria is an American company which I hear great things about in terms of customer service etc. Our countertop place LOVES the company and says they are awesome to deal with (from his perspective)GOOD LUCK!

    Bookmark   September 2, 2011 at 6:42AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I had all the same concerns based on everything I had read. I picked up a sample from the slab I wanted to buy and tested it with everything I could think of, oil, vinegar, fingerprints etc. Nothing seemed to mark the surface, so I decided to take the plunge because I love the look. We've had it in for a month. So far we have been thrilled with our choice. If things are left on the counter, marks will sometimes be left behind but they wipe up easily with a dish cloth and water and if I have finger prints I use Method Daily Granite cleaner as suggested on GW. I always wipe the counter after every task anyway so I'm treating it no differently then any other counter I've had. We have a hand planed, free standing pine work island table (1840 home) that I use when I'm doing anything that might cause concern as I admit I'm still testing the waters, but so far so good. I wanted my counters to blend in with my kitchen as opposed to being the main feature. I am very pleased with our choice. Good luck with yours. By the way we did not have our counters sealed as is often advised on GW.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2011 at 7:28AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

In general quartz costs more than granite, but that can vary based on granite chosen, edge treatments, area of the country, fabricator, etc.

Consumer Reports recently tested both and listed the price per square foot the same: $40-$100. Around here $40 a square foot is the installed price for low-priced granite (like Uba Tuba) with an eased edge. I'm sure honed Black Absolute would be a lot more. CR gave quartz an overall score of 84 and granite an overall score of 81. Both were very stain resistant, excellent for heat, cutting, and abrasion resistance, and fair for impact resistance. I'm sure they tested sealed granite for the staining test. Both can chip, especially if you have a squared edge. The only materials better for chip resistance were laminate, tile, and Corian, and those all have other issues.

You can order 12x12 samples from the Cambria website (about $23 each including shipping) so you can live with them a bit and see if you like the look. Caesarstone, Dupont Zodiaq, and Silestone are other brands of quartz. Cambria's Cambrian Black and Caesarstone's Raven would both have a look similar to Black Absolute. Quartz has a bit of a sheen to it, but it is not as shiny as polished granite. Some are available honed, but that is an exception and I'm not sure if honed quartz performs as well. You should test side-by-side with a sample of the granite you are looking at if you can.

Most quartz looks "plastic" to me so I had ruled it out. I recently got a sample of Cambria Torquay (white marble look) and it isn't at all plastic-looking. I tested it with everything I could think of (red wine, spaghetti sauce, black raspberry jam) overnight and it wiped up easily. I tried to smear it up with fingerprints and couldn't get them to show much if at all. If I pounded on the square edge I could get a tiny chip off. I love the look of it and may get it.

Let us know what you decide!

1 Like    Bookmark   September 2, 2011 at 8:05AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

WOW! You guys are great.

Unfortunately, my son's car was backed into this morning in the parking lot at the high school, by a girl driving a Range Rover with that stupid war paint for some team all over the windows... Yeah, I live in that kind of town... so I am on the phone with insurance agents instead of focusing on my kitchen reno. No one is hurt, but there goes my morning...

May I say that all these kitchen problems disappear when the rest of life's little bummers intrude? We should all be glad the worst thing we have to deal with is choosing quartz over granite!

Back soon.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2011 at 10:22AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


    Bookmark   October 5, 2011 at 9:58PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I know I may sound dramatic, but you will hate honed granite. I have honed Black Absolute granite in my new home. My husband hates it so much that he wants me to start looking for new granite. We are very careful people and there is a ring on it that we have tried and tried to get out to no avail. We had Verde Maritaca (polished) in our last house and I never got tired of it and it always looked beautiful. If you spend any time in your kitchen, choose another granite that is not honed. Too expensive to make this mistake.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2011 at 6:57PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

When I priced them both out, the Absolute Black honed ran about $55 a square foot and the Quartz was over $90. So yes, it is much more expensive.

I think people are happy with their honed absolute if it is enhanced, instead of sealed and if they do the "Method" treatment on it before using it.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2011 at 9:02PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hi Eugenie-
I'm guessing you're in FFC since you were at Ring's End and based on your post about your son's car. ;) I was totally sent on absolute black honed until I started reading about it here. (actually I shouldn't say totally set I've been all over the place...marble, granite, soapstone). Anyway, I finally put a deposit down on leathered jet mist granite. I LOVE it! It's not a solid black like AB.I was going to do jet mist honed until I felt the leathered slabs...I don't know the best way to describe it, but they feel almost soft. Anyway, I don't know how they're going to do w/dust and fingerprints b/c I haven't had it installed yet, but I'm pretty sure every post I've read here from someone who has it loves it.

