Granite Countertops vs. Engineered Stone

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Options for countertop surfaces may seem endless when it's time to make a decision in your new or remodeled kitchen or bathroom. If the look of granite appeals to you, you may also be considering engineered stone, also called quartz. Both options can be attractive and practical, so a few facts about each can help make your decision easier.

Look

  • Most quartz countertops have an even, steady pattern that remains consistent across the entire surface. While you can also find granite with the same features, more exotic granite colors also come with a wide range of movement and pattern. Some people prefer the consistent pattern you'll find in quartz, while others enjoy the natural movement in more expensive granite options. If you're interested in the more exotic granite options, consider some of the best-selling colors, like Mascarello, Lapidus, Magma Gold, Kozmus and Typhoon Bordeaux. More basic granites that resemble engineered stone include Santa Cecilia, Verde Ubatuba, Tropic Brown and New Venetian Gold.

Maintenance

  • Granite is a durable countertop material, resistant to scratching, staining and heat. However, granite is a porous surface that requires regular sealing even after it's installed. Quartz countertops are easier to maintain, as they have the same resistance to staining, heat and scratching but without the need for regular sealing. Most engineered stone countertops are more than 90 percent quartz, which makes them less porous, less prone to bacteria and easier to clean than granite.

Cost

  • Costs of the two materials will vary widely depending on availability, color of stone, where you live and your installer. Typical prices range from $60 to $100 per square foot. On average, granite prices come in lower than engineered stone, though more exotic variations of granite can be pricier than quartz. Because the process of installing both types of countertops is similar, cost of installation should not affect your decision.

Other Considerations

  • Concerns have increased recently about radon, a radioactive gas found in some granite countertops. If this is a concern for you, quartz countertops will be a better fit. If you decide on granite countertops, choose the exact slab that will be installed in your home, as colors and patterns can vary from slab to slab, even within one color variety. Granite countertops have surged in popularity in recent years, and the quartz countertop trend is just beginning to take off. If long-term style is important to you, engineered stone might be a longer-lasting style choice. Some engineered stone manufacturers also offer fabricated sinks, so your countertop and sink are one piece, making cleaning easier. This is something that cannot be replicated with granite.

References

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