What's the Difference Between Quartz and Marble?

What's the Difference Between Quartz and Marble?

Tile Work
Decoration and Design
By Alex Mikayelyan November 26, 2021

In your search for the best material to use for your countertops, you come across a couple that looks equally convincing but has a hard time picking between the two of them — quartz and marble. To an untrained eye, these two materials will look quite similar and almost impossible to tell apart. But if you pay closer attention to the subtle nuances of quartz and marble, you will discover two very distinct materials that perform differently when used as countertops.

For your next kitchen remodel, before spending thousands of dollars for countertops, you should consider the benefits and downsides of these two countertop materials — lest you make a purchase that does not get you the results you were looking for. Whether it is price, durability, or appearance that is the priority for your kitchen countertops, quartz and marble are wildly different and can be used in their own unique ways to spice up your kitchen. 

What Is Quartz?

How Quartz Is Created and What Makes It Special

How Quartz Is Created and What Makes It Special

Don’t let its grainy and porous appearance fool you; quartz is a man-made stone. It is engineered to look natural, however, the technique behind its creation and refinement is entirely artificial. Quartz is created by blending small pieces of stone, quartz crystals, and binding them together using resin chemicals. This creates an artificial stone that is quite durable but also versatile. Manufacturers have greater freedom over its design and what they can do with it, as opposed to natural stone slabs, which are chunks of smooth stone.

Durability

The Secret Behind Quartz’s Durability

The Secret Behind Quartz’s Durability

When considering durability, several factors must be considered. Durability can mean how strong the material is in general, but also its resistance to heat, water, corrosive compounds, and other types of damage. It’s crucial to take all these into account, as a kitchen will more than likely house all these types of dangers, from ice to boiling water, lemon and tomato juice, and sometimes even bleach-based cleaning products.

Quartz, being an engineered material that is held together using a special resin-based adhesive, is resistant to water and heat damage. In more natural materials such as marble or granite, water can seep down into the deeper layers of the countertop when left unattended. This is because both of those natural stones have wide pores allowing the water to find its way inside. Quartz, on the other hand, is far denser thanks to the resin adhesive that is used to manufacture it. As a result, it is far more water-resistant and easier to maintain.

Cost

What You Can Expect to Pay for a Quartz Countertop

What You Can Expect to Pay for a Quartz Countertop

While it is always difficult to give a precise cost estimate for quartz countertops, there are many factors to consider — from the size to the manufacturer’s specifications. However, you can expect to pay anything from $2,500 up to $7,000 for 30 square feet of quartz countertops. This is enough to cover an L-shaped kitchen setup and an island in the center, so consider this the price you’d be paying for a full remodeling project. 

Appearance

The Almost Natural Beauty of Quartz

The Almost Natural Beauty of Quartz

Quarts look grainy and porous, designed to look indistinguishable from natural stone. If you look closely at it you will see thousands of tiny stones and crystals all held together by the resin compound that is used to bind all of them together. Since the material is man-made, it comes with the benefit of allowing you to choose from a variety of patterns and colors.

If you are looking for something more grainy, you have grey quartz that is lined with thousands of shiny crystals and minerals. A popular choice with many homeowners is the wavy or veiny white quartz countertop, which is meant to imitate the veins you see on natural granite. By placing quartz and natural stones like marble and granite together, you can slightly tell that quartz is artificial as some of the patterns will repeat. Also, the colors don’t look anywhere as rich and saturated on quartz as they do on natural stones. However, modern quartz countertops are made with new technology that allows the manufacturers to disperse some of the patterns and make the colors richer to create more natural-looking quartz countertops.

What Is Quartz Good for?

How Can You Use Quartz In Various Design Elements?

How Can You Use Quartz In Various Design Elements?

Outside of countertops, quartz can be used for a variety of gorgeous interior projects. A very popular use for quartz is for bathroom vanities. These look gorgeous and slick in almost any bathroom design, most notable in contemporary interiors. The minimalist design of contemporary bathrooms allows the veiny and grainy patterns of the quartz vanity to pop out.

Other uses for quartz include using it for a smooth desk surface, bathtubs, coffee tables, and entertainment center cabinets. For larger applications, you can use quartz exterior cladding and even have an entire kitchen island made of a giant block of quartz. These are — as one would imagine — far more expensive applications for the material, but look astounding and unique. 

What Is Marble?

