Both concrete and quartz are formidable contenders for kitchen and bathroom countertop remodeling. Quartz remains a classic material, often substituted for natural stone, while concrete comes at a premium because it isn’t mass-produced. Despite this, the latter complements modern home interiors and looks just as good as quartz.
So, how does concrete weigh up against quartz, a staple countertop favorite? Below is a brief overview of concrete vs quartz countertops.
What Are Quartz Countertops Made Of?
Developed by the Italian company, Breton S.p.A in the early 1960s, quartz countertops are a form of engineered stone made from ground-up raw quartz crystals (90%) bound together with polymer resins (8-10%).
Quartz has an impenetrable, granite-like surface. Its appearance depends on how coarse or fine the ground quartz is. The former produces a flecked appearance, while finely ground quartz produces a smooth, opaque aesthetic.
This popular countertop comes in an endless array of colors, including brown, white, gray, white, beige, and black.
What Are Concrete Countertops Made Of?
Concrete countertops are made from a general-purpose mortar mix: one part cement to three parts sand. Ingredients such as accelerators, superplasticizers, pigments, and decorative aggregates affect both the performance and look of concrete countertops.
Regardless of the mix used, concrete countertops are polished after installation and left to cure. This process removes the rough finish, adding an attractive sheen. Because concrete is inherently porous, it must be sealed to protect against food stains, scratches, and water absorption.
Сoncrete vs. Quartz: Appearance
When it comes to color options, concrete offers limitless possibilities — shades of white, gray, brown, red, blue, yellow, green, orange, and black can be created. Concrete’s texture can be rough or smooth; however, unlike quartz, most concrete countertops tend to lack depth.
Quartz, on the other hand, has a deep, three-dimensional appearance, much like natural stone. From solid neutrals and bold hues to natural stone styles, quartz comes in virtually any color and can mimic the appearance of natural stone like granite and marble. No matter whether you choose concrete or quartz countertops, both offer a substantial variety of design choices.
Color can be added throughout the entire mix with integral pigments applied to the surface of cured concrete with stains or dyes. There are different pigment brands, stains, and aggregate colors, so concrete countertops will always be unique, even though variations of gray remain most popular.
While common quartz countertops include brown, gray, white, beige, and black, quartz is available in exotic blues, reds, and purples. Well-known, high-quality quartz brands like Caesarstone also fabricates countertops that don’t require resealing and look like concrete.
Quartz countertops are scratch and chip-resistant. As factory-made composites, they are homogenous and nonporous. Therefore, they don’t have the same inherent defects as natural stones and don’t need sealing. While quartz is incredibly tough, it’s not indestructible, and homeowners should still use cutting boards, wipe up spills rapidly, and use trivets to protect against hot pots and dishes.
Concrete is durable, but it comes with the risk of cracking, which is usually prevented with fiber, rebar, or wire mesh reinforcement. If not treated with sealer, it may, like other natural stones, be prone to staining from household substances and foods. When comparing concrete vs quartz countertops, quartz requires less maintenance over time.
Even polished to a smooth surface, concrete can stain and harbor bacteria and mold, which is why it needs to seal every one to three years, and should be waxed on a monthly basis. Regular spills and wear and tear develop the patina and may cause small cracks that can be patched.
Quartz does not need sealing and is much lower maintenance than concrete. To keep it looking new, it’s best to use trivets to protect its surface from heat and wipe counters after use with mild soap and water. Any small chips can easily be repaired with epoxy.
Concrete Countertops vs. Quartz: Price
Are concrete countertops cheaper than quartz? It depends. A concrete countertop can cost much less than high-end range quartz if you do it yourself. However, this is a long process that requires specialized equipment and time to cast and cure. For this reason, most homeowners hire professionals.
The average price for a 30 square feet concrete countertop is approximately $2,220 — $2,410, while the average price for quartz is $3,500 — $3,760. In terms of price, concrete is cheaper but is higher maintenance than quartz. However, because it is only as rigid as natural stone once cured, it does lend itself to interesting opportunities.
Concrete vs. Quartz Countertops: Which Is Right For You?
As always, the choice between concrete vs quartz countertops is personal and based on budget. If you’re looking for an affordable and versatile option that’s low maintenance, then quartz may be a good investment. At Granite Selection, we stock one of the best quartz countertop selections in Chicago. And should you need advice with your countertop remodel, our team is always ready to help.