Kitchen and bathroom remodeling top many people’s lists of home renovation projects. Countertops often become a major decision because it’s one of the first things people see when they enter a room.
As you investigate the options, you’ll learn that granite and Silestone — a brand of quartz countertops — are popular choices.
While some articles and videos might give you a brief overview of the Silestone vs granite debate, most don’t dig into the details. You might ask yourself, “What’s the difference?”
Keep reading for a quick guide on the difference between the two countertop materials.
Man-Made vs Natural
The first major difference is that Silestone and most other quartz countertops are man-made. They combine actual quartz and a resin that binds the quartz together. The quartz/resin combo gets formed into custom slabs that fit your kitchen or bathroom.
Granite is a natural stone. Companies cut huge granite blocks out of quarries around the world. Depending on demand, the block might stay in-country or get transported across an ocean.
The blocks get sliced into smaller slabs that end up in showrooms. Customers pick out the slabs they like. Those slabs then get cut down again to fit the customer’s cabinets.
Silestone and granite are both very heavy. So heavy, in fact, that most cabinets require that you get extra support installed in the cabinet before the countertop goes on.
While granite’s density makes it heavy, Silestone actually weighs more for a comparably-sized countertop. In most cases, a specialist must examine your home to ensure the floors can support the weight of either material.
Kitchen countertops face more heat exposure than almost any other surfaces in your home. Between the stove, hot mugs, and hot pots or pans, it’s almost inevitable that you’ll put something hot down on them.
Granite has a very level of heat resistance. While you shouldn’t make a habit of setting hot pots and pans on a granite countertop, the occasional hot contact shouldn’t hurt your counter.
Silestone is a different story. A hot pot or pan can actually melt or scorch the resin that holds the counter together.
Even worse, that kind of damage generally proves very difficult to repair. While some companies will attempt quartz counter repairs, most people don’t like the results. It generally ends with new counters.
Granite and Silestone take two, very different, maintenance approaches.
Granite requires daily cleaning. For best results, though, you need a cleaner designed for stone. You can also make a DIY stone cleaner that uses 1 part rubbing alcohol and 3 parts liquid soap mixed in warm water.
Granite countertops get a sealant prior to installation. This helps prevent bacteria growth in stone’s small fissures.
You must reseal the granite periodically. Aim for once a year or twice yearly if your kitchen is a high traffic area.
Silestone countertops call for a much less rigorous maintenance routine. You should wipe the counter down on a regular basis as a basic sanitation measure.
You can use mild liquid dish soap and a wet cloth for basic cleaning. Try a glass cleaner and sponge for tougher cleaner cleaning jobs.
Silestone isn’t porous the way granite is, so you get a pass on the annual resealing job. That also makes Silestone largely immune to any kind of lingering bacterial growth. The bacteria can’t find a place to grow or hide.
Both granite and Silestone offer a wide variety of colors and patterns. Quartz does offer some advantages on both fronts.
On the whole, granite only comes in natural colors. Since quartz countertops are somewhat artificial, you can choose from a wider assortment of colors.
One of the things that people like about granite is the patterns that turn up in the stone. Unfortunately, you can’t predict those patterns. The warehouse may or may not have granite with a pattern you like.
Quartz countertops deliver a very predictable pattern. If you want an entire kitchen with the same pattern, you can get the counters made that way.
It removes an element of uncertainty from the process. On the other hand, there’s no contest if you prefer the look and feel of natural stone. Regardless of the uncertainty, you’ll almost certainly choose a granite countertop.
No one will settle the Silestone vs granite debate on durability grounds. The durability of both remains so close that the difference is meaningless under any kind of normal home conditions.
The resin content might make Silestone slightly more prone to scratches. Quartz countertops are, as previously mentioned, less resistant to heat.
Assuming you don’t set anything too hot on the counter or use the counter surfaces as a cutting board, you should never find out one way or the other.
No one enjoys overpaying for any product or service. In terms of pure cost, granite has a slight advantage.
It’s important to remember that your own project might fall outside of these general parameters. A small bathroom vanity will cost a lot less. An oversized kitchen will cost more.
The quality of the granite can also affect the price. While Silestone generally costs more than low-end granite, high-end granite generally costs a lot more than a quartz countertop.
Parting Thoughts on Silestone vs Granite
When it comes to Silestone vs granite, you get a lot of differences.
On the potential downside, Silestone is man-made, heavier and it costs more. Granite requires more maintenance and comes in few colors. Both require extra supports in most cabinets.
On the upside, granite is durable and heat resistant. Silestone won’t harbor bacteria barring some catastrophic production mistake.
Both Silestone and granite offer homeowners beautiful, durable options. As a homeowner, however, you should weight the pros and cons of each material.
International Granite & Stone specializes in granite and quartz countertops for the Tampa Bay Area. For more information about our countertops or in-home consultations, please contact us today.