If you’re building your home or remodeling your kitchen, one decision you’ll have to make is what material to use on your countertops. The modern kitchen makes use of high-quality materials that are very durable and will last for years. However, there is a difference in durability, not to mention cost. Three of the most popular countertop options are granite, quartz, and marble. But which is the right option for you? Before you make this choice, it will help to read through the following granite, quartz, and marble comparison.
Granite is one of the most popular options for kitchen and bathroom counters. It has been used for quite some time, and there are a number of advantages of granite. First, granite looks great. Guests are sure to be impressed by your granite counters. Another nice bonus to granite is that the stone is available in various shades and with different veining. For example, Bianco Antico is a very nice, soft gray color with some unique pink and tan accents. But if you don’t like that look, there are also granite slabs that are a deeper brown, a dark black, and a bright white. You’re sure to find a slab that matches the rest of your décor and looks different from other granite counters.
Granite has a number of other benefits, too. It’s a type of igneous rock that was formed deep in the earth from magma. This means it is incredibly hard, so it’s very durable. If you have young children and are worried that they may scratch your counters, granite is a good option as it is difficult to damage when compared to other countertop materials. Because of this, your counters will remain looking beautiful for years. Since the stone was formed from magma, it’s also very heat resistant. You can drop a pan right out of the oven onto a granite counter without doing any damage to it.
The disadvantages of granite aren’t numerous, but you do need to be aware of them. First, while the stone is very durable, it’s not completely invulnerable. You can crack or chip it if something very heavy falls on the counter. Granite also absorbs any liquid that is spilled on it, so the stone can stain easily. You’ll need to wipe up any spills as soon as you can. You also need to seal the counters when they are installed and reseal them regularly to prevent stains. The final disadvantage is the weight of the counters. Granite is incredibly heavy, so you need to make certain your cabinets are strong enough to support it.
Next, let’s take a look at quartz. While granite is a stone, quartz is a type of mineral that is made when silicon dioxide crystalizes. It’s incredibly abundant, so you should be able to find great quartz counters without any problem. While pure quartz has no color to it and is transparent, the quartz used in counters actually comes with impurities. This creates unique colors and patterns in the mineral. For example, the Silver Macaubas counters are a beautiful grey with very dark veins running through it, creating a dramatic contrast that looks amazing.
What are the advantages of quartz? The variety of colors is certainly something to consider. You’ll find many more options with quartz than you would with either granite or marble. This means if you’re going for a truly unique look or have a color palette that’s a little unusual, you may have to go to quartz to find the right matching countertop.
Quartz is also very durable and will not stain easily. It’s similar to granite in that it can be damaged, but it does take a lot to do so. Unlike granite, though, you don’t have to worry about resealing quartz. Instead, it’s permanently sealed with a special resin when it’s installed. This means there is little to no maintenance.
When it comes to the disadvantages of quartz, there are really only two. The first may not even be a disadvantage. Quartz counters are manufactured, which means they have a very finished look to them. If you want a counter that looks more natural, you’ll need to go with granite or marble. Because of this, you may want to actually see quartz counters in a kitchen before you make your final selection just so you know what they will look like.
The other major disadvantage to quartz is that it is not a heat-resistant material. This means you cannot sit a hot pan or pot on it directly. If you do, you can easily damage the counter or cause it to become discolored. You will always want to use a trivet or hot pad.
Like granite, marble is also a stone. In this case, it’s a metamorphic stone that was formed from limestone over a very long period of time. Marble offers slabs that range from very dark to white, but there’s not a large variety of colors available. You will find that most marble is named after where it comes from. For example, the very popular Carrara marble is mined from the area around Carrara, Italy. It’s one of the more common marble options, but it’s also quite luxurious. It features a gray slab with light veins, so it works well with many different color schemes.
The advantages of marble aren’t many. One of the best reasons to use this stone is its luxurious look and feel. Using marble, even low-end marble is going to make a statement in your kitchen. The gorgeous bright white looks stunning, while the darker marbles give your counters a sleek feel. If you find the right marble for your overall color palette, it will truly pop and make your kitchen a showstopper.
There are a few disadvantages of marble, though, that you will certainly want to keep in mind. First, there’s the cost. Marble is the most expensive option. You’ll want to get a quote before you decide on marble so you can make certain it fits with your budget. Marble isn’t as scratch-resistant as quartz or granite, either, so you do need to be careful that you don’t accidentally damage it. It also absorbs liquids quite easily, so it can be stained.
Comparing Granite, Quartz, and Marble
Now that you know a little bit about the basics of these three options, it’s time to really compare them. All three materials are popular, and you’ll find amazing kitchens that use each of them. Before you make a decision, this countertop material comparison will provide some of the key differences between your options.
Cost is one of the most important things to consider, especially if you have a fairly small remodel budget. Remember that there isn’t one set cost for each option. Some marble countertops may easily fit within your budget, but if you look for a more unusual marble, you may find that the cost quickly increases. Also, don’t forget that the cost of the slab does not include installation. Typically, granite is going to have the most affordable options, followed by quartz and then marble.
Quartz countertops are quite durable, and they will stand up to a lot of use without the need for any special maintenance. It won’t stain easily, and while you can chip or crack it, it takes a lot to cause even minor damage. The biggest weakness of quartz is that it isn’t heat-resistant, so you will always need to use a trivet for hot pots. Granite is also highly durable, although it can be stained if you don’t seal it properly. Finally, marble is the least durable option. It can be scratched more easily and also stains fairly quickly.
How much work are you going to have to do to keep your counters looking great? If you have granite countertops, you’ll need to learn how to reseal them to protect them from stains. This isn’t necessarily a difficult process, but it is an expense that will occur regularly. You’ll need to learn how to test the seal on the counter so you know when it needs another layer. Marble also requires maintenance in that it needs to be cleaned after each use because it’s so absorbent. Anything left on the counter that could potentially stain it needs to be removed as soon as possible.
Which Option is Right for You?
Determining the right option for your kitchen can be easy, or it can be a difficult choice. It all depends on what look you’re going for and how much money you have. If you’re going for a specific color scheme, you may have to look at harder-to-find counter options, and those are going to be more expensive. If you have a large kitchen, that will also affect your cost. You may find that you have to go with one of the lower-grade options just to remain within budget. If you have fewer counters, though, high-end marble may not be out of reach.
Think about use, too. If you have children, you may need the durability of granite or quartz. Granite can handle heat easily, so if you bake a lot, you’ll be able to put pans directly from the oven onto your counter. There are many factors to keep in mind, so consider them all before you make your final decision.