When it comes to aesthetics, quartz has the edge over laminate. Made from crushed stone combined with resins and pigments, quartz has a beautiful, natural-looking pattern that’s available in a wide range of colors. The look is versatile enough for both traditional and contemporary home styles. Quartz is non-porous, so liquids don’t penetrate the surface.
Laminate, on the other hand, is made by fusing sheets of paper or resin together. The pattern is printed onto the surface so it lacks the depth and dimension of natural stone. Laminate comes in many colors and imitates materials like granite, marble, and wood. But it has a more artificial, “plasticky” look compared to quartz. Scratches and dents over time can be more visible on laminate as well.
When comparing the durability of these two materials, quartz is the clear winner. It’s one of the toughest countertop materials available today. The crushed stone makes quartz very resistant to scratches, stains, and heat. You don’t have to seal quartz counters either.
Laminate is less durable over the long haul. The resin can get scratched or dinged pretty easily. Prolonged exposure to heat or harsh cleaners can damage laminate as well. The material is also prone to swelling if moisture seeps into the edges or seams. Overall, laminate requires more maintenance and care to keep it looking pristine.
Laminate countertops are generally the most affordable option for kitchen and bathroom remodeling projects. The material itself is inexpensive and very easy to install. The total installed cost for laminate counters averages $40-50 per square foot.
Quartz countertops cost 2-3x as much, averaging $80-120 per square foot installed. The crushed stone and resin materials are pricier than laminate. Quartz also requires more cutouts and special installation around sinks and cooktops. But it’s an investment that adds value and beauty to your home for decades.
To keep laminate counters looking like new, you need to be careful about exposing them to excess moisture, heat, and impact. Use cutting boards, trivets, and care when cleaning. Laminate can scratch fairly easily, so treat it gently. Avoid harsh cleaners or abrasive pads.
Quartz requires almost no maintenance. Regular cleaning with soap and water is all it needs to maintain its beauty. No sealing or polishing required. You can cut directly on quartz surfaces without damage. The non-porous material won’t stain from spills either. Overall, quartz is nearly indestructible with normal household use.
Pros and Cons Comparison
| Countertop Material | Pros | Cons |
| Quartz | Very durable, scratch/stain-resistant | Higher cost |
| | Attractive natural appearance | Needs some cutouts for installation |
| | Low maintenance | Heavy material, professional installation advised |
| Laminate | Most affordable option | Less durable over time |
| | Easy DIY installation | Easily scratched/dented |
| | Wide range of colors/patterns | Prone to moisture damage |
| | Simple care and cleaning | Looks more artificial than natural stone |
Which is Better for Your Next Project?
When choosing between quartz and laminate for new countertops, consider your budget, style priorities, and how much maintenance you’re willing to do. Ultimately, quartz is the higher quality material that will last for decades, but laminate can be a cost-effective option if installed properly.
If your budget allows, invest in quartz for beauty, durability, and value enhancement. If you need an affordable facelift, laminate counters offer lots of style and color choices. Be sure to inspect product samples in person before deciding. An experienced kitchen and bath remodeler can also help guide you on the best material options given your goals, lifestyle, and budget constraints.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are answers to some common questions about quartz and laminate countertops:
Is quartz more expensive than laminate?
Yes, quartz countertops are significantly more expensive than laminate, generally 2-3 times the cost installed. Quartz costs $80-120 per square foot on average, while laminate runs $40-50 per square foot installed.
How durable is laminate?
Laminate is fairly durable but not as tough as quartz or natural stone. With proper care and maintenance, laminate can last 10-15 years. But it’s prone to scratches, dents, heat/moisture damage over time.
Can you cut on quartz countertops?
Yes, one benefit of quartz is that it’s very resistant to scratches, chips, and cuts. You can use knives directly on a quartz surface without damage. Always use a cutting board on laminate.
Does quartz need to be sealed?
No, quartz countertops never need sealing because the material is non-porous. Laminate doesn’t require sealing either. This makes maintenance easy for both options.
Which is better for resale value?
Quartz countertops will add more value to your home for resale. Natural stone and quartz are viewed as premium materials that buyers are often willing to pay more for. Laminate is more likely to be seen as needing an upgrade or replacement eventually.
Is laminate outdated?
While laminate has been around for decades, advanced manufacturing processes have allowed laminate counters to remain a viable, affordable, and actively used option in today’s homes. But quartz delivers a more modern, upscale impression overall.
The Bottom Line
When comparing quartz vs. laminate countertops, quartz is the higher quality, more durable, and visually attractive option if you can fit it into your budget. For a very affordable upgrade, laminate still offers plenty of colors and patterns to give your kitchen or bath a fresh new look. Consider how long you plan to stay in the home, your lifestyle, and your goals for resale value as key factors in making your countertop decision. An expert can help guide you to the best choice for your specific renovation.