Living with Stone
What’s better, granite or quartz? This is without a doubt the most common question we get. Today I’m not going to get into the technicalities which differentiate quartz from granite (or other natural stones); we’ll leave that for another post on another day. Rather, I’m going to talk about my personal experience living with both granite and quartz countertops. I’m lucky enough to have both in my home.
I like to think of myself as an ongoing experiment. I intentionally try not to treat my counters differently than the average person might. For a little over a year now, I’ve lived with both types of countertops, granite on my island and quartz on the kitchen perimeter. I’m happy to report that the winner is...*DRUMROLL*...
It’s impossible to say! Please allow me to further explain.
My wife and I both work a lot, we have a two year old at home, and I enjoy cooking. Once fully detailed, our kitchen usually stays spotless for all of 25-30 seconds at a time. For however brief that period may be; if the stars align, the kitchen is spotless, and I’ve had a chance to spray on some stone countertop polish, there is nothing, and I mean nothing, like a natural granite surface. The depth, the reflections, the colours, and the way it sparkles when the light hits it just the right way...every single time I polish it I have to take a step back and take it all in. For me in this moment, on pure beauty points alone, the granite takes the cake. The extra upkeep, the polish, the occasional sealing session, it makes it all worth it. BUT, and it’s a big but… for the other 23 hours, 59 minutes and 35 seconds of the day, the quartz might just be the star of the show.
To compound the debate, my cooktop is in my island. So it’s the granite top that usually ends up doubling as the prep and work surface. The island is the one that gets covered in the grease, seasoning, and crumbs, it’s the one that gets wiped down and re-wiped and wiped again. It’s also black, so it shows everything. My quartz by comparison is white, less used and because it’s naturally not as shiny, you can wipe it down with the same soggy dish rag that you’ve just used to clean off your two year old (not that I would do that). A quick wipe and the quartz looks as good as it gets. Subsequently on a day to day basis the quartz is just better. It looks better, things seem to stick to it less, and I’m less paranoid about damaging it. My wife agrees.
I’m certain this paranoia comes from years of marketing. The quartz companies have done a great job of scaring people away from granite and I’m not sure it’s all deserved. We hear frequent stories of “my brother’s uncle’s friend’s cousin’s barber staining his granite once” and that type of thing, but it always seems to be an unverified third party at the end of the theoretical stain rainbow. I can attest that from my industry experience some natural stones can be easier to live with than others. My particular granite really isn’t bad, the quartz is just better. Sometimes it does feel like dirt clings to the granite a bit more. Granite after all is porous; on a microscopic level it’s not perfectly flat, it has its flaws but it’s those same flaws that give it the character I love.
One last variable in the puzzle is the pattern colour and consistency in the materials. As we do further projects for our clients, some have picked the same quartz I have. Quartz is much more consistent in pattern and essentially the same from one slab to the next. Deep down, like probably any person, I’m a little bothered that someone else has the exact same countertops as I do; it’s just a natural reaction that happens in most people. When it comes to my granite however, even if someone did select the same stone their slabs would be so different from mine; I would be excited to see their version and how they look. Weird, I know, but it’s the strange truth. Granite insures that you don’t have to worry about your next door neighbours having the same counters as you.
So, the million dollar question- What should you pick? In most cases counter maintenance does not need to be the top of your priority list even with natural stones like granite. However if you truly can foresee some countertop neglect in your future then quartz should call your name. With basic and simple upkeep you should do fine with either. My advice is to go with the colour that works best for you. If you fall in love with a particular quartz, go with quartz, same goes for the granite or other natural stones, don’t let the marketing scare you. With that being said some natural stones can be easier to damage or stain than others, so it’s important to do your research up front. Consult a professional and consider all the pros and cons before ordering. After all, as I like to say, this is one decision in your life that is actually made in stone.