Granite or Quartz: A Lovely Worktop Dilemma
One of the most important decisions to make when renovating a kitchen is what material to use for your worktop. With so many alternatives available, some people find that choosing the perfect worktop material can sometimes be challenging and time-consuming.
Why? It’s because the vast selection of worktop materials makes it difficult to select the right one that will suit your taste and lifestyle. After all, you want your worktop to be durable with a unique sense of style that only requires minimal maintenance.
With this in mind, let’s focus on two of the most popular worktop materials, namely granite and quartz, and try to understand how they compare and what the benefits are for each in relation to what may be considered the ideal qualifications.
One of the most popular materials, granite is a 100% natural stone that is quarried from the earth as enormous chunks of stone in its natural state and is then cut and polished into the familiar worktop shape.
Such a durable material is hard to scratch and can withstand temperature changes. Moreover, because it is a natural stone, no two granite slabs are exactly alike, making each piece unique on its own.
However, as it is a porous material, it can only be deemed to be stain-resistant after being sealed properly and cleaning after each use is highly recommended in order to prevent staining of the surface. Also, if the sealant on the counter gets compromised, your worktop can get stained over time. Therefore, it is recommended that granite worktops be resealed on a regular basis.
These worktops are made from engineered stone containing natural quartz, one of the hardest minerals found in the Earth. Quartz countertops contain crushed quartz mixed with resin in a ratio of 93% quartz to 7% resin. A few amounts of metallic or glass flecks can also be mixed in, as well as pigments, to produce a variety of different patterns and colours.
Unlike granite, quartz is a non-porous material, which means its texture does not allow germs and bacteria to grow, so it helps protect your family against various illnesses. It also does not require any sealing at all. This is an essential factor for people who want hassle-free maintenance.
As an engineered ‘stone’, this material has its flaws manufactured out, which means you won’t find any striations just waiting to crack open as you might see with granite. Quartz worktops are also less prone to staining due to the presence of the resins.
The pros and cons of granite
If you are looking for a natural and unique worktop, then granite may be the answer for you, but here are some of the most important drawbacks and benefits of granite that you need to know:
- The appearance is not uniform. These stones are coming right out of the earth and are not perfectly designed by nature. For some this will be a benefit while others will consider it to be a drawback.
- Granite worktops will need to be sealed before they are used and this will need to be repeated year after year for as long as you own the worktop. Granite is a porous stone and can only be considered to be stain-resistant if it has been sealed properly. While some people only seal their granite worktops every 3 years, it’s best to be safe and to do it yearly. If for any reason the sealant on the worktop gets compromised, your worktop can get stained.
- Worktops made of granite are extremely durable but should not be considered to be indestructible. It is a natural rock and can break or chip if subjected to heavy abuse. For regular day-to-day activities though, and with proper maintenance, this is a worktop that can last for a lifetime and beyond.
- The stones are heavy and require a professional installation. Don’t even think of hiring your local handyman to put in your new worktop to save a few quid.
- It’s impossible to hide the seams in a granite worktop. Expect the seams to show up once it has been installed. With granite, the natural veins and colours in the stone will never allow the seams to appear less visible.
- The samples that you see can slightly differ from the stone that you receive. Keep in mind that these are naturally occurring slabs so the samples cannot be a true 100% reflection of the stone you are ordering. There may be colour variances or occlusions in the stone you receive that gives the slab a slightly different appearance.
The pros and cons of quartz
Apart from the sturdiness that quartz provides, this material has a wide variety of colour options to choose from, which not only bring style and character to your kitchen but also offers several advantages that surpass other conventional materials.
- Quartz worktops are just as strong as granite but have the added benefit of being more flexible. This makes them easier to work with during the installation process.
- Quartz is non-porous and does not require any sealing – ever. These stones offer a virtually no-maintenance solution for worktops.
- These worktops are also very durable but they cannot be considered indestructible either. They are stain-resistant as well so dropping a glass of red wine on them simply requires a quick clean-up.
- One drawback that you should definitely take note of is these worktops can discolour over time when exposed to direct sunlight. If you have a part of your worktop that receives some of the UV rays from the sun while another part doesn’t, over time you may see a colour difference.
- These worktops need to be professionally installed and quartz is even heavier than granite.
- You can expect to see seams with a quartz worktop but they will be less visible if you choose a slab that is darker in colour. As well, the seams are easier to hide when you choose quartz because the material has been coloured and manufactured. If you buy a quartz worktop in a solid colour, it’s much easier to hide the seam to a certain extent.
At the end of the day, it all comes down to your personal choice and preferences. But one thing you can be sure of is that both materials are excellent choices and can provide you with a worktop that you’ll love!