Most geologists are able to look at a granite or quartz countertop and immediately identify the correct material. However, many homeowners would not be able to do so without further investigation. Quartz is an engineered material that can be manufactured in a way that resembles granite, marble, limestone, and other metamorphic rocks. With the advanced quartz fabrication techniques used these days, it’s possible to replicate the look of exotic marble extracted from quarries located in Tuscany or in the Mediterranean island of Marmara. There not much difference in knowing how to clean granite and how to clean quartz, but there are a few key differences between the two materials. Here are some ways you can tell quartz and granite apart.
Diversity of Slabs and Tiles
When you’re in a flooring showroom, take a close look at the quartz tiles and slabs on display. You’ll notice a certain uniformity that doesn’t occur in nature. Two granite slabs are bound to look very different from each other, but this is not the case with quartz. Depending on how the store is arranged, you may notice quartz sitting side by side and looking exactly the same. The chances of granite slabs looking identical are very slim.
Repeating Veining Patterns
When you observe the patterns and visible texture of granite, you’ll notice the magical and capricious ways of nature. You may spot two patterns that seem similar, but once you look closely, you’ll notice they’re different. Just like two canaries will not sing the same song, granite patterns do not replicate. In the case of quartz, you can expect repeating patterns. In fact, some made-to-order quartz batches will repeat patterns on purpose to match the specifications of customers.
Radon Testing of Quartz and Granite
Radon testing is a highly scientific method of telling quartz and granite apart, but it’s not too practical since you would need a device that can measure radon on surfaces. When granite is still in an early limestone stage deep beneath the Earth’s crust, it contains very high amounts of radium, which will eventually decay and transform into radon as the layers of rock are pushed closer to the surface. Granite tiles and slabs will register radon as parts per billion, which means it’s safe to install. On the other hand, quartz will likely register radon counts close to zero.
Quartz Installations Generally Cost More
As of 2018, quartz continues to be a bit more expensive than granite. The difference is typically between $5 and $10 more per square foot of quartz. Market analysts believe the price of granite will become lower in the next few years as a competitive reaction to quartz, but this will depend on various factors. Free trade agreements are expected to be revised under the Trump administration. If granite imports are impacted, the higher costs will be passed on to homeowners, thereby making granite and quartz similar in price.
If you’ve opted for quartz countertops, make sure to care for them properly with a high-quality quartz polish and cleaner. At Granite Gold®, we offer a variety of products that are safe to use on quartz as well as all types of natural stone, including granite, marble, and slate. Give us a call at 1-800-475-STONE if you have any questions.