Quartz countertops are engineered stone products that may contain a large percentage of natural quartz but may also include other minerals. But these are not slabs of quarried stone at all but are instead formed from stone byproducts that are ground up and formed into slabs for countertops and other products.
Quartz countertops, as an engineered product, are more uniform in appearance, though many colors and unique patterns are available, including forms that do not resemble granite at all.
Quartz countertops range from about $80 to $140 per square foot, installed. As quartz has become more popular and more widely available, costs of basic countertops have fallen, with unique designer styles and colors commanding upper-end pricing.
There is an advantage of choosing quartz over granite, though both materials are very durable. Granite is a relatively porous stone that requires sealing upon installation, then periodic sealing on an ongoing basis. And granite slabs may have inherent flaws that make them prone to cracking. Quartz, on the other hand, does not require sealing, thanks to the resins used in the fabrication of the slabs; and the material is uniform throughout, which means it rarely cracks.
The resins in quartz countertops make them considerably more resistant to staining than granite. By some reports, quartz is also less susceptible to harboring bacteria, again thanks to the resins that make the surface less porous.
Both granite and quartz (engineered stone) are premium countertop materials that add real estate value to a home. Granite appeals to people who like all-natural materials, while quartz offers easier maintenance and slightly better durability.