Choosing a Countertop: Quartz, Laminate, Or Granite?
Choosing a countertop to complete your renovation space is a big task and it’s important to know the details of each option that you are presented with. Laminate, Quartz, and Granite are the most popular and common countertop choices that consumers make. Each material has similarities and differences that separate them from each other. By the end of this article, you will have the knowledge to decipher each material to make your decision-making process simpler.
What is Laminate?
Laminate is structurally a thick slab of medium density fiberboard (MDF) topped with a laminate covering made up of an image layer that closely replicates wood, stone, or solid colors. On top of those layers is a clear layer that is a protectant for all the layers. Laminate is intended to mimic and create a look that seems expensive while also being made from solid materials.
What is Quartz?
Quartz countertops are a blend of materials. At least 90% or more of a single cut of quartz is made from stone particles like marble or quartz pieces. These minerals are then mixed with resins, colorants, and fillers, heated, and compressed into a very hard and durable slab. Quartz countertops are homogenous surfaces where they are the same throughout the thickness of the countertop.
What is Granite?
Unlike laminate and quartz, granite countertops are made entirely from natural stone. These countertops come directly from stone quarries and then cut into thin slabs, polished, and fabricated into a solid countertop piece. Granite is mostly composed of interlocking mineral crystals like feldspar and quartz. This array of minerals makes each piece of granite completely unique so it is very rare that you will have the same countertops as someone else.
When comparing these three countertops, all three are durable from a longevity standpoint. Laminate is a non-porous material, so it does not stain easily but it is not as heat resistant as quartz or granite. The longevity of laminate is what draws customers in. Laminate has a high impact resistance so it can withstand a lot of kitchen or bathroom incidents. The laminate countertop option is also very budget friendly, comes in a large variety of colors or patterns, and can be installed very easily by the homeowner.
Like laminate, quartz countertops have a non-porous surface, so staining and sealing isn’t a worry. Quartz materials have the best lifetime durability with just some common scratching or chipping. There aren’t as many color options as there are for laminate but with the rising popularity of quartz, the value of quartz has increased over the years. Laminate and quartz materials are not fully heat resistant so overtime there is a possibility of heat damage if these surfaces are not continually protected.
Granite countertops are the most unique out of the three options because they cannot be duplicated. Granite countertop come straight from mining quarries and how they are cut is the unique design a customer will receive. If maintained well, granite countertops should last in a home about 10-15 years. Granite is beautiful without a doubt, but the maintenance is a lot more intensive than laminate or quartz. This material is very porous so every year or two, they need to be resealed to extend the longevity. On the other hand, granite does not scratch or burn very easily but it is a natural stone so overtime normal wear and tear is common.
These three materials do not just differ on material and durability, they also differ in cost. Laminate countertops are the most cost-efficient option, averaging $30 per square foot. The average price range for laminate countertops are between $10 per square foot to $50 per square foot depending on if there is any customization involved or professional installation. Laminate countertops are very DIY installation friendly, so if you are looking to save on costs, installing them yourself is an option.
Quartz countertops are a little more expensive compared to laminate. The average cost for quartz countertops is $80 per square foot and the cost can reach as high as $150 per square foot. The overall cost for quartz is higher because there is more labor, and materials involved. Since quartz is made from natural stone pieces and resin, the cost is dependent on what natural stone pieces were used and the grade of resin used. Quartz is also relatively customizable, so that is also a factor with the cost breakdown.
Granite countertops are the most expensive in cost compared to laminate and quartz. The average cost for granite $90 to $100 per square foot and can reach as much as $250 per square foot. Since each piece of granite is so unique the cost and demand can skyrocket. Like quartz, granite countertops require professional installation so that will also add to the overall total cost.
When deciding upon renovating your kitchen or bathroom, countertops are normally in that discussion. Deciding why you are renovating your kitchen or bathroom will help you decide what countertops to choose. If you are looking for a cost-efficient option, that will be a fast install, then laminate would be your best option. If you are also looking for a wide range of colors and patterns for your countertops than laminate would also be an option to explore. There are many laminate options available that mimic a quartz or granite look without the quartz or granite price tag.
Quartz and granite are countertop options that are only growing in popularity and resale value. A more common want in homebuyers are quartz or granite countertops in kitchens so if you are renovating to sell your home, exploring quartz and granite options may be the better option. Unfortunately, quartz and granite, do not have the wide color and pattern range as laminate does so there is more of a design restriction in that aspect. If you are looking for a completely unique look to your bathroom or kitchen, then exploring granite options would be something to consider. Granite countertops offer customers the option to be the only ones with specific veining and coloring.
All three countertop options have their pros and cons, but it is all really based on personal preference. It is also important to find a countertop company that will help guide you through this process to make it as easy as possible for you and your household. Do not be afraid to ask to take samples home to see these countertops in your space and don’t worry about asking too many questions because the more informed you are, the better the process will be. Learn more from the pros at JSB Home Solutions.
Schedule a free consultation to see how JSB Home Solutions can help transform your home!