Marble and quartz are two of the most popular countertop materials, and they each have their own sets of pros and cons. Many homeowners find themselves trying to decide between marble and quartz when choosing countertops for their kitchen or bathroom remodels. One of the biggest factors in this decision often comes down to cost.
Cost Comparison Between Marble and Quartz Countertops
When comparing the costs of marble and quartz countertops, marble generally tends to be more expensive. Here’s a look at some of the reasons behind the pricing differences:
- Material Costs: The marble itself costs more than quartz on average. Marble is a natural stone that must be quarried and cut into slabs, which is a labor-intensive process. Quartz is an engineered stone made from natural quartz aggregates and resins, so it is less costly to produce than natural marble.
- Installation: Installation of marble countertops also tends to cost more than quartz. Marble is fragile and prone to cracking, so extra care and expertise is required when fabricating and installing marble counters. Quartz is harder and less prone to damage, so installation tends to be simpler.
- Countertop Thickness: Marble countertops are often cut thicker (3cm or more) than quartz countertops. The extra thickness increases the material costs and overall price. Quartz can be installed at 2cm thickness to save on costs.
- Labor: There is more labor involved in finishing and polishing marble edges due to the softness of the stone. This can increase fabrication and installation costs compared to quartz.
- Transportation: Natural marble is heavier than quartz, so transportation costs are higher as well.
- Scarcity: Some of the most desirable marble varieties are relatively scarce, which also drives up the costs. Imported marble varieties especially can be much more expensive.
So in most cases, yes – marble countertops are more expensive than quartz counters when you look at the total installed price. On average, expect to pay $80-150 per square foot for installed marble countertops, compared to $50-100 per square foot for quartz. However, there are always exceptions depending on the specific materials chosen.
Factors That Impact Marble and Quartz Countertop Pricing
There are several factors that affect the price of both marble and quartz countertops, which can alter the cost comparison:
- Stone variety – Rare or imported marbles like Calacatta Gold will be pricier than common Carrara or domestic marbles.
- Vein patterns – Marbles with dramatic veining tend to cost more due to their distinctive beauty.
- Color – Bright white marbles often demand a higher price than gray or cream varieties.
- Finish – Polished, honed, or textured marble finishes have differing labor requirements.
- Thickness – Thicker slabs (3+ cm) cost more than thinner options.
- Edge treatments – Decorative ogee, chamfered, or beveled edges increase costs over straight polished edges.
- Brand – Premium engineered stone brands like Caesarstone are pricier than generic or domestic quartz.
- Patterns – Unique quartz patterns and color blends can impact the price over plain, single-tone colors.
- Thickness – 3 cm thick quartz tops will be more expensive than 2 cm options.
- Fabrication – Special cutouts, edges, and other custom fabrication will raise costs.
So while marble is generally more expensive than quartz for countertops, you can find quartz varieties that are priced similarly to lower-end marbles if you choose premium engineered stone brands. Likewise, exotic marbles can be much pricier than an average quartz. Get quotes for the specific materials you want before deciding based on cost alone.
Pros and Cons of Marble vs. Quartz Countertops
Aside from the cost differences, it’s important to look at the pros and cons of marble and quartz to make the best choice for your home:
- Stunning natural beauty and unique veining patterns
- Charming old-world aesthetic
- Can be refinished and re-polished over time
- Stays cool to the touch
- Softer and more prone to etching, stains, cracks and damage
- Requires sealing to prevent stains
- Can develop patina or dull spots over time
- Needs gentle cleaning with non-acidic products
- Extremely durable and resilient
- Resists scratches, stains, and heat
- Requires little maintenance
- Wide variety of colors and patterns
- Less natural beauty than real stone
- Can develop seams over time
- Limited number of patterns/colors
- Lacks the cool feeling of natural stone
Is the Cost Worth It for Marble Countertops?
For many homeowners, the unmatched beauty of marble makes it worth the higher cost and extra maintenance required. Its natural patterning and colors add unrivaled elegance, especially for more formal kitchens and bathrooms. Marble makes a statement.
However, the practical benefits of quartz should not be understated either. For busy households or low-maintenance personalities, quartz provides the look of stone with added durability.
There is no definitive answer on whether marble is “worth” the cost compared to quartz. You need to carefully weigh your personal priorities. If your heart is set on marble, then the investment will be worthwhile. But going with quartz makes sense if peace of mind and convenience are most important to you.
Consult with experienced countertop installers in your area to discuss your options and pricing further. Many offer samples to view. This will help you decide if marble fits your budget and lifestyle or if quartz makes more financial sense for your situation. Both offer beauty and quality – it comes down to finding the one that aligns with your goals for your kitchen or bath design.
Frequently Asked Questions About Marble vs. Quartz Countertops
Is marble cheaper than quartz?
In most cases, marble is more expensive than quartz for countertops when you account for material and installation costs. Due to being a natural stone, marble costs more and requires extra labor. Expect marble prices starting around $80/sq.ft compared to $50/sq.ft for basic quartz.
Is marble high maintenance?
Yes, marble requires more regular sealing and careful cleaning compared to quartz. Marble is prone to etching, stains, and dulling if not properly cared for. Quartz is nearly maintenance free aside from occasional cleaning.
What’s better quartz or marble?
There is no definitive “better” option – each material has tradeoffs. Marble offers superior natural beauty but requires maintenance. Quartz is extremely durable and consistent in pattern/color but lacks the elegance of real marble. It depends on your priorities.
Does marble stain easily?
Yes, marble will stain if exposed to spills from acidic substances like wine, coffee, juice, etc. Sealing is essential for marble counters, but stains may still occur, especially from prolonged exposure. Quartz resists stains much better.
Is marble bad for kitchen countertops?
Marble isn’t inherently bad, but it does have some drawbacks for kitchen use, like staining and cracking from heavy usage. With proper sealing and care, marble can still perform well as kitchen counters, but quartz tends to be more kitchen-friendly for busy home cooks.
In most situations, marble countertops will be more expensive than quartz options for kitchens and bathrooms. Factors like rarity, thickness, and fabrication contribute to marbles higher costs on average. However, both materials have attractive merits to consider beyond just price. Marble provides unparalleled elegance and classic style, while quartz offers worry-free durability and consistency. Analyze your needs, preferences and budget to decide if the cost premium of marble is a smart investment, or if you can get the look you want at a lower price point with quartz. With help from countertop professionals, you can find the perfect surface within your desired budget.