There used to be a time when granite was the only word you'd hear from home owners fantasizing about their dream kitchens.
With their classic elegance and good , it's no wonder granite countertops have reigned at the top of home design wish lists. Until now. Turns out, more designers are turning to another material for kitchen counters: quartz.
In their most recent trends report, the National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) cites as on the rise, particularly within the last five years, while interest in granite has declined.
More than 450 designers participated in the organization's 2016 Design Trends Survey, which has been tracking trends in kitchen and bath design every year since 2010.
In 2010, 73% of responding members reported using quartz in their kitchen projects. By 2015, that number rose 16 points to 89%, with 67% expecting to do more projects involving quartz in 2016.
On the other hand, homeowners themselves reported favoring granite countertops with 41% choosing the material for their kitchen renovation projects in 2016, according to Statista, one of the Internet's leading statistics companies. , however, wasn't far behind at 40%.
So what is it that makes quartz so appealing? We got some designers to weigh in.
1) Quartz countertops are no-fuss.
As opposed to granite, which is a natural stone, , formed from about 90% quartz with binders like resins and polymers and various pigments for color making up the rest, reports Forbes.
"Thanks to the quartz content, it's tough and super durable and resistant to stains and scratches," says , principal designer at B Interior in New York City. "In terms of maintenance, the surface requires none, so no sealants and wax are needed."
As quartz countertops are non-porous, it also makes them easier to clean and fend off bacteria — basically a parent's dream.
"Quartz counter tops have been a first choice for all our kitchen projects — the durability for young families is unparalleled," says of Jenn Feldman Designs in Los Angeles.
Just keep in mind quartz surfaces are , reports Apartment Therapy, so setting hot pots or pans directly on the counter would be a big no-no.
2. Quartz can fit practically any style.
It also comes in a wide range of colors, unlike granite, which can be more limited due to the natural process from which it is made.
Manufacturers these days are able to produce quartz countertops in everything from solid colors to imitation granite that almost no one would suspect isn't the real thing.
"Some styles resemble natural stone in a way that it's almost impossible to differentiate,"says.
While most quartz countertops are known for their smooth and shiny finish, it can go beyond the polished look, too. , for instance, offers a suede texture with a softer feel as well as a volcano texture that's pitted for a more rustic look.
"With so many aesthetic choices available it allows us to control the overall color and texture throughout the design process, making kitchen spaces streamlined and modern with all the added benefits," Feldman adds.
Bottom line: Quartz will never leave you wanting for options.
3. Quartz makes a great investment piece.
Blaustein says that the cost of quartz ranges from $80 to $140 per square foot, while granite starts at about $80 and can go to $175 or slightly higher.
But thanks to its durability, quartz can prove cost-effective in the long-run.
"While upfront costs may seem higher for quartz, the lack of maintenance costs over time will far outweigh any comparisons to granite," Feldman says.
Now the only question left on our minds: Granite, who?