Marble vs Granite: What's the Difference?

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Natural stone surfaces are popular choices for home and office accents. These are often made from various types of igneous or sedimentary rocks, as well as other minerals. From quartz countertops to slate roofing, there are two stones that stand out in popular usage: marble and granite.

Both marble and granite can be made into exquisite-looking tiles, accenting decor, or kitchen and bathroom countertops that bring sophistication into any home. These natural stones are great to use for indoor fixtures as they provide a sleek, smooth surface with a natural appearance.

Often interchanged with each other, marble and granite are also used in various architectural designs as the porous stone materials create stunning designer pieces, beautiful countertops, and decor. 

These unique stones may look similar, but they are actually composed quite differently. We look at the difference between marble and granite in the article below.

What Are Marble Tiles

white marble

Marble tiles, or marble material, are made from metamorphic rock that has undergone intense heat and pressure to recrystallize the calcium carbonate and other minerals in the stone. Marble is categorized as a calcareous stone, and is highly sensitive to acidic solutions that even fruit juice can corrode the material. 

Marble tiles and marble countertops used in bathrooms and as kitchen counters are often sealed with a waterproof layer that protects the stone from etching. These seals also protect the stone from any accidental application of acidic solutions, as well as prevent the material from dulling due to scratches. 

When used as floor coverings, stone experts say that proper maintenance includes using a mild, stone-safe cleaning formula to remove grime from tiles, and a regular polishing schedule is needed in order to upkeep the pristine shine of the material. The same goes for wall coverings, kitchen countertops, and any other marble structure. 

Despite its susceptibility to scratches and etching, marble is considered to be a luxury above granite as the material boasts a much wider variety of shades, designs, and veining. Few quarries are able to mine marble as well, which contributes to the high value of the stone. 

What Are Granite Tiles?

Granite, on the other hand, is a hardier and generally more durable material that is perfect to use for kitchen countertops and tiles as the igneous rock is scratch-resistant, and water-resistant as well. Granite is considered a siliceous stone due to its high concentration of silica and quartz-like particles.  

The crystalline structure of granite determines how much maintenance is needed for the rock. Granite countertops typically get stains easily from intensely colored foods, dyes, and colorings. Proper maintenance requires thorough cleaning using non-acidic liquids, as well as buffing and polishing. 

Granite should be sealed with a waterproof layer after installation, and water should bead on the surface to show a hydrophobic surface. Granite and marble have different cleaning procedures, and the granular appearance of granite may make it difficult to spot dirt so a thorough cleaning is a must.

The best way to clean granite is to use a mild solution of castile soap diluted in warm water, and the solution is applied directly on the tiles using a soft, clean cloth. Despite granite being heat-resistant, take care not to scorch the protective layer. 

The Pros and Cons of Marble vs Granite Tiles

Maintenance: Granite

Compared to other materials like acrylic, ceramic, or porcelain, natural stone is a porous material that requires a protective layer to keep it from water damage. The same is true for both marble and granite structures. However, due to how granite is formed, maintenance for the crystalline material is much less of a hassle.

Design: Marble

While granite may have a wide array of patterns, marble has varying designs based on the veining, and the minerals that are encased in the marble. Some marble may boast a snow-white background adorned with golden hues of flecks and veins, while other types of marble may show off coffee-like tones amidst a jet-black background.

Marble looks sleek and sophisticated, and is the more popular design of the two materials. Luxury marble is typically smooth, with intricate veining showing off hues of gray, gold, black, or white. There's a marble design for any household, office, or commercial space!

Price: Granite

Because marble is in such high demand, it is a pricier material compared to granite. Granite is more affordable, but is still considered a luxury material. For homeowners and designers who appreciate the natural aesthetic of these stones, but are looking for a material worth its value, granite is the optimal choice.

Durability: Granite

Granite is also more durable, as the stone is water-resistant, scratch-resistant, and heat-resistant. However, the stone is prone to staining so keep an eye out for food coloring and dyes. Marble can also last for generations, but requires higher maintenance than granite to keep mold and cracks at bay.

The Better Choice: Marble vs Granite?

Granite and marble are often interchanged, so homeowners typically base their preferences on the design of the stone. As for the better choice, best to figure out where your priorities lie in maintaining the stone. 

Do you prefer a stone countertop that fits your modern, natural aesthetic, or would you rather have a hardy stone that you won't need to upkeep often? Depending on how well you can maintain your stone, you can choose marble for the high-class, but high-maintenance option; or granite for the low-maintenance option in limited designs.

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