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There are a lot of things to consider when choosing the best countertop for your home. Factors such as appearance, durability, and cost all play a huge part in your decision making process.
Two of the most prominent materials for kitchen countertops are marble and granite.
At Deslaurier, we have over 40 years of experience providing our customers with custom cabinets and kitchen design services. While we don’t manufacture stone countertops, we partner with reputable local fabricators such as Urban Quarry to ensure our clients have the perfect countertop surfaces for their projects.
With that, let’s dive into the differences between marble and granite countertops so you can better understand which choice is right for your kitchen.
Let’s get started!
Table of Contents
Marble Kitchen Countertops
Marble is a natural stone formed within the earth. Categorized as a metamorphic rock, marble is created over time as layers upon layers of limestone and calcium carbonate are combined due to immense heat and pressure and become the beautiful stone you find in your kitchen.
Marble countertops and luxury are synonymous when it comes to the world of kitchen design. Marble is an all-natural stone and every slab is unique.
Marble has always been a high-end, sought-after product for kitchen countertops; but in the past couple of years, there has been a particularly sharp uptick in marble demand. Homeowners are revisiting the classic, high-end appeal of the all-natural stone with fresh interest.
Marble surfaces are more popular now than they have been in years. Heading into 2023, the pronounced appearance of marble has become a go-to for homeowners looking for an intricately designed countertop surface.
Marble Kitchen Countertops: Appearance
The main selling factor about marble is undoubtedly the look. Marble countertops have stunning appearances that immediately catch your eye.
The style of marble countertops is in a league of its own. Marble is characterized by it’s extravagant vein patterns and smooth surface, which exude elegance and instantly elevate any room they’re placed in.
Marble countertops can be enhanced with both polished or honed finishes. True to how it sounds, polished surfaces create a glossy and sheer appearance. Honed countertops have a matte look, but are generally more forgiving and will hide scratches better than polished ones.
Marble Kitchen Countertops: Durability
The style of marble countertops is in a league of its own. Colours and vein patterns exude elegance and make it one of the most sought-after natural stone surfaces in the world.
While marble blows you away with its appearance, it does have a few durability and maintenance concerns you should know about before installing it in your kitchen.
Marble is an extremely soft natural stone, rendering it highly vulnerable to scratches, marks, and impact damage.
Not only that, but marble is also susceptible to something called “etching” — a term for the damaging effect of acid on marble’s finish. Commonplace baking ingredients, like lemon juice and vinegar, will wear down your stone surface with prolonged contact.
Another main issue with marble countertops is that marble is a porous stone.
What does that mean exactly? Well, marble is a natural stone made up of all different kinds of minerals. Those minerals are teeny, tiny grains compressed together into a solid mass. The issue, then, is that there are minuscule pores between those grains that will absorb liquid and oils if spilled.
Thus, being porous requires marble countertops to be regularly sealed in order to prevent moisture and liquid from seeping into the stone. Something along the lines of every 3 months is standard for marble countertop resealing.
In light of these durability concerns and maintenance issues, marble’s saving grace is that it is resistant to heat, being able to withstand up to 480 degrees Fahrenheit.
It should be noted that although it is technically “resistant” up to this temperature, it is of course not recommended to put severely hot objects on marble. This could cause a discoloration of the stone or even result in cracking due to thermal shock.
Marble Kitchen Countertops: Cost
Determining the cost of any stone countertop, is not an exact science. There are a number of uncontrollable variables that may affect the price of natural materials from one month to the next, or from supplier to supplier.
The price of marble and granite can be influenced by quarry location, shipping costs, manufacturer, and supply and demand.
On average, a marble countertop costs between $80-$250 per sq. ft. Contrary to popular belief, you can buy marble on a budget. You just have to do diligent research in order to know where to go.
Outfitting kitchen surfaces with marble can easily surpass $10,000. — high-end marble for an entire kitchen, including the kitchen island and backsplash, can reach as much as $30,000. Far and away one of the most expensive countertops you’ll find.
