Comparing Granite With Quartz
In the area of kitchen countertops, there are many materials from which to choose. Two of the industry leaders are granite which is a natural stone, and quartz which is an engineered stone. Both materials have a strong record among consumers. Yet, there always seems to be someone asking about the similarities and differences between these materials. This post will server to make a comparison between these popular materials in the context of kitchen countertops. Comparing granite with quartz will be accomplished here by looking at the properties of each material and considering how those properties affect the stones’ performance.
Natural Stone Vs. Engineered Stone
One of the first things to take note of is that granite is a natural stone and that quartz is an engineered stone. What does that mean? Well, when we say “natural granite” we mean that the entire slab was cut from the Earth and formed into a countertop. On the other hand, when we say that quartz is an “engineered stone”, we mean that the material is produced by a company using various ingredients and that some of those ingredients are minerals found in stone. Additionally, the resulting product (a countertop in our case) has a stone-like appearance.
At this point you might be tempted to make your decision based on whether the material is natural or engineered. However, doing that could lead to your decision being based on incorrect assumptions. So let’s get into the actual topic of comparing granite with quartz and see how these countertop materials measure up.
One property that consumers are interested in is the hardness of the stone. Choosing a stone that is soft makes the countertop more susceptible to scratching. As a result, consumers take note of the stone’s hardness to ensure that the resulting countertop will resist scratching.
When it comes to hardness, both natural granite and engineered quartz lie on the hard end of the Mohs scale of mineral hardness. Since granite is a natural stone, the hardness will vary between 5.5 to 7 depending on the stone. On the other hand, engineered quartz is manufactured and the producer can control the hardness. As a general rule, quartz hardness is 7. But you should always be sure to find out from the manufacturer what the actual hardness is for your slab.
Ultimately, both granite and quartz are hard materials and offer scratch resistance in their lists of benefits and/or features. That is not to say that these materials are identical in durability. They’re not. We will talk more about that in the care and maintenance part of our comparison. For now, it is enough to say that both granite and quartz are hard materials.
Granite and quartz both require fabrication. Fabricators often work with both granite and quartz in their shops. As mentioned earlier, both materials are hard. As a result there are diamond blades designed to cut either of the two materials. The similarities between natural granite and engineered quartz go further than using the same diamond tooling.
Another fabrication requirement for both materials we are comparing is filtration. Fabrication shops do well to filter the air and the shop water that runs through the working environment. Since natural granite and engineered quartz both contain silica, it is imperative that fabricators have a silica reduction program in place. Conscientious fabricators control silica dust by utilizing air filtration machines like dust walls and shop water filtration systems. These mechanisms enable stone professionals to contain and control silica particles that otherwise present a danger to stone workers.
The next aspect of comparing granite with quartz that we will discuss has to do with color selection. Color selection is important because it translates into compatibility with other materials used in a various design styles and decorating projects. Since granite is a natural material it is obviously available in a virtually limitless selection of colors and patterns. Each slab will be completely unique and different from every other countertop. Even surfaces made from the same kind of granite will be different from one another.
On the other hand, engineered quartz offers consistency. It too is available in a wide variety of colors and patterns. However, when you select an engineered stone slab in the showroom you can expect that the slab that gets installed in your home will look just like the one you selected. Where engineered quartz is concerned, selecting your color and pattern is simpler than it is with granite. Choosing a granite slab means searching for the exact slab you want. The result is the one-of-a-kind kitchen countertop that we mentioned previously.
Care and Maintenance
Comparing quartz and granite care and maintenance could be done from two different angles. The similarities could be the focus or one could highlight the differences. We though, will look at both angels in this comparison.
Granite and quartz are similar the sense that both materials benefit from cleaner designed for that particular material. Quartz manufacturers will tout the fact that engineered quartz need not be cleaned with a specific cleaner and that soap and water is usually all that is required to clean engineered quartz. Yet, they also will most likely state that you must completely dry the surface after cleaning. One of the reasons for this is that water can leave streaks on the surface of a quartz countertop. In fact, tap water sometimes contains minerals that can be left stuck to the surface of the quartz after the water evaporates. This leaves visible residue that must be removed when this happens.
Granite also benefits from using specific cleaners. Since it is a natural stone, granite must have sealer applied to its surface so that liquids that could cause staining are not absorbed into the pores as quickly as they are when it is not sealed. Using the wrong kind of cleaner on granite breaks down the sealer. When this happens, any benefit that resulted from the sealer is lost and the only way to correct it is to reapply a stone sealer to the granite.
As we have seen Similarities can be drawn between natural granite and engineered quartz. Both materials are hard and scratch resistant. They have similarities when it comes to fabricating countertops. And even tough the needs are different when it comes to care and maintenance, they are similar in that they each must be cleaned using a specific kind of cleaner.
In the end, there is a reason why granite and quartz are both among the leading materials used in countertop fabrication. They offer very detailed benefits to consumers depending on what is important to the buyer. One thing is for certain though, no matter what project you have in mind or what style of decor you are after, you will likely find a good fit among the granite or quartz selection.