Marble and granite are among the most popular natural stone countertop choices loved by many people due to their unique beauty and durability. So in this granite vs marble comparison guide, we will discuss the key differences between these two options based on five major criteria.
Granite vs Marble: Side-By-Side Comparison
First of all, let’s take a look at the summary of the key differences between marble and granite through the side-by-side comparison table below:
|Appearance||– Speckled patterns- More color variations- Glossy appearance||– Cream or greyish-white colors with large dark veins- Dull appearance|
|Composition||– Made from solidified magma which makes it harder and less porous||– Originates from limestone and is softer|
|Stain Resistance||– Less porous and more stain resistant||– More porous so it will easily stain|
|Heat Resistance||– Can withstand heat from hot dishes and pans better||– Heat can damage its surface|
|Scratch Resistance||– Resists chips and cracks well- You can cut on its surface directly without damaging it||– Can be easily scratched by cutting on the surface|
|Acid Resistance||– More resistant to acids since it is a harder and less porous material||– Prone to etching caused by acidic liquids such as lemon juice and vinegar|
|Cost||– Generally cheaper ($35 to $200+ per square foot)||– Varies widely with more expensive higher-end options ($40 to $300+ per square foot)|
|Installation||– Ideal for high-traffic areas such as kitchen countertops, bar tops, fireplaces, etc.||– For quieter surfaces such as bathrooms and powder rooms|
|Care & Maintenance||– Easier to fix minor scratches- Low maintenance with at least once every two years sealing||– Needs more careful cleaning and more maintenance- Needs regular sealing about twice a year|
Though granite and marble countertops have a lot of similarities, there are quite a few differences between these two that will make you choose granite over marble and vice versa:
Granite comes in more design and color options and provides a more natural look, but marble offers more elegance.
Granite Countertop Styles
Granite countertops have granular surfaces with speckled colors due to the stones in them (quartz, mica, feldspar, and silica). They come in more tones and shades that vary from light to dark colors. They also have solid patterns and veins and since they are hard stones, they have a glossy appearance.
Marble Countertop Styles
Marble countertops often come in cream or greyish-white colors with large dark veins swirling throughout the stone. But, rarer options can have pink or pale green base colors. They have a smooth surface and their striations are created by mineral impurities such as iron oxides and silt.
Moreover, marble appears dull since it is softer but can be made glossier if the right polishing sealant is used. Their patterns are also more consistent compared to granite.
2. Strength & Durability
The way each stone is constructed will affect the overall durability of the stone. So if you want to ensure that your countertop will last long, choose a material that can withstand the conditions in the installation area.
Granite originates from solidified and cooled magma which generates an extremely hard material. Marble, on the other hand, is created from limestone and is mainly composed of softer Calcium Carbonate.
Granite is harder with a 6-7 hardness level on the Mohs scale while marble is rated 3-4.
Since granite is extremely dense, it is less porous and can resist almost all stains from liquids and food. It won’t also easily discolor.
It’s different from marble which is more porous so it will absorb stains faster upon contact even when sealed. Some liquids and foods (e.g. tomato sauce, juice, wine) can even cause permanent stains on marble.
Granite can generally withstand heat while marble can easily get damaged upon contact with hot dishes and pans. But even so, you should still avoid setting hot objects directly on your countertop to prevent damage.
Granite is made of harder materials so it will hold up to scratches and chips better than marble. Contrastingly, marble can be easily damaged especially when you cut directly on it.
Acidic liquid won’t easily permeate granite given that you maintain its sealant barrier while marble won’t work well with acids. Vinegar, citrus, lemon juice, and other acidic liquids will cause etching to marble and make it dull.
Granite and marble countertops belong to the higher end of the spectrum when it comes to prices, but your investment will surely be worth it in the future.
When it comes to cost, installed granite is slightly cheaper starting from around $35/square foot with higher-end options reaching $200+/square foot or higher.
Marble is more expensive and starts from $40/square foot when installed with higher quality variations reaching up to $300+.
NOTE: Aside from the quality, the cost of both marble and granite slabs will depend on the general appearance (including the color) and the complexity of the installation.
Like all natural stones, both granite and marble countertop installation are better left to the professionals due to their heavy weight. They are also harder to cut, especially granite, so you’ll need special tools that are designed for these materials.
A Few Installation Tips for You
Here are a few tips we can give you when choosing what type of countertop material to install based on your application:
- Granite is ideal for high-traffic areas that you often use like your kitchen counters because they are more resistant to heat damage and scratches. This also allows you to install them outdoors.
- Choose marble for low-traffic areas like bathroom vanities and fireplace surrounds.
5. Care & Maintenance
Lastly, you need to seal both granite and marble countertops after installation to make them more resistant to damage. However, you need to reseal them to maintain the barrier’s integrity.
Granite Care & Maintenance
Since granite is more damage-resistant, it requires less maintenance. You just need to seal it once a year for the best results, especially for lighter colors. But, once every two years is sufficient depending on the quality of the sealer.
Also, plain soapy water is enough for cleaning sealed granite. Make sure to rinse the area with clean water after cleaning.
Marble Care & Maintenance
Unlike granite, marble requires more frequent sealing as it is more porous. Twice every year of sealing is recommended to protect its surface. However, you may need to seal marble more often if you notice water being absorbed instead of just pooling on its surface.
In addition, cleaning marble requires more care to prevent damaging it. You need to use pH-neutral cleaners to avoid discoloration. Also, don’t use abrasive cleaners that can dull the stone’s finish.
Other General Care & Maintenance Tips
- Although sealing can prevent etching and staining on both granite and marble, it’s still better to wipe spills immediately.
- Use trivets or heat pads to protect your countertop from hot pans.
- The best way to know when it’s time to reseal is to pour some water on your countertop and see how long it absorbs the water. Reapply sealant if the stone absorbs the water instead of remaining beaded.
Can’t Decide Which Countertop Material to Choose? Find the Best Granite and Marble Fabricator in Jacksonville FL!
If you need help in finding the best granite or marble countertops in Northeast Florida, feel free to drop us a message! We fabricate and install luxury countertops for clients in Jacksonville, St. Augustine, Saint Johns, Green Cove Springs, Ponte Vedra Beach, and more! Whether you want marble or granite countertops, we offer various colors and styles that will surely match your style while offering the quality you are expecting.
Yes, granite is stronger compared to marble since it is made from harder materials which makes it more resistant to heat, scratches, and other damage.
Granite is generally cheaper than marble with prices ranging from $35 to $200+ per square foot while marble is between $40 and $300+ per square foot including installation. However, this will depend on the style, quality, and complexity of the project.
Marble is often colder compared to granite and other natural stones due to its high porosity which provides less insulation and allows heat to escape.
Granite and marble are both great options when it comes to choosing a classy but durable countertop material. In our granite vs marble comparison, granite is more durable and easier to maintain compared to marble. Thus, granite is more suitable for high-traffic applications and marble for quieter spaces. Hopefully, this short guide has been helpful to you.