Marble and quartz are two long-lasting kitchen and bathroom countertop materials. Manufacturers construct these products individually to add a custom design to your unique living space. The difference between quartz and marble is that quartz countertops have a few synthetic materials blended into them. If you’re renovating your kitchen or bathroom, you may be wondering which type of stone would be better as your countertop material. This guide features the characteristics and benefits of quartz vs. marble countertops.
What Is Quartz?
Quartz is a natural stone that’s abundantly available under the Earth’s surface. You may have seen small fragments of quartz on a white, sandy beach. It’s often in a crystalline or globe-shaped form. Miners retrieve quartz from veins within other rocks. Even though it’s often transparent, you’ll be able to find materials of varying colors.
Quartz countertops mostly contain crushed quartz, but they also feature resins that keep the pieces together and pigments that make the transparent color more visible. After blending these components in a specialized mixer, manufacturers pour the compound into a mold to create a sturdy slab.
Pros and Cons of Quartz Counter Tops
Consider some of the advantages of quartz bathroom or kitchen countertops.
- Durable: Quartz becomes polished and nonporous during its thorough manufacturing process. As a result, it’s naturally resistant to cracking and staining. You won’t ever need to seal your quartz countertops to protect them against acidic liquids or food residue.
- Versatile design: The various pigments used to create your quartz countertops give you a wide range of color options. Since quartz gets put together in a factory, you can customize it however you want. You can complement your current kitchen or bathroom’s design and show off your unique style.
- Uniform appearance: Quartz slabs acquire a glossy sheen during the manufacturing process. Even though they contain various materials, they feature a uniform appearance to coordinate with your living space.
- Easy to clean: Quartz’s nonporous surface prevents it from harboring bacteria and viruses. To clean your countertops each day, you only need warm water, a mild detergent, and a soft cloth.
However, here are some of quartz countertops’ negative characteristics.
- Sensitive to heat: If you put a hot pan directly on the surface, the resins within quartz countertops develop a permanent burn mark. When cooking, use a trivet or hot pad to keep the counter safe.
- Difficult to repair: You can polish or buff most stone surfaces if they develop scratches or stains. Even though quartz can withstand most wear and tear, any chips or marks are challenging to fix.
- Vulnerable to UV damage: Quartz countertops are not suitable for outdoor use because direct sunlight discolors and fades the material.
- Visible seams: Most quartz slabs are small, So if you have a large countertop, you’ll most likely have seams on the surface.
What Is Marble?
Marble is an all-natural metamorphic stone that contains recrystallized carbonate compounds. When limestone comes into contact with heat and pressure, the calcite within the stone recrystallizes to form marble. Miners find thick pieces of rock underground and cut into them to collect countertop slabs.
After receiving these raw slabs, manufacturers carve and polish them to design your marble countertops. As a result of its unique color and classic appearance, marble makes an excellent, aesthetically pleasing addition to your kitchen or bathroom.
Pros and Cons of Marble
Here are some of the benefits of installing marble countertops in your kitchen or bathroom.
- Timeless appearance: Homeowners have installed marble countertops in their dwellings for centuries. If you want to enhance your property’s elegant luxury, consider this classic material.
- Unique design: Since marble is a natural stone formed from limestone and molten rock, each slab has distinctive veining. The surface tends to develop a patina over time, revealing your countertop’s aged beauty.
- Various color options: Marble naturally comes in several shades that complement your kitchen or bathroom’s design. Whether you prefer classic white or rare blue, your marble countertops will be unique.
- Damage-resistant: Since marble is durable as a hard surface, it tends to stand up to impact damage. It’s more resistant to heat than quartz countertops because of its origins as a metamorphic rock and molten lava.
- Budget-friendly options: Marble slab materials have are available in a wide cost range, so you can find what you need, depending on your budget and design preferences.
- Natural stone: If you want a pure Natural stone countertop with no added materials, marble is an excellent choice. Unique, durable natural stone countertops add value to your house and appeal to potential homebuyers.
On the other hand, consider some of the drawbacks of having marble countertops.
- Sensitive to staining: Since they’re porous, marble countertops are vulnerable to damage from acidic liquids and harsh chemical cleaners. If you don’t quickly wipe up red wine or tomato sauce spills, they can stain the stone surface.
- Higher maintenance: You’d need to apply a high-quality sealant to your marble countertops to protect against discoloration and damage.
- Tendency to scratch: You have to be more mindful of placing hard or rough items on your marble countertops as things like pots & pans may have a tendency to scratch if you have a polished finish.
- Vulnerable to UV damage: Due to its tendency to fade in direct sunlight, marble isn’t suitable for outdoor use.
Quartz vs. Marble Cost Comparison
Both marble and quartz can add value to your home, but these materials come at a price. Marble & Quartz range in cost but normally grade about the same, it is mostly based on the rarity of the particular Marble and the volume of manufacturing of the quartz. However, you may want to consider the following factors to find out what your countertop installation would cost.
- Room size: Most contractors charge countertop installation by the square feet. Marble countertops typically cost $60 to $100 per square foot, while quartz is $55 to $75 per square foot.
- Ease of installation: If your countertops are tricky to install, your contractor may charge you more money in labor fees.
- Resale value: The money you spend on installation should produce a return on investment that adds value to your property. Marble countertops signify luxury, so they tend to add more value to a house than quartz ones. However, the stone materials should complement your home’s architectural style. Luxurious marble might appear out of place in your simple home and harm its resale value.
