Worktops play an integral role in kitchens. They need to be attractive, hygienic, easy to clean, resistant, durable, and long-lasting. Whether it is a white granite worktop, a marble countertop, or a quartz worktop, choosing a suitable kitchen worktop material is always daunting. Homeowners should consider key parameters, outline their requirements, and stick to their budgets. What makes the decision even more complicated is the sheer abundance of materials, replete with their unique pros and cons. There are natural stones like granite, marble, and quartzite that have worked their charm over centuries.
In contrast, engineered materials like quartz, ceramic, and terrazzo are highly customised and efficient. A common confusion among UK-based homeowners today is whether to choose granite or quartz worktops. Here is an insightful comparison to understand their differences.
Origin and Composition of Granite and Quartz
Installing a white marble or white granite worktop has always been a dream for home décor enthusiasts. But with the advent of manufactured materials like quartz and porcelain, many have been forced to reconsider their choices. Before conducting a comparative analysis, understanding the origin and composition of granite and quartz is necessary.
- Granite is an igneous rock primarily composed of the mineral quartz, feldspar, and certain metal oxides. The gradual cooling and crystallisation of magma under the earth’s crust is responsible for its formation. It is hard, dense, and coarse-grained with multi-hued crystals and patterns. Granite has been used for construction since antiquity, with its presence in the Egyptian pyramids being most noteworthy.
- The craze for quartz worktops in London is unmatched. Quartz worktops were first manufactured by the Italian company Breton in the 1960s. The mineral quartz is purified, pulverised, and combined with approximately 3% resin in large industrial mixers. Given the high temperature, pressure, and vacuum treatment rendered to this engineered material, the resulting worktop is completely non-porous and extra-strong.
Differences between Granite and Quartz Worktops London
Of course, the biggest difference is that granite is 100% natural stone, while quartz is manufactured. Here is a differential comparison between them:-
1. Variation of Shades and Patterns
- Since granite colours and designs primarily depend on natural forces, they are limited. The hues, flecks, striations, and veins are absolutely gorgeous but cannot be altered. No two granite slabs look alike, so they should be book-matched (cut into identical halves) where required.
- Engineered quartz slabs and tiles can be customised to the homeowner’s tastes. For every type of colour or design required, a particular combination of mineral oxides and resins gives the exact visual results as desired.
- Granite is extracted from its natural reservoirs by quarrying. After that, it is transported and given the required finishing before installation. Often, this involves export, massive logistical expenses, and a big carbon footprint.
- Quartz worktops in London are usually manufactured within the city or on the outskirts. Thus, the carbon emissions involved in its procurement are significantly lesser. However, the use of synthetic resins in producing quartz slabs is questionable in terms of sustainability.
- It is commonly assumed that granite will be more expensive since it is a natural stone. The cost depends on the rarity of granite. Grade 1 granite is easily available and costs less, while grade 2 is intermediate. Grade 3 granite is rare, exotic, and highly expensive. Shipping expenses and labour charges for cutting and installation are also considered.
- To deduce the cost of quartz kitchen worktops, customisation is the biggest factor. The slab dimensions, design/colour required, and transport costs are significant. Professional installation is necessary, and the charges need to be considered.
4. Porosity and Hygiene
- Although it is less porous than marble, the crystalline nature of granite makes its surface susceptible to the seeping in of liquids. However, this can easily be avoided by sealing granite worktops before installation. The sealing must be repeated every 2-3 years based on usage/wear and tear.
- Quartz worktops are secured by resins that ensure zero porosity. This makes them extremely easy to clean and maintain without sealing. The probability of mildew growth or bacteria thriving in its crevices is far lesser than granite.
- Granite is a naturally dense, hard-wearing material that is highly resistant to cracks and dents. As long as it is sealed regularly, it is fairly heat resistant and won’t scorch in contact with extremely hot utensils. The only loophole here could be the natural faults in granite slabs.
- Precision-based engineering of quartz slabs ensures they last for a lifetime with minimal care and maintenance. As long as it is procured from a trusted manufacturer and installed properly, both physical and heat resistance are top-notch.
The above comparative study makes it clear that quartz worktops fare better than granite in terms of functionality and customisation. However, granite remains the preferred choice for natural stone lovers who prefer natural beauty and refrain from using manmade materials. Furthermore, the resale value of a house with granite or marble countertops is always higher than quartz. This perception is gradually changing, with UK-based homeowners being more receptive to engineered worktops. The final decision between granite and quartz is a highly subjective one. Weigh all the pros and cons and decide for yourself!