Updated: Sep 3, 2020
When meeting with perspective clients, it seems like one of the most confusing topics for their renovation projects is always the countertops. What is the difference between quartz countertops and granite countertops? Which one is better? Which one is stain resistant? How do they compare in price per square foot? The list goes on.
So for this post, I brought in a guest expert in stone countertops to answer all of these reoccurring questions that perspective renovation clients never seem to know. His name is TJ Henderson and he’s the owner of Modern Countertops, a wholesale stone fabrication and installation shop located in Central Illinois. Not only does he have over fifteen years experience in the stone countertop world, he happens to be a complete fox. Seriously. The guy has an ass so perfect it could make an angel hang himself. Full disclosure, this fine specimen also happens to be my husband and the father of my children. Now let’s get to it. By the end of this post, you’re going to feel confident when deciding which type of stone countertops to put in your kitchen. What’s the difference between Quartz and Granite?
TJ: Quartz is a man-made product comprised of naturally occurring quartz bonded together with resin. Granite is an igneous rock, meaning it was made from lava or magma. It’s a nature made product formed over millions of years in the actual Earth!
TJ: In my opinion, the biggest difference between granite and quartz is this: granite has depth and is truly one of a kind. Quartz is boring, shallow, bland. Your neighbor’s quartz countertops from last year will look exactly like your quartz from today.
TJ: Durability? Most home owners come in saying they want to go with quartz because it’s “more durable” than granite. The durability of quartz is one of the biggest misconceptions of someone in the market for “stone” countertops. Both surfaces can chip, stain and scratch. I repair as many quartz countertops as stone countertops for maintenance issues. Paige: Exactly. This is why I always tells my customers to not ask if it’s quartz or granite. Just choose the one they like best. Is marble quartz or granite?
TJ: Marble is neither quartz nor granite. Marble is defined as a metamorphic rock. What does that mean??? Basically, it means that marble started as a different rock, and then because of heat and pressure, was transformed into it’s current state of beauty. This is even true when it’s added into a kitchen/bathroom. This type of stone is soft so it will scratch, chip, dent and eventually tell a beautiful story of the years lived in your space. Personally, I love marble and argued heavily to have it included in our upcoming kitchen remodel. Paige: I love marble, but I’m hesitant to use it on countertop surfaces in the kitchen because of the softness and likelihood to stain. Unlike my husband, I don’t want to tell my guests the story behind the carve marks or red wine glass ring. Then what is cultured marble?
TJ: The gross looking countertops in your grandparent’s guest bath. Seriously though, it’s a blend of stone particles and resins. Quartz anyone? Paige: Cultured marble has it’s place in the design world for certain applications. I think it can look great for shower wall applications when stone slabs aren’t in your budget. I’m not a fan of it as a bathroom vanity top or bowl though. Have you ever been in your great aunt’s bathroom and looked closely at that seashell bowl? It probably has hairline fractures running up the sides. That’s why cultured marble only has a 3 year warranty. If you want a less expensive option for bathroom countertops instead of stone, take a look at www.theonyxcollection.com. This is a similar product, but it has a lifetime guarantee. Where are granite and quartz sourced out of?
TJ: Quartz comes from various manufacturers around the globe. There are several brands that manufacture in the good old United States. Most granite you see today comes from Brazil. That said, granite can be quarried from anywhere because the world used to be a volcano. Paige: I always thought there were magical stone fairies that delivered and installed whatever I picked out so my design would come to life. I guess TJ’s answer is more accurate. Is one safer for the environment than the other? TJ: You can have a really good debate on which one is safer. Personally, I will argue all day that granite is safer for the environment because it’s an organic material. Quartz is comprised from several chemicals to achieve its final form. Chemicals = not organic Does either of them come with a warranty or any guarantees?
TJ: Quartz: short answer is yes. Long answer is yes, but your fabricator needs to follow all manufacturing guidelines and you as the end-user need to comply with the approved cleaners for that specific product for the warranty to be honored. I have heard horror stories for certain manufacturer’s warranty process and really good stories too. Just be advised that your “lifetime warranty” is like any other warranty. It comes with a very long list of stipulations. Natural Stone: short answer is no. There is no long answer for this one. You can’t guarantee something made natural from mother nature. Either product, if installed correctly, and when the proper care is taken to maintain the surface, should yield very little problems over the course of its life. Paige: Every client asks me about warranties on every product I sell them and I always tell them what each manufacturer offers, but nothing in the world is fool proof. Everything can break, stain, crack, etc. Just treat your new kitchen and bath with proper care and love and it will love you back. How often do I have to seal my stone countertops? TJ: Depends on the stone, how they are used, how often they are used. and the sealer that is being used. For general questions like that, I always refer people to: www.stonefabricatorsalliance. com. Here you will get multiple professionals who can identify and offer the best sealer for your stone! Paige: If you are getting your stone from a reputable stone fabrication shop and not buying the cheapest piece of stone you can find, it should come with a quality seal. If you skipped your happy ass over to Lowe’s in search of a $150 stone countertop, don’t expect it to be of any quality or sealed. It will stain the minute you lay a wet rag on it. How are granite and quartz priced? Is one cheaper than the other?
TJ: Both are similarly priced. Paige: Such a guy answer… Pricing starts with the least expensive which is Level A and increases in price the further down the alphabet you go. All are good slabs, but you will notice that the more vibrant colors and more distinct veining are found in the higher levels. Like anything in the world, the prettier the slab the more expensive it is, which is exactly why TJ can’t afford me. Are any stone countertops stain resistant? TJ: Yes, Antolini out of Italy is starting to offer select natural stones with their Azerocare. This treatment “provides water repellent and oil repellent protection from staining and etching”. Paige: I’ll believe it, when I see it. Will either burn or leave a mark if I put a hot pot or baking sheet directly on top? TJ: Quartz: hot stuff directly on the surface is a big no no. If you every happen upon a scrap piece of quartz, grab a blow torch and see what happens! Natural stones can take some heat but I always recommend some type of trivet or heating pad “just in case”.
Paige: I don’t cook enough to have an answer for this. Clients never come back to me and tell me if they ruined their countertops by burning them. I wouldn’t admit to doing that either.