Countertops: Granite vs. Quartz

Following is a quick conversation with Kopke President Alan Seeley about the difference between Granite and Quartz. They are both great countertop options, it just depends what you are looking for.

People often ask me “what’s the difference between granite and quartz?”, and I always say “great question”.

Granite, they quarry granite in slabs. Granite, believe it or not, it gets its strength because it has quartz inside of it. The rest of it is porous. Now you can take a piece of granite, and you can cut it in half, and there’s no two pieces on the planet identical. It’s like a fingerprint. The next thing about granite to let you know is, they talk about the polish on there. Why do they seal the granite, well because it’s being porous, they seal the granite to solidify it and make sure nothing can go through it or bleed through. A bleed through is more common when you buy retail like a coffee table or something else that has granite on top of it. They spit out so many of these things that the polish or the seal is not 100% like they would do when they go through a fabricator that’s actually taking the slab and doing this particularly for your home.

Then people often ask: “how do you clean granite?” Well, there’s a cleaner out there that you can spray, you can get it at Home Depot and Lowe’s, it’s called granite cleaner and sealer. You spray it, you wipe off your countertop, and it’s always sealing it and it always cleaning it. You never have to repolish it, it has a high polish on it. The polish on granite is higher than the polish on quartz. So it’s a one-and-done, you don’t have to worry about it anymore. Now they are coming out with granite that you can do a dull finish, which is absolutely amazing, and you can feel the texture inside of it. But do you see how they are both basically the same, but one has a shine and one doesn’t? But they almost look the same don’t they. Here’s what the granite looks like on its own, that’s what you get when you quarry it. And then when they polish it and spray water on it, it comes out looking like this.

The availability of the granite, that’s what justifies the cost. The more availability to a granite color, the less expensive it is. The less availability to these one-of-a-kinds, that’s when the cost factors go up. They are anywhere from a level 1 to a level 9. 9 is the most expensive. We don’t carry anything higher than a level 2. Because primarily these are the basics that are always readily available for our customers.

So quartz. Here’s the thing, quartz is really cool. Quartz comes out in these big chunks from the quarry, they’re squashed down, smashed down into little itty bitty pieces. And then they form all the different patterns that they have. These countertops are 95% quartz, 5% bonding agent. Do you ever sit on a beach and look over at the sand and see some sand glistening? That’s not sand glistening, it’s little pieces of quartz. Really really cool. Now quartz starts out with a standard pattern, that’s why they have an A. And then what they do is they’ll take this pattern (A) and they’ll add on to this pattern on another machine. And then they’ll add on another pattern on another machine. So that’s why you have A, B and C levels. Then when you get to D, E, F, as far as being the most expensive, as the ones with the ones with the most intricate patterns inside of them, and besides that it’s the most trendy, so they also add up, and make it more expensive. Intricacy and also being trendy, you’re going to pay more for it. So the more machines it hits, the more expensive it is. It’s always the same, doesn’t matter where you get the slab from, when you get it, its always going to be the same representation every single time.

Cambria is like the Bose system of the [quartz] industry. Bose speakers, no matter where you buy it from, nobody can discount it. Cambria is so into quartz, that the places that fabricate Cambria, can only fabricate Cambria, They can’t fabricate other quartz lines, it’s either Cambria or nothing. So Cambria is in a lot of magazines, they’re at trade shows, they’re very expensive, Cambria, but you kind of get what you pay for. The intricacies in Cambria are just so cool. I mean they got a lot of this stuff down pat, I don’t care if you live in Florida, they know what you want in your beach house. So, they have 2 price points. The price points are one is the smaller sticker, which is the lower of the two price points, and the larger sticker which is the more expensive of the two price points. So quartz doesn’t have a high polish like granite does because it’s not sealed to the point where granite is, so it has a duller finish on it. Just remember, some of this stuff can start getting really busy, okay, so make sure anything you pick with this, your backsplash for example, doesn’t clash with it.

If you would like to see some of these granite and quartz samples in person, our showroom/selection center is a great place to start. No appointment necessary! Find our hours and address on our website.