Marble vs. Granite Countertops

Marble Kitchen Countertops

When shopping for counters with clients the biggest question is marble or granite? At the first meeting usually most clients want white marble; it is in every magazine and home site around. People love the striking, ultra-lux, pure look of white marble. Whether it is Cararra, Calcutta, Statuary, Danby, or Thasos, marble offers a richness that cannot be recreated. No matter how hard you try you will not find a product, natural or manmade that can stand up to the look of white marble.

White Marble

White Marble

Of course white isn’t the only color for marble, this luxurious stone is also available in a verity of creams, greens, browns, and grays, usually with a solid background and veining.

I have found when it comes to marble there are two kinds of people, the ones that love marble the ones who think they love marble. People that love marble, understand life happens and expect to see the inherent characteristics of natural stone become more apparent over time they are generally happy with white marble. People who think they love marble expect their kitchen counters to look relatively the same over time and want a material that requires little to no maintenance, they are generally happy choosing an alternative to white marble.

For those that think they love marble and have to learn the fact that marble will not continue to live up to the pristine condition of which is installed, is usually a crushing blow to their grand image of their dream kitchen. However, this is not a reason to have your kitchen dreams fade away. There are many other options, including a whole new world of manmade materials; great for some, but at the end of the day, most people still want real stone. Don’t get me wrong, manmade materials, such a quartz products and resin products have come a long way, but that a topic for another day.

Kashmire White Granite

Kashmire White Granite

The next choice, and the most recognized choice, for the average American kitchen is granite.

It is usually easy to distinguish marble and granite based on the physical appearance. Granite usually consists of many different colors because it is composed of crystals of different colors. Because it is made of all of these crystals there is not a standard solid white like there is for marble, disappointing for most.

Granite is more widely used than other natural stone materials for counters mostly due to its color variations, less pours nature, and the varying cost. Some granite is readily available and is mined in the US, brining the overall cost to a more reasonable level. For the most part, granite is more affordable and durable than marble making it more popular end choice.

When choosing between these two natural beauties, there some real big differences between them other than color and pattern, and there are some similarities as well. Since granite and marble are both porous (lighter stones are more porous than darker stones), they absorb liquids from spills.

Etched & Stained Countertops

Etched & Stained Countertops

When oils, alcohol or other liquids spill on a marble or granite surface and are not cleaned immediately, they tend to percolate into the space between these crystals. This causes staining. Marble is softer, more porous, and stains and scratches more easily compared with granite. Polishing marble increases its resistance to staining, as does using a sealant. While granite is also porous and susceptible to stains, it is less so compared with most marble. Granite is more durable and more resistant to scratching and heat from cookware.

It is recommended to use sealants on both marble and granite to prevent staining. For marble surfaces, resealing is recommended twice a year while for granite resealing is recommended once every two years (the frequency of resealing depends upon how heavily the surface is used).

Polished vs. Honed Marble

Polished vs. Honed Marble

If you do happen to scratch your counter tops, there are some methods that will help with the overall etching and scratching. You can have a marble honed (which is recommended for kitchens)   to help minimize the appearance of damage such as scratching and etching.

When encountering a stain, it is always best to read labels and contact the company that installed your granite or marble for advice, they usually can come out and help trouble shoot or remove the stain, scratches, and etching.

So in the end, whether you choose granite or marble is a personal choice. There is no right or wrong answer. You will have to decide how much or how little maintenance you are looking for, or if the natural patina of time is something you can live with.

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