Granite vs. Marble Countertops (6 Main Differences)

Are you trying to decide between a granite countertop or a marble one?

Unsure of the differences between these two natural stone countertops?

In this guide, we will break down 6 of the most important differences between these two countertops so that you can make an informed decision.

So without further ado…

Here are the 6 main differences between granite and marble countertops.

1. Composition

Granite is an igneous rock formed by the solidification and cooling of magma over millions of years inside the Earth.

It’s primarily composed of Feldspar and Quartz, two very hard minerals.

On the other hand, marble is a metamorphic stone created by the transformation of sedimentary rocks.

This transformation occurs under intense heat and pressure.

It imparts different colors to the marble due to other minerals being incorporated into it.

Marble is softer than granite because it’s mainly composed of Calcium Carbonate.

Further Reading: How Granite Countertops Are Made in 5 Steps

2. Appearance

Many homeowners love granite countertops for their diverse colors, patterns, and variations.

From white and beige to brown, copper, pink, and black, each slab offers unique subtle specks or streaks that no other countertop material has.

However, remember that the red or blue options may seem like a statement piece but can become less fashionable over time.

Marble countertops also provide a timeless look with unique veining and natural beauty.

White and cream colors are common in marble countertops. However, tan, brown, black, or gray marble might suit your needs.

The vein coloring of marble usually ranges from gold to grey, while patterns are usually fine lines or more distinct strokes.

Both granite and marble countertops come in polished, honed, leather, or brushed finishes.

So you can choose a shiny, matte, or textured look that matches your kitchen design.

No matter which stone you choose for your countertop, it will make a beautiful statement for years to come.

3. Stain Resistance

Marble can change its structure over time, making it porous.

This porosity makes marble countertops vulnerable to stains from substances such as tomato sauce, wine, juice, lemons, etc.

Stains stay permanently because the liquid gets absorbed into the marble.

Conversely, granite’s extreme density means that it’s highly unlikely to absorb these liquids if the countertop is sealed correctly.

This preserves its appearance and protects it from staining.

4. Maintenance

Granite countertops require annual sealing to ensure that their surface stays water-resistant.

When sealed properly, you will notice water beading up on the surface.

Minor scratches or chips in granite countertops can be repaired with stone epoxy.

Though granite is generally easier to maintain than marble, busy kitchens may need extra attention.

Marble countertops must always be protected with a sealant designed for porous stone surfaces.

You will also have to clean the spills immediately to avoid acidic liquids such as lemon juice from staining or etching into the stone.

For regular cleaning, use neutral pH cleaning agents to preserve the color of your marble counters.

Minor damage to granite or marble countertops can be fixed with color-matching epoxy or resin.

However, a professional installer should address cracks larger than an ice cube to prevent further damage.

5. Durability

Durable granite countertops

Granite and marble have different physical properties that make them suitable for different uses.

Granite has a hardness of 6 to 7 on the Mohs scale, making it an ideal material for kitchen counters.

It’s also highly resistant to scratches and heat damage.

However, marble has a lower rating of 3 to 5 on the Mohs scale.

So it can easily get damaged from everyday kitchen tasks or when it comes in contact with hot pans and dishes.

Marble is best suited for low-traffic spots such as bathroom vanities and fireplace surrounds.

Granite will last longer in high-traffic areas since it can easily withstand scratching and heat damage.

6. Cost

Granite countertops cost around $75 per square foot installed on average.

Whereas marble countertops are usually priced slightly higher, starting at $100 per square foot.

High-end granite can cost close to $175, and the most expensive marble generally costs up to $200 or more.

Various factors affect the price of these countertops, such as:

  • Quality of the slab,
  • Amount of labor required for installation,
  • Size of the slabs, and
  • Treatments applied to increase their stain resistance.

Granite and marble tiles or smaller slabs are often a more cost-efficient option.

For complex installations needing high labor, the prices can go up significantly.

So it’s best to get three estimates from qualified installers to find reasonable rates and top-quality countertops.

Related: Granite Countertop Edges: The Complete Guide

Which Countertop Material Should You Choose?

Granite and marble countertops offer a beautiful, timeless look in any kitchen.

However, they each have their own unique properties that make them better suited for different purposes.

If you are looking for a durable option that can easily withstand scratches and heat damage, then granite may be best suited for your needs.

Marble, on the other hand, is softer and more porous. So it’s suitable for low-traffic areas with less wear and tear.

In terms of cost, granite is usually more affordable than marble.

Whichever countertop material you choose, both offer an elegant look that will last for years.

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