Do you have some kitchen renovation ideas, or some bathroom renovation ideas for your home? Are you having basement renovations done? Or are you perhaps working with a custom home builder in Toronto to have your dream home built? Whatever the case may be, you will have to make a decision about what countertop you want to choose.
One way to instantly add value to your home, is to put in high quality stone, or porcelain countertops. This renovation will be an investment that is sure to pay off. Many homebuyers won’t even consider buying your home if they see outdated laminate, because they will be thinking that they will need to do a kitchen renovation, or a bathroom renovation to update the house if they buy it. Among countertops, you will have to make the decision of choosing either quartz, porcelain, or granite. This can be a heated topic for some (if you watch home renovations shows, you know what we’re talking about here!). Among so many other decisions that you have to take in your day-to-day life, it might seem daunting to try and decipher what the right choice for you might be. Luckily, we’ve compiled a breakdown of the pros and cons of three of the most popular countertop materials around, along with some details about each.
What Exactly are Granite, Quartz and Porcelain?
Granite: It is a completely natural, and extremely hard stone. It is mined from all across the globe, cut, and given a polish, and sealant coat, before being installed into homes. Because this is natural stone, you will find variation in colour, which gives it an interesting appearance.
Quartz: These are comprised of 90-95% ground, natural quartz, with the rest of the 5-10% being man-made, polymer resins. As these are manufactured, they will have a uniform appearance and colour throughout the slab. Unlike natural stone, which have small, microscopic pores on the surface, quartz’s surface if filled in with the resin, making if impermeable.
Porcelain: These countertops are made of a kind of clay referred to as “China clay”. It is comprised of a high amount of minerals like silica, feldspar, kaolinite and other mineral oxides. The strength and resilience of porcelain comes from these. The combination is put into a kiln and baked at a high temperature, resulting in a highly durable, and beautiful building material that will be stain, heat, UV ray, scratch, chip and crack resistant. Porcelain slabs can come as glazed, or unglazed, and have matte, or a high gloss finish. In order to add different colours or patterns, coloured glazes are added. To finish production, the slabs are fired in the kiln again to ensure that the glaze has become permanent. The glaze also makes it impermeable, which makes it stain resistant, and strong.
Now that you have a general idea of what the materials are, lets jump into the pros and cons of each.
- Highly resilient. They may chip or break off if mistreated, but with proper maintenance, they can last forever.
- Resistant to chemicals. Bases and acid do not harm the granite. Be wary of prolonged, or repetitive use though, as the sealant can get damaged in this way and need to be reapplied more frequently than usual in this case.
- Truly natural surface to work on.
- Stain resistant.
- Heat resistant. You can take your pots from the oven, or stove and place them directly on the counter. The use of a trivet is still recommended however, because the dense granite material can heat unevenly and crack. For short term, though, you can certainly place the cookware on the counters.
- More affordable compared to quartz. This may change, however, if you choose a stone that is extremely rare.
- This one is subjective: due to the varying shades in colour from the natural stone, you will get a unique and interesting aesthetic.
- Low maintenance. Sealants can be applied easily at home, and technological advances in sealant formulas have made it so that sealants don’t need to be applied as frequently as before. Some won’t need to be re-applied for many years.
- Undermounted sinks work well with this surface, making clean ups of spills and crumbs, effortless. Fabricators will be able to cut out the granite slab so fit the shape of your selected sink.
- Need to be sealed from time to time for their lifetime.
- Inability to hide seams entirely; a skilled granite fabricator will be able to make them inconspicuous, though.
- Might be some variation in appearance of what you see in store/samples and what you receive after you order. You can work around this by going to the stone yard yourself and selecting a full slab.
- Not as many options for colours and patterns as this is a natural stone, and nature can only offer so many stone colour options. It may also be harder to get a completely solid colour.
- Highly durable.
- Stain resistant.
- Oil, liquid, and corrosion resistant.
- More flexible than granite, making is less prone to chips and breakage.
- Non-porous; they won’t need sealing. Quartz countertops make excellent kitchen workspaces because of this quality, as they are low maintenance, antimicrobial (germs don’t have pores to latch onto).
- Smooth, and uniform look throughout the entire surface. This isn’t natural stone, so it is made to look constant throughout.
- Wide range of colours and patterns to choose from to make all your kitchen renovation ideas, and bathroom renovation ideas come to fruition.
- Can discolour over time due to sunlight exposure. This will create a noticeable colour difference if part of the counter receives sunlight directly, while another part doesn’t.
- You can see seams in the counter. Choose a darker colour to minimize this.
- Not heat resistant. Will get damaged if you place hot cookware on the counter, even for just a moment. Use of trivets are mandatory
- Heat, UV light, stain, and scratch resistant
- Highly strong, and durable.
- Many different colours, and patterns available, as you can add different glazes to give different looks.
- Sealing is not needed in most cases.
- Eco-friendly. Made of natural, clay-based ingredients, and easy to recycle.
- Limited supply available due to lower popularity.
- Not as many skilled fabricators available who are experienced with working with this material.
- Beauty is on the surface. The glaze, which is only applied on top, and not throughout the material, although strong, can still potentially crack and chip. If this happens, the colour of the slab, which is the same as the glaze usually, will be visible, and the pattern will be missing.
- Less edging options. These are generally limited to polished or mitred, as other, more elaborate selections are usually not available. Granite was the countertop surface that replaced the outdated laminate. With changing trends, quartz has gained more popularity over the last few decades, with porcelain also recently becoming increasing sought after, due to the varying looks available. This doesn’t mean that one is inferior than the other. It’s just a matter of personal preference, as they all make excellent choices. Part of the reason why people are so heated and passionate on all sides of this argument, is that they are each so satisfied with their own choices – whether they chose granite, porcelain, or quartz!