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Your kitchen is the hub of your home, where you cook, relax and entertain – and your countertops, cabinets, appliances and hardware must show this. These surfaces must meet your needs, complement your lifestyle and suit your kitchen space.
With so much to factor in, it is vital to choose materials wisely especially the countertop surface. It is the most outstanding features in a kitchen, and it has a large high-level surface area. So you must make sure you install one that you are proud of as well as love to look at.
Today, there is a wide array of countertop materials to choose from; each material comes with distinct features, costs, pros and cons, as well as maintenance requirements. Therefore, before you start looking for kitchen countertops, you must come up with a well-thought plan for your kitchen makeover. First, you should consider the period you intend to live in that home and the type of fixtures and cabinetry you want to install.
Our kitchen countertop cost guide is a comparison between the most popular countertop materials: granite versus quartz. We will look at the pros and cons of each, costs comparison and the best one to choose the two.
Since the 90s, granite has led as the best countertop choice, but as times evolve, quartz is gaining popularity. Today, if you look at a new or renovated kitchen, some features stand out including hard-surface countertops, stainless steel kitchen appliances, and light-filled and open designs.
A recent study of countertop materials showed that most homeowners use granite and quartz countertops when designing their kitchen, only two types of countertops stood out. So let’s look at the features of each to help you decide on the best material for your countertop.
Also known as the engineered stone, quartz is composed of crushed natural quartz blended with resins and pigments. It is a perfect fit for areas prone to abuse and use, and comes in various shades of colours and styles that resemble natural stone. Also, its appearance ranges from spotted to even-toned, and it’s harder than granite.
Are you looking for a high-end look and high-performance countertop material? Granite is your perfect fit! It is a perennial and most popular countertop material made of an igneous rock mainly composed of quartz and feldspar. It is one of the hardest material after diamonds, and each slab has its mineral composition, which makes it unique. Hence, because of the variation, it is crucial to visit a stone yard to choose your ideal piece.
How much do you plan to pay to install a quartz or granite kitchen countertop? Most homeowners first consider cost when choosing between Quartz and granite countertops. And just like most of us, you have a budget you are trying to stick to when purchasing your countertop material as well as paying for labour and installation.
HanleyWood.com states that an average kitchen measures approximately 200 square feet including 30 square feet of countertops and cabinetry. This seems like a simple way to conclude what the average cost of installing a granite or quartz countertop might be, right?
No, you are wrong! It is not that easy to come up with a price range for such a project. This is because both materials come with different price tags and qualities. There are also some other factors that impact the total cost of installation including:
Now that you’ve got all the factors that will affect the overall cost, it’s time to shop for quotes. The road to getting an estimate for either granite or quartz countertop can be incredibly daunting and confusing. One supplier might offer you a quote that includes the installation while another gives you separate quotes.
As a rule of thumb, always ask whether installation cost is included in the quotation or not. Some contractors will give you an estimate for the material only, and once you have decided to purchase, they offer the installation cost.
Therefore, during your hunt for quotes, tell the companies’ representatives to break down everything in a specific way to can consider their quote. They should include the following in the quotation:
Also, on the cost of installation, you should know that it widely varies and constitutes 20-50 % of the overall cost of the project, and it depends on:
There are two types of granite countertops including slab and tile. The amount of money you plan to spend, the number of seams you want to show, and the square footage you want to cover will determine the perfect material for your project.
Granite slab countertops cover a large space and reveal fewer seams. The largest slab in the market is seven feet long; thus you will require more than one slab if you have a counter longer than seven feet. Also, it is heavy, so only a professional should handle the installation but not DIY.
On the other hand, if you want an appealing house for resale at a lower cost, you can’t go wrong with granite tiles. On the bright side, you don’t have to get rid the existing countertop, but most seams will need grout in between.
