Why choose one over the other? Quartz countertops have been getting a lot of press lately as THE BEST countertop material on the market. Fact is, quartz (or engineered stone as it's also known) is non-porous, heat resistant, scratch resistant, and looks like granite.
Warranties for quartz countertops vs. granite are obvious - granite does not come with a warranty. Silestone, Cambria, CaesarStone and all the other quartz countertop companies are able to offer a 10-year limited warranty on their countertops because they all use the same process to manufacture with consistent quality.
Warranties (SeeGranite Warranty) are still more of a sales tool than a form of protection. For example, the Silestone warranty states - "warranty does not apply to color variances, thermal shock, chemical abuse, or defects caused by fabrication, misuse, or improper installation".
Silestone and other quartz products are warranted to be free of manufacturing defects only. So the warranty only covers the raw material not the work associated with making it into a countertop.
For all the advertised benefits of engineered stone, the details in the sales literature paints a different story. Silestone claims to be stain-resistant and it . . . "does not need to be sealed or pampered" like granite.
For maintenance, though they state, "Bleach is recommended for stubborn or difficult stains" in Silestone. As for scratch resistance, their literature states . . . "it shouldn't leave a mark". And although it's heat resistant, the literature states, "we recommend protecting your Silestone surface".
The appearance of quartz counters varies by color and size of the quartz pieces. CaesarStone now offers semi precious stones in the mix for even more dramatic looks.
The swirling patterns of real granite still elude all makers of quartz stone. Quartz countertops also lack the three dimensional depth only found in real granite.
And even though quartz surface is a manufactured product with strict quality control standards, you will still find imperfections in the slabs which must be eliminated from the finished countertops.
The process combines crushed quartz, resin, and pigments in molds where it is heated and vibrated. The resulting quartz surface slabs are solid and impervious to stains, moisture, and bacteria. Silestone brand even boasts Microban in its countertops to prevent bacteria growth on the counter surface.
Granite vs. Quartz
Our company fabricates countertops from both natural stone and from quartz surface - specifically Silestone, and CaesarStone. We learned the hard way about the inconsistency of quartz. The manufacturers tell you each piece is identical in color and appearance to the samples on display.
The fact is, if you cut countertops from different manufactured lots of the same color, the tops will be decidedly different in color and texture. We have to be very careful to use only slabs from the same bundles. It's the same way with granite, which understandably varies from slab to slab - See Granite Slabs.
The strength of quartz makes it easier to handle and fabricate than granite. It does not need rodding to protect cutout areas from cracking. It rarely chips and the cuts are very clean. Installing quartz tops requires the same skills and techniques as granite. Seams in quartz tops are usually barely noticeable because the surface is so consistent compared to granite.
Actually, quality of seams is more a function of the installer's skill than the consistency of the raw material.
Quartz tops cost is comparable to granite. You can expect to pay between $35 and $85 per square for for installed tops - See Lowe's for local countertops.
Quartz surface performs very well as a countertop. It delivers the benefits of heat resistance, scratch resistance, and stain resistance in a product that looks attractive.
Properly selected granite that has been sealed if it needs it (See Seal Granite) performs just as well as quartz surface. Granite countertops cost about the same as quartz. The only real difference is that granite and natural stone look better.
They look like real stone because they are. When provided with the facts, almost every one of our customers chooses granite over quartz counters. We have no vested interest in providing quartz vs. granite.
I truly believe Silestone and other quartz products are excellent choices for countertops. These tops withstand a lot more than their own sales literature gives them credit for. So which is better comparing quartz counters vs granite?
To say quartz is better than granite countertops is a huge misconception. Misconceptions about caring for granite combined with enormous advertising strength of the quartz surface brands is what drives the growth of quartz countertops.
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You need solid support for stone tops. Here's a selection of handmade, wrought iron and steel brackets and corbels for quartz and granite countertops all made in the US. Each is designed to support the weight of stone counters, but styled to compliment your kitchen . . . More on Quartz Countertop Supports