Granite or Marble: Which is Right for You?

Granite and marble each have unique and wonderful characteristics. Each type of stone has it's better intended use, and this article discusses the differences.

In the world of eternal questions, "granite or marble?" does not really rank highly. It is not a particularly life-altering issue, unless, that is, you make the wrong choice. After all, both are natural stone. Both are relatively expensive materials and projects. And generally, granite and marble do not appear in small pieces but rather large slabs, so choosing between them is an important issue, even if it is not a life-altering question!

Naturally, one of the reasons that choosing between them is tough is because they are both beautiful in the myriad ways they occur. While some point towards granite for its profound and rich colors and details, some argue that marble's more saturated and singular hues are just as potent.

Collage 15 different samples of granite and marble
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Aesthetics aside for a moment, choosing between granite and marble has to come down to some very basic criteria even before the color choices enter the equation.

 

Finding the Answers

To begin with, though both granite and marble are quarried materials and taken from the earth, they are radically different in terms of the use and/or abuse they can withstand over the years. This means that you want to base your decision on functionality first.
When considering the functionality of marble, you have to understand that it is a porous material, making it readily susceptible to staining. It is softer, and this means it may not be the ideal choice for your kitchen countertops if you know you are likely to use materials that may end up leaving permanent traces behind. A butcher block combo, however, solves this issue.

The long and short of it is that marble is often cited as a better choice for the bathroom, powder room, and even as a Jacuzzi surround.

 

Furniture sink bath wash basin with a marble countertop
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Granite, on the other end of the spectrum, is a very stain resistant and hard material. It is often cited as the perfect choice for fireplace surrounds, children's bathrooms, and standard kitchen countertops and backsplashes.

 

New Granite Countertop in new modern kitchen
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When you move towards the aesthetics, begin with the general appearances. Marble, as most already know, is a more subtle stone. It is apt to have fewer color variants in a single stone, and to feature feathered and delicate veins of color that create a two to three tone palette at most. For example, classic marble may be white to grey with veins of grey to black veining.

Granite, on the other hand, is found in a stunning range of color variations and patterns. This is because it is a stone that captures many mineral deposits, allowing you to find at least three or more colors in the many layers of the stone. As a simple example, you can find granite with a white to grey base color that is also deeply flecked with black and shades of rusty brown.

Color variations are not the only things that affect the appearance of granite and marble. There is also the matter of the finish. In general, marble is always going to have a low finish, meaning not really glossy and with a much softer touch and general appearance. Granite is usually a high-gloss finish that is reflective, adding more light into any space and increasing the ability of the stone to reject stains and wear.

 

Luxury Kitchen with Granite topped Island and hardwood floors
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Moving Past the Basics

Now that we have looked at criteria such as the functionality, color and finish, we can begin to understand the most appropriate materials for individual purposes. When you are looking for something that needs to be resistant to stains and with a glossier finish, granite is your best option. When you can use a material that is softer and with less color variations, marble may be your ideal solution.

You may also want to think about issues like upkeep, installation, and repair. Generally speaking, it is best to have both materials installed and manufactured by experts. There are too many ways that mistakes can be made, and it is very challenging to handle these materials if you are unfamiliar with the right methods.

 

A granite topped island counter in a modern kitchen with dark hardware
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Should any damages occur to granite, which is uncommon, it can be fixed with readily available epoxy or resin, but only if the damage is a minor chip or crack. Marble is the same, with smaller repairs (those smaller than an ice cube) usually a DIY project. Both materials, when faced with more significant issues, tend to need professional repair services.

It goes well beyond the aesthetics when choosing between marble and granite. Even then, you may be able to overcome limitations where one or the other are concerned if you have your heart set on something specific.

As an example, the homeowner who desires a pale marble countertop and sink, but who worries about stains or damage can just as easily reduce risks through the use of larger cutting boards and even special countertop insets made of more durable materials that avoid most of the threats to the marble surround.  Alternately, the individual who would like granite, but without the gloss, can request a lower sheen or even a buff finish with some varieties.

 

Uncooked ravioli pasta on cutting board with ingredients at countertop in commercial kitchen
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There are not, necessarily, right or wrong answers with granite and marble. Instead, there are better and best answers for your needs and wishes. Making an informed choice is really the key, and you now know what you need to make such a decision.



Teaser: Which material is best - marble or granite? That is a question without a single answer because it boils down to a few unique factors. What is your intended use? Will it be put through a lot of wear and tear? What sort of color options do you need? What sort of finish would you prefer? There are many factors that must be addressed as you make the choice between marble and granite. Though it may feel as if looks and costs are the key factors, that is not the case at all. Read here to discover which factors you should be considering as you narrow down the options and finalize your decisions for marble or granite flooring, countertops, or surrounds in your home.


Images used with permission, courtesy of www.bigstock.com and www.dreamstime.com

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