Quartz or Granite? Making Solid Countertop Decisions
Investing in new countertops for your home renovation or construction project is a big decision, and you want to make sure you select the right material for the job. We’ve taken the hard part off your shoulders by doing some investigating to get all the answers you will need to set your decision in stone.
For many people, quartz is a relatively new option for countertops, but is not widely understood. What exactly is quartz? Firstly, it is important to understand your materials. Most quartz surfaces are only partly made of quartz. It is an engineered material that is made up of many components that look and feel much like solid stone. However, quartz should not be mistaken as a completely solid stone material. It helps to think of quartz much like cement: it is a non-homogenous mixture made of sediment particles called aggregate and a binding agent, and it is wildly strong and scratch-resistant. Quartz countertops, like cement, are approximately 90% sediment. Some of this aggregate is pure quartz, while other components may be marble or granite fragments, glass, ceramic, or other natural crushed stones. The other 10% is a binding agent. This can be a polymeric resin, cement, or a number of other materials that give Quartz countertops their strength. These resins also seal the countertops, making them non-porous: an ideal material for use in kitchens and bathrooms because it won’t stain and does not need to be sealed. However, the resin mixture that makes up quartz countertops is not as resistant to heat as the stone particles within it, and can discolor or lose its finish if exposed to direct intense heat. Professionals often recommend trivets underneath hot pans in order to protect your quartz countertops.
Quartz is a material that is rapidly modernizing to accommodate new applications and styles. Quartz can be found in patterns that look and feel like authentic marble and granite. It is now also being made in designs that have a look all their own. Because quartz utilizes the by-products of other stone manufacturing processes, it can be considered a green material and is a purchase you can feel good about. It is becoming a more popular choice for home owners who want a unique look that is more durable than traditional stone options and requires less maintenance.
Granite, on the other hand, has long been the tried and true choice for beautiful and durable counters. Granite has many advantages as well. It is a natural material cut directly from a slab of the stone that is then polished to a desired finish. Granite is an igneous stone that forms as magma cools and hardens into a crystalline structure, making it an inherently strong and durable material. Granite is heat resistant and scratch resistant, but is porous and does require a sealant in order to be protected against liquid spills and stains. Most professionals advise people with granite counters to seal them twice a year to maintain their shine, color, and strength. As long as your countertops are sealed, they are impervious to chemical cleaning agents and will not discolor or erode.
Because granite is a natural material, its color and pattern variety is almost limitless. This becomes great for homeowners looking for something unique. On the other hand, because it is cut in slabs from a quarry, it is limited in size. You will likely need to purchase several slabs that will have to be seamed together. Professional installers will be able to mix an epoxy very close to the color of your selected stone for a seam that is nearly invisible. Granite is a timeless option that has been a favorite for years that is sure to impress for its beauty and its performance.
Taking a closer look at your cooking and cleaning habits cab help you select a beautiful countertop material that is right for your home. And if you still can’t choose, mix it up! Choose a stunning granite for your kitchen and a coordinating quartz option for your bathroom vanity. Both options will add value and beauty to your home in addition to the unique benefits each product brings to your table.
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