Comparing Marble and Granite
Marble and Granite both are beautiful building materials. The aesthetic difference between marble and granite are a matter of taste. Some user prefers the hardness and uniform look of granite, which comes in a wide range of color and patterns. Other prefer marble for its elegance and smooth look.
Marble and Granite both are completely different materials. Marble is a metamorphic rock composed of recrystallized carbonate material, where granite is an igneous rock that is granular and phaneritic in texture and composed of quartz and feldspar.
Comparison between marble and granite head to head in important categories will give us an idea about deciding which stone to use in building and renovation project.
Appearance Comparison of Marble and Granite
Marble and Granite both come in a wide range of colors and patterns. Being a phaneritic material, granite shows the grain. Granite also has a lot of quartz and feldspar content. The quartz and feldspar contents show on rough granite as rusty finishing. The marble is a smoother material since it has a lot of carbonate material, the rough marble appears smoother than granite.
The grains of granite appear as specks that are in different colors and patterns, this gives the overall material different colors as Red, Green, Orange, Brown in light to dark shades. The pattern is smaller and crystalline. It makes the material more uniform. Pure granite is more uniform and low variation materials. Generally, it has medium to dark shade. Some Granite also has a wavy pattern, River Pattern or solid colors (Absolute Black Granite). This is due to the different properties than granite. Wavy pattern is due to more feldspar content and the solid color granite is not pure granite but a gabbro. (check black galaxy granite)
The carbonate gives the color of marble as white and black. Different types of minerals give marble its color. It can be white, black, green, brown or chocolate sometimes. Marble can be a dolomite or serpentine. Dolomitic marble has very fine crystals of quartz, and serpentine marble has more veins. Since marble does not have phaneritic texture, it appears as smooth and veiny patterned. Marble has a bigger pattern than granite. The big patterns appear as clouds, veins or forest type look. Generally, marble has light to medium shade. The color tends to be consistent with veins running through it that concentrate the color. A Brown slab of marble might have darker maroon veins; a green slab might contain veins that are quite grey-white in color.
Result: Marble is more beautiful than granite, but granite is more uniform.
Durability Comparison of Granite and Marble
Granite is often cited as the most durable natural stone available. It is known for resisting crack and chipping well. It has a high content of quartz, which makes it a highly durable natural stone. The feldspar is also a hard mineral and the feldspar has its presence in the stone. The surface is hard enough that if somebody cut right on the surface, the surface will be unaffected. Granite slabs are cut on special Gang Saw and Wire saw unit with Dimond cutting tools. The Gang Saw are heavier than normal Gang Saw units. It needs special Dimond cutting tools to cut blocks. It does not cut on Normal Gang Saw machine due to its hardness.
The marble is also a hard and strong material, but it is porous in nature. The porosity makes it prone to scratches and damage. There may be scratches on the surface if cut right on it. The Calcium Carbonate is less hard than quartz. The cutting of marble is done with Normal Gang Saw unit. The Gang Saw unit for cutting the marble is less heavy than Granite. Due to the softness of marble, it is a popular choice for making Moortis, Idols, Flowerpots, fountains and other types of stone sculpture. The artists judge the hardness better and they prefer making sculptures from Marble than granite. However, the marble is strong enough to take most of the scratches and does not need epoxy resin to fill the pinholes.
Result: Granite is more durable
Stain Resistant Comparison of Marble and Granite
To avoid stains, the sealant is applied on the surface of countertops or floors of marble and granite. However, marble is more prone to stains than the granite. Marble has very close grains or almost zero grains. It does not leave much space for the sealant absorption. Due to this, the sealant does not last long. When the sealant is removed from the surface, the oil or some other liquid can leave spots on the surface, but since the surface is difficult to penetrate for the liquid as well, it is less likely to have stain marks. White marble is more prone to stains than any other color.
Generally, any liquid spilled on a granite top, if wiped up within a few minutes, will not stain. However, even water can soak into a countertop and leave a dark colored spot, but this will evaporate in minutes. Liquids that do not evaporate, such as oils will cause stains if left to soak into the stone. But sealant works well on this stone. It absorbs sealant better than marble. It goes under the surface of slabs and creates a firewall for oil or any other liquid to leave colored spots.
But, without the sealant, marble is less prone to stains. It is easy to penetrate the granite surface by liquid and leave stain marks if the sealant is not applied (due to pinholes). The Crystal of marble are closer to each other and it does not give much space to liquid to penetrate the surface.
Result: Both Granite and Marble are stains resistant if you take care of
Polishing Comparison of Marble and Granite
Marble is a soft stone than the granite, but the grains of marble is much closed which makes the surface very hard. The hard surface takes excellent polishing. Around 7 types of abrasive are used to take polish on the marble surface. However, marble still lacks the hardness in comparison to the granite. The problem with marble polishing appears with single head manual polishers. It polishes unevenly on the slab surface. The polishing is like waves and one can see the polishing layers from the side of the slab easily. Also from the best Italian Line polisher, it is not possible to achieve gloss more than 95 unit.
