Countertop Comparisons

With so many countertop materials to choose from, it can easily get overwhelming. To help break down the pros and cons of each material we’ve created this guide to countertop styles. If you still can’t decide which countertop surface is best for you, we’re not surprised! Great Lakes Granite & Marble takes pride in helping you find a stylish surface that resists stains, scratches and spills and fits your budget! Call and talk with one of our highly skilled and trained experts today.

Phone: 1-800-913-8930
Local: 1-313-362-0123

Consumer Reports has long been a reliable source for comparing products and giving the pros and cons of all options. Their Countertop Buying Guide is another great resource to compare everything from natural stone, engineered stone, bamboo, and so much more!

Countertop Comparison Chart

Collideascope Greatlakes Ir Chart Final 02

Choosing a countertop for your kitchen or bath can be difficult with so many options to choose from. Check out our Go To Guide to Choosing the Right Countertop as a guide to help you pick what’s right for your situation, design style, and budget. Our specialists and project managers are here to help as well.  Please contact us with any questions or visit our Countertop FAQ’s for more helpful information.

Whether starting a remodel or building a new home, countertops will definitely come into play. Not sure what countertop options suit your needs? Not sure how to match your budget to the surface that best fits your needs? Use our professional countertop estimation guide to help you obtain an accurate estimate for your remodel project. Looking for some help selecting the best island layout for your kitchen? Explore our comprehensive collection of planning resources, or call our experienced Project Managers today.

Countertop Material Comparison

When investigating the type of countertop material that is best for your project, there are many things to consider as you can see from the chart above. With this large array of options available it’s important to consider the specific needs of your household and your personal design style, as well as factors like durability, maintenance, cost, and ease of clean up. Breaking down some of the most popular types of countertops and exploring their attributes may help to determine what will work best in your home. Countertops can be fabricated from natural stone, engineered stone, or a variety of other materials such as stainless steel, glass, wood, or even cement. Natural and Engineered Stone such as Granite or Quartz tend to dominate the market, with the other materials making up a smaller percentage of overall projects.

Natural Stone vs.
Engineered Stone Countertops

Natural Stone is 100% organic material quarried from the earth. Granite is the most common natural stone for countertop use, followed by Marble and Quartzite. Other natural stone materials that can be used for countertops are Limestone, Slate, and Sandstone. Natural Stones have the following attributes in common:
  • After being quarried from the earth, they are sliced into slabs and polished on one side for countertop surfaces. 
  • Natural Stone is unique and no two slabs will be exactly alike. 
  • Natural Stone surfaces are heat resistant
  • Depending on the size of the countertop surfaces, most natural stone countertop surfaces will have visible seams. 
Engineered Stone is a man-made material, comprising approximately 93% natural quartz, blended with advanced polymer resins and colorfast pigments. In comparison to natural stone which can have significant variety and pattern and variance between slabs, engineered stone is very consistent in look and pattern. Quartz is the most common of engineered stones. You may also be familiar with Ceasarstone or Silestone which are both brand names of Quartz manufacturers.   Engineered Stone is heat resistant, though perhaps not as much as Natural Stone. You can place a hot pot or pan directly on your Granite, Marble, or Quartzite countertop, where it is advised to use a trivet or hot pad on Quartz.  Engineered Stone has the following attributes which are similar to Natural Stone: 
  • Scratch and stain resistant
  • Visible seams depending on the size of the countertop surface
  • Available in a wide range of colors
As we explore the multiple types of natural and engineered stone, there are subtle differences between the different types of natural stones or engineered stones.

Granite vs. Quartz Countertops

Both granite and quartz surfaces are durable and capable of lasting a long time. They are both heat, scratch, chemical and stain resistant. Quartz surfaces are engineered from natural quartz while granite, in and of itself, is a natural stone. Quartz is a manufactured stone and it is hard to duplicate the veining and pattern look you get from genuine marble or granite. While granite is limited to all the colors nature has produced, quartz is artificially colored. Both surfaces are low maintenance. Granite and Quartz are similarly priced, both slightly dependent on the stone or manufacturer/color selection. While granite and quartz are in the upper tiers of cost, they will give you the longevity and durability associated with their price.

