House Calls Fine Interiors

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Granite or Quartz? March 24, 2009

Filed under: Interior Design news — Teri Larsen, ASID @ 11:32 am
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So, you want to upgrade your countertops.  What to choose:  granite or quartz?  I find that clients tend to gravitate toward one product or the other – with few people willing to go either way!  What are the differences between these products?

Granite, as most people are aware, is mined from the earth.  Granite consists mostly of quartz, which is the second-hardest mineral on earth – second only to diamonds.  The fact that granite is a “found” product means that no two pieces of granite are the same.  It also means that you may find wild variations in color, grain, and pattern, depending on when your particular piece was pulled from the quarry.  To someone who wants his/her home to be especially unique, these wild variations are what draws them to granite!  They like knowing that no one else in the world has the exact same piece of stone that they have.  They like the random swirls and dips that make up their particular granite color – some of them get pretty crazy!

Granite does require some maintenance, however.  Because granite is a natural stone, it does have pores.  These pores will suck in moisture – whether that moisture is in the form of water, red wine or electric blue soft drinks.  Because of this feature, granite has the possibility to stain; stains can often be removed, but it does take some work to do so.  If you have granite countertops and keep them wiped up on a regular basis, you will more than likely be fine; don’t leave spaghetti sauce sitting on the counter for three days, or you may have a staining problem!  Granite can be sealed to prevent staining, and this sealer should be reapplied every year or so.  Some granites are now even claiming to be “stain-free”, since they have been impregnated with a permanent sealer.  I have no experience with these products, but I am always a little skeptical when someone claims stone is stain-free.

Quartz products, on the other hand, are very different from granite.  Products such as Silestone, Cambria and Zodiac, are made from 93% quartz – the basic component of granite.  However, because of the chemical make-up of the quartz products, they tend to be even stronger than granite.  Granite has naturally-occuring fissures, which can be weak points in the stone.

The very best feature of the quartz countertops is that they are maintenance-free!  They are non-porous, so they are impervious to staining.  No sealing is required – just install and live with it!  For this reason alone, we do install a lot of quartz countertops.

Style is another reason some clients prefer quartz over granite.  Some clients are scared of what granite offers – that one-of-a-kind nature of natural stone brings with it the unknowns of exactly what their piece will look like.  They like the control of knowing that the color sample they saw at the showroom will be very close to their actual countertop.  Color can also be a significant selling point.  Nature simply doesn’t produce every color combination in granite; if a client is looking for something in particular, quartz may have a better color option for them.

Quartz countertops have their benefits; however, they will never achieve the same look that nature provides with granite.  My clients tend to have a clear inclination toward one choice over the other.  The key is to educate yourself on the benefits and negatives of each product, so you can make the best choice for your home and lifestyle.

For more information on granite and other stone countertops, check out http://www.marble-institute.com/.

For more information on quartz products, visit http://www.silestoneusa.com or http://www.cambriausa.com

Or, visit our showroom to see all the latest colors in Cambria and Silestone, along with many of the most popular granite colors.

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6 Responses to “Granite or Quartz?”

  1. liz pittman Says:

    I would like input color for countertops. is it best to go neutral with something like a vanilla color or with a “pattern” like granite gives?

  2. Great question! It really depends on a couple of factors: your personal preferences, and the other elements in the room. If you want to hide the crumbs from your morning toast, or the grape jelly your kids left on the countertop, something with more of a pattern will do that for you. If you prefer clean, quiet spaces with solids rather than patterns, do that for your countertops, as well. Think about your cabinetry, flooring and backsplash. If those are busy already, perhaps a calmer countertop is in order. If everything in the room is already solid, and it feels like it needs a punch of interest, something wild on the countertops might be just the ticket. Also, keep in mind that you will see the seams with a very solid quartz or granite countertop. They are easier to hide with a patterned countertop. However, if you select a very wild and crazy granite with lots of wave or veins to it, you will see a “paneling” effect; this is where the slabs of granite come together and you see a definite break in the pattern. The seams will show, as well, even though the granite is very patterned.
    I hope this will give you some things to think about. I am happy, as always, to either come to your home for a personal consultation (if you are local), or to do a “virtual consulation” with you via the internet and email. Please contact me if you are interested in either. Thanks so much for your question!

  3. liz pittman Says:

    thank you for your speedy reply! How do I go about working with you?

  4. You can either call me at House Calls, 715/386-3221 to set up an appointment (are you local to the Hudson area?) or, email me at tlarsen@hcfineinteriors.com and I can set an appointment that way. We charge $75 per hour for consultation services, and we can work up a design “package” of services for you, if you like. Just let me know what works best for your schedule and needs! Happy to help –

  5. You should look into some of the new green products as well. I am sure you will love them.

  6. Ronnie Says:

    Hi,

    Your article is so pertinent. I personally like quartz they look better and also granite is kind of common. For some reason I dont like Silestone. I love Caesarstone (http://www.caesarstoneus.com) for countertops, also http://www.marble.com

    Please let me know your views on them.


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