Marble quartz or granite worktop?

marble quartz or granite worktop
By: Maria Kairuz Nov 21, 2021 0 Comments

Marble, quartz or granite worktop? Marble vs Granite Vs. Quartz

Marble, quartz or granite worktop? In this article, we discuss one of the most asked questions when designing the interior of your home. Which do you choose when it comes to marble versus quartz versus granite worktops? We also discuss marble versus honed. And finally, how do you clean these worktops? That’s all coming right up!

Welcome to Worktop Library’s blog, the place which seeks to overcome the myths and objections that keep people from choosing the best worktop materials for their homes.

And today, the question we are going to answer is a widespread one.

Which worktop is best for me? A marble, quartz, or granite worktop?

Before we get to the answer, you must ask yourself how we define ‘better’ and ‘best’. For example, whilst a granite worktop may be the best at resisting high temperatures, a marble worktop is the best for shaping it. Therefore, we will take you through the properties of each of these materials so you can differentiate their specific features. And then, we will help you decide how you would choose the best one for your needs.

Sensa Granite Graphite Grey
A photo showing Sensa Graphite Grey granite pairs with wooden floors and modern kitchen appliances.

Granite worktop

Natural Granite is an exceptionally durable natural stone. It doesn’t stain to the same degree as marble, although it can stain if you don’t get it sealed at least once every two years. In contrast, even though marble is also a natural stone, it’s a more porous material than granite.

Further down the porosity line, you will find limestone and travertine, which are both very absorbent and require additional sealants if you place them in a kitchen. While limestone is a beautiful, heat-resistant option for kitchen worktops, it requires a lot of maintenance compared to other natural stone worktop materials like granite and marble. Limestone is porous and usually pale in colour, making it more easily discoloured than other worktops.

Even with a protective sealant, limestone can still stain with oils, red wine, ketchup, etc., if you leave them for long periods on its surface. Hence architects and interior designers specify limestone and travertine for bathrooms or hallways rather than for kitchens.

Pietra Serena Limestone worktop
The best areas to install Limestone worktops like Pietra Serena above, are the bathroom, living room and bedroom.


Granite vs Marble worktop

If you have a marble kitchen island and spill ketchup on it, you will have a sheen of red on top of its surface. Indeed, if you don’t keep up your marble worktop with sealants, the marble will stain with wine, oils, and similar kitchen ingredients.

But this shouldn’t put you off having a marble countertop in your home. the development of effective sealants, like Lithofin Stain-Stop, have come a long way over the last five years and do a great job of protecting this shiny natural stone.

And if you ever stained your marble worktops, there are several solutions to help you leave them as new again. If you want to know more about removing stains from marble, you can watch our video about this below.

A video explaining how you can clean a stained marble worktop.

Now, let’s go back to granite. What would other benefits of using granite worktops there be?

A granite worktop is excellent because, again, it’s less porous than marble, although it still does need to be sealed. In addition, you want to ensure that you’re using Ph balanced cleaner and high-quality stone sealant on its surface. Similarly, granite is highly heat resistant. You can take a pot right off the stove and put it right on your granite worktops without anything happening.

But what happens if you do that to a marble worktop? -A marble worktop will be fine if you expose it to high temperatures too. But, with the lighter marble colours, you want to be careful by ensuring that you don’t burn its surface. Burnt marble can be distinguished by having yellow marks on its surface which we call things. And surprisingly, most etching on marble worktops isn’t caused by heat, but by acidic substances. Foods and liquids containing acids, such as lemon and orange can etch the marble worktop’s surfaces. Therefore it would be best if you use a chopping board when cutting these types of fruits foods.

Quartz Worktop

Now let’s talk about the most popular worktop material: quartz. The best thing about quartz is that it not only offers anti-bacterial properties but is also non-porous. People love using different products on quartz worktops, and they will not penetrate them.

A quartz surface material from reputable brands, not only offer high resistance to stains but also some unique benefits such as having bacteriostatic protection and liquid repellence. In addition, you can benefit from having a manufacturer’s warranty against any defect with the product. Warranties of quartz worktops range from two to over thirty years, according to the brand you choose.

A contemporary kitchen with an island in Silestone Quartz Ethereal Haze.

However, do not put a boiling pot on your quartz kitchen worktop. Although quartz is composed mainly of natural quartz minerals, they also contain a small percentage of polymers that can burn when exposed to over 150 Celsius degrees. Therefore, we recommend that you use a hot-plate matt or trivet on its surface.


Marble maintenance vs granite vs quartz

Now let’s talk about sealants and sealing of stone worktops. What does ‘seal’ mean? Sealing a stone kitchen worktop is the action of putting a sealant on its surface. A stone sealant is a chemical product that goes on top of the marble, soaking it down in, making it substantially less penetrable. 

How often do I need to seal my kitchen worktops?

It’s a good idea to seal your granite or marble worktops every eighteen to twenty-four months. You can also buy products online that you can spray on. These act as a cleaner and as a daily sealer.

Now let’s go back to marble, quartz, and granite. -How would I go about choosing what’s suitable for me?

The best way to know this is by ordering samples from a reliable worktop supplier. It enables you to look at their colours and patterns and carry out different performance tests. For example, granite can have a lot more movement in its pattern. In addition, they tend to be a lot busier than marble, making them a little more traditional. 

