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Granite vs Quartz countertops
Old 09-08-2009, 05:14 PM   #1
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Granite vs Quartz countertops

We're going to do some kitchen remodeling, including countertops. My question is: granite or quartz / engineered stone. I've read about both and appreciate the major differences between the two, but am still not clearly in favor of one over the other.

From a fashion vs function perspective, DW leans heavily toward the fashion side while I tend equally toward function. Her wish is usually my command, but in this case I am allowed a voice (albeit small) because I clean and ease of cleaning is a consideration.

I know this group is quite reticent and does not usually offer opinions on other member lifestyle related matters, but I'm hoping some here will have some useful knowledge or experience they are willing to share.
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Old 09-08-2009, 05:37 PM   #2
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According to HGTV quartz is "in."
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Old 09-08-2009, 05:41 PM   #3
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We covered our plastic laminate with granite and it looks beautiful.
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Old 09-08-2009, 06:02 PM   #4
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I chose a very exotic granite with lots of different mineral inclusions that impart a great deal of color and movement. There are black crystals, white crystals, sparkling mica, and areas of rust and pink. I absolutely love looking at it, which is more than could be said for the very serviceable almond laminate we had for the previous 18 years. The granite is very easy to clean; the biggest headache is that there are so many colors and patterns, dirt can be hard to see.

Because some of the surface crystals could possibly pop, we are careful not to put hot items directly on the countertops--which is no special hardship, since we already had cutting boards and trivets for use with the laminate tops.

As with all home decorating decisions, we gave due consideration to the always-bland tastes of "future buyers" (who no doubt will prefer solid black granite, uniformly speckled quartz or engineered stone) and decided the heck with them, live a little.
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Old 09-08-2009, 06:20 PM   #5
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I am very, very happy with my granite countertops. I would also be very, very happy with quartz. Toss a coin - - you can't lose.

As long as it's not 40 year old formica with burns and stains, I'm happy.
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Old 09-08-2009, 06:21 PM   #6
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We went with grey greenish granite, specially sanded to remove the shine (at extra cost, of course. I don't know why the default is shiny). It looks quite a bit like like marble, but it is indestructible -- after four years of heavy daily use, we have no scratches, no stains, no chips or pops. We put hot pots directly on top of it without a trivet. We do use cutting boards, but mainly because the knives get dulled if we don't.
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Old 09-08-2009, 06:25 PM   #7
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We went with grey greenish granite, specially sanded to remove the shine (at extra cost, of course. I don't know why the default is shiny). It looks quite a bit like like marble, but it is indestructible -- after four years of heavy daily use, we have no scratches, no stains, no chips or pops. We put hot pots directly on top of it without a trivet. We do use cutting boards, but mainly because the knives get dulled if we don't.
Oh me, too! I bought my house with black granite countertops 7 years ago, and who knows how long before that they had been there. NO scratches, NO stains, no chips, no pops. I *always* put hot pots directly on it just because I can. I didn't use a cutting board for the first few years, but started using a plastic cutting board because I can toss it in the dishwasher (and I can't do that with the whole countertop). After about 5 years I thought it suddenly was looking a little dull, so I bought some granite cleaner and resealer from Home Depot. I used that just once and is has been shiny ever since.
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Old 09-08-2009, 06:27 PM   #8
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Every house ad I've seen calls out the granite countertops as a selling point if the place has them. I don't see any calling out any other surface.

So your DW sounds like she is right on the money as far as fashion goes.
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Old 09-08-2009, 06:38 PM   #9
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How about Corian?...I'm leaning that way for our rental we're fixing up.
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Old 09-08-2009, 07:03 PM   #10
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The only problem I everheard with granite is if there are any junction seams, food can get incorporated and cause bacterial problems. No seams, no problem.

Unsolicited advice : Don't forget a splash guard (of any material) that runs completely from counter top to under cabinet. This was firmly recommended by our Corian guy and boy am I glad I listened. Cleaning is a snap, and I never ever have to repaint that pesky little space between the countertop and bottom of upper cabinets. I use removable 3M plastic hooks with the adhesive backs for potholders and utensils and such, i.e. no drilling.
Another tip if this is even possible with granite, is to have parallel grooves of shallow depth to deep depth running right next to the sink to simulate a drain board. If you need a pic, let me know via PM.

