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Marble and granite countertops are two of the most popular options for kitchen countertop material. They are both highly coveted for their durability, look gorgeous, and they add a sense of elegance and class to the home.
When deciding on which one to buy for your kitchen, the question one should ask themselves is, which stone will last longer? How much work will it take to keep marble and granite healthy with less effort? It is only fair that a homeowner like yourself would want something that is worth your money.
By the end of this article, you will have a clear understanding of what makes marble and granite excellent stones, and which one will last longer as your kitchen countertop.
Marble stone is typically seen as the epitome of elegance and high-class in regard to countertops and interior design. Throughout history, marble has been utilized to build gorgeous structures like the Venus de Milo statue, the famous Marble Arch, or the Washington Monument. The list goes on and on with historically impressive buildings, as well as decorating the interior with marble stone. These statues and monuments are still standing to this day as a testament to marble resilience.
Marble Stone Stats
All stones are rated based on a 1-10 scale to gauge their overall durability and capability to resist damage. After all, what good is a countertop if it cannot handle a little usage and could break if you put a plate on it?
· Mohs Hardness: The Mohs Hardness rating gauges the hardness of a stone. Marble has a hardness rating of 4 / 10, making it relatively soft in comparison to other stones.
· Scratch Resistance: This gauges how durable marble is from scratching and cutting. Marble has a scratch resistance of 6 / 10, proving it has moderate or average strength to scratching damage.
· Stain Resistance: This gauges how well marble can resist stains and prevent stains from forming on its surface. Marble has a scratch resistance of 6 / 10, meaning it has moderate to average strength for repelling stains.
· Chip Resistance: This gauges how strong marble stone is from chipping or cracking. Marble has a chip resistance of 6 / 10, meaning this is also a moderate to average durability to breaking.
· Heat Resistance: This gauges how well marble can remain cool and withstand hot temperatures on and near it. Marble has a heat resistance of 8 / 10, which is very impressive. This means marble can easily repel heat and hot temperatures.
Overall, marble stone is quite average in terms of overall durability and damage resistance. All of these middling stats can be explained due to its soft hardness and structure.
Marble Stone Composition
Marble stone is formed when limestone and dolomite rock are combined together in a process called metamorphosis. During the metamorphic process, limestone and dolomite are super-heated and combined with intense pressure over many years. The original rock’s remains, shells, and other debris are transformed into marble.
Because marble is composed of various elements, it has many pores in its structure. These pores can trap food matter, acidic material, or other chemicals inside the stone where it can easily form stains or erode marble to weaken. This is why marble is ranked as a softer stone than something like quartz, granite, or quartzite.
Marble: Ease of Maintenance
Marble is known for its pristine beauty and delightful designs. However, marble does require some extra work to keep it clean and healthy. Marble stone is very porous and soft, so using harsh chemicals like bleach, ammonia, or lemon scented cleaners can quickly and permanently damage the stone.
Homeowners have to continually keep marble countertops dirt-free with daily cleanings, limiting what objects are directly placed on the surface, and being delicate of how much pressure to use when cleaning.
Marble countertops can last longer with a sealant, which will fill the pores to prevent stains and etching from forming. It is highly recommended marble countertops are sealed every 6 months to once a year, and polished with a polishing tool every few months to keep it shining.
Although marble has been heavily used for monument construction and artwork material, it is ill-advised to install marble outdoors. The natural elements of rain, snow, ice, dirt, and other airborne chemicals will become trapped in the pores and damage the stone.
Now that we have a good understanding of what marble stone is made of, we can start comparing it to granite stone countertops.
Granite stone is one of the strongest materials to be used for interior design. Its overall hardness, reliability, and side assortment of colors and designs makes it highly appealing for interior designers and homeowners. Granite has been equally used in famous monuments like Mount Rushmore, the Statue of Liberty, The Great Pyramid of Giza, and The Vietnam Veterans Memorial. A stone with such a rich history as this would be a highlight of any room when incorporated into the home.
