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Quartz vs. Granite Countertops

Matching Up Counters--Which Comes Out Ahead?

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DuPont Zodiaq Quartz Countertop

DuPont Zodiaq Quartz Countertop

© DuPont
So, eager kitchen or bathroom remodeler, quartz vs. granite countertops: which shall it be?

This is not an easy decision, because the distinction between the two countertop materials isn't apparent. After all, quartz and granite are each loudly touted by their respective manufacturers as being purely natural, straight from the Earth, hard as stone. How different can they be?

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Natural or Not?

Both countertop materials are overwhelmingly made of natural product, but one comes out slightly ahead:
  • Granite: 100% natural. Slab granite counters are literally sliced from quarries, cut to size, and honed down until they are smooth.
  • Quartz: 97% natural. Prominent quartz countertop maker Caesarstone notes that 93% natural quartz aggregates are mixed with the remaining 7% of color pigments and polymer resins. The resins bind the particles together.

Cost

No bargains with either product. If you want to save money, go elsewhere--laminate being your best bet.

Prices of quartz and granite countertops continually shift because both are sourced overseas. All of these products are container-shipped across oceans, and this is dependent on petroleum prices.

Radon

Radon is a radioactive gas that has been linked to lung cancer. Radon can be found in granite and quartz. Radon in countertops is a contentious issue. I argue that homeowners have little to fear about radon in counters, as it appears to have been an overwrought media scare that began around 2008.
  • Granite: The magazine Consumer Reports indicates that a scientist found "almost no radon" coming from the granite.
  • Quartz: The same publication found "very little" radon in engineered stones.

Maintenance

Stone, whether natural or engineered, seems like it should be maintenance-free. Not so. Both materials require maintenance, with granite requiring more than quartz:
  • Quartz: Quartz does not need initial or continued sealing.
  • Granite: Granite needs to be sealed upon installation, and then again on a regular basis.

Durability

  • Quartz: Engineered stone has the flaws engineered out. You will not find invisible striations just waiting to crack open some day, as you will find with slab granite. Due to the presence of the resins, quartz counters are less prone to staining.
  • Granite: Natural slab granite, for all its beauty, has flaws and imperfections that homeowners either love, accept, or hate. Granite stains if subjected to red wine.
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