Quartz vs. Granite: The Battle of the Countertop

Folks have weighed in on both sides of the equation claiming that quartz is better than granite or is it the other way around? It’s clear that for different people, the answer to this question is going to change based on their personal needs and wants for their individual kitchen countertops. Sioux Falls residents may find themselves caught in the middle of a heated debate on whether granite or quartz is the better material for kitchen countertops. Which side will you fall on?


As a Home Improvement: Advantage Granite


Quartz is a synthetic stone made up primarily of quartz and a synthetic resin that is used to bind it together. Much like laminate wood flooring, quartz can look like the real thing, but it’s not the real thing. Much like hardwood flooring granite will increase the value of your home, while quartz will not.


In Terms of Maintenance: Advantage Quartz


Synthetic quartz was designed by scientists to be a quality material that did not have the one pitfall that granite has. Granite is porous. That means it needs to sealed on yearly basis to prevent staining of the countertop or build-up in the pores of the granite. While quartz aficionados make a big deal out of this, granite is easy to seal. Still, the advantage here goes to quartz because it requires no maintenance.


In Terms of Durability: Draw


Both are incredibly hard stones and durable materials. They don’t chip easily and the won’t scratch up easily either. You’re more likely to ruin the edge of your knife than you are countertop made from either material.


In Terms of Versatility: Advantage Quartz


Since quartz is synthetic it’s a lot easier to dye or stain, which makes it quite versatile as an option, especially for those that gravitate toward stone. Granite comes in a number of different colors, textures, and graining patterns, and most homeowners aren’t going to have a problem finding a style that suits their needs exactly, but still the advantage goes to quartz.


In Terms of Cost: Advantage Granite


Granite starts cheaper than quartz but on the high end it can get more expensive. In terms of return on investment however, granite is second to none. It’s not as pricey as other natural stones, but is among the most durable.


In Terms of Aesthetic Quality: Advantage Granite


The caveat here is that newer quartz can be made to resemble granite, marble, or pretty much anything else. But it’s hard to say that the natural beauty crafted by Mother Nature isn’t as gorgeous as our man made attempts to emulate it. Nonetheless this is completely subjective and open for debate.


Is Granite is Still the Best for Kitchen Countertops?

With many modern home decor magazines saying that granite is on its way out and quartz is the new best thing, it begs the question as to why. Quartz has been around for years, and so has granite, but why suddenly would quartz be considered the top option for kitchen countertops when it had been relegated to second fiddle for so many years prior?

The answer to that question lies in the many methods that quartz is made to ape the very qualities that put granite at the forefront of the countertop industry for so many years. The texture of natural stone can’t be beat and this has much to do with the natural grainings and designs that are made by Mother Nature herself. Quartz now give the appearance of natural graining, and non-uniform coloration, the very things that drove people to granite in the first place. Quartz also runs about the same price as granite does.

But herein lies the rub. Quartz is an engineered synthetic stone that was built to be low maintenance. Insofar as it does not need to be resealed yearly to prevent staining or seeping into the porous surface, quartz does have one quality that granite does not have. On the same token, you can make the very same claim of plastic laminate, solid surface, or any of the other myriad of man made materials used to create kitchen countertops. So the question then becomes, why would any Sioux Falls resident pay around the same price for a countertop material that mimics granite, when they can get a similar custom countertop material that mimics granite for an even cheaper price?

The one major claim that quartz can make that granite can’t is that it’s lower maintenance because it’s synthetically made. Nonetheless, laminate flooring, now matter how perfect a copy of real hardwood floors it is, will not raise the value of your home. Only real hardwood floors can do that.

Quartz has become because it now provides many homeowners with the option of making it look like natural stone, even when it isn’t. While not every countertop has to be made out of natural stone, quartz doesn’t have any advantage over granite that plastic laminate doesn’t also have. Plastic laminate has another advantage over quartz insofar as being the more cost effective option of the two.

While some fashionistas of the kitchen decor industry are trying to claim that quartz is the new granite, granite has had its place as a perpetual favorite of for kitchen countertops for a reason. Despite the fact that it needs to be sealed, it’s still one of the most durable materials known to man. It’s also one of the most gorgeous, and it has the advantage of being natural stone, which quartz is not.

