At some point in your life, you must have walked into the kitchen in your home and noticed that all the countertops looked like some kind of stone. Usually, this stone is granite. A discussion of granites and marbles usually takes place when choosing a kitchen countertop or bathroom remodelling.
Granites and marbles are natural stones. They were naturally created deep within the earth through complex reactions over millions of years. The stones are heavy, hard, relatively scorch proof and heatproof. Granites and marbles are available in a wide assortment of colours.
Marble vs Granite
Marbles and granites are stones created naturally deep within the Earth's crust. Marbles belong to the calcareous stone category of natural stones. Marbles form due to the transformation of limestone under extreme heat and pressure. They typically appear in cream or greyish-white colour, with vein-like structures running through them. These structures are the result of other materials incorporated into the stone. When compared to granites, marbles are less durable and have low resistance against stains and scratches. They require careful cleaning, using a product containing a neutral pH value. Marbles are better suited for vanity areas, powder rooms, and bathrooms.
Granites are igneous rocks formed due to the solidification and cooling of Magma deep within the earth for millions of years. They appear in a wide assortment of colours, with speckled dots over them. These dots are the result of different other materials, like Quartz and feldspar incorporated into the stone. Compared to marbles, granites are more durable and hard. They are also more resistant to scratches and stains. Cleaning of granites is a hassle-free process. One can clean it using soap and water. Granites are generally used for kitchen countertops, bar tops, fireplaces, bathrooms, etc.
Difference between Marble and Granite in Tabular Form
|Parameters of Comparison||Marble||Granite|
|Origin||Metamorphic stone formed due to the transformation of limestone.||Igneous rock is formed due to the solidification and cooling of magma deep within the earth for millions of years.|
|Natural stone classification||Calcareous stone category||Siliceous stone category|
|Appearance||Cream colour or greyish-white colour, with dark veins running through them||Variety of colours like medium to dark shades of blue, red, green, orange, brown, burgundy, etc. Granites have speckled dots in them|
|Durability||Less durable than granite||More durable than marble|
|Scratch resistance||Not resistant to scratches||More resistant to scratches than marbles|
|Hardness||Softer than granite||Harder than marble|
|Stain resistance||No resistance against stains.||Though not invulnerable to stains, granites are more stain resistant than marbles.|
|Use of the stone||Better used in low-traffic areas like powder rooms, bathrooms, etc.||Can be used as kitchen countertops, bar tops, fireplaces, bathrooms, etc.|
|Cleaning||Requires careful cleaning with a product containing a neutral pH value||Can be cleaned with water and soap|
What is Marble?
When limestone is subjected to intense heat and pressure, it changes its form and becomes marble. During this process, the crystalline structure of the stone gets altered. This results in the formation of other minerals in the stone. These minerals can be observed in the vein-like structures in the marble.
When natural stones are differentiated into categories, they separate into two, siliceous stone and calcareous stone. Marbles are part of the calcareous stone category. The stones in this category are formed from calcium carbonate. Calcareous stone is sensitive to acids this involves cleaning products and food items like vinegar, tomatoes, citrus fruits, wine, etc. Some other calcareous stones, apart from marble, are limestone, onyx, and travertine.
Origin of Marbles
Marbles are the result of the transformation of sedimentary stones. For this reason, marbles are classified as metamorphic stones. Sedimentary rocks are created when sediments found in the earth combine with buried plant life deep within the earth for long periods. After sedimentary rocks are created, they are exposed to intense pressure and heat metamorphosis, which turns them into marble. The heat and pressure are a result of the tectonic movement of the Earth’s crust. During the process of marble formation, different other materials are also incorporated into the stone. These materials give the stone its unique and attractive colours. One main ingredient in marbles is calcium carbonate, a soft chemical compound.
Appearance of Marbles
Marbles typically appear in a cream colour or greyish-white colour. Rare varieties of marble appear in pink base or pale green colour. They have lines resembling dark veins running through them. These are formed due to the presence of mineral impurities (silt, iron oxides, etc.) in the marbles.
Properties of Marbles
Marble is a porous stone. This means that if any liquids get spilt on the stone and remain untreated, they can flow into the stone and result in stains. Compared to granite, marble is more porous therefore it is more easily stained and damaged than granites. Due to this, it is recommended to use marbles which are mixed with unsanded grout.
Marble is vulnerable to heat and acidic spills. If used in a kitchen, placing hot cookware, and spilling acidic foods (vinegar, lemon juice, lime juice, etc.) can dull and damage the marble.
One method to increase the marble’s resistance is to use polishes and sealants.
A famous example of marble becoming dull over time is the Taj Mahal.
Strength and Durability of Marbles
A marble’s hardness ranges from 3 to 5 on the Mohs scale. Compared to granites, they are less durable. If used in a kitchen, marbles can get damaged due to cutting, contact with hot pans, spillage of acidic food items, etc. Because of its low durability, marble should be used in areas with low traffic, for example, bathrooms, fireplaces, etc.
Stain Resistance of Marbles
Since marbles are formed due to the metamorphosis process, they are more porous. This feature increases the absorption quality of marbles, leading to the formation of stains. If used in kitchens, spillage of food and liquid items like wine, vinegar, lemons, juices, etc. can result in permanent staining.
