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How to choose the best countertop: Quartz vs. Granite vs. Marble

“Always pick your yard based on your Summer lifetstyle.”

~ KARL

August 7, 2018 - Karl Yeh

If you are looking at installing new countertops or replacing your old ones, which one should you choose: Quartz, marble or granite? What are the properties of each? In this episode, we discuss how to choose the best countertop for your home, how often you need to seal and clean it and pricing between the three types. We also explore honed vs. polished countertops and the durability between the three.

 

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Transcription:

Karl Yeh:

Hi everyone, I'm Karl Yeh. Welcome to another Homebuyer's School Video, a channel where you get the latest strategies, tactics, and tips from home buying [00:00:30] experts. And remember, if this is your first time on this channel and you want to get the latest strategies from the experts, hit the subscription button below, hit the little notification bell, so you don't miss anything.

Today, I'm joined by Deborah Armstrong, Senior Interior Designer with Brookfield residential.

And today, the question we're going to answer, and this is a very popular question:

Which countertop is best for me? Marble, quartz, or granite?

So Deborah, could you take us through maybe, what the properties of each are, and then [00:01:00] how would you go about choosing the best?

Properties of Marble, Quartz and Granite

Deborah Armstrong:            

Okay. So for example, granite. Granite is a natural stone. It's a very durable stone. It doesn't stain like marble would, although it will stain. It does need to be sealed.

Karl Yeh:              Okay.

Deborah Armstrong:          

Marble again, is a very natural stone, but it's a very porous stone. Just somewhat like maybe what a limestone would be, a travertine would be as well.

They're very porous, and you need a lot of sealing.

And even with that, they can stain with oils, red [00:01:30] wine, pasta sauce if they're left on there for any length of time.

Karl Yeh:             

So if you had like a marble, let's say table, and you spilled a little tomato sauce on it, you'll have a sheen of red on top of that?

Deborah Armstrong:           

That's right. If it's not kept up with sealing. And it's a job that you have to be very, very diligent with if you have a marble surface. It will stain wine, oils, anything like that.

Karl Yeh:             

Okay. So let's go back to granite. What other properties of [00:02:00] granite would there be?

Deborah Armstrong:          

Granite is great, because again, it's less porous, it does need to be sealed.

You want to make sure you're using a good granite cleaner and sealer on that. It's heat resistant. So you can take a pot right off the stove-

Karl Yeh:              And put it right on?

Deborah Armstrong:            And put it right on that granite, without anything happening.

Karl Yeh:              What happens if you do that to marble?

Deborah Armstrong:          

Marble is fine. Again, with the lighter colors, you just want to be careful again, that you don't want to scorch it.

Karl Yeh:              [00:02:30] Okay.

Deborah Armstrong:            Okay?

Karl Yeh:              And let's say you do that for granite. Would you scorch the? Nope?

Deborah Armstrong:            

Well, usually not. Because granite's got a lot happening with it. There are darker colors, so you're not going to yeah. Leave any yellow mark. You're not going to see that.

Karl Yeh:             

Oh, okay. And how about quartz?

Deborah Armstrong:            

Quartz, the nice thing about quartz is, it is antibacterial, it's not porous at all, so people love that. Any chicken or any products that you're using on there, [00:03:00] it's not going to penetrate down in, because it's nit porus.

However, do not put a hot pot on it. It is made out of natural quartz, there's stones, but it's made with a polymer. It's adhered together with a polymer, and that product itself can scorch.

Karl Yeh:              Oh, okay.

Deborah Armstrong:            So you always want to put a hot mat down.

Karl Yeh:              Now let's talk about, because you mentioned sealing a lot. What does that mean?

Deborah Armstrong:         

So sealing is when you put a sealer, it's a chemical product that goes on top of the granite. It soaks down in, [00:03:30] and makes the stone less penetrable.

Karl Yeh:              Okay.

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How often do you need to seal your countertop?

Deborah Armstrong:          

I would say it's a good idea to do a really good sealing every few years. From the stone, a company itself. They have very, very durable products.

On a daily basis now, you can buy products that are out there that you can spray on, they act as a cleaner, and as a daily sealer.

Karl Yeh:             

Now let's go back to marble/quartz/ [00:04:00] granite. Which one, how would I go about choosing what's right for me?

Deborah Armstrong:          Okay, well for example, I have some samples right here.

Karl Yeh:              Sure.

Deborah Armstrong:          

So granite, you can see, has a lot more movement, they're usually a lot busier. A little more traditional. So if you're designing your home, and you want to be a little more traditional, you would probably stick with the granites.

