Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Selecting Kitchen Counters: Granite or Marble

This afternoon, while talking about marble vs granite with my wise, 85-year old mother,
she said, "You are almost 60 years old. Get what you want."

Do I have a clue?
My kitchen has a similar U-shaped layout. I like the tone-on-tone, lighter look.

Above, Calacata white marble was chosen for the counters.

When I visit the stone yard, I'll take two sample cabinets--one will be BM's "Simply White" and the other will be SW's "Creamy." I'm trying to go in with a plan this time around and focus on lighter counter tops.
I've researched Madre Perla and Bianco Macaubus. Here's a photo of the latter:

This kitchen is gorgeous, but the bold lines won't work in my much-smaller space. The same issue might happen with White Diamond granite, also referred to as Bianco Antico.

Love the view and the kitchen.

"What do you want?" my mother asked.

"Marble," I whispered.

She didn't ask why I was whispering. She knew.
Here, we can see a lovely 2m carrera white marble counter with mitered edges.
Traditional Kitchen by Birmingham Design-build Caden Design Group

But is it the stuff of dreams? What happens when you've pulled a hot baking pan out of the oven, and the heat seeps through your mitts?

I've had granite counters and they're bulletproof. Every morning my husband opens a dozen (or more) Splenda packets and leaves them on a coffee-splattered counter, adding puddles of cream and CoffeeMate. His big hands have trouble opening the lid on a tiny coffee grinder, and grounds are spilled. But I'd much rather have a man who makes coffee...and give him bulletproof counters.
That is all.

According to my research, even lighter granite can have issues. We've all heard horror stories
about marble. To make matters confusing, stones are often mislabeled; you may think you are
buying X, but you're getting Z.  "The Lowdown on Super White" is fascinating over at Gardenweb's Kitchen Forum.

Again, my mother offered advice: "Don't you use chopping blocks and trivets?"

"Yes, ma'am."

"Well, then. Do you want dark counters that don't show dirt? Or do you want to see the dirt--and clean it?"

"I want to see it."

"Go for it, Gollum!" she said.

But does Gollum want Carrara or Calacatta? And what's the difference?


Calacatta counter with an edge:

Carrara counters:

Does it come down to "perfection vs patina?"

Another Houzz article: Using White Marble: Hot Debate Over a Classic Beauty.

Our present bathroom has quartz counters, and while this man-made product is more expensive than granite, it will be around long after I'm gone. The "Corian-esque" stuff is truly bulletproof--and toothpaste proof. Caesarstone has just launched a series of marble-like products. But I'm still drawn to granite and marble.

It all comes down to a few things.
The stones in the stone yard.
The number of slabs.
The price.

And fairy dust.

From a cook's perspective, would you prefer something that's scratch-and-stain  proof, a mix,
or the aesthetics of natural stone?




  1. My counter tops are in desperate need of being changed, won't happen anytime soon too many medical bills to pay. I would have to have a huge collection plate for both cabinets, counter tops, to say nothing of the medical bills. :-) My dream would be marble all the way! White cabinets, always bright and airy... marble darling, marble! fondly ~lynne~

  2. Oh I wish I was getting new ones...and we must have the same husband, lol! I would want Carrara marble most definitely:-) Can't wait to see it!

  3. Our counters are granite - Imperial Red. It's been a great choice for us, but of late I've been wishing for white marble too. A friend has it in her home and absolutely love the look. We can all dream! ;-)
    Good luck with your selections. ~ Sarah

  4. We put in quartz countertops 2 years ago & I love them! They never have to be sealed & I haven't had a minutes trouble with them. (It is a darker top than what you want.) I do use a cutting board where I work & always use oven pads, never sitting anything directly on the countertop. But I think it would take the heat! I know the look you want. To me, granite has too much movement. Sounds like you need to listen to your sweet Mama!

  5. Such a dilemma! They're all beautiful, but I'm torn between the photos of the carrera and the caesarstone. BUT, I have a messy coffee making hubby at my house too & would never dare to have a white natural stone... Good luck - I'll be watching to see which way you go!

  6. I like the Caesarstone for the durability of it compared to the marble.. I really like DuPonts Zodiac quartz countertop in Course Carrara. That's a bright white with slight grey veining. Very pretty and bulletproof. ; )

  7. I, also had caesarstone countertops in our previous home and from a cook's perspective I love it more than any other solid surface I have encountered. I have granite now and some of the edges have chipped a little and it dulls after a short time, it can be cleaned and polished but who wants to spend time cleaning, sealing and polishing. Not me!!
    My friend has marble and loves it for working all sorts of pastry dough but you can see where every cup of coffee or tea has been placed and that would drive me insane. I believe if you use your kitchen it should be functional and not just pretty.
    marble would not work for me because it does stain easily.

    Best wishes as you decide which path to take. It will be gorgeous.

  8. Oh my, I am getting excited for you. This is all so lovely. I don't know your Mother, but I like her.

  9. My suggestion is Caesarstone or Silestone in a honed finish.

  10. My countertops are granite and I love them - but honestly if I were going for a light and bright white look that last one - the white Caesarstone is to die for awesome looking - and takes the potential disappointment of getting weird lines or problems.

    It's bleachable awesomeness. That's my vote, though I am not entirely sure you made that an option, sorry about that.

  11. I have marble in my master bathroom. It is so delicate I can't see how it would last in a kitchen. My neighbor has a mostly white granite with grey in it and it is gorgeous. Good luck making a decision.

  12. Marble! My island is a 150 year old piece of marble that was used as a pastry counter for the first 100 years in a state facility. I abuse it, I'm not kind to it and my husband does the same as yours -- only it's any trash -- (perhaps they don't know what those round things on the floor are