Marble vs Granite — Which is Best? 'It's the Battle of the Countertops,' Say Experts

Weighing up marble vs granite for your kitchen countertops? Here's what you need to know, according to experts

A kitchen with a marble island
(Image credit: Alexander&Co)

Marble vs granite may be your big conundrum when it comes to kitchen countertops. After all, choosing the right counter material is of utmost importance as this surface offers multiple uses.

From food prepping, storage of small kitchen appliances, to a place to keep pots, pans, and everyday utensils, this surface serves multiple needs. In that regard, both marble and granite have served as viable options for decades, but have you ever wondered about their differences really are? And which is better?

To help you determine which pick is best for your kitchen, we asked experts to help out. Pay heed to this essential kitchen countertop advice.

1. Cost

blue granite used for a kitchen island

(Image credit: Prue Ruscoe. Design: YSG Studio)

When it comes to the difference between the two kitchen countertop materials and their prices, the costs can vary depending on factors such as quality, rarity, and location.

'It is really about finding what is right for the space, budget, and style,' advises Donna Dufresne, founder of Donna Dufresne Interior Design. 'Marble and granite prices vary greatly depending on the type, amount needed, and quality. Both stones range from budget-friendly to luxury options.'

'I'd say neither option comes cheap, as they are both natural materials and, therefore, their cost can depend on where they are quarried and how they are cut,' says Jane Lockhart, founder of Jane Lockhart Design. 'Granite is somewhat less costly in general, however, given it is not as popular as marble.'

Also, of the two, granite is more readily available and easier to extract, which brings down the costs (though minimally as compared to marble). Do note that installation costs and maintenance requirements should also be budgeted for when choosing a granite or marble kitchen.

2. Durability

A kitchen with marble countertop that has heavy veining

(Image credit: Alyne Media. Design: Comma Projects And Jayson Pate Design)

If you're wondering what type of countertop lasts the longest, you'll be glad to know that roughly, both marble and granite are known for their strength and durability. Although both materials last and stay beautiful for many years, choosing the correct material for the location is important to ensure that damage doesn’t occur.

'Marble is easily etched by acidic materials, such as lemon and certain cleaning products,' says Ritu Gupta,d co-founder of Pramod Group. 'Also, being a soft stone, it is very absorbent, so you need to be careful about its upkeep.' Contact with hot pans and dishes may damage marble, and as a surface, it's the best choice for low-traffic kitchens.

Granite, on the other hand, easily resists scratches and damage from heat, making it ideal for all types of kitchen islands and counters. This stone also does not scuff or discolor easily. These aside, if you're remodeling a kitchen and are open to granite and marble alternatives, some other sturdy materials are quartz and soapstone.

3. Style

A kitchen counter with pink marble

(Image credit: Nicole England. Design: Studio Minosa)

'Marble is evocative of ancient Roman ruins, Greek statues and high end European architecture,' says Jarret Yoshida, a New York Brownstone interior designer. 'Using marble means borrowing some of that associated glamor. While many clients want something incredibly durable and stain-resistant, I like the patina marble can take on over the years.'

There's no doubt that style-wise, marble is perfect for a modern kitchen, and has the most smart and sophisticated appearance. The marble veining looks like swirls through the stone.

'Granite also has color choices, but the options in marble are much softer; tones of whites, creams, and grays and even pink can make it look stunning,' says Mary Patton, founder of Mary Patton Design.

4. Maintenance

A modern, minimalist kitchen with wooden walls, grey marble countertops and a large island

(Image credit: Design: Stewart-Schafer / Photography: Sarah Elliott )

What is the most low low maintenance kitchen countertop? 'Granite is more low maintenance compared to marble,' says Mary. 'That being said, it still is a natural stone and should be treated with a sealing product once a year.'

Between the two, the extreme density of granite makes it capable of resisting virtually all food and liquid stains. Even acidic liquids like vinegar do not permeate the stone. And since stain resistance is higher in granite, it needs less frequent sealer application than marble and thereby is easier to live with.

3 products to clean and maintain your countertops

Design Editor

Aditi Sharma Maheshwari is the Design Editor at Livingetc. She is an architecture and design journalist with over 10 years of experience. She's worked at some of the leading media houses in India such as Elle Decor, Houzz and Architectural Digest (Condé Nast). Till recently, she was a freelance writer for publications such as Architectural Digest US, House Beautiful, Stir World, Beautiful Homes India among others. In her spare time, she volunteers at animal shelters and other rescue organizations.