Are Porcelain Countertops Better Than Quartz? Pros and Cons 

Date: January 19, 2020
Author: Jon Smith
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So, are you thinking about redoing your countertops? If so, you’re probably wondering if porcelain countertops are better than quartz. Much of the answer to that question depends on your budget and what you’ll both want and need when you are renovating your home.

Are porcelain countertops better than quartz?

To figure out if porcelain countertops are better than quartz, you’ll need to consider how much money you have and what style you are going for. Both materials are excellent, but if you are on a tight budget, you should probably choose porcelain, since it is more affordable and still offers a beautiful look, plus it is really durable.

Since there isn’t a lot of information on the Internet today discussing whether porcelain countertops are better than quartz, we created this guide to help you out. Below we’ll cover the pros and cons of porcelain countertops as well as the pros and cons of quartz countertops to help you make your decision about your new countertop material.

 

Are Porcelain Countertops Good?

Porcelain is an excellent material for the use of countertops. Porcelain comes from a kind of clay that’s very heavy and features a mineral called kaolinite. This type of clay also features things like silica, feldspar, and mineral oxides that help give porcelain its strength and colorful appearance. Also, clay that is rich in kaolinite is usually called china clay, which tells you there is quality behind porcelain countertops.

 

Are Porcelain Countertops Expensive?

One of the beautiful things about porcelain countertops is the affordability factor. While we’ll get into this benefit in a little more detail below, we do want to inform you that if you are on a budget, then porcelain might be the way to go. Porcelain is much more affordable than quartz. So, if you are shopping on a budget, you may want to consider porcelain.

 

Pros of Porcelain Countertops

To help you assess whether you should purchase porcelain for your new countertop, we’ll give you a list of advantages, followed by a list of cons for porcelain countertops. That way, you can assess if this material is the right type for your countertop needs.

 

#1 Porcelain Comes in a Variety of Colors

Since you want your new countertop to look wonderful above all else, it’s essential to know that porcelain won’t disappoint you in that area even if it costs less than quartz. Porcelain comes with variances of the color pigmentation in it so that you can find porcelain in just about any color or hue. That means you’ll find several different styles in porcelain that will look great in your kitchen.

With many of the materials we find in porcelain, you don’t need to worry about too much discoloration as well, as you need to do with other types of countertop materials. Also, you’ll have a wide variety of styles to pick from as well.

 

#2 Porcelain Comes in a Variety of Patterns

Another thing that porcelain offers you is a variety of patterns. If you want your enamel to look like a marble countertop or some other stone, you’ll be able to get that look. Since porcelain offers a wide variety of colors and patterns, you’ll have more options with porcelain that you would with natural stone countertops.

 

#3 Porcelain Comes in Large Slab Sizes

With porcelain, you’ll be able to find the shape and slab size you’ll need. That’s because porcelain allows you to purchase slabs that are as large as 10’ X 5’, which is a more massive size than what you’ll find with natural stone slabs. If you want to cover your kitchen islands with one piece of porcelain, you’d be able to accomplish that.

Also, using more massive slabs means you won’t have as many seams or grout areas that ruin the look of the countertop. Also, the large tiles help make the installation process easier to install, reducing costs. Or, if you plan on doing your countertops yourself, porcelain will make the job much more comfortable.

 

#4 Porcelain is Stronger than Granite

While many people think granite is a durable countertop material, it’s not. Porcelain is 30% stronger than granite. The firing process of porcelain helps make your countertop material very permanent, so you won’t need to worry about chips, scratches, cracks, and essential wear and tear.

 

#5 Fantastic Durability

Porcelain, as a material, is robust and durable. So, that means you’ll get years of use out of a porcelain countertop before you’ll have to replace it. Porcelain does cost more than a laminated counter or tile, but it is less than most other types of natural stones. So, it’s a decent investment in the long-run. If you are the type of person that doesn’t want to have to replace your countertops again soon, then porcelain is an excellent material for you.

 

#6: Lightweight Slabs

When porcelain countertops first came out, their slabs were very thick and heavy, which was a huge drawback to using the material. However, nowadays, the tiles are very thin and lightweight, although you can purchase your slabs in a different variety of thicknesses.

The lightweight slabs make it easier to work with the porcelain if you are installing the countertop yourself. Even if you are hiring a professional to install your porcelain countertops, you’ll still wind up saving money because lightweight slabs help speed up the installation process.

Also, since porcelain slabs can come so thin, you’ll get a lot of versatility when it comes to what you can do with the tiles. You can use them for backsplashes and wall panels as well if you’d like for some stylish accents in your home.