Many homeowners choose granite for the rich, unmistakable elegance it offers as a natural building product. There are many options for color and texture to take your home renovation project to the next level. Because it’s an extremely hard material, granite is suitable in many different applications: It resists scratches and stains, and can withstand normal wear and tear with proper sealing and maintenance. Granite is also heat tolerant, suitable for installation near a range or cooktop, or in a bathroom where high-heat hair tools may be present.

You might consider a quartz countertop if you want a streamlined look with clean lines, as the slabs are extremely uniform due to its composition of natural stone mixed with resins. As a manufactured product, there is a wide range of colors available for quartz, including neutrals and bold shades of blue, orange, or red. Because it’s non-porous, quartz does not require sealing or special treatment, and its surface prevents the buildup of bacteria. It’s resistant to staining, acids, and scratches, so all you need is water and a mild detergent for cleanup.

bianco-antico-granite-kitchen-countertop-3
Bianco Antico Granite Kitchen
Everest Quartz
Everest Quartz Kitchen
  • Rich, elegant look
  • Natural Building product
  • Many color and texture options
  • Unique shading, veining and shading between slabs
  • Scratch resistant
  • Stain resistant
  • Heat tolerant
  • Each slab is unique and different, not uniform in color and shading
  • High end of price range for countertops
  • Porous material (quick clean up is key)
  • Requires sealing to prevent stains and prevent harboring bacteria
  • Uniform, streamlined look with clean lines
  • Wide range of colors
  • Non porous, does not require sealing or special treatment
  • Surface prevents the buildup of bacteria
  • Stain resistant
  • Scratch resistant
  • Use water and a mild detergent for cleanup
  • For traditional design styles, modern edginess of quartz may not be compatible
  • Man made Quartz is not as heat resistant as natural stone, so a hot pad or trivet is recommended
  • Not recommended for outdoor installations as it can discolor with UV light
  • Depending on the pattern of the quartz material, seams can be more noticeable

Granite vs. Marble Countertops

Both Granite and Marble are made of genuine natural stone which means each slab is unique and beautiful. Marble is famous for its veining, which has led to the term “marbling.” Marble also ages beautifully. Granite and marble comes in a large variety of colors and the options and patterns are endless. 

We touched on the pros and cons of granite above, let’s explore Marble here.

If you’re looking for spectacular, sophisticated appeal, a marble countertop may be the right choice for you. It’s an igneous stone, meaning that it derives from solidified lava, so marble offers a stunning display of color – from classic neutrals to shades of rose, gold, gray, sage, and yellow. For applications where high heat will be present, marble is resistant and stands up to pots and pans. Many homeowners choose it for fireplace surrounds because it won’t discolor over time.

Marble is more porous than granite and should have a quality sealer to reduce staining. Because the minerals that compose marble are sensitive to certain chemical agents, it is important to wipe spills away quickly. Anything acidic will leave an etch mark if left on the stone for too long.  The stains can be difficult, if not impossible, to remove. There are sealants that can prevent liquids from absorbing, but it’s necessary to apply upon installation and every year or so. Marble needs to be cared for in the same manner a fine piece of wood is cared for. While marble is quite durable, it may not work well in busy kitchens where it can be scratched by knives or chipped by heavy pots.

