Hey there and happy Monday! We’ve still been at it over the weekend trying to get that kitchen backsplash finished and it’s been way longer than expected, but we’re getting there and it’s looking beautiful. I’ll share it all just as soon as I can!
In the meantime, I thought that you’d be interested in a conversation about countertops. I’ve owned a house since the mid-80’s when there were such limitations on countertops and kitchen fixtures back then. It’s so much more advanced now, with so many choices in countertop materials, so today I’m talking about quartz and granite, which seem to be the main two in the forefront right now.
I’ve watched countertop choices move from laminate to the soaring popularity of granite back in the 90’s, to now quartz taking over as the highly sought after countertop material. I even remember when Corian was the hot new thing back in the 80’s and into the 90’s, but it sort of fell from grace when granite came along. That’s what I’ve observed anyway. I’ve seen soapstone, honed granite and leathered granite be popular choices over the years too. Concrete is another option that had some popularity, as well as real butcher block.
None of these were ever options I considered, nor was real marble. I know a lot of bloggers have real marble and it is absolutely gorgeous, but just not something I would put in my own house. I just wouldn’t want to have to be so careful with a countertop in the kitchen with staining and etching. Bathroom, yes, but not the kitchen. But I get why so many love it! It’s real stone and beautiful, as is granite.
My first house had laminate, it was the affordable choice and still not a bad choice for the budget. I ended up using granite tiles in that kitchen later, which was all that I could afford at the time. I wasn’t sure I could ever afford granite slabs, but it did happen eventually!
Laminate has come a long ways too. There is even a marble look laminate by Formica that looks very good for a more inexpensive option.
Here’s the one I used in my old laundry space. It even had an integrated sink. You can see all the details on this post.
So, let’s talk about the differences in quartz and granite. This is my very first time getting quartz in my own kitchen, so I’m learning along with you. I’ve had 2 kitchens with granite so can definitely speak to that too. I loved granite in both of my previous kitchens, but quartz is so pretty and durable now, so I’m thrilled that I was able to partner with HanStone on this kitchen renovation and get the quartz of my dreams. HanStone sponsored this project and I had two other sponsors as well, which I’ll share when I do my kitchen reveal post.
Some facts about quartz and granite:
Granite is a hard 100% natural stone mined from quarries all over the world. The colors come and go depending on which quarries are open at any given time. It’s very durable, but porous and needs to be sealed. Sometimes it can stain, but most of the time with sealing it stays very nice and clean. I never had a problem with my granites staining in the past. Granite can take a hot pot, while quartz cannot.
Quartz is not 100% natural, but is 95% ground natural quartz and 5% polymer resins to bind it together. It’s sealed and not porous which makes it extremely durable and more impervious to bacteria. It’s harder than granite, can scratch , but nearly indestructible. The only thing you can’t do with quartz is sit a hot pot directly on the surface. It can melt the resins and cause damage. But overall, quartz is extremely durable, scratch resistant, and stain resistant.
So never place a hot pot on quartz. I’ve also heard that some can be damaged from the heat of a crockpot, so I plan to put my crockpot on a cutting board when using, so not taking any chances of marring my beautiful new countertop.
Here’s an article from Consumer Reports on which one is best. Quartz, according to them, is getting more popular now in renovations than granite is and they note resale value might be better with quartz, since it’s the new darling of countertops.
Granite is generally $40 – $50 per s.f. installed
Quartz is generally $50 – $75 per s.f. installed
Generally, quartz is 20 to 40% more expensive than granite. There are more expensive quartz companies and less expensive, so it pays to do your homework on those and shop around. I think HanStone is somewhere in the middle of price compared to some other quartz brands. There are some quartz brands that are definitely more expensive.
The great thing about quartz is that they are now offering marble looking quartz. That’s a fairly new thing that wasn’t available even 5 or so years ago, I don’t think. From what I’m reading the marble looking quartz is a fairly new invention. The first quartz countertops I saw that were out years ago were more speckled and more all one color and the veining of marble look that is so popular now (and which I went for as well) is fairly new and I think that’s a big reason why quartz has gained popularity too. I was reading that quartz countertops have been very popular in Italy for decades, but it was awhile before they caught on here in the U.S.
You can’t get a real white marble look with granite. Granite is going to have more of a swirly or patterned look to it than these new quartz patterns have. That’s another reason why I fell in love with this quartz.
HanStone Boutique collection.
You can see all the tones and patterns of all their marble looking quartz options, many to choose from. I got several samples and put them in my house before deciding on the Montauk option. I’m very happy with this one next to our white kitchen cabinets. It has a bit of gray undertone and our cabinets have a little gray undertone too.
My last kitchen renovation that I did with Ikea cabinets was a budget kitchen and these granite countertops came in at $1300 installed. I am still so proud of this kitchen that my dad and I did together. We put the cabinets together, but hired an installer to put them up.
The Kashmir White granite I had in my previous kitchen is no longer available now. I shopped around then looking for the lightest whitest granite I could find and Kashmir won me over. I still love it with flecks of gray and black. It was perfect for my old kitchen. You can see I used the same Blanco Silgranit sink in my old kitchen that I’m using in the new one. I love this sink!
My dad and I installed the tile backsplash ourselves.
It was quite a job, but we got it done and were so proud of what we had accomplished.
You can see the Kashmir granite counters here a little better.
When I helped my friend, Andrea with their kitchen renovation, I sent them to Legacy Granite too, who I used in my old kitchen and in this new one for installation. They sourced a pretty granite with mostly gray tones and it looks great in their kitchen. By the way, Andrea wants to do more in their home, so hopefully I’ll be helping them again in the future when the budget catches up to the projects. Some of you have asked about their progress.
They used white subway tile too and it looks fantastic. This granite is very pretty too and I don’t remember the name of it. When I bought granite for the house in Birmingham, granites were more gold/brown toned back then, but the white gray granites have become more popular now with white kitchens. I’ve seen those changes over the years since the mid-2000’s.
These tones are very nice to live with.
I pulled my information from a few online sources, such as HGTV and others, but it pays to do your research when you’re looking at new countertops. I’ve had granite and loved it and would definitely do it again, but I really wanted quartz this time around because I wanted something very white and it’s hard to find a granite that’s really white.
Quartzite is another type of granite that is harder than granite and sometimes more expensive than granite and it comes in some different color variations that is more similar to marble I’ve heard, but I don’t know a lot about that material, although I did see it in a house once that I featured here.
The swirly gray pattern was very pretty.
So, this is just a recap on granite vs. quartz and something I thought you all would enjoy reading. There is no right are wrong answer when it comes to choosing granite or quartz. I know that I’m completely happy with the choice I made with the HanStone quartz we had installed. It looks exactly like I hoped it would look and I can’t wait to share it all with you!
When it comes to kitchen renovations, what matters most is budget and taste and how to get the look you want within the budget you have to spend. So, it pays to get quotes and look around at all your options before you decide. I hope this helps in giving you a little more information about quartz and granite. I didn’t know as much about quartz as I did granite, but now I feel like I’m fully informed and very happy with the decision of quartz for us.
Feel free to comment on what you have in your kitchen and if you love it or want to change it. It’s fun to hear other opinions from real people who have used one or the other.