Although both were created deep within the earth millions of years ago, the processes that formed them were quite different.
Granite is an igneous rock, which means that at one time during its development, it was melted like volcanic lava. Unlike lava, however, this melted (or molten) rock never reached the surface. It remained trapped inside the earth, where it slowly cooled and crystallized, resulting in a very uniform, speckled stone that ranges in color from black and gray tones to pinks, browns, reds, greens, and whites.
Marble is a metamorphic rock. It was once limestone, but over time, the combination of intense heat and pressure caused the limestone to re-crystallize. Foreign substances often entered the stone during this process, creating an infinite variety of colors, textures, and veining. Marble is a lot like people; no two are exactly alike.
Marbles and granites are quarried throughout the world in the form of huge blocks, some weighing up to 20 tons. These blocks are cut into slabs that are generally 3/4″ or 1 1/4″ thick and the faces are polished to the specified finish. These slabs are then carefully crated and shipped to the fabricators who will process them into the final product.
Which Should I Use Where?
It depends on the effect you what to achieve and how much use or abuse the stone will be subjected to.
Granite: Granite is striking, functional and the most durable. These traits make granite ideal for kitchen countertops accent islands, bar tops, everyday dining tables, and many other uses.
Marble: Marble is the most elegant and luxurious of stones. Marble’s beauty will last for generations. It is versatile enough for use throughout the home, such as fireplace facings, ornamental furnishings, walls and window sills. Marble shines best in the bath. You can use it on almost every surface, including vanities, shower walls, tub decks and flooring.
What About Cost?
Initially, marble and granite cost about the same as other solid surfaces, but price must be weighed against performance. The durability, longevity and natural beauty of marble and granite will usually outlive the home’s occupants.
Marble and granite are far more valuable than synthetics in much the same way that diamonds are more valuable than rhinestones. The depth and character of natural stone cannot be matched by any man-made surface. Natural stone does not depreciate with time and adds value to your home.
Why Should I Choose Marble or Granite Rather Than One of the New Synthetics?
Even the finest synthetics can’t match natural stone’s natural range of colors, nor are they nearly as versatile, durable or long lasting.
Do Marble and Granite Require Special Care?
Marble and granite are easier to maintain than you’d expect. Warm water, mild dishwashing liquid and a soft cloth clean up most spills on both surfaces.
Granite is a worry-free surface, requiring few special precautions. It is extremely durable, stain-resistant and easy to care for. Hot pots and pans won’t damage it. It won’t chip, crack or scratch under normal use. Cutting boards are recommended when slicing bread, meats or vegetables to protect your knives from becoming dull.
Marble isn’t quite as worry-free as granite. It has a softer, less stain-resistant surface than granite and it should be treated like a fine piece of wood. Spills should be wiped up immediately, coaster should be placed under beverage glasses to avoid staining and etching. Marble is especially susceptible to damage from citric acids, alcohols and oils. With proper care, its beauty will last for generations.
- Nearly impossible to scratch
- Accepts hot pots and pans
- Will not stain under normal use and clean up after use
- Does not harbor bacteria
- Not affected by citric acid, coffee, tea, alcohol, wine, etc.
- Generally lasts forever
Routine maintenance should include cleaning with clear, warm water and mild (no lemon, vinegar or other acidic additives) dishwashing detergent. Rinse thoroughly and dry with a soft cloth.