If you think of a durable and hard-wearing stone worktop which will survive more than one birthday party, building a bird feeder or gluing Christmas decorations from salt mass, you will have to decide on one of two: – natural stone granite worktopOR- quartz stone (granite-based)
Quartz, what is it?
It is simply ground stone, aggregate, which in combination with epoxy resin creates an extremely durable material. It can be made of various types of stone, e.g. marble or granite. Quartz adopts the properties of the material from which it is made. This means, for example, that the marble-based quartz worktop will be susceptible to contact with acids. Therefore, if we care about the highest quality material, let’s focus on granite-based quartz.
In this post we are going to compare granite with quartz.
The manufacturing process of forming a quartz may include the use of dyes (colour pigments) or even ornaments (e.g. glitter). On the market you can easily find quartz worktops in various colours, some of matt texture, leather texture or glossy, widely referred to as polished. The ability to match the colour of the worktop to the kitchen decor is not the only arrangement advantage. Seamless joining allows for obtaining specific shapes (especially important in bespoke and carefully designed kitchens, where tiniest detail matters). A single neat form means that there are no gaps in which dirt could settle, which is itself an important factor in decision making for majority of future users. A very big plus is the freedom in determining the thickness – the top we choose can be very thick or very thin, usually varying from 12 to 30mm.
However, there are other advantages of quartz over granite, the main being its weight. The quartz is about 20 percent lighter than a granite. Also, the quartz makes it possible to combine it seamlessly, for example with a sink or window sill. When comparing both stones, it should be remembered that the quartz adopts the ambient temperature, unlike granite which is usually cold.
If we reach deeper into our pockets, we are looking for durability for years. The majority of quartz available on the market are resistant to contact with chemical substances, high temperature and humidity. The structure of the quartz as man-made stone is so compact that it prevents the penetration of spilled liquids and the formation of stains. As we quite often explain to our customers, quartz is almost non-porous, almost like toughened glass. In addition, something what some users may find important – a quartz does not absorb odours. On the other hand, it is better not to cut directly on the quartz worktop as the scratches are most likely to appear, and can only be removed by a specialist quartz surface polisher. Putting a quartz aside for now, if you dream about a stone worktop formed by a mother nature, than granite is your only choice. The quartz can be freely adjusted in color, but it will never reach a beauty of a natural stone. Looking at it from a global perspective, no doubt, a granite is still the ‘number one’ among stone worktops based on customers’ choices. It has all the above-mentioned advantages of a quartz worktop, such as resistance to a number of factors, but it is not threatened by mechanical damage or scratches. Any scratches can be easily re-polished by a qualified stone polisher.
Its biggest disadvantage is the price. Granite is usually dearer than quartz.
The second important issue is its weight. Granite is heavy and if you want a thicker worktop, it may be necessary to order specially reinforced carcasses, or build a solid structure, ready to withstand the weight of granite. There is also a limited colour palette when it comes to granite. After all, natural stone does not occur in every shade. There may be a situation when we do not find the colour of the top matching selected fronts. With the current fashion for bright and uniform stone worktops, unfortunately, granite cannot compete with quartz and its available shades of white and other pure, plain base colours. However, with black and dark worktops, the palette of granite diversity is huge. There are black uniform, with gold flecks, with gold, crystalline or brown veins stones, literally plenty to choose from. The colors and diversity of the quartz is much poorer. There is no such nobility as granite, and this is what makes a difference between the two. In addition to the colour, it is worth mentioning the temperature. The granite worktop is cold to the touch. It is a subjective impression, but the interior in which it is installed can take on a slightly cooler character.
Let’s not forget that stone worktops require proper care. Granite worktops should always be impregnated to close open stone pores. The stain-stopping sealant should be applied every 6 months, and more often if the worktop is used in restaurant’s kitchen. It is very important to understand that the stones, which fall into the category of granite, do not have the same structure at all. In other words, each rock has different properties, such as density, compressive strength, water absorption. Therefore, worktops made of light granite, which are very fragile, crystalline and very absorbent, need to be impregnated quite often, pre-production, several times after installation, and then every 3-6 months as per a general rule.If any dirt soaks into the granite, it is very difficult to remove it afterwards. If the waterproofing agent works, then the liquid that spills on the worktop should condense.
Uniform dark granites have a much lower absorption, therefore they tend to be more user-friendly. Usually, the impregnation after the installation is enough for a very long period, assuming no acid based cleaners are used on daily basis.As the summary – if we are not afraid of the cost, let’s put on granite. Stone industry agrees that it is the best of materials. However, if we have other priorities, e.g. we are looking for unusual colours and lightness, let’s reach for the quartz.