Have you ever wondered why granite kitchen worktops are slowly going out of fashion? Or why quartz worktops are dominating? Read below to find out:
Granite has been used as a decorative material for centuries. Around the 60s, however, the material was revolutionised and turned into worktops that entered our kitchens by the end of that decade. Gradually, granite kitchen worktops picked up a lot of notice – first in Europe, then America and the trend has slowly spread across the world. By the 90s and early 2000s, thousands of households per month have been utilising this material and implementing it into kitchens as part of ‘modern’ internal decor.
What’s changed since then?
It cannot be denied – that trend is slowly dying out. When I did some research, I found out from vast granite suppliers that regular customers are moving away from picking granite, and to not lose out on money and stay in the business, many kitchen worktops manufacturers turned their eyes to a similar product – quartz worktops.
Why is quartz favoured in this day and age?
The answers are many. In the list below I present a couple possible reasons:
- Quartz is the new product – only solidifying itself on the British market at the beginning of this century. And people are attracted to new things, enticed by new designs, solutions and originality. It seems that by the end of 20th century, granite was simply out-used and people wanted to try out something new and modern.
- Whilst granite colours remain the same (in fact they’re now in decline, as naturally quarries begin to run out of the stones and reserves become scarce and replete), quartz colours now reach thousands, and each year suppliers come out with new patterns and compositions. Granite is currently restricted to 50-70 colours max, and very few are plain or uniform in colour. If you like black, be prepared to like some light colours as well because light mineral veins or blemishes are almost guaranteed to be fused with the black background. The colours of quartz, however, are highly varied and virtually neverending – if you’re fond of light grey and mirror speckles, you can have just that; if you like pink with light, near-invisible grain, you can have just that. If you like purely plain colours like brown – no problem. Many quartz suppliers have even gone as far as mirroring the natural patterns observed on granite and marble – the marble-lookalike trend (i.e. white background with grey, brown veins) is very prevalent nowadays.
- Quartz is arguably the most suitable current worktop product for kitchens and all other applications – primarily because of its wide functionality and resistance to almost all damage. While granite is a natural product, quarried and transformed into slabs, then kitchen worktops, quartz is purely man-made, wrought from scratch. This means that during the production of quartz, manufacturers can imbue it with special agents, resin and other compounds that prevent porosity. Granite, on the other hand still naturally absorbs all liquids, and very quickly. Should you leave a spilled strong-liquid like wine, coffee or lime juice on the surface, you may risk having it stain forever. Oils are the worst – never, on any account leave oily things on your granite kitchen worktops – otherwise a dark stain may form, near impossible to eliminate at that. And yes, there are special sealers on the market which you can use to treat your worktop once in a while. They do work at repelling even the heaviest, harshest liquids but this needs to be done regularly. Usually these liquids aren’t expensive, and the process of impregnating needs to be done only once every few weeks. However, many people simply don’t want to risk it or argue that sealing is unnecessarily laborious – after all, why do it at all when you can have quartz worktops that never require that process, allowing people to sleep restfully at night. One can’t argue with that – in this day and age of constant hassle and business, people value comfort, security and reliability . . . but above all their time. Why choose yet another chore when you can save these priceless hours and opt for a near-identical product?
- While granite worktops predominantly match the more conventional, traditional kitchens (usually laminate or non-polished raw wood), quartz can suit any context. Whether it be modern glass elements, metallic structures or contemporary use of concrete – you can find a quartz that suits any environment.
But is there anything that granite kitchen worktops have over quartz? What benefits does this stone offer?
As you can see, it’s no wonder why granite kitchen worktops are slowly going obsolete. As of now, there are only 2 qualities of granite that quartz can’t beat: ultimate resistance to heat, true organic nature of the material and of course the price per metre.
Heat Resistance = No marks, stains or unnecessary stress
- Quartz manufacturers are still trying to develop materials that are fully-heat resistant, but so far they’ve only been half-successful. You can still put very hot pots and pans on the surface, but generally this behaviour isn’t advised, as a small risk still exists that you may imprint or sear your kitchen worktop. Granite, however, can deal with heat impeccably – after all, it was made first and foremost by pressure and immense heat, so it’s resistant to even the hottest, boiling pots, pans, heat of the sun and sunrays won’t harm the kitchen worktops. Speaking of sun and sunrays – quartz can occasionally be susceptible to decolouration if exposed to extreme sunlight. It’s not common but it can happen, if, for example your kitchen is constantly radiated with natural light. Granite can withstand that, not losing hint of colour, even over decades of exposure.
Natural Design = Unique and personal kitchen worktops with a lot of individuality
It can’t be denied – even if quartz manufacturers try to replicate the natural composition of granite & marble it will never look so stunning, unpredictable and truly unique as granite or marble itself. And this is one of the main factors which still drives people towards granite kitchen worktops (marble isn’t suitable nor advised for kitchen worktops) over quartz. People still like to know that they can have a piece of nature in their home – a sliver of organic material made exclusively by mother earth. Let’s not forget that each piece of stone is unique and unparalleled – even if someone owns the same Cosmic Black granite as you, the veins will never match exactly and mineral infrastructure might be completely different. It’s an unpredictability factor that to this day inspires people around the world and persuades them to opt for granite instead of quartz.