If you still want a granite top but not sure about tiles or slab, you can go for modular granite. Also referred to as “mini slabs,” modular granite shows fewer seams since the slabs are smaller than the traditional slabs and larger than tiles. You can install it as a DIY project, but it will need two people because it is heavy just like the slab granite.
Just like any other building material, both granite slabs and tiles have their pros and cons. The average cost of slab ranges between $35 and $110 per square foot depending on the quality, while tiles go for $10 to $40 per square foot.
Slab granite is ideal for modern, contemporary kitchens with a simple layout. Granite tiles, on the other hand, are best suited for complex counter layouts and surfaces. Also, if you are a DIY enthusiast or you want to save money on your renovation project, tile is your perfect fit. It is cheaper and requires low maintenance. However, granite tile is not ideal for everyone because:
Now that you’ve chosen either granite slabs or tile, it’s time for installation. The following are some additional costs you may incur in the process:
If you include the cost of granite, you will pay about $2,000 to $4,000 for the entire installation process. The cost may include cutouts and backsplash in the sink or bar area. All in all, it depends on your countertop contractor, so don’t forget to ask about it as you get a cost estimate.
Slab granite can take one to two days to be installed, while granite tile can take a day based on the time it takes to dry completely.
|Type of granite||Features||Cost Per Square feet|
|Low-end granite||Plain, no patterns, uniform look||$35-$40|
|Mid-range granite||Colour variations, wide arrange of paterns||$50-$65|
|High-end granite||Very unique, rare, marbled texture, ligh-coloured||$75-$110|
|Granite tile||Visible grout lines, regular maintenance, periodic sealing||$10-$40|
|Materials (excluding granite)||$400-$600|
The average cost of quartz countertops is approximately $75 per square foot. However, the price depends on the type of brand, manufacturer and quality. Below are the average costs depending on the quality:
|Type of Quartz||Cost per Square feet|
It is worth noting that the fabrication process of quartz countertops is almost similar for all manufacturers, but customer satisfaction, as well as quality, which determines its longevity, may differ. Therefore, before you purchase your quartz countertop, ask experts for recommendations for high-quality quartz.
The average cost of installing a quartz slab is approximately $150 to $280 per square foot. However, the price may change depending on the number of quartz slabs required and any additional finishes. For instance, if you want to add a detailed edging, extra sink cutout and fixture, the total cost will increase. So what are the factors that may affect the overall cost of fitting a quartz countertop?
Leveling: Before the professional installs a quartz countertop, he or she may have to level the cabinets to prevent gaps and cracks. He/she will use a saw or sander to lower the height of the cabinets to the appropriate level or add shims to raise an even surface.
Fabrication: This is the process which the contractor cuts the countertop to your desired size and shape and applies a finish. The procedure includes examining the slab, template layout, cutting the slab to the right size, fabricating the edges, and polishing the slab. The process can also include adding sink cutouts and fixtures and making sure the template matches your home design and décor.
Joining seams: If your kitchen has large counter space, you will need at least one seam, and the process is known as seam joining. Therefore, you will need to work with the manufacturer during the fabrication process to decide where to place the seams. Then, during installation, your installer will “dry fit” the countertop to ensure it lines up correctly, make final adjustments and join seams using an epoxy.
Quartz Edge Treatments
Edge treatment is another design alternative to consider when installing a quartz countertop. The treatment can help create a harmonious design for your kitchen. The most common edge treatments include:
Based Edge: it is standard and gives an even finish. You pay no extra charges to create an eased edge.
Bevel Edge: it includes cutting at 45-degree against the edge. You can also choose to deepen the cut to bring out the outstanding design.
Double Bevel edge: It is the treatment where the edge’s top and the bottom is cut at 45 degrees to give an extra attractiveness.
Bullnose edge: It is an entirely round and smooth edge. The treatment is a classic finish that brings a magnificent look to your kitchen
Half Bullnose Edge: The treatment is a half-round edge designed to show off more of the quartz.