FWIW, I have black Corian and it looks just like granite. It is softer of course and I can see a few nicks where some man forgot to get a cutting board. I really have to look to see them.

Have fun choosing your countertops.
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Old 09-08-2009, 07:24 PM   #11
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As Freebird said - have fun! Sometimes there seems to be an undue lot of angst about countertop decisions; it may just be that there are too many choices these days. 19 years ago, we could choose from laminate on wood, formica, butcherblock or tile, most of which were frankly not too attractive. Today, there are so many gorgeous surfaces to choose from, you can hardly go wrong. Someone will always bring up some fancied criticism, though, so be prepared. If you pick exotic granite like ours, someone will notice that it doesn't take a perfectly even gloss (here and there, is a bit of a mineral that isn't as shiny as the rest). If you pick plain black, someone will remind you that "every new house has black granite countertops now, and the latest material is brushed stainless steel/dyed concrete/Himalayan wacki-wacki wood." And so it goes.
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Old 09-08-2009, 07:32 PM   #12
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I want the wacki wacki wood.
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Old 09-08-2009, 07:35 PM   #13
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I want the wacki wacki wood.
Double that.
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Old 09-08-2009, 08:01 PM   #14
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We did quartz a couple years ago and have been happy with it. After two years of use, abuse and nelect, it still looks brand new.

I do vaguely remember reading an article a year ir two ago about some families that installed exotic granite only to discover that it was radioactive.
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Old 09-08-2009, 08:05 PM   #15
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We did quartz a couple years ago and have been happy with it. After two years of use, abuse and nelect, it still looks brand new.

I do vaguely remember reading an article a year ir two ago about some families that installed exotic granite only to discover that it was radioactive.
Brew -- radioactive !?! Guess you could find your way in the dark to the fridge
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Old 09-08-2009, 08:19 PM   #16
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Yes, radioactivity is a serious problem with some granites. I think most places will have it checked before selling it, but I would not trust them. And I would not be surprised if some of these stones outgassed radon. Anybody with granite test for radon since owning granite?

Anyways, I'd take my Geiger counter to the stone store when shopping for slabs.
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Old 09-08-2009, 08:36 PM   #17
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I absolutely love looking at it, which is more than could be said for the very serviceable almond laminate we had for the previous 18 years.
Almond laminate...


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The granite is very easy to clean; the biggest headache is that there are so many colors and patterns, dirt can be hard to see.
That's not a headache! That's a feature...
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Old 09-08-2009, 08:56 PM   #18
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Quartz... no brainer.. granite is porous and requires due diligence... quartz does not.
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Old 09-09-2009, 07:36 AM   #19
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Quartz... no brainer.. granite is porous and requires due diligence... quartz does not.
What kind of diligence? We put in granite counter tops about 10 years ago and they still look like new. Do I need to treat them with something or take other maintenance steps?
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Old 09-09-2009, 07:57 AM   #20
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What kind of diligence? We put in granite counter tops about 10 years ago and they still look like new. Do I need to treat them with something or take other maintenance steps?
Check here: Granite Countertop Maintenance - LoveToKnow Home Improvement

Perhaps yours don't need it but sounds like many (most?) require an annual (or so) resealing.........or perhaps you're extra careful w/ spills.

Somewhat off the topic , but related, is the issue of undercabinet lighting.
DW chose to have those installed during our kitchen remodeling and they are very nice when you are working there and for showing off the granite counters but they are somewhat of a mixed blessing for the latter.........since they show off everything: every single spill, water stain,
oil droplet splatters (which look even worse when you do an incomplete removal and end up smearing tiny invisible droplets into a cloudy sheet,
joints in the assembly, etc. The lights, however, also help you see those problems so that you can clean them up is you are so inclined......so sort of a mixed blessing overall. You can always turn them off when guests come
(unless the counters are in showoff shape).
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