Although they have their similarities, granite or quartz are two completely different materials. If you’re planning to change your kitchen worktop, it’s important to make an informed decision so you end up with the material that works best for you.
The Main Difference Between Granite And Quartz
The main difference between granite and quartz is that granite is naturally occurring, whereas quartz worktops are man made. They ‘re a combination of natural quartz, resin and a colouring agent. As such, granite looks more natural, which appeals to a lot of people. However this also means there will be natural flaws such as veins and fissures in the rock, so one slab of granite will look different to the next. Some enjoy this unique look but others might prefer the uniformity of quartz. Quartz worktops have the flaws worked out of them and each slab usually maintains the same pattern and colour.
Granite does let in light better though, giving it a more translucent and rich look. Quartz on the other hand is poor at letting in light, so the surface tends to lack depth and therefore looks flatter.
Both materials come in a wide variety of colours and patterns though, so there should be something to suit everyone’s tastes.
Quartz does not need any maintenance, so it’s perfect for those who don’t want to worry about getting their worktops re-sealed. It is manufactured to be non-porous, so no liquids will stain or corrode it, nor will any bacteria become trapped in the rock, making it resistant to mould, germs and stains. Quartz is also incredibly heat resistant, so hot plates should not damage it, but it is always recommended to put hot trays and plates on some sort of protector.
On the other hand, granite does need some maintenance. It needs resealing or reconditioning once a year – although this doesn ‘t take particularly long (between 30-45 minutes) and isn’t too expensive. If you do forget, the granite will revert back to being porous, as it ‘s the sealing process that stops it from being absorbent. When this happens, whatever you spill on it could stain and become trapped in the rock, making it possible for bacteria to harbour and grow. However when it is properly sealed, it has the same properties as quartz, it ‘s heat, mould, stain and corrosion resistant.
If you don’t want to have to reseal your granite every year, there is another solution – you can get your granite sealed with a Dry Treat product. This ensures you’ll actually only have to get your worktop re-sealed once every 15 years.
Both materials are very strong, but quartz rates slightly higher on Mohs scale of mineral hardness, meaning it is less likely to chip. As such, it is advised that with granite worktops you should avoid having square corners because they are more at risk to chipping which can be hard to repair.
Quartz and granite are also very scratch resistant but some types of granite can be slightly softer than quartz. It is also worth mentioning that natural stone might need more structural support, whereas quartz will allow for deeper overhangs and will require fewer brackets to support it.
If you need a very long piece of material for your worktop, both granite and quartz will need to have seams to join the two halves together. These seams are visible but it can be easier to disguise them in darker shades of quartz. There isn’t much difference here but it’s down to how big your kitchen is and whether seeing a seam will irritate you or not.
Prices of quartz and granite can vary quite a bit. The cost of your worktop depends on what colour and pattern you want, but the cost of granite tends to vary the most. Granite prices go up and down according to demand, because it is naturally occurring. However quartz can end up costing you more, due to the fact there are more processes involved in its manufacturing.
Other Things You Should Know
Granite naturally emits a very small amount of Radon, a naturally occurring radioactive gas. This is nothing to worry about, as the amount is too small to do any harm to humans or animals, but some might be put off by this fact. Quartz on the other hand emits no gases.
If you have just had your granite worktop sealed, don’t spill anything on it for the next 24 hours because the sealer needs time to cure. You can use your worktop 24 after having it sealed but curing can take a good 7-10 days, so mop up any spillages as quickly as you can to avoid staining.
In summary, there are only two major differences between granite and quartz and it’s likely your final decision will be made based on your aesthetic preferences. If you have a traditional kitchen, you might prefer the look of granite as it ‘s natural, lets in light better and looks richer in colour. If you prefer a more modern-looking and low maintenance kitchen, quartz may suit you better as it doesn’t need re-sealing and the patterns and colours are pretty much uniform, so you won’t feel like you have a mismatched worktop.