Choosing the material for kitchen countertops is an issue all homeowners have to go through. Granite and marble are the most preferred materials for kitchen countertops. Choosing one of them can prove quite hard because they both have their share of pros and cons. A well-informed comparison of the two is, therefore, paramount to ensure you go for the material with all the desirable characteristics you need. Marble and granite are both natural stones suitable for making kitchen countertops. Your lifestyle and family members’ input to the matter should also be taken into account before choosing one stone over the other. Here is a set of differences that will help you in making this big decision.
1. Resistance to scratches and stains: Natural granite is known for its hardness and nonporous nature. This makes it quite resistant to scratches and stains, and therefore ideal for your kitchen counter. With a counter top made of granite, you can use it as a chopping board without staining or scratching it. But this damages your knives. The nonporous property makes it resistant to stains from spilled liquids. Marble, on the other hand, is relatively soft and porous compared to granite. This makes it vulnerable to scratches and staining. A sealer, however, can be applied on the countertop to prevent staining.
2. Resistance to heat or chemicals: Placing a hot cooking pan on top of a granite countertop will have no effect such as burn marks or melting on the counter. Marble too is also resistant to heat, but it is always advised you place a trivet underneath the hot pan to avoid discoloration. Liquids that are high in chemicals such as lemon juice, ketchup, alcohol, vinegar and citric liquids leave a stain on marble counter tops. The stain is usually dull and irreversible. Granite, based on this difference, is preferred because it is naturally resistant to chemicals.
3. Ease of maintenance and aesthetics: Marble countertops give your kitchen this luxurious look though granite too comes close because of its sophisticated look and touch. Marble, however, due to its soft and porous nature, homeowners are advised to add a seal on top of it to prevent staining. A good counter sealer should last between 10 to 15 years. Both countertops should be wiped using a clean, damp cloth every day during cleaning. Damp the cloth using soapy water to help remove stubborn food stains. Bleach and other harsh cleaning substances should be avoided. Marble countertops need to be dried thoroughly during cleaning.
4. Durability: When choosing any house appliance, durability is a key factor that is considered. Material for kitchen counters is no exception either. Granite is often deemed as the most durable material for kitchen countertops because it is resistance to chips and cracks and even heat and chemicals. Marble, on the other hand, is also relatively durable. But its porous nature makes it vulnerable to staining and therefore not so durable.
5. Installation price: Regardless of the material chosen, it is imperative that the kitchen countertop is installed by a professional. Both granite and marble are heavy which makes them difficult to handle. They are both hard natural stones which make drilling of sinkholes a very difficult task. The prices for granite installation have gone down in recent times which makes it affordable in comparison to marble. Those who prefer marble over granite is spite of the price difference, can choose tiles instead of slabs which are more expensive.The design of your kitchen too will have an impact on the installation price. The design of your sink, the number of corners and seams are some of the factors considered.
6. Health risks: Both granite and marble are naturally occurring stones. In some cases, granite may contain some traces of radioactive thorium, radium, and uranium. These elements can decay over time and result in the emission of a noble gas called radon, which if emitted in high volumes can cause lung cancer. Marble, on the other hand, hasn’t faced any issue of alarm regarding health matters.
7. Appearance: Both marble and granite are beautiful stones for your kitchen counter. Granite is made of “grains” that have a specks appearance which varies in color. One slab of granite may contain a variety of these grains. With different colors such as orange, pink, blue and green. The shade of their color ranges from medium to dark.Marble too has the same pattern. The only difference is that it is bigger. The color of grains is usually relatively consistent to the veins that run through it. However, as the saying goes “beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder”, get your eyes on as many granite and marble slabs as possible to help you determine which material is appealing to you.
8. Cracking or chipping: Any solid surface, when exposed to direct contact with high impact from sharp or hard objects, is susceptible to chipping or cracking. Granite and marble countertops are no exceptions either. Normal kitchen use, however, puts granite to very little risk with regard to cracks and chipping. This is because of its hardy crystalline structure. Marble, on the other hand, is more vulnerable to chips and cracks from bangs in the kitchen because of its soft and porous nature. Based on this factor, granite is a better option for your kitchen counter.
9. Value: Both granite and marble are considered luxurious materials for counter finishes. Marble, however, is deemed more unique and contains a more luxurious detail than granite. Over the recent years, granite has however grown in popularity in upscale homes as a special necessary luxury due to its properties.
10. Composition: Marble is formed from crystallization of limestone. It can also be formed from animal skeletons, plant matter, and silt at the bottom of deep waters. These substances solidify into a rock over the years. The stone is affected by acids such as citric liquids and vinegar because its main component is calcium. Granite, on the other hand, is made from crystallization of magma. It is formed deep into the earth’s surface under extremely high temperatures which give it its hard property. ConclusionRegardless of the differences ironed out above, it is important to point out that both materials have the ability to transform your kitchen to a level of luxurious living. Before settling on either, make sure you have taken a look at both materials from a wide range of sources and choose the one that meets your needs and preference best.