Granite vs. Marble: Pros and Cons

We're comparing two of the most popular natural stone countertop materials, granite and marble, to help you decide which one best fits the needs of your busy kitchen.

White Kitchen with White Marble Backsplash, Cabinets, Countertops

Modern White Kitchen with White Marble Backsplash

Marble countertops bring an elegant look to any kitchen, but they're susceptible to stains and scratches. Read on to learn how marble stacks up to granite.

From: Fixer Upper
and Ranch House Reimagined

Photo by: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Marble countertops bring an elegant look to any kitchen, but they're susceptible to stains and scratches. Read on to learn how marble stacks up to granite.

Natural stone is a good choice for updating your home's kitchen and bathroom countertops. It lends beauty to the room, is available in a wide range of colors, can be customized to nearly any shape and size, and is easy to blend with any type of home decor, making it versatile no matter what the style of your home is.

Granite and marble are the most popular choices when it comes to natural stone countertops. There are pros and cons to using each material, so it's just a matter of deciding what’s right for your needs as well as your budget. Marble, for example, is elegant in appearance, while granite offers a more natural look. Both options can be costly, with marble generally being more expensive than granite, and their size and weight typically require professional installation.

While granite and marble share many common characteristics, they are very different in appearance and function. Let’s look closer at the good and bad of the two most popular options in the stone countertop arena.

Granite at a Glance

The Good:

  • Less expensive
  • Lots of colors and styles
  • Very durable
  • Less maintenance
  • Heat-resistant

The Bad:

  • Composition varies in different slabs
  • Potential to stain
  • Susceptible to scratches

Marble at a Glance

The Good:

  • Elegant vein patterns
  • Lots of colors and styles
  • Heat-resistant

The Bad:

  • More expensive
  • Not as durable
  • Susceptible to staining and scratches
  • Requires more maintenance


Marble is metamorphic or sedimentary in origin, with a smooth surface typically striated with veins of minerals. Some marble is quartz-based, while others are composed of serpentine, a greenish mineral. Commercial marble is typically available in variations of black and white.

Granite is metamorphic or igneous, made up of silica, mica, feldspar and quartz, generally with a packed, granular surface. Color varies from light to dark, presented in flecks, veins or solid patterns.

Keep in mind that appearance in both types of stone varies between slabs depending on its natural source and cut location.


When it comes to installing granite or marble countertops, both types of stone are installed the same way, starting with a template transferred to a slab, which is then cut to fit and finished. The slab is set into place (directly onto cabinets or a plywood substrate) and secured with silicone adhesive. Holes for sinks and faucets must be cut, and these stone slabs are tough to handle. Both tasks should be performed by a professional.


All natural stone requires different levels of maintenance, and homeowners should remain vigilant to the condition of their bathroom or kitchen countertops. In general, granite is very durable, stain-resistant and lower maintenance than marble. Granite should be sealed after installation, and if done properly, water will bead on the surface. Resealing should be completed every year to ensure a solid and efficient surface.

Minor scratches or even small chips can be repaired with stone epoxy. Note, however, that very busy or hardworking kitchens may need extra attention.

Marble should be thoroughly and regularly protected with a sealant designed specifically for porous stone surfaces. Keep in mind that marble’s composition is naturally prone to stain, even if sealed, so be sure to clean up spills as they happen. Acidic liquids, such as lemon juice, tomato sauce and citrus are unfriendly to marble and can etch into the stone.

Long-Term Durability

While it’s easy to believe that all stone by nature is super strong and nearly indestructible, it’s important to know the full story. Granite and marble are both very durable but must be sealed at least annually to ensure liquids do not gradually seep into the stone. Granite and marble are resistant to heat, but you should always be careful (i.e. don’t set red-hot pans directly on the countertop surface). Granite is a harder stone than marble and holds up better to chips and scratches.


While definitely not a cheap countertop option, the look and endurance of stone make it well worth the cost. Granite is less expensive than marble, starting at roughly $75/square foot installed and $100 more than that for higher-end stone. Installed marble countertops start at around $100/square foot and can go over $200. Prices fluctuate, so check your local supplier for up-to-date prices.

Next Up

Marble Vs. Quartz: Which is Better?

Marble and quartz both make gorgeous countertops, but each material comes with its own strengths and weaknesses.

Granite Countertops for Kitchens helps you determine if one of the most popular surfaces chosen by homeowners, developers and kitchen designers alike, is right for you.

How to Install Your Own Granite Kitchen Countertops

Granite, like most natural stone, can be expensive. Here’s everything you need to know to install countertops yourself, saving 20% to 30% over a professional installation.

Granite Vs. Quartz: Is One Really Better Than the Other?

We break down the two most controversial countertop materials.

How to Clean Marble Countertops

Regularly cleaning marble countertops is a must to ensure longevity. Luckily, we've broken down the cleaning process into two easy steps.

How to Clean Granite Countertops and Make Them Shine

Keep your granite countertops looking like new with a few simple steps.

How to Clean Quartz Countertops

Learn how to clean, disinfect and have your quartz countertops looking as good as new.

Choosing Kitchen Countertops

Granite or laminate? Quartz or concrete? Get tips on how to find the right kitchen countertop surface for your kitchen remodel.

How to Build a Concrete Countertop

Learn how to construct and install a concrete slab countertop for a kitchen island.

How to Repair and Refinish Laminate Countertops

Learn how to repair scratches, gouges and chips; plus get the lowdown on paints and refinishing kits made to transform old countertops.

Go Shopping

Refresh your home with stylish products handpicked by HGTV editors.


Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.