As previously discussed in this space, Materials Marketing Limited is proud to be aligned with the American Institute of Architects and their Continuing Education program. As an AIA CEU provider we offer a course, “Stone in Architecture”. One of the most significant talking points during the course presentation revolves around the selection of stone as an “art” rather than strictly a “science”.
Therefore, let’s discuss the use of marble and granite, and in the interest of “blog brevity”, we will focus on residential applications and set aside commercial uses for another day. We can begin with the science of the question. Granite is classified as an igneous stone that was formed from the cooling of molten materials beneath the Earth’s surface. Marble is a metamorphic stone formed by the alteration under pressure of igneous and sedimentary stones. In general, granite is usually harder and more dense than marble but in no way does that make it less useful as a residential stone.
An efficient way to discuss the two stone types in current residential design is by application. So let’s move through the home.
Firstly, distinguish between kitchen countertops and bath vanity tops. In general, granite is usually the better choice in the kitchen due to its inherent density, scratch and stain resistance. But please understand that granite is not entirely stain resistant and its lighter color values can show stain in the presence of aggressive agents such as red wine and ketchup. Marble, is less typically found in the kitchen, but can still succeed in this setting given certain parameters. A good example of a white marble that can perform in the kitchen is a very dense stone quarried in Danby, Vermont.
In a bathroom vanity application marble is generally more prevalent than granite. This is due to several factors not the least of which is the less demanding nature of the space from a technical standpoint. In most vanity application instances marble will present a greater range of fashion forward color values to the design team.
Residentially, marble is a more typical flooring than granite. The less austere visual presented by a flowing veined marble is fairly easy to incorporate into a design plan. In many cases a granite floor may appear a tad utilitarian for current flooring design trends. With that said, a few notes of caution on marble as floor covering. Client expectations should be considered when selecting a particular stone especially as it relates to overall color value, color range and required maintenance. A perfectly fine marble installation can be hopelessly compromised if the client has other expectations rather rightly or wrongly conceived.
Again, in the residential world, marble is more prevalent than granite as a wall covering. In particular, marble is a sound choice for bathrooms walls. As noted in the section on flooring above, while a wonderful selection of color, pattern and veining is available for the design team to choose from, care must still be taken to properly set client expectations. Of additional concern is to make certain that all aspects of water proofing are considered. This would of course be true of any stone in a wet area.
In conclusion, the title of this article, “Marble vs. Granite” is somewhat disingenuous. This is not a “zero sum” game with an “either or” solution to be advanced. Accordingly, reach out to an expert, like the professionals in our eleven showrooms, for the specific advice that will guide you to success. Additionally, please feel free to comment on this post or contact me directly.