Picking a countertop material isn’t hard if you’ve got the facts
Kitchen countertops are first and foremost a work surface. They’ve got to be able to stand up to punishment while looking great. Clients look for countertops that will meet their needs but will also say something about their personal style. Most people who come into our showroom at Carolina Kitchen & Bath usually end up asking “Which is better, granite or quartz?” The quick answer is: “It depends.” Both materials come in lovely colors and patterns and each have their care and maintenance requirements. Sorting out the pros and cons of quartz versus granite can be confusing, so we’ve come to your rescue with these guidelines:
Granite is one-of-a-kind…
Granite has a WOW factor that just can’t be matched by any man made material. Because it’s a natural product, an identical piece just doesn’t exist, which means what you put in your kitchen is unique. Even if your annoying neighbor simply has to have the exact granite countertop in her kitchen that you do, that’s just not possible. Each slab is one-of-a-kind, lending a dramatic look to any kitchen. Granite countertops come in glossy and honed (matte) finishes and the colors span the spectrum, from light to dark. The veining and movement of the stone can’t duplicated, and you can find granite that will fit any décor, from contemporary to traditional. Also, the cost for granite is a bit less than quartz. Granite is a stunning choice and will give your kitchen a singular look.
But keep in mind…
Care and maintenance takes a much greater effort. Granite is porous and can stain if spills are left on the surface. Oils, wine and coffee can cause stains if your countertops are not properly sealed. Poorly sealed granite can harbor germs, so make sure you maintain the finish with regular use of a granite cleaner and polish. Always read your care instructions and be careful not to use harsh chemical cleaners, vinegar, lemon juice or anything acidic or abrasive. Make sure your countertops are coming from a quality fabricator that uses a 15 year Commercial Grade Sealer. Even though the sealer helps keep your countertops from staining, but it’s always best to wipe up any spills. Some stains can be removed by applying a poultice but prevention is the easier option.
Quartz is hard to beat…
Manufacturers of quartz countertops like Silestone, Caesarstone and Cambria make a wide range of colors and styles. You can get a veined material that looks like marble or a pebbled pattern that’s especially good in a contemporary setting. Whatever you want, it’s easy to find a product that will complement the cabinets and flooring.
Since they don’t require special care, cleaning and maintenance are a breeze. Just clean with water and a mild detergent, no polishing or re-sealing is needed. Quartz countertops are not porous, so they’re highly stain-resistant and easier to sanitize thoroughly. There may be people in your household who aren’t as careful with spills and clean-up as you are; quartz countertops can stand abuse like that. It’s a good, practical choice for anyone who cooks a lot and adds to the resale value of your home.
But you might hit a snag… The cost for quartz countertops is generally higher than the cost for granite, so if you’re on a budget (who isn’t?) you really have to put your your priorities in order. The colors and styles mostly have a contemporary feel so it may be harder to find a quartz countertop to go with a more traditionally-style kitchen. The patterns are all fairly random, but quartz just doesn’t match the unique feeling you get from granite. Although it’s not porous and is stain resistant, you don’t want to use harsh chemicals or anything acidic or abrasive. These can etch the finished surface.
1) Always read the care instructions for any type of countertop you have before you use them the first time. Then read them again. Take the time to educate yourself so you can prevent or clean up after mishaps.
2) Always use a trivet for hot pots or dishes. Yes, a quartz or granite countertop won’t scorch if you accidentally set a hot pot on it but prolonged heat can have an effect on both. Play it safe and always have a hot pad or trivet handy.
3) Always wipe your countertops when you’re finished. It keeps small spills from ending up as big problems and you’ll love the way your countertops gleam!