Best Kitchen Countertops: Quartz, Granite, Or Corian?
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When building or remodeling your kitchen and home in Wisconsin, there are several different material options to select for your countertops, but the three most popular and commonly used materials are: Granite, Quartz, and Corian. When deciding which is best to use in your home, the most important factors to consider when selecting a countertop material comes down to the appearance, cost, maintenance, and durability.
Quartz is an engineered stone that is manufactured with various grades and sizes of quartz crystals mixed with resin and pigment. While this still uses natural stone (typically 93% quartz), it’s not as natural as Granite. Fabricators create quartz countertops in much of the same way as they do for granite countertops, by cutting shapes from the slab and then polishing the edges. Since quartz is engineered, the appearance and designs are much more uniform, minimal, and patterned.
When compared to Granite and Corian, Quartz does have the highest cost. However, it has many of the benefits of Granite and Corian without any of their drawbacks, making it superior in quality, justifying the extra material cost. While more expensive, we believe that Quartz delivers the best overall value in price when compared to Granite and Corian.
Contrary to Granite countertops, Quartz requires very little maintenance for upkeep, and doesn’t need to be sealed, polished, or reconditioned…ever. Quartz is non-porous, making it much easier to clean since spills and stains are not absorbed into the surface. However, proper care and regular washing with a soft cloth, warm water, and mild soap is still needed to ensure a clean and long-lasting countertop.
Quartz is quite durable and strong when compared to other stones. In fact, Quartz is rated a 7 on Moh’s Scale of Hardness, making it even harder than Granite. However, all stone can be damaged by force and no stone is chip proof. It can withstand a similar level of heat as compared to Granite, but all stone surfaces can be damaged by a sudden or rapid change in temperature, especially near the edges, so hot pads are recommended to prevent any heat damage. When properly cared for, both Granite and Quartz have a lifespan of 25 to 50 years and are great for long-lasting countertops.
Granite is a 100% natural stone that is quarried from the ground in large blocks. The blocks are then sliced into slabs and polished. Since Granite is a natural stone, each slab will have striations and slight color changes that make the stone unique, giving it a more natural appearance. Granite slabs are also known for having a lot of “movement” and variations in its natural color, giving it dramatic colorization and character.
However, since the appearance isn’t uniform, any samples you examine will differ slightly from the stone that you receive since these are natural occurring slabs and are not perfectly designed by nature. Since Granite has a lot of movement from spots and freckles to veins and swirls, some homeowners may find Granite to be too “busy” for their liking.
Granite can vary in price depending on the quality of the stone, thickness, and color selection. The final cost may also include installation of the countertop and sealing the surface for protection. While more expensive than Corian, Granite is typically slightly cheaper than Quartz, making it a popular choice for homeowners. However, since Granite does need to be re-sealed regularly, there may be additional costs incurred over the product’s lifetime, increasing the overall countertop cost.
Since Granite is a natural stone, it does require some maintenance to prevent staining and damage to the stone. Granite is porous (small pores and spaces inbetween the material that allows liquid, gas, or solids to seep into), so it must be properly sealed on a regular basis (usually once every few years), which can be done yourself or by a professional. This also makes Granite more susceptible to harboring germs and bacteria, making it very important to be cleaned regularly and thoroughly.
While both Granite and Quartz are strong and durable, Granite can be more prone to cracking and chipping if not properly cared for. While quite strong (rated a 6 out of 10 on Moh’s Scale of Hardness), it’s not as strong as Quartz. In addition to being weaker than Quartz, Granite does need to be properly re-sealed regularly to ensure strength and durability, otherwise the material will stain and further lose its strength. If properly maintained, Granite countertops should last for 25 to 50 years.
Corian is an engineered stone similar to Quartz, but uses an even higher ratio of acrylic polymers and resin (33%) with the remaining 66% composed of natural materials. Corian was developed by DuPoint in the 1967 as a solid surface to be used for countertops. Corian countertops are made by pouring a heated mix of materials into molds, creating solid sheets once it cools. When introduced in the early 1970s, it was an instant hit in the 70s and 80s with builders and homeowners due to the ability to make any shape with minimal seams and sections. Making it versatile for countertops, sinks, and backsplashes.
Similar to Quartz, the color and design of Corian is much more consistent than Granite, giving you more freedom to personalize the design for a uniform pattern and look. However, Corian has a much more matte like appearance (less vibrant), is soft to the touch, and is often more prone to scratches which can dull the appearance over time.
Corian is the cheapest of all three materials, making it a good choice for homeowners on a budget or when using in less important secondary rooms such as basement bathrooms or laundry rooms.
Similar to Quartz, Corian is non-porous and doesn’t require any significant maintenance or sealing. Proper cleaning and care is still needed to prevent any damage that may shorten the product’s lifespan. This includes regular cleaning with a soft cloth, warm water, and mild soap. All sinks included with Corian should be washed once or twice a week to remove any build-up or food residue from the sink area.
Corian is weaker than Granite and Quartz, making is more susceptible to scratches, heat marks/scorching, and chemical damage by strong cleaners. Corian countertops are not very heat resistant and can only handle temperatures up to 212 degrees Fahrenheit before sustaining damage. This makes Corian a poor choice to be used in kitchens or surfaces that need to be used rigorously.
|Composition:||93% Natural, 7% Resin||100% Natural||33% Natural, 66% Polymer|
|Appearance:||Uniform, Lustrous||Dramatic, Lustrous||Uniform, Matte|
|Sealing:||No, Non-Porous||Yes, Porous||No, Non-Porous|
|Durability:||Hardest & High Strength||Hard & High Strength||Easily Scratches & Scorches|
|Final Score:||8.6 / 10||8 / 10||7.6 / 10|
In conclusion, the countertop material you select for your home depends on your personal needs and preferences. However, we believe that Quartz is the best overall choice and offers the best value among the three materials. It combines the best characteristics of both Granite and Corian without sacrificing quality.