Quartz vs Porcelain Countertops: Which One Is the Best

Choosing countertops is like selecting what kind of clothing to wear. Both are profoundly personal choices determined by individual preference, lifestyle, and budget. Porcelain kitchen countertops and quartz kitchen countertops are engineered surfaces that bode well in homes and commercial spaces.

oranges on white quartz countertop

Porcelain has traditionally been used as a surface for flooring, wall cladding, and building facades and has only recently become fashionable as a countertop material. Quartz was first introduced in the 1960s and then became popular in the 90s. Since then, it has built a robust track record as a reliable and sturdy countertop option for residential and commercial spaces throughout the United States.

We weigh up the pros and cons of quartz and porcelain countertops, to help you determine which of the two is best for your countertop, whether for the home or office.

Appearance

What is porcelain made of? This kaolinite-rich countertop contains silica, feldspar, and mineral oxides. Commonly called “China Clay,” porcelain comes in a variety of colors, with blacks, grays, browns, and whites remaining the most coveted.

Also man-made, quartz countertops consist of quartz chips and dust bound together by resin. Unlike porcelain, some of these countertops have a mottled or speckled appearance caused by small individual stones suspended in the resin.

Finish

Porcelain countertops don’t have as many finish options. The two most popular are high-gloss glaze or matte. This is because the finish is applied during the manufacturing process, as opposed to other stones that receive their finish through sealing.

Quartz countertop finishes can be honed, polished, or leathered. Polished quartz is highly reflective, honed is matte and velvety to touch, while a leathered countertop possesses a soft sheen.

Durability

Quartz is virtually indestructible, as is porcelain. Just how durable are porcelain countertops? 30% more than granite. Both options are stronger than this favored natural stone. However, porcelain kitchen countertops are thinner and fragile during installation.

Porcelain is lighter than quartz, but these slabs often crack or break entirely. Quartz countertops’ durability trumps when it comes to installation in terms of breakages. While heavier, they can be bought in prefabricated slabs and are less finicky.

white countertop with sink

Heat Resistance

We often get asked, “is porcelain is heat resistant?” The most significant difference between porcelain countertops vs. quartz is their level of heat resistance. Porcelain withstands heat well and is completely unaffected by direct sunlight.

Quartz heat resistance is not as strong. While laying down a hot pot on a quartz countertop won’t damage its surface immediately, quartz can warp or discolor over time. As with most countertops, you should use a trivet to prevent discoloration and/or cracking.

Scratch Resistance

Due to its hard and compact surface, porcelain countertops chip, scratch, and crack from blunt force. When porcelain breaks, it leaves sharp, jagged edges that require professional care to restore the surface to its original luster.

In contrast, a quartz countertops’ scratch-resistant threshold is higher. However, it isn’t scratch-proof. While it is very hard to scratch, if enough force is applied, a scratch will appear. Overall, quartz countertops can withstand wear and tear with little evidence.

Edge Options

Quartz countertop edge options outnumber porcelain. Because porcelain is thinner than quartz, there are fewer edging options available. Mitered or square edges are commonly used to create the illusion of a thicker countertop surface, offering limited design options.

On the other hand, quartz countertop edge options include full bullnose, ogee, beveled and straight. Its edging diversity complements all kinds of kitchen styles, from traditional to transitional and modern.

Maintenance

Porcelain and quartz countertop maintenance weigh up pretty evenly. Regular cleaning with a damp microfiber cloth and a neutral liquid detergent or soft sponge is sufficient. Be sure to wipe countertops dry after cleaning and stay away from strong chemicals like bleach.

Neither countertop requires sealing, reducing costs associated with other natural stone countertops like marble and granite. When it comes to porcelain versus quartz countertops, maintenance is easy, so long as you keep a hand on it.
Installation

Perhaps the one advantage when it comes to the installation of quartz vs. porcelain countertops is that porcelain countertops can be installed on top of existing countertops without moving the existing countertop surface.

Quartz countertops are heavy and should only be installed on cabinetry, so existing countertops will need to be removed. In some cases, new cabinetry has to be installed as well to support these heavy slabs.

Cost

Porcelain countertops cost and quartz countertops costs are different. The average price of porcelain slabs is between $55 to $120 per square foot, while the average cost of quartz countertops is around $45 to $200 per square foot.

Remember, the stone color, patterning, and amount needed to complete your ideal countertop design will determine the price. Quartz may work out cheaper if you have a smaller surface area to cover.

White kitchen countertop

Porcelain vs Quartz: Pros and Cons.

Naturally, there are quartz countertops pros and cons, but when compared to porcelain, quartz has more depth. Patterns on porcelain lack depth because they are only surface deep.

Quartz is made from crushed rock, resin, polymers, and sometimes pigments. When manufactured, they permeate the entire slab, providing it a depth that adds rich texture to this manufactured stone.

Characteristics Porcelain Countertops Quartz Countertops
Appearance – Smooth
– Available in a variety of colors
– Can mimic patterning of other natural stone like marble
– Polish or unpolished finish
– Less depth
– Smooth
– Available in a variety of colors
– Can mimic patterning of other natural stone like marble
– Honed, polished or leathered finish
– Greater depth
– Thick
Finish – High-gloss glaze
– Matte
– Polished
– Honed
– Leathered
Durability – Fragile upon installation – Highly durable
Heat Resistance – Extremely heat-resistant
– Unaffected by UV rays (sunlight)
– Heat-resistant, but may warp and/or discolor over time.
– Affected by UV rays over prolonged periods of time
Scratch Resistance – Chips and cracks easily
– Requires professional repair
– Chip and crack resistant
– Requires professional repair
Edge Options – Mitered
– Square
– Bullnose
– Ogee
– Beveled
– Straight
– Dupont
Maintenance – No sealing
– Clean with mild liquid detergent
– Avoid harsh detergents
– No Sealing
– Clean with mild liquid detergent
– Avoid harsh detergents
Installation – Can be installed on top of existing countertops
– Light to carry
– Professional installation recommended
– Should only be installed on top of stable cabinetry
– Heavy to carry
– Professional installation required
Cost $55- $120 per square foot $45 to $200 per square foot

 

Which one to choose for kitchen countertop?

An average countertop lifespan is between 5 and 10 years and can last for generations if well maintained. Generally, countertops are viewed as sizable investments that add value to a home or commercial space. While porcelain countertops cost less in the short term, they are overshadowed by the many long-term advantages of quartz countertops.

Quartz countertops offer all the benefits of natural stone like marble and granite without heavy maintenance. That’s why we offer our clients beautiful, high-quality quartz countertops. At Granite Selection, we stock Cambria, MSI Q, and Caesarstone quartz in colors to suit a vast array of interior styles. Call us at (888) 906 3317 to find out more, or click here to browse our extensive quartz selection with specials.

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