Natural stone is a popular choice for kitchen countertops, with granite and marble topping the list of stone choices. There are many reasons for this: natural stone is beautiful, comes in a wide variety of color and pattern options, and can fit any kind of decor style, from modern to traditional to beachy.

With so many options, however, narrowing down your choices can feel overwhelming. We’ve put together this guide to help you decide between marble and granite and find the stone that best fits your kitchen.

Two different types of natural stone

Yes, marble and granite are both types of natural stone, but they’re two very different types. Marble is a metamorphic rock. Initially, millions of years of pressure on layers of fossilized sea creatures formed limestone. After millions more years, limestone metamorphoses into marble. Marble is a softer stone, and mostly found in white with shades of grey and black veining, though there are a few other color options.

Granite, on the other hand, is an igneous rock, formed from magma deep beneath the earth’s crust. It is a very hard stone that comes in a wide variety of colors and patterns.


Granite is widely known as the most durable natural stone countertop material. It’s very heat-resistant and can stand up to hot plates and pots being set directly on it. You can also cut right on it without leaving marks, and spills are easily wiped away without staining.

Marble is still a natural stone, and quite durable — after all, we still have many marble sculptures that have held up since ancient Greece and Rome. However it’s not as durable as granite, and is much more porous. That means that stains — especially from pigmented liquids like red wine and coffee — seep in faster to leave their mark. You’ll need to use trivets and hot pads and be careful with acidic materials, like vinegar and citrus, as they’ll “etch” marble’s surface easily. You’ll also have to use cutting boards to protect from marking your marble countertop.

Maintenance and Cost

Both granite and marble require periodic resealing to maintain their integrity and durability. You may consider purchasing special cleaning materials to make them sparkle and shine without damaging them.

Marble is currently more expensive than granite, though marble tiles can help you get the luxurious look of marble at a lower price.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder

There are so many colors and patterns of granite, from smooth to highly speckled, that there’s something that nearly everyone will find beautiful. However, when it comes to elegance and beauty, marble really can’t be beat.

At the end of the day, it’s best to visit a showroom in person so you can see and touch the variety of stone samples and find the one that’s most appealing to you.

When it comes to deciding between marble and granite, lifestyle and budget will likely be the biggest deciding factors. Do you have kids who make frequent spills? Tough, durable granite may be your best bet. Are you in love with the idea of elegantly beautiful countertops and committed to upkeep and care? Marble may be the choice for you.

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