So, if you’re creating your dream home and you want to be a little more traditional, you would probably stick with granite. Okay, the colours of the granites and just the movements are a little more conventional. However, most people nowadays are wanting a lot of simple-looking worktops.

Most worktops in UK homes are now in white. And as mentioned earlier, marble is not the best worktop material to put in your kitchen. However, a quartz worktop now can look like natural marble and feel great. And this is one of the reasons many people choose quartz worktops.

You can select quartz if you want the contemporary look of marble, without marble’s maintenance. Quartz is a manufactured stone that can look and feel like marble. There are many marble-effect quartz materials that can mimic natural stones like Carrara marble, Statuario, Calacatta Gold quartz, and many more.

Is there a price difference between granite, quartz, and marble?

There are different pricing levels for all three stones. When it comes to natural stones like granite and marble, a price factor is their availability and where it comes from (transport costs). And with quartz, it’s different. Quartz worktop prices depend on their aesthetics, their qualities and whether they have a manufacturer’s warranty.

Another question that we’re looking at is the difference between polished and honed worktops. What does that mean?

A polished stone worktop is very shiny. Also, it will be a little bit more stain-resistant than its honed version, as polishing creates an additional barrier. But it still needs to be sealed. The polishing of a stone takes place in a factory before it comes to your house with that fantastic glossy surface. And then you apply sealant on top.

In a polished finish worktop, the colour shows up a little bit more too. But if you are looking to create a sophisticated design with a worktop that doesn’t overpower the rest of the room, a matt finish quartz or marble surface are unbeatable, as they offer refined looks that you can pair with traditional furniture and other elements in the kitchen or bathroom.

Leather or Suede Finish: It is not polished nor honed but still offers a matt finish to the worktop. But it also has a slight texture to it. One that you can feel when you touch it, almost like silk. And because it doesn’t have that polished barrier on it. 

The above photo shows a Silestone Serena Suede, a matt finish with a delicately textured surface.

Honed finish worktop: it offers a matt, plain surface finish that is non-reflective. And it usually costs around 10% more than a polished finish worktop.

Why would you choose honed against polished worktops?

The short answer is, because of its looks. Some designs don’t allow a shiny finish but suit a nice matte finish instead as there is no discernible shine. You can get the same finish of Carrara marble or Calacatta marble in a polished version, and you will see the difference. To summarize, the finish of your worktop is a personal choice. And it also depends on the style of your kitchen.

Some of the most recent industrial kitchen styles require concrete-effect worktops in matt finish. But if you prefer to spend the least amount of time maintaining your worktops, you are better off with a polished finish.

Caesarstone Airy Concrete effect worktop
The above image shows Airy Concrete, a quartz worktop material that looks like cement without its maintenance.

How do I go about sealing stone worktops? Do I clean it before applying a sealant?

You should ensure that with any natural stone, but you don’t have to seal quartz. When it comes to marble, granite, or quartzite, you must ensure that your worktops are very clean before applying the sealant.

Whilst there are products out there to raise the level of shine and gloss, just like waxing your car, you can buff the kitchen surfaces with them. But just like with any wax-based product, a granite or marble enhancer wears off over time.

How do I go about cleaning any of these worktops? 

Using soap and warm water will remove the grease and any residues off the worktops. You want to ensure the worktop surfaces are dry and before you seal the worktops to avoid moisture from penetrating the surface.

Let’s suppose you have a marble worktop and that they stained. Is there any way to remove stains from marble?

Yes, any reliable granite or marble worktop supplier will have products that can help clean and remove stains. You’re going to have to be very thorough and may even need to use baking soda and water on a piece of the paper towel by rubbing it in and letting it sit to absorb the stain for a little while. Once the stain comes out, you will want to dry the surface again and then apply your sealant.

 It would help if you sealed natural granite or marble. But don’t you need to seal a quartz worktop because the manufacturers make them non-porous.

Marble quartz or granite worktop? -Strength of marble vs quartz vs granite

Quartz is as strong as granite. And in some cases, it can be stronger than granite. It depends on its mineral properties and in its manufacturing. Marble is a little less strong than its two opponents. But that does not mean that marble is weak by any stretch of the imagination. Proof of it is the statues and establishments from millennia that you can still see worldwide today such as Marble Arch close to home.

What’s the durability of these stones?

They’re all exceptionally durable. But if you hit its edges with a heavy pan, chances are these can chip. If you chip your worktops, you can buy products to fix minor dents, but we recommend getting in touch with a company that can help you with anything more serious. It is because a professional worktop installing company carries the products required to colour-match the worktop, which requires experience and skill to accomplish.

What’s the lifespan of or average for granite, marble, and quartz?

The National nab.org (Association of Home Builders in the USA) indicates that the longevity of granite and marble is over 100 years. And with quartz worktop warranty, the different brands offer the same, ranging from ’10-year warranty’ to ‘Lifetime Warranty’ spanning over thirty years.

Now that you have learnt the difference between these worktop materials are you going to choose a marble, quartz, or granite worktop? 


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Maria Kairuz Worktop Library

Maria Kairuz, Operations Manager at The Worktop Library in London, has vast experience and deep research on stone worktop materials. As a result, she attracts a following made of architects, interior designers, property developers, and design enthusiasts around London and the UK. However, she is not your average stone worktop specialist.

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