I think most people will agree that the kitchen is the heart of the home. It is where important decision are discussed and made, it is where we spend most of our time, and it is where we break bread and share special moments with family and friends. This space should definitely be warm and inviting, but current and functional as well. Whether you are building new or remodeling this area of your home, you have most likely come to the conundrum of the countertop. Granite vs. Engineered stone. While there are many similarities between the two surfaces, there are distinct differences and you need to decide what will work best for you and your lifestyle.
The biggest difference between granite and engineered stone is that granite is naturally more porous. This makes engineered stone more sanitary, especially in a kitchen, because bacteria and viruses cannot penetrate the countertop. With that said, granite can be sealed to provide a level of protection as well. Another important difference is the movement or variance found in granite gives it a more organic or natural feel to it. Since the granite is mined straight from the earth, no two slabs will ever be the same. Yes, your slab will be one of a kind, but this could also create some difficulty in ever replacing a piece or adding to the job at a later time.
Pricing between the two surfaces are quite comparable. Engineered stone is generally a consistent price point because there are fewer variables and tend to run equal to that of a mid-range granite. Depending on the uniqueness of the color, mine location, and supply vs. demand granite can vary considerably. Both products are extremely durable and can last a lifetime. Engineered stone does tend to be stronger than granite and easier to shape as well. Granite can be more brittle due to the natural components found in the slab. Some parts can be more dense or have higher or lower iron content in relation to the natural amount of quartz in the matrix. It is possible to easily repair a chip or fill a scratch in granite by surface polishing the material but engineered stone on the other hand, is quite difficult to repair if it is somehow scratched or defaced.
While granite has proven to be timeless, we are finding that engineered stone is a trend here to stay as well. We suggest that you not only research the materials, but your fabricator and installer as well. Both products will only function at their best if properly installed and sealed if necessary.