BEST COUNTERTOP MATERIALS

Granite vs. Quartz vs. Marble Countertops

When it comes to countertops, granite, marble, and quartz all have their pros and cons. In fact, in many ways, these stone options are all pretty similar, which can make it difficult for homeowners to choose which would be the best countertop material for their kitchen, bathroom and beyond.

If you’re not sure about the difference between granite, marble and quartz countertops, keep reading for helpful information, or contact a countertop expert at National Design Mart to discuss our wide range of countertop materials.

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Pros & Cons of Granite Countertops

In terms of pure variety, granite countertops have no rival. No two granite slabs will ever be the same. Each slab has its own complex veining, flecking, and mineral compositions. The dynamism of granite’s natural formation can render colors and patterns that range from creamy white snowfields and deep night skies filled with stars to modernist paintings exploding with streaks of prismatic colors.

Granite countertops are one of the most popular and well-known countertop options on the market today. In the 1990s, Granite countertops became a buzzword thanks to popular interior design shows and publications dubbing them as the gold standard in kitchen countertop upgrades.

Granite is beautiful, durable, and, because of its popularity, much more cost-effective today than in its early years. You can expect to spend $30 per sq. ft. for entry level granite slabs, and $80 or more per square foot for more exotic slabs.

Granite is extremely hard, making it an excellent working surface. You can cut directly on granite, and because its mineral composition, it is harder and denser than the metal in your knife – you’ll dull the knife before you’ll scratch the granite!

Granite is brittle and can chip. While cutting on the surface is not a problem, pounding on it can be. If you’re using a meat tenderizer or other blunt striking implement, you’ll want to save that for a cutting block.

Granite is porous and can stain. Your granite choice will always be polished and sealed when you purchase from National Design Mart. However, in time, the shine and seal will wear down and the porosity of granite can be exposed.

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Granite that is not correctly sealed can be stained by wine, coffee, or even baby food. To avoid staining and protect your investment, you’ll want to reseal your granite slab every year with a quality sealer.

Unlike quartz, you can place hot items directly on a granite surface without worry of discoloration. This is great for avid cooks who have a lot of hot pots and pans circulating around their countertops. Granite was fused into its slab state from molten rock, so a tray of cookies or boiling pot won’t be an issue!

Because granite is a naturally forming material made from intense heat (radiation), some of the rocks, minerals, and elements that make it contain traces of radioactive materials, including radon. This is no reason for alarm, however, as the radiation found in granite is so low it is considered completely safe for use as a building material.

Granite Pros and Cons

Pros:
– Hard, durable surface
– Heat resistant
– An infinite amount of colors and patterns

Cons:
– Porous and will stain without resealing
– Brittle and can’t take blunt force
– Trace amounts of radioactivity

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Pros & Cons of Marble Countertops

Marble has become synonymous with luxury and is a common choice for high-end homes. In recent years, with the rise of quartz and improved accessibility of granite, the pricing for marble has come down.

Today’s prices on marble are similar to that of granite. However, marble offers less variety in patterns and colors. Marble is often known for its soft, creamy veining of whites, grays, blues and blacks, like that found in Carrara marble.

Marble is often used as a backsplash, or in other tile applications. Quartz and Granite, however, are rarely seen in such uses given their weight and thickness.

Marble is not as durable as its granite or quartz counterparts, consequently, marble can be easier to scratch than granite or quartz. The pressure used to open a wine bottle, for example, can cause a circular twist-like scratch on a marble surface if you are not careful. This is doubly true for metal implements. Using a knife directly over the surface can scratch your marble.

That said, there is a plus to the “softness” of marble — you can buff out most stains and scratches. This is typically not possible for harder surfaces like granite, at least not without professional intervention.

Additionally, like granite. Marble needs to be sealed. Otherwise, you run the risk of staining the countertop, and this sealer needs to be applied at least once a year for the life of the countertop.

 

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Marble Pros & Cons

Pros:
– Warm, creamy, luxurious surface
– Heat resistant
– Naturally occurring and unique
– Can be incorporated into backsplashes and other decors

Cons:
– Porous and will stain without resealing
– Easier to scratch than quartz or granite
– It can be harder to hide seams in exotic pattern

Pros & Cons of Quartz Countertops

Quartz is a manmade surface composed of 90% quartzite and 10% epoxy resin adhesive/sealer. To make a quartz countertop, crushed quartzite is mixed into a pattern that imitates the more static variations of grantie—think snow or starfield or rocky beaches—and then formed into a solid slab.

Quartz countertops are harder than granite and offers superior durability. In terms of hardness, quartz is the toughest around, able to stand up to some of the most intense abuse you can throw at it without any need for resealing. If you want a set-and-forget kitchen, quartz may be your immediate winner.

Quartz does have a few cons worth considering. For starters, while quartz can be made to imitate those patterns found in marble, they do not offer as wide of a range of colors and patterns options as granite. Quartz does not currently offer the same dynamic color ranges and veining that nature can produce in granite slab. While the color variety is diminished with quartz, it is worth pointing out that the most popular color chosen in granite is white, or variations of white.

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If you’re considering a more classic, snowfield style of granite, then quartz could be an attractive stand-in. Additionally, there is a silver lining: the static patterns common in quartz countertops make it easier to hide seams between cuts.

Quartz is not as heat resistant as granite. While very durable, the resin that binds the quartzite is not as tough as the molten rock that binds granite. It’s not advised to place hot items, like baking trays and hot skillets, directly on quartz. Make sure you have a trivet handy as intense heat on quartz can cause quarts to fracture or discolor.

Quartz has the highest VOC (volatile organic compound) levels of all the surfaces mentioned. However, similar to the radiation levels found in granite, the VOC levels found in quartz are considered trace, and safe.

Quartz Pros & Cons

Pros:
– Hardest surface available
– Stain resistant
– Manmade
– Easier to hide seams

Cons:
– Does not handle high temperatures well
– Limited color and pattern options
– Highest VOC of all surfaces

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How to Choose the Perfect Countertop

Granite, quartz, and marble are all excellent kitchen countertop surfaces. There really is no wrong choice.

If you have a vision for what you want your space to look like, or have fallen in love with a particular slab or design, you have your answer. Granite, marble, and quartz all offer great value and easily mitigate cons.

If after reading about granite, quartz, and marble countertops, you’re still not sure what option is right for you, come out to National Design Mart. Take a tour of our indoor climate-controlled slab yard and let the perfect slab speak to you. We offer hundreds of in-stock options, every day. Our experts can answer any questions you have, including pricing, with a free, in-home estimate.

 

Get Started with Your Home Transformation Today!

Visit National Design Mart in Medina to see our wide selection of in-stock, wholesale-priced granite countertops.

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