If you ask a handful of designers, builders, and real estate agents to name the most popular countertop material today, a sizable portion of them will likely name something other than granite for your countertops.
There have been rumblings that granite’s days as the counter king are numbered.
You can’t tune into a single HGTV show without hearing house hunters ogle over beautiful granite countertops in the kitchen or bath. For decades, the natural stone material has been the poster child for home luxury. In fact, according to the Builder Practices Survey (BPS) in 2016, 64% of new homes were built with granite countertops.
What Materials Are Now Competing Against Granite for Countertops?
Granite isn’t expected to disappear anytime soon. According to a global research report, the granite, marble, and stone market is anticipated to grow at a considerable rate through 2025. However, quartz is quickly emerging as granite’s biggest rival.
While granite is a purely natural stone, quartz is a manmade material consisting of a blend of around 90% ground-up quartz and around 10% polyester resin and polymers. Over the past decade or so, quartz has won over many former granite diehards with its many attractive benefits:
Color choices and consistency: Because quartz is an engineered material, the manufacturers can control which pigments are added during the process, allowing them to create unlimited colors and patterns. With natural stones like granite, the slabs are mined from quarries, so the colors and patterns are pre-set by nature and can’t be “dialed up” like they can with quartz.
Nonporous composition: Granite is porous, which means it will absorb liquids if left on the countertop for a long period. For this reason, many manufacturers recommend sealing the granite to keep out mold and harmful bacteria. Quartz is a solid, nonporous surface, so it will never absorb moisture and requires no sealing. That makes it highly resistant to staining from wine and acidic liquids.
Eco-friendliness: While granite requires a lot of energy and transportation to be quarried and fabricated, quartz is an engineered material that doesn’t tap into natural resources and is more environmentally friendly.
Not to be confused with quartz, quartzite is a natural stone, similar to granite. Although it is harder and more durable than granite, it must be sealed regularly to prevent staining. Quartzite can be found in a range of attractive colors, but can be on the pricey side, ranging from $90-$150 per square foot installed.
Marble Marble is another natural stone that is often used in upscale homes, but it’s a bit of a risk to use in the kitchen, as it stains and scratches more easily than granite. This stone ranges from $40-$100 per square foot.
Dekton Dekton is an engineered stone countertop made from a blend of the same materials found in quartz, glass, and porcelain. It’s billed as being the hardest, most durable surface available, standing up to heat, scratches, and stains, but it’s also on the expensive side, ranging from $55-$115 per square foot with installation.
Butcher Block Butcher block countertops, which are wood slabs made up of many individual wooden strips layered together, add a warm look to the kitchen. They’re an affordable choice, ranging from $30-$40 per square foot, but are vulnerable to liquids and must be sealed on a monthly basis.
Concrete Concrete countertops offer the benefit of limitless customization, as the concrete can be poured in any shape, thickness, and color. Although they’re scratch- and heat resistant, they do require periodic sealing to prevent stains. Due to the skill and artistry required to pour them, concrete countertops come in on the high end price-wise, ranging from $65-$135 per square foot.
Read the whole article at Homelight.com