Karl Yeh:              Okay.

Deborah Armstrong:            

The colors of the granites, and just the movements are a little more traditional. However, most people nowadays are wanting [00:04:30] a lot plainer looking products. Really white.

Karl Yeh:              Yeah.

Deborah Armstrong:            

And like I said in our conversation earlier, marble is not a good product to put in your home. In fact, I don't even have a sample here, because I don't recommend it due to the staining.

Karl Yeh:              Okay.

Deborah Armstrong:           

However, quartz now can imitate marble, and look great. And that's when I would choose this. If I want that more modern, contemporary look, I want to have marble.

Karl Yeh:              Yeah.

Deborah Armstrong:          

 But I know that I can't, because it's just not going to perform well in my home.

Karl Yeh:              Okay. [00:05:00] So this is quartz.

Deborah Armstrong:           This is a man made quartz.

Karl Yeh:              Yeah. And it looks like marble?

Deborah Armstrong:           It looks just like marble. Yep. This looks like a Calcutta marble.

Karl Yeh:              Perfect.

Deborah Armstrong:            Yeah.

Karl Yeh:             

Is there a price difference between all three?

Deborah Armstrong:            

There's all different levels. It all depends, and granite, it depends on its availability, where it's coming from.

And with quartz, it depends on how much work is involved in getting that pattern in there, because it's man-made.

Difference between polished and honed

Karl Yeh:             

Okay. So another question that we were actually [00:05:30] looking at is the difference between polished and honed. What does that mean?

Deborah Armstrong:          

Okay. So again, here, I have the polish. You can see it's very, very shiny.

Karl Yeh:              Yep.

Deborah Armstrong:         

This is going to be a little bit more stain resistant than honed. Just the polishing in itself, creates a little barrier. Still needs to be sealed.

Karl Yeh:              Okay.

Deborah Armstrong:         

Okay? Don't think it doesn't need to be sealed down.

Karl Yeh:              So you would have to seal it and then polish it?

Deborah Armstrong:           Nope, it's polished right in the factory.

Karl Yeh:              Okay.

Deborah Armstrong:          

It comes to your house [00:06:00] with that nice shiny surface. And then the sealer goes on top.

Karl Yeh:              Okay.

Deborah Armstrong:            Unlike this, this is the exact same piece, exact same stone. But you can see-

Karl Yeh:              But I can see that one-

Deborah Armstrong:       

The polish, the color shows up a little bit more. Whereas the honed is a little duller. So what this is, is it's not polished. It's left a little rougher.

Karl Yeh:              Yeah.

Deborah Armstrong:          

Some people call it honed, leather, suede. However, because it doesn't have that shiny on it, it is a little more porous, so you have to pay a little more attention to sealing this one.

Karl Yeh:              [00:06:30] And obviously, it costs a little bit more to polish?

Deborah Armstrong:          

Nope, it's reverse. It's a little more to hone it.

Karl Yeh:             

So why would you actually choose honed versus polished?

Deborah Armstrong:           

Again, it's a look. Some people don't want to have the shiny, they want that nice matte look.

Karl Yeh:              Oh, okay.

Deborah Armstrong:          And again, that's all about the looks, no other reason-

Karl Yeh:              Than that.

Deborah Armstrong:          Yep.

Karl Yeh:              Okay. And can you do that with quartz as well?

Deborah Armstrong:        

Yeah, there are some quartz. The one here I showed you has a matte finish.

Karl Yeh:              Okay.

Deborah Armstrong:          

So we call it matte when it's quartz. So there's no real shine to this. You can [00:07:00] get this exact same one, Calcutta, in a polished version.

I don't have that one here, but I can show you a polished version. Here we have a nice polished version. So again, you can see the difference, it's very slippery.

Karl Yeh:             

Yeah, yeah you can. So we talked about polish. Besides your personal preference, is there any other reason why you'd get honed versus polished?

Deborah Armstrong:           No.

Karl Yeh:              No. Not really?

Deborah Armstrong:          

Absolutely not. Just personal. Or if you don't want to spend that little extra time putting a little more sealer on it, on a regular basis.

Karl Yeh:              Okay. Now speaking [00:07:30] of that,

How do we go about cleaning any of these countertops? Do you clean it before a sealant comes on?

Deborah Armstrong:        

You should make sure that the, well you don't have to seal. The nice thing is you don't have to seal man made quartz, at all.

But with marbles, and/or natural granites, or natural quartzites, yeah. You want to make sure it's really good and clean, and then apply your sealer.

Karl Yeh:              Okay.

