Do you want to give your old kitchen a fresh look by installing a new kitchen island, but you cannot fix one option? With innumerable kitchen countertop materials available, picking one sometimes gets quite exhausting.
With polished Granite dominating in the game of most popular kitchen countertop materials, marble is not yet out of style. According to a report by mlive, Granite is the second most popular kitchen countertop material, while marble is the third most popular.
Granite now accounts for a quarter of all countertop materials available. The popularity of Granite is due to its high resistant properties, wide range of color options, and increased durability.
Furthermore, quartz is a popular choice among many people. Surprisingly, quartz countertops are far more durable and harder than Granite. Quartz, unlike Granite, is also non-porous and does not necessitate the additional cost of sealing.
On the other hand, marble isn’t far behind in the race. Because of its adaptability, capacity to tolerate extreme heat, and variety of color materials, marble countertops and backsplashes have been the first option for many homeowners.
Now that you’ve restricted your
countertop alternatives to two: Granite and marble countertops; after much contemplation and planning, let’s talk about Granite and marble counters.
Let’s start with a quick summary/overview to assist you in assessing the contents before diving into the details.
|Characteristics|| Granite countertop||Marble countertop||Quartz countertop|
|Appearance||Natural stones come in dark shades of orange, pink, green, and blue.||Natural stones come in shades of white, black, and pink.||The engineered stone comes in shades of brown, grey, white, beige, and black.|
|Design (patterns)||Granular.||Veins run through the surface.||It can mimic the It can pattern of marble.|
|Hardness||Hard.||Softer in comparison.||Very hard.|
|Cost (Starting price)||$75 per square foot||$100 per square foot||$70 to $100 per square foot.|
|Durability||Highly durable if sealed.||Long-lasting, if sealed.||Most durable.|
|Stain-resistant||Yes, if sealed.||Lesser resistance||Yes.|
|scratch-resistant||Yes.||More secondary resistance||Yes.|
|Difficult to install?||Yes.||Yes.||Yes.|
|Vulnerability||No, if properly sealed.||Vulnerable to acidic foods and liquids.||Heat can damage the slab.|
|Maintenance||Requires moderate maintenance once sealed.||Requires higher maintenance even after sealing, as it readily reacts with acidic substances.||Low maintenance and easy cleaning.|
|Resale value||20-25% of retail value.||Fairly similar if the slab is properly maintained.||Unpredictable depends on the condition of the countertop.|
What are granite countertops?
Granite is a natural stone and an intrusive igneous rock formed from the cooling and crystallization of molten lava due to volcanic eruption.
Granite is available primarily in mountainous regions or near the continental crusts.
Upon mining the giant stones of granites from these quarries, the rocks go through multiple steps to become kitchen countertops. It is then cut into slabs, trimmed, and polished to make it a countertop.
The plutonic rock majorly consists of orthoclase, plagioclase, quartz, feldspar, colored minerals, sand, and mica. The chemical composition of granite is as follows: 70-77% silica, 11-13% alumina, 3-5% potassium oxide, 3-5% soda, 1% lime, 2-3% total iron, and less than 1% magnesia and titania.
These chemicals and other stones give Granite its physical appearance, hardness, and durability.
Due to the presence of quartz and feldspar, granite countertops are much harder and more robust than other countertop materials. Therefore, it is much less likely to crack and more durable.
Granite countertops are typically available in dark colors, including white, black, brown, beige, blue, and red. There are different types of granite countertops available – based on their appearance and color compositions; some are Black galaxy granite, Baltic brown Granite, and Uba Tuba granite.
Therefore, Granite is the most popular kitchen countertop material for many homeowners. However, with all the benefits granite offers as a countertop material, it also has drawbacks.
Some of the pros and cons of granite countertops are:
Some of the advantages of choosing a granite kitchen countertop are:
Variety of colors and patterns
Can you believe there are more than 200 different colors and designs of granite stones on the planet’s surface? Because Granite is a natural stone extracted from solidifying molten lava, each crystal rock obtained is unique and different.
Interestingly, each granite stone contains a varied proportion and mix of minerals. Granite slabs come in various color combinations and patterns, as each mineral has its unique shade of color.
Additionally, granite countertops are phaneritic (medium to coarse-grained), which gives Granite its eye-catching pattern.
