When choosing countertops, most people opt for a durable and elegant stone that combines practicality and style. Quartz and marble are popular choices as both offer a timeless look. Ultimately, the countertop you choose depends on your design, budget, and environment.
Here’s a brief guide between quartz vs. marble countertops to help you decide which one best fulfills your needs.
What Is Quartz?
Quartz is one of the earth’s most common minerals. Its abundant colors produce many gemstones used in jewelry. Some prevailing forms of quartz are amethyst, agate, rose quartz, carnelian, onyx, jasper, and tiger’s eye.
Quartz has been used as kitchen and bathroom countertops since the 1960s. It was first manufactured by the Italian company Breton S.p.A., which began to press polymer resin into raw quartz crystals, creating a compound stone. Quartz countertops are man-made, combining 90% ground quartz and 8-10% of resins, polymers, and pigments to form a compact granite-like surface.
What Is Marble?
Marble is a metamorphic rock that starts as limestone or dolomite. Through intense heat and pressure, it transforms into the veined, white stone that is used for sculptures, lofty architecture, and luxurious marble countertops found in homes today. Marble countertops as we know of them began to appear in kitchens around the 1920s.
Marble is a natural stone. Once extracted from a quarry in large blocks, the stone undergoes further processing and is cut into smaller slabs. Resin is then applied to fill in the cracks on the stone’s surface. After polishing, an additional layer of resin is added to 1% of the marble’s surface to maintain its purity.
Comparing Quartz vs. Marble
What Does Quartz Look Like?
Most quartz is clear, frosted, or found as milky-white grains of small size with no crystal faces. The appearance of quartz depends on how it’s ground: coarsely ground quartz assumes a flecked appearance, whereas finely ground quartz has a smooth look. The appearance of quartz countertops can replicate natural stone like granite and marble, and because it’s manufactured stone, the patterns are controlled.
What Does Marble Look Like?
The purest marble is extremely light or almost entirely white. Its dark, gray veins, caused by mineral deposits, can appear minimally as thin, delicate lines or in large swathes of color that look like smoke within the stone. Because it is a natural stone, marble countertops may have coloration or spots.
How Durable Is Quartz?
We frequently get asked by customers, ‘what is better, marble or quartz?’. If durability is your number one concern, then quartz trumps marble. It’s virtually indestructible and stronger than granite. In addition, quartz is less porous than marble, which keeps surfaces bacteria-free and absorbs less liquid, minimizing stains.
How Durable Is Marble?
Marble countertops are relatively durable but only if properly sealed. Marble is porous and easily marred by oil, juice, water, wine, and anything acidic. It is also more susceptible to stunning than quartz. For example, a sudden, hard impact from a heavy metal object will cause a white mark. If not topical, the stun can run through the entire slab of stone, which is unfixable.
Is Quartz Heatproof?
Quartz is heat-resistant and can withstand temperatures of around 150 degrees. If too hot, the heat will discolor the resin (epoxy glue). To prevent thermal shock, it’s recommended that hot pots and pans are placed on trivets and not directly on the counter’s surface.
Is Marble Heatproof?
Marble can withstand higher temperatures than quartz – up to 200 degrees! However, like quartz, trivets are recommended when working with hot pots and pans. This stone is also a popular choice for fireplaces because it doesn’t yellow and can withstand the heat from sparks.
Caring for Quartz
Quartz countertops should be cleaned with a damp cloth and soapy water. Unlike wood and marble, quartz does not need to be sealed or wiped with special cleaners. Caring for quartz is incredibly low maintenance, so long as the cleaning agents aren’t too harsh, as this can break down the bonds between the resin and quartz.
Caring for Marble
When it comes to marble pros and cons, the stone’s proclivity to quickly etch and stain is a downside. Caring for marble is high maintenance because it’s a porous stone. Marble countertops should be cleaned immediately after use with pH-neutral cleaners, and they need to be resealed every 6-12 months to maintain longevity.
Both installation processes are complicated and are best done by professionals who measure, level, and secure the stone slabs on kitchen or bathroom counters.
How Is Quartz Installed?
Quartz is consistent in its design and easier to seam, making joins less noticeable. However, it’s one of the heaviest stones and requires specialized equipment to transport and move into place. Even though it is carefully measured, aligning precise sink cutouts can be a challenge.
How Is Marble Installed?
Marble is a natural stone, meaning that its design is inconsistent. One piece will rarely cover an entire set of cabinets, so there will inevitably be a visible seam when attaching two different slabs. Marble also needs to be sealed upon installation to ensure longevity.
Quartz vs. marble costs varies. Besides the obvious, such as countertop size, you should also weigh up costs in terms of maintenance time and not just the initial financial outlay.
How Much Does Quartz Cost?
Quartz countertops are cheaper than marble countertops, but the labor cost of installation is usually more expensive. On average, quartz countertops cost between $50 to $150 per square foot, excluding installation costs.
How Much Does Marble Cost?
Marble countertops cost approximately $75 – $250 per square foot, excluding labor for installation, finished edging, and sink cutouts. So, is marble or quartz more expensive? Generally, marble tends to be slightly pricier, but the cost is dependent on the size and quality of the stone.
Quartz Pros and Cons
Overall, quartz is more resilient than marble and doesn’t require as much careful maintenance. However, the resin in quartz countertops may discolor over time, typically when exposed to direct sunlight. If one part of the counter receives more direct sunlight than another, there will be a noticeable difference.
Marble Pros and Cons
There are quite a few marble pros and cons. Marble requires more care than quartz. However, it is a highly attractive stone to the discerning eye and tends to increase a property’s value. Besides maintenance, the only other downside is that it cannot be replicated from a sample, so you’ll never be 100% certain of what your counter will look like until installed.
Is Quartz Better Than Marble?
No stone is superior to the other. Truthfully, it depends on your individual preferences and needs. Quartz is more durable, whereas marble is more heat-resistant. Since marble is not a conductor, it provides a cool work surface, but its upkeep can be demanding.
When it comes to quartz pros and cons, there are definitely more pros. Namely, if your countertop is going to be used extensively, and you aren’t able to look after it vigilantly, then quartz is most likely a better option. So, what is the cost of marble vs. quartz? Ultimately, it comes down to your countertop specifications.
Granite Selection is Your Best Quartz and Marble Countertop Supplier
At Granite Selection, we specialize in designing, fabrication, and installing premium marble and quartz countertops. We offer over 20 varieties of marble and 100 different types of quartz to suit all our customers’ needs. Our excellent craftsmanship ensures our countertops are built to last. Contact us today to find out how we can install your dream countertop.