Whether damaged by fire or simply stuck in the 1970s, all kitchens need a remodel at some point. During the design process, you will confront what seems, at first, to be a perfectly innocuous question: “Should I go with granite or quartz countertops?” But many designers and homeowners are deeply entrenched in passionate opinions on the topic! Just watch any episode of House Hunters, and you’ll see that many people feel strongly about countertops.

So what’s the deal with granite versus quartz countertops? Is it simply a matter of aesthetics, or are there other reasons you should consider one over the other?

Yes, the differing appearance of the two types of countertops accounts for some of the debate, but that preference is a matter of option. Other factors involved in the selection process come down to environmental friendliness, durability, maintenance, and of course, price.

Environmental friendliness. Quartz countertop material is an engineered product, whereas granite must be quarried and then transported for manufacture and eventual installation in your home. Quartz generally does carry a lower environmental footprint, although it is possible to create granite countertops from locally obtained materials in some cases.

Durability. Granite is porous and therefore some staining can occasionally occur. In addition, it can be damaged by heavy blows (although this rarely occurs with typical kitchen use). Quartz is harder and non-porous, so it’s practically indestructible, but it can be damaged by very hot pots and pans.

Maintenance. Granite countertops should be cleaned with a solution that is specifically made for granite.  Since granite is a natural stone, water and other chemicals can bond to it, resulting in a dull appearance.  Whereas quartz countertops can simply be cleaned as needed due to spills, granite countertops require a bit more “attention” and should be resealed periodically (about once per year). Quartz does not require sealing.

Price. Both granite and quartz countertops should be installed by a professional, but the cost of the materials can vary. In general, quartz will cost more than granite, although exact prices vary due to quality and edging style. The difference, however, is not often enormous.

The above points can help you to narrow your options regarding granite versus quartz countertops. For more information, obtain quotes on both types of countertops from a professional, who can answer any other questions you might have.