Is My Countertop Marble or Quartz?

Deciding between marble and quartz countertops can be a difficult choice. Both natural stone and engineered stone materials have their own sets of pros and cons. Understanding the key differences between marble and quartz can help you determine which is the best fit for your home and lifestyle.


When selecting countertop materials for kitchens and bathrooms, homeowners have an increasing number of options to consider. Marble and quartz have emerged as two of the most popular choices in recent years. With their stunning aesthetics and performance capabilities, it’s easy to see why.

Marble is a metamorphic rock that’s primarily composed of recrystallized carbonate minerals, most commonly calcite or dolomite. It’s a natural stone that has been used for sculptures and building materials for centuries. Quartz countertops are made from engineered stone, comprised of roughly 90% ground quartz minerals combined with polymer resins and pigments.

Both offer the look of high-end luxury counters, but have distinct differences when it comes to appearance, durability, maintenance, and cost. Understanding how marble and quartz compare is key to choosing the right material for your space and lifestyle.

Marble Countertop Characteristics


  • Marble has a timeless, elegant look with unique natural veining patterns. No two slabs are exactly the same.
  • It comes in a variety of colors like white, gray, black, yellow, pink, red, and green. The most popular kitchen marble colors are white and gray.
  • Marble has a glossy finish that creates depth and surface shine. Honing marble gives it a matte look.


  • Marble is softer and more porous than granite and quartz.
  • It can scratch, stain, and etch more easily, especially darker pigments. Acidic foods and cleaners can damage the surface.
  • Marble holds up better for low-traffic bathrooms than heavy-use kitchen counters.


  • Marble requires more routine maintenance than quartz or granite.
  • Sealant is applied during fabrication. Re-sealing yearly helps protect from stains.
  • Gentle cleaners are required. Avoid abrasive pads and harsh chemicals.


  • Natural marble is moderately priced, often ranging from $40-$100 per square foot installed.
  • Rarer marble types can cost up to $200 per square foot.

Quartz Countertop Characteristics


  • Engineered quartz has consistent speckled patterns or veining designed to mimic natural stone.
  • Popular colors are whites, grays, and dark neutrals. Vibrant solid colors are also available.
  • Quartz has a matte to glossy finish, depending on the brand and specific material.


  • Quartz is very hard and resistant to scratches, stains, and burns.
  • It’s ideal for busy kitchens and does not have to be sealed.
  • Quartz is less vulnerable to acids, impact, and etching than marble.


  • Simple cleaning with soap and water is all that is required for routine care.
  • No sealing or special cleaners needed.


  • Quartz countertops range from $80-150 installed, on average.
  • Higher-end designer brands can be $200+ per square foot installed.

Key Differences Between Marble and Quartz

| Comparison | Marble | Quartz |
| Composition | Natural metamorphic stone |Engineered stone/quartz composite |
| Appearance | Unique veining patterns | Consistent speckled veining |
| Colors | Varied natural tones | Wider range of consistent colors |
| Durability | Softer, can scratch/stain | Extremely hard and durable |
| Maintenance | Requires frequent sealing | No sealing needed |
| Heat Tolerance | Sensitive, use trivets | Resists heat damage |
| Cost | $40-$200 per sq. ft. installed | $80-$200 per sq. ft. installed |

Marble Countertops: Pros and Cons

Pros of Marble Countertops

  • Beautiful natural material with depth, elegance and prestige.
  • Transitional look complements both modern and traditional styles.
  • Softer surface better resists impact cracks and chips.
  • Cool surface temperature is ideal for baking tasks.
  • Can be refinished and re-polished over time.

Cons of Marble Countertops

  • Requires yearly sealing to prevent stains.
  • Easily scratched, stained, and etched by acids.
  • Needs gentle cleaners and extra care.
  • Not as durable for heavy usage kitchens.
  • Darker marble shows more scratches and wear.
  • Natural resource that requires quarrying.

Quartz Countertops: Pros and Cons

Pros of Quartz Countertops

  • Extremely hard, durable surface resists scratches and stains.
  • Virtually maintenance free. No sealing needed.
  • Easy cleaning with just soap and water.
  • Resists chips, cracks and heat damage.
  • Wide range of consistent colors and patterns.
  • Non-porous.Won’t harbor bacteria growth.

Cons of Quartz Countertops

  • Man-made material lacks natural stone allure for some.
  • Too uniform of a pattern for those wanting unique markings.
  • Doesn’t have the prestige or value of natural stone.
  • Joints more visible between slabs.
  • Limited high-end designer color options.
  • Needs occasional re-polishing and buffing over time.

FAQs About Marble and Quartz Countertops

Is marble outdated?

No, marble remains a timeless and elegant choice that has been used for thousands of years. Both white and gray marble continue to be among the most popular high-end countertop materials.

Does marble stain easily?

Yes, marble is prone to stains from oils, acids, and liquids since it is porous. Prompt cleanup of spills and sealing marble annually helps protect it.

Is marble durable for kitchen countertops?

Marble can hold up well in kitchens if proper care is taken, such as using trivets and avoiding abrasive cleaners. Quartz or granite are better choices for heavy use kitchens.

What’s better marble or quartz?

Marble and quartz each have their own sets of pros and cons. Marble offers an unparalleled natural beauty while quartz is virtually maintenance-free. For busy kitchens, quartz is often the more durable and stain-resistant option.

Does quartz need to be sealed?

No, quartz counters do not require any sealing, unlike natural stone. The resins make quartz non-porous so sealing agents cannot penetrate the surface.

Is quartz worth the extra cost?

Quartz costs more than materials like granite or laminate but less than premium marbles. For those wanting maximum durability and minimal maintenance, quartz is often worth the moderate price increase over more affordable options.

Can you damage quartz?

Quartz is very hard and resistant to damage but it’s not indestructible. Dropping a heavy object on a quartz corner or edge can potentially cause chips. Heat can damage the solid surface over time as well.


Marble and quartz offer high-end elegance and style for kitchen and bathroom surfaces. Both natural and engineered stone materials have unique benefits in terms of appearance, durability, maintenance, and cost. Marble delivers an unparalleled natural beauty that can work in traditional to contemporary spaces. For those seeking a virtually carefree counter that can withstand heavy use, quartz is an excellent option. Consider how these two popular materials align with your own design tastes, lifestyle, and budget to make the ideal choice for your next countertop project. With the proper selection and care, marble and quartz surfaces can withstand the test of time andelevate your space for many years to come!