Granite or quartz worktops?
At first look, there are very few differences between granite and quartz worktops. They look very similar and have comparable durability, so how do you decide which one to choose?
In terms of appearance, granite is completely natural stone which means every piece is unique and has a very distinct look. Quartz is manmade; however this can have its own appeal for people who want the freedom to pick from a range of colours.
Both granite and quartz are fairly tough, but each has its weaknesses to take into account. Quartz is more susceptible to burn marks, while granite worktops can stain and therefore needs to be sealed when installed. However both are equally hardy against chips and scratches.
In terms of cost, both quartz and granite come with a higher than average price tag, and there isn’t much to choose between them. The range of prices is quite wide so it is possible to get them at an affordable cost, but bear in mind that this will be reflected in the quality of the material.
How to cut granite worktops
Cutting granite worktops requires only a few tools, but it can be a risky move if you don’t know what you’re doing. For the average homeowner it’s not recommended to cut and fit your own granite worktops, as it’s a challenging task and expensive to replace if you damage your worktops.
If you do have enough experience to cut your own granite worktops, there are tutorials available online to help you through the process. You’ll need a saw with a circular diamond cut blade to cut through the hard granite, and don’t forget to protect yourself with a dust mask and safety goggles.
What granite worktop colours will work for you?
Granite worktops come in a wide range of natural stone colours, so even though you don’t have the full range of choice offered by man made quartz, you still have plenty of flexibility in how you style a granite worktop.
Black granite is hugely popular, as its dark tone and high gloss shine is hard to ignore. Contrast it with white or cream units, or pair black granite worktops with stainless steel appliances for a more industrial feel.
White granite worktops are perfect for a simple look with big impact; try a white granite worktop harmonised with a rock salt grey. The light tones allow the light to bounce around the room creating a bright and homely kitchen, perfect for someone who wants a modern looking home without losing the cosy feel.
How to look after your granite worktops
Granite is an extremely durable material, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t a few things you can do to protect it and keep it looking its best. Remember, prevention is cheaper than the cure!
Granite can scorch if it comes into contact with extremely hot items, so avoid putting hot pots and pans directly onto it. Use coasters to avoid ring marks, and clean up spills immediately to prevent staining.
It’s rare that granite can be scratched or chipped, but you should still always use chopping boards to avoid knives (or potentially staining foods) coming into contact with your worktop.
How to clean your granite worktops
Granite doesn’t need a lot of looking after; for everyday spills, a quick wipe with warm, soapy water and a soft cloth will get the job done. Buff the surface with a dry cloth afterwards to get rid of streak marks and keep the granite looking shiny.
Every so often you should do a deeper clean to make sure you get rid of any more stubborn or dried-on spills. For this you can buy a cleaning detergent specially made for granite, with a neutral pH that will be gentle on the surface.
When cleaning granite, always avoid any acidic cleaning products that may discolour the granite, and scourers that could slightly scratch the surface.
Remember that granite is porous, so it will absorb small amounts of liquid over time. To protect your worktop from staining, ensure you get it sealed routinely; at least once a year, or more regularly if necessary.