Marble and granite countertops have more similarities than differences. Specifically, they are both gorgeous natural stone materials and they both require a significant amount of care. That’s the good and the bad.
With some TLC, however, both granite and marble countertops will keep their fantastic looks for decades, elevating the beauty of your kitchen, bathroom, office, laundry area or wet bar.
Let’s get more specific about comparing marble and granite countertops.
Getting to Know Marble and Granite
These are natural stone materials, and both are porous. If you want the technical details, marble is a metamorphic rock formed from recrystallized carbon. It is formed out of limestone that is subjected to intense pressure and heat due to tectonic shifting in the earth’s crust.
On the other hand, granite is an igneous rock composed of grains of compressed quartz, feldspar, mica and similar materials. This means that granite is slightly harder than marble, but both offer reasonably good durability.
Granite vs. Marble Countertops
Comparing marble and granite head to head in important categories will assist you in deciding which stone to use in your building or renovation project.
Appearance: These are both beautiful options for countertops. Granite shows the grains we mentioned. They appear as specks that are varied in color, so a granite slab might contain a variety of hues – blue, green, orange, pink, red, etc., typically in medium to dark shades.
The “pattern” is larger in marble. The color tends to be fairly consistent with veins running through it that concentrate the color. A gray-blue slab of marble might have darker blue veins; a gray-pink slab might contain veins that are quite rosy-red in color.
Beauty is subjective, of course. Get your eyes on a large number of both marble and granite slabs to make the determination of which material you find to be more attractive.
Hardness and Durability: Granite is harder than marble, so it is more resistant to chips and scratches. Both materials are heat resistant, though caution should be used with hot pots and pans in the kitchen or hot hair tools in the bathroom.
Both marble and granite countertops are quite durable, but ONLY if they are properly sealed every one or two years. Granite and marble are porous, so without a seal, liquids will penetrate and stain.
When the seal fades and is not replaced, these stones can be easily marred by oil, wine, juice and anything acidic. Marble is especially vulnerable to acidic foods and liquids, so be very careful to keep them off the marble or to clean up immediately after contact.
Countertop Maintenance: Most experts agree that granite requires moderate maintenance when compared with solid surface, quartz, laminate, glass or ceramic tile.
Marble is moderate to high maintenance. The care involved is keeping it sealed, avoiding acidic materials and wiping up spills quickly.
Marble and Granite Countertop Prices
Granite countertop prices are slightly lower than marble countertop costs. Granite begins at about $75 per square foot installed. Marble starts at closer to $100 per square foot installed. The best granite countertops can cost $175 per square foot installed while marble can top $200.
The complexity of the job – the number of seams and corners and the style of sink you select – will have an impact on countertop costs too.
Getting at least three written estimates from countertop contractors will allow you to find the best countertop prices and most experienced installers in your area.
If you are willing to provide more maintenance in return for the elegant, lasting beauty of natural stone, then consider marble or granite. Either one will take your kitchen or bathroom to the next level of luxurious living.