Therefore, granite countertops enhance the look of your kitchen, as it adds up an aesthetic appeal.
Granite, along with its other characteristics, is resistant to a variety of things, including
Due to its hardness, Granite is the most resistant countertop material to damage compared to others. This, as a result, makes Granite resistant to heat.
Granite can sustain heat variations of up to 480°F and high temperatures of up to 1200°F. It can, however, crack if exposed to hot pans for a prolonged period. Even a sudden change in temperature exposure can affect the countertop slab.
Tip: To be safe, using a trivet or heating pad can save your countertop from sudden temperature changes.
Granite is the most rigid and most durable countertop material available. Sharp items do not easily scratch due to their toughness. If you drop the sharpest thing by accident, the slab may break, but no one will notice it due to its dark shades of colors and patterns.
Therefore, you can use the countertop for most kitchen activities, like chopping and cutting vegetables!
What if you accidentally scratch your granite countertop, and you have to fix it?
You can remove scratches from granite countertops by wiping them simply with warm water and soap. In case of deep scratches, you can consult an expert who could fix them using a diamond sanding pad and polishing.
Quartz is the stain-resistant countertop, but Granite can be as stain-resistant as quartz if adequately treated.
Because Granite is a porous stone, liquids such as wine, juice, acidic foods, and oil can permeate the slab and discolor the countertop. Bacteria can develop in the pores of natural stone in the worst-case situation.
Sealing: Granite is a stain-resistant material, but fabricators and experts recommend sealing your countertops. You can either seal the countertop permanently or renew it every year or two. The granite countertop’s resealing, on the other hand, is dependent on its quality and upkeep.
Granite has a lesser maintenance and care requirement than other countertop materials. However, all you have to do to keep your Granite counters clean and sanitary is to gently wipe the slab using a disinfectant.
Clean the countertop with mild detergents, a microfiber cloth, and warm water regularly. Make sure to avoid harsh and acidic chemicals.
Higher resale value
Granite is an excellent investment since it raises the value of your home. Granite is a popular countertop material, so it’s an attractive option for many customers.
The installation of natural stone granite as a kitchen countertop raises the resale value by about 25% over the retail price.
Some of the disadvantages of choosing granite counters are:
While Granite is highly resistant and durable, the countertop may crack or break if you accidentally drop a heavy object, such as a meat cleaver.
Difficult to install
A 34-inch granite slab could weigh nearly 13 pounds per square foot. This may be too much for some cabinet structures.
As a result, granite countertops are extremely heavy, necessitating the installation of substantial support systems.
Weak support systems or cabinets can lead to safety concerns and can cause damage to the cabinetry. Therefore, you must thoroughly blanch the countertop.
Granite is a costly countertop material in comparison to other materials like laminate.
A standard granite countertop costs roughly $3,300 on average. The price of a larger countertop rises in tandem with the size of the slab; in other words, if you pay more for a larger countertop, you’ll pay more.
The price per square foot for a granite countertop is as follows:
|Type||Price per square foot|
What are marble countertops?
Marble is made up of purely natural stones and is a metamorphic rock. Marble stones are well-known for their appealing appearance and intricate patterns.
It is formed by the re-crystallization of sedimentary limestone beneath the Earth’s surface under extreme pressure, heat, and temperature.
After you extract the giant marble stones, they go through a series of cutting processes before getting transformed into kitchen countertops. Before being turned into kitchen countertops, Marble massive stones are cut using various methods.
Marble primarily consists of carbon compounds such as calcite and dolomite. In addition to these, it also contains serpentine. The chemical composition of marble is as follows: 38–42% lime (CaO), 20–25% Silica (SiO2), 2–4% Alumina (Al2O3), 1.5–2.5% oxides (NaO and MgO), and 30–32% (MgCO3 and others).
These chemicals and a mixture of other stones give Granite its physical appearance, such as patterns of veins.
Marble counters are typically available in various colors such as Blues, grays, pinks, and reds. Sometimes marble can also have colors such as green, purple and yellow. There are different types of marble countertops available – based on their appearance and color compositions; some of these are Carrara marble, Calacatta marble, honed Marble, and Polished Marble.
Honed marble countertops are sometimes preferred over polished marble countertops by homeowners. Honed marbles are the ones that have not been polished; as a result, honed marbles have a matte appearance that provides the kitchen with a natural look and feel.
