Granite, Quartz, or Solid Surface? What is the Difference?
Granite, quartz and solid surface, which image is what? When there are so many countertop options, how do you choose what is best for your space? Let's break it down, so you can choose with ease. Three common countertop materials are solid surface, quartz and granite. When deciding what is right for your space, consider budget, desired texture, use, and backsplash material. It's important to remember that what is best for one space may not be best for another space.
If you thought the first image was a solid surface countertop, you were right! Solid surface countertops, also identified as Corian, Avonite and Swansonstone, are man made materials consisting of mineral and acrylic dust, resins, and pigments, poured out to create the countertop slab. Being that solid surface countertops are man made, they contain a consistent color and texture appearance. They often mimic the appearance of quartz. Homeowners are drawn to solid surface countertops because they tend to be lower in cost compared to quartz and granite, while still offering a high end look. Because texture and color are consistent, solid surface countertops are a great option for those wanting a busy or eye catching backslpash. With remodeling, compromises in budget and quality are often made. Solid surface countertops are a great value, however, are known to dull over time and scratch easier then quartz and granite. But, don't let that deter you, as careful use and maintenance can eliminate those possibilities.
If solid surface countertops often mimic the appearance of quartz, which image is the quartz? The last image, of course! Quartz countertops are a unique blend of ground up natural quartz, marbles, glass and binding resins, poured out to make the countertop slab. As quartz countertops have a mix of natural and man made elements, they tend to have a slight variation in color and texture, however they maintain a consistency more so than granite. This allows them to be paired with detailed and intricate backsplash designs. Quartz coutnertops cross price points with solid surface and granite countertops, depending on thickness and intricacy of the slab, making it the perfect option for those on various budgets. Most quartz countertops will come sealed by the manufacturer. They also have a high hardness level, reducing the risk of scratching. However, I would never recommend that any countertop be cut on, or a hot pan directly set on it.
With out a doubt, the middle image is the granite countertop. Granite is the most natural countertop material available. It comes straight out of the quarries, displaying organic and unique entanglements of crystals and minerals. Because of this, every slab of granite is different in color and texture. Granite countertops are best paired with a simple backsplash, decreasing clash and maintaining focus on the beauty of the granite. When you make the decision to purchase granite, you are accepting the inconsistencies in color and texture, therefore, I would recommend going to the countertop manufacturer to view your slab before they cut and install it. Granite commonly comes sealed from the manufacturer and maintains a high level of hardness, reducing wear and scratching. However, again, I would not recommend cutting or setting a hot pan on the surface. So, what will this unique specialty product run you? The most common remark from customers is, "Granite is the most expensive, right?" Not necessarily. Granite will cross price points with quartz, depending on the intricacy and availability of the slab. In turn, granite countertops are obtainable to homeowners with middle to high budgets.
As you explore which countertop option is best for you, consider your use, backsplash material, desired texture and consistency, and budget. Be willing to work with your interior design consultant to make compromises that will get you the best value and the aesthetic look you desire.