Getting new countertops is an exciting home project, but it can be hard to decide what countertop material to use. Whichever you choose will play an active role in the look of your kitchen, bathroom, laundry room, or wet bar, and the right one has the power to transform your space.
Thus, aesthetics and resilience are worthy considerations—and why natural stone counters are some of the most beloved. If you, too, have fallen for the durability and natural style of stone countertops, you may find yourself torn between marble and granite.
In this article, we’ll help you compare marble vs granite countertops in terms of:
- And more
Let’s get started.
The Origin Stories: Where Marble and Granite Come From
Granite is an igneous rock, which means it was created from magma that solidified under the Earth’s surface over the course of millions of years. As it hardened, several minerals were compressed together, creating the granite we use for countertops today.
The many minerals in granite—quartz, feldspar, mica, silica, and others—are what give you so many color options. You can find granite countertops in whites, beiges, browns, golds, blacks, greens, blues, and even reds.
Marble is a metamorphic rock, which means it was once a sedimentary rock like Limestone. That rock transformed under the heat and pressure of the Earth until its minerals recrystallized into the marble we see today. Marble primarily consists of calcium carbonate and is softer than granite on the hardness scale.
There are several kinds of marble that you can use for counters, but you will most often see it in whites, creams, and blacks:
- Rosa Portugués
- Crema Marfil
- Levadia Black
- Nero Marquina
Granite vs Marble Countertops
When it comes to granite vs marble counters, the two have more in common than you might think. Both are beautiful, natural stone, porous materials, and require similar care.
Still, there are differences worth noting, and whether granite or marble is right for you may come down to these differences in appearance, durability, and maintenance timeline.
Appearance: Marble vs Granite
Granite and marble both make attractive counters, but one may better appeal to you or suit your home. As you compare their appearance, look at a variety of slabs and colors for both; not all marble and granite look the same. Each can vary in pattern, busyness, and shade.
Granite: Granite has a speckled, granular look—representative of all the minerals that came together to create each slab. These counters add depth and texture to a room and, unless you opt for a rarer color (like blue or green), appear more natural.
Marble: Marble’s signature look is of a smooth, solid color, with sporadic vein-like lines running through. These mineral-created lines are typically darker than the rest of the counter unless you’re looking at black marble, which has lighter lines. You can find marble in a few colors (even pink), but the most common variations are black and white.
While granite suits any style from traditional to modern, marble is renowned for having an elegant and luxurious flair.
Is Marble or Granite More Durable?
As natural stones, both marble and granite make durable, heat-resistant countertops. That said, granite is more durable than marble.
And although they are heat-resistant, it’s a good habit to avoid placing hot tools or hot pots and pans on counters.
Granite: Harder than marble, granite is well known for its durability. These counters are scratch-resistant and better able to withstand frequent use. As a semi-porous surface, it’s best to clean spills quickly.
Marble: Though durable compared to cheaper options, like laminate, the disadvantage of marble countertops is that they are more susceptible to cuts and scratches than granite. They are also more porous than granite, making it more critical to clean messes quickly to prevent staining.
Porous countertops like granite and marble are most vulnerable to wine, juice, oil, and acidic foods and liquids like tomato and citrus.
Maintenance: Marble vs Granite Countertops
Granite and marble countertops require similar maintenance, but since marble is more porous and less hard than granite, it needs care more often.
Both countertops require you to:
- Clean them regularly to protect the porous material.
- Reseal them occasionally with a water-resistant sealant.
- Fill in scratches and chips with stone epoxy or resin as they occur. (Hire a professional if the chip is significant or if you’re uncomfortable doing it yourself.)
Granite: You should reseal granite counters every 1–2 years, making granite a moderate maintenance countertop.
Marble: You should reseal marble every 6 months, making marble a high-maintenance countertop. We also recommend using a non-abrasive, neutral PH cleaner on marble counters.
If you hope to increase the value of your home with your new counters, proper maintenance will be key to maintaining their value and appearance when you decide to sell.
Installation of Marble and Granite Counters
The installation of marble and granite countertops is about the same. Regardless of which you choose, you will need professional installation due to the weight and difficulty of cutting hard stone.
The professional you hire will likely apply a template to your stone slab of choice, cut the stone to fit the template, cut holes for sinks where applicable, and finish the stone to its final form. They secure the counter in place with a silicone adhesive.
Is Marble or Granite More Expensive?
In general, stone counters are more expensive than their less durable counterparts; however, marble is more expensive than granite. Depending on which kind of marble and granite you buy, you’re looking at $75–$175 per square foot for granite and $100–$200 per square foot for marble.
Whether or not you choose granite or marble countertops, the cost will increase the more corners you have and depending on the counter edge style you select.
Get material and installation estimates from a few contractors to ensure you get the best price possible.
So, Is Marble or Granite Better for Countertops?
Whether marble or granite countertops are better depends on your personal preferences, what kind of counter you’re looking for, your budget, and how much maintenance you’re willing to put in.
You will also want to consider how much each of these factors matters to you. For instance, you may strongly prefer the look of marble but know that granite is more durable. If looks are more important to you than durability, that’s the factor to prioritize.
Here’s a final review of the differences between marble and granite to help you choose.
- Known for looking more natural
- Lots of styles and colors available
- Less expensive
- More durable
- Less maintenance
- Known for looking elegant
- A few styles and colors available
- More expensive
- Less durable
- Requires more maintenance
Granite makes an excellent choice if you’re looking to replace your kitchen counters due to its durability and the daily use a kitchen takes. Many homeowners opt for marble in their bathroom, where it can add a luxurious touch without the threat of kitchen knives and acidic spills.
But whether you choose marble or granite, you can rest easy knowing that you will end up with beautiful, natural stone counters.