When designing renovations for your new BTO or HDB flat, one of the most crucial things to consider is your kitchen countertop. This is where you end up doing most of your cutting, chopping and cooking work, so it is important to choose a material that is tough enough to withstand daily use.
Besides durability, it is just as important to choose a material that looks good as well. The countertop often determines the overall feel of the kitchen, as its large size makes it constitute a large part of the colour scheme.
Both quartz and granite are incredibly popular choices for homeowners who want countertops made out of stone.
How do you choose between the two materials? Use this handy guide to find out:
What's the difference between granite and quartz?
Granite is a type of igneous rock that is typically mined in quarries. Extracted from the earth, they are sanded and polished, and often used as tiles and other building materials.
Granite's most notable aesthetic quality is its grain. No two pieces will look the same due to the stone's wildly varying composition.
Quartz, on the other hand, is a mineral that is found in metamorphic and igneous rocks and consists of silica. Quartz countertops are manufactured by combining crushed quartz with polymer resin and coloured pigments.
The mixture is then placed in a vacuum under great pressure, producing dense and non-porous slabs which are then polished for household use.
What designs are they suited for?
For those who want a more natural look in their house, granite is probably the way to go. Like marble, granite possesses natural swirls and specks that lend it a more natural look.
It's much easier to match with a house's existing aesthetics with quartz, as quartz can be easily dyed a specific colour. Granite can also be dyed, but doing so is more difficult.
The type of countertop you intend to use it for also matters immensely. If you have an L-shaped island or counter and opt for granite, there will be noticeable seams where the separate pieces are joined together.
In this case, it may be better to use quartz instead. The seams in lighter shades of quartz are barely noticeable, while darker shades will reveal no seams at all.
Which is more resistant to wear and stains?
Of the two materials, quartz is more waterproof, being manufactured under more controlled conditions in a factory.
On the other hand, granite is naturally porous. It may be relatively hard and dense, but unlike quartz, it cannot be made under controlled conditions. As such, it often has small pores and capillaries that may allow foreign substances to leak in. This could eventually result in bacterial growth and staining.
To prevent this, during installation, a contractor will typically seal the granite with a protective layer. This should be resealed every year for best results.
Both quartz and granite can also chip or scratch if something is dropped on it. However, in the event that a crack or scratch has to be sanded out, it will be more obvious on granite.
Quartz does have two weaknesses compared to granite, though. For one, it is susceptible to discolouration, particularly under sunlight. If you intend to use it as a countertop next to a window, the constant exposure to UV light will cause the epoxy inside to break down, thus causing it to change colour.
Also, quartz can be damaged by high heat, resulting in unsightly markings on your countertop. If you intend to get a quartz countertop, keep in mind that you will have to use heat pads at all times.
Which is more expensive?
The prices of quartz and granite are dependent primarily on quality. A 20mm-thick granite countertop typically costs between $75 per foot run for a single profile and $90 per foot run for a double profile, depending on the shade and grain. A quartz countertop of the same thickness would be about $80 per foot run for a single profile and $95 for a double profile.
Prices are also affected by the warranty, so check with your contractor on whether the cost includes the warranty cost as well.