Stone benchtops are a popular choice in kitchens and bathrooms. Engineered stone (eg. by Caesarstone or Smartstone) is a man-made mixture of up to 95% crushed stone (quartz or granite) mixed with resins and formed into slabs. It is therefore relatively strong, hard, durable (long-lasting), resistant (to heat, scratches and stains) and consistent in colour and pattern, thus making it a popular and practical choice.
But what about marble or granite?
The natural materials of marble and granite also find their way into many homes, especially for those looking for that organic, timeless and sophisticated look and the chance to have their very own unique piece of art in their kitchen or bathroom. Why unique? Because these are naturally-formed slabs of rock, and for thousands of years solid pieces of marble and granite have been mined, cut and polished from quarries around the world including Australia, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Finland, Norway, Spain, Sweden, India, Angola, Namibia and Zimbabwe.
So what are some of the differences between marble and granite?
Marble is usually derived from the relatively soft rocks of limestone or dolomite, with each variety having characteristic and beautiful swirls and veins of colours due to its particular mineral impurities. Variegated marble transforms your kitchen or bathroom into a one-of-a-kind work of art, with its individual shapes and swirls offering a unique, beautiful, elegant and high-end look. It is therefore often used for wall paneling, as a feature wall, or for elegant bathroom fit-outs, bathroom vanity tops and splashbacks.
The marble benchtops and splashback in this kitchen designed and built by Ultimate Kitchens & Bathrooms look stunning and so elegant
Marble vanity tops add real glamour to this ensuite designed by Ultimate Kitchens & Bathrooms
Marble is relatively soft and porous, however, so it is prone to staining from liquids and acidic foods and may not suit kitchen benchtops in high traffic use areas. Having said that, many people still opt for a marble counter top who are prepared to seal it regularly and to treat it with care as follows:
- avoid staining products (such as beetroot, cooking oils, meat fats, fruit juices, wine and coffee) remaining on the surface for any length of time.
- be careful when using heavy frying pans or cooking utensils as they could break, chip or scratch the surface.
- avoid chopping food items on marble benchtops.
- don’t leave hot cooking utensils on the surface.
Granite, being an igneous rock, is harder than marble and has a course-grained texture and crystalline structure, which produces an almost glittering effect due to the matrix of lighter-coloured feldspar and quartz in it, scattered with darker minerals.
The use of a gold-flecked, double bullnose granite for the benchtops and splashback in this Ultimate Kitchens & Bathrooms provincial style kitchen was an inspired design choice
Some granites have a variegated pattern like marble, and others a more uniform or consistent appearance. Offering a classic and stylish look, as with marble each piece of quarried granite is unique, so no two surfaces will be identical in colour, pattern or character. Granite is much denser than marble, but it, too, must be sealed and polished to minimize the risk of staining.
With both marble and granite, as specimens vary it’s important to select your actual slab(s) from the stone mason supplier, and not just look at a showroom sample and assume your slab will be the same!
And as there is a lot of choice in granite and marble, it helps to get the professional advice of a designer from Ultimate Kitchens & Bathrooms, so that your benchtops and/or splashbacks will match beautifully with your cabinetry and other aspects of your renovated space. Talk with one of our showroom consultants today about the possibilities of using beautiful, timeless granite or marble in your new kitchen or bathroom.