Marble and granite are 2 of the most common kitchen countertop materials you’re going to come across when looking to remodel your kitchen. However, which one of these natural stones wins in the great marble vs granite countertops debate?
Here we take a look at marble and granite countertops, discussing the pros, cons, and defining characteristics of these natural stone materials. You can also check out the best granite colors for your kitchen. So whether you’re looking into a granite kitchen counter or a marble bathroom sink surround, hopefully we can help.
What is Marble?
Like granite, Marble is also a natural stone that is sometimes used for kitchen or bathroom countertops and surfaces.
A lot of people use marble as a countertop material simply due to its sheer beauty and opulence. This light-colored stone is best known for its use in the Italian Renaissance era, when Michaelangelo’s David and many other well-known sculptures were crafted from marble.
Marble comes in various forms, including:
- Carrara Marble
- Calcatta Marble
- Statuary Marble
- Crema Marfil Marble
- and much more
If you’re looking for your kitchen countertop, marble is more of an aesthetic choice than a practical one.
Marble countertops require regular maintenance to keep them useful, as this is one of the weaker natural stones that’s used for counters. Still, if you’re a fan of the light color, matte finish, and distinctive veining, then marble could be the opulent kitchen countertop material for you.
What is Granite?
Granite is another natural stone that is very frequently used for kitchen countertops due to its strength and natural heat resistance. This stone is one of the strongest natural stone materials on the market, so it’s highly sought-after when it comes to kitchen counters because it’s so durable and etch-resistant.
Granite comes in many popular forms, including:
- Absolute Black Granite
- Himalayan White
- Black Galaxy
- Delicatus White Granite
- and much more
Though lighter versions of granite are available, this natural stone is usually quite dark in color, making it ideal for many kitchen styles. Granite features natural veining and patterns just like marble does, but it tends to have more color variations in the patterns and it usually comes in a glossy finish (whereas marble is more matte).
Marble and Granite Countertop Comparison Chart
Granite vs Marble – How Do They Compare?
How do these 2 materials compare when it comes to everyday use?
Here we look at granite vs marble in more detail:
If heat resistance is one of the main qualities you’re looking for in a countertop surface, then go with granite.
Granite can withstand temperatures up to 1200°F (648°C) which is much hotter than you’re ever going to get anything in your kitchen. For reference, it’s very difficult to find home ovens that go above 500°F, though hot pans may get up to around 700-900 degrees at the extreme.
This makes granite particularly good for those who use a lot of hot pots and pans in the kitchen – you can put them straight onto the granite countertop surface without worry. You shouldn’t have any problems with burning or scorching, though you may want to be careful if your granite is lighter colored.
On the flipside, marble countertops can handle temperatures of around 480°F (248°C). That’s the resistance for Carrara Marble, though you might find that some other types can handle a little over 500°F.
While this should be fine for a lot of things, I wouldn’t leave hot pans on marble for too long – you’re pushing it to its brink in terms of heat capacity.
Like granite, marble is also an inert stone found naturally in the earth which have been excavated, cut to shape, and finished for your kitchen. As such, both granite and marble countertops are only as strong as the rocks they’re made from naturally.
Generally speaking, granite is more durable and scratch-resistant than marble. If you’re working in a kitchen environment that is quite hectic and prone to damage, then I’d recommend granite over marble for sure.
Naturally, granite is just a much tougher stone.
Marble also tends to be lighter in color, so if you do scratch it, it’s often more noticeable. On the other hand, granite countertops tend to be darker in color so any small scratches are better hidden among the dark natural patterns.
Marble was often used for sculptures, so it makes sense that it needs to be relatively easy to chip away at!
Whether you get marble or granite countertops, both of these natural stones need regular sealing and maintenance. In case you don’t know, “sealing” is when you apply a special liquid to the counter and allow it to sink into the surface, essentially “filling in” any small pores in the natural stone.
You basically “seal” the surface so germs and spills can’t get in.
However, marble requires much more regular sealing and maintenance than granite does. Marble is fairly porous, so it will stain easily if you don’t seal it once every 3-6 months. On the other hand, granite usually only needs sealing once every 1-5 years.
Still, you should use your best judgment and seal when it seems appropriate.
You can buy everyday cleaning products that contain sealing fluid in them, acting as “everyday sealers” for both granite and marble. On the whole though, you’re going to have a tougher time with marble due to its natural porosity.
When it comes to color, granite and marble differ greatly. While light granite and dark marble do exist, you’ll usually find that granite countertops are darker in color and marble countertops are lighter in color.
Usually, granite counters will be dark grays and blacks, while marble countertops will be lighter whites and creams.
For this reason, many people choose marble countertops for modern all-white kitchens and bathrooms. However, darker granite countertops can also be great for classic kitchens or high-contrast modern kitchen styles.
If you’re mainly concerned with color and aesthetics, both granite and marble have very different qualities to consider. We encourage you to browse our collection of countertop options sorted by materials.
Speaking of aesthetics, the general look of these two materials is very different as well.
When it comes to marble kitchen countertops, no matter if you choose granite or marble there’s no doubt that their look is exceptional and opulent. Often associated with palatial houses and artwork, marble is a statement stone that makes your home look grand and elegant without effort.
Marble kitchen countertops tend to be white or off-white, with a consistent color and distinctive soft veining. They also tend to have a flat, matte finish that may be useful if your kitchen has additional features designed to pull the eye.
However, many people think that marble is more suited to bathrooms and sinks over kitchens.
When it comes to granite, the look is darker, with much more color variation and patterns, often featuring specks of many different complementary colors. These countertops also tend to be finished with a glossy polished finish, so it’s often the most eye-catching element of a kitchen design (or one of them).
Free Countertop Chart
We Compared Marble, Granite, Laminate, Solid Surface and Quartz Countertops!
Pros and Cons of Marble vs Granite
- Quite burn resistant
- Timeless style
- Opulent feel
- Lighter color
- Good for bathrooms
- HIGH MAINTENANCE
- PRONE TO STAINING
- A LOT OF SEALING REQUIRED
- HARD TO REPAIR
Marble countertops tend to be selected for their look above all else – people who want marble counters are usually looking for the flat matte finish, distinctive veining, and lighter colors to complement their home design.
Sadly, marble is usually a little weaker and more prone to staining than granite and quartz, for example.
- Very heat resistant
- Mold and mildew resistant
- Darker natural stone color
- Quite low maintenance
- Very durable – can last for decades
- Scratch resistant
- HARD TO REPAIR
- SLIGHTLY POROUS
- REGULAR SEALING REQUIRED
Granite countertops are very common in kitchens, and it’s for a good reason – this natural stone kitchen surface can handle hot pots and pans, as well as etching and everyday damage. If you get it sealed regularly, it’s also very stain resistant and keeps mold and mildew at bay for decades.
On the downside, this natural stone is very expensive, slightly porous, and does still require regular sealing.
Which one is better marble or granite?
So, should you choose marble or granite as your kitchen countertop surface material? Well, here are some key points to make sure you consider before choosing your countertop stone:
- Granite costs $58 per square foot on average
- Marble costs $60 per square foot on average
- Granite countertops are tougher and require less maintenance
- Marble has a fancy, high-class look to it
If you just want a nice-looking countertop that will survive everyday burns and scratches, then go for granite. However, if you’re looking to create a high-class kitchen and you don’t mind the additional maintenance, try marble.
You might even decide to use granite for your kitchen countertop and marble for your bathroom! If you can’t decide between the two surface materials, that could be a really good compromise.
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