Natural Cast Stone

Marble Vs. Granite

Marble and granite are classic, naturally derived stones that have been used throughout the history of human creativity and design. While the two stones vary widely in hue and texture, both materials have a luxurious, silken appearance known to lend a refined, warm ambiance to any space.

Aside from their aesthetic diversity, the geological makeup of each differ in key ways that hold important implications when it comes to interior design and utility.

In this article, we’ll review the main distinctions between both of these coveted natural stones, and how to choose between them when building or remodeling your home.

Marble: The Essentials

Under a microscope, a marble slab resembles a luminescent stained glass window of interlocking calico carbonate crystals. The stone is produced when sedimentary carbonate rocks (typically dolomite or limestone) undergo the process of metamorphism—the change in mineral structure through heat and compression—and become marble

Throughout history, marble has primarily been used for:

  • Sculpture and artwork
  • Household decorations
  • Cooking tools
  • Architecture

Marble comes in an array of hues across the color spectrum—from cream to olive to rose to jet black—and is distinguished by the darker filigrees swirled throughout its texture, a result of mineral impurities like sand, silt, and iron oxides in the flesh of the stone.

Today, the majority of marble is exported from Turkey, Italy, and Greece.

Granite: The Essentials

Granite is a kind of igneous rock that forms when magma made of quartz, alkali feldspar, and plagioclase cools and hardens under the Earth’s surface. Granite is chiefly found in the continental crust of the planet, close to the shorelines at the fringes of each continent.

Given the complexity and variance of their makeup, geologists classify granite by what’s known as the QAPF diagram, which calculates the percentage of quartz (Q), alkali feldspars (A), plagioclase feldspars (P), and feldspathoids (F) comprising the rock. Granite containing between 20% and 60% of quartz is known as true granite.

Granite has been used to construct some of the most ancient architecture in the world, from the Great Pyramid of Giza to the famed Brihadeeswarar Temple in Thanjavur, India. Today, granite is used primarily for:

  • Sculpture
  • Memorials
  • Buildings
  • Engineering

Most granite exports today come from Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, India, Italy, Sweden, Spain, and the United States.

Marble or Granite: Which is better?

Kitchens, bathrooms, floor covering, and sumptuous additions like fireplaces are some of the most common areas of the home to incorporate granite or marble. 

When making your selection, it’s essential to account for other small kitchen upgrades, use, and how regularly you plan to maintain them in any given room. Both materials carry their own needs for proper care, but you’ll find that both marble and granite can be functional and handsome additions to any interior.

Which is better for flooring?

Given its polished, regal aesthetic, marble is a popular choice for flooring when it comes to residential design. 

Although granite may not be as sumptuous an option for interior flooring, bear in mind that marble does require a higher degree of attention to manicure and maintain. Humidity, furniture scratching, and heavy wear can all degrade the quality of marble floors, so be sure to have it sealed and treat any cracks quickly to avoid deeper layers of damage.

If opting for granite for your flooring, remember that conventional household cleaning products and floor polish can damage the organic composition of the stone. They should be cleaned with a specially-formulated stone and tile floor solution and treated with sealant regularly to mitigate any stains or discoloration.

Which is better for kitchens?

Granite and marble are both popular stones for kitchen countertops, but when it comes to culinary or dining spaces the appropriate stone depends on your lifestyle.

One of the most common uses of granite in interiors is kitchen countertop coverings. Granite is durable and more stain-resistant than marble, making it a more low-maintenance alternative for high-traffic, food-centric spaces. 

A granite countertop should be sealed following installation to prevent water damage, and (ideally) re-sealed on an annual basis. In the event that your countertop surface endures wear or scratching, not to worry—stone epoxy can help to restore the condition of your stone.

Marble is far more delicate, porous, and vulnerable to staining, which may make it a less optimal choice for a kitchen counter. If you opt for marble during your kitchen remodel, watch out for liquids like:

  • Citrus juices
  • Wine
  • Vinegar
  • Tomato-based sauces

Never let a spill sit on a marble slab, so be sure to keep towels on hand to tend to accidents as they happen (especially if you have little ones in residence!).1 

Which is better for bathrooms?

Looking for some bathroom tile backsplash ideas? Bathroom wall tiling is one of the more popular marble uses in houses, lending a clean, luminous finish. 

While prized for its heat resistance and pliability, marble is known to be susceptible to corrosion from microbial organisms like bacteria and fungus. Be sure to seal and waterproof your marble if you incorporate it into high-moisture spaces like lavatories and powder rooms.

Granite can be a sleek, stately choice for shower wall tiling or vanity countertops, though not as aesthetically ethereal compared to marble. Granite may be less vulnerable than marble to unwanted overgrowth, though it must also be sealed professionally to curb water damage.

Which is most cost-effective?

Neither marble nor granite is definitively more affordable than the next—each stone may vary significantly depending on structural composition. Whether one stone is more cost-effective than the other is contingent on the individual sample, and how much you are prepared to spend on maintaining your natural stone additions.

We recommend seeking out a free design consultation with one of our seasoned specialists to decide which option strikes the perfect balance between budget and your desired home design.

Marble or Granite? Let Materials Marketing Help You Decide

Marble and granite can both be exquisite components of home architecture, but making the appropriate decision requires expertise, precision, and a shrewd aesthetic eye.

Materials Marketing is America’s longest standing and most comprehensive stone manufacturer, with over 50 years’ worth of experience in home architecture. Our inveterate designers are on intimate terms with every tier of the home-building process, from sourcing natural stone in our North American quarries, hand-manufacturing our stone, ceramic, and glass products, to working with clients to yield the home design of their dreams.

For a professional perspective from our team of designers, visit one of our showrooms or send us an email to schedule your complimentary consultation. Whether you’re just beginning to play with concepts or are ready to bring your vision to life, we’re here to partner with you to make each and every decision commensurate with your unique vision—granite, marble, and beyond.

Need assistance with how to make a kitchen look more modern? Our experts at Materials Marketing are here to help with making your vision a reality! 

 

Sources:

  1. HGTV. Granite vs. Marble: Pros and Cons. https://www.hgtv.com/design/remodel/kitchen-remodel/granite-vs-marble-pros-cons
  2. Britannica. Marble. https://www.britannica.com/science/marble-rock/Uses
  3. Britannica. Granite. https://www.britannica.com/science/granite

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