4 Things to Keep in Mind Following Your Countertop Installation

Hands Off!

Following a countertop installation in Sioux Falls, as soon as the installers leave, it’s tempting for a homeowner to climb on their island and jump for joy, thrilled that this gorgeous product is finally in their home. While jumping for joy is definitely encouraged, it’s best not to do that while standing on the stone. In fact, if possible, it’s best to avoid touching the stone altogether. Depending on the installer’s methods, it’s possible that silicone was used to sandwich the countertops to the cabinets. If this is the case, and the installer lifted the stone to place silicone glue between the two materials, then even the slightest bump can move the stone before the glue sets, leading to off-set measurements. After all the hard work that the installers put into ensuring precision, it would be a shame for that to go to waste. Silicone glue takes time to dry, so homeowners are advised to wait 6-8 hours before placing items on their countertops, and by that point they should be clear to start cooking.

Hands Off the Sink, Especially

6-8 hours is enough for the stone pieces to set, but depending on how the sink was installed, it might require up to 24 hours of curing time. Homeowners are advised to ask their installers for specific instructions regarding sink followup.

Seal Accordingly

Some countertop materials require the application of a sealer regularly, while others never need to be sealed. Take engineered quartz as an example. This stone is a composite of several natural stone materials bound together with polymer resin. The result is a usually uniform, entirely poreless product. Because of its powerlessness, no sealer will ever penetrate through its surface – nor will any other liquid that’s promptly wiped clean, so there’s no use in sealing engineered quartz. Similarly, granite materials like Nero Assoluto, while not technically 100% non-porous, is incredibly dense, so much so that a sealer won’t penetrate. Aside from that particular material, granites are found in a spectrum of porousness, with some requiring only an initial sealer that the manufacturer applies, others requiring a ceiling once every few years, and others requiring one a few times per year. With marble countertops, most materials require a sealer to be applied at least bi-annually. In all cases, homeowners are advised to speak to their stone provider for information on their particular material before moving forward with the sealing.


Now that those points are out of the way, the only responsibility left for homeowners is the full enjoyment of their new countertops! After all the planning, investment, and focus put into the renovation project, homeowners surely deserve at least that.

The Dangers of DIY Stone Countertop Installation

Stone Countertops Are Heavy


The thing with stone countertops is, of course, that they are incredibly heavy compared to most other materials available for use in a kitchen. This is the main reason for the dangers behind DIY kitchen installation. Their heaviness isn’t exactly something that a regular weightlifting program can help with. These are flat square or rectangular slabs that need to be carried from the side, with no clear handles available.


It’s Hard to Keep the Balance


Even if the homeowners manage to lift the piece up in the air, there’s the matter of balance to take into account. For taller pieces of stone, this is a particular issue. When the stone is lifted in the air, and it isn’t kept perfectly straight (which it never is), it’ll want to fall one side or the other. So, aside from ensuring that the piece is not dropped while being carried into the house, homeowners will need to make sure that they have a good grip on the balance before taking another step further. Since this can be a challenge, some people prefer using a hand to keep hold on the balance, obviously leaving all their share of the weight up to the other hand.


The Piece Can Break in Midair


Assuming that the homeowner has the strength and technique to lift the piece and keep it balanced while walking in, there’s still the big “X” factor to consider. Since the stone countertops are natural, no one has any idea what the material looks like on the inside. In other words, only the surface of the material can be seen. For all anyone knows, there’s a huge air pocket in the middle of a heavy piece, and it might burst precisely when being lifted by two amateur installed.


You Can Break Your Back


There’s always a person’s physical health to consider in cases like these. Sure, skipping out on the stone installer will save a decent amount of money in the short term, but that will quickly seem paltry when compared to the medical payments they’ll be responsible for if their amateur job gave them a bad back.


… and Your Home


Speaking of expenses, if something goes wrong during the delivery, and the piece of stone is dropped while being transported to the kitchen, the professional installer savings will instantly go down the drain.


It’s Best to Call Up a Pro


For the sake of a homeowner’s property, their body, and for the quality of their Sioux Falls custom countertops to be maximized, it’s best to simply make the investment of working with a professional, reliable stone countertop installer.