Granite vs Marble Counters: Is There a Difference?

Your old countertops are starting to look a little scuffed and worn. It’s time to replace them with a new material. Why not go with a natural stone?

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Granite and marble counters are both great choices that differ greatly in terms of appearance and cost. While they’re both pretty durable, one is sturdier than the other.

You also have to consider maintenance. Both materials come with completely different cleaning instructions.

So, which natural stone is better for your kitchen? Let us help you make your buying decision. Check out this guide to learn all the similarities and differences between granite and marble.

Stone Origins 

Let’s start from the beginning by talking about how these two stones are formed. Marble is a metamorphic rock that’s created when limestone is exposed to extreme pressure and heat. 

Granite, on the other hand, is an igneous rock. It’s made up of several different rocks such as quartz, mica, and feldspar. This makes it a tiny bit harder than marble. 

You can go here to learn more about granite countertops. For now, let’s find out how marble and granite stack up according to appearance. 

Appearance 

Due to marble’s origins, most of the time, it offers a smoother surface than granite. Marble is white with veins of black shooting through it in various patterns. Some slabs have dark blue veins instead of black. 

You get a few more color options when it comes to granite. It’s usually a darker hue, but due to the other rocks that make up the material, you may also get flakes of green, blue, pink, orange, and more. 

This is a basic overlook at the appearance of the two materials. We will say yours won’t look the same as your neighbor’s countertops as it varies depending on source and cut.

Installation 

Installation is one of the few areas where these two stones are the same. A company will come in and fit a template to a slab. The slab is then cut and secured to the cabinets using an adhesive. 

Holes are cut to make room for your sink and faucet. As you can imagine, this home renovation is pretty intensive. Unless you have some serious training under your belt, you shouldn’t attempt to DIY. 

Durability 

We’re going to look at this in terms of the Mohs hardness scale. Granite ranks as a 6, sometimes a 7. You’ll have to try pretty hard to scratch or scuff it. 

Granite can also resist heat. This being said, you still shouldn’t put a burning hot pan on it without some kind of protection. 

Marble ranks between a 3 and 5 on the scale. It’s durable but not as sturdy as granite. This means that you might scratch it if you decide to chop veggies right on the countertop. 

It’s also pretty vulnerable to chips. Like granite, it’s resistant to heat, but to a lesser degree. 

Stain Resistance 

Marble is a porous material. This means if your five-year-old knocks their cup of red Kool-Aid on the counter, the stone will absorb it and stain. 

Granite is a denser material. Even acidic liquids won’t seep into it as long as you take the correct precautions. Both materials need a sealant applied at least once a year. 

This will keep your countertops looking gorgeous no matter what life throws at them. 

Cleaning Granite Counters

Both granite and marble come with special care instructions. Cleaning granite is a little more lenient, though you still can’t use abrasive cleaners on it. 

Scrubbing the Surface

If sealed properly, granite laughs in the face of acidic cleaners. Still, these cleaners can wear a sealant down, so it’s better to stick to basic soap and water. 

You should also stay away from abrasive cleaning pads. A basic, kitchen sponge will do the job. 

Getting Rid of Stubborn Stains

You can use a razor blade to get rid of any stubborn stains and stuck-on food. As long as the edge of the blade is resting on the surface, you shouldn’t have to worry about it scratching the material. 

Cleaning Marble Counters

There are a lot more hoops you have to jump through to maintain marble counters. You need to get a jump on spills right away and use the right cleaners to avoid etching. 

Get a Jump on Spills as Soon as They Happen 

You have to clean marble counters as soon as something spills on them. If you don’t, the material will absorb the liquid and stain. No matter how much you scrub, this stain will leave a permanent mark on your counter. 

Use the Right Cleaner and Scrubber

Like with granite, you can’t use abrasive cleaners on marble. The difference is that if you slip up and use it on granite a few times, it’s probably not going to hurt it. Marble is a different story. 

A single spritz of Windex is enough to do some serious damage. Use regular old hot water and mild soap. You should also make sure that you use a soft rag to do the job. 

Certain scrubbing pads will scratch the surface of the material. 

Getting Rid of Etching 

If etching rears its ugly head, there are marble powders you can buy that will take care of it. Wet the surface of the counter and sprinkle a bit of the powder on it. 

You can buff the marble using a soft rag or a buffer pad as long as you have it on a low setting. 

Cost

Overall, granite is a cheaper material to install than marble. The price difference isn’t that much. If you splurge, you may spend 170 dollars per square foot for granite and 200 for marble. 

Keep in mind that labor costs and job complexity play into this price point too. You’ll have to call around to different contractors to get an actual price quote. 

Is Marble or Granite Right for You? 

Granite or marble counters? Which one is right for your kitchen? That all depends on what your needs are and your budget. 

Granite is a cheap and durable option that doesn’t look half bad. Marble creates a timeless look, but it’s expensive and not as sturdy. 

If neither of these options works for you, check out the Home Improvement section of our blog to see even more kitchen countertop options.