Bevel Bullnose Edge: It involves a smooth edge cut at 45-degree to feature a cross-section of the material.
Double Radius Edge: The treatment is similar to eased cuts, but it displays a more detailed curve on the edges.
Ogee edge: It is a small “S” shaped cut in the front and a flat and straight edge at the bottom.
Double Ogee treatment: It includes a curved-bullnose edge and a decorative inward depression above the curve.
Ogee Bullnose treatment: It features a more noticeable and elongated “S” shape designed to expand on the standard bullnose design.
Stepped Half Bullnose edge: It is designed to highlight the detailing in the quartz, and the edge is slightly raised above a half bullnose cut.
Triple Pencil treatment: It is more decorative and features three pencil-shaped edges, which run down the front edge of the quartz countertop.
Some manufacturers can offer more intricate designs depending on their treatment capabilities. Also, different manufacturers have different prices for quartz edge treatments. Complex edge treatments costs higher and your quartz countertop contractor may include standard eased, bullnose and bevel treatments in the installation costs.
Now that we have looked at the pros and cons of granite and quartz as well as the cost comparisons, we want to make your road to choosing either of them easier. The following are some features that give insights on whether to select granite or quartz. They include Installation, maintenance, durability, outdoor purpose, safety, appearance and resale value.
When installing granite or quartz, you need a professional. For example, granite must be carefully put together from the selected pieces to fit perfectly and to reveal its beauty and features. Also, it is very brittle than quartz and requires an expert to ensure the job is done correctly.
On the other hand, Quartz is heavier than granite. Therefore, you need a skilled and experienced professional to inspect the installation process and to prepare the cabinets in which the quartz will be placed. Also, the polymers and resins in quartz make it more flexible. This means it is easier to work with quartz during the installation process. However, the installation is not as easy as it seems because the working team has to cope with large and heavy slabs, which requires cutting to fit a particular space.
Seams: If you need seams during installation, then quartz is your perfect choice. The seams are less visible if the slab is solid or dark in colour.
On the other hand, seams are visible with granite since it is impossible to match one piece to another. However, seams are not always necessary with granite since some slabs are more than 70 inches wide. Quartz pieces, on the other hand, are less than 65 inches wide and are usually 56 inches. This means that if you don’t require seams, you can easily do large installations with granite.
When it comes to sealing, this is the last step when installing granite countertops. The process involves cleaning the piece thoroughly then applying the sealant with a dry and lint-free cloth. However, quartz does not require the process since it is sealed during the manufacturing process.
Since quartz is sealed during its manufacturing process, it does not require resealing. You should clean quartz countertops with water and a mild detergent after use. Some chemicals react with quartz, so you need to read all instructions from the manufacturer carefully. Although quartz is more resistant to stains than granite, it is prone to stains. A tomato sauce or grape juice spill requires you to clean up quickly.
On the other hand, you should regularly wash granite with water and mild soap and clean thoroughly after spills to avoid stains. Since granite surface is porous, it is recommended to reseal the countertops annually.
If your granite countertop is chipped, you can repair it with a matching epoxy available in home improvement stores. However, if the crack or chip is larger than a peanut, you should hire a professional to repair it. On the other hand, if your quartz countertop is cracked or chipped, you should always look for a professional to handle the problem.
Quartz countertops are made of resins, natural quartz and polymers that make it highly durable and free of pores and cracks. Also, a well-maintained quartz countertop can last a lifetime. However, it is prone to fading if subjected to direct sunlight and must be protected against UV rays. On the contrary, natural granite does not discolour if not dyed and is not affected by heat since it is extracted from the earth.
Granite countertops, on the other hand, are strikingly beautiful, strong and can last longer with proper use and maintenance, but have weaknesses as well. It can easily break or chip if hit with a heavy object. Also, it must be sealed during installation and resealed regularly. In contrast, quartz does not require such care. Moreover, granite countertops easily stain than quartz.