Compared to Granite and other materials, marble countertops have pros and limitations. Marble, for example, is less durable and heat resistant than Granite due to a variety of causes. Furthermore, marble is significantly more expensive than Granite.
Some of the pros and cons of granite countertops are
Some of the advantages of choosing granite countertops are:
Varied patterns (veining)
Marble countertops are typically lighter in color than granite counters, such as white and greyish. Marble counters have a distinct appearance due to their exquisite veining patterns, in addition to color tones.
What is marble veining?
Marble, like Granite and other minerals, is mined, and each one is subjected to distinct environmental conditions, resulting in varying mineral compositions. Variation in the traces of various mineral compositions (due to water evaporation) results in veining, producing varied branch-like patterns on the stones.
Sometimes the unique veining of marble stones is also a result of the impurities from the limestone heated under high pressure and temperature.
Therefore, marble countertops go hand in hand with contemporary and traditional kitchen decor themes.
Things to know: Due to its beauty and aesthetic appeal, marble is used in some of the most famous historical sculptures and buildings.
Marble countertops are naturally cool because they feel cool when you touch them. This is because marble countertops have excellent thermal conductivity and do not readily absorb heat.
As a result, marble countertops are relatively heat resistant. As a result, if properly sealed, they are not easily impacted by hot pans placed on top of them.
Carrara marbles can uphold the highest temperatures, up to 480℉. Other marble countertops may start to crack or break above 329℉. This is lesser than that of Granite’s heat resistance capacity. However, sealing does make marbles more resistant than this.
Because marble is porous, it is susceptible to staining from the seepage of oil, juice, and other staining liquids like wine. Marble is so sensitive to acidic substances that it can readily discolor, even if it is well-cared.
Polished marbles are more resistant to stains in comparison to honed marbles.
What if the marble countertop gets stained? What can you do to fix it?
Sealers that grant impeachment can be utilized, such as Impregnating sealers. This reaches beneath the slab’s surface and resists the absorption of liquids that cause staining.
Marble countertops are very susceptible to etching due to calcium carbonate in it. Etching is the discoloring of marble countertops by absorbing acidic liquids and food. If you expose the countertop to such fluids for an extended period, it may cause the countertop to get permanently etched. As a result, the countertop can get discolored and lose its original texture.
Can you treat/prevent the etching of your marble countertop?
You can either protect the etching by adequately maintaining the surface and taking great care of it. Or you can even coat the marble with chemicals to prevent absorption.
Marble is the most expensive countertop material. This is because f the elegance and aesthetic touch marble adds to your kitchen interiors. Marble countertops can cost around $100 per square foot and over $200 per square foot.
To reduce the countertop price, you can look for the marble slab, which is lesser color graded.
Requires High Maintenance
As marble is prone to getting stained and etched, it needs to be highly maintained and taken care of.
Use a dry cloth and mild (pH neutral) detergents to clean the countertop. Do not let water seep through the surface of the countertop. Additionally, use trivets to keep hot pans and pots on the marble.
Before installing the countertop, make sure to seal the surface to prevent the discoloring and dullness of the countertop in the long run.
You may need to reseal the countertop frequently. If water darts through the surface, it’s time to reseal.
What are quartz countertops?
Unlike Granite and marble, quartz countertops are frequently referred to as “man-made” or “engineered stones,” even though quartz is a natural stone.
Although quartz countertops are mainly formed of quartz stones, they contain certain man-made chemicals and elements and thus are referred to as engineered. Natural Quartz (a mixture of crushed Granite, marble, and other industrial wastes) accounts for 95% of the total, with polymer resins accounting for 5%.
For many individuals, quartz is popular and trustworthy countertop material. This is due to its extreme hardness longevity. With this, quartz countertops are even highly resistant to stain and easy to maintain as they can be repaired much easier than natural stones.
Additionally, quartz countertops come in varied patterns and designs. This is based on how the quartz is crushed to make the slabs.
Some of the pros and cons of granite countertops are
Some of the advantages of choosing granite countertops are:
Highly durable and hard
Quartz countertops can last for much longer than Granite or marble; it is highly durable and long-lasting. The countertop surface is so hard that it is sometimes also guaranteed as indestructible by manufacturers.
In fact, many homeowners buy quartz due to its hardness and durability, as it can last for decades without having to repair.
