What’s the Difference Between Granite, Marble, & Quartz Countertops?

One of the many questions we are asked when customers visit our showroom is “What is the difference between granite, marble and quartz countertops?”

Natural or Manmade?

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.

How Durable are Granite, Marble and Quartz Countertops?

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.

How Porous Are Granite, Marble & Quartz?

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 Our Free Comparison Chart

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.

Have More Questions?

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.

Free Estimate


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The Longs

Just had our kitchen countertops done in granite. The Marble Granite World crew did a wonderful job. counter tops look wonderful. can hardly see the seam in the counters and everything was done perfectly. Had read all the customer feedback before we decided to go with them and they did...

Brenda and Jim

Had several estimates and saw some of the works by each, (seams were my main concern) and after viewing Marble Granite World was the hands down winner. All wanted to put long seams, which from their sample, one could spot from 30 feet away. Ask Anise if he could put...

Elie Batouli

I built two new luxury houses on 10+acres each. My competition in the Chapel Hill area did not have granite countertops. I decided to check out Marble and Granite world for their excellent reputation, their great variety of products, knowledge, service and competitive prices. I was pleased with all the...

Mark Folsom

I recently had my kitchen counter tops replaced with beautiful granite by Marble Granite World. Mr Anise Hage was very professional and friendly as he handled the Laser measuring, custom cutting and installation of my counter tops. It was all done in a timely manner and I would recommend Marble...

Barbara K

Moving and renovating is not an easy task. Decisions too many to name. One investment, granite counter tops is a huge decision. Our experience with Marble Granite World was terrific. From our first introduction through installation this process was unhurried, thoughtful, and our kitchen could not be more beautiful. Many...