Natural Stone (Granite) vs. Engineered Stone (Quartz)
Where do they come from?
Natural Stone is mined from the Earth and cut into slabs from what we refer to as “Blocks.” Each slab in the series is fairly similar to the ones before and after it, much like a loaf of bread. Engineered stone are actually man-made, but contain 91%-97% natural constituents (AKA Quartz crystals). Engineered stones then have colors, binders, resins and other small ingredients added for color and consistency.
Are there differences between these producers that a homeowner would normally care about?
Yes! The two main differences between quartz and granite are that:
1. Granite is porous and quartz is not
2. Granite can have more variance than quartz (i.e. more movement)
Having a non-porous material in your kitchen is good for reasons of sanitation, since bacteria and viruses cannot penetrate into your kitchen countertop.
Granite on the other hand can have a wilder and indeed organic feel to it. See below.
Finished Product: Engineered Stone
Zodiaq (Indus Red) Price
Depending on which company you buy your quartz from it can vary significantly of course, but generally engineered stone has a price point that is close to granite. Some colors of granite cost much more, some much less, but engineered stone in general is about equal in price to a mid-range granite slab.
Is there a difference in strength?
Yes there is. Engineered stone much stronger than granite, while at the same time being easier to shape. Granite tends to be more brittle due to some parts of the slab being denser and having higher or lower iron content in relation to the natural amount of quartz in the matrix. (There are probably many other reasons too, but I am not a geologist)
Cambria (Victoria)Drawbacks of quartz
The biggest complaint about quartz products is that if something does manage to scratch or somehow deface the surface of your countertop, it is almost impossible to repair. This is because engineered stones have a surfacing substance applied to them.
With granite it is possible to repair a chip or fill a scratch and to cover your tracks by surface polishing the material. Afterwards the repair can often be unnoticeable. This is something that is difficult or impossible with many engineered stones.Finished Product: Natural Stone
Granite – Black PearlDrawbacks of Granite
Granite countertops occasionally need to be sealed because they are actually porous. Also over time each color of granite will tend to shift (get one shade darker or lighter, change hue slightly) as it is mined from deeper and deeper in the Earth. So if you ever wanted to replace a piece or add to your job, the odds become increasingly thinner and thinner of finding a good color match, even of the same color. Finished Product: Natural Stone
Granite – Giallo Capella