A Scientific Approach To The Quartz vs Granite Discussion

A Scientific Approach To The Quartz vs Granite Discussion

If you are considering a remodeling project that will include countertops, you may be confused as to whether quartz or granite countertops are the better option. There are many factors that you must use to determine what countertop is best for your needs, but a scientific explanation of the differences may help you determine which will be best suited for your project.

Granite and Its Formation

Scientifically, granite is a plutonic rock composed of quarts, normally between 10 and 50 percent, and total feldspar, normally 65 to 90 percent. In addition, granite may contain mica, amphibole and other trace minerals. It is the various minerals included in each slab of granite that give it the colors and textures that make it so popular for countertops. Granite was formed by cooling molten rock, usually deep below the surface of the Earth. The granite that is pulled from the Earth today is near the surface because it was uplifted so that sediment was shed through erosion. The shift from a high pressure environment and temperature to the atmospheric temperature and pressure leads to expansion and cracking, causing granite to be softer than other types of countertop material.

The Formation of Quartz

When people think of quartz, they often think of white sandy beaches with flecks of pink or brown. As weaker minerals erode due to weather, quartz is often left as a predominant mineral on beaches, far from sediment sources. Quartz countertops, however, are actually manufactured, consisting of 90 percent quartz blended with resin, polymers and pigment for color. This creates countertops that are durable without pores or cracks and the pigment used is naturally found in quartz arenite.

Granite and Radon

There have been online sources reporting that granite countertops may contain radon, a radioactive gas that is naturally found in the stone. Granites can contain radon in parts per billion, but the amount found in countertops is so minimal it poses no threat to humans. Quartz countertops have no radon, but that does not make quartz a safer alternative than granite. Radiation is encountered in many different ways throughout daily life, including while flying, walking through a city and basically living life, so the amount of radon in granite poses no real threat.

When it comes to choosing granite or quartz, it may come down to simple factors like price, color choices and durability. If you are considering granite or quartz countertops, contact our knowledgeable customer service representatives to learn what products are best for you by completing the simple form on line or giving us a call.

The Truth about Granite and Radon

Chavez kitchen

Radon is a chemical gas that is found in soil, rocks, the sun’s rays, the water we drink, and the air we breathe. It’s pretty much all around us all the time, threatening our bodies with harmful levels of exposure. The biggest contributor to indoor radon comes naturally from the soil beneath and surrounding homes. It raises concerns when considering the origin of granite because it seems that emissions and direct contact would be an obvious hazard. With a little education, you’ll feel at ease understanding the truth about household granite and the safety of your loved ones.

Where Does Radon Come From?

The undetectable, radioactive gas is naturally present throughout our environment and in most homes to some degree. Unfortunately, people that do not understand the risk typically fail to have adequate indoor air quality testing that would alert of dangerous levels. It’s emitted from the soil layer and is believed to be present in natural stones, such as granite. When it’s outside in the environment, exposure is so low that it doesn’t cause any harm. In fact, the Marble Institute of America states “There are many sources of radiation in a typical home. Common items such as concrete blocks, televisions, smoke detectors — and even Brazil nuts, bananas and potatoes release measureable levels of radiation. The fact is, radiation and radon levels from other sources in the home are far more significant than what may be measured from a granite countertops. Consumer and industry safety are paramount issues for the stone industry, and numerous studies have been conducted to verify the safety of granite in the home.”

Is my Granite Countertop Safe?

Respected scientists conducted several conclusive tests on household granite countertops to determine the presence of radon. The absolute highest sample proved to have acceptable radon levels as specified by EPA guidelines. It is safe to allow your family to use the granite countertops for cooking and enjoying meals the same as any other sanitary surface. If a home does contain a considerable level of radon, it is primarily caused emission from ground soil. If there are concerns with indoor air quality, it is the best solution to have radon testing done, and then complete any necessary home improvements.

Radiation in Granite is not Dangerous

Installing natural stone inside the home does not bring in a considerable amount of radioactive material, and there is no reason to feel concern over using your existing countertops for any reason. Dangerous elements do not transfer to foods prepared on the surface, and your family is not at risk from simply touching it. The EPA states “Since granite is generally not very porous, less radon is likely to escape from it than from a more porous stone such as sandstone. It’s important to know that radon originating in the soil beneath homes is a more common problem and a far larger public health risk than radon from granite building materials. Also, any radon from granite countertops in kitchens or bathrooms is likely to be diluted in the typical home since those rooms are usually well ventilated.”

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