Granite vs Marble Countertops – What’s the Difference and Which is Best?

Granite vs Marble Countertops

If you’re finding it difficult to choose whether to use granite or marble for your new kitchen countertop, it might be good to consider some of the factors that could help you choose between the two.

Your kitchen countertop will be the working area and the centre of your food preparations. Of course, you want a beautiful countertop that matches your kitchen cabinets and fixtures. But more than that, you want a countertop that is durable and can withstand pounding, spilling, and staining.

In this post, I’ll explain what granite and marble are made of, and what their advantages and disadvantages are. After reading, you will be able to make a better-informed choice and know if granite or marble is right for you!

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What is Granite?

Granite is a hard igneous rock made of volcanic material. It is formed when magma slowly crystallizes just below the Earth’s surface. Granite is made of composite minerals including quartz and feldspar. Because it is an igneous rock, granite is also porous.

Granite’s mineral composition means it usually has various shades of colour, including red, pink, white, and grey. But other shades of colour are also commercially available, including green, blue, and brown. The shades of colour are due mainly to the large size of mineral deposits that are visible to the naked eye.

Granite is ideal for countertops because of its natural hardness and durability. As a countertop, it has a hard surface that resists most scratching or abrasions, it can withstand prolonged weathering, has a strong heat resistance and can be polished to achieve a desirable sheen.

Top tip: to keep your countertop looking great, you will need to clean it regularly with specialist products. Occassionally, you’ll also need to reseal the countertop. Taking these extra steps will keep your granite at it’s best.

Granite countertop close-up in kitchen

The Most Common Types of Granite:
(based on their dominant colour)

  • White: White granite is not pure white. It may have a heavy milky white overall colour because of the dominance of quartz. There are also often intricate patterns of off-white blots and streaks all over due to the presence of feldspar. White may also contain some darker specks from trace amounts of other minerals present.
  • Black: On the opposite spectrum there is black granite. Black granite is made of gabbro rock. Still harder than marble, its black colour comes from its dominant minerals, namely plagioclase and pyroxene.
    Black granite may have whitish linear patterns, or tiny specks that resemble stars in the night sky (galaxy). Some have specks of various colours including green, gold, and brown.
  • Brown: Dominant brown granite incorporates different colours including gold, red, dark orange, and grey in varying concentrations that create earthy, natural tones of colour. Venetian Gold granite is almost a composite of gold and beige, with patterns of brown.
  • Grey: Grey is an elegant colour, especially when dotted with flecks of red, rust, silver, or gold. But you can find grey granite that has only specks and patches of grey of varying shades, giving it a steel-like appearance. This often comes from India.

Pros and Cons of Using Granite for Your Countertop

Advantages of Granite Countertops:

  1. Durable. Granite lasts a lifetime.
  2. Increases the value of your home. Makes your kitchen appealing and attractive.
  3. Good heat resistance. Can withstand high temperature, including pans straight from the oven.
  4. Easy to clean and disinfect. A simple wipe will take care of most messes.

Disadvantages of Granite Countertops:

  1. Porous. Requires treatment and sealing to keep it top notch.
  2. No consistent colour and pattern between slabs. Because granite is a natural material. You get what you get!
  3. Labour-intensive to install, and as expected, more expensive to install.
  4. Quite heavy and needs a more sturdy or reinforced support, especially for long slabs.
Granite Countertop Ideas

What is Marble?

Marble is a rock formed by subjecting limestone to extremely high temperatures and pressure under the Earth. This changes the characteristics of limestone, making it a lot more dense and hard. Because of the physical changes (recrystallizing) that the limestone undergoes, marble is called a metamorphic rock. Marble is also porous.

The most observable characteristic of marble, especially finished and polished marble, are the artistic veins and patches that mark its surface. These patterns that alternate with the dominant colour of the polished marble slab, is what makes marble very attractive and appealing as a countertop.

Marble Countertop

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The Most Common Types of Marble.

  • Carrara. Carrara marble is predominantly white in colour with intricate vein patterns including grey and gold. It looks similar to the more uncommon and expensive type, namely, the Calacatta marble.
  • Calacatta. The Calacatta marble has thick vein patterns and is a brighter white than the Carrara marble. A very luxurious and desirable marble.
  • Statuary. Statuary is also a white marble, but has veins that are fine and subtle.
  • Nero Marquina. If you are looking for black marble, Nero Marquina is the most popular option. This elegant black marble has white veins that will give your countertop a dazzling appearance.
  • Crema Marfil. This is a beige or yellowish marble. The marble is marked with irregular vein patterns and is typically used for kitchen countertops because of its complementary colour.
  • Talathello. Also called Silver Beige marble, Talathello comes in light grey with irregular white to grey veins and streaks.
  • Emperador. Emperador comes with a light to dark grey background with feathery white to grey vein patterns.

Pros and Cons of Using Marble for Your Countertop

Advantages of Marble Countertops:

  1. Attractive and very appealing. Adds value to your kitchen and home.
  2. Naturally cool, temperature-wise. Good for bakers!
  3. Price. Options like carrara can be cheaper than other hard countertop surfaces.

Disadvantages of Marble Countertops:

  1. Porous. Requires treatment and sealing to make sure it stays in tact.
  2. Scratches easily. Maybe not a great option for chaotic kitchens.
  3. Susceptible to acidic substances. You’ll need to stay on top of any spills.
  4. Stains easily. Again, marble countertops need extra care and attention to keep them looking great.

Final thoughts…

Your choice between granite and marble depends on your priorities for your kitchen countertop. But generally speaking, granite has more advantages than disadvantages with respect to what matters most for a kitchen countertop. That is, durability.

Marble may have the advantage when it comes to attractiveness and appeal because of its veining patterns and luxurious look.

However, after 10 years or so, your marble countertop will lose its sheen and will no longer be as bright and shiny as when it was new. Granite, on the other hand, does not lose its original lustre. It will last you a lifetime.

When it comes to durability, granite has all the advantages. Granite is scratch-proof, heat-proof, and it’s even bacteria-proof. The reason for these advantages is because granite comes from superior materials from mother nature. Although both marble and granite are naturally porous, granite is made from naturally sturdier materials than marble.

Marble is elegant and attractive. But considering all factors, the advantages point to granite as the countertop of choice. It’s now just a matter of choosing what colour matches the overall theme of your kitchen.