What’s The Difference Between Granite and Marble?

Granite and marble are both beautiful natural stone choices for most any countertop area, and it may be difficult to decide between the two, but just what are the differences with these natural stone materials?

These materials are more similar than they are different, as both granite and marble are elegant natural materials that enhance any area of a home or office, but they do pretty much require upkeep and maintenance. With the right kind of care, both materials can retain their beauty and looks for years and years. Both have advantages over one another in their similarities and differences, and here is a breakdown of those contrasts and comparisons:

Granite & Marble Similarities and Differences

  • Both quarried straight from the earth
  • Granite is an igneous rock (cooled rock from molten Magma over many, many years). It is categorized as a siliceous stone that is made up of silica, mica, particles of compacted quartz, feldspar and other materials. It is crystalline and granular in nature and appearance.
  • Marble is a metamorphic rock that is formed from limestone that has been subject to extreme pressure and heat from shifting of the earth’s crust. It is categorized as a Calcareous stone, which means it is mainly calcium carbonate and somewhat softer than granite.
  • Both popular for kitchen and bathroom countertop use.
  • Both slightly similar in appearance.
  • Both contain color variations. Granite has flecks or specks, which are diverse in color, such as golds, oranges, browns, greens, pinks and reds that are medium to dark in color. Marble has larger, swirling, colorful veins that run throughout a slab, which can be dark blue, black, gray, or even pinkish and rosy-red.
  • Both are strong and durable over time, though proper sealing is necessary every few years.
  • Both granite and marble are porous so, again, sealing is necessary.
  • Granite has a greater firmness than marble, which makes it less prone to scratching and fragmenting. It has a 6-7 hardness (on Mohs scale), which makes it less vulnerable to scratches, scuffs, discoloration and heat damage. It is an ideal material for in and outdoor use.
  • Marble is usually more porous and softer than granite as it has a hardness of 3-5 (on Mohs scale). It is less durable than granite and can suffer damage from cutting, heat contact and acidic foods and drink. Marble is probably a better choice for less used areas of a house, like bathroom vanities, fireplace facings and other decorative touches.
  • Both granite and marble are somewhat immune to heat, but care should still be exercised concerning the use of hot cookware on countertops as well as the placement of any personal care tools in a bathroom area that give off and retain heat.
  • Both require different cleaning procedures.
  • Both granite and marble are subject to soiling once sealants wear or fade away. Oil, wine, juice and acidic foods and drink can cause damage. Marble is more prone to acidic food and liquid damage because of its softer and more porous nature.
  • Both materials require moderate to high maintenance in comparison to other surface materials, like laminates, quartz, ceramic tile and glass. Care involves sealing, avoiding acidic food and drink and removing spills as quickly as possible.
  • Granite prices for countertops are a bit lower than those for marble. Granite runs around $75 in square footage, which includes installation charges, while marble runs around $100 in square footage, which includes installation charges. Prices can be different due to any variances in the installation, which would likely involve adjustments with corner areas as well as seam placement, and any type of specialized sink adjustment and installation.

Whether you decide on marble or granite for kitchen or bathroom countertops, it will depend on where they are located in your home, how they are used in your home and how they will be maintained. Both materials are durable and strong and are to some extent heat, stain and scorch resistant. They are available in a number of unusually beautiful patterns and colors and will require care, maintenance and intermittent sealing.

If you want to know more about granite or marble, or just have questions in general, complete the online contact form and a natural stone expert will get back to you with the information you need.