Granite & Quartz
So you want to upgrade your kitchen or bathroom with a new countertop, but you're not sure what your options are.
Chances are you've heard of granite and marble. After all, they have been used for construction purposes for centuries and you always see marble and granite countertops in luxury homes.
But what about the latest information on "reengineered stone"...isn't it better than granite?
Well the HONEST answer is that it depends on your personal preference. While manufacturers of engineered quartz stone countertops, such as Zodiaq, Han Stone, Caesar stone and Cambria, would have you believe their product is a significant upgrade from granite....the truth is that there is not much difference and both would be a fabulous choice for your home.
Engineered stone countertops are a man-made product that mixes quartz found in granite with a resin to make a surface with properties almost identical to granite. Dupont, Silestone and all the other companies make essentially the same product.
However, these companies have attempted to make mountains out of molehills in an effort to sell their product and compete against granite (which is and has been the most popular and proven surface type for centuries). Please use the information on this page to weed through the marketing myths and make your choice with the proper information.
Myth #1: Sealing granite is a horrible, dirty chore.
Marketing blows this issue way out of proportion. It's always listed as a benefit and you would get the impression that granite is defective and must be sealed over and over to protect it.
True, you don't have to apply a granite sealer to an engineered stone counter top. And hey, that's great, but applying a granite sealer is really a very simple and infrequent "wipe on, wipe off" procedure. It is not a major chore and for all practical purposes it isn't a determining factor when comparing quartz tops vs. granite.
Also, it doesn't take a closet full of special chemicals to protect your granite and keep its lustre as some engineered stone counter top manufacturers suggest on their websites.
A little secret about most granite . . .
You could do nothing but wipe it with a sponge for years and it would still look gorgeous. Minor, easy maintenance performed periodically will, however, give you peace of mind and bring out the best in your granite and natural stone. And the same can be said about quartz. Care and cleaning is equally easy for either surface.
Myth #2: Again with the sealing.
You may also read that you must seal granite to maintain its shiny polish..... Not true. Sealing is for stain resistance. Both natural and synthetic stone counter tops are polished by grinding and buffing the surface into a smooth shine.
Myth #3: Granite harbours bacteria.
Many quartz manufacturers claim their product resists bacteria while granite "harbours" bacteria. This is totally false. Studies prove that both granite and quartz are among the safest and cleanest surfaces on the market today but one isn't superior to the other.
So Which Countertop Is Best?
Well, once you remove the hype and you understand that man-made quartz countertops and granite perform equally well and that the care and cleaning of each surface is essentially the same, the decision between granite and Silestone, Cambria, Han Stone or Caesar Stone, Zodiaq or other quartz counter tops usually comes down to color, pattern and perceived value for most buyers.
Color and Value
Granite enjoys a greater "prestige" due to its natural uniqueness and is therefore of greater value in the minds of most homeowners and buyers. New granites come on the market all the time from different countries providing hundreds and possibly thousands of different colors and patterns to choose from.
Engineered stone manufacturers generally offer 20-50 color choices, all of which have basically the same repetitive pebbled appearance. The benefit here is that you never have a problem matching a pattern or color at a seam, which can be a problem with granite. Of course, you may end up with the exact same countertop as your neighbour, which won't happen with granite as each slab is unique.
So, whether you choose engineered stone or granite you will get an excellent countertop surface. Just don't listen to all the marketing hype and pick your product based on what color and pattern you like best.