 

#6 You Can Install Porcelain Over an Existing Countertop

While this isn’t always done, you can install porcelain over your existing countertop. Because of that, you’ll reduce the time of the installation as well as the cost. You won’t need to worry about tearing out the old countertop before you put in your new countertops. That’s one of the primary reasons why so many people nowadays opt for porcelain countertops.

 

#7 Porcelain Doesn’t Require Sealing

With porcelain, you won’t need to worry about sealing your countertop after you install it. That’s not the case with natural stones since they all have to be sealed after installation. Not only that, but natural stone countertops also must be re-sealed yearly to maintain the look. The fire glazing process used to install porcelain creates the barrier you need to repel stains when you use porcelain.

 

#8 Porcelain is Easy to Clean

Once your porcelain is installed, its natural glaze helps make the countertop waterproof. That means that a porcelain countertop is also quick to clean. With porcelain, all you’ll need to do is use some warm water or wipe the countertop with a damp cloth.

If you do use chemicals like bleach when you clean your countertop, you won’t have to worry. Harsher chemicals for cleaning won’t do any damage to your porcelain countertop. Compared to natural stone, that will save you a lot of time with maintenance.

For example, natural stones can collect water and other substances that eventually lead to discoloration. Luckily, that’s not true of porcelain.

 

#9 Porcelain Resists Heat

With porcelain, you’ll get a heat-resistant countertop. That’s because porcelain countertops are created at about 1000 degrees F so that the product can handle all kinds of hot items on it in your kitchen. Porcelain won’t burn when introduced to extra heat from pots and pans.

 

#10 Porcelain Can Be Recycled

Another great thing about porcelain is that the material is environmentally-friendly. Consider the fact that porcelain is comprised of natural clay, and it’s relatively green. You’ll be able to recycle porcelain if you want to switch out your countertop again at a later date.

 

Cons of Porcelain Countertops

Honestly, with all of the advantages for porcelain that we listed above, there aren’t too many negatives to record about the material. While they can get cracks and chips over time, you’ll need to use a lot more force to do that compared to a natural stone countertop.

 

Considering a Porcelain Countertop?

If you are thinking about purchasing a porcelain countertop for your home, you’ll need to know how much these countertops typically cost. When having porcelain countertops installed, they usually cost about $60 to $100 per square foot depending on the specific porcelain you are using, and how long the job will take. If you have things like corners and edges to deal with, that will increase your price.

However, the price of porcelain is still less than the cost of natural stone, and you’ll also get plenty of durability. Porcelain offers an attractive look and a stylish finish. If you like the appearance of marble, but you don’t want to worry about the issues that come with a marble countertop, then porcelain would be an excellent alternative for you.

Also, since you can install porcelain over your existing countertops, you’ll wind up saving a lot of money in the process. Installing porcelain over your existing countertops will save you a lot of money, and make this option very affordable.

Now that you understand the pros and cons of porcelain countertops, we’ll cover the pros and cons of quartz countertops to help you make your decision.

 

Quartz Countertops

Geology.com says quartz is a natural mineral, and it is made from silicon and oxygen. Plus, quartz is also the most prolific mineral you’ll find around the globe. While some people believe that quartz is a made-made material, that’s not true.

To help you understand whether a porcelain countertop or a quartz countertop would be better for you, we’ll discuss the pros and cons of quartz countertops below.

 

Pros of Quartz Countertops

When it comes to quartz countertops, they still have many advantages. Below we’ll cover a list of pros for those of you considering a quartz countertop.

 

#1 Quartz is Durable

One of the primary reasons why people pick quartz countertops has to do with the durability of the material. Much like porcelain, quartz won’t crack, scratch, or chip away quickly. So, if you want a countertop material that will last you years, quartz is much like porcelain in this scope.

When Breton first introduced the process of creating quartz stone for countertops back in 1963, they decided to use the abundance of quartz to make a material that would be stronger than most natural stones. So, just how strong is it?

According to  Mohs scale of mineral hardness, which is utilized by geologists to measure how hard and scratch-resistant certain minerals are on a range from one to ten, with ten being the most scratch-resistant and hardest, quartz gets a seven out of ten ratings. For comparison, diamonds are rated a full ten out of ten, and marble is usually scaled between a three and five.

So, while quartz is durable and even stronger than porcelain, it’s also not indestructible. You can still scratch or chip up your countertop, but the chances of everyday wear appearing on your countertop are minimal.

 

#2 Quartz Comes in a Variety of Colors and Designs

When Breton first started using quartz, they also discovered that much like porcelain, they could make quartz in a wide variety of colors and pigments. Also, the manufacturers realized they could even create unlimited patterns and designs, much like porcelain.

