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Love the Look of Marble
You May Want to Consider Quartz

Marble and quartz are both gorgeous countertop material options that add luxury and elegance to any home. They are two of the most popular countertop options, whether you are remodeling a kitchen or bathroom, building a home, adding  a bar, or even an  outdoor kitchen or grill station. Both are beautiful in appearance and in many cases similarly priced. Both marble and quartz come in an array of color and vein options that go with traditional, contemporary, and transitional home styles. Each material has specific traits when it comes to appearance, durability, and maintenance. Probably the most prevalent difference between marble and quartz is in the maintenance and durability of the stone. This causes many people who love the look of marble to consider Quartz as the right choice for their home and lifestyle. 

Let’s explore the various traits of both stones to help you determine which is right for you and your lifestyle.

What Are Marble and Quartz?

Marble is known for its striking beauty, subtle color variations, and a uniquely classic look. Marble is a metamorphic rock (rock that transforms under the influence of heat, pressure, or some other agent) that starts as limestone or dolomite. Through intense heat and pressure, it is transformed into a veined, beautiful stone. Pure marble is completely white, the veining and coloring of each piece comes from the different materials that were present in the Earth when and where it was created. This natural marble is quarried (cut or blasted from the earth), sliced into slabs, water blasted, buffed and polished. These finished products are what you see in a fabricators warehouse, and as the final product in your home installation. No two slabs of marble are ever the same, offering beauty and dimension in every piece and installation.

The most common concern with Marble is the care and maintenance. This natural stone is more porous than other natural stones and engineered stones such as quartz. Spills need to be addressed quickly, as liquid can be absorbed into the stone leaving dull spots known as etching, and stains.

Quartz is a man-made material, comprising approximately 93% natural quartz, blended with advanced polymer resins and colorfast pigments. This combination of natural stone and synthetic gives quartz countertops a clean, polished appearance. Since quartz is manmade, the overall appearance is much more uniform than marble. When selecting quartz you can be fairly certain that your installed product will look just like the slab you saw in the showroom or stone warehouse.

Quartz is improving each year with color and veining options, yet it will never 100% capture the natural beauty of marble.


Where you plan to install your countertop may affect your decision between marble and quartz. Quartz is non-porous, making it a great option for kitchen or bath.

Bakers love marble since it does not conduct heat, making it a great surface for working with dough. This is why you see many marble slabs used for work surfaces or cheese boards.
Marble is prone to etching (surface damage in the form of a dull mark on natural stone) if exposed to acidic substances, and it is more prone to chipping or surface damage than quartz, so it may not be the best choice for a busy kitchen.


As a natural stone, no two pieces of marble are the same. This gives beauty and dimension to your countertop, which can be a focal point for your chosen application. This variation is not for everyone though, if you are looking for a uniform look, marble may not be the right fit.

Quartz countertops now come in a vast array of color and vein patterns, mimicking the look of marble without the variations or hidden surprises that come with each individual slab of marble. Quartz has come such a long way in recent years, it requires a practiced eye to really tell the difference between some of the quartz options out there and the marble they are designed to replicate.

Depending on how the quartz is ground in the manufacturing process, you can have different appearances. Coarsely ground quartz assumes a flecked appearance, where finely ground quartz has a smooth look.

Over time, both marble and quartz may change in appearance. Marble tends to darken slightly with age. For quartz, sun exposure will cause the resins and polymers to yellow over time. You will want to take this into consideration when thinking of your installation and any exposure to direct sunlight your countertop may get. Most quartz is not recommended for outdoor use.


One of the main differences between marble and quartz is the durability of each material. The Mohs scale of mineral hardness lists 1 as the softest and 10 as the hardest. Marble is rated a 3 with Quartz being rated a 7 to give you an idea of the variation between the stones.

Marble is a fairly soft, porous stone, meaning it can absorb liquids and cause stains. It is susceptible to acidic liquids such as red wine, salad dressings, vinegars, tomato sauces, lemon juice and similar substances. Oil based substances such as peanut butter and olive oil can also cause issues for your marble countertop. Even leaving standing water on marble is not a good idea. When you have a spill, it is important to wipe it up right away, lessening the opportunity for it to absorb into the stone and cause a stain or etching. One way to minimize the appearance of etch marks is to hone the marble, or give it a matte surface, which would make the appearance of a dull spot on a polished countertop less noticeable. Many people also elect to go with an all white marble so that the etching that will inevitably occur doesn’t stand out too much.

Marble is also more prone to surface damage than quartz. A hard, sudden impact on the stone, such as dropping a cast iron skillet can cause a white mark or even chipping in the stone.

Marble needs to be professionally sealed after installation and resealed periodically afterwards. When properly sealed, marble is relatively durable. If you are someone that doesn’t want to worry about this ongoing maintenance, marble might not be the best choice for you.

When it comes to heat resistance, marble has the advantage. Quartz generally resists temperatures up to about 300 degrees Fahrenheit, but may be burned or scorched if it comes into contact with a hot pan. Carrara marble for example has a greater heat threshold, but is subject to thermal shock. With both surfaces, it is recommended that hot pans are placed on trivets and not directly on the counter’s surface.

Quartz countertops are non porous which means they won’t absorb liquids and stain or etch the way marble will. Quartz is more resistant to bacteria and mold and does not require sealing. It is also resistant to scratches giving it a long lasting, beautiful look. These attributes make quartz countertops great surfaces for families with kids and busy kitchens.


Marble countertops are considered a high maintenance material. Between the required resealing, tendency towards staining and etching, and risk of chipping, marble is a stone that needs to be carefully cared for to maintain its natural beauty.

Marble countertops should be resealed every six months and should be cleaned with pH-neutral cleaning products to prevent etching. Sealing marble is to prevent staining, not etching. Etching is very hard to avoid with marble, it comes with the territory. Marble can be repeatedly polished to remove any stains or scratches from the surface. In addition, if a stain occurs, a poultice can be used to help try to lift them to the surface. This is effective for some types of stains, but does require time and effort, and in some cases professional assistance. Knowing these attributes as you choose your countertop material is key. Marble can give you a beautiful look and last a lifetime, you just need to be ready for the more regular upkeep and maintenance.

Quartz countertops are virtually maintenance free. Quartz does not need to be sealed and can be cleaned with most standard household cleaners or even warm water and soap. In addition, quartz isn’t likely to etch or stain, so you don’t have to stay as vigilant about the surface the way you would with a marble countertop.

Both marble and quartz can have minor repairs such as filling in dings and small chips using an epoxy or resin repair kit in a color matching the countertop. In many cases you can do this yourself with a kit from your local home maintenance shop. We mentioned earlier that the surface of marble can crack if a heavy object falls on it, in that case you would have to bring in a professional for repairs.

In terms of maintenance, quartz has the advantage. The main reason homeowners, builders, and interior designers choose engineered quartz over marble is the ease of care. Marble is beautiful to look at, but it isn’t exactly carefree.

Outdoor Application

If you are looking for an outdoor countertop installation for a kitchen, fireplace surround, or similar, neither marble or quartz are the best option. Marble’s porous nature, mineral content, and its tendency to show stains and watermarks make it a poor choice for outdoor use. Quartz is susceptible to yellowing when exposed to direct sunlight, affecting the appearance negatively over time, making it a less desirable option. Many outdoor kitchens are outfitted with granite which is another natural stone that will age well over time in the elements.

When To Select Quartz Over Marble

When considering your countertop options, you may be overwhelmed with the choices. We have multiple guides and comparisons that will help you to determine the best solution for your home and your family. While marble is stunning to look at and has many attributes that make it a wonderful selection, it has to be the right fit for you. If you are a messy cook, have kids in the house, and aren’t up for the maintenance of cleaning the counter regularly to maintain the stone’s natural beauty and integrity, quartz could be the perfect selection. You get the beauty of marble with the durable and maintenance advantages of quartz. Like we mentioned early on, quartz manufacturers have come a long way in recent years offering a multitude of colors, patterns, and options that mimic the natural beauty of marble.