New Countertops – Marble vs. Granite vs. Quartz
April 11, 2019
And that perfect match for your decorative designs.
When you’re choosing a new countertop for your kitchen or bathroom, those are some of the most important things you’re looking for.
So how do you choose from the three most popular options — marble, granite, or quartz? Let’s take a closer look at the main features of each material:
Unlimited Options for Beautiful Countertops
During your kitchen or bath remodeling, one of the most important design decisions you’ll make is your countertop. From color and texture to size and shape, there’s a lot to consider. Here’s a breakdown of the three types we’re focused on in this post:
Marble is sophisticated and luxurious, bringing a very high-end aesthetic. You’ll find classic neutrals, shades of gold, gray, rose, sage, and yellow, with many other natural colors available.
While Granite is also refined, it’s always different — no two granite countertops look the same, as they’re 100% natural. Available in a wide range of colors and textures, each slab has unique shading and striations. If you want a more uniform look in your kitchen or bathroom, it might not be the right fit for you.
Quartz is actually a customizable, manufactured product — so not only can you get a uniform look with clean lines, you have a nearly endless range of colors to choose from. (Its uniformity is due to the fact that it’s composed of natural stone mixed with resins.) For a modern look, quartz comes in every color from neutrals to bold shades of blue, red, and orange, and still looks like natural stone.
The Importance of Durability
Over time, kitchen and bath countertops take a beating. Whether it’s the kitchen, with hot pots and pans, juice or wine spills, and sharp knives and utensils — or in the bathroom, with high-heat hair tools, makeup and nail products, and medication spills — durability is another highly important consideration.
Marble is quite durable, but it might not be the best choice for busy kitchens as it’s easily scratched, nicked, cut and stained — even if properly sealed. It’s more porous than granite, and will absorb liquids and acids quickly. Stains can be difficult (or even impossible) to remove as well.
Granite is an extremely hard and strong surface, although it’s also somewhat porous. It can absorb liquids, in addition to infectious bacteria and viruses. Often, it will chip and crack faster than quartz.
Quartz is actually the strongest stone not considered to be a gem — stronger than granite and non-porous. While its scratch-, stain- and chemical-resistance are comparable or superior to the other options, it can discolor when exposed to strong sunlight. (However, it is more heat-resistant than marble and granite).
Hot pots and bathroom appliances can cause damage, and the edges and corners can chip (requiring professional repair), but there are no striations that lead to cracks. Some quartz countertops have the option of an anti-bacterial coating treatment.
While all of these countertop materials are pretty durable and maintain their beauty for years, regular maintenance can be helpful.
To keep Marble from absorbing liquids, you need to apply sealant upon installation and about once a year.
Granite is mostly low maintenance, but should be cleaned every day with soap (or mild household cleaner) and water. It does require sealing at installation, as well as annual re-sealing to protect against stains and prevent against bacteria.
Quartz actually requires almost no maintenance at all. Its non-porous composition means it doesn’t need sealing or special treatments. This surface prevents bacteria buildup, and resists scratches, staining and acids — requiring only water and a mild detergent for cleanup.
Each of these countertop materials can come at a premium price. But you can also consider it an important investment — since it’s a major element of the “two most important rooms in the house” — your kitchen and bathroom.
Marble can be slightly more expensive than granite, and may include costs of transportation if purchasing from Italy or other countries. In our opinion, it’s not worth the added costs.
While it’s slightly more cost-effective and still beautiful, Granite still does require regular sealing.
Quartz can be among the most expensive options, but it’s important to note that it offers a unique ability to be customized, thousands of color options, and is maintenance-free.
What the Experts Recommend
These are all great options, and each would be a beautiful addition to your kitchen or bathroom.
We’d like to share one last thing to consider before we reveal our recommendation. Granite is a quarried material, which uses a lot of energy. As mentioned above, there can be substantial transportation costs if you don’t find indigenous stone or buy pieces from salvage shops that can be cut to size. But granite has long been the gold standard for kitchen counters, and is popular for resale.
Our recommendation — quartz — can be more environmentally friendly if you use regionally manufactured stone and local fabricators (less transportation).
Quartz is growing in popularity, and was recently ranked at the top of a Consumer Reports study. We recommend quartz because it’s customizable, easier to maintain, longer-lasting, and more environmentally-friendly. It looks and feels like stone, but isn’t porous like the others — so it’s more resistant to stains, bacteria, etc.
If you’d like to talk about countertops, we’re ready and waiting for you — contact us today!