Comparing Marble & Quartz
Materials used in the stone fabrication industry vary widely. Some are natural, others are made through processes controlled by humans. Consumers have preferences that affect which materials they select for specific projects. Fabricators on the other hand often time work with materials of both types. In this article we will compare two materials; one from each type. As we do, you will no doubt see why each of these materials are so popular. Let's get right into our consideration of the comparison of marble with quartz.
Reasons for the Comparison
It is good to compare different materials in order to highlight the strengths and weaknesses of each. No material is perfect for every use. And even if there was, there would still be preferences of the consumer to consider. Some people prefer natural marble while others aren't as focused on that aspect of a material's characteristics. Thankfully, the stone industry has room for both preferences. Knowing a bit about the types of material can strengthen your conviction for a stone type you truly prefer. This can be helpful since some people feel regret from not going with what they wanted. Debbie Steele's comment shows how easily it can happen if someone is not sure about why they prefer a particular surface.
Looking at features that each material offers can be not only informative, but also beneficial for making decisions about which kind of surface is right for a given project. So let's take a look at the facets of marble and quartz and then we will see what we can learn from a comparison.
Characteristics Of Marble
There are many reasons people prefer marble, but one of the most frequently mentioned is the aesthetics of this timeless material. It is true that marble has not only a reputation for elegance, but also a long history of use in very iconic architectural projects. What are some of the traits of this monumental natural stone?
One of the qualities that many people love about marble is the crystalline appearance. It is a natural stone that is constructed primarily of crystallized calcium carbonate. And to the discerning eye, it is noticeable. The crystalline nature of marble gives it a sparkle that is appealing. And polished marble offers a very glossy shine that many people love.
Just because marble is elegant and aesthetically pleasing, it does not mean that it is fragile by any means. When properly cared for, marble lasts a very long time and looks outstanding for decades. After all, it is natural rock. That is not to say that marble will look the same on day one as it will 50 years later. No, it does develop a natural "patina" from regular household use. In fact, some homeowners count this feature as a desirable trait that moves them to choose marble as a countertop surface. Because natural marble reacts with liquids it needs to be cared for in specific ways; like all materials do.
Marble is a relatively "soft" natural stone. This is one of the reasons some use it for sculpting. And even though it is "soft", that term is use in comparison is used in comparison with other types of stone. And if a material is too hard it tends to be too brittle and can chip or crack easily.
Marble is very heat resistant because of the fact that it is a natural stone. Like many types of natural stone, marble resists the heat that comes from normal household use. In fact, one of the ways marble is used in interior decorating is for fireplaces.
Choosing marble is a sure way to be positive that nobody will have a surface like yours. Each slab is 100% unique. Because it is natural and forms without human interference, a marble slab will be completely different from all others. This is in fact, one reason why fabricators encourage consumers to pick out the actual slab from which the countertop will be made.
Engineered Quartz Characteristics
As with anything, there are people that prefer engineered quartz over other materials. Even though this material is produced in a factory, some view it as a better option because of its characteristics. Even though it does not have a reputation that spans centuries of time, it has managed to make its mark in modern interior design.
Easy Care & Maintenance
One of the first traits that you hear about when discussing quartz is how easy it is to care for. In fact, many quartz websites will have a statement similar to the following:
Clean up is easy. Simply wipe up with warm soapy water for daily cleaning.
This is one of the reasons for the popularity of quartz surfaces, but not the only reason.
Engineered quartz does not absorb liquids as easily as other materials. Namely, any natural stone. Because quartz will not absorb liquids, any spills stay on the surface of the material rather than penetrating the material and discoloring it on the inside. This means stains are merely surface discolorations and can be removed easily. It also means that quartz surfaces do not need to be initially sealed like natural stone does.
The hard nature of engineered quartz means it is scratch resistant. While quartz surfaces are not scratch proof, they do hold up well under normal wear and tear of daily household use.
Mimics Natural Stone
Even though quartz is not a natural stone material, engineers have developed the manufacturing process to the point that quartz surfaces can resemble natural materials. In fact, some quartz companies make marble look-a-likes.
How Do Marble & Quartz Compare
Both have very strong positive traits and each has its drawbacks as well. The pros and cons of these surfaces really distinguish them from one another. So what are these comparisons? Let's look at them now.
The perceived advantages and disadvantages of each of these materials stems from the traits we have already discussed. As the first feature, let's look at porosity. The porosity of marble and the non-porous nature of quartz are what contribute some of their respective "strengths". For example, the porosity of marble is one of the things that allows it to develop that "patina" that we mentioned earlier. By the same token, the non-porous nature of quartz is what makes it easy to clean and prevents it from needing to be initially sealed.
How unique each of these materials is can be viewed from either a positive or negative vantage point as well. For example, the fact that each marble slab is unique means that nobody else will ever have a surface exactly like the one you choose. On the other hand, it might take you a relatively long time to find just the perfect surface.
The same could be said for quartz, but on the opposite end of the spectrum. The fact that quartz is manufactured means you most likely find something you like. however, there will be thousands and thousands of others just like yours.
Heat and Scratch Resistance
Durability can be measured in a number of ways. In the context of our current discussion, we have considered scratching and heat. Either of these can be viewed as a large factor or a small factor, depending on how you view it. On the one hand, someone may say they always use hot pads or trivets anyway so it is not a big deal the quartz is not fire proof. And they like that it is scratch resistant. Conversely, another person may say that they don't mind the patina of marble, it's part of the reason they chose the material in the first place. And they may like to set their hot pots and pans right on the surface.
At the end of the day, comparing natural marble with engineered quartz is like comparing apples and oranges. Lots of people like each of them and many people like both. it all depends on your "taste".