Home improvement projects can be thrilling, but making big decisions can be exhausting. Narrowing down your options of countertops for kitchens or bathrooms can be stressful. Luckily, we're here to help you decide between two trending countertops: quartz and granite.

Granite Countertops

With a variety of finished outcomes such as polished, sandblasted, or flamed, granite countertops are tough to beat. This popular material is made from igneous rock. It actually contains around 20% quartz by volume as well as mica and feldspar. A polished granite finish achieves a glossy mirror-like surface, which happens to be one of the more popular finishes. Flamed finish creates a unique surface that’s especially popular for outdoor kitchens and is better for areas prone to moisture. Sandblasted finish produces a smooth abrasion, leaving the material with a slightly scratched, but not rugged, surface.

Cost: Per square foot, granite can cost anywhere between $45 to $400. Prices vary upon the rarity of the stone as well as its thickness, origin, and manufacturing labor. This also does not include hidden costs such as installation, resealing, extra finishes, and so forth. Installation costs for granite are generally more expensive due to the amount of labor included.

Colors: Granite actually comes in various colors. The most popular granite colors include mixtures of white granite, black granite, and beige combinations.

Where To Buy: Granite is available at local hardware shops as well as well known chains. The Home Depot has a great selection and you can order online as well as set up installation. Lowes also has a vast selection to choose from and installation set up. Going through contractors has its benefits as well but prices vary.

Quartz Countertops

While granite may be the more traditional countertop, quartz surely makes it a tough competition. Quartz has the look of natural stone minus the maintenance. They are also one of the most eye-catching and durable countertops. Quartz countertops are engineered and are extremely low maintenance and antimicrobial. This means that stain-and odor-causing bacteria, mold, and mildew can't penetrate the surface. Quartz is a design friendly material for those looking to renovate their home. These countertops used to only be available with a polished finish, but now they can be honed, sandblasted, or embossed treatment. So if it's the look of matte limestone, textured slate, or glossy granite that you want, there's a quartz countertop for you

Cost: Due to the natural stone element, quartz can cost anywhere between $60 to $90 per square foot, including installation. Some people try to DIY installing quartz countertops, but the natural stone is incredibly heavy and should be handled by professionals.

Colors: Quartz countertops can come in a wide variety of colors. Some colors even range from fire-engine red and apple green, to earthy browns, blacks, and creams, with sparkles and veining for the look of granite or marble.

Where To Buy: Similar to granite countertops, quartz countertops are available at Home Depot and Lowes. They are also available at stores such as Ikea. As previously mentioned, quartz countertops are engineered.

Granite vs. Quartz Countertops

Granite and quartz are two of the most popular materials for either kitchen or bathroom countertops. There are similarities between the two, however they factor in differences as well. To make your decision between the two materials, here's a basic comparison.

Composition

Granite: Made straight from from stone quarries, granite is a natural stone that is cut into slabs and polished for countertops.

Quartz: This material is made from engineered stone products. These are not slabs of quarried stone at all but are instead formed from stone byproducts that are ground up and formed into slabs for countertops and other products.

Appearance

Granite: Since granite is a natural stone, every slab is slightly different in both mineral pattern and color, making for quite a unique countertop.

Quartz: Due to their engineering, these are more uniform in appearance. However, many colors and unique patterns are available, including forms that do not resemble granite at all.

Cost

Pricing for both types of countertop varies because both are sourced overseas. Quartz countertops do tend to be slightly less expensive per square foot than granite, however.

Maintenance and durability

Granite: Generally speaking, granite is a much more porous stone and requires annual resealing. Granite stones also may have inherent flaws that make them prone to cracking.

Quartz: The material quartz is engineered from makes this countertop less susceptible to bacteria. It does not require sealing, thanks to the resins used in the fabrication of the slabs; and the material is uniform throughout, which means it rarely cracks.

Environmental Issues

Granite: Being made out of natural stone, granite has a leg up on the competition from this perspective. Although there was some media-induced fear regarding radon emissions from granite countertops, recent studies show that there is little to no radon coming from either granite or engineered stone countertops.

Quartz: Since this material is engineered, it is not 100% natural and therefore can have other materials mixed in with it. The manufacturing process also is known to produce more carbon emissions than granite counter tops.

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