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Today, homeowners have a lot of variety when it comes to choosing countertop materials for their kitchen and bathroom. However, it’s important to choose something that complements the style of the room and lasts long. Two of the most popular materials for countertops are quartz and marble. Both can give a beautiful look to your space. So, in the tussle between quartz vs marble, which one will you go for?

We will help you explore both quartz and marble in terms of appearance, cost, durability, etc. We hope these pros and cons help you decide which one is right for your house. 

Appearance

Marble kitchen countertopMarble Kitchen Countertops, by Govi Reddy on flickr www.archcitygranite.com [CC BY 2.0]

Marble is crafted out of a metamorphic stone that’s made of calcite. This raw stone is quarried, sliced, water blasted, buffed, and polished — while still maintaining its natural qualities. 

As a result, it retains its unique color and vein patterns thanks to the different minerals present in the earth. The internal crystal structure gives a marble surface depth and dimension. You can literally look at the stone and see its various layers. 

This uniqueness is what gives marble its beauty. No two pieces of marble are exactly the same. It’s a great choice for homeowners who want to curate a home with bespoke fixtures and furnishings.

If you are looking for raw elegance, marble with its natural coloring and veining is hard to beat.

Quartz kitchen countertopQuartz Island Countertop, by Govi Reddy on flickr www.archcitygranite.com [CC BY 2.0]

Quartz, on the other hand, is manufactured. Ground natural quartz is mixed with polymers, resins, and pigments to arrive at a consistent, uniform look. While quartz comes in a similar range of color and unique vein patterns as marble, it has a cleaner, more polished appearance. 

It’s a good choice when you want uniformity. For instance, if you have a kitchen with ultra modern lacquered cabinetry, you will love the sleek formal appearance of quartz. Choosing quartz is easy; it’s available in a wide variety of colors and shades.

Since quartz is man-made or engineered, there is a good chance that each slab will be the exact color, texture, and pattern you want. With marble, you will have to select each piece individually and it may not exactly match another slab.

When it comes to long-term use, both quartz and marble may alter in appearance with time. The biggest enemy of quartz is the sun and its UV radiation — causing the resins and polymers to turn yellow over time.

Marble, on the other hand, tends to darken slightly with age. 

Cost factor

Marble bathroom vanityMarble Vanity in Bathroom, by Govi Reddy on flickr www.archcitygranite.com [CC BY 2.0]

When it comes to quartz vs marble, the cost difference is not dramatic. While marble countertop slabs are more expensive, the labor cost for quartz is higher due to its complicated installation. 

On average, marble cost ranges between $60 to $100 per square foot. You may need to factor in a sink cutout at $100 and finished edging at $10 per linear foot. Installing such a countertop would take about five hours. For a 30 square feet area, be prepared to spend $3,800 – $5,000. 

Quartz, on the other hand, costs approximately $55 to $75 per square foot. With sink cutout at $100 and finished edging at $10 per linear foot, the cost of the material may be less but installing it would take a minimum of 5.5 hours. So, you’ll be spending more on labor cost. For a 30 square feet area, be prepared to spend $3,500 – $3,800

Installation

Quartz bathroom countertopQuartz Bathroom Vanity, by Govi Reddy on flickr www.archcitygranite.com [CC BY 2.0]

The installation process of quartz, as well as marble countertops, is not easy. This complicated process requires carefully measuring, leveling, and securing the slabs on the kitchen or bathroom counters. It’s a job best left to qualified countertop professionals

When it comes to marble, the unique qualities of this natural stone means that joining two slabs will always leave a visible seam. Also, marble needs to be professionally sealed after installation and resealed regularly afterward. 

Quartz does not need sealing at all. What’s more, since it’s consistent in its design, it is easier to seam. However, this material is heavier — making the installation of a quartz countertop more difficult.

Heat Resistance

In the heat resistance department of quartz vs marble, quartz wins hands down. It can withstand high heat due to the hard quartz and resin composition. Marble too is heat resistant but not as much as quartz.

A homeowner needs to be careful not to put pans directly out of the oven onto the cold marble surface. It may crack the surface due to the sudden change in temperature.

Durability and maintenance

Quartz counterQuail Creek | 3349 WIllow Brook OKC, by Bill Wilson on flickr [CC BY 2.0]

Though marble is a stone, it’s made primarily of calcite — making it a fairly soft, porous material, and not so durable. What’s more, it can absorb liquids and cause stains. So, if a glass of red wine happens to spill on the counter, it would likely get absorbed, leaving a stain.

Furthermore, since calcite reacts with acids and alkaline substances, you need to be careful around lemon juice, tomato sauce, and vinegar. These may damage the surface. 

This etching can create dull spots on a polished counter. It’s best to remove any watermark with a soft cloth or with a cleanser immediately. Honing the marble or giving it a matte finish is a way around this problem.

You also need to protect your marble countertop against hard, sudden impacts. Dropping a cast iron skillet on it can cause a permanent white mark.

Do remember that you should not use just any chemical cleaner on marble. Chemicals will undoubtedly damage the finish. When confused, always check the label to see if a substance is meant for marble. 

Quartz, on the other hand, is non-porous and stain resistant. It can be cleaned with warm water and soap. Also, due to its very hard, solid surface, quartz may not show etching or scratches with everyday use.

However, any exposure to direct sunlight and high UV rays will warp and discolor the material — causing it to turn yellow. You must also be careful about placing a very hot pot on its surface.

If properly maintained, both these kinds of countertops can last long. It’s just that marble is not as stain resistant and scratch resistant as a quartz one.

Read more: White Kitchen Countertops for a Dreamy Kitchen

Outdoor usage

If you’re thinking of using quartz or marble for your outdoor kitchen, don’t. Neither one is a good option for outdoor use. Quartz is susceptible to yellowing when exposed to direct sunlight. And, marble has a tendency to show stains and watermarks easily.

Return on investment

Countertop materialPhoto by Rustic Vegan on Unsplash CC0

If you have gleaming, solid countertops in your kitchen or bathroom, it will undoubtedly attract potential home buyers. However, use a surface that matches your price point. For instance, a house in the lower price range should use the less expensive quartz instead of the high-end marble. One must not spend more than what the home’s value requires.

Quartz vs marble: pros and cons

Having discussed the above deciding points, it’s best if we can list out their pros and cons for a clear understanding. 

Pros of quartz countertops

  • Uniform coloring and pattern
  • Easier to match one seam with another
  • Non-porous; absorbs less
  • More heat resistant
  • Virtually maintenance-free
  • No sealing required
  • Good for resale value

Cons of quartz countertops

  • Turns yellow if exposed to direct sunlight
  • Heavy material
  • Difficult installation with more labor cost
  • Not suitable for outdoor use

Pros of marble countertops

  • An elegant, natural stone countertop 
  • Easier to install
  • Helps a home’s resale value

Cons of marble countertops

  • Expensive
  • Porous and absorbs easily
  • Needs sealing and resealing
  • Shows etching and watermarks
  • Difficult to find slabs with the same finish
  • Joints and seams are visible if not installed professionally
  • May darken with age
  • Not suitable for outdoor use

When it’s time to select your next countertop for your bathroom or kitchen remodel, we hope you will keep all these factors in mind and choose the one that works best for your interior design, style of the house, and most importantly, your budget.

Read more: Quartz vs Granite Countertops

Quartz vs Marble Countertops: Pros and Cons was last modified: July 17th, 2019 by Ramona Sinha
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