Granite vs marble. You love the look of marble. But is that material a smart choice for your kitchen counters? No. Why not?

Granite vs Marble

Marble vs Granite.

You love the look of marble. Who doesn’t? It’s luxurious. 

Nothing quite achieves the visual “depth and complexity” of marble. 

As building materials, marble and granite have been used for centuries. But are marble kitchen countertops a smart choice?

Should I use marble on my countertops?

No, marble is not a good choice for kitchen countertops. Walk into most fabrication shops and you will hear the same answer. Marble is not a good selection for kitchen counters.

Common Misconceptions About Marble

  1. Marble is a soft stone – While it’s true that marble is softer than granite, it is still hard enough to use on counters. In fact, marble bathroom vanity tops are quite popular.
  2. Marble will stain – If left unsealed, marble could stain. But sealers can protect the natural stone from stains. This does not disqualify it from kitchen counters.

What Is Marble's Achilles Heal?        

It is easy to etch marble (take the shine off). There seems to be some confusion between etching and staining. Quite often, a homeowner will think their marble has been “stained” when in fact, it has been etched.

To find out why marble etches, we need to look at how marble is formed. 

All marble started as something else.

etched marble

If you remember your geology courses, you may ask: “Is marble a metamorphic rock?”

Yes! It is.

As the name implies, a metamorphic rock started as something else (often times limestone) but intense heat and pressure morphed it into something new.

But it’s not the morphing process that creates the problem. It’s the chemical composition.

Marble contains the mineral calcite or calcium carbonate.

Basically, anything acidic will react with the calcite and “eat” the shine off. Imagine trying to avoid acid in a cooking area.

Impossible.

Think about something as simple as making a pitcher of lemonade. (Or it may be easier to visualize a large glass of gin and tonic.) 

In either case – you need to squeeze citrus.

Now picture a tiny drop of juice falling in slow motion toward the counter with the words “Noooooo” resounding through the air.  

You try and catch the droplets – but before your hand can get under the liquid – SPLAT. They have splashed onto the polished marble countertops. And where ever those drops land they leave an imprint, taking the shine right off the surface.

Eventually, your shiny marble top will be marked by hundreds of cooking mishaps. For a rare few, those become “badges of honor” the beauty of living. For most it would make life unlivable. 

Won't Sealing Marble Prevent Etching?

It is a common misconception that sealing will protect marble from etching. But it does not. 

Sealers are designed to prevent liquids from soaking deep into the natural stone. Kept at the surface, they can easily be wiped up. 

Even so, it is best to wipe up spills as soon as possible. Refer to our Marble Cleaning Guide.

INSERT LINK TO Guide

While a good sealer will inhibit stains, it will not prevent acidic substances from reacting with the chemical makeup of marble. 

This is because most sealers sit just beneath the surface of the natural stone, exposing a thin surface layer to interact with liquids.

A protective coating (a thin layer of polyester) can be applied to protect marble from etching. This material was developed for the hospitality industry and it’s application can be quite costly.

that is gas permeable but liquid impermeable. Our hard coat technology resists scratching and provides a long product life

What About Granite? Will Granite Etch?

Granite will not etch. Granite contains no calcite. Nothing in granite’s chemical composition reacts with acid.

However, some granite could stain. Surprisingly, the texture of granite can be porous.

Run your hand lightly over a piece of granite. Chances are it will feel cool and smooth to the touch.

But then you come across a slight rough patch. It may appear as a tiny bump or hairline cracks in the surface. This is a fissure.

It is quite normal for granite to have numerous fissures.

Often times homeowners will ask if something can be done to “fix” the texture. Not really. Similar to the errant paw print in Mexican Clay Tiles, these hairline cracks are just part of the character of this particular natural stone.

Granite Should be Sealed

These fissures can allow substances to penetrate the surface and cause a stain. 

Therefore it is advisable to seal granite with a proper sealer designed for this unique surface, which is dense and at the same time porous. 

What's Better Flooring

Because granite does not etch, most contractors will strongly recommend their clients choose granite or quartz vs marble for kitchen counters. 

