ADVICE & TIPS, COUNTERTOPS

Granite vs Marble Countertops – Key Differences & Which Is Best?

Granite and marble: two giants in the realm of natural stone kitchen countertops. Each offers a unique array of colours and textures, and both have been favourites for kitchen installations for decades.

But how do you choose between the classic allure of marble and the enduring strength of granite for your kitchen countertop?

In this post, I’ll explore the key differences between the two to help you make a better-informed choice and know if granite or marble is right for you!

Let’s get into it!

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What Is Granite?

Granite, a classic when it comes to kitchen countertops, is a natural stone formed from cooled magma or lava. It consists primarily of quartz and feldspar with small amounts of mica, amphiboles, and other minerals.

This unique combination gives granite its characteristic grainy appearance and incredible strength. Each granite slab is distinct, offering a wide range of colours and patterns, which means no two countertops are exactly alike.

As a countertop material, granite is highly valued for its durability. It is resistant to scratches, heat, and, to some extent, stains, especially when properly sealed.

Granite countertops are also easy to clean and maintain, requiring just basic care to retain their natural beauty over time.

This blend of durability, functionality, and natural beauty makes granite a popular choice for kitchen countertops.

Granite countertop close-up in kitchen

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What Is Marble?

Marble, a timeless kitchen countertop material, is a metamorphic rock that originates from limestone or dolomite.

It transforms under high pressure and temperature, resulting in its signature crystalline structure. This process gives marble its characteristic veining and a variety of colours, ranging from pure white to shades of green, grey, pink, and black.

Marble’s distinctive veining and soft, subtle hues make it highly desirable for those seeking to add a touch of sophistication and classic beauty to their kitchen.

Like granite, each slab of marble is unique, with patterns and colourations that can’t be exactly replicated.

Marble is a softer and more porous stone compared to granite, which makes it more susceptible to scratching, staining, and etching, especially from acidic substances.

Despite these considerations, marble remains a popular choice for kitchen countertops due to its unparalleled natural beauty and the luxurious aesthetic it brings to a space.

Marble Countertop close-up

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Granite Vs Marble

Appearance

Granite countertops are celebrated for their wide range of colours, including vibrant blues, greens, reds, and more traditional greys, browns, and blacks, allowing for diverse kitchen design choices.

Each granite slab is unique, with a distinct pattern of grains and natural colours, often presenting a more granular appearance and a less uniform look compared to other materials.

On the other hand, marble is known for its classic, elegant appearance, predominantly found in shades of white and grey with unique veining.

Marble’s smooth finish and subtle vein patterns offer timeless elegance, making it a preferred choice for both traditional and contemporary kitchen designs.

Popular Types of Granite

  1. Bianco Romano Granite: Characterized by its creamy white background with grey and light brown veining. It often has small flecks of burgundy or garnet, adding a touch of elegance and warmth.

  2. Black Galaxy Granite: Known for its deep black base with small gold or white flecks, resembling a starry night sky. This type is popular for its dramatic appearance and high gloss finish.

  3. Blue Pearl Granite: Features a dark blue base with light grey and silver flecks, giving it a pearl-like sheen. It’s admired for its luminous and sophisticated appearance.

  4. Absolute Black Granite: A solid black granite with very consistent colour and texture. It’s highly sought after for its sleek, contemporary look and versatility in various design settings.

  5. Ubatuba Granite: This granite has a dark green base, often appearing almost black, with specks of gold, brown, and green. It’s known for its dense and shimmering appearance, making it a popular choice for both modern and traditional designs.

Popular Types of Marble

  1. Carrara Marble: Hailing from Carrara, Italy, this marble is a classic choice, known for its white or blue-grey background with linear, feathery veining. It’s often used in sculptures and building decor.

  2. Calacatta Marble: Also from Italy, this type is rarer than Carrara and is valued for its white background with dramatic, large veins in grey and gold. Calacatta marble is often seen as a symbol of luxury.

  3. Statuario Marble: Highly prized and limited in availability, Statuario is known for its bright white background and distinct, bold veining. It’s one of the most sought-after marbles for high-end projects.

  4. Emperador Marble: Originating from Spain, this marble ranges from light to dark brown and is characterized by irregular veining and fine grains. It’s popular for its rich, warm tones and sophisticated appearance.

  5. Crema Marfil Marble: A Spanish marble, it’s recognized for its creamy beige background with subtle veining. Crema Marfil is versatile and often used in traditional and contemporary designs due to its neutral tones.

Durability (Heat, Stain, & Scratch)

Granite is renowned for its durability, being highly resistant to heat and scratches, making it ideal for kitchens with heavy usage.

It is less porous than marble, which makes it more resistant to stains, a significant advantage in high-traffic kitchen areas.

Marble, while durable, is more prone to scratching and staining, and is particularly sensitive to acidic substances, which can etch its surface.

This makes marble a bit more high-maintenance, especially in busy kitchen environments.

Maintenance

Granite requires sealing upon installation and then periodic resealing, typically once a year, to maintain its stain-resistant properties. Daily cleaning is simple, requiring a soft cloth and mild detergent.

Marble, however, can need more frequent sealing to keep its surface non-porous and prevent staining. It also requires the use of special, pH-neutral cleaners to avoid damage, making it a more maintenance-intensive choice.

Cost

The cost of granite countertops varies, but they are generally slightly less expensive than marble, with average prices starting around £200 per square meter, depending on the colour, design, and origin of the stone.

Marble countertops, seen as a more luxurious option, typically start at about £300 per square meter, with rarer types being significantly more expensive.

Installation costs will add to both, varying by complexity and location.

Lifespan

Granite countertops are extremely long-lasting, often maintaining their aesthetic appeal for decades with proper care, making them a practical long-term investment for kitchens.

Marble also has a long lifespan when properly maintained, though it is prone to etching and staining over time, which can affect its appearance.

Regular maintenance can preserve marble’s beauty, but it may develop a patina, which some homeowners find appealing.

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Which Is Better; Granite or Marble?

The decision between the two often hinges on personal preferences, usage needs, and budget considerations.

Granite offers a balance of durability, low maintenance, and cost-effectiveness, making it a practical choice for many homeowners.

Marble, while more costly and demanding in terms of care, brings a unique elegance and luxury that can enhance the aesthetic value of a kitchen.

So, if it’s purely durability you’re after, go with granite. However, if you’re in love with the look of marble, there’s nothing quite like it. Just know what you’re getting yourself in for! 😃

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Author

Michael from Kitchinsider.com

Michael is a kitchen designer from the UK. He's been designing and project managing new kitchen installations for over 10 years. Before that, he was an electrician and part of a team that fitted kitchens. He created Kitchinsider in early 2019 to help give people advice when it comes to getting a new kitchen.