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Marble & Granite

Comparing Granite & Marble

Two timeless materials that have been used for a variety of projects and in various ways share some common traits. Yet they also differ in some specific ways. In this article, we will consider these similarities and differences as we delve into comparing granite and marble.

Similarities of Granite & Marble

Any time a comparison is made between two things, it helps to look at how the items or subjects are similar. Hence, it helps for us to do this when comparing granite & marble. Two main ways these materials are similar are in their type and how they are cared for.

Naturally Similar

Natural stone is preferable to some. So designers, home owners, and builders at times will seek to incorporate a natural stone into their designs. Let's see how this relates to our topic.

One of the ways in which marble and granite are similar is that they are both natural stone. This means that they share some very specific requirements and properties. These similarities may seem to be insignificant or miniscule, but in reality they contribute largely to the reason for natural stone's popularity.


Both granite and marble share the natural benefit of being unique. Since each material is formed through natural processes, each slab of granite and each slab of marble will have its own unique appearance. This feature of these materials plays a large part in their desirability. But uniqueness is not the only common trait that marble shares with granite.

Natural Stone Is Porous

In addition to individuality, natural stone is porous. Whether it is granite, marble, or any other stone formed in nature, it will have pores. This characteristic of natural stone is one that is manageable with a bit of knowledge and effort. Since natural stone is porous, practical care and maintenance measures are necessary.

Similar Care and Maintenance

Care and maintenance plays a role in any countertop surface. In fact, even surfaces that are outside benefit from specific care and maintenance efforts. The porosity of a natural stone means that it can be susceptible to staining that is caused by liquids and other substances making their way into the pores of the stone and discoloring it at a deep level. Hence, the care and maintenance routine used for grnaite and marble are similar - to a dgree. Let's see how.

To protect natural stone from staining agents, sealer can be applied. There are different types of stone sealers. Two such types are topical sealers and impregnating sealers . Using an impregnating sealer on a natural stone countertop is a recommendation that often times comes from the fabricator that installs natural stone countertops. Yet, sealing a granite or marble countertop is only one aspect of the maintenance. Cleaners are also important.

Cleaners that are acidic break down the sealer that is menat to help the stone resist staining caused by water and oil based substances. Using a pH neutral natural stone cleaner is also recommended in order to get the best results possible from the sealer.

Thus far, we have looked at some similarities that are seen by comparing granite and marble. These similarities stem from the fact that these materials are natural stone. But marble & granite also have differences. Let's consider those now.

How Marble and Granite Differ

Although granite and marble are both natural stone, that is not to say that these materials are the same thing. Sure, they offer individuality and they are cared for in similar ways, but there are differences between the two. Composition, hardness, and tooling are areas in which differences can be observed.

Different Composition

The composition of granite compared with its counterpart marble, offers some striking differences. For example, granite is composed largely of quartz. On the other hand, marble is mostly calcium carbonate. Because quartz (and the other components of granite) and calcium carbonate (along with the other minerals in marble) differ in properties, the resulting stone will have differing properties. Yes, the minerals in a stone produce certain characteristics. One of which is hardness.

Hardness Varies

If the composition of granite and marble is different and the hardness of a material is affected by its composition, then it stands to reason that granite and marble would vary in hardness. Indeed, this is a fact. marble registers at around 3-4 on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness whereas grnaite comes in at 5.5-7. Both materials are hard enough that you cannot really tell a difference without making a special effort to test the hardness. However, the hardness of a material influences its practical performance as well as how fabricators work with it.

Durability Differences

The harder the material is, the more resistant it is to scratches. This is in fact, an aspect of a slab's durability. Polished stones are especially susceptible to having their appearance marred by tiny scratches which end up making the finish look dull. But it is even more of an issue if the material itself does not withstand scratching. Granite is harder than marble and will tolerate more wear and tear. However, both of these materials are rock. So, each will one is a hard surface.

One difference between granite and marble when it comes to durability is this: marble is susceptible to "etching"; a discoloration in the appearance due to the deterioration of calcite in the stone. Acidic substances cause calcium carbonate to dissolve. This means, a marble surface that is polished becomes dull when it is exposed to acidic liquids. And a honed marble will look darker in a place that has been subjected to an acid like lemon juice, vinegar, or soft drinks. This list is not all inclusive, but it gives you an idea of the kinds of liquids that can harm marble.

The corrective action for a marble surface that has been discolored by acidic liquid is an etch remover for marble . Tenax offers etch remover as a solution that distributors can provide. Etch remover cannot undo an etch, but it can "correct" etching by making it much less noticeable.

Different Tools

Another difference between granite and marble is in the tooling. As mentioned earlier, granite is a harder material than marble. So, the kind of blade needed for cutting granite will be different that the one needed to cut marble. Sure, you can cut grantie with a marble blade, but it will not yield optimal results.

Additionally, there are diamond blades for cutting marble that are designed to work without clogging when used to cut softer material. And even though, another blade might cut marble, it still recommended that a marble blade be used for cutting marble.

In the end, it would be inaccurate to say that one material is "better" than the other in a general sense. Each material has advantages in certain scenarios. So, depending on what you are doing with the stone and how it will be used, one material may be better than the other. So it is good to keep in mind the use, environment and exposure of the surface when you are comparing granite and marble. Choosing the best material for the task at hand will yield the best results.

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