 

#3 Quartz Countertops Have Great Warranties

Another great thing that comes hand in hand with quartz’s durability is the incredible warranties most manufacturers offer with their quartz countertops. Since quartz is such a reliable and fantastic product, most manufacturers aren’t afraid to provide excellent guarantees on a quartz countertop. We’ll provide a few examples below.

  • If you opt for a Cambria quartz countertop, you’ll get a Limited Lifetime Warranty. However, that warranty is only suitable for the original owner of the countertop. So, if you purchase a house that has Cambria quartz countertops installed, you won’t get that warranty.
  • If you decide you want a Caesarstone countertop, you can get a  Residential Lifetime Warranty. Initially, this is for the original owner. However, unlike Cambria’s offering, with Ceasarstone, you can transfer the warranty to the new homeowner. After that, the homeowner has ten years from the date of the original installation.
  • If you want a Silestone quartz countertop, they offer a  25 Year Warranty which covers manufacturing defects. Also, you can transfer the warranty as long as the first owner signs a Transfer of Ownership Form. Then, the new owner also gets the same coverage.

 

#4 Quartz Offers a Beautiful Appearance

Quartz also provides homeowners with an elegant countertop. You’ll be able to get quartz in just about any style or color you can imagine. Plus, quartz countertops are also customizable, so they can look like any cabinet, flooring, or anything else you want them to match in your house.

Also, you can make a quartz countertop appear like a granite or marble countertop if you prefer that look, but you’ll still get all the durability of quartz.

 

#5 Quartz Countertops are Non-Porous

Quartz countertops are also not porous, which makes them stronger than natural stone countertops. Many types of natural stones like granite and marble are porous, which means liquids can seep into the surface of the countertop. When that happens, your countertop can stain and discolor, and be permanently damaged. Plus, gross bacteria can get into the pores, making it challenging to keep your house disinfected with germs.

That’s why most natural stone countertops have to be sealed, and then re-sealed after a few years to maintain them. On the other hand, if you purchase a quartz countertop, you won’t need to worry about any of this. Quartz is a non-porous material, so it doesn’t have to be sealed, and you also don’t need to worry about bacteria inside of your home.

 

#6 Quartz is Stain Resistant

Another great thing about quartz is that it is excellent at resisting stains. Your typical countertop stains happen because liquid from a spill will get into the pores of your countertop stone. Unfortunately, that fact makes both granite and marble countertops more likely to stain because they are porous.

However, quartz is non-porous, so liquids won’t be able to penetrate the material and create stains. So, even if you don’t remember to clean up something that’s spilled immediately, your quartz countertop still won’t stain. For many homeowners, and especially those with young children, that makes quartz very attractive as a countertop material.

However, just how stain resistant is quartz? According to Consumer Reports, when they recently tested quartz and granite countertops, they found that quartz was more resistant to stains. In that study, Consumer Reports used different types of everyday kitchen items like coffee, grape juice, and vegetable oil and let them sit on both quartz and a granite countertop for twenty hours. Both materials resisted the stains, but quartz was far more stain-resistant.

While quartz can resist stains, we would be lying if we told you it won’t ever stain. There are certain resins and pigments in quartz that, when combined with other chemicals, can lead to countertop damage. If you get a quartz countertop, you shouldn’t use any harsh chemicals or bleach to clean your quartz countertops. If you cannot live without cleaning with bleach, then you should probably opt for a porcelain countertop.

 

#7 Quartz is Easy to Maintain

Quartz countertops are also very easy to maintain compared to other countertop materials. Unlike granite, you won’t have to get your countertop sealed, and all you need to do to keep it clean is wipe it down with soap and water.

What’s interesting is that there are special cleaners and polish for quartz that you can purchase, but they are usually a waste of money. You don’t need them. If something is very greasy, you can use something like  Easy-Off, but for most occasions, you’ll be able to keep your quartz clean with just soap and water.

Some countertop materials (and marble stands out here) require you to pay close attention to everything you spill on it. However, quartz doesn’t call for this since it isn’t much you’ll need to worry about with spills on quartz.

 

#8 Quartz is Versatile

Another great thing about quartz is its versatility. Quartz works well not only in your kitchen but also in your bathroom, and other places in your home. It’s very versatile because it is so durable, and also because it comes in a bevy of style and color options. Also, some materials are limited by their features, but quartz is almost limitless.

 

Cons of Quartz Countertops

We’ve covered much about the significant advantages of quartz. However, before you decide to get quartz, you’ll need to know the cons. There are more cons to quartz countertops than porcelain countertops, which you will see below. So, if you still feel quartz is right for you after reading through our disadvantages, the final decision is up to you.

