Granite vs quartz – practical tips for choosing and installing your countertop
The countertop is the central element of your kitchen. Choosing a natural stone countertop or a quartz one is obvious if we consider all their features. However, whice one is more suitable for your kitchen? You can choose granite, one of the most popular materials, but also composite materials, with quartz as the most popular.
The quartz for countertop is a synthetic product made from natural crushed quartz, usually between 93% and 97%, plus 3 – 7% resin (polyesters and epoxides), polymers and dyes. After combining the ingredients and casting the slab, the quartz, also called composite quartz, can be processed just like natural stone.
Quartz is a tough, durable and low-porosity material. It is partially affected by UV exposure, therefore quartz countertops are only recommended for interior use. It is sensitive to sudden temperature variations and high temperatures (over 150 °C). It is durable against scratching and staining.
The color range is wide, without significant variation. Aftercare is simple and composite quartz does not require waterproofing. Use a medium liquid detergent for cleaning (avoid abrasive powders), and a sponge/wet cloth.
Granite is a natural stone. It is hard (6-7 out of 10 on the Mohs scale) and durable. It is virtually immune to UV radiation, therefore it can be used for exterior claddings and countertops. It is quite resistant to chemical agents. Granite countertop withstands high temperatures and also temperature variations; freeze-thaw cycles will not influence granite.
The granite colors extend from white to black in multiple shades. Black color countertops are elegant and recommend for chic design kitchens, while blue color countertops are recommended for dynamic kitchens. Granite have a wide color and shade variation and this difference between natural and sunthetic stone is an important standard for selecting the material of your countertop. The polished granite countertop is cleaned with a medium acidic detergent and waterproofing is optional. Aftercare is easy by applying wax on countertop.
The installation for these two types of countertop is similar, with the following steps:
- Measurement – for projects with complex kitchens, special design countertops or cut-to-size elements, a professional is recommended. Carefully identify the location of gas stove, refrigerator and cut-out for the sink
- Levelling the walls for an optimum installation of your countertop
- Establishing the backsplash position on the wall – perpendicular to the countertop and same material as the countertop or not.
- Transporting the countertop is a very fragile operation (especially when cut-out before installation) and must be carried out by specialised teams for avoiding the risk of breaking
- Checking the smoothness – after installation, particularly for countertops with more than 1 piece
- Joining adjacent countertops – this operation is followed by aligning countertops on vertical axis
- Gluing adjacent countertops - with a special adhesive, for isolating the glued surface from the rest of countertop, use adhesive tapes and remove them afterwards
- Installing the sink – insulate with silicone
- Installing the kitchen faucet
- Installing the backsplash – use adhesive tapes at its countertop junction
- Insulating the countertop from the rest of kictchen furniture – with silicone
Essentialy, both countertops have vexcellent usage and extended life span, the benefit of granite being the fact that it can be used for exterior surfaces and its unique appearance.
However, the essential advantage of the granite is THE PRICE. A quartz countertop is 200 EUR/m + VAT, while granite’s price starts from 35 EUR/m + VAT.
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