Bianco Antico Granite Kitchen Countertop
Bianco Antico Granite Kitchen
White-Carrera-Marble-Bathroom-Countertop-3
White Carrera Marble Bathroom
  • Rich, elegant look
  • Natural Building product
  • Many color and texture options
  • Unique shading, veining and shading between slabs
  • Scratch resistant
  • Stain resistant
  • Heat tolerant
  • Each slab is unique and different, not uniform in color and shading
  • High end of price range for countertops
  • Porous material (quick clean up is key)
  • Requires sealing to prevent stains and prevent harboring bacteria
  • Luxurious, sophisticated look
  • Available in a stunning display of color – from classic neutrals to shades of rose, gold, gray, sage, and yellow.
  • Heat resistant
  • More porous than granite, requiring a quality sealer, applied yearly
  • Composed of minerals that are sensitive to certain chemical agents, making it more likely to stain
  • The softer composition of marble makes it susceptible to chipping
  • Requires more care than other natural stones, or engineered stone
  • Marble will develop a natural patina in high use areas. Marble requires professional refinishing the renew the surface.

Marble vs. Quartz Countertops

Marble is a luxurious surface formed from limestone, lending warmth and elegance to any project. Marble is known for striking beauty, subtle color variations, and a uniquely classic look. The most common drawback of Marble is the care and maintenance, it is more porous than other natural stones, meaning spills need to be addressed quickly, and a sealer should be used. Marble can also be more sensitive to chemical agents and acidic materials. Quartz is a manufactured stone, made of natural quartz, blended with advanced polymer resins and colorfast pigments to create an elegant, durable work surface. The quartz industry takes inspiration from Mother Nature when designing colors, patterns and veining. Quartz has become extremely popular as a way to emulate the look of marble without the same care and maintenance concerns. 

We explored the Pros and Cons of both Marble and Quartz above, so let’s dive into a few more comparisons.

Cararra Marble Kitchen Countertop
Cararra Marble Kitchen
Twilight Reflection Quartz
Twilight Reflection Quartz Kitchen
  • Luxurious, sophisticated look
  • Available in a stunning display of color – from classic neutrals to shades of rose, gold, gray, sage, and yellow.
  • Heat resistant
  • More porous than granite, requiring a quality sealer, applied yearly
  • Composed of minerals that are sensitive to certain chemical agents, making it more likely to stain
  • The softer composition of marble makes it susceptible to chipping
  • Requires more care than other natural stones, or engineered stone
  • Marble will develop a natural patina in high use areas. Marble requires professional refinishing the renew the surface.
  • Uniform, streamlined look with clean lines
  • Wide range of colors
  • Non porous, does not require sealing or special treatment
  • Surface prevents the buildup of bacteria
  • Stain resistant
  • Scratch resistant
  • Use water and a mild detergent for cleanup
  • For traditional design styles, modern edginess of quartz may not be compatible
  • Man made Quartz is not as heat resistant as natural stone, so a hot pad or trivet is recommended
  • Not recommended for outdoor installations as it can discolor with UV light
  • Depending on the pattern of the quartz material, seams can be more noticeable

Quartzite vs. Quartz Countertops

Quartzite is a natural stone, composed almost entirely of natural quartz. Quartzite is similar in composition to Granite and is extremely strong and durable. Typically, quartzite is usually white to gray in color with some variations from differing mineral content in the rock.  Quartz is a manufactured stone and it is hard to duplicate the veining and pattern look you get from genuine marble, granite, or quartzite. While quartzite is limited to all the colors nature has produced, quartz is artificially colored. Both surfaces are low maintenance. Quartzite and Quartz are similarly priced, both slightly dependent on the stone or manufacturer/color selection. 

Quartzite is gaining popularity, especially with the current trend in light grey and white kitchens and baths. Quartzite has a similar look to many marble stones, with the natural beauty, veining and pattern in the stone. Pair this with the durability factor similar to granite and you have a stone that will stand up to heat, resist stains and scratches, and withstand normal wear and tear.

Quartzite, similar to Granite and Marble, will have pattern and veining, and no two slabs will be the same. If you are looking for a uniform look, this may not be the right fit. Quartzite is strong, but like granite also porous. It is important to be careful with spills, wiping them up quickly. Specifically acidic materials such as lemons, soda, salad dressings, and some cleaning materials. If you have etching (surface damage in the form of a dull mark on natural stone), you can work with your stone provider to restore the quartzite.