However, historically, this has not been the case with flooring. Marble has been the material of choice.

Perhaps this is because granite is seen as overkill. More likely,  it is because of the huge selection of choices available in Marble tile products for flooring in colors that homeowners find appealing.

By contrast, there are fewer choices when it comes to granite tiles.

Whatever the reason, marble floor tiles are beautiful and have been highly sought after. 

What Other Natural Stones Are Used For Flooring?

Marble is not the only natural stone popular for flooring. Other stones include:

  1. Limestone – All limestone is a sedimentary stone. It is available in a variety of colors.
    A common misconception is that limestone is soft and porous. It can be. But this is not always the case.
    So don’t shy away from limestone, just because it’s limestone. Many limestones can be dense and harder than marble.
  2. Travertine – Travertine is a limestone that was formed in a hot mud spring. All travertine has holes, which formed as the mud springs bubbled up.
    While many travertine tiles come from the factory filled and honed, turn the tile over and you will see the holes.
    Travertine comes from all over the world, in a wide array of colors, including pink, red, orange, brown and tan.
  3. Shellstone –  Shellstone is a limestone that has seashells. There are many varieties of shellstone available.
    Shellstone can be used inside and out. It is popular for pool decks because the stone is not slippery when wet. Also, it does not get hot in the sun.
  4. Coral Stone – Coral Stone gets its name from the coral that can be seen in the stone.  It comes from around the world.
    Coral is one of the few stones quarried in Florida. This stone is available in a variety of colors.

Textures Available In Natural Stone

Polished: Many stones can be polished. However, not all stones will achieve the same degree of “shine.” Softer stones will not obtain as high a shine as harder stones. 

Once a floor has been installed, it is possible to change the texture. Has your floor lost it’s luster. Not to worry, the polish can be restored. Buying a house with a polished floor, but you really want a matte finish? The shine can be taken off. Or perhaps a semi polish (a balance between polished and dull) is desired. This too can be achieved.

Honed: A honed surface is smooth (the saw marks from cutting are ground out) but not polished. A floor can be honed once it has been installed. 

Saw–cut: The blade marks obtained, as the chunk of stone is cut into smaller pieces, remain on the surface of the stone tile.

Acid–washed: Washing is often used on limestone and marble. It leaves small etching marks and pits, which produce a less-finished, rustic look.

Tumbled: The stone is distressed. Edges are rounded. Typically, the stone is unfilled.

Flamed:  This texture creates a rougher surface that is more slip-resistant. Typically this finish is used for exterior decks or interior walls. 

Brushed: Typically, material is left unfilled during this process. Marbles become more open and veins, which would be closed if the material were polished, may be felt. The texture creates a soft patina.

Is Marble Porous? You May Ask

Yes, marble is porous. However, polishing the natural stone does make marble stone tiles more impervious to liquid penetration.

Because of this, years ago many installers didn’t even recommend sealing marble.

But today’s general consensus is that the best practice is to seal the marble floor.

Do All Natural Stones Need To Be Sealed?

All natural stone should be sealed.

Some stones are more porous than others, but all natural stones, marble, limestone, granite, slate, etc. could stain if left unsealed.

There are many types of sealers on the market

1) Oil Based.

2) Water Based.

3) Solvent Based.

The sealer should be tested on the stone before it is applied. Pick a small area that is easily hidden. Normally, sealers will not change the color of the stone, but that is not always the case.

Sometimes, homeowners want to change the color of the stone – deepen it. This is called color enhancing and there are sealers specifically designed to enhance the color of a natural stone.

Are All Sealers Compatible?

All sealers are not compatible with one another.

If you have a floor that has been sealed in the past, the fresh coat of sealer must be compatible with what was already used. Otherwise it will create a mess.

It’s best to use the same sealer that was used originally, but not everyone has this information. Houses are sold and information gets lost.

Any new coat of sealer should be applied in a small test area to see if it is compatible.

Two Considerations When You’re Ready to Seal Stone

When you’re figuring out what to seal your stone with there are two considerations. The first is do you want a natural or enhanced finish?

