If you've been trying to decide on what stone to use for a new kitchen countertop, you've likely noticed that marble and quartzite look very similar. They share the same white or gray color along with the inclusion of mineral veins. They're also both natural stones that are quarried from the ground rather than an engineered stone countertop like quartz.
However, that's where their similarities end—when used for a kitchen countertop, they have some important differences that you should be aware of. If you're trying to decide whether marble or quartzite is the best choice for your kitchen countertop, read on to learn about the differences between them.
Marble Is Prone to Etching
The biggest downside of marble countertops is that acidic liquids can etch them. Marble is a metamorphic rock that's formed when limestone deep under the earth is crushed by the immense weight of stone above it, raising its temperature and exposing it to extreme pressure. Limestone contains calcite, which is why marble is susceptible to etching.
In a similar way to how vinegar can remove built-up limescale on your plumbing fixtures, acidic liquid will eat away at the calcite in a marble countertop. If you accidentally spill an acidic liquid like vinegar, tomato sauce or lemon juice on your marble countertop, you'll etch the surface.
Quartzite, on the other hand, is formed from sandstone instead of limestone. Sandstone doesn't contain calcite, so it's immune to etching. It's still a good idea to clean up spills immediately to prevent them from staining the surface of the countertop, but acidic liquids won't eat into the surface.
Quartzite Has Superior Hardness
Another downside of marble is that it's a soft stone compared to other countertop options like quartzite. Metal cooking utensils can scratch it easily, creating small gouges in the surface. When you own a marble countertop, you need to be very careful to keep all sharp utensils away from the countertop in order to avoid harming the surface. This is much less of a problem with a quartzite countertop, since quartzite is a harder stone than marble.
Marble Is Typically Less Expensive
One advantage of marble countertops is that they tend to be less expensive than quartzite countertops. Quartzite is rare, and it's also more difficult to quarry than marble due to the fact that quartzite is much harder. As a result, quartzite countertops are some of the most expensive stone countertops on the market.
However, marble's softness and susceptibility to etching mean that quartzite is typically the best choice for a kitchen countertop, even considering the increased price. It requires less care and attention than marble, and it's less likely to be harmed accidentally. Marble remains an excellent option for bathroom countertops, but the durability of quartzite makes it the preferable option for the kitchen.
If you've been considering marble for your kitchen countertop, consider choosing quartzite instead. You'll have to pay more for your countertop, but there's much less risk that your countertop will be accidentally damaged while you're cooking. To begin, find a quartzite countertop dealer in your area and see what they have to offer—you'll find that quartzite can give you the marble look that you desire while not sharing its disadvantages.