Granite, Quartz or Marble
One of the most common questions we get asked when helping a new customer select the perfect countertop is “Should I buy Quartz or Granite?” Our process to help you choose a perfect stone at CNG always starts with and usually ends with “What do you like?” Granite, quartzites and engineered quartz are all very durable products, and we are so confident in all of the products we manufacture that we think what you like is the most important place to start. Almost every slab in our yard is a very durable product for day-to-day use as a kitchen or bathroom counter top. If you love a material that is less suited for everyday use, and when we come across one of these, we talk about what care and attention may be required and if necessary, help you find an alternative.
Let’s dive in to learn a little bit more about the types of natural stone and quartz countertops.
Granite & Quartzite Countertops
Granite has been nature’s luxurious, durable and natural choice for countertops for a long time. This strong, durable and beautiful stone comes in hundreds of natural colours that are continually evolving as each new block comes out of the earth. It is also a building material that has been used for exterior building facades, sculptures, tombstones, etc.
It is an extremely hard, durable and stain resistant surface. It is typically harder than engineered quartz and much harder than slates, marbles and some of the exotic stones. There is a wide variety of colours to choose from, and stones can range from very consistent to very irregular and exotic. Granite colours typically feature many earthy tones, which makes sense, since it comes from the earth, although there are some fabulous quartzite and exotic stones that feature rich blues, reds, aquamarines and other stunning displays of colour and translucence (we’ll talk more about these in a little bit).
Care And Maintenance
One of the arguments against granite is the care and maintenance requirements of the stone, primarily selling it. In this regard, technology has come a long way in the last 20 years. To granite stones that require it, we apply a high tech sealant in the shop before we install your countertops. This sealer is guaranteed for 20 years to prevent staining as long as the surface is wiped of and the stain is not left to sit and soak in for hours or days. There are also many stones that are so dense, they won’t even absorb a sealer, and this means they are essentially non-porous and virtually stain-proof. Many stones that would have been prone to staining years ago have benefited from a factory applied epoxy resin which provides a smoother polished surface and an impenetrable and permanent sealer for the stone. We always take you through the care and maintenance required for any natural stone countertop you select, but care and maintenance is usually not a real barrier when choosing most varieties of granite.
Engineered Quartz Countertops
Engineered quartz was originally sold as the “better granite” It was available in a handful of very man-made looking imitations of speckled granite, plus a few bright statement colours and a couple white’s and grey’s. It was billed as stain proof, scratch-proof and essentially crack-proof, and most people who chose quartz bought it because they wanted a better product for their investment. Quartz designs and patterns have changed a lot in 20 years. Engineered quartz formulations now provide stunning veining, and some of the marble looks are incredible.
Some manufacturers, such as Silestone, actually tell you to use Fantastik as a cleaner to remove stubborn marks stuck on the surface. Quartz can still be more likely to scratch with extremely hard objects, and while highly stain resistant, it’s not impossible to stain if something like red wine is left on the surface for an extended period of time (think days, not hours)
Some exotic stones and and many marbles are often purchased for their stunning good looks, and while they can be very practical countertop surfaces, they definitely have care and maintenance requirements that granite and engineered quartz don’t have. Depending on the stone, they may be more prone to scratching, staining, and etching of the surface. If you are looking at some of these beautiful natural stones, it’s best to know what the care and maintenance requirements are. If you are looking for stone selection at CNG, we explain the characteristics of any stone you might be interested in and make sure you get both the look and durability you are looking for.
Want to see more? Our showroom has Regina’s largest selection of in stock countertop slabs and we’d love to show you around.