Which Stone Countertop is Right for You?

Marble, Quartz, and Granite all have their benefits, but which one is the right choice?

Within a kitchen, the countertops are one of the main focal points. So, most people put a lot of thought into what type of look and material they will be installing. If you’re thinking of choosing a stone option, there are 3 popular choices: granite; quartz; and marble. While they may seem similar, they are all quite different in their properties.

Selecting a countertop is a large financial commitment, so it’s best to be as informed and educated as possible before you make a purchase. Below, we’ve broken down each material so you can feel confident in your decision!

Granite

Granite has been the long-time king of the stone countertop market, and for good reason. It’s distinct patterning has been in trend since the 1970s. Notably, granite can withstand almost anything, as it is heat, scratch, chemical, and stain resistant. Once you finish cooking a meal, you can place your hot pot or pan directly onto the countertop without fear. Because granite is not very porous, it is also resistant to stains. It’s still recommended that you take care of stains once they happen, but the likelihood of a tomato sauce stain is rare. For these reasons, granite has significant longevity. Some say it can last about 50 years or so, but others say it can practically last forever.

Granite countertop in a transitional kitchen. (Source: Keystone Granite and Tile)

Granite is a natural stone. So, whichever color or pattern you get will all be 100% stone. Speaking of which, there is an endless array of colors and patterns. It’s guaranteed that you’ll be able to find something that fits your tastes. Because of its recognizable and busy patterning, granite fits a more traditional home aesthetic. If you’re looking for a more modern look, granite or marble might suit your tastes better.

One of granite’s distinct features is that it is cold to the touch. Some find this pleasant, but others may not enjoy this feature. If you’re an avid baker, however, granite is the best solution because many baked goods, particularly pastries, prefer a cold working environment.

Lastly, if you’re concerned about cost, you’re in luck! Because of the higher demand for other countertop materials such as marble and quartz, granite prices have gone down in recent years.

Quartz

Quartz is manufactured from natural stone; smaller stones are secured together with a resin. This means that quartz countertops are not made of 100% stone, which may matter to some people. Also, because of this, some may find the patterns and marbling to be less organic and realistic compared to granite and marble. However, this also means that you can choose from a wider range of colors and styles than with other types of stone countertops. There are quartz countertops that come in modern greys, calming blues, and intense reds.

While quartz can handle some heat, it is best to always put hot pads down before placing a hot pot or pan onto the countertop. The stone itself it quite resistant to heat, but the polymers that keep the stone stuck together can scorch and leave a mark that is very hard (if not impossible) to get out. Similarly to granite, though, quartz is also scratch, chemical, and stain resistant.

Quartz countertop in a rustic, transitional kitchen. (Source: Kitchen Magic)

If you’re concerned about the environment, quartz is a very eco-friendly option. It’s common that 90% of the stone materials within any given countertop are comprised of waste by-products from the stone mining process or even from other manufacturing processes. Even the resins that glue everything together have become more eco-friendly over time. What used to be made of man-made products is now made with materials such as non-food vegetable oil. Mining can be very taxing on the environment, but quartz countertops are here to pick up some of the slack!

Expect to spend more if you’re looking into purchasing quartz. In fact, quartz can be up to 40% more expensive than its counterparts. While it is very expensive, it is sure to last a lifetime with the right treatment and care.

Marble

Marble has become more popular in recent years for its sleek and modern look, but they are considerably more effort than their competitors. Marble is much more porous, meaning it has more holes and thus can stain quite easily — especially is messes are not taken care of immediately. This means that marble countertops need a bit more maintenance than the above options. You always need to make sure that there is a good coating of sealant on the countertop as to not let anything stain the stone. Sealing can be done at home, but it is necessary to periodically have your countertops professionally sealed. This applies to each type of countertop, but marble in particular needs extra attention.

Marble countertops in a rustic, transitional kitchen. (Source: Aria Stone Gallery)

Marble is also not very heat resistant, and it can be quite reactive to chemicals, further making room for damage in the kitchen. While marble is the more affordable option, maintenance costs can easily add up.

Because marble is so porous, some professionals don’t recommend marble at all for kitchen countertops. Marble would be better in the bathroom or bedroom, for example. If you still want the modern look in your kitchen, however, quartz may be the option for you.

Stone countertops are a wonderful investment for any home. They can elevate any kitchen, bathroom, home office, or bedroom! Before you invest hundreds of dollars, though, do your research into which type is right for you.

Marble countertops in our kitchen showroom at our Chico location. (Source: California Renovation)

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