Compare Countertop Materials: Solid Surface, Quartz, and Granite

When selecting a countertop for your kitchen or bathroom, there are three popular materials to consider – solid surface, quartz, and granite. Each material has its own pros and cons in terms of appearance, durability, maintenance, and cost. This article will compare solid surface, quartz, and granite countertops to help you select the right material for your needs and budget.

Solid Surface Countertops

Solid surface countertops are made from acrylic or polyester resins and minerals. The most well-known solid surface material is Corian. Here are some key features of solid surface countertops:


  • Solid surface countertops are available in a wide range of colors and patterns to suit any style. Seamless appearances can be created as the material can be thermoformed.
  • The non-porous surface has a smooth, matte finish that can resemble natural stone. Integrated sinks can be created for a seamless look.


  • Solid surface is very durable and resistant to scratches, stains, burns, and heat damage. However, the material can be prone to damage from impacts.
  • Minor scratches and scorches can be sanded and buffed from the surface. The material is easily renewable and repairable.


  • Routine cleaning only requires wipe downs with a damp cloth and mild detergent. Solid surface does not need sealing or polishing.
  • Harsh chemicals and abrasive cleaners should be avoided as they can damage the material.


  • Solid surface countertops range from $50 – $100 per square foot installed. This puts it in the mid-range price points for countertop materials.
  • Complex installations and integrated sinks will be at the higher end of the price range. The cost is comparable to engineered quartz.

Quartz Countertops

Quartz countertops, also known as engineered stone, are made from ground quartz crystals combined with resins and pigments. Brands like Silestone and Caesarstone dominate the quartz market. Here’s an overview:


  • Quartz comes in a diverse array of colors, from sparkling aggregates to vivid solid hues. Appearances can mimic granite and marble or have more modern looks.
  • The surfaces are non-porous and have a glossy or matte finish. Seamless quartz countertops are achievable. Patterns can be added for visual interest.


  • Quartz is highly durable and scratch, stain, heat, and impact resistant making it suitable for busy kitchens. However, the surface can be damaged by excessive weight.
  • Small scratches and scorch marks can be gently sanded out. Quartz does not need resealing or polishing.


  • Daily maintenance involves wiping with a soft cloth and mild detergent. Quartz resists most chemicals and cleaners.
  • Heavy pressure and harsh chemicals should be avoided. Acidic substances like lemon, vinegar, and wine can stain if left for prolonged periods.


  • Installed quartz countertops range from $80 – $140 per square foot. Quartz is more expensive than solid surface but cheaper than natural stone.
  • The final cost depends on the brand, pattern, and installation complexity. Higher-end designer quartz is more expensive.

Granite Countertops

Granite is a natural stone prized for its beauty and durability. Granite forms within the earth’s crust when magma cools and solidifies. Here’s an overview of granite countertops:


  • Granite is available in a diverse range of natural patterns and colors from solid blacks to vivid blues, reds, and greens containing mineral flecks.
  • The surface has a glossy, reflective finish that enhances the depth and radial patterns. Each granite slab is uniquely patterned.


  • Granite is very hard, making it scratch and chip resistant. It stands up well to heat, stains, and impacts. However, the porous stone can stain if spills are left unattended.
  • Granite is susceptible to cracks and chips if excessive weight is applied. Cracks and chips require professional repair.


  • Granite requires periodic sealing to prevent stains and damage within the stone pores. Frequent cleaning with stone soap and water is ideal.
  • Harsh chemicals and cleaners should be avoided as they will degrade the sealer and lead to staining issues over time.


  • Installed granite countertops range from $60 – $150 per square foot. Rare granite types can cost over $200 per square foot.
  • The cost depends on the stone color, thickness, and installation factors like edging and seams. Granite is one of the higher priced natural stone options.

Compare Countertop Materials: Key Factors

When deciding between solid surface, quartz, and granite, here are some key factors to consider:

  • Budget – Quartz and solid surface are comparable in price while granite is generally the most expensive option.
  • Appearance – Granite offers unique natural patterns. Quartz and solid surface have more color consistency but less variation.
  • Durability – Quartz rates highest for scratch, stain, and heat resistance. Granite and solid surface can both withstand everyday wear but are prone to damage if misused.
  • Maintenance – Solid surface and quartz are lowest maintenance. Granite requires frequent sealing and cleaning. All materials need wiping with mild detergents.
  • Eco-Friendliness – Quartz contains high amounts of recycled content. Granite is natural while solid surface uses some petroleum-derived resins.
  • Uses – All three work well for kitchen countertops. Only solid surface allows integrated sinks.Granite and quartz can be very heavy.

Which is Best – Solid Surface, Quartz or Granite?

There is no definitive “best” countertop material – it ultimately comes down to your priorities and needs. However, here are some guidelines:

  • For value, durability, and low maintenance – Quartz is hard to beat.
  • For unique natural beauty – Granite is unrivaled.
  • For seamless looks and repairability – Solid Surface stands out.
  • For eco-friendly recycled content – Quartz is the leader.
  • For busy kitchens prone to spills – Quartz rates highest in stain resistance.
  • For those on a strict budget – Solid Surface provides the most affordable option.

Carefully considering your needs for appearance, budget, durability, and maintenance will lead you to the right countertop material for your home. Consult with countertop professionals to view material samples in person. They can also provide valuable insight into product performance and installation. With an informed decision, you’ll find the perfect countertop to enhance your space for years to come.

Frequently Asked Questions About Compare Countertop Materials: Solid Surface, Quartz, and Granite

Which material is the most durable for countertops?

Quartz rates highest for durability and resistance to scratches, stains, impacts, and heat damage. Granite and solid surface are prone to chipping or scratching if subjected to heavy impacts or abrasions. However, all three materials are very durable for everyday use when cared for properly.

What are the differences in appearance between the materials?

Granite has a glossy, reflective surface that showcases natural variations, patterns, and mineral deposits unique to each slab. Quartz has high consistency in coloring and patterning but does mimic some natural stone looks. Solid surface comes in a wide range of consistent colors and seamless appearances.

Does quartz require sealing like granite?

No, quartz does not require any sealing or polishing to maintain its durability and appearance. The non-porous material resists staining and damage without a protective sealant. Granite, as a natural stone, does require periodic sealing applications.

Can you repair damage to solid surface countertops?

Yes, one of the advantages of solid surface is that it is repairable. Minor damage like scratches, scorches, and nicks can be gently sanded out. More extensive damage can be repaired by skilled solid surface technicians. Damaged sections can also be removed and replaced if needed.

Which material costs the most for new countertops?

Granite is generally the most expensive countertop material, starting around $60 per square foot installed and going over $200 per square foot for rare granites. Quartz starts around $80 per square foot. Solid surface is the most budget-friendly option at around $50 per square foot.

How do you clean and care for quartz countertops?

For routine cleaning, wipe quartz down with a soft, damp cloth and mild soap or detergent. Avoid abrasive cleaners and pads that could scratch the surface. Immediately wipe up spills, especially acidic substances that can stain. Quartz does not require sealing or polishing.


When selecting kitchen or bathroom countertops, solid surface, quartz, and granite all provide unique benefits. Key considerations include your budget, style preferences, ease of maintenance desired, and how heavily the space will be used. Consult with countertop installation professionals to view material samples firsthand. An informed decision will lead you to long-lasting countertops that enhance your home’s beauty and function. Compare important factors like appearance, durability, maintenance needs, and cost to select the best countertops for your needs from quality solid surface, quartz, or granite.