Hi, i hope in this short guide, to explain the difference between Granite and Quartz worktops, and Granite and Quartz Suppliers.
Firstly, whether you choose Granite or Quartz worktops, you should consider your supplier very carefully. Everybody wants quality, but above all value. There is a large gulf between value and cheap. Value is a quality product at a reasonable price. Cheap is Cheap, invariably sub standard, seconds or market quality. Just because a supplier says its first quality, it is not necesarily so. Please please please get a sample or view the product first. We unfortunately have to replace so many sub standard jobs installed by "other suppliers". Remember its not cheap if you have to pay twice. Ask if your supplier cuts from "sheets" ie large raw slabs of granite and Quartz, or cuts from "blanks" ie pre processed strips available cheaply, often inferior material, or seconds.
If a supplier can offer Quartz worktops, as well as Granite worktops, this is a good indication that they have their own production facility. At this time Quartz is not available in the pre - cut "blanks", but only in "sheets", and is available in widths upto 1400mm wide!
Granite is a natural rock formed deep in the earth over millions of years, it is a beautifull and natural material, but being natural, it has little quirks which you should be prepared for. It can have patches of vein / pattern, or patches where no vein / pattern exists. It can have inherrent flaws or weakness, called shakes and fissures. It can also have colour variations, and shading differences.
Quartz is a man made alternative to Granite. It is a composite material made almost 95% from granite, selcted and colour graded, ground to fine dust and chippings, mixed with a resin, and cast into sheets. Quartz is inherently stronger than natural granite, being more flexible. It is available in long 3000mm sheets, and in more than 40 colours. There are several quartz "makes" available, but you should choose a quality make. Some manufacturers have a long proven track record of quality and reliability, and are among the biggest Quartz manufacturers in the world. Quartz is avaialable in both solid colours and "mirrored" versions called "Luciente, or Sparkly". This is basically ground and chipped mirror added to the mixture, giving a highly reflective Silver coloured sparkle. This performs exceptionally well even in low light situations, and gives a "3d" effect. Quartz is more scratch resistant, stain resistant, and wear resistant than natural Granite, and is available in a wide choice of colours.
Ok. So firstly you choose a supplier, now you want to choose a material. You will be bombarded with choices. Firstly narrow down to what colour you want. 6 years ago black granite was realistically the only choice. It is still very very popular, and has become a premium granite ie slightly more expensive than other colours. Then along came the stunning "Star Galaxy". Star Galaxy is a premium black natural granite with a copper / gold coloured fleck. This is a natural effect of water and rust in the rock which has stained the reflective particles a Coppery colour. Star Galaxy remains very popular, although in increasingly short supply for good quality material. Remember there are more choices than black, and be adventurous. Granite Care display 14 granite colours on our ebay site, but actually stock over 30 granite colours, and 100 Quartz colours. Ask the question "what other colour choices do i have?" A good supplier should have many choices available for viewing.
One year ago, we supplied 90% of our customers with Granite Worktops, and 10% chose Quartz. Now the split is 70% Quartz / 30% Granite, with more and more customers choosing Quartz.