What is the difference? Should I follow the trend or should I get what I like? What is the trend?
With contemporary kitchen designs being the most requested, quartz is definitely the new trend. But why would quartz be considered more “contemporary?”
Well, the basic design concept with contemporary is essentially that: Less Is More. Very basic and clean with long lines is the overall concept. Usually a monotone color with no movement that gives a sterile (or “clean”) look that almost has a commercial feel.
Cabinetry usually is designed with a flat door panel with no detail and everything has a squared-off look to it. Shaker style cabinetry can also sometimes be considered contemporary, but it has a very small percentage of a traditional look, with small dimensional detail in its profile.
“Shaker” style cabinetry
This Shaker style look can also set the stage for a “transitional” look, which opens the door to new design trends, while still hanging on to the warmer kitchen aesthetics that more traditional kitchens have.
As far as countertops, the hottest trend right now is the quartz stone that looks like Carrara Marble. White Carrara is a timeless color pattern that has been the choice of many for hundreds of years. Why? Because of the warm flowing nature of the vein pattern and its clean look.
The White Carrara marble that has been popular for centuries has one problem. It is soft, therefore causing scratches, making it a terrible choice for a high traffic surface like a kitchen countertop.
Therefore, quartz manufacturers have spent the last 10 years refining more realistic looking Carrara slabs and finally got the quality to a level that has pleased the masses.
White Carrara Marble
Quartz manufacturers have mastered the Carrara look and design patterns so much that now they can even fool some experts. This level of quality has brought Carrara style quartz to the #1 spot in current popularity. The Carrara-looking quartz countertops work well with the transitional look and are definitely what’s popping now!
If you want to make your choice based on performance and don’t particularly want to follow trends, then you should know this: Quartz is made of approximately 93% of one of the harder minerals found in granite slabs. The other 7% is coloring and epoxy. The aesthetic advantage of quartz is that we can control the color of the quartz, while with granite, nature provides the natural slab color. The hardness of quartz vs granite is essentially the same so they would have the same scratch and chipping resistance.
Granite is more porous and requires some treatment to prevent stains, while quartz is non-porous and requires no sealing for normal use. Keep in mind, even though quartz requires no sealing, it doesn’t make it bullet proof! You can stain anything if you are too careless.
Quartz has a low heat tolerance. Between all of the brands, 200 degrees is average the average heat tolerance quartz carries. Hot cookware would need to be placed on trivets and direct sunlight should be avoided. This makes outdoor kitchen areas a no-no for quartz but a yes-yes for granite.
Most granites can withstand up to 1,200 degrees. We don’t let our kitchenware get anywhere near this temperature so no protection needed with hot pots on granite.
We have found a lifetime sealer that comes from Australia with some impressive performance stats. This sealer may be applied to granite at time of installation to reduce down the porosity of granite to a minimum, just like quartz.
Based on this info we would describe the performance of Granite and Quartz to be relatively close. Neither are bullet proof but both pretty tough surfaces and will wear similarly with traffic and use and abuse.
Because performance is the same, we recommend you base your choice on design and aesthetics. Quartz is more contemporary and granite is more traditional. Get creative and put your spin on it. This is your kitchen, let your guard down and put in the time for a design that reflects your personality. This is satisfying to the soul when it comes out right and is a fun journey. Take before and after pics!
—Morgan Thomson, Owner