When remodeling your home with stone surfaces, the type of stone you choose is a big decision. Most homeowners have a clear idea of the color and even the grain or veins they want in their countertop style, but when looking at a catalog of stone it can suddenly become clear that there are more options than you imagined. You may want a creamy white counter with warm gray veins, or a classy black countertop with silver flecks. What you realize is that you can find each of these styles in three different stones: Marble, Granite, and Quartz countertops. There are stylistic differences between each type of stone, but what homeowners really need to know are the other differences like maintenance, durability, longevity between your three main options.
So marble, granite, or quartz, which one is best for your current home design project? Today, we’ll take you through tour of the facts that matter beyond aesthetics. You know what you want your countertops to look like, here’s what’s going on beyond what your eyes can tell you:
Marble vs Granite vs Quartz: What are the Differences?
Marble is the time-honored classic stone for luxury home design. Since the ancient Greeks and Romans, the creamy texture of marble has been found to be the penultimate in architectural splendor. If you’re looking to create a home that echoes the luxury of the ancients, Marble will always be the top choice. That said, marble is also the softest and most porous of the three choices, meaning it requires the most care to avoid damage and maintain regularly.
Granite is the second hardest natural stone, after diamond. It is has also been a real estate must-have for over a century. Ranging in appearance from festive flecks and tiger-stripes to creamy veins that are very similar to marble, granite is an extremely diverse choice for natural stone surfaces. Hard, durable, and classically beautiful, granite does still need to be sealed and maintained like any natural stone countertop.
Quartz countertops are man-made slab made from over 90% crushed and chopped quartz held together by a special resin. Unlike granite and marble, quartz is not porous at all and is artificially harder even than granite. This helps it resist both chips and stains the best. Because it is man-made, it is also the most customizable in color, grain, and design. But the resin also lowers its heat-resistance and it should not be exposed to the bottom of hot pans. Neither should marble or granite, of course, but quartz can take the most potential damage from heat.
Marble, as the stone of the ancients, has long been considered the most beautiful type of stone in the world. Classic statues of mythical gods and goddesses that define our idea of beauty were carved from marble, along with most of the buildings we consider to be timeless classics. Marble countertops and other household surfaces are sure to be desired by neighbors and home buyers alike.
Granite can look almost exactly like marble or you can find beauty in its incredible natural range of colors and grains. Beauty being in the eye of the beholder, granite is considered gorgeous by most, but with so many grains to choose from, each type of granite may be ranked with a different level of beauty.
Quartz counters are not a natural slab, so rank the lowest in natural beauty. In unnatural beauty, however, you have the option to fully customize the countertop and surface designs that you will personally find the most beautiful in your home. Quartz has the highest potential for a solid color and a sparkly appearance under the sealed surface, swirled with whatever veins or grains you most desire.
Surprisingly, granite is the most affordable if one compares the overall price range of each material. Granite has been a real-estate classic for many years and is considered the definition of luxury kitchen design. At the same time, granite slab has the potential to cost less than natural marble and artificial quartz countertops over the same surface area. The grade of granite you choose as well (grain size and slab thickness) also influence the price.
Marble is more expensive than granite, and understandably so. Soft and somewhat delicate for a countertop, marble must be cut and transported carefully, and has always been considered a luxury item.
Because it is manufactured and highly durable, quartz countertops currently have the highest price range. You gain the greatest chip and stain resistance and enjoy great customizability in return for a slightly higher price tag.
Durability and Scratch-Resistance
While granite is the hardest natural stone countertop, quartz counters were engineered to be even harder. The resin bond holding the quartz medium together forms a completely non-porous and extremely hard surface. This makes quartz manufactured countertops the most scratch and chip resistant.
After diamonds, granite is the hardest natural stone in the world. Before quartz was manufactured, sealed granite countertops were considered the most long-lasting and durable choice for any home – contributing to their element of luxury. Even without sealing, it is incredibly hard to chip or scratch a granite coutnertop.
Marble is known to be a soft stone, which is what made it the ideal medium for ancient statue carvings. While a classic luxury building material, marble countertops must be treated with care to avoid scratching or chipping. Regular sealant will help to protect your marble counter surface.
Granite is the most heat resistant and least likely to take damage if you accidentally set a hot pan on the counter. This makes it the ideal stone surface for kitchen counters, islands, bars, and tables. It’s no wonder the real estate industry has touted granite as their luxury coutnertop material of choice for decades running.
Marble, being more delicate and often more light-colored, is more likely to show scorching and other signs of damage if exposed to direct heat from a hot pan or direct flame.
The resin that solidifies a quartz countertop is not as heat resistant as natural stone. Exposed to the bottom of a hot pan, there is some possibility that a quartz countertop will melt, scorch, or deform as the resin is affected by the heat. This generally makes quartz a better choice for bathrooms, bars, and other home surfaces not directly next to the stove.
If you want to personally choose your colors, veins, and grains in your stone countertop then manufactured quartz cannot be beat. Not only is quartz a highly colorful stone with many colors to choose from, but the artificial nature means that any design can be created or found in a catalogue to perfectly suit your home design vision.
For a natural composite stone, granite comes in an extremely wide range of colors and grain styles. You can have waves, swirls, or a field of colorful chips that catch the eye. Granite comes in a range of white, gray, black, gold, brown, and pink, with a range of grain colors even wider than that. This allows you to design your home using natural stone in nearly any color scheme you can imagine.
Marble is known for it’s classic yet limited range of colors, mainly warm creamy colors ranging from white to gold, with the occasional splash of black, warm brown, green, or an amber pink. Veins are usually either white, gray, dark brown,or gold in color.
When it comes to resisting oil and other staining liquids, the smooth seal of a quartz countertop can’t be beat. This makes it ideal for bathrooms, workshops, and craft surfaces where staining materials are present and intense heat is not.
Granite is slightly porous, making it somewhat susceptible to oil and liquid stains. However, sealed and occasionally re-sealed, granite is extremely resistant to anything your kitchen or bathroom can dish out.
Marble is the most porous of your three options, requiring the most care to keep it in good condition. Sealed marble is stain-resistant, but marble also requires resealing more often than granite.
Which is the Right Countertop Stone for Your Home Design?
Marble, granite, or quartz countertops, which is best for you? Marble is a timeless classic that will always be considered the definition of luxury architecture. Granite is a beautiful and durable stone that has been the darling of long-lasting luxury real estate for over a century. Quartz is the manufactured newcomer, but a strong competitor for both custom look and physical durability.
We hope this guide has given you the information and perspective needed to help you make the right choice for beautiful stone-clad surface in your home’s new design.