One of the many questions we are asked when customers visit our showroom is “What is the difference between granite, marble and quartz countertops?”
To understand the differences in these countertops you should first understand that some of these materials are man made and some are naturally occurring and are mined from deep inside the earth.
Granite is 100% natural stone. Granite is found in the ground and was formed over millions of years from the slow crystallization of magma (hot molten rock that has cooled) below the Earth’s surface. Made up mainly of feldspar and quartz, granite also contains minor amounts of mica, amphiboles and other minerals that give it it’s coloring. These minerals in granite give it a wide variety of color combinations. These variations are what make granite so unique; no two pieces are the same.
Marble, not unlike granite, is also found in the ground and is 100% natural stone. Marble is formed when limestone is subjected to heat and pressure, a process known as metamorphism. Marble forms under metamorphism where large areas of Earth's crust converge. During metamorphism the calcite in limestone recrystallizes to form marble that is a mass of interlocking calcite crystals. Marble is made up primarily of calcite and usually contains other minerals such as: clay minerals, micas, quartz, pyrite, iron oxides and graphite. Although most marbles don’t have a wide assortment of color like granite, marble is similar to granite in that it has its own look.
Quartz is made partially from granite found in the ground and man made resins. Quartz is most often comprised of 80% granite and 20% resins. Quartz is being manufactured by several different companies around the world. Most brands create standard, solid looks that can look the same amongst the brands; each brand also creates its own styles and patterns. Even with different patterns, quartz will generally have a more consistent look compared to granite and marble.
Another important quality to consider is how durable is the countertop you are considering. Most industry professionals use what is called the Mohs scale of mineral hardness. The Mohs scale characterizes the scratch resistance of various minerals of a harder material to scratch a softer material. Below are some Mohs ranges of the three popular countertop materials we carry.
Granite countertops are between 5 to 6.5 on the Mohs Scale. Granite countertops are in the middle of the pack on the hardness scale between granite, marble and quartz countertops. This strength allows you to put hot pots and pans and cut right on the surface without burning or scratching.
Marble countertops are between 2 to 5 on the Mohs scale. Granite countertops are the “softer” material compared to granite and quartz. Of the three stones, marble is the one to be more cautious of; it is more susceptible to scratching, stains and etching.
Quartz countertops are the hardest countertops among granite, marble and quartz. Quartz countertops rate a 7 on the Mohs scale. Similar to granite, quartz strength stands up to heavy usage.
The next difference to be aware of is how porous or, likely to stain, granite, marble, or quartz countertops can be. A porous countertop needs periodic sealing to prevent staining.
Although strong, granite is a stone and does contain pores. Periodic sealing is necessary.
Marble countertops are more porous than granite and also needs periodic sealing.
Quartz countertops are not porous due to the resins mixed into the material; sealing is not needed.
Download this handy comparison chart to help when you are choosing a countertop. There’s plenty of room for notes to help keep you organized.
In the end, we’ll do everything possible to ensure your decision to trust us to install granite, marble, or quartz countertops in your home. will be a positive one. If you any questions about the process, materials, or installation, just use this form.