When you’re putting in your new kitchen and want a beautiful and sophisticated look, you may decide to install marble or granite countertops. Visually they are both stunning and some people think they are interchangeable. However they are two completely different kinds of stone and you should consider the advantages and disadvantages of each before making your decision.
Granite is beyond a doubt the more resilient of the two. It is an igneous rock formed from cooled and solidified magma. It consists mainly of quartz, mica and feldspar and it is the high quartz content that gives it strength. It is known to stand up well in high use areas such as the kitchen and keep its looks for the long term. When treated with a penetrating sealant, it is unlikely to scratch, dull, stain or wear away for many years.
Marble is a metamorphic rock originating from carbonate rocks which were subjected to high heat and intense pressure to cause a crystallized composite of calcite, aragonite and dolomite crystals. It has a reputation for being difficult to maintain because it is prone to staining, dulling and scratching, but be aware of the facts before you throw this option out of the window.
It is true that a spill of water or oily liquid on a marble countertop will result in stains because the liquid soaks into the tiny spaces between the crystals. However pre-application of a sealer will slow down the seeping process giving you plenty of time to wipe up the spillage before it can do any real damage. So as long as the marble countertop is properly protected, stains are not much of an issue. If your marble does stain then you will be able to lift it, at least partially with professional cleaning products specifically designed for this purpose.
Dulling is a little trickier. Acid based liquids such as vinegar, orange and lemon juice, plus foods and beverages preserved with citric acid, will eat into the marble due to a chemical reaction between the acid and the calcium carbonate content of the marble, the dulled area is called an etching. Unfortunately a sealant is no match for this reaction; but, here’s the good news, the damaged area can be restored to its high gloss condition by using one of our Marble Refinishing Kits. However in the real world, you’re unlikely to spill acid based foodstuffs on a daily basis on top of your marble countertop, and in the long term you may be prepared to put up with the occasional dull mark.
Regarding scratching, prevention is better than cure. Marble is classified by the Marble Institute of America from A to D depending on its porosity and durability. So when you are choosing marble countertops, check with the seller that the ones you want are suitable for use in the kitchen. And make sure that you only ever use non-abrasive cleaning products designed specifically for use on marble – they can be easily sourced at acceptable prices.
If you’re looking for countertops that keep their new look for as long as possible, and especially if you have clumsy teenagers in the house, the more resistant granite countertops may be your best option. But if your heart is set on marble, and you can treat it well and put up with slight imperfections, then install marble countertops. Ultimately the decision rests on your shoulders. Whichever countertops you choose, look after them and you will continue to be delighted by their elegant finish for years to come.