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Proper Maintenance Of Marble And Granite Can Maintain Its Elegance For Years To Come


Overview

Published: 09/08/2012 by Neomi Shrenker

Photos

Natural stone such as marble and granite, once considered the materials of choice for palaces, castles, cathedrals, and public buildings, are now an elegant choice for homeowners as well. The processes to extract these materials from the earth are labor intensive, but new technologies in extraction and processing have made them more affordable. Both are beautiful, but granite is the better choice for many home applications.

The Case For Granite

Uses: Over the past couple decades, homeowners fell in love with granite countertops, and this material has reigned as the standard for upscale kitchens. Even now, challenged by engineered quartz and other materials, it is still popular. Available in more than 2,500 color variations, granite is most often used for kitchen and bathroom countertops; but it is also good flooring material for foyers, kitchens, bathrooms, and libraries - as long as you respect its limitations.

Durability: With hardness and durability on par with diamonds, granite is resistant to scratches and etching. You can cut directly on a granite countertop, although most users put down a cutting board. Because it is porous, it is susceptible to water spotting - especially some dark colors of granite; however, periodic sealing will minimize damage if you wipe up the spot right away. Though granite is heat resistant to 350º, putting very hot dishes directly on the surface can make its appearance dull. Even thought granite is strong, dropping a heavy pot on it can cause it to crack.

Cost: The price varies according to the color, thickness, amount of fabrication and cutting needed, and the way edges and corners are shaped. Though it costs extra, it is worth the extra cost to have edges and corners rounded to lessen the potential for chipping. Prices start at $60 per square foot installed. When you buy granite in tile form, for either floors or countertops, it starts at $4 per square foot. If you have a solid subfloor, installing granite is a manageable DIY project.

The Case For Marble

Uses: Marble is another classic material, and when used in the right circumstance it can maintain its beauty and durability for a long time. Available with beautiful variations reflecting its country of origin, marble is softer than granite, as well as more porous. It works well on mantels, windowsills, walls, and floors, as long as dirt and water are removed in a timely manner. As with granite, certain colors of marble react adversely to water, especially if not properly sealed.

Durability: Marble scratches easily, has poor heat resistance, and traps bacteria. These properties make marble a less desirable choice for kitchen countertops and floors. The finished installations are breathtaking, but if you have a busy family where stains and spills are a given, you might want to consider granite, quartz, or other materials requiring less maintenance. A beautiful alternative is cultured marble, which is stronger and less porous.

Cost: The cost of marble is comparable to granite. Cultured marble and marble tiles, like modular granite and granite tiles, are more affordable and are manageable projects for experienced DIYers.

Marble and granite can add a luxurious and elegant feel to your home. If you make your selection with awareness of the care needed, you can maintain their beauty and durability for years to come.