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Marble vs. Granite: What Are the Differences?

by Jeremy Troetti

Updated on August 23, 2019 12:25:47 PM


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When looking to purchase natural stone for your kitchen countertop or other home renovations, marble and granite are often two of the top choices for material. While the obvious difference between the two is that they are two different types of natural stone, what are the practical differences that should help you make the decision about which to buy? 

 

Natural stone can help transform any home renovation project in a positive way. In addition to the elegant look of natural stone, installing either granite or marble in your home can instantly increase your home’s resale value. Over the course of time, one of the most appealing aspects of any home has been the use of natural stone. This has not changed in today’s age, as many homeowners still desire to use natural stone in their houses, whether it is marble, granite or any other type. 

 

There are many ways to utilize natural stone in the home, from kitchen and bathroom countertops and backsplashes to tables, and even flooring. Any way that natural stone is used will surely give your home the improved look you desire. Beyond looks, the type of natural stone you select can increase the functionality of the area in which it is installed. 

 

When deciding on the natural stone that is right for your home, there are several factors that you must consider related to both looks and physical elements of the stone. This guide will help you determine whether marble or granite will be a more suitable fit for your remodeling project. 

 

Comparisons 

 

How is Marble Formed? 

Marble is formed as a result of limestone that is subject to extreme heat and pressure. This combination of heat and pressure recrystallizes the calcite in limestone and changes the texture. Additional minerals create the color and veining that can be seen in various types of marble. 

 

Variations of Marble 

There are many different types of marble that you can choose for your kitchen countertop, bathrooms, floors or any other home remodeling project. Common types of marble include Carrara, Calacatta, Emperador and Crema Marfil. Marble will provide your countertop with a smoother feeling than granite. If you are looking for any type of marble, from Calacatta Borghini to Rainforest Green, Marble.com can help you find one that is right for your new countertop. 

 

How is Granite Formed? 

Granite is formed underground when magma cools, allowing for large crystals of minerals to develop. These crystals are what gives granite its color. Granite is a very popular material for use in home remodeling projects and is often used for kitchen and bathroom countertops. White granite is the most commonly used color, though many color variations of granite exist. The natural flecks and grains of the stone will create a unique and pleasing look. If you are looking for something more bold and attention grabbing, perhaps you consider green, blue or red granite. Each slab of granite has variation in color over its surface, meaning that each slab is unique. Because granite is available in so many different colors, you will even be able to find granite that looks like marble. If you are looking to purchase a granite countertop, Marble.com offers 500 different variations on its website. 

 

Variations of Granite 

As referenced, granite can be found in an endless amount of styles, some of which will even give you the look of other natural stones like marble. Granite comes in many different colors – some giving off a calmer and distinguished feeling, and others giving off a bold feeling that will instantly turn the attention of your guests to your granite countertop. 

 

Appearance 

 

Appearance of Marble 

In terms of appearance, marble will provide you with a classy and timeless look. The natural stone’s elegant veining will be sure to impress anyone who sees it. 

 

Appearance of Granite 

Granite will provide your home with an elegant look, especially if you choose to use it for a kitchen countertop. The natural stone is available in many different colors and will instantly add appeal to any section of the house where it is used. 

 

Cost 

 

Cost of Marble 

Marble typically costs in the neighborhood of $50 to $150 per square foot installed. The price also depends on a range of other factors, including the type of marble you purchase. Rarer forms of marble will come at a higher cost. 

 

Cost of Granite 

While also a high-quality natural stone, granite tends to cost slightly less than marble. The material can typically be found in the range of $40 to $100 per square foot installed. Much like marble, this number can be on the higher end if the type of granite is rare. 

If you are looking for a better idea of the cost of either marble or granite, you can get an estimate online. 

 

Maintenance 

 

Maintenance of Marble 

Because marble is porous, the material can be damaged by spilling any acidic products, such as coffee or wine, on the surface. If you have a marble countertop, you must be careful and avoid spills such as these. When cleaning, do not use any vinegar or bleach products. You should also not use Windex, as any of these cleaners will damage marble. To clean marble, use cleaners that are specifically intended for use with the material. 

 

Maintenance of Granite 

Granite is not as porous as marble, so you will not need to exercise as much caution if you choose to go with granite. However, this is not to say that granite is indestructible. You will still need to take good care of your granite surface if you do not want it to be damaged. You can clean the surface using warm soapy water. As with marble, do not use vinegar, bleach or Windex. 

Your marble or granite countertops can last for a very long time if you take proper care of them. 

 

Installation 

 

Installation of Marble 

To install your marble countertops, you will need a professional to do the job. It is not recommended that any homeowner, regardless of skill level, attempt to install a marble countertop. Using a professional will significantly decrease the chance of any damages occurring during the installation process. 

