Choosing solid surface countertops for home is a huge decision. Because they are expensive, you likely will only replace them once. You know what you want your counters to look like, but how do you know when you should choose one material over the other? Keep reading to find out what our panel suggests.
Gregg Cantor

Gregg Cantor

Gregg Cantor, President & CEO of Murray Lampert Design, Build, Remodel.

Marble or Granite or … Quartz?

Granite and marble are among the most popular materials for countertops, backsplashes, shower surrounds, bathtub decks, fireplace faces, ledges, window sills, etc. Both materials provide an almost endless array of colors, textures, and artistic movement, which is great for homeowners who are looking for a truly unique design.

Marble slabs are typically more expensive than granite, and fabrication cost is generally higher because the material is more difficult to work with. The downside to marble is it scratches, stains, and etches easily, which means regular maintenance is required. For these reasons, I would not recommend marble for kitchen or bath countertops, shower surrounds, shower pans, or tub decks. However, it works out great for backsplashes and is very complementary to granite counters.

Granite has remained one of the top choices due in large part to its longevity because of the material’s density. With proper periodic sealing, a granite countertop will stay looking like new with minimal effort and cleaning. This combination of durability and minimal maintenance makes it a great fit for large or small countertop areas that get a lot of use and in wet areas.

An alternative to both granite and marble is quartz, which is more popular than ever for kitchen and bath countertops due to technological advancements and expanded color choices. Compared to both granite and marble, quartz requires little to no maintenance, is roughly the same price as mid-grade granite for standard colors, and premium colors are much less than exotic granite or marble.

Durable, Economical Granite

Granite is my go-to when renovating a kitchen. I keep most of my renovations as rental properties, and I prefer granite because of its durability. Granite tends to be a harder stone and is, therefore, more resistant to chips and scratches.

It is also usually cheaper than marble. Most people don’t know the difference between a granite or marble countertop anyway unless they have some experience with interior design or renovations.

Erik Wright

Erik Wright

Erik Wright has been investing in real estate for over a decade and is the owner of New Horizon Home Buyers, Chattanooga, Tennessee’s highest-ranking home buying company.
John Bedford

John Bedford

John Bedford is the founder of Viva Flavor, a site dedicated to helping amateur cooks explore the world of food and drink.

Regular Maintenance is Key

Both marble and granite are elegant, hard-wearing, and heat-resistant materials. With that said, marble can often be sourced at a lower cost than granite.

The key consideration here, though, is how willing you are to undertake regular maintenance of your surface. Marble looks beautiful, and there are many different styles to suit different kitchens, but you’ll need to reseal it at least once every two years, ideally annually. Marble is more sensitive to acidic food and drink as well. If you don’t clean up spills quickly, it doesn’t take long for the surface to stain or become dull.

If you’re a busy, messy home cook, you’ll be better served by investing in a granite countertop. If you’re the kind who likes to keep a clean, well-maintained kitchen, you’ll likely favor marble.

Important Factors to Consider

For me, granite countertops are much sturdier than marble ones. Here is my checklist for deciding which one to get:

1. Budget
Granite countertops are expensive. So, if you don’t see yourself living in that same house or apartment in the next ten years, you might want to reconsider because it would be a big purchase.

2. Need
Do you have a lot of kitchen stuff for it to hold? Do you want to use it for your coffee corner? You should identify your needs first because both do the job well, [but one] does it way better. It boils down to how you need it or want it.

3. Aesthetic
Let’s be honest here. Home interior designs are all over Pinterest, and if you are like me, aesthetics affect your decision-making process, too. Again, it always boils down to what floats your boat.

Sherry Morgan

Sherry Morgan

Sherry Morgan, Founder of Petsolino.
Murat Yashar

Murat Yashar

Murat Yashar, Director of House of Worktop.

It Depends on Usage

Granite worktops are a wise choice for young families or in households where greater wear and tear would be expected, as they’re much more durable and less susceptible to damage from hot pans, knife scratches, and stains. Although they look similar and are often mistaken for one another, granite is, in fact, a far harder material and holds greater damage-proof properties.

Granite is also a more cost-effective solution, whereas marble is considered a more luxurious option that carries greater status for discerning tastes. Marble also requires a higher level and more complicated maintenance schedule. For kitchens that are expected to see a lot of use, granite is the wiser choice.

Your Needs May Dictate Your Decision

Choose granite countertops over marble countertops if you are looking for more durability. Marble countertops tend to stain very easily due to it being a softer material. It’s a good idea to take into consideration how much wear and tear you think your countertops will get. Any large repairs needed for marble countertops may be more visible on marble than on granite. If you have young, rambunctious children, then granite countertops will be more durable.

Alex Czarnecki

Alex Czarnecki

Alex is the Founder & CEO of Cottage, which is building custom Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) from A-to-Z.
Robert Johnson

Robert Johnson

Robert Johnson, Founder of Sawinery.

Do you cook at home a lot?

Granite countertops are best used for heavy-duty cooking. If you’re cooking frequently or every day, it’s best to use granite countertops since it’s extremely durable for this purpose.

Granite vs. Marble: Which makes a better countertop?

Granite countertops give an awe-inspiring appearance with the hues they have available, from classic tan to blended blue gray. While both granite and marble countertops feature veiny patterns, on granite [it] shows up as smaller specks that can differ in color, giving it a unique look. Not only does marble have fewer color options, but it may cost 2-4 times more due to location, demand, and availability.

Granite also has more durability than marble. It is more solid, harder to break, and stain-resistant. Standard wear and tear have less impact on granite countertops. It does not chip or crack as easily [as] marble. Knives might become dull when used on marble and are therefore [it’s] not recommended to use [them] directly on the surface.

As they are very resistant to heat, granite countertops do not become damaged due to setting hot cookware directly on the surface. However, the difference in temperature [between] a hot and cold spot side by side can cause a crack. Marble, on the other hand, requires regular upkeep such as sealing for protection.

Crystal Diaz

Crystal Diaz

Crystal Diaz of Posh Home Studios.
Eden Cheng

Eden Cheng

Eden Cheng, Co-Founder of PeopleFinderFree.

The Advantages of Granite

The popularity of marble and granite as the two most common materials used as kitchen countertops cannot be overstated, but they both do have their advantages and drawbacks.

Granite does, however, have more advantages because, for one, it is easier to maintain. It is easy to clean with a clean cloth and warm water, while marble is more prone to scratching and staining due to the stone being softer and more porous.

Granite also requires less maintenance over time, so it is possible to save more money in the long term.

When installing countertops outdoors, granite is the better option as they maintain their natural look and shine for longer and are also less vulnerable to scarring and bruising.

The Look You Want that Meets Your Needs

Marble-patterned kitchen worktops are beautiful to me personally, but considering that these surfaces are used daily, that the kitchen is sometimes hot and humid, and that there is a possibility that you will spill something on the worktop, marble is not a good idea. A beautiful, shiny work surface will soon turn worn and damaged, as marble is not suitable for heavy use. It is very soft and does not react well to moisture.

Granite tiles, on the other hand, are much more resistant, and as such, suitable as a material for work surfaces. Granite is easy to maintain and will last for years. Granite is very strong, better tolerates moisture and heat, and is easier to maintain.

On the other hand, marble is elegant, luxurious, and simply beautiful. Many people find marble more beautiful and elegant. It is all a matter of personal choice. If you insist on a beautiful marble pattern, [choose] quartz. It perfectly imitates marble and has all the qualities of granite.

Bryan Stoddard

Bryan Stoddard

Bryan Stoddard from Home Insider.

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