Counter top choice questions

My mom wants to put in new countertops and has asked me the best choice between quartz and granit. She plans on contracting the work out and I'm wondering a few things about advantages of one over the other regarding:
1) sealing which requires a sealant or do both? 2) which is easiest to cut/shape 3) due to material, which is generally cheaper? 4) which will last longer regarding wear and tear? Knife cuts etc? 5) Is there a third choice that has the same properties as either granit or quartz that she should research? 6) Are there other considerations?
Thanks for your help,
DJay
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1.Granite needs annual sealing - but no biggie - takes 10 min. using the wipe-on silicone products. 2.They both require skilled off-site cutting with wet-cut diamond blades, and therefore have a high labor component to the final cost, if you farm the whole job out... 3.Similar prices, but I prefer the granite, as it is real rock, vs "quartz", which is actually crushed quartz imbedded in plastic resin matrix. But then, being geologist, and like real rocks in my kitchen! 4. My neighbor had fading, chipping, and disaggregation with DuPont Zodiaq quartz, and had it replaced on warrantee. You want a product line with a fairly long history. Rumor has it that Dupont has corrected their formulation since 2002, when my neighbor had his difficulties. 5. Huge no. of choices out there, including copper stainless, marble, granite, gneiss, laminate, butcher block, etc etc. And in many cases it is a personal and emotional choice, not purely practical. Your mom may wish to visit some countertop suppliers to get a feel and look of a lot of different tops. For granite, there are many showrooms around, many with model kitchens. Another good info source is google. Try going to Google Groups and searching the phrase Quartz vs Granite. Many of the hundreds of arguments there are from this newsgroup. Good Luck.
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Buy granite and never look back. It's the best. I love mine.
Steve
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Hey, Roger, are there physical differences withing the class "granite"? I understand that the term "granite" is streched a bit in the commercial world.
TB
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snipped-for-privacy@bellsouth.net wrote:

Yes.
That's an understatement.
--
dadiOH
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DJay...I just completed a total remodel of my kitchen and was faced with the same decision. My wife and I ended up choosing Silestone, which is a quartz product. In a head to head comparison, the quartz coutertops win hands down. They do not have to ever be sealed or polished, will not scratch with a knife and are not affected by heat. Think about it...quartz is the second hardest natural substance known...next to the diamond. Cost is about the same. djay wrote:

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That's overstating a bit: "Silestone is resistant to heat and can withstand moderately high temperatures for brief periods of time without being damaged. As with any natural stone, however, certain exposure to heat may cause cracks due to thermal shock. Always use a trivet to place hot items on Silestone. Do not use crock pots or electric skillets while in direct contact with Silestone natural quartz surfaces."
--Goedjn
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Eddy wrote:

Point of order...
Corundum - the abrasive on most "sand"paper is far harder than quartz. If it is blue (and other colors) it is called sapphire; if red, ruby.
-- dadiOH ____________________________
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djay wrote:

There is a wide range of prices for both materials. Both Granite & Silestone are very hard and very heat resistant. I'd estimate that they'd both last equally long. The reason you should use trivets with both is the danger of thermal shock in which sudden expansion can cause cracking. Both Granite & Silestone are composed of hard quartz with softer materials in the mix, but Silestone has a signficantly higher percentage of quartz than granite.
Silestone advantages:
It is stronger and less likely to crack. You can get longer overhangs. It is non-porous and not susceptible to mold. It has a more uniform and predictable pattern of rock and thus makes seams less noticable. It will not stain and doesn't need sealing. Lack of material flaws makes machining less problematic. You can get some very bold colors not available in granite.
Silestone disadvantages:
Susceptible to UV radiation damage, and should be protected from direct sunlight.
Granite advantages:
Flow of grain is considered pretty by a lot people.
Granite disadvantages:
It is porous and can stain. It needs to be sealed regularly. Granite has inherent material flaws in the form of cracks and pits of varying sizes. It is important that you personally pick out the slab of granite you want if you go that way, so you don't get an unwanted surprise in the form of blotches, cracks, and pits.
*** In my opinion, Silestone is far more beautiful than DuPont's Zodiaq.
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