Granite Stone Stats
Like what we did with marble, these will reflect the same stats but with granite stone.
· Mohs Hardness: Granite has a hardness rating of 8 / 10, making it exceptionally durable and strong. For context, diamond is the hardest natural mineral on Earth with a hardness rating of 10 / 10.
· Scratch Resistance: Granite has a scratch resistance of 10 / 10, giving it a perfect score. This means granite it is very improbable for granite to be scratched. Being scratch resistant does not mean it is scratch proof. Sharp objects like steel knives can still scratch granite if enough force and energy is applied.
· Stain Resistance: Granite has a stain resistance of 8 / 10, making it exceptionally capable of resisting stains and spills.
· Chip Resistance: Granite has a chip resistance of 9 / 10, meaning it is extremely difficult to chip or break granite stone. However, granite stone can still be chipped, or broken if it is improperly cared for or heavily damaged.
· Heat Resistance: Granite has a heat resistance of 10 / 10, scoring another perfect score. Due to granite’s unique composition when formed, it can manage high heats for extended periods of time. Nevertheless, granite can still be damaged by heat or form burn stains if hot metal objects remain on the surface for extended periods of time.
Overall, granite has outstanding durability and resistance, proving it is much hardier than marble for countertop material.
Granite Stone Composition
Granite is formed when magma rises through the Earth’s crust to mix with existing rock formations. The magma cools, solidifies, and crystallizes into various minerals like quartz, feldspar, and mica. Over millions of years, the stone continues to cool and form crystals which gives granite its hard composition and high heat resistance. Granite was made from molten rock and layered with other stones to create a stone stronger than most other stones on the market.
Granite is still a natural stone, so it also has small pores in its stone. However, unlike marble, granite’s pores are much smaller and infrequent. Granite has a smoother surface, giving spills limited room to seep into the rock.
Granite Ease of Maintenance
Granite stone does not have the same delicate composition as marble, so homeowners can be more liberal with cleaning it. Simply using a microfiber wash cloth, warm water, and mild dish soap is enough to completely clean most messes and stains.
Because granite has pores like all natural stones, it will need to be sealed once or twice a year to keep it protected from spills and staining. After each sealing, granite should be polished to keep a healthy countertop sheen.
Granite is one of the few natural stones which can be used outdoors. Granite stone is very hardy against weather as it has endured the elements for thousands or millions of years. Homeowners can decorate their patios, outdoor bars, or barbeques with granite stone without having to worry about it fading, cracking, or breaking.
Countertop Longevity Factors
Comparing granite and marble against one another is simple once all the facts are laid out. Based on just the numbers, granite is structurally stronger and harder than marble to last as kitchen countertop material.
However, there are other factors that contribute to how long a countertop will last in the home. These factors would be:
· Active Use: Depending on how much your countertop is being used will affect the longevity of the stone. Kitchens that do not have much use and are designed more for decoration and light cooking, will have their stone last longer than kitchens that are heavily used.
· Type of Use: Depending on what you are using the countertop for will also play a large factor in its overall health. For example, a marble kitchen countertop can last a long time if it is sparingly used for baked goods. Alternatively, a granite kitchen countertop will last longer than a marble kitchen if the countertop is being used for hot objects or acidic materials like fruits and juices.
· Occupants in the Home: Depending on how many people are in the home will factor into how long the countertop may last. Homes with a single individual may not use their kitchen as much, so a marble countertop will last many years. A home with many kids and family members will be using the countertop more often, which will have a higher chance for spills to occur and stains to form. For a large family like this, a granite countertop is ideal to handle these messes and clean it quickly with less effort.
In a one for one comparison, granite is the clear winner on which stone will last longer. Granite countertops are more durable, have higher overall stone stats, are easier to care for, and can be used in more rooms around the house. This does not make marble inferior as it is still one of the top 3 most selected stones for interior design, but for this specific question, granite will be a better choice as a countertop material which will last.