Tips From The Pros
Marble vs Granite vs Corian vs Quartz: Pros and Cons
Sunday, July 24, 2016
When it comes to natural stone countertops – or countertops that resemble natural stone – the most popular options are marble, granite, Corian and quartz. There are pros and cons to each, of course. However, trends are notably turning away from granite and marble in favor of Corian and quartz.
Corian & Quartz Are Taking the Lead Due to Durability and Decreased Maintenance
Marble and granite have been used as countertop surfaces for thousands of years, so they’re certainly durable to a point. The problem, however, is that modern wear-and-tear is a little different than it was in the past, and homeowners’ desire to maintain a perpetually “just like new” aesthetic is a modern concept as well.
The following is an evaluation of each of these slab-style countertop options – including both their pros and their cons.
Marble is considered a luxury stone for many reasons, the primary three being its lack of abundance, beautiful patterns and its soft composition – which makes it more precious in terms of maintenance and preservation. Marble is a soft stone because it’s porous. This is one reason why it feels so velvety to the touch. The subtle, gentle and feminine patterns found in marble have made it a favorite for bathroom installations as well as and kitchen countertops.
That being said, if you’re a fan of marble, we recommend installing it in low-trafﬁc bathrooms, where you can appreciate its beauty without having to worry as much about etching, staining and cracking…which brings us to the “cons.”
While lovely to look at, marble’s porous, soft nature makes it very prone to etching and staining, as well as cracking and chipping. In order to keep it looking its best, marble must be sealed well annually, with a high- quality sealing product, to cover those pores. Also, in slab form, series of bad chips, a running ﬁssure or a signiﬁcant crack requires replacement of the entire slab, which is an expensive endeavor.
Granite is like marble’s durable, more ﬂamboyant cousin. Also a natural stone that is mined in quarries across the globe, granite is less porous than marble, making it a harder stone. Where marble is typically limited to softer, tones of grey, light-blacks, and browns (some blues and greens are out there), granite patterns run the gamut from subtle to bold. Some are more monochromatic and others are extremely colorful, depending on the mineral deposits found in the region where it’s mined.
The downside to granite (besides the ecological impacts): while it’s harder than marble, granite is porous enough to stain and etch. Also, minute ﬁssures that live within the slab – unable to be identiﬁed from the outside – can continue to grow and cause entire slabs to weaken and crack. Granite can chip, crack and can be damaged due to sudden impact – and that requires a whole slab replacement. Again, routine sealing is the only way to protect it.
Corian is a manufactured product, made by DuPont. It uses a combination of synthetic materials and minerals to mimic the look of natural stone. Because it’s manufactured using a strong resin, Corian is pore- free, and that makes for a surface that doesn’t stain or etch. You have to work intentionally hard to chip or break it. The surface can scratch, but homeowners need only grab a bottle of Bar Keeper’s Friend or Bon Ami and the scrubby-side of a sponge to buff it out. For this reason, Corian is one of the lowest-maintenance countertop products on the market. Another bonus? Corian can be molded into any shape for a seamless kitchen design, and you can even match your sink for a streamlined look. Corian is the most affordable of these four options.
The only negative to this product is that it doesn’t have that same luster or sparkle found in granite. If that’s what you want, quartz is the option for you.
Quartz is another manufactured product. It’s a favorite option for those focusing on sustainability because the slabs are made using a signiﬁcant percentage of pre- and post-consumer recycled products. Also, Cambria– a brand of quartz – does their manufacturing here in the USA, making “buying local” a potential reality. There are quartz slabs that are indistinguishable from natural stone, and there are those made using wild and crazy colors, so the world is your oyster. Like Corian, quartz slabs are extremely hard, non-porous (which also means hygienic) and are virtually impossible to break or crack, even under heavy wear-and-tear conditions.
The only negative? Price. However, in this case – it’s a non-issue. While quartz is certainly more expensive than ceramic tiles and Corian, it’s comparable to granite, marble and other high-end countertop options.
Most clients are turning to Corian and Quartz because there are beautiful options with the notable beneﬁt of reduced maintenance and increased longevity.
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