The second is where will your stone tile be: indoors or outdoors?

1. Do you want a natural or enhanced finish when you seal stone tile?

There is no right or wrong answer to this. Whether you want a natural or enhanced look for your stone is purely a personal preference.

Natural Stone Sealers

  • Natural sealers leave your stone looking natural. Natural sealers neither darken the stone nor alter the color or provide a sheen of any kind. They are perfect for polished stone.

Enhancing Stone Sealers

  • Enhancing Sealers enhance or darken the color of most stone tiles, although they typically have little to no effect on polished stone. With an enhancing sealer, you’ll notice that the stone will have a sheen to it otherwise known as a “wet” look. A helpful trick to determine if this is the right choice for you is to simply wipe a piece of your stone with a damp cloth or sponge.

You can find Natural and Enhanced sealers at The Stone Quarry of Jupiter. 

Featured Products

  1. Granite Countertops – What makes granite so special?

  2. MarbleLet the timeless beauty of marble transform your next project. The Stone Quarry of Jupiter has this natural treasure in hundreds of sizes and colors so you have choices.  

  3. PaversSo many choices. The Stone Quarry of Jupiter has the right paver for you. We carry: Marble pavers, porcelain pavers, travertine pavers, concrete pavers, onyx pavers. Single sizes and patterns. Good for pools, patios or driveways.

  4. Travertine Travertine is a type of limestone that forms around mineral spring deposits. It comes in a variety of colors and shades and is suitable for both interior and exterior use.

Contact The Stone Quarry of Jupiter Today!

Where did our fascination with marble begin?

It’s widely held that marble was first used as a building material in ancient Greece in the construction of the Parthenon, which was completed in 438 BC. 

Where does marble come from?

Marble is quarried from all over the world. Italy has long been one of the largest exporters of marble. But marble also comes from many other countries, including the United States.  In the United States, marble-producing areas include: Colorado, Alabama, Montanna, Tennessee, Texas and Vermont. Now that we’ve outlined the basics, let’s delve a little deeper and review the answers to some commonly asked questions.
Partheon
  • The Washington Monument was built of marble between 1848 and 1884. Initial work on the structure was done using marble from a quarry located near Texas, Maryland. 

Can I put a hot pan on marble? ANSWER: Yes and no on the hot pans. You can usually put hot pans on marble without severe damage, however it can discolor and ALL stone and stone products like quartz can experience “thermal shock” from extreme temperature potentially causing cracks. Doesn’t happen often, but possible. Is Marble bad for health? The Marble Institute of America has said such claims are “ludicrous” because although granite is known to contain uranium and other radioactive materials like thorium and potassium, the amounts in countertops are not enough to pose a health threat Does water stain marble? Since marble is softer than other natural stones, such as granite, it is more susceptible to staining from cooking and spills. … If not wiped up immediately, water spots and hard water accumulations occur, leaving unsightly stains. With diligence, you can keep your marble countertops clean and sparkling.
My pavers were previously sealed. Can I apply a new sealer on top of what’s already there? Well, first you need to know what type of sealer was originally used. If it was a water-based sealer, then you can safely reseal using either a solvent-based or water-based sealer. If a solvent-based sealer was originally used, you’ll want to reseal using a solvent-based sealer. A water-based sealer cannot be applied on top of a solvent-based sealer. How can I tell what type of sealer was previously used on my pavers? If you’re resealing your pavers and are unsure about the type of sealer that was originally used, you’ll want to test the surface. Choose a low-traffic area (i.e. a corner) and pour a quarter-sized drop of Xylene onto a sealed paver. Wait about 15 seconds, wipe off the Xylene, and touch the area. If it feels tacky, it means a solvent-based sealer was used. If it’s not tack

https://geology.com/rocks/uses-of-marble/ 

Marble was adopted as the official state rock of Alabama by legislative Act No. 755 on September 12, 1969 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marble 

https://www.marbleandgranite.com/blog/2019/july-2019-(1)/made-in-america