What is the Difference Between Marble and Granite?

What is the Difference Between Marble and Granite?

As granite and marble became very popular materials for kitchen and bathroom countertops across the world, 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.

As part of educating the consumer, VM Marbles Pvt Ltd, Marble City Kishangarh, Rajasthan, India, presents this post to compare and contrast granite and marble.

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.

Origin of Granite and Marble

Granite: 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: 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.

Appearance

Granite/Marble

The physical appearance of granite is very different from that of marble. Granite has a variety of speckled colors resulting from the melded stones within it — namely, quartz, feldspar, biotite mica, and sometimes amphibole — and comes in numerous shades and tones.

Colors of Granite

Marble is typically a solid grayish-white or cream color and has dark veins running through it, though there are other, rarer varieties that have a pale green or pink base color. The lines in marble are formed from mineral impurities, like silt and iron oxides.

Colors of Marble

Granite is a stronger and harder stone than marble is, which lends it a shiny, glossy appearance compared to marble’s dull smoothness. However, with certain polishing sealants, modern marble can be made to look much glossier than it did in the past.

Strength and Durability

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: 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: 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.

Usage of marble for kitchen countertops has become a new trend in India and world, especially the marble quarried in Makarana popularly known as Makarana Marble. Makarana Marble has a better water absorption rate and better hardness compared to the classical marble materials like Carrara or Calcutta.

Stain Resistance

The metamorphic attributes of marble results in a more porous material. The porosity of marble will result in absorption of some materials upon contact. For example, some foods or liquids (such as tomato sauce), wine, juice, lemons and vinegar will absorb into marble and cause permanent staining.

The extreme density of granite makes it capable of resisting virtually all stains from foods and liquids. Even acidic liquids like vinegar will not permeate granite as long as you maintain an effective sealant barrier on the granite.

Sealants

Both granite and marble need sealing to keep the materials beautiful. Prior to or immediately after installation, a professional will apply sealant to both materials as a measure of preventing damage.

Granite: Since granite countertops have inherent stain resisting properties, they need less frequent sealer application than marble materials. For optimal results, you should apply a fresh coat of sealant once a year or once in 3 years depending the type of sealer used.

Marble: Marble requires a diligent schedule of resealing to protect the porous surface. Reseal marble at least twice each year – more often if you see water absorbing into the marble instead of pooling on the surface.

To test granite or marble to determine whether fresh sealant is necessary, place a small pool of water on the surface. If the water remains beaded, the existing sealant is effective. If the water absorbs into the stone, reapply fresh sealant.

Safe Cleaning

Clean sealed granite counters regularly with plain soapy water to keep the surfaces clean and beautiful. Rinse away the soap completely.

Marble surfaces require more careful cleaning to avoid damaging the porous stone. Use a cleaning product with neutral pH to avoid discoloring the marble. Do not use an abrasive cleanser on marble, because you could dull the finish.

Production

Large blocks of granite and marble are mined and then cut into more manageable rectangular slabs. Granite slabs tend to be cut larger than marble slabs because granite is sturdier.

Environmental Considerations

Neither granite nor marble is very eco-friendly. While both may last for a very long time if taken care of, considerable amounts of fuel and energy are initially necessary to mine, cut, transport, and install the stones.

Health Risks

Some granite may contain trace elements of naturally-occurring, radioactive radium, uranium, and thorium. Over time these elements can decay and emit radon, a noble gas that, at high enough levels, can lead to lung cancer. Though some have raised concerns over this potential health risk, the EPA has said granite countertops are usually safe. The Marble Institute of America has an archive of information regarding erroneous reporting on granite safety.

How to Select Best Stone for Your Project?

So, by now, you know all the properties of both stones. You know how their qualities are different. Now for a final selection, you need to consider your project first. If you need a good and affordable design, you can go for marble but if you’re looking for a long term durable solution and can spend some money as well, going for granite and spending on it is not a bad option at all.

Conclusion

Marble and Granite both have their own unique properties and qualities. In the end, it all depends on the aesthetics and where you are going to use this stone. If you are willing to devote some of your time in maintenance of tiles for a more beautiful and elegant design then go for marble. However, if you want a natural stone with more durability, scratch resistant properties and less wear and tear ability then granite is the best option for you.

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