According to the Mohs scale of measuring the hardness of minerals, quartz ranks 7/10 due to quartz’s durability and hardness.
However, even though quartz is almost indestructible, you should not be careless as in extreme conditions, the slab may get cracked or chipped.
Unlike the other materials, quartz countertops are non-porous. Therefore, liquids or acidic things cannot seep through the slabs and make them stained.
Spillage and stains from liquids or food can be easily cleaned from the surface. Thus, you would not even require o seal the slabs like Granite.
Comparatively, quartz countertops are the easiest material to maintain. For instance, all you will have to do is clean the slabs with detergent or even a cloth works.
Additionally, you will not even have to worry about sealing or resealing the countertop.
Wide range of designs
Quartz countertops are contemporary and offer a sleek and glossy finish to your kitchen interiors. Unlike natural stones, there are no such limitations in quartz countertops’ patterns and color shades.
You can possibly customize the countertops in whichever design, pattern, or shade of color you prefer. For example, you can even customize it to match the granular look of granites, or you can even add the veinings of a marble.
Some of the disadvantages of choosing quartz countertops are:
The average cost of quartz is around $70 to $200 per square foot. However, this could potentially vary based on the quality, design, color, and other factors.
Even though quartz may cost a bit higher than marble, it is less expensive than Granite.
Non-resistant to heat
Unlike Granite and marble, quartz countertops are susceptible to getting damaged by heat and high temperatures. This is because the quartz stones are non-resistant to heat; however, the raisin polymers aren’t.
The exact threshold temperature of quartz countertops cannot be predicted as it entirely depends on their quality of it. However, experts restrict the use of quartz countertops for indoor purposes, and As a result, you cannot use them outdoors.
Even hot vessels and pans placed on the countertop can result in permanent heat damage.
Challenging installation process
Quartz countertops are extremely heavy, so they cannot be easily installed. Therefore, one cannot opt for a DIY installation with quartz. A normal quartz countertop can easily weigh between 20-25 pounds per square foot.
Thus, professionals are required to place the slab properly, which makes quartz countertops even more expensive.
12 key differences and similarities between Granite and marble countertops:
Now that we’ve looked at the differences between Granite, Quartz, and marble countertops, let’s look at the pros and cons of each. Let’s look at both sides by side to see the main differences and similarities and whether one is better than the other.
Both are natural stones, with Granite being an igneous rock and marble being a metamorphic stone.
Marble consists of calcium carbonate minerals like calcite and dolomite, whereas Granite is mostly quartz and feldspar. One can determine the color and shape of the countertop materials by the compositions and mixtures of various minerals.
Quartz is an ‘engineered stone consisting of quartz stones and polymer raisins, along with other synthetic minerals and components.
Summary – What goes into forming these different countertop materials, eventually decides the rest of the characteristics listed in the article ahead.
Granite is the top choice of many people, as it offers several advantages with great convenience. As per data, 64% of the demand is for Granite, which is more than half of the total demand.
However, other countertop materials like quartz and marble are also coming into style as modern technologies and advances can enhance the look and quality of engineered stones such as quartz. This makes it more appealing to potential buyers.
Summary – Granite is the most preferred countertop material by many homeowners, however, others such as quartz and granite are also gaining popularity
All of these countertop materials are one-of-a-kind in their own special manner. Marble features vein patterns, whereas Granite has a gritty appearance. Furthermore, Granite has a gleaming and glossy appearance, whereas marble has a little dull appearance.
As previously said, granite counters come in dark tones, whereas marble comes in light shades such as white and grey.
Comparatively, quartz countertops offer a sleeky look, customized to provide unlimited designs and patterns. It can even mimic the appearance of marble and Granite.
These countertop materials offer uniqueness as no two slabs of either Granite, Quartz, or marble are similar; they have different color variations and patterns.
Summary – At the end of the day, you can determine the beauty of an object based on your own personal taste!
Granite is highly rich in silicate; thus, it is much stronger than marble. As a result, Granite is less prone to scratching or cracking.
Granite is more resistant to heat, stains, and scratching than marble. This is due to the solid and hard nature of Granite. Even though both marble and Granite are porous materials, Granite resists liquids and acidic stuff seeping much better than marble.
Once you seal, you can protect your Granite countertop for longer. At the same time, marble requires regular sealing to retain its original look and beauty.
