Granite and man-made (or engineered) stone, such as quartz, are two of the most popular countertop choices for homeowners. At times the difference between the two might be hard to distinguish with the immense amount of information available, so we have broken down some of the key comparisons to help you decide which material is the right one for you!
Granite is a natural stone which is formed in the Earth’s crust and is the result of the cooling of lava composed of minerals. The exact amount of minerals is what creates the different colors and patterns in the beautiful slabs of granite you see. In order to get the slabs that are used to make bathroom and kitchen countertops, large blocks of granite are extracted from quarries and cut. The process to get granite from slabs to countertops requires manufacturing and fabrication but the material itself is natural.
There are several different types of man-made countertops on the market today, but not all are referred to as man-made “stone”. Porcelain, concrete, recycled glass, and laminate are some of the more popular man-made countertop choices that are not stone. When speaking of man-made “stone,” more often than not people are referring to quartz countertops. Quartz can also be referred to as engineered stone. Quartz is not a fake natural stone countertop, it is intended to look and perform similarly to it though.
There are many brands that sell quartz countertops such as MSI Quartz, Caesarstone, Silestone, Hanstone, Cambria Quartz, Spectrum, and Corian to name a few. The composition of a quartz countertop is essentially the same no matter which brand you buy. As its name suggests, quartz countertops are made of natural quartz minerals, along with resins and other materials. The different types of quartz stone refer to the different colors, patterns, and finishes each brand develops.
Cost of Granite Countertops vs. Man-Made Stone
Granite prices vary due its natural composition and uniqueness, also the supply and demand of the stone. Some granite colors and patterns are easier to come across than others.
Quartz countertops costs can run in the same range as granite, but on avergae the cost of quartz may run a bit higher than its natural counterpart at times. Similar to granite, particular patterns and colors of quartz countertops will be more or less expensive.
Why are these two countertop choices close in price range? Well, man-made stone has many of the same costs as granite, for example, transporting slabs and storage at local warehouses. Granite must be quarried, but quartz must be manufactured and both of these tasks carry significant costs in the process.
Granite vs. Man-Made Stone Cleaning and Maintenance
- Sealing & Staining
- Quartz does not require sealing and is stain-resistant, but can be discolored by some harsh chemicals. Granite countertops are not stain-resistant and will need regular sealing, which will largely prevent any staining from occurring.
- The methods for general quartz and granite cleaning are essentially the same. For quick cleanups use warm water, a sponge and mild soap. Special countertop cleaners can be purchased (check out Granite Gold Daily Cleaner and get a 25% discount with our special code – BCST01).
- Heat, Scratches & Repair
- Comparing the two, granite reacts to heat slightly better than man-made stone. Quartz can take hot pans for a short period, but you have a higher chance of damaging your countertops. No matter which countertop material you may have though we recommend never putting hot pans directly on your countertop. Both surfaces are scratch and etch resistant when it comes to acids.
Investing in a countertop care plan is a great way to avoid all the potential problems we listed above. It will allow you to enjoy your countertops without worrying about the accidental stains and damage that life can bring. Knowing that expert technicians can clean and repair your countertops if damage does occur gives you peace of mind and lasting beauty.
How Do Granite and Man-Made Stone Compare? The Results
Pros and cons do exist between granite and man-made stone but none weighs heavy enough to put one material over the other. No surface is perfect and potential problems can occur with either material. In all honesty, both of these options are very attractive and very durable for your kitchen or bath. In your search for the right countertop we know it would be easier if there was a clear winner but it truly depends on your lifestyle and design preferences. Both man-made stone and granite are at the top of all the lists of countertop materials and make a great choice.