Significant Price Difference = Squeeze more out of granite slabs for a cheaper overall price
Although the price per slab of an average granite and quartz is pretty similar, when it comes to price per square metre, the distinction becomes pretty clear. That’s because an average slab of quartz measures 3.2 metres x 1.6 metres. With granite the average measurements can range from 3.4 metres x 1.9 metres. As a result, you’ll be able to cut out far more from one piece of granite slab than quartz. Let’s assume you have a medium-sized kitchen and you’d like some upstands with your worktops. The chances are you’ll only need to purchase one £600 slab for the manufacturers to be able to fit all your worktop surface area on that single slab. Whereas if you opted for quartz, the chances are you’d require 2 slabs to fit everything in, meaning your price would already increase by £600.
So, if you aren’t bothered about quartz or granite, it’s always worth to juggle around – send your manufacturers a detailed plan of your kitchen and they’ll be able to tell you whether your project will fit into 1 slab of granite or 2 slabs of quartz. If two slabs of granite are required, you may as well opt for quartz, but if the former, you might want to consider saving yourself a couple of hundred quid.
Is it possible to fit your project into 1 quartz slab?
Yes, of course, but usually only if you have a small-medium sized kitchen. If you think about it logisitically, the average quartz slab measures 1.6 metres in width and an average unit width is 0.60 metres in width. With these in mind we can work out that within 1 slab you’ll only be able to get out 2 0.60 metre-width worktops pieces. Of course you’ll still be left with 0.40 metre – room that can be utilised for upstands, a small breakfast bar or a couple of windowsills.
Just because you have two 0.60 metre running in your kitchen, e.g. in L-Shape style, doesn’t mean you’ll fit into 1 slab of quartz. Let’s remind ourselves: an average quartz slab length measures 3.2 metres. But the cut-off point, for security purposes is usually 3 metres max. This means that out of 1 quartz slab, you’ll only be able to harvest 2, 3-metre-long pieces. If, for example you have 1 3-metre-long piece and one that measures 4 metres, another quartz slab will be required. If, however you require 1, 4-metre-long and one 1.5-metre-long piece, then the 4-metre-long piece can be cut at the 3 metre mark. The remaining 1-metre-piece can be cut below, from the excess quartz offcut left behind when the 1.5-metre-piece was cut. And that would still leave us with 0.4 metres spare at the right bottom and 0.5 on the side where the 1.5 & 1 metre pieces were cut. During the installation the 3-metre-length quartz worktop & 1-metre-length quartz worktop could then be joined on-site to form the 4 metre run using our special epoxy glue technology.
What do specialists recommend?
Over the past week I managed to contact one of the most trusted granite kitchen worktops & quartz kitchen worktops suppliers in the North West: Polish Granite LTD. Whilst speaking to them I enquired about the stone material they honestly recommend to their customers (reminiscent of the dentists recommending their toothpaste) and the information I extracted was very curious and reflecting the mindset of people who are knowledgeable and familar with the field of interior design:
Greg, S (Company Owner):
“It’s true that quartz is far more convenient to posses in a household. Nature simply can’t beat the modern technology, and I reckon the trend will continue to expand. Who knows, perhaps in 20-or-so years quartz will become obsolete, replaced by a superior product. We can already spot that with the likes of Neolith, Dekton and Lapitec – their sintered stone technology is arguably even better than that of quartz, but the product is still fairly new and expensive. But the minute it becomes more affordable, I reckon people will flock to it like never before. I think the fact that it’s available in 6mm and 12mm thicknesses is very appealing. That opens up a whole-new realm of possibilities. People can now start cladding their cabinets, walls, even kitchen appliances or bathtubs. But my final opinion is simple: go with what what you like, and what you think will fit your kitchen best. I would also recommend discarding the stigma of quartz = modern and granite = old-fashioned, because if only you pair the colours right, you can achieve a truly amazing look with any stone worktops combination. Granite can fit modern interiors just as well as quartz, provided it’s done right, and vice versa. Go with your gut, and if in doubt ask our customer service team or seek out help of other professional interior designers. We welcome all kinds of questions, and our employees are experienced enough to provide you professional suggestions, and because we deal with quartz, granite and ceramic, we can rule out any bias.”
The essence of the quote:
To summarise, Greg, the quartz / granite kitchen worktops specialists is saying this: go and visit their showroom, for that place is abundant in samples. Hundreds of quartz, granite and ceramic samples are distributed. There, you can pick and choose whatever you like, and even take the samples home to compare against your flooring or new/old cabinets.
The key is to also pick something you like and will enjoy possibly for a lifetime. I haven’t mentioned yet in this blog post that both granite and quartz are so resistant, that they will last you for decades, and if taken care of will retain their sublime quality. So you have to keep that in mind, and don’t only consider aspects like trends, modernity and fashion – but your own judgement & idiosyncratic preference.
If in doubt, don’t hesitate to call or write. With Polish Granite you can always ask away!
Polish Granite employees will always be there to advise you, provide you with professional suggestions and ensure that you choose something right and fitting to your style, kitchen and environment.