Probably the hardness of stone plays a big role during the polishing stage of any stone. If the stone is hard, there are chances that it will have good polishing than the softer one, and in this scenario the softer material is marble. There is an exception of Green Marble and Fantasy Brown marble in this, both materials are famous for high-quality polishing. The properties of both the marble are suitable for high gloss polishing.
Granite being the toughest stone available in the market takes excellent polishing. There is plenty of quartz and feldspar content in it, which makes the material harder and strong. Quartz is one of the toughest minerals and it helps the stone to get better polishing and shining. Around 9 types of abrasives are used to get polish on the granite slab surface. In which 2 types of abrasives are diamond abrasives. These hard diamond abrasives cut the surface of slab evenly and make it smooth for further polish.
The Epoxy Resin is used in getting high gloss finishing in Granite Slabs. It is impossible to get polishing with the manual single head polisher for slabs and get high gloss. The Polishing needs weight on the abrasive and that is why Line Polishing machines are much successful for getting a good polish on slabs or tiles. It takes very high gloss up to 120 gloss unit, which is too high for a marble to achieve. The Epoxy Resin helps to fill the pin holes and get high gloss polishing.
Result: Granite takes the better polishing, but some marbles also do
Maintenance Comparison of Marble and Granite
Marble is a soft stone in comparison to marble. It lacks the hardness and toughness in comparison to granite. Marble will etch easily if exposed to acid and bases. In everyday Kitchen, such chemicals are used very frequently. Marble also scratches more than the granite. At Moh’s scale, the hardness of marble is four and therefore it is more prone to scratches. The sealer does not work well on the marble surface. One need to do sealing of marble on regular basis and it increases the overall maintenance cost.
Marble flooring also has the same problem. Marble is a brittle mineral and it needs proper processing to get good flooring slabs and tiles. Many Chinese, Omani, Turkish, Italian and Indian marble needs net or fiber on the backside. This net or fiber hold the material together. Even few qualities of Green Marble also need netting on the backside, which also increases the overall maintenance cost. The polishing on the marble may fade in a few years, so repolishing is required in a certain period. The surface of marble also become patina after regular footsteps over it.
Granite is one of the toughest stone available for flooring and Kitchen Countertops. It has the hardness of seven on the Moh’s scale, which is almost double than marble. It does not get scratches easily. Also, the sealer works perfectly on the surface. It takes a long time for the sealer to get off the surface of the granite. The sealer lasts long on the surface, it penetrates the surface. The sealer is mixed with color matching epoxies to fill the pinholes and penetrate the surface. It does not look odd and one cannot judge pinholes on the surface.
Being a tough stone, it does not need fiber or net on the backside of the slab or countertop. While there are few granites which need such treatment if cut in thickness of 2 cm. However, in general, it does not need any kind of netting to hold it. The polishing of slabs does not disappear easily. Granite needs just one-time polishing.
Result: Granite has less maintenance cost but the high production cost
Price Comparison of Marble and Granite
Price is an important factor in deciding the purchase of anything. Both Natural Stones are available in the high and medium price range. There are many cheap granites available in the market as well as cheap marble.
Marble is a Natural Stone, in which the processing is lower than the granite. It is cut on the normal gang saw machine or wire saw machine with cheaper diamond tools. The cost to get the marble slab, marble tile or marble countertop is lower than the granite. The polishing pad and abrasive are cheaper than the granite. The recovery of blocks at the quarry is also very high in marble. Marble has fewer cracks and fissures than granite and It is easy to cure them in the marble slabs or tile. It is also noteworthy that small tiles of marble are old in different markets at lower prices. The average cost of production in marble is lower than Granite.
However, due to very high demand and less availability, some of the marbles are among the most expansive natural stones in the world such as Carrara marble and Statuario marble from Italy. There are also Egyptian marbles and Green Marble from India, which is among the cheapest stones in the world.
The cost of production for an average granite slab is much higher than any type of marble. Granite is cut on special Gang Saw machines, which are expensive than normal gangsaw machines. The availability of big blocks is very low at quarries. Generally, quarries produce smaller size blocks (which are of course cheaper than the bigger one). The cost of producing a big block and a small block is the same, but the price difference is due to the size and less availability of big blocks. The polishing is also an expensive process on slabs. It takes around 9 different types of abrasives to get high-quality polishing on slabs. The processing of this stone is much higher than the processing of marble. All these factors make it an expensive material for Kitchen Countertops or Flooring.
However, Granites such as Rosy Pink and Platinum White are among the cheapest material available in the market. You can get these stones at the less price than many marbles. The prices depend on the supply and demand.
Results: Marble is Cheaper than Granite in General, but some marbles are more expensive
Comparing marble and granite head to head in important categories will assist you in deciding which stone to use in your building or renovation project. Beauty is subjective, of course. Get your eyes on a large number of both marble and granite slabs to make the determination of which material you find to be more attractive.