Counter intelligence: Taking quartz for granite


Granted, “granite countertops” are the magic words when it comes to a value-enhancing description of a modern-day kitchen.

But when considering the installation of stone countertops in a kitchen improvement project, it’s worth discussing the stone material decision-making process with “counter intelligence” – a countertop professional.

Granite isn’t the only game in town. Quartz routinely ranks a very close second to – and in some cases exceeds – granite in overall satisfaction ratings.

This is not to say granite is better than quartz or vice versa. This is to say countertops are a multifaceted decision involving a major expense, and it’s wise to consider price, differences, function and design before committing to either.

Price, surprisingly, is often the smallest difference in this equation. Pricing for good slab granite and almost any kind of quartz is comparable, but there are also high-end and low-end granites that make exact comparisons impossible. It’s best to consult a reputable professional, see samples, understand what level (quality) of stone you need and get pricing based on the specifics of the individual job.

Granite is a “God-made” material, while quartz is a man-formed surface of crushed quartz and resins. Granite is softer, more porous and much more brittle than quartz. Granite’s random shading and patterns are part of its beauty, while quartz is engineered in both solid colors and selected patterns.

Functionally, granite absorbs moisture, stains and needs to be resealed periodically. Because of the man-made process, quartz does not stain and requires almost no maintenance. Either material requires professional installation.

Design, always, is in the eye of the beholder. One person may love the predictability of quartz; another may be taken by the natural patterns and striations of granite. Hopefully these two people aren’t married.

Either surface provides a beautiful and functional countertop, but don’t take the final decision for granted. Check with the pros, and choose wisely.

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