Kitchens need kitchen cabinets and countertops as much as dining rooms need a dining table. You can choose to make do with substitutes, but the real thing will always be better. If you want to improve the function of your kitchen, your best investment would be on cabinets and countertops.
Kitchen cabinets are easy. Most are wood or wood-based materials, and as long as you get them from a reputable cabinet supplier and a recognized brand, you should be fine. However, when it comes to kitchen countertops, the choice of materials is much more varied.
If you check online, you will find that the top choices are almost invariably granite or engineered quartz. This is a great start, as you only have to choose one or the other. Below are a series of facts about quartz and granite kitchen countertops to help you make the right choice for your kitchen.
The major difference between granite and quartz kitchen countertops is its nature. Granite is a natural stone, while quartz stone is manmade or engineered. If one of your requirements for kitchen countertops is it should be natural, then you will not need to read any further. However, if you want to know more about it, read on.
Granite is an igneous rock, which means it formed from slowly cooling magma over millions of years under the surface of the earth under great pressure. About 80% of the Earth’s crust is granite. So, it is also the most common type of natural stone in the world. The type and color of granite will depend on the composition, and producers excavate or quarry it from all over the world.
Quartz stone, on the other hand, is primarily quartz materials compressed with resin and pigments using the Bretonstone process. More than 50 manufacturers all over the world hold a license to use this process to produce different brands of quartz stone. However, Cambria is the only company based in the US to do so.
Granite and quartz countertops are both extremely durable. The main components of granite are quartz and feldspar. The proportion can be anywhere between 20% and 60%, and 10% and 65%, respectively. Both quartz and feldspar are very hard substances, rating between 7 and 8 in the Mohs scale, which measures the scratch resistance of minerals. The durability of a particular slab of granite will depend on the presence of these two mineral types, which in most cases is very significant.
Top brands of quartz stone such as Silestone and Cambria have at least 90% quartz. This means that quartz stone is at least as scratch resistant as granite in general and perhaps more so than some types of granite.
Granite is extremely heat-resistant. It can withstand direct heat up to 1100°F (about 600°C) and almost double that of ambient heat without any sign of damage. This is because granite comes from molten rock that formed slowly under extreme pressures, so high heat is nothing new to it. You can use it for kitchen countertops, bathroom vanity tops, and fireplace surrounds without fear. Constant exposure to the sun is also not a problem.
Quartz stone, on the other hand is not heat resistant at all. Natural quartz is, but the resins and pigments included in the mix are not. The resins are plastic, and these will melt at relatively low temperatures. The pigments may also change under exposure to heat, which is why it is never a good idea to place anything like a hot pan directly on quartz countertops. The source of the heat will leave a very noticeable mark on the stone that will be permanent. Even exposure to direct sunlight will have a fading effect on quartz stone. So, using it outdoors will void the manufacturers’ warranty for quartz stone.
Another great thing about granite is that it will always be one of a kind. No two granite countertops will look the same, because it is a natural stone. Natural formations are random, so one area may have different compositions as well as slight variations in heat and pressure. Granite slabs hewn from the same block will look different. In some cases so much so that you might think they come from completely different areas.
This is great if you want your kitchen to be unique. That said, this randomness in color and patterns can sometimes make matching slabs and joining two of them seamlessly a bit of a problem. This is why it is important to get a professional to fabricate and install your granite countertops.
Quartz slabs of the same model will always look exactly alike. Manufacturers have tried to introduce some randomness into the process to make each slab slight different. But in most cases, the colors and patterns are predictable. The good thing about this is it is much easier to match slabs and create invisible seams. On the other hand, you will not achieve the unique look you might want for your kitchen.
Both granite and quartz slabs come in a wide range of patterns and colors. So, you have a good chance of giving your kitchen a distinctive look. It is much easier to do that with granite than quartz, however.
Quartz stone generally costs slightly more than granite per square foot. You can expect to spend between $60 and $120 per square foot, installed, for quartz countertops, and between $30 and $60 for granite. Of course, exotic granite will cost much more, and some may exceed that of quartz stone. The cost will depend on the model and type of quartz and granite you choose for your kitchen countertops.
Granite and quartz countertops have a lot in common, but they are not the same thing. Comparing the two stones make it clear that granite is a better choice for kitchen countertops than quartz stone in many ways.
The most important thing when it comes to upgrading your kitchen with new countertops and cabinets, however, is to choose an experienced and reliable supplier to help you. Cabinet Land Kitchen and Beyond offers free consultation services and quotes. So, you can have the benefit of our expertise without spending a dime.
We are a local remodeling company with a showroom located in Schaumburg, Illinois. We work only with quality natural stones for countertops as well as the best cabinet brands at the best prices compared to our competitors such as Advance Cabinets and Handsome Cabinets.
Visit us today to see what we have to offer. We service Chicago land and have the expertise and resources to complete virtually any type of countertops and kitchen cabinets – ON TIME and ON BUDGET with top quality craftsmanship that will exceed your expectations.