With a high level of care and proper use, both can have a lifespan of 20-25 years. In terms of durability, quartz countertops are better than granite countertops.
The polymers and resins elements make quartz the durable choice for indoor use, but can fade and discolour under direct sun. It also performs poorly in humidity and heat. Therefore, granite is the perfect fit for outdoor kitchens and other outside uses.
Most homeowners are concerned about volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which may be present in both granite and quartz counters. Quartz countertops have about 90% quartz and 10% resin (epoxy binder) and acrylic. This means that most quartz tops contain a high level of VOCs than granite countertops. However, this does not imply that quartz is a dangerous building material. The amount of emitted VOCs is minimal and is considered safe for indoor use.
Between granite and quartz, which one looks better? Both have their strong points. For example, granite comes in a few natural colour variations ranging from earth tones to greens, blues and roses. On the other hand, quartz comes in a wide array of colours since they are made with pigments added during the production process.
So you can’t say one looks better than the other. Your appearance needs and preferences can help you select the material that best suits you.
Do you know that installing quartz or granite in your kitchen or bathroom can help sell your home faster and at a higher value? Real estate experts say yes. You will be surprised at the difference these two materials can make when selling a house.
Granite is ageless, and its varied patterns and colours can stand as many redecorations in future. Quartz, on the other hand, is the “big thing” today in the real estate industry. Its sleek appearance and clean features are its main selling points.
For example, if a buyer is considering two similar homes, one with quartz or granite top and the other with a laminate top- it’s obvious that the client will choose the former.
Therefore, if you are planning to sell your home in future, granite or quartz will highly attract buyers.
So you are still unsure of the ideal choice for your countertops between granite and engineered quartz? If that’s the case, we’ve got you covered! Below are additional benefits of granite over quartz.
A typical enthusiast of natural things has solid wood flooring rather than engineered or laminated wood. He/she prefers woollen rugs instead of nylon and their home’s siding is made of wood but not vinyl. Also, their upholsteries comprises of natural materials.
Do any of those define you? If yes, you should probably go for the natural granite instead of quartz.
Quartz is said to be up to 94% natural because it contains crushed quartz. But would you say that concrete is natural just because its components are extracted from nature? Similar to concrete, quartz is highly processed, which takes away its natural feel and can piss you off if you are a natural materials enthusiast. The patterns, design and slight colour variations, makes granite real and unique.
The Bottom Line
If you choose to use granite, ensure that you seal it yourself or look for an expert to seal it regularly. Always keep a dish towel hand in hand to clean stains and spills immediately. When pouring wine or juice into glasses, hold them on a table or sink but not the countertop. Don’t leave dirty and wet dishes on granite countertops. Always take extra caution to maintain its natural beauty.
Let’s give equal time to engineered quartz countertops. Here are more benefits of quartz countertops to people who have selected them for their homes.
Since quartz is an engineered material, it is non-porous while granite has tiny pores, which can suck up liquids resulting in stains. Also, the pores can hold germs. On the other hand, the non-porous quartz cannot collect such contaminants; thus it’s perfect for cleanliness. Properly sealed granite can also keep germs away, but if the sealant is worn out, it can attract bacteria and viruses.
The ease to clean quartz countertops is the primary reason why it is chosen by homeowners with young kids and the elderly who should be protected against germs.
Before you purchase granite countertop, ask whether it’s dyed or not especially with black granite. Dyed granite is susceptible to fading or can become blotchy over time, especially in areas that require cleaning more often or gets wet a lot. On the other hand, the pigments in the quartz ensure that the colour stays intact.
The Bottom Line
If you are looking for the material with more colour options, durable, stain-resistant, requires less maintenance, easy clean-up, free of germs and dirt, engineered works is your perfect choice.
Choose the countertop material that fits your budget, is aesthetically pleasing, and creates the mood and ambience you are trying to bring out in your kitchen. When it comes down to the feature, there is no bad choice. It’s just a personal preference!