which is easier to maintain quartz or granite countertops

December 17, 2020

Quartz and Granite Countertops

Both quartz countertops and granite countertops are known for their durability and beauty. When taken care of properly, these high-performance surfaces can last a lifetime. However, the premium materials do come with different cleaning needs. So, you might ask which one is easier to maintain? Before you make a decision about your new kitchen counter, read on to see if the do’s and don’ts of caring for slabs are similar or if one countertop comes out on top.

Quartz Countertops

One of the most popular countertops is quartz because it’s so low maintenance. This man-made, engineered material is a tough surface that consists of quartz, one of earth’s hardest minerals, mixed with polymer resins and color additives to create a countertop that’s both strong and stunning. 

With consistent colors and patterns, quartz comes in neutral solids, bold pigments, and even natural stone imitators like high-end marble looks. The hardness remains the same no matter what color you select, and it results in a highly stain-resistant surface. 

Plus, the nonporous material means that countertops won’t harbor germs, bacteria, or viruses. It’s a tough material that’s typically NSF-certified for meeting strict public health and food safety standards, so it can easily be used in residential or commercial kitchens.

quartz countertop marble look

Cleaning Quartz Countertops

Daily cleaning for quartz is so simple. All that’s needed is a soft cloth or sponge and a little warm water too keep surfaces neat and spotless. For bigger messes, adding a little gentle dish soap or cleanser to a rag or sponge will do the trick. 

To keep quartz looking fantastic on a regular basis, be sure to never use household cleaners with too high or too low of pH levels, as these cleaners can discolor the counters. Also avoid abrasive cleaners or rough tools like scrub sponges or metallic pads since these can damage or dull the surface. 

Cleaning Quartz Countertops

Maintenance Tips for Quartz Countertops

One of the best advantages to quartz is that it never ever needs to be sealed, so you won’t worry about remembering to reseal every few months or years. In fact, doing so could damage the material. To keep your quartz looking like new, it’s best to use trivets to help protect the surface from hot surfaces and to always wipe up spills immediately.

Granite Countertops

Known for its natural beauty and strength, granite continues to be a mainstay in kitchens since it’s also pretty low maintenance.  Yet, even though it’s a slightly porous stone, it still requires some work to keep it in excellent condition and can be used in both residential and commercial settings. 

This natural stone is truly unique since no two slabs are exactly alike in terms of coloring and pattern. Yet, granite’s mineral composition affects more than just the hues, which range from light to dark. Its makeup alters the porosity and hardness of the stone, so a lighter beige or white granite will stain more easily and need to be sealed more often than a darker brown or black granite

granite kitchen counter with black cabinets

Cleaning Granite Countertops

Daily cleaning for granite is also pretty easy, and wiping them down consistently doesn’t take a lot of time. Using a pH-neutral cleaner or stone-specific soap with a soft cloth can be used to keep countertops clean. 

Getting rid of stains depends on the type. For oil-based stains from things like grease or milk, put a baking soda and water paste over the stain, cover with plastic wrap that’s been poked with small holes, and let sit for a few hours before removing the wrap and paste. For water-based stains from coffee, juice, and wine, put a baking soda and hydrogen peroxide paste over the stain and follow the same steps as with the oil-based stain remover.

Granite should also avoid certain products like harsh cleaners; abrasive scrubbers and sponges; and acids like vinegar, lemon juice, and ammonia. Otherwise, the surface can be damaged and even stripped of its sealant that can leave the stone susceptible to stains. 

tan and cream granite countertop

Maintenance Tips for Granite Countertops

If you understand the do’s and don’ts for granite care, then your natural stone will remain its shiny self for decades to come. To help keep its lustrous looks, granite counters need to be sealed every six to 24 months with one of three types of sealants. A topical sealer doesn’t penetrate the stone and can be removed and reapplied as many times as needed. Penetrating sealers don’t leave a shine and require resealing every one or two years. Stone enhancers add shine, darken granite, and need to be reapplied every one to two years to brighten dull stone. The need for sealing may be one of the biggest factors between quartz vs. granite. However, the sealing process isn’t difficult, especially when you consider the long lifespan of granite. 

To avoid scratching the surface, use trivets and avoid putting anything hot directly onto the countertop. Although granite is more heat-resistant than quartz, the stone will weaken over time when constantly exposed to high heat levels. Even if your countertops are sealed, water and any other spills should be wiped up immediately using a soft cloth since liquids can seep into the porous surface and result in unsightly water stains or other damage. It’s important to also dry them thoroughly. Utilizing coasters or trays on a regular basis will also help keep liquids from leaving stains. 

Which One Is Easier to Maintain?

Both countertop materials are similar in terms of cleaning and maintenance, but it seems that quartz may have a slight edge since it never needs to be sealed, and since it’s a nonporous surface, stains or liquids penetrating the surface aren’t as worrisome as they are with natural stone. However, granite also comes with its own set of features that make it a very desirable surface that will last for years and years. Now that the maintenance comparisons have been made, you can choose wisely which quartz or granite countertop is right for your kitchen. To help you envision which style works best, consider utilizing a quartz or granite visualizer tool

How Do You Know if Your Granite Needs to Be Re-Sealed? 

To tell if your granite countertop needs to be re-sealed, you can perform a simple test. Pour a small amount of water on a small section of your granite countertop. After you do this, wait for about 10 minutes. If the water beads up on the surface, your sealant is still effective. On the other hand, if the water sinks down into the surface, you should re-seal your countertop as soon as possible. 

Step 1: Find Your Sealer 

The first part of the sealing process is finding your desired sealer. There are many sealers available on the market, so you will have a wide variety to choose from. 

Step 2: Clear and Clean the Countertop 

You will want to make sure everything is off your countertop before you begin sealing it. You will also want to make sure the surface is clean, which you can do by following the steps for everyday cleaning above. 

Step 3: Ventilate the Area 

It is always a good idea to make sure your workspace is well ventilated. You can do so by opening windows, turning on fans and/or opening doors. 

Step 4: Apply the Sealer 

Apply the sealer to your countertop by following the instructions on the label that comes with the product. Depending on the product you purchase, you will either have to pour the sealer onto the countertop or spray it on if the product comes in a spray bottle. Coat the countertop with the sealer and wait for 5 to 10 minutes. If the sealer absorbs within 5 minutes, simply add an additional coat. After 10 minutes, wipe off any excess sealer. Then, let your countertop sit for 24 hours to let the sealer take effect. 

How Do You Remove Stains from a Granite Countertop? 

If your granite countertop is not sealed properly, it may incur stains. To take care of these stains, carefully follow the steps below. 

Granite countertops have long been desirable for both their looks and durability. You can easily care for your granite countertops and keep them looking great for years to come by following the necessary steps above.

Learn More about Caring for Granite Countertops

Dos and Don'ts of Caring for Granite and Quartz Countertops
How to Care for Your Granite Countertops
Why Honed Granite Care Is Not the Same as Polished Granite Care