Why Marble Countertops Are So Beloved by Homeowners

Why Marble Countertops Are So Beloved by Homeowners

You’ll recognize marble when you see it. That just goes to show how eye-catching this natural stone is and how it can turn any standard kitchen into something elegant to its core. Pure marble is naturally white with veins of various thicknesses and lengths spanning its surface. While pure, unadulterated marble may be white, certain formations may contain a blend of other minerals, which give it color and pattern variations. 

Durability

The Strengths and Weaknesses of Marble Countertops

The Strengths and Weaknesses of Marble Countertops

While marble is a natural stone, it is unfortunately not as strong as other types of countertops, such as quartz and granite. If you are prioritizing durability over appearance, then it is best to consider other options. However, this does not mean that marble is weak by any stretch of the imagination. On Moh’s Scale of Mineral Hardness, marble scores a 3 to 4, which is slightly below average. But for many homeowners, this is more than enough as they rarely use the kitchen countertops for heavy-duty lifting or impact.

As with quartz, durability goes beyond mere strength. It’s also a matter of how easy it is to maintain the countertop and unfortunately, this is another one of marble’s vulnerabilities. Being a natural stone, marble is susceptible to staining. Leaving acidic liquids such as lemon or tomato juice on the marble countertop long enough will allow the spill to be absorbed into the deeper layers of the material, permanently staining it. So, if you are looking to have marble countertops, you better be ready to clean up all the spills as soon as possible. 

Cost

The Intricacies of Calculating the Cost of Marble Countertops

The Intricacies of Calculating the Cost of Marble Countertops

First and foremost, you should take into account that marble countertop installation more often than not comes with labor costs as well. While you can install your own butcher’s block or even quartz countertops, marble is much, much heavier than the other materials, making it considerably trickier to install. Without the right experience in countertop installation, you risk dropping and damaging the marble countertop before it is even installed. The average price in the United States for marble countertop installation is going to be around $40 per hour.

But even without the labor costs, marble countertops can be quite expensive. Throughout history, they were considered to be quite luxurious since they were very hard to mine and refine for home use. While today, technology has made it much easier to create marble countertops, the sentiment of luxury still holds strong, making marble one of the more expensive countertop materials on the market. Depending on the type of marble you are looking to install (as some types are rarer than others) the countertop will cost you anywhere from $40 per square foot up to a whopping $200. But if nothing can ever replace the rich and saturated appearance of genuine marble in your eyes, then it’s definitely worth the price.

Appearance

What Makes Marble Countertops Look So Attractive

What Makes Marble Countertops Look So Attractive

White marble can be found in kitchens, bathrooms, and can even line entire rooms. What makes it so preferable over quartz are the natural lines and veins that adorn its surface. If you pay close enough attention to quartz, you will notice similar patterns as a result of it being manufactured. Marble does not have this issue whatsoever as each slab of marble is going to be visually distinct from every other one in the world. Also, depending on the mixture of other minerals that are fused with it, each slab of marble is going to be a blend of different colors. For example, marbles with a yellow accent typically have a bit of extra calcite running through the veins, whereas brown marble has a bit of quartzite.

You can also try black marble, also referred to as Ashford black marble, which in reality isn’t even marble at all. It’s a type of darkened limestone, but it looks so much like the traditional white marble that we are used to, many simply refer to it as black marble. Contemporary kitchens, which favor dark and bold colors, black marble makes for a truly elegant countertop, flooring, and other gorgeous interior features. 

What Is Marble Good for?

Other Common Uses for Marble for Interior Design

Other Common Uses for Marble for Interior Design

As with quartz, marble can be used on a variety of interior and exterior design elements outside of the kitchen. Marble tile flooring, for example, is very luxurious and makes for a very sleek flooring option in kitchens, bathrooms, and even entryways. The natural patterns and veins of marble also make for an interesting backsplash in the kitchen that complements the countertop to create a more wholesome interior.

If you’re looking for true grandeur when working with marble, however, then you can install marble columns for a classic Greek or Roman interior. Some homeowners consider marble pillars to be overkill and a little too grand. But if you’re pushing for those luxurious and regal interiors — be it Greek, Victorian, or Art Deco — marble pillars can create visual flair and complexity to go with the rest of the grandiose interior elements.

AM

Written by
Alex Mikayelyan

Written by Alex Mikayelyan

comments

Under Construction - Coming Back Soon!

We are currently working on bringing you an improved experience. Please leave your name and email address and we'll let you know as soon as we relaunch.