Keep in mind that these prices do not assume the cost of installation. A standard countertop installation, with no cutouts, could cost anywhere from $300 to $600. Once cutouts and other maintenance are factored in, installation can cost well over a thousand dollars.
Granite Kitchen Countertops
Granite is mined in quarries all over the world. It gets extracted, cut, polished, and then sold for a variety of uses-–in this case, as slabs to be installed as kitchen countertops.
For decades, granite countertops have long been a staple of kitchen designs, tracing their early demand back to the late 1980s and early 1990s. Since then, their popularity has only increased to the point they are a highly sought after stone for kitchen and bathroom countertops, backsplash, and flooring.
Granite Kitchen Countertops: Appearance
Granite countertops usually have a tightly packed, granular aesthetic. They may have veins similar to marble, flecks of color, or be entirely solid.
Granite comes in a wide range of colors from very light to very dark, and each slab has some degree of variation in color over its surface.
With granite, you can only buy whatever is found naturally underground. While limited compared to something like quartz, solid surface, or dekton, all of which can be customized in their manufacturing process - it does mean that every single slab of granite is visually unique.
Granite Kitchen Countertops: Durability
Laying claim to kitchen surfaces for decades now, granite is one of the toughest natural stones in the world, noted for its impressive resistance to heat and scratches.
You can cut directly on granite (in fact, granite is so tough that doing so might dull your knives). You can even place a hot fry pan right on the countertop! Avid chefs will love the freedom to chop, cook, and bustle around their kitchen without restraint.
The most impressive quality of granite countertops is that they are capable of withstanding temperatures of up to 1200 degrees Fahrenheit!
The main downside of granite is that much like marble it is a porous stone. However, granite is considerably less porous than marble, so you can get away with sealing your countertop less frequently. Once a year should suffice in the average home.
With periodical sealing, granite stain protection will be sky-high.
Like marble, granite is a porous stone. There are minuscule pores between the compressed mineral grains that will absorb liquid and oils if spilled. So, if something is spilled on a granite surface it is best to wipe up the spill as soon as possible.
Granite Kitchen Countertops: Cost
While marble is generally the more expensive option, you can find granite countertops that fit a wide variety of budgets.
When it comes to the cost of granite, selections could range anywhere between $75-$200 per sq. ft.
This could wind up being anywhere from $2,000 to $10,000, depending on the amount of countertop space you have, and the quality of granite you have selected.
If you intend on furnishing multiple surfaces in your kitchen with a high-end granite – including wall backsplashes and a kitchen island – the total cost can exceed $20,000.
Conversely, you can also find plenty of cost-effective granite countertops. When compared, granite will provide you with a wider selection of affordable surfaces than marble will.
Marble vs. Granite Kitchen Countertops: What’s Right For You?
Do you want the elegance of authentic marble veining?
Maybe you’re an avid cook and want a durable countertop surface that can function as a kitchen work station. Granite is the better option.
Marble is a high-end, soft stone that requires a lot of maintenance. Granite is cheaper, will provide you with more durability and strength, and won’t need to be resealed nearly as often: try once a year as opposed to every 3 months.
If you’re leaning towards marble, it will be a purely aesthetic decision. Marble’s authentic veining is unmatched when it comes to natural stone countertops. The price tag is typically a bit higher than that of granite, but nothing makes more of a statement than marble.
Visiting large stone yards or showrooms will aid you in finding the best countertop for you by comparing the selections and price ranges of different countertop suppliers.
If you’re in the Ottawa area and looking for the perfect marble or granite countertop, check out our article on the Top Kitchen Countertop Suppliers in the area!
Design with Deslaurier Custom Cabinets
If you’re looking to pair custom cabinetry with the perfect kitchen countertop, Deslaurier Custom Cabinets has everything you need.
We bring 60+ years of experience to the table and partner with a vast network of premier countertop suppliers. The result? We consistently leave a long trail of customized, high-performance kitchens in our path.
We provide our clients with a fully customized design process with our talented team of designers. Book a free consultation with a Deslaurier kitchen expert virtually or in-person at our Jupiter, Florida showroom!