We love the bright, clean look of a white marble countertops. Simultaneously classic and modern, the beautiful veined stone will never go out of style. However, marble is high maintenance and needs a lot of TLC—something many homeowners don’t want to deal with. We’ve compared it with a marble alternative, quartz, to help you pick which countertop better suits your lifestyle.
Marble is great for those who don’t mind taking care of the stone and for those who love the history behind the stone.
It’s a natural product, so it will have naturally occurring changes over time, or be susceptible to forming “patina,” no matter how much you take care of it. If you prefer consistency in your countertops, this may turn you off, but many people enjoy its evolution.
This natural stone is also very porous and will absorb just about any pigment spilled on it. It’s very important that you seal your marble before use and immediately clean up spills with gentle detergent like Dawn and water. Beware if you’re in the habit of knocking over red wine or pasta sauce.
This character also leaves the stone more open to etching. Though a honed finish will reduce the appearance of wear, both etching and stains can only be removed or lessened by a professional polishing.
Unlike quartz, marble is resistant to heat and can be more affordable. So if you’re open to an evolving stone that needs a lot of attention, marble is a beautiful option.
Man-made from a mixture of natural stone and resin, quartz countertops are marble’s more robust cousin. It’s nearly impervious to stains and fairly indestructible, so it stands up well to high-traffic kitchens.
However, quartz can’t quite achieve the same natural look as real marble, and some may consider it too synthetic-looking.
Also, quartz isn’t heat-proof; you should never put a hot object directly onto these countertops.
Though it’s often more expensive than marble, you won’t need to seal it, and it requires no maintenance other than a wipe-down, both reasons that some will find quartz worth the price.
And because it’s man-made, you can create just about any custom look or design you want, although you may have seams.
Both marble and quartz are beautiful options that will serve you well. It comes down to how much effort you want to put into maintenance and the look you want your stone to achieve.
Pro.com is a website founded in 2013 by service industry entrepreneurs and former Amazon executives to simplify home services -- especially research on contractor fees and qualifications.