Not sure whether to go for granite or quartz? Here are seven quick tips to help you choose which is best for you.
Granite has a natural beauty and a combination of hues that gives it a harmonious colour palette. While historically, it has been almost impossible to replicate this with engineered quartz, the latest natural quartz worktops now offer exquisite designs, a wide range of colour options, and striking visual appeal.
With an immense range of colours, from pure whites to greys, to deep reds, mirrors and sparkles, quartz kitchen worktops come in all the colours of the rainbow. And can be made to suit any interior design scheme. For example, check out this beautiful Skye™ quartz from our friends at Cambria.
While both quartz and granite are warriors in the kitchen, quartz worktops have resin added to bind the minerals together during the manufacturing process. This means quartz can be damaged by extreme heat.
Granite does resist heat and does not burn, but a hot pan may leave a mark on its surface. Such burn marks can be treated with mild soap and water, or a granite-safe poultice.
As either granite or quartz could be damaged if you put a hot pan directly on the worktop we recommend a worktop protector should be used. If you don’t like clutter, you could even get this incorporated into your worktop design.
Quartz is one of the earth’s hardest minerals at only three levels below the hardness of diamond, so it’s almost entirely scratch resistant. Granite isn’t much different. Try chopping on a quartz or granite worktop and you’re more likely to blunt your knife than scratch the worktop. It makes sense to use a chopping board, whatever your work surface is made from. Here again, you can make this a design feature of your kitchen worktop.
Unlike granite, quartz worktops are non-porous, and by default non-bacterial. This makes them almost impossible to stain. However, we do recommend that you wipe up spills straight away; if only because it’s easier than having to deal with a dried in stain.
Granite worktops are more vulnerable to staining, and can absorb liquids if the seal has started to wear. Particularly from strongly acidic/alkaline foods (e.g. lemon juice, vinegar), oil-based substances (e.g. butter, cooking oil), and strongly coloured foods (e.g. red fruits, wine)
Highly polished granite worktops are sealed, and therefore more stain resistant. The more polished the surface, the more stain resistant it will be. Honed (matt finish) granite worktops are not ideal for kitchens particularly if they are very light in colour, as they can absorb liquids and may stain. Specialist stain removers are available, but we can’t guarantee that you will be able to remove stains that have been absorbed into the stone.
Strong chemicals and bleaches will damage your worktop, whether it is quartz or granite. So keep your paint stripper and nail varnish remover away from the worktop.
Neither quartz nor granite is impervious to mistreatment. If you drop heavy objects on the edge or hit the worktop with, say, a hammer, it probably will chip or break. But we hope you won’t be doing either of those things!
To clean both quartz and granite, all you need is warm water and a small amount of non-abrasive cleaner or a simple vinegar and water solution. Stubborn stains may also need a non-abrasive cleaning pad and a little gentle elbow grease. You can also buy specialist cleaners and stain removers; Astonish is a good example.
Good quality quartz surfaces are almost maintenance free and will keep their polish without any effort from you. To keep looking its best, a granite worktop will need to be wiped dry and polished after it has been used.
Because highly-polished surfaces are so stain resistant, bacteria and moulds don’t have a chance to get established. This makes quartz an extremely hygienic surface, useful if you do a lot of food preparation directly on the worktop; rolling out pastry, or kneading dough, for example. In fact, quartz is as hygienic as stainless steel.
If most of your preparation is of the sort that takes place on a chopping board, then it’s the cleanliness of the chopping board that matters most!
So, in summary:
If your kitchen sees heavy-duty cooking activity, you’ll probably want to consider quartz for its superior stain-resistance and effort-free shine. But otherwise, both quartz and granite will give you a lifetime of service in the kitchen as long as you apply a little common sense and TLC!
Love the look of granite but want the ultimate practicality of quartz? Modern designs mean you can have both. Take a look at our favourite granite look-alike, Cambria Quartz!