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Quartz, Marble, or Granite: Which Countertops Are Best for You?
Quartz, marble, or granite, oh my! Selecting which countertops are best for you and your lifestyle can be a challenging endeavor. Each of these materials has pros, cons, and comes at different price points. Selecting the best countertops completely depends on your lifestyle, budget, and design preferences. Here is a breakdown of quartz, marble, and granite and which countertops may be the best for you.
What are Quartz Countertops?
Quartz countertops provide a polished and high-end look that is currently taking modern kitchens by storm. As a man-made product, quartz countertops are extremely durable and relatively maintenance-free. Simply cleaning quartz countertops with dish soap and warm water gets the job done. On a technical note, quartz countertops combine natural mineral quartz and resin. The exact breakdown of mineral quartz to resin depends on various factors. For instance, Cambria brand quartz includes up to 93% mineral quartz. All quartz countertops are non-porous and resistant to staining.
Quartz countertops are trending in popularity due to their polished modern appeal. These countertops are flexible, considered eco-friendly, and aid in a clean overall design. They serve almost as a blank slate to play up other features in your kitchen. Quartz countertops aid in a kitchen design with cooler tones.
What are the Pros and Cons of Quartz Countertops?
Quartz countertops are durable, heat resistant, and give a crisp and clean look to a kitchen design. It’s easy to see why versatile quartz countertops are increasing in popularity. However, the cost of luxury is a hefty investment. Quartz countertops boast one of the highest price tags of all countertop materials. Quartz countertops are also only heat resistant up to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Avoid applying excess heat by using coasters and hot pads. Excessive heat can damage or stain the countertops.
- Versatile and clean aesthetic
- Only heat resistant to 300ºF
What are Marble Countertops?
Marble countertops are another high-end material that gives kitchens a timeless appeal. Carrera and Calacatta marble are two names that typically come to mind when you think of marble. According to Sweeten, Calacatta marble is a type of Carrera marble. Both come from Tuscany, Italy, and offer a polished, sophisticated finish to your kitchen design. While gentle soap and water keep marble countertops clean, marble also is susceptible to permanent staining if not properly treated.
From a design standpoint, marble offers flexibility to play around with other design elements. It blends in and allows other items to take center stage, like eye-catching light fixtures or an island with a pop of color.
What are the Pros and Cons of Marble Countertops?
Marble countertops provide a unique appeal to a home since every slab is different. As a premium building material, marble countertops will also increase the resale value of a home. Since every slab is unique, marble is classified as an expensive material. With that being said, Calacatta marble is rarer and nearly double the cost of Carrera marble.
Marble is a natural stone. Therefore, it is porous and requires maintenance and regular sealing. There is an easy water test to see if you should reseal your marble countertops. A general rule of thumb is that if beads of water are soaking into the marble in less than five minutes, it is time to reseal.
If not properly cared for, marble countertops can oxidize and develop a yellow tint. This yellow tint comes from the iron composition of the marble. When exposed to water, oil, or acids, marble can begin to oxidize and develop a yellow tint. For this reason, marble is tricky in bathrooms and other areas of the home that receive constant exposure to moisture.
- Every slab is unique
- Increases resale value of a home
- Natural material
- Requires maintenance
What are Granite Countertops?
Granite countertops are slowly declining in popularity. Many new builds are favoring lighter countertops that require less maintenance. However, with that being said, they are still the third most popular selected kitchen countertop. Granite countertops are scratch and heat-resistant. If properly cared for, granite countertops can easily last longer than the owner’s occupancy. This means if you ever decide to sell, the countertops will often add value to your home.
Granite countertops beautifully aid in a more rustic home design. The natural stone complements exposed beams, hardwood floors, and natural hardwood cabinets. It imparts a warmer, cozier vibe than more modern options like quartz and marble.
What are the Pros and Cons of Granite Countertops?
Granite countertops are considered a luxury material, just like quartz and marble. However, as these high-end options go, it is considered a relatively cost-effective alternative since there is a wide range of options.
Just as with marble, granite is a natural stone. Granite countertops are porous and require routine maintenance.
- Natural stone
- Scratch and heat-resistant
- Considered dated
- Requires maintenance
Alternative Countertop Options
If none of these countertops fit your needs or budget, laminate countertops are a popular alternative. Laminate countertops are rising in popularity as an affordable solution. Formica® laminate, for example, is a popular choice. Laminate offers a budget-friendly product that is stain-resistant and maintenance-free. There are a few downsides of laminate. Laminate isn’t as durable as quartz, marble, or granite and may actually harm the resale value of your home. It also has a shorter lifespan than other countertop materials.
Final Thoughts on Quartz, Marble, and Granite Countertops
Quartz, marble, and granite are three great countertop options; especially if you are looking for countertops that stand the test of time. Both marble and granite require routine maintenance, whereas quartz countertops do not. However, quartz countertops are only heat resistant to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. There are pros and cons to each material, and no one-size-fits-all solution. It is best to evaluate countertop options based on your lifestyle, budget, and willingness to keep up with maintenance.