- Lifespan: If your countertops last a long time, you won’t have to replace them as often, so you can save money on future installation costs over time. Marble countertops tend to last a few years longer than quartz. Over several decades, you could save money by investing in fewer replacements.
- Maintenance requirements: Besides the upfront cost of your countertops, you should also think about how often you’ll need to maintain them over their lifespan. Since marble is porous, you’ll need to reseal it periodically with a specialized sealant. You may even have to ask a professional to seal it for you. On the other hand, quartz is challenging to repair if it ever develops scratches or stains.
What’s Better: Quartz or Marble?
Your choice of stone countertop material depends on your preferences. Consider the following factors to find out which countertop material is the right fit for your living space.
- Room of the house: Each area of your living space serves a different purpose. Since quartz is resistant to liquids, you may want to install quartz countertops in the bathroom or laundry room to prevent water damage. On the other hand, marble can withstand heat, so consider putting marble countertops in the kitchen to establish an eye-catching first impression.
- Lifestyle: As you consider marble countertops vs. granite for the kitchen, think about how often you cook. Your durable countertop should withstand all the meals you’ll prepare for your family and guests. Quartz is resistant to acidic materials and impact damage, but marble is impervious to heat. However, if you don’t like to cook but love entertaining guests, you can focus more on aesthetics than durability.
- Design preferences: Besides being functional, your countertops should also highlight your unique style. Marble offers many different design and color options to help you match your cabinetry, walls and flooring. If you want your countertops to have a uniform, consistent look, consider getting quartz that doesn’t have any veining or lines.
- Architectural style: Your countertop material should complement your home’s overall design. Since marble is a luxurious material, it might highlight a Craftsman or colonial elegance. On the other hand, it would likely look out of place in a cozy cottage or farmhouse.
- Resale value: When choosing your stone countertops, think about how they’ll affect your home’s resale value. If your marble or quartz surfaces look out of place in your living space, it could make your property hard to sell in the future.
- Budget: Consider how much money you’re willing to spend on your stone countertops. Marble has a higher upfront cost, but you can find affordable options to accommodate your desired price point. Since quartz is less expensive than marble and easy to maintain, you’ll end up spending less money in the long run. Consult your manufacturer about what options are available within your budget.
Cleaning and Maintenance
To prolong your countertops’ lifespan, you must maintain your stone materials properly. Consider these tips for taking care of each type of countertop material.
How to Take Care of Marble Countertops
Due to its porosity and vulnerability to staining and etching, marble requires diligent care to keep it in excellent condition. Follow these tips for ensuring your marble lasts a long time.
- Apply an impregnating sealer every few months: A marble countertop sealant can enhance your product’s resistance to acids, liquids, and heat. Check your surfaces every few months to find out when you need to seal them. To do so, pour a small amount of water onto your marble countertop and wait a few minutes. If the counter absorbs the water, you’ll need to apply a marble sealer according to the product instructions. You can wait another few months to seal your countertops if the water stays in place.
- Wipe up spills immediately: Even though sealing your marble countertops can help make them more resistant to liquid damage, you should still clean up spills as soon as you notice them.
- Clean stains with a poultice: If you miss a spot and discover some food residue on your marble countertops, you can clean the surface with a combination of baking soda and hydrogen peroxide. Ensure the mixture dries before you wipe it away. If you still notice the stain after removing the cleaner, try applying it again until the mark fades.
- Avoid acidic cleaners: Since marble etches and stains from caustic materials, you need to use a pH-neutral cleaner made specifically for natural stone countertops. Avoid using any cleaners with lemon juice, vinegar or harsh chemicals. Instead, for daily cleaning, use a mild detergent and warm water.
- Only use soft materials to clean: Stiff brushes or abrasive cloths can scratch your marble countertop. You can safely dust or seal your marble countertops with a soft, microfiber cloth.
- Polish to remove scratches: If your marble countertops develop scratches, you can use a marble polishing powder. Make sure you diligently follow the label’s instructions to prevent further damage. After polishing your marble countertop, you’ll need to apply a sealant again.
How to Take Care of Quartz Countertops
Compared to marble, quartz countertops require little maintenance. You don’t need to seal them because they’re naturally resistant to staining and etching. Follow these maintenance tips to keep them looking their best.
- Wipe up spills immediately: You can use a paper towel to take care of spills or cooking messes in the kitchen. It’s best to clean sticky residue as soon as possible to avoid potential staining.
- Use a trivet for hot plates: Since quartz countertops are vulnerable to damage from hot objects, use a hot pad or trivet instead of leaving pots or pans directly on the surface.
- Clean every day: At the end of each day, wipe down your quartz countertops with warm water, mild dish soap, and a soft towel.
- Remove stains with cleaner and a putty knife: If you find any dried spills or stains on your quartz countertops, you can clean them with a surface or glass cleaner. If you’re picking at dried-on messes, only use plastic utensils to prevent scratching the surface.
- Avoid using harsh, abrasive materials: You shouldn’t use acidic cleaners that could mark your quartz countertops or wear down the resin. Instead, only use soft brushes, sponges or cloths when taking care of these surfaces. You can use a mild detergent or glass cleaner to remove stains.
Learn More About Stone Materials by Reaching Out to Us!
At Atlantic Custom Granite, we offer natural stone countertops that add value to your kitchen or bathroom. We invite you to review our photo gallery for inspiration on designing your unique stone surfaces. We provide a wide variety of color and design options for you to customize your living space, and we follow a process for making your one-of-a-kind product. For more information about our stone materials and services, you can reach out to us online or call 717-244-3494.