 

Installation of Granite 

As with marble, you will need a professional to install your granite countertop. This is not a do-it-yourself project. Having a professional complete the job will help reduce the chances of any chipping or minor damages happening when the countertop is being installed. 

 

Durability 

 

Durability of Marble 

As mentioned, marble is very vulnerable to spills. Marble is also prone to scratching if you are not careful on the surface. However, if you take proper care of the material, marble will provide a stunning look to your kitchen or bathroom countertop, and will leave you happy for years to come. 

 

Durability of Granite 

Granite is more durable than marble, making it a popular choice in many kitchens. Although it will damage any sharp knives you use on the surface, it is still not recommended that you cut directly on the countertop. Granite countertops are also heat resistant, meaning a hot pot or pan will not cause damages. You will need to exercise caution when handling heavy objects around a granite countertop. As durable as the natural stone may be, it will chip or break if a heavy object falls on it – especially on the corners of the countertop. 

 

Moisture Resistance 

 

Moisture Resistance of Marble 

If properly sealed, a marble countertop will be resistant to moisture. Make note that the surface must be properly sealed, which is a process that you will need to have done a few times per year. As mentioned above, marble is highly susceptible to acidic substances. These include coffee, wine, juice, soda and vinegar, among others. 

 

Moisture Resistance of Granite 

Granite must also be properly sealed. When it is, the material will be resistant to moisture and staining. However, if you spill something on the surface and it is not properly sealed, the liquid may sink down into the natural stone and cause it to be compromised.  

 

Heat Resistance 

 

Heat Resistance of Marble 

A marble countertop will be able to handle some heat, but you should not place hot pots or pans directly on its surface. When handling items such as those, it is highly recommended that you use trivets or hot pads to avoid any damages to the surface. 

Heat Resistance of Granite 

Granite is one of the most heat-resistant countertop materials you will find. Hot pots or pans placed on the surface will not damage the countertop. While this may be the case, you still want to exercise as much caution as possible when placing any hot items on your countertop. Just to be safe, you should use trivets or hot pads if you can. 

 

Repair 

 

Repair of Marble 

There are marble repair kits available to fix any chips in the stone. A benefit of marble repair is that you do not necessarily need a professional to fix chips in the surface. However, larger damages will require the assistance of a professional. Marble needs to be re-sealed as often as every three months. 

 

Repair of Granite 

You can also find granite repair kits for fixing small chips or cracks in the surface. A benefit to having granite is that its natural flecked pattern will help hide any minor chips or cracks. Granite needs to be re-sealed about once a year. 

 

Resale Value 

 

Resale Value of Marble 

Having marble in your home will provide instant value. The material will provide an elegant and distinguished look that will intrigue potential buyers. But this value will only be maintained if you take proper care of your marble. Taking proper care of the stone can be achieved by following the steps above. Damaged or worn marble will significantly decrease its value, making it a tough selling point for interested buyers. 

 

Resale Value of Granite 

Having natural stone will always provide value and give your home more appeal. Granite is no different, as many homeowners desire to have the material in their houses – especially in their kitchens. Granite can provide a monetary benefit as well, as homeowners typically recover 100 percent or more of the installation costs when selling their home. However, the downside is that granite is becoming more common in households, meaning that it is beginning to lose its appeal of rarity. In addition, if you have granite that is an unusual color, it may hold less value if it goes out of style. 

 

Where Should I Have Marble? 

Marble can work well in various places throughout the house. It is often seen in use for both kitchen and bathroom countertops. Between the kitchen and bathroom, you may be better suited using marble for your bathroom countertop, as it will typically not be prone to spills from acidic substances like it would be in the kitchen. If you decide to go with a marble countertop in your bathroom, just be mindful that it is properly sealed, as it will face a high amount of moisture. You can also have a marble table, as long as you are not using it to prepare food or to eat and drink on. 

 

Where Should I Have Granite? 

Granite also works well in many places around the house. The main difference comes in the kitchen, where granite is a much better choice. Granite will be able to sustain any wear and tear from the kitchen significantly better than marble can. The main factor in its favor is the material’s heat and stain resistance. Overall, when used in the kitchen, granite will require much less maintenance than marble will. Granite can also be used as a table material, and a granite table will be suitable to prepare food, eat and drink on. 

 

Installing marble or granite in your home has many benefits. These benefits range from purely aesthetic to even financial implications. Regardless of which material you decide on, this guide will provide you with the necessary knowledge you will need before making any choice to purchase. 



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Originally posted on June 17, 2019 03:55:42 PM

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