Nothing complements the design for your kitchen or bath like a set of beautifully crafted countertops. Fortunately, considering advances in materials and fabrication technology, you almost can’t go wrong choosing either granite, quartz or porcelain for your home. But, which product is better?
Natural vs Man‐Made
Granite comes from the earth just as Mother Nature created it, complete with all the awesome veining and translucent particles that make each slab unique. Unfortunately, sometimes all that natural beauty brings it own set of issues, like tiny cracks and fissures that are easily stained in a home‐use environment. The solution is to seal the granite after installation and re‐seal it regularly throughout the life of the countertop.
Quartz countertops were created to solve that issue. They are formed by combining 93% quartz crystals (the hardest mineral in a granite slab) with binders and pigments and compressing them into a non‐ porous, monolithic sheet. The quartz industry has done a great job of mimicking the granite/marble palette of colors, and has even gone a step further by introducing new patterns that are uniquely quartz. Consistency and repeatability are the hallmarks of a quartz countertop and, in most cases, quartz does not need to be sealed.
What About Performance?
You can expect granite and quartz to perform about the same in a home environment. Placing hot pots on granite or quartz can be damaging to either surface and is not recommended. In quartz, high heat could potentially yellow the resin binder; in granite it could cause the translucent particles to release and virtually “explode” out of the granite. Once sealed, a granite countertop is about as stain resistant as quartz, depending on the stone selected and its level of porosity. Light colored quartz is more susceptible to showing stains than countertops that are darker or more patterned.
Both granite and quartz are not easily scratched, but it is something that occurs from time to time. Repairing these materials requires the services of a trained technician to return the countertop surface to its original luster.
Porcelain Is In A Class By Itself
Variously known as porcelain, sintered stone or ultra‐compact, this new category of countertop material is emerging as the wave of the future. The aesthetics include hundreds of patterns and finishes from which to choose, including high polish, honed or textured finishes. Porcelain contains 100% natural materials, which means it can be used indoors or outdoors with great success. It is extremely scratch and stain‐resistant and is very easy to clean. Incredibly, even though it is typically much thinner, porcelain is much stronger than granite or quartz.
At first glance one wonders how such a thin material (typically 12mm or ½”) could outperform its thicker counterparts. In large part, the secret lies in proper fabrication and installation. Special fabrication methods, advanced materials for substrates and engineered installation protocols are critical for the success of this new product.