Two of the most frequently installed countertop materials being used today are granite and engineered quartz. Both are durable materials that can be ground to a high polish and used to complement many styles of kitchen design.
When deciding between the two materials, consider their looks as well as their maintenance needs to help you make the decision that's right for you.
Granite is a form of natural stone consisting of igneous rock. While not all countertop materials being sold today under the name of granite are actual granite, all are natural materials durable enough to be cut and ground to a high polish.
Granite slabs are available in multiple colors, some with tightly packed grain patterns, others with large swirls of color. Fissures, surface marks and wide degrees of variation in pattern and color are to be expected when using this material.
Engineered quartz is countertop slab material made of 90 percent quartz or natural stone, held together with a resin. This process enables the slabs to be produced with relatively little variation in color and pattern.
The colors of engineered quartz can vary from nearly white to a deep black, some with subtle veins and most with quartz and mica flecks. Colors such as deep cobalt blue and bright red are available that cannot be found in granite.
Granite Durability and Maintenance
Granite is an extremely durable and hard natural stone, but it is still porous and does require some care. Granite should always be cleaned with a stone cleaner and sealed on a regular basis to impede staining.
While knives will not scratch granite, lemon juice and other acids can remove its finish. Therefore, spills should be wiped up quickly, and care should be taken to avoid exposure to acid or alkaline cleaning products.
Engineered Quartz Durability and Maintenance
Since engineered quartz is held together with a resin, it is nonporous and therefore does not require sealing or special cleaners. The surface cannot be marked or etched, and staining is unlikely.
Engineered quartz is also durable in the same manner that granite is; it cannot be scratched by knives and will handle hot pots directly from the stove.
Style of Granite
Since granite has so much natural beauty and variation, it works well in a number of kitchen designs and styles. No two slabs of granite are ever the same, making them a great choice for homeowners who enjoy natural materials and unique designs.
Granite slabs can be found with unusual marks, large veins and lots of variation from one end of the piece to the next. Choose granite for style if you enjoy variety, variation and natural colors.
Style of Engineered Quartz
Engineered quartz has a more controlled pattern and appearance. It can be monochromatic and have little variation from one end to the other. This makes it a great choice for many modern and contemporary kitchen designs. Choose engineered quartz for style if you want a quieter-appearing countertop, or a color such as lime green, bright red or blue.
Granite has a great deal of variation in price as well as color. Quarries that produce large amounts of stone or that have easy access to the stones will produce granites that are lower in price. Quarries with granites that are more rare or difficult to retrieve will produce stones that are higher in price. Granite pricing can range from $25 a foot to as much as $300 a foot.
Engineered quartz pricing is generally in the same range as mid-priced granites. There is little cost difference between one color of quartz and the next, although pricing can vary by company and manufacturer. Pricing typically runs from $70 a foot to $90 a foot.
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