What’s the Difference Between Granite, Marble, Quartz and Quartzite

What’s the Difference Between Granite, Marble, Quartz and Quartzite?

At some stage of a homeowner’s life, making a choice of new countertops will most likely arise.  If your first thought is wondering about the difference between granite, marble, and quartz, you’re not alone.  All are excellent choices to improve the look and value of your home.  One choice may be better than another depending on your lifestyle and personal choices. 

Granite:

Granite is one of the most durable natural stones.  This stone is an igneous rock, meaning it was formed of the magma deep within the earth. It is cut from natural stone and then sealed to protect its surface. 

Granite is the most common choice for kitchen countertops (with quartz as a close second) because it absorbs heat, and is impact and scratch resistant.

If you prefer the look of natural stone, granite will never disappoint. No two pieces of granite are exactly alike.  In addition, there is almost an endless array of colors and styles to select from. This means your countertop will always be one of a kind.

granite countertops kitchen

Granite surfaces do require regular sealing to help protect them and extend their beauty.  Because it is a natural stone, it is porous.  Sealant prevents staining from oils, water and other liquids (think tomato or blueberry juice).  When the surface is properly sealed, these liquids will bead on top rather than seep into the stone.  Once liquids do seep in, it will make the stone look dirty and dull.   Ask us how often your stone should be sealed and how to do it.

Marble:

Marble is known for adding a level of beauty and elegance wherever it is installed.  Sought after for its elegant veining, many homeowners feel it is the most beautiful option.  However, while it is undeniably beautiful, it is the least durable of these stones. 

Unless you are fastidious in your cleaning habits, it often does not stand up to regular daily routines in the kitchen.  For instance, some over the counter cleaners can cause damage to the stone.  For many, marble is often considered a better choice for bathrooms. 

difference between granite marble quartz

Marble is also on the high end of price points in comparison to granite and quartz. Unlike granite, marble is a metamorphic rock.  This means it was formed millions of years ago from another rock. In the case of marble, the original rock was limestone. Metamorphic rocks form when rocks are subjected to high heat and pressure, hot mineral-rich fluids, or a combination of these factors.

The most expensive marble is Calacatta.  The reason for its price point is because it is only available from one quarry in the world, located in Carrara Italy.  The production of this marble is limited and controlled.

Similar to granite, marble countertops also need to be sealed regularly.  If not sealed, any bit of moisture left on the surface will cause marble to stain and lose its shiny, glossy look.

Quartz:

Unlike granite and marble, quartz is a mineral, not a rock.  Quartz is made from the most abundant mineral in the earth’s crust. It is processed and sealed into a protective resin.  Therefore, it is a very durable countertop material.  Quartz trades the heat-resistance of granite for better moisture resistance. 

Quartz is purposefully engineered to look a multitude of different ways. Sometimes small particles of glass or shiny materials are added to achieve a special look. It is a great choice for the homeowner looking for patterns or colors just not found in natural stone.

quartz countertop sample

Because it is an engineered stone, it does not have to be sealed like granite or marble.

Quartzite:

Quartzite is also a metamorphic rock but is made almost entirely of the mineral quartz.  This rock begins as sand grains.  Over time, the sand grains become compressed to form sandstone.  When sandstone gets buried even deeper under layers of rocks, it gets hotter and more compressed.  With enough pressure and heat, the sand grains lose their original shape and fuse together forming a dense durable rock.

To determine the hardness of stone, a Mohs hardness scale is used.  Marble is a three on the hardness scale.  Granite is a six.  Quartz / quartzite is a seven on the hardness scale.  Quartzite will also not etch from acidic foods like lemon juice or vinegar.  While it still can be porous to varying degrees, this stone may also need to be sealed.

Some may recommend using cutting boards with quartzite.  Not because it might scratch under a knife, but because the stone is so hard it may dull your knives.

quartzite countertops

TO LEARN MORE:

To learn more about natural stone, or the Stone Central team, visit our website at StoneCentralSC.com

To learn more about natural stone, or the Stone Central team, visit our website at StoneCentralSC.com

– Bonni