Choosing counter tops materials can be frustrating! You have many choices, but often you also have to weed through a bunch of marketing hype, conflicting or incomplete information. On kitchen counter top comparison - page 1 you read an overview of the most popular surfaces.
On this page we'll compare and take an in-depth look at the Top 3 surfaces where most of the consumer confusion is centered.
It's All Marketing.
Despite marketing efforts by makers of quartz countertops to convince you otherwise, there isn’t any significant difference regarding performance, function, cleaning or price between granite and Silestone, Zodiaq, Cambria countertops or other brands of quartz counter tops.
Sealing & Cleaning
True, you don't have to seal an engineered stone counter top... but this issue has been blown way out of proportion because of . . . marketing.
Applying a granite sealer is really a very simple and infrequent "wipe on, wipe off" procedure with a typical sealer.
Or sealing granite countertops can be a one-time deal if you use the more advanced SenGuard Permanent Bond Sealer.
Or buy granite that never needs sealing and it's a moot point.
WHAT? ..... Doesn't all granite need sealing?
No, that's a marketing myth perpetuated by both sealer and quartz countertops manufacturers. There are over 2500 granite varieties. Many of the darker colors (blacks, browns, blues, greens) are incredibly dense, virtually non-absorbent and never need sealing.
When shopping for granite (or any stone) all you need to do is perform the simple water test to determine how absorbent a stone is and whether it may need sealing.
Thus, the "sealing" issue is not a relevant factor when deciding between these two counter tops materials.
And it doesn't take a closet full of special chemicals to protect your granite and keep its luster as Cambria and other quartz counter top manufacturers suggest on their websites.
Hey, to their credit they are just trying to effectively market their product.
A little secret about most granite . . .
After an initial sealing (if needed), you could do nothing but wipe it with a sponge for years and it would still look pretty good. Minor, easy maintenance performed periodically using recommended cleaning products will, however, give you peace of mind and bring out the best in your granite countertops so they always look gorgeous.
And the same can be said about quartz. Care and cleaning is equally easy for either of these counter tops materials.
You may also read that you must seal granite to maintain it's shiny polish. Not true. Sealing is for stain resistance. Both natural and synthetic stone counter tops are polished by grinding and buffing the surface into a smooth shine.
Silestone also tries to claim their product resists bacteria while granite "harbors" bacteria. This is totally false. Studies prove that both granite and quartz are among the safest and cleanest counter tops materials on the market today, but one isn't superior to the other.
Once all this is understood, the decision between granite and Silestone, Cambria, Zodiaq or other quartz countertops comes down to color, pattern and perceived value for most buyers.
Value & Options
As mentioned Silestone and other quartz counter tops have a limited color palette compared to granite, but a broad range is available to suit many design themes.
Granite enjoys a greater "prestige" due to it's natural uniqueness and is, therefore, typically perceived as having greater value in the minds of most homeowners and buyers.
However, engineered stone products make excellent counter tops materials with qualities as good as granite. So if you find that perfect color and pattern from Silestone or other brands, then you can bet you’ll be very satisfied.
Unlike quartz and granite, Corian counter tops and granite do not share similar qualities.
When considering all the pro's and con's, most people--myself and most professionals included--agree that granite is the best of all counter tops materials with quartz a close second.
However, many people like Corian and not just for price. Surprisingly, cost can be similar between Corian and granite, but usually solid surface is notably cheaper. So, it really comes down to what properties are most important to you when choosing for your home.
In my experience, the important factor is often which surface has the color and pattern you love the best. Just make sure the surface has the physical capabilities to withstand how you intend to use it.
Good luck and have fun!