If you are thinking of upgrading your kitchen countertop to a natural stone solid surface, Cambria and granite are the most popular choices. Both Cambria and granite are beautiful, but there are many other important factors between the two to consider. I have researched both Cambria and granite and in conclusion there is no question that Cambria is far superior to granite as far as kitchen countertops go. Please look at the differences listed below before making your decision.
Color and Cost
Cambria currently has 100 different colors to choose from and all are fairly consistent in color from one slab to the other. All colors and a wide array of edge profiles are the same price, although Cambria is about 10% more expensive then common grade granite.
Granite has hundreds of colors and no two pieces of granite are the same. Veining patterns, specks, swirls, and pitting all vary between slabs. Premium grade granite is often more expensive then Cambria.
Hardness and Strength
Cambria is composed of 93% pure white quartz crystals and 7% resin and pigment. Quartz is rated 7 on the Mohs scale of hardness (diamond is a 10). Cambria also has 6,800 PSI flexural strength – about twice the strength of granite. Because Cambria is engineered there will not be any fissures, pitting or inclusions that occur naturally in granite that weaken your countertop.
Granite is not a mineral; it’s a combination of minerals including Feldspar, Quartz, Mica, and various other minerals and rocks that provide the wide variety of colors. Granites vary widely in hardness, porosity, chemical resistance, and strength due to the infinite combination of minerals that makeup this general category of stone. Many products (commonly sold as granite) are in fact Migmatite, which is a metamorphic rock. Due to this, the Mohs scale of hardness of common granites will range from the low 5’s (Migmatite) to the upper 6’s. Granite’s flexural strength is between 700 to 5,500 PSI.
Performance and Maintenance
Cambria is maintenance free, you simply clean with soap and water. Cambria nonporous and nonabsorbent making it stain resistant and it never needs to be sealed. Cambria is certified by the NSF International as safe for use as food preparation surface.
Granite is porous and has a delicate surface that is susceptible to acidic foods, fruit juices and cleaners that contain vinegar lemon juice or ammonia. Even with proper sealing granite can be permanently stained or damaged. There are also many questions regarding the potential for bacteria growth on granite since it is a porous material. Bacteria requires several things in order to thrive and grow: oxygen, water, sunlight, nutrients, and a substrate to form on – all readily available on your kitchen countertop. Because of this you need to keep granite sealed regularly.
Cambria does not give off radon gas or any other emissions.
It has been reported that granite may give off radon gas, and in some cases may contain 10 to 20 parts per million of uranium. Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that comes from the natural breakdown (radioactive decay) of uranium that has been linked to lung cancer. It is usually found in igneous rock that is sometimes found in granite. The only way to check accurately to see if your granite countertop has radon is after it is installed with a 24 hour test that you send into a lab.
Cambria only allows it’s product to be measured and installed by installers that have been certified at Cambria University. Countertop sections of Cambria are installed with European seams to give it a seamless look.
There is no quality control for installing granite, anyone is able to install it whether they know what they are doing or not. The incorrect installation of granite countertops can easily lead to very serious and expensive problems. Also, granite is only installed with straight seams that are usually highly visible.
If Cambria is damaged it can be successfully repaired without any visible signs of the repair, and in the rare case that a section needs to be replaced it will closely match the other existing pieces.
If granite chips or cracks it is very difficult to repair without visible signs of the repair and in most cases it will require that the affected section of stone is completely replaced. Unfortunately if you need to replace a damaged section of granite it is next to impossible to match the new piece to the rest of your countertop. The color and veining of granite changes considerably even from the same quarry it was taken from, so if you want all the pieces in your kitchen to match you will end up replacing it all.
Cambria has a limited lifetime warranty with the original purchaser that covers the product and installation.
Granite may come with a 1 year installation warranty, but warranties for the granite countertop itself are generally not available.
Green Sustainability and Low Carbon Footprint
Quartz is a mined product. It is mined through a pipe, one vein at a time and then is backfilled to preserve the integrity of the environment. 70% of the material that is taken out of the vein is used in the finished product.
Granite is also a mined product. It is mined by destroying an entire area of a mountain, rain forest or other area. Approximately only 35% of the initial material becomes the finished product.
Cambria has a lower carbon footprint when compared to granite that requires greater transportation and carbon resources en route to market. Cambria also recycles and recovers 100% of the water used in processing.