Choosing the right stone for your countertops can be challenging, especially when the difference between natural and engineered stone seems murky. Let’s make things clearer with a quick primer—one focused on the differences between quartz and granite.
Quartz is alternately called engineered stone—that’s because, unlike granite, quartz countertops are ersatz stone, meaning that, while they look like quarried stone, they are, in fact, manufactured from a 93-7 ratio (or so) of real quartz crystal to resin.
Because quartz is manmade, it offers more flexibility for customers in terms of color. Where natural stones like marble and granite are quarried from the earth and come exclusively in organic tones, quartz can be engineered into many different colors. Like its natural counterparts, quartz is a durable material, and it is, in fact, less easily chipped or cracked. It resists staining better than quarried stone, too, because quartz is non-porous. It stands up exceptionally well in rooms like, say, bathrooms and kitchens, where spills and stains are more likely to happen. That’s because the resin in the quartz acts as a natural sealant. This gives quartz the added benefit of resisting bacteria that can get trapped in more porous materials, and it wipes clean with a damp cloth, rather than with abrasive chemicals. In short, engineered stone requires less care and maintenance than natural stone.
As far as downsides go, quartz is a contemporary invention. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. While many find it aesthetically pleasing, others will prefer the organic look of quarried stone. Quartz is also a bit less forgiving when it comes to heat—which means that you’ll have to be more cautious with hot items like pots, pans, hair care tools, and the like.
Granite countertops are made from natural quarried stone, and a big part of their charm is the unique character and variation that makes each slab one of a kind, like the grain in a fine wood. Widely considered among the most beautiful and upscale options for countertops, granite offers a luster and elegance that some find lacking in manmade quartz.
There are a few “drawbacks,” so to speak, when you choose granite—the main one being its maintenance requirements. When first installed, granite needs to be sealed (unlike quartz, natural stone is porous and unprotected by the resin in synthetic stone.) Granite also needs to be resealed on a regular basis to ensure its long-term durability and attractiveness. Natural stone countertops, despite their many aesthetic advantages, do stain more easily than engineered stone, so you’ll need to take extra care not to let spills, even small spills (even from water!) settle on the surface for too long. With a little care, however, you can keep your granite counters in beautiful shape and truly enhance the aesthetic appeal of your home.
So there you have it: a short primer that, we hope, proved informative and useful.