As granite and marble became very popular materials for kitchen and bathroom countertops across the World during the last decade, home owners have become more and more interested to know the differences between these two natural stones. Many home owners want to know which material is suitable for kitchen countertops, what is preferred for bathroom vanity tops, what stone is good for outdoor kitchens, if marble can be used as kitchen counters, and so forth.
Both granite and marble are naturally found stone materials that are quarried directly from the earth. Although marble and granite have some basic similarities, they have significant differences as well. Your decision between installing marble and granite counters in your home depends on the location of the counters and how you will use and maintain them.
Granite originates by solidification and cooling of Magma deep within the earth over a period of millions of years. It is classified as an igneous rock because of its origin from the cooling down of molten Magma. During the process of heating and then slow cooling, granite forms as an exceedingly hard material. Granite consists of mainly Feldspar, Quartz which are very hard minerals.
Marble is classified as metamorphic stone because it is created by the transformation of another type of stone called sedimentary stone. Sedimentary rocks form from sediments in the earth combined with buried plant life under the earth over a long period of time. These sedimentary rocks get metamorphosed into marble under intense heat and pressure. This process incorporates other minerals into the marble that can give the stone attractive colors. So basically, Marble originates as limestone and transforms into marble. Marble mainly consists of Calcium Carbonate which is much softer than the components of granite.
Granite and marble have a slightly similar appearance; however, upon close examination, you can detect specific differences. The natural color variations that appear in both granite and marble differ between the two stones. Granite color variations generally appear as flecking throughout the stone. Marble color variations resemble colorful veins that swirl through the stone.
The natural processes that form granite and marble have a direct correlation to the overall strength and durability of the two materials. Although both materials will last and stay beautiful for many years in the home, it’s important to choose the correct material for the location to ensure that damage doesn’t occur.
Granite has a hardness of 6 to 7 on the Mohs scale. Granite easily resists scratches and damage from heat, making it an ideal material for kitchen counters both inside the home and outside. Granite counters will not scuff or discolor from everyday household activities.
Marble has a hardness of 3 to 5 on Mohs scale. Marble lacks the same durability as granite and it will suffer damage from common kitchen tasks such as cutting. Contact with hot pans and dishes may also damage marble. As a surface, marble is a more suitable choice for low-traffic spots such as bathroom vanities, fireplace surrounds and decorative accents.