On the other hand, quartz is non-porous and thus resistant to getting stained. However, it is very susceptible to getting damaged by heat. Also, it is tough and so resistant to scratches from sharp objects like knives.
Note: You can treat minor scratches or cracks on natural stone materials with the use of epoxy.
Summary – For indoor use, quartz is a great option. However, if you are considering for outdoors, granite could be the right preference.
While Granite and marble are non-porous countertop materials, quartz is extremely non-porous. This means liquids and food items cannot penetrate through the slabs through the pores. As a result, there are no chances for Quartz countertops to get stained or for bacteria to grow in the slabs.
However, Granite can be sealed at regular intervals to protect it from such things.
Summary – Non-porous countertop materials are therefore much easier to handle, as they do not require sealing or resealing.
Granite is more durable than marble due to quartz, feldspar, mica, and sand. All these minerals are packed in the stone as small granules. This makes it more robust and resistant to cracks and damage.
However, quartz is the most durable countertop material among all three.
Summary – In short, Quartz is a win-win situation in terms of durability. However, you can surely add a layer of protection to granite by sealing it with a protector.
According to a report by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, granite stones can emit certain radon radiation over the course of use. This is due to the presence of veins of certain naturally occurring radiating chemicals like uranium and thorium.
Additionally, the presence of radon and other radiating elements can emit beta and gamma radiation. However, this is in a very small amount and thus can be diluted with ventilation.
On the other hand, quartz and marble countertops are very much environmentally-friendly and very less toxic.
Summary – Granite may emit some radiation, but overall all these materials are not very toxic.
Indoor use or outdoor use?
Granite and marble countertops are suitable for both indoor and outdoor usage. However, quartz countertops are non-resistant to heat, thus can get destroyed by the sun’s heat. This is because the resins in the slabs get damaged by high temperatures.
Therefore, Quartz countertops are more susceptible to getting damaged and cracked in high temperatures and so are highly recommended for indoor use only.
Summary – Granite, and marble are more preferred for outdoor use.
Cleaning and maintenance
Both the countertop materials (Quartz and sealed Granite) require the same amount of cleaning and maintenance. Both require cleaning with a dry cloth and mild detergents.
However, as marble is more vulnerable to acidic liquids, it can easily itch. Thus, it requires greater maintenance and cleaning than marble. Great care and a sense of responsibility must be there to properly maintain the surface and prevent it from losing its color and becoming dull over time.
Summary – Overall, Quartz has lesser hassle to prevent it from getting damaged as it is non-porous. So if you are the lazy one, Quartz could be a more preferred option for you.
The process of converting stones to countertops is similar for both of these countertop materials. To convert the stones to a countertop, it must first go through a series of steps. It begins with the mining of natural rocks, followed by slab cutting, fabrication, and polishing to create a stunning kitchen countertop.
You will have to hire a professional to perfectly attach the countertop to the cabinet.
Summary – Before finalizing your preferred choice, you should think of the hassles you might have to go. All Granite, Quartz, and Marble are heavy-weight materials that require a robust support system to place upon.
Every countertop material comes in a range of costs.
Marble countertops are the most expensive countertop material. Carrara marbles are the preferred choice for many homeowners if they choose to go with Marble over Quartz and Granite. This is because Carrara marbles are the cheapest on the list of other marble countertops.
At times, Countertop costs increase due to its shipping process as well. The greater the cost of shipping a countertop, the further the cost will go. Therefore, the countries of origin for each of these materials matter.
Marble originates from Spain, Greece, Turkey, Egypt, Brazil, Canada, India, and China. In contrast, Granite originates from Brazil, Canada, India, and China.
Summary – Therefore, as you can see in the table above, granite countertops are costly but lesser than marble countertops. While Quartz is more expensive than marble but cheaper than granite.
Any type of countertop installation in your kitchen eventually adds to the resale value of a properly maintained kitchen. Countertops such as Granite and Marble offer an aesthetic touch to the kitchen and so are eye-catching for potential buyers.
On the other hand, Granite has a resale value of around 25% of its retail value due to its durability and ability to retain its natural beauty for a longer time. Based on the type and condition of marble, you can achieve a good value for money. Though quartz is an engineered countertop, it has no resale value.
Summary – If properly maintained and taken care of to replenish its natural look, any countertop can increase the resale value of your house.