Homeowners today have a lot of choices when it comes to their countertops. The kitchen gets a lot of use and attention, so it’s important that the countertops you choose for this room both complement the style and last for the long run.
Two of the most popular materials for countertops are quartz and marble. Both can give you an elegant, beautiful look for your kitchen with a range of color and vein choices, but the two materials don’t perform the same. Of the two, only quartz can give you the look and style you want, with the durability you need in a busy home.
One of the reasons that marble is so prized as a material for countertops is its appearance. Marble is a metamorphic stone made primarily of calcite. This means that pure marble is completely white, but the different minerals that were present in the Earth when it was created give it unique color and vein patterns; no two pieces of marble are exactly the same.
This has benefits and drawbacks for the homeowner; you know that your countertop will be unique and beautiful, but it may have odd colorations or spots that you weren’t expecting.
Quartz countertops can give you a similar range of color and vein patterns as marble. Quartz countertops are made of approximately 90% quartz mixed with pigments and resins, so the amount of color and placement of the veins can be more controlled. You’ll still get a unique vein pattern, but without any of the hidden “surprises” that marble can bring.
Marble may be a stone, but the fact that it’s made up primarily of calcite means that it’s not an extremely durable one. Marble is actually considered a fairly soft, porous material, which can absorb liquids and cause stains. So, if a glass of red wine were to spill on the counter, it would likely absorb into the stone and remain there.
In addition, calcite reacts badly with acids and alkaline substances. Lemon juice, tomato sauce, vinegar, and other substances that are typically found in the kitchen may mar its surface. This is known as etching, and it can create dull spots on a polished counter. Honing the marble, or giving it a matte surface, can reduce the appearance of etch marks, but it won’t eliminate them altogether.
Finally, marble is more susceptible to stunning than quartz is. A hard, sudden impact on the stone – such as a cast iron skillet getting dropped – can cause a white mark to appear. Stun marks do not go away once they occur.
Quartz doesn’t etch or stun the way that marble does, which makes quartz countertops much more durable than marble. In addition, quartz countertops are non porous which means that it won’t absorb moisture and liquids unlike marble.
Because of its tendency toward staining and etching, marble can be considered a high maintenance material. To help impede staining, an impregnating sealer must be applied to its surface regularly. Sealers give you time to wipe up spills, so if you have a spill, you have time to clean it up before it stains. However, sealers do break down over time and you will need reseal on a regular basis.
When stains do occur, a poultice can be used to help try to lift them to the surface. This may be effective at some types of stain removal but does require a lot of time and effort to work.
Finally, marble can be harmed by many basic household cleaners. It must be cleaned by a PH neutral cleanser or cleanser made just for natural stone. Otherwise, the cleaners may etch the surface of the marble, dulling its finish over time.
Quartz countertops are virtually maintenance free. They do not require sealing and do not need any special cleansers. Because they are unlikely to etch or stain, you don’t need to stay super vigilant about the surface the way that you would with a marble countertop.
Get a Better Kitchen Counter
Both quartz and marble countertops can make a beautiful addition to your kitchen. But a quartz countertop will continue to look beautiful year after year, with little to no maintenance required, while a marble counter will likely become stained and etched in a short time. Make the right choice for your home, and invest in a quality, beautiful quartz countertop to get the looks and style you want, with the durability you need.