Hello, readers! Welcome back to the Stonehouse Countertops blog! We’re pleased you’ve chosen Stonehouse Countertops for everything you need to know about custom countertop materials. We provide comprehensive deep dives into various aspects of the design and installation process, as well as helpful tips for choosing the best material for your home. Our goal is to equip you with the information you need to commission the perfect countertops! Stonehouse Countertops carries an array of granite, marble, quartz, quartzite, soapstone, silestone, limestone, travertine, onyx, glass, sodalite, slate, and porcelain materials in its inventory. In addition to countertops, we offer fireplace surrounds, patios, floors, and walls. Whatever your design goals, we’re happy to help you achieve your unique vision!
Our last article was a continuation of our All About series–a set of articles that aim to shine a spotlight on the unique attributes of various stone materials. The first post, ‘All About Marble,’ explored marble’s association with luxury, how its composition contributes to its luminosity, and how designers are pushing the limits on how marble can be used in residential and commercial spaces. Our second post, ‘All About Granite,’ recounted the interesting history of granite, how the stone’s versatility has been put to good use by designers across the globe and how granite is graded. Our third post, ‘All About Quartz,’ completed the trifecta of the most popular stone countertop materials on the market. We explained the oft-misunderstood difference between quartz and quartzite, detailed the pros and cons of quartz, and quoted a few stone experts on what makes quartz a worthy investment. Of course, we had to dedicate an article to the luxuriant, talc-based soapstone. We examined a few reasons soapstone is such a popular material among designers, as well as how to care for your own soapstone countertops. Our most recent All About article was dedicated to limestone. We explored the interesting history of this elegant stone and provided a basis on how designers use limestone to achieve a classic, timeless look. Finally, we penned a love letter to travertine, taking time to explain how this stone differs from limestone (and why it might just suit you better). The All About series is everything you need to know to plan the next custom stone addition to your household or commercial space and we hope you’ll give these articles a read!
Today, we’re pitting two popular stones against one another to see which will come out on top: marble or quartz? Quartz is often compared to granite, as these two stones currently dominate the countertop market, but we thought it’d be interesting to switch things up. Marble and quartz are known for their elegance and durability, respectively, but how do their attributes compare? This article will dig deep into durability, stainability, variety, price, and more. We want to give you all the information you need to make the best choice. Therefore, without further ado, let the battle begin!
Marble is composed of “recrystallized carbonate minerals,” meaning it’s the byproduct of minerals like calcite and dolomite being heated within the earth’s core and then cooled. Marble is sometimes the final form of limestone, which begins as travertine, and has thus endured the most heat and pressure of all three. It ranks between a two and three on the Mohs Hardness Scale and has a crushing strength between 12 and 13 MPa (or megapascals). While heat-resistant, you’ll still need to be careful setting piping hot pans down on a marble surface.
Quartz is composed of ninety-five percent ground natural quartz powder and five percent polymer resin. Quartz is a type of engineered stone, which means it’s manufactured. That said, quartz is considered “close to indestructible,” ranking at a seven on the Mohs Hardness scale and boasting a crushing strength similar to that of granite (131 MPa). Quartz, however, is not heat-resistant and can be scorched, discolored, or otherwise damaged by hot items placed on its surface.
Marble is a porous stone material and, as such, is susceptible to staining. Among natural stones, it’s significantly more susceptible to staining than granite but not as susceptible to staining as limestone. If you choose marble, you’ll need to invest in periodically (i.e. twice a year) sealing the surface. Marble can also etch, which is why you’ll need to stay away from using all-purpose cleaners containing synthetics, highly acidic liquids (i.e. lemon juice, vinegar), and highly basic liquids (i.e. bleach). Quartz, on the other hand, is entirely non-porous. Due to the nature of its resin-based composition, this stone isn’t very permeable, meaning there’s simply nowhere for spills to go. This makes for an easily cleaned countertop–and a clean one, too. Since there are no pores, bacteria and food-borne pathogens have nowhere to hide. You’re unlikely to damage your quartz stone, regardless of which cleaner you choose to use. Plus, they do not need to be sealed. Ever. Which means less maintenance for you!
You’d be surprised how many natural varieties of marble there are and just how different these varieties can be. From the bold to the understated, there are hundreds of kinds of marble. Many slabs resemble art pieces, in fact, due to their stunning color and vibrant patterns. That said, all marble shares at least one similarity and that is the luminosity for which marble has often been lauded. The ancient Greek name for marble translated to “shining stone.” Whether you choose a midnight black option or go all-white–marble will find a way to glow. Quartz, being manufactured, can look however you want. You can mimic the patterns and grain of any other stone, or opt for colors which are entirely unnatural. It’s up to you! No other stone can rival quartz in terms of variety.
Let’s be honest: price is a deciding factor for many. Which stone is more affordable? Installed marble will cost anywhere from $100 to $200 per square foot, depending on which type of marble you choose and the marble’s availability. Quartz, on the other hand, has a much wider price range. A nice quartz countertop might be available for as little as $50 per square foot, but you’re more likely to pay between $75 to $150 per square foot for quality. Quartz is quite heavy and, as such, requires professional installation. As more and more manufacturers begin to produce quartz, its price will continue to drop. That said, if you opt for a custom quartz, be ready to pay top dollar.
For countertops, quartz is probably the better option. Their indestructibility is an incredibly useful quality in an area of the home where spills happen every day. If you know you’re unlikely to keep up with the maintenance marble countertops require, quartz countertops will allow you to rest easy at night knowing your countertops will remain clean and tidy with little to no extra work. You’re unlikely to knick a quartz countertop while chopping, too.
Unfortunately, as good as marble floors look, we’re afraid we have to go with quartz again. Marble floors would rack up quite a hefty bill and, with shoes tracking in mud and dirt, pose quite the risk for accidental staining. Of course, with the right sealant, this is a nonissue. Still, it’s a lot of ground to cover. No pun intended. If you still want the look of marble without the price tag, there are plenty of quartz replicas available with marble-like veining and quartz durability.
Which comes out on top?
While we could easily declare quartz the winner–and it does have plenty of winning qualities–we simply can’t let marble take second place. The natural beauty of marble, while somewhat mimicable, is truly one-of-a-kind. There’s a reason marble is still one of the most sought-after, expensive stones in the world. There’s a reason Michelangelo chose marble to sculpt his David. Its major downside can be managed with regular sealing and, if you have the extra cash, it’ll be well-spent on marble. Quartz is a favorite among homeowners for several reasons–as evidenced above–and its price tag doesn’t hurt either.
We formally rest our case. Now, the decision is entirely yours. Whether you choose marble or quartz, you can find quality pieces in our live inventory! At Stonehouse Countertops, we are willing and able to work with you to your specifications. We offer a wide range of different materials and always have someone on hand to answer your questions! Don’t hesitate to reach out for a consultation or for help forming a plan. We want to ensure your vision becomes a reality! Be sure to come back for upcoming articles! Until next time—thanks for reading!