Birmingham Kitchen Transformation Fantasy Brown Quartzite
Fantasy Brown Quartzite Kitchen
Aria Quartz
Aria Quartz Bathroom
  • Quartzite has a similar look to many marble stones, with the natural beauty, veining and pattern in the stone, yet is more durable and lower maintenance (similar to a granite)
  • Each slab is unique
  • Stain resistant
  • Heat resistant
  • Scratch resistant
  • Not uniform in color or pattern
  • Porous stone, making it important to wipe up spills quickly, especially with acidic materials
  • Some quartzite can be more porous than others. A surface test is recommended
  • Quartzites are on the high side of the price point
  • Uniform, streamlined look with clean lines
  • Wide range of colors
  • Non porous, does not require sealing or special treatment
  • Surface prevents the buildup of bacteria
  • Stain resistant
  • Scratch resistant
  • Use water and a mild detergent for cleanup
  • For traditional design styles, modern edginess of quartz may not be compatible
  • Man made Quartz is not as heat resistant as natural stone, so a hot pad or trivet is recommended
  • Not recommended for outdoor installations as it can discolor with UV light
  • Depending on the pattern of the quartz material, seams can be more noticeable

Corian vs. Granite Countertops

Corian is a  solid surface countertop made by Dupont Corporation. The name Corian is recognizable, although there are other solid surface countertops on the market. Swanstone, Wilsonart, Formica and several other companies also make solid surface countertops. Corian is created by combining minerals and acrylics. It can even be engineered with a granite or marble effect finish that stays true even when viewed at close range. Plus, Corian can be produced in large sheets to avoid the seams that some homeowners find unattractive. It’s easy to clean with a mild detergent and water, and very resistant to stains. Corian’s cost is also a pro for anyone on a tight renovation budget, as it’s affordably priced and will last for years.

Corian offers accessories such as integrated sinks and coved backsplashes that quartz or natural stones can’t offer. Because it is man-made, Corian is easier to get in specific colors than granite. Corian and granite are comparable in the cost of the original installation.

Granite is heat, stain, scratch and chemical resistant. Corian is stain resistant, but is not not heat or scratch resistant.  Cracks and scratches are inevitable in Corian and though they can be repaired Corian can also become damaged if exposed to heat. It cannot be used as a cutting surface, due to its construction out of plastic resins. Corian is also not the best choice for bathrooms where it may come into contact with hot hair appliances. Cracks and scratches are inevitable in Corian and though they can be repaired, it’s often expensive

Corian slabs are 30″ wide, so if you have a wide island or peninsula, or an usual shape (id. boomerang), it will require more seams than granite or quartz surfacing. The seams are inconspicuous but not invisible.

kashmir-white-granite-kitchen-countertop-4
Kashmir White Granite Kitchen
River White Granite
River White Granite Bathroom
  • Offered in more options for color, texture, and design than any other product
  • Produced in large sheets which can help to avoid seams
  • Easy to clean with a mild detergent and water
  • Stain resistant
  • Affordably priced
  • Not as durable as compared to granite
  • Not heat resistant
  • Not scratch resistant, cannot be used as a cutting surface
  • Not an optimal choice for bathroom countertops
  • Cracks and scratches are inevitable and will need to be repaired which can be costly
  • Rich, elegant look
  • Natural Building product
  • Many color and texture options
  • Unique shading, veining and shading between slabs
  • Scratch resistant
  • Stain resistant
  • Heat tolerant
  • Each slab is unique and different, not uniform in color and shading
  • High end of price range for countertops
  • Porous material (quick clean up is key)
  • Requires sealing to prevent stains and prevent harboring bacteria

At Great Lakes Granite & Marble, our design team is here to help you compare Corian and Granite, and can provide more information on all our building materials. Stop by and check out our showroom to view our huge collection of products for your home renovation projects. You can also visit our online portfolio for design ideas and other products, or give us a call to request a quote.