Applications of Marble
Since marble is less durable, they are better suited for areas which aren’t used very much. Marbles are mostly used in bathrooms for vanities, shower walls, tub decks, and flooring. Marbles provide a light and unique look. If you are willing to put in the maintenance work you can choose marbles. Alternatively, you can choose marbles if you do not care much about the dullness. Marbles are used to create sculptures and gravestone markers.
Maintenance of Marbles
- Marble stones should be resealed twice a year because of their porous surface.
- Sealants can be used to prevent staining and etching.
- When spillage occurs, wipe them as quickly as possible.
- Marble cleaning should be done with caution, so as not to damage the stone. Marbles should be cleaned with a product containing a neutral pH value.
What is Granite?
Granite is described as an igneous rock. This description means that granite was once in a molten state and it was created deep within the Earth. Granite contains many minerals within, which can be observed by the small flecks seen in the stone.
Granite is part of the siliceous stone category. This type of stone comprises silica and quartz-like particles. Siliceous stones are easy to clean and very durable. Apart from granite, some other stones in this category are slate and sandstone.
Origin of Granite
Granites are created due to the solidification process and cooling of Magma deep within the earth. This process takes millions of years to complete. Since granites are the cooled-down version of Magma, they are classified as igneous rock. The heating and slow cooling processes which accompany granite formation make it a very hard and durable material. Granite consists of other minerals which can be seen as speckled spots on it. Some of these minerals are Quartz, mica, and feldspar.
Appearance of Granites
Granites are available in a variety of shades and tones like medium to dark shades of blue, red, green, orange, brown, burgundy, etc. On the surface of granites, one can see many speckled colours. These speckled colours are the result of the different melded stones (quartz, biotite mica, amphibole, and feldspar) within the granite.
Properties of Granite
Granite is also a porous stone. Compared to marbles, it is more durable. Granites are more resistant to stains, though not invulnerable. It can also hold up well in situations resulting in heat or acidic spillage.
Strength and Durability of Granites
A granite stone’s hardness ranges from 6 to 7 on the Mohs scale. Granite is more durable compared to marble. It can resist damage from heat and scratches. A granite counter will not get discoloured due to household activities. Therefore, granites are the ideal choice for kitchen countertops.
Stain Resistance of Granites
Granites have high density. This feature allows it to resist getting stained due to food and liquid spillage. As long the granites are furnished and maintained with an effective sealant, granites can withstand even acidic liquids (for example, vinegar).
Applications of Granite
Granite having high durability makes it ideal for use as a kitchen countertop and floor. Just like marble, granites are also used to create sculptures and gravestone markers.
Maintenance of granites
- Granite stones should be resealed every two years.
- Sealants can be used to prevent staining and etching.
- When spillage occurs, wipe them as quickly as possible.
- Granites can be cleaned using soap and water. Make sure to clean away the soap completely.
Health Concerns Regarding Granite
There are granites which contain naturally occurring thorium, radioactive radium, and uranium. With time, these elements could decay and produce radon. If people breathe in high levels of radon, it can lead to lung cancer. However, this situation is improbable. The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) has proclaimed granites are generally safe.
Choosing between Marbles and Granites
Choose marbles if,
- You are ok with putting in the effort for maintenance
- If you are careful with your usage of the countertops
- If you do not mind the scratches and stains
- If you are comfortable with following the cleaning precautions.
- If you like the surface appearance of marbles.
Choose granites if,
- If you want to have a wider selection of patterns and colours.
- If you are planning on using a lot of force on the stone.
- If your kitchen is always being used.
- If you tend to spill and your countertops get dirty fast.
- If you like the surface appearance of granites.
Main Differences between Marble and Granite (in Points)
- Marbles are formed due to the transformation of limestone under intense heat and pressure. In contrast, granites are formed due to the solidification and cooling of magma deep within the earth for millions of years.
- Natural stones are broadly categorized into two. Marble is part of the calcareous stone category, while granite is part of the siliceous stone category.
- Marbles are found in cream and greyish-white colours with vein-like structures running through them. In contrast, granites appear in a variety of colours (medium to dark shades of blue, red, green, orange, brown, burgundy, etc) with speckled dots on them.
- Granites are harder than marbles, hence they are more durable.
- Marbles are more porous than granites.
- Marbles are not stain or scratch resistant. In contrast, granites are more stain and scratch resistant.
- Marbles contain calcium carbonate, which makes it softer when compared to granites. Granites are hard stones.
- Marbles require careful cleaning with a product containing a neutral pH value. In comparison, granites can be cleaned using soap and water.
- Marble stones should be resealed twice a year, while granites only need to be resealed once every 2 to 3 years.
- Marbles are mostly used in low-traffic areas like powder rooms or bathrooms. Granites are used for kitchen countertops, bar tops, fireplaces, etc.
- Marbles are slightly costlier than granites.
To sum up, granite and marble are naturally occurring stones created deep within the Earth. They are similar in appearance. Marbles are less durable than granite. They are also more prone to stains and scratches. Granites are durable and hard. They can resist scratches and stains. Choosing between the two is a personal choice.