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Granite vs Marble: A Comparison

"Is granite better than marble?" It's one of the basic questions asked regarding natural stone. The answer to that question is somewhat fluid since there are factors that will affect the performance of each material and thus, influence the answer. So when people ponder the question "is marble better than granite" or vice versa, they may really want to know, "What granite or marble should I choose?" In this article we will delve into comparing granite vs marble. As we do, we will consider various uses for the materials. By the time we are finished with the discussion, you will be able to answer the above questions. To begin our consideration let's start with the question, "Are granite and marble the same?"

Are Granite and Marble the Same?

This question is asked in some cases because it can get difficult to distinguish one natural stone type from another. The traits that distinguish one material from another are the key to answering that question. However, consumers, homeowners, and designers have preferences based on what they appreciate about each of these stone types. For example, a homeowner may see a slab of granite and just love the way that particular stone looks. Yet, when they begin shopping for countertop material, they find several marble slabs and wonder if they can simply substitute on material type for the other. In fact, a common question people wonder about is, "which granite looks like marble?" The answer though is not that simple; as we will soon see.

Granite vs. Marble Countertops

Knowing which material to choose for a countertop surface involves being familiar with the characteristics of each material and knowing what you like and why you like it. When it comes to countertops, some factors will most likely impact your decision. For example, where the countertop will be makes a difference. A kitchen countertop will be exposed to different substances than a bathroom vanity will. Therefore, being familiar with which material will hold up to these substances may impact your choice. And the cost will play a role as well.

Kitchen Countertops

Often times a person's choice hinges not only on the material, but on the color and appearance of the slab. Deciding if you want white granite vs marble countertops that are white in color is simply a matter of being familiar with the qualities of each material.

Determining whether you want granite countertops or marble in your kitchen really depends on what matters to you. Marble is a calcareous stone. The calcium carbonate content of such materials reacts with acidic foods that are found in kitchen environments. Note the list found in the following excerpt from

  • Dairy products, including cheese
  • Processed foods that are high in sodium, such as packaged crackers
  • High-sodium condiments such as soy sauce, steak sauce, and barbecue sauce
  • Fish
  • Seafood
  • Fresh red meats
  • Processed meats
  • Starchy foods such as wheat
  • Carbonated beverages such as soda
  • Drinks that are high in phosphorus (or phosphoric acid) such as beer and hot chocolate made from cocoa

As you can see, many of the foods and beverages in that list are very common in a kitchen.

However, some marble lovers appreciate the patina that these reactions create. Additionally, the design style of the kitchen will play a role in how a patina on marble appears. Rustic kitchen designs tend to be more favorable to surfaces having a patina than others might. The idea here is that granite vs marble for kitchen countertops is not as simple as just choosing which material looks best to you. It really depends on the environment, the look of the stone after years of wear and tear, and how much use it gets along with the amount of effort you are willing to put into maintaining the look of the stone. All natural stone will require maintenance. The question of granite vs marble for kitchen countertops involves that maintenance. So this should be considered in the decision-making process.

Bathroom Vanity Tops

Bathroom vanities made of marble are not exposed to as many acidic liquids and foods that are acidic so it is more common perhaps to see the material used in these environments. Yet, natural granite is also used frequently for bathroom vanity countertops. And just because we have mainly spoken about the effects of acids on marble surfaces, that does not mean granite surfaces are impervious to staining. Natural granite surfaces are porous just like other natural stone. So, liquids that are oil-based or water-based can potentially get into the pores of the stone and discolor it. Again, this means being aware of the necessary maintenance requirements for the type of stone you select; whether it is marble or granite.

Granite vs Marble Flooring

Another area that comparing granite vs marble makes sense is with regard to flooring. Each of these materials has been used for centuries as flooring. Stairways, courtyards and many other applications for marble or granite are found all over the globe. Hardness is one of the biggest points of comparison when it comes to considering granite vs marble. Many sources will tell you to choose granite over marble when it comes to flooring. Their reasons include things such as the hardness of granite vs marble or its durability. Yet, the same principle we stated regarding countertops applies to flooring. Weighing the factors will lead you to your decision.

Traffic & Environment Matter

The factors to think of when deciding between granite vs marble for flooring are mainly traffic and environment. Making a blanket statement that granite is better than marble for flooring could be viewed as incorrect if the floor for which it is used is indoors and/or not a high traffic surface. After all, there are numerous floors made of marble that have lasted hundreds, if not thousands, of years. So, give these aspects some consideration before making your choice.

Pricing Comparisons

We aren't going to dive into the topic of granite vs marble price in depth. And we are going to stay away from specific figures. The reason is that there are so many different factors that go into calculating the cost that anything we shared would probably be incorrect depending on the region it is fabricated, where it is installed, and what the details are of the sale and install. Quantifying the price of a hypothetical transaction won't really help in comparing what granite vs marble countertops cost; or flooring for that matter. For example, some granite and marble slabs are 2cm thick and others are 3cm. There are differing grades material whether it is granite or marble. Finally, the actual features of the finished product matter as well. One countertop may have an intricate edge profile and the the other may be a basic one like an eased edge. It is easy to see how quickly comparing apples to oranges can begin to occur.

As we have seen in this article, comparing granite vs marble is not a simple matter of picking the one that looks the best to you. It isn't a matter of going with the lowest priced option. And it doesn't even rest with picking the material that is the hardest of the two. Rather, it involves a consideration of multiple factors and determining which surface material will work best for your specific project. Choosing either a granite surface or marble surface proves to be a winner regardless of which material you go with if you pick the one that meets your specific criteria.