 

#1 Price

If you think you want a quartz countertop, then you will need to think about your budget. If your budget is tight, then you might want to opt for porcelain over quartz. Porcelain offers many of the same benefits as quartz with a lower price tag.

Quartz countertops usually cost about $80 to $160 per square foot, which also covers installing the countertop. However, the price of quartz varies much because there are many different quality aspects and edging considerations. Depending on the number of slabs you need and the size of your kitchen, it may wind up costing you more.

Since porcelain can be installed in much larger slabs and offers many of the same advantages as quartz, it typically costs less to install and purchase a porcelain countertop.

 

#2 Natural Stone Look is Difficult with Quartz

Quartz is very customizable, and you can create nearly any look in your kitchen that you can imagine with quartz. However, if you want a real natural stone look, then you might be better off ditching the quartz. While technology has helped make quartz look more like natural stone, you’ll never be able to fully re-create the appearance of a natural stone countertop with quartz.

 

#3 Seams are Hard to Hide

Another drawback to purchasing a quartz countertop is disguising the seams. With quartz, it is often harder to hide the look of the seams when two slabs come together. Unfortunately, this problem is especially real if you want a lighter color to your countertop. If you purchase a darker color, you might be able to disguise the issue a bit better, but it will still be a noticeable problem.

 

#4 Heat Damage Issues

While you’ll get a durable countertop material with quartz and it is heat resistant, the fillers like resin and polymer used to install quartz countertops cannot resist heat. So, if you know you’ll expose your countertop to a lot of pots and pans while you cook, you might wind up melting the resins and discoloring your countertop.

Part of the problem with quartz is that there is still a debate about how much heat quartz can handle. Some researchers state that quartz can endure heat up to 300 degrees F without incurring any damage. However, other studies conflict this statement and say that quartz can only handle up to  150 degrees F. While the temperature factor can depend on the manufacturer and the quality of the material, you won’t want to put hot cookware on your quartz countertops.

Unfortunately,  many homeowners tell us that even taking warm dishes right out of the dishwasher and putting them on top of a quartz countertop can cause damage. So, if you are anxious about heat damage, you might want to consider a porcelain countertop instead. Different quartz brands hold up differently to heat. Lessor quality Chinese quartz will likely not be as quality as Silestone or Cambria.

 

#5 Quartz is Difficult to Install

Another disadvantage of deciding on a quartz countertop is that quartz can be challenging to install. If you are going to use quartz, you’ll have to hire a professional because quartz is tough to install on y our own. Unlike porcelain, which offers you lightweight, large slabs during installation, quartz is extremely heavy. Quartz weighs as much as twenty to twenty-five pounds per square foot.

Because of this, professionals need to install the quartz to ensure your home’s foundation is solid enough to handle the extra weight of the quartz. Also, installers have to minimize the appearance of the seams with the quartz.

 

#6 Quartz is for Indoors Only

Another limitation of using quartz is that you can only use it for indoor projects. If you want to install a counter outside somewhere, quartz will discolor if it is in direct sunlight. Unfortunately, UV light fades the pigments in quartz and causes it to turn yellowish. Keep in mind that direct UV light through a window can also damage quartz. So, if your kitchen has a lot of sun exposure, you might want to opt for porcelain instead of quartz.

 

Final Thoughts: Is Quartz Worth It?

So, is quartz worth it? After reviewing the list above, it does seem like the pros of quartz countertops outweigh the cons. You do get several advantages with quartz if you are willing to deal with a few of the other disadvantages. Quartz costs a bit more, might not be the appearance for you, and cannot resist heat damage well.

However, if you do not like the price of quartz or the other disadvantages that come with quartz, then porcelain is probably the best alternative. With a porcelain countertop, the installation process is easy and more affordable, you’ll get a bevy of styles to choose from, and porcelain is also heat resistant.

So, when it comes to figuring out whether you should go with a porcelain countertop or a quartz countertop, the choice is really up to you!

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About Jon - Website Owner

Jon Smith

Hi, my name is Jonathan Smith. I have been in the granite business for many years and have worked my way up from an installer helper to an installer and then a countertop business owner. 

I started my countertop company with very little and grew extremely fast because of my knowledge and helpfulness. I started this countertop resource for 1 main reason. That reason is that there are no countertop websites with all the correct information and none of them are from an industry expert like myself. 

I am still in the trade every single day installing countertops, educating people on the type of material they are using for their homes, and making people's dream kitchens a reality.

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2 comments on “Are Porcelain Countertops Better Than Quartz? Pros and Cons ”

  1. you stated first(under porcelin advantages) that porcelin is 30% stronger than quartz, then stated that quartz is stonger (under quartz advantages)
    Which is it please?

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