Deborah Armstrong:            

Okay? And the sealer, there's a product out there called Gel Gloss. It's [00:08:00] just like waxing your car.

You're going to put it on, it's going to leave that nice film on there, you're going to wait a little bit, and then you're going to buff it.

Karl Yeh:              Oh, and that's it? That's how you seal it?

Deborah Armstrong:             

And a lot of times, how you can figure that, is when that tea towel is not sliding across that counter, you know? Just like a car?

Karl Yeh:              Oh. Okay. You see a little, yep.

Deborah Armstrong:           

You're going to put some of that sealer on, and it's going to bring back the color, and it's going to have that extra protection.

Karl Yeh:              So how do we go about cleaning any of these?

Deborah Armstrong:           Good soap and water.

Karl Yeh:              Just soap?

Deborah Armstrong:            Good soap and water. Make sure the crumbs are off [00:08:30] of there. Make sure there's no grease. Make sure it's dry.

Good and dry before you put that sealer on. Because you don't want to seal any moisture into that stone.

Karl Yeh:             

Now, let's say you do have marble and you did stain it. Is there any way to get rid of that stain?

Deborah Armstrong:           

Yep, you can go to a granite or marble outlet, and they will have products for you to help clean that and bring that out. You're going to clean it really well, it might take [00:09:00] some time.

A little baking soda, water, on a piece of paper towel. Rub it in, and then let it sit to absorb that stain out for a little bit. Once it comes out, it might take a little while. Then you've got to make sure it's good and dry, and then apply your sealer.

Karl Yeh:              Oh okay. Okay.

Deborah Armstrong:            If it's starting to stain, that means you need.

Karl Yeh:              You need, okay.

Deborah:             The sealer, you haven't been on top of it.

Karl Yeh:              So let's just recap this. So you definitely need to seal marble.

Deborah Armstrong:           Yes.

Karl Yeh:              You definitely need to seal granite.

Deborah Armstrong:            Yes.

Karl Yeh:              You need to [00:09:30] seal man made quartz?

Deborah Armstrong:            You do not need to seal it.

Karl Yeh:             

What type of quartz do you need to seal?

Deborah Armstrong:            A natural quartz. So natural quartzite is a real stone.

Karl Yeh:              Okay.

Deborah Armstrong:           

So it can be stronger than granite, some of them. Some of them out there have properties of marble. So it is stronger, you've got to hit it with a hammer. Nothing is going to happen to it, but it can still stain.

Karl Yeh:              Yeah.

Deborah Armstrong:           Yeah, those three need to be sealed for sure.

Durability of quartz, granite and marble

Karl Yeh:             

And when you talk about, it's interesting that you talk [00:10:00] about hitting it. What's the durability of all three?

Deborah Armstrong:           

They're all very, very durable. If you hit anything with a cast iron pan, especially if it's on an over hanging edge, there's a chance that it might chip. Quartzite will chip more. It just has more fissures going through it.

Karl Yeh:              Yep.

Deborah Armstrong:            And little pieces of the quartz tends to chip easier.

Karl Yeh:              Okay. And what's the life span of each?

Deborah Armstrong:         Forever.

Karl Yeh:              Of all three?

Deborah Armstrong:           Forever, until you get sick of it.

Karl Yeh:              Oh okay. [00:10:30] Okay.

Deborah Armstrong:            Or you stain it.

Karl Yeh:              Or you chip it, or?

Deborah Armstrong:           Exactly. If you chip most of these products, again, just go to your granite supplier.  And they can send someone out, and help you polish it out and make it less noticeable.

Karl Yeh:             

So is this something, let's say you do chip it. Is this something where you can polish it out yourself?

Deborah Armstrong:           No.

Karl Yeh:              Like if there's such a big chip?

Deborah Armstrong:           You need a professional to come in with a professional machines.

Karl Yeh:              Oh, to actually.

Deborah Armstrong:            To get that out.

Karl Yeh:              Okay.

Deborah Armstrong:           They're such hard surfaces, yeah.

Karl Yeh:              Perfect. [00:11:00] Do you have anything else to add?

Deborah Armstrong:           

No, just make sure, if you're going to have any of the natural products, seal, seal, seal.

Karl Yeh:              Perfect.

Deborah Amstrong:             Yeah.

Karl Yeh:             

Well the question I have for you today, is:

Do you have a marble, quartz, or granite countertop, and what are your experiences with either three?

Let us know in the comment section below. Thank you very much for joining us, and we'll catch you next time.

 

Your turn:

Let us know if you have additional interior design questions that we can answer by submitting them in the comments section below. 

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