Should You Choose Quartz or Granite Countertops for Your Remodel?

Becca Stokes
Written by Becca Stokes
Updated April 11, 2022
Two friends chatting in kitchen over white countertop
Photo: Monkey Business Images / Shutterstock

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The time has finally come to renovate your kitchen or bathroom. All those hours on Pinterest are about to pay off. First on the list, what material should you use for your countertops? The most popular options are quartz and granite, but it can be hard to determine which one is the right option for your home.

Granite has an authentic and naturally hewn look. Meanwhile, quartz is seen in kitchens all over the globe because it’s so resistant to staining—while chefs adore granite countertops for their ability to resist heat. 

Confused yet? Don’t worry; this guide will break down the difference between quartz and granite countertops to help you figure out which is the right stone material for your project.

What’s the Difference Between Quartz and Granite?

The essential difference between granite and quartz is their origin. Granite is a stone formed in the ground (think the Snow White’s Seven Dwarves mining the day away). It comes out in big slabs, which are ultimately cut to fit your countertop. 

With quartz, production isn’t that simple. It doesn’t occur naturally. Instead, it consists of a mixture of different types of rock that get set into a resin. Think of it this way: If granite is a three-tiered cake, quartz is the equally tasty cake pops made up from the crumbs and buttercream leftover.

Quartz

Close up of grey quartz countertop and black kitchen cabinets
Photo: Papah-kah / Shutterstock

Let’s dig into quartz a little bit more to understand the components that make up the mixture that eventually becomes your stylish new counters. Here, we will be talking about engineered quartz, the mixture mentioned above. Geologists will tell you that quartz is more than what you call your countertop—it’s also the name of a naturally occurring mineral in the Earth’s crust. If someone tells you that their counter is natural quartz, they mean that they have a quartzite countertop made up of this mineral.

Granite

Close up of black and gold granite countertop
Photo: Kyle Santee / Shutterstock

Granite is, to borrow a phrase from the kids, an OG of the rock world: forming from cooling volcanic magma. It has other minerals inside of it as well, like feldspar and even our friend quartz. Granite isn’t engineered but rather mined in slabs and sold. 

Quartz vs. Granite

Both quartz and granite have great benefits when you put them to work as countertops in your kitchens or bathrooms, which explains why they have both been so popular for so long. But popular doesn’t always mean right for you, so let’s break it down by characteristics: 

Look and Color

It doesn’t get much more natural than a rock straight from the ground. Because granite occurs naturally and is mined in slabs, each piece plucked from the Earth is totally unique, with its own rich and distinctive variance in tones. “Natural” looking quartz countertops exist, but by their very makeup, are never going to look as authentic and natural as granite. 

Best natural looking appearance: Granite

But don’t count quartz out just yet! Because it is engineered by humans, you can dye it almost any color you desire and have any pattern you like applied to its surface.

Best design versatility: Quartz

Environmentally Friendly

While engineered quartz is not mined as one piece like granite, it’s the best choice for a green home design since the mining techniques used to extract it do less damage.

Most environmentally friendly: Quartz

Material Cost

If we’re going by the material itself, quartz is more expensive, running at a rate of $50 to $100 per square foot. Granite, on the other hand, goes at a rate of $40 to $60 per square foot. 

Most affordable material: Granite

Installation

Outside of the cost of the countertops themselves, you will find that the cost of installing countertops ranges from $35 to $85 an hour for labor. In addition, because both granite and quartz countertops are large and made of stone, they are heavy and can be damaged if dropped. That makes countertop installation a project you want to leave to the experts.

Most affordable installation: Tie

Maintenance

Quartz is engineered to last a long, long time. It’s easy to clean and can handle heat and moisture. It’s made with durability and scratch-resistance in mind. It’s not likely to chip or crack and can withstand most of the toughest obstacles that a kitchen or bathroom can throw its way. While granite is exceptionally strong, engineered quartz is factory-made, which means it has fewer natural flaws and cracks, making granite less durable. If you want to install a countertop and never have to worry about upkeep again, then you should consider quartz.

Most durable: Quartz

Repairs

While quartz is designed to never ever require fixing, repair can be more costly if it does break because it’s less common. Granite can chip easily, it’s also a lot easier to repair. If you need your quartz countertops repaired, expect to spend between $150 and $750. If your granite needs repair, expect to pay between $250 and $1,000

Most affordable repair: Granite

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