Everest Marble in Norwalk has some great slabs of Jet Mist right now. I don't think there were any more leathered ones, but I know they have a lot of honed (I was there last Saturday). If you're looking for a fabricator so far I've been really happy with La Pietra in Brookfield (ask for Fabiana).

I'll try to post a picture of my slabs.
http://s222.photobucket.com/albums/dd251/avaowensmom/Kitchen%20redo/?action=view&current=photo-18.jpg"; target="_blank">

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   October 28, 2011 at 9:09PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I recently updated my old New England farmhouse kitchen in August. My contractor recommended absolute black honed granite. I started looking online and got super nervous about the reviews, especially on this site. Many people hated the fingerprint issue. Two months later I can say I love my new honed counters. Yes, they do show fingerprints but if you have ever seen regular black granite counters those have a zillion fingerprint marks too. It wipes up easily and I agree with others who recommend Method granite cleaner. Our contractor also put a sealer on the counter which had to dry for 24 hours. He said we can do this every few months if the fingerprint issue bothers us. So far its fine. Granite is still one of the best options for a kitchen upgrade and will give the greatest resale return. Honed granite is a great alternative to traditional granite choices and it is neutral enough that most buyers would like it.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2012 at 9:14AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I've got polished black pearl and don't have any dust or fingerprint issues so far. I got a sample of it honed and hated the look and could definitely see the fingerprints. The saleswoman I talked to said they had absolute black honed on the desk in the showroom and it was a nightmare.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2012 at 9:36AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Well, you might not have to seal the quartz, but it will def show fingerprints if honed. I have a sample of honed ceaserstone. They have a disclaimer they make you sign before ordering the honed sample, informing you that it will require extra cleaning and that fingerprints will be visible...and it is true...love the look but in a couple of days it is full of smudgy oily fingerprints from where my kids grabbed it. lol Unlike the polished sample, they do not wipe up with a dry cloth...I am sure they will go away with some cleaner, but I imagine if I had it I would live with a spray bottle around my neck, constantly cleaning them off!

So...I am not sure you would save yourself that much cleaning by ordering a honed quartz. They will get smudged.

BUT, yes, the sealing issue is huge for us-it gives me great peace to know this is not as porous as granite.

I say get some honed quartz and honed granite samples and go have some fun testing. ;)

    Bookmark   October 7, 2012 at 12:45PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Eugenie11- what did you end up deciding? Are you happy with your choice? I have to make my decision by today :/.

Mollym00- Do you know what type of sealer your contractor used that had to set for 24 hours? I'm thinking the right type of sealer is key.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2013 at 3:05PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have honed Antique Brown granite, which is very dark brown and leathered light colored Silestone. Honestly I have had no problems with staining fingerprints or water spots on either of them. I think the type of granite you choose has a big impact on the fingerprint issue. Absolute Black seems to have trouble with fingerprints.

Neither my granite nor my quartz is sealed. They have been installed since 2010 and I remain thrilled with my choices. Good advice is to get samples of what ever you are considering in the finish you are thinking of and then putting it through it's paces.

Honed Antique Brown

Leathered/Honed Silestone

    Bookmark   May 13, 2013 at 3:14PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Granite Countertop seam question
I have a new construction house on contract. The granite...
Bungalow galley kitchen layout
Hello GW'ers! I'm new to the forum and have been so...
KitchenCraft - will they last a lifetime?
Fell in love with a specific painted door when cruising...
Any reason a DW couldn't go next to a fridge?
We need to pull the trigger on our cabinets next week,...
Ikea cover panel installation question (Akurum line)
Hi all! I was ready to post this to ikeafans.com and...
Sponsored Products
White Cat in the Hat Wall Clock
$19.99 | zulily
Lynnfield 17 3/4" High Oil-Rubbed Bronze Outdoor Post Light
Lamps Plus
Antique White Italian 26 in. Urn Planter - 217256
$76.99 | Hayneedle
Full Size 8-inch Dual Gel Memory Foam Futon Mattress
Unilume Micro Channel LED Light Bar by Tech Lighting
$96.00 | Lumens
CorLiving Monterey Espresso Solid Wood Queen Bed
Outdoor Lighting. 1-Light Outdoor Tortoise Wall Fixture with Frosted Seeded Glas
$67.39 | Home Depot
Phil Mickelson Signed 2010 Masters Flag Display
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™