Hey friends! Sarah here, back with another decor dilemma I know we can figure out together. I’ve been dreaming up a kitchen reno in my little bungalow to give it that modern yet timeless look I love. And, of course, my mind keeps circling back to one big decision – quartzite or granite countertops. I know you’re facing this debate, too, as we upgrade our homes.
These natural stone superstars each have so much to offer. But we must also be honest about cost considerations to make the best budget choice. Today, we’ll break down the price factors for quartzite and granite. Grab your coffee and cozy up as we uncover everything you need to know!
- 1 A Quick Primer on Quartzite and Granite
- 2 Installation and Fabrication Labor Costs Add Up
- 3 Maintenance and Upkeep Costs Over Time
- 4 How Material Choice Impacts Overall Budget
A Quick Primer on Quartzite and Granite
Before we crunch the numbers, let’s quickly define our materials. Picture this – you’re hiking through the wilderness and spot an intriguing rock formation. If it’s made of interlocking sparkly grains, that’s granite. But if it’s super compact with a sugary appearance, you found quartzite!
Granite forms deep underground from molten magma. It’s an igneous rock that contains quartz, mica, and other minerals that give it color and texture. Quartzite originates as sandstone, which gets intensely heated and compressed over time. This natural process recrystallizes the sand grains into a rugged metamorphic rock.
While both make gorgeous countertops, quartzite is less abundant in nature. Its rarity means it comes with a higher starting price than the ever-popular granite. But many factors impact the final cost, so let’s break them down individually.
Examining the Price Range of Quartzite
Quartzite’s stunning appearance and extreme durability put it at the higher end of natural stone pricing. But there’s significant variation based on the specific type you choose.
Most commonly found quartzites in white and gray hues fall between $65-85 per square foot installed. Think of these as your “entry-level” quartzites. Now, let’s explore the rare, exotic varieties that drive up costs.
Unique quartzites with distinctive veining or coloring can range from $100-250+ per square foot installed. Picture vibrant blue and green options or an ultra-sleek black quartzite countertop. Anything super unique or currently on-trend will hit your wallet harder, too. But you pay for that wow factor!
I recently spotted a pink rhodonite quartzite slab that took my breath away. Of course, the $185 per square foot price tag gave me pause. But sometimes you have to splurge for that showstopping look, right?
The Beauty and Variety of Granite
Granite is known for its rich diversity of colors, patterns, and textures. This variety means you can find granite to suit any style. Let’s explore how factors like color rarity impact cost.
For commonly available granites with speckled black, brown, and white patterns, expect to pay $45-65 per square foot installed. I used East Bank Granite in my kitchen island, which cost only $57 per square foot. It has bold black flecks that hide crumbs and stains – perfect for my messy family!
Moving up the price scale are more unique granites like rare blue shades or vibrant colored stones. These niche colors range from $70 to $150+ per square foot installed. White granites also sit at the high end due to their staining potential. Remember – color and availability drive cost!
Regional granite quarried domestically often costs less than imported stone. My East Bank slab only traveled one state away, keeping transport costs down. But that stunning Blue Bahia granite from Brazil carries overseas shipping costs that hike the price.
Choosing the Right Slab Size Makes a Difference
When pricing materials by square foot, it’s easy to forget that slab size impacts cost, too. You can find a gorgeous mid-range granite at $75 per square foot. Going with a smaller 60-square-foot slab means paying $4,500. But bump up to a 70 square-foot slab, and your cost jumps to $5,250 for that extra 10 square feet of material.
Imagine doing your whole kitchen in a rare, imported quartzite, running $150 per square foot. Going from a 60-square-foot slab to a 70-square-foot slab would hike your cost by $1,500. That’s a 25% price increase simply based on slab size! Keep this in mind as you estimate your budget.
Installation and Fabrication Labor Costs Add Up
Okay, let’s recap material costs. Quartzite costs around $65 per square foot and rises above $200 for exotic varieties. Granite ranges from $45 per square foot for standard colors to $150+ for rare stones. Now, we need to talk about installation.
Fabrication and installation labor typically adds between $35-85 per square foot for quartzite and $25-75 per square foot for granite. This covers precisely cutting your slabs, transporting them, seam placement, edge details, and professional installation.
For a 30-square-foot quartzite countertop, you’ll pay $1,950 to $2,550 in labor fees. A granite counter of the same size would run $750 to $2,250 for installation. As you can see, the total cost varies widely!
The more complex your project, the higher the labor will cost. Details like intricate cutouts or edge profiles take more time and skill to fabricate. My contractor charged 15% extra for the rounded edge I chose, which was worth it! Undermount sinks also add cost over top-mount. But a pro install is critical, so take your time here!
Factors that Impact Installation Pricing:
- Type of material (quartzite is more challenging to work with)
- Complexity of project
- Size of countertops
- Edge profiles and backsplashes
- Seam placement
- Type of sink and faucet
- Accessibility of installation site
Maintenance and Upkeep Costs Over Time
Alright, let’s shift gears and talk long-term costs. Both quartzite and granite are durable choices that should last many years. But how much will you pay for sealing, cleaning, and maintenance down the road?
I always tell clients – to invest in professional sealing as part of installation. A quality-impregnating sealer protects against stains and makes cleaning easier for years. Resealing granite yearly and quartzite every 2-3 years maintains that protection. Budget $4-7 per square foot for each application.
Regular cleaning is simple with a gentle stone cleaner, warm water, and a soft cloth. Quartzite needs less frequent cleaning than more porous granite. Just take care to avoid harsh chemicals that can etch quartzite. Yearly cleaning supplies cost under $50.
In terms of repairs, chips, and cracks happen rarely, but do budget for potential issues. Filling small chips runs $100-150, while cracks and seam repairs cost $200-500. Replacing a seriously damaged section starts around $600-800 installed.
But don’t let that scare you! Just like wood floors or tile, natural stone is vulnerable to accidents. With proper prep and care, your counters should stay in tip-top shape for ages. That’s what I call a good return on investment!
How Material Choice Impacts Overall Budget
Let’s pull this all together now. Here are the cost considerations that go into your total stone countertop budget:
- Type of stone material (quartzite vs. granite)
- Color, rarity, origin of specific stone
- The size of the slabs needed
- Complexity of project
- Installation labor costs
- Maintenance needs over time
- Potential future repairs (but we hope not!)
While pricing overlaps between the two, quartzite generally starts around $10 higher per square foot before installation. Precious exotic varieties of each stone push cost way up from there. To make the best choice for your budget, decide which cost factors are most important.
You may adore a specific quartzite color worth splurging on. You may want the look of granite for less upfront cost. Understanding your priorities helps guide intelligent decisions! Feel free to get creative blending materials, too. Mix quartzite on the counter with an affordable granite tile backsplash.
Thanks for joining me today to break down the dollars and cents of these gorgeous countertop contenders. This info helps as you balance costs with finding your dream stone. Remember – you set the vision, and I’ll pull together options that maximize style and value.