The question of which is better — quartz countertops or marble — is such a frequent and familiar date that it seems it’s been asked for many years. In reality, though, the comparison is only a few years old. That’s because quartz hasn’t always been the premium surface it is today.
However, technological advancements have improved quartz slabs so much that it’s a serious rival even for that most venerable, opulent of countertops, marble!
The marble countertop has been a coveted kitchen or bathroom feature for a long time — centuries, even. The reasons are many: its timeless beauty, classic elegance, and the upscale look and feel. Marble countertops are known to increase a home’s resale value. With this in mind, why would anyone consider using a lookalike substitute, and choose a faux-marble slab like quartz instead of the real thing?
While there are several reasons to choose quartz vs. granite, durability is a big one. So, which is more durable, quartz, or marble? Consider the following facts, which will help you choose which is best for your home.
One of the biggest drawbacks to installing a marble countertop is how susceptible it is to staining when it comes into contact with food or beverages — and in a kitchen, it’s extremely difficult to keep that from occurring. Combine this with the fact that most popular marble countertops are light in color, and you’ve set yourself up for decades of anxiety. The application of a good, protective sealer can help prevent stains, which are mostly due to the tiny pores in this natural stone. To keep your marble countertop pristine, you’ll need to keep every dish on a protective surface, coasters beneath every glass.
Quartz, on the other hand, does not have these tiny pores on the surface, so it is completely waterproof. Although quartz countertops will still stain when they encounter spills and splashes, it’s much less likely, even with the palest quartz countertop colors. Wipe them up quickly, and nobody will ever know you’re a messy cook.
Marble, as well as other natural stone, can develop dull, discolored spots when exposed to acidic foods or liquids. The acid actually reacts with the marble’s chemical composition and eats away at the sealant and the stone’s surface. Some examples of liquids that cause etching include vinegar, lemon juice, tomato sauce, soft drinks, and many commonly used cleansers. So, it’s not exactly rare for this to happen.
Quartz is an engineered surface that is extremely hard, so it is not reactive to acidic foods. Therefore, it won’t etch.
As timeless and solid as it appears, marble is actually one of the softer natural stones used as countertops. That means it is very susceptible to scratching, as well as chipping and cracking. This can easily occur from normal daily use — dropping something on the surface, scooting an object from place to place instead of picking it up, neglecting to use a cutting board, and more. Tiny scratches tend to accumulate over time, resulting in discoloration that can be hard to remove. Some homeowners enjoy the “character” that develops over decades of use; you may disagree.
Quartz, as mentioned, is extremely hard. Although it’s not indestructible, quartz countertops hold up much better to daily use, and even a fair amount of abuse, therefore making them a much better choice for active families that spend a lot of time in the kitchen.
Susceptibility to heat damage is another important consideration when choosing a kitchen countertop. In this case, marble countertops have a slight edge. Excessive heat can damage a quartz countertop by melting the resin that binds it all together, causing burn marks and discoloration. No matter what countertop you install, never place a hot pot, pan, or baking sheet directly upon the counter surface. Always use hot pads or trivets. However, accidents do happen! This is something to keep in mind, especially if you do a lot of baking.
Both quartz and marble countertops are a significant investment in your home, and it’s important to know that this investment will pay off in the future. Both premium surfaces have been known to maintain their value over time, and when properly maintained they can last for several decades. For this reason, both marble and quartz surfaces can increase your home’s resale value, as well as making it sell more quickly.
Finally, one way to judge the long-term durability of anything is by checking what sort of warranty is offered by the manufacturer. When you choose a marble countertop, its warranty most likely only covers manufacturing defects and will only be valid for a short time after installation, such as six months to one year.
Quartz countertops, on the other hand, are often warranted for a much longer period of time — in some cases, they are sold with a lifetime warranty for residential use. These warranties typically cover damages that arise due to defects in manufacturing, not those caused by improper installation or usage. But, since these defects don’t always show up right away, it’s an important distinction. Manufacturers of premium quartz countertops stand up for, and believe in, the quality of their products.
Determining which is more durable, quartz, or marble depends upon which aspect of durability a homeowner is measuring. If you want a countertop that will hold up to direct exposure of hot pots and pans, cookie sheets, pizza stones, and heat-generating appliances over the years with minimal damage, marble may be the right choice for you. However, quartz has the edge in just about every other type of measurement: resistance to stains, scratches, and etching. Because of this, it’s a piece of cake to maintain, so it will retain its just-installed beauty for a lifetime. Your choice depends upon your personal preferences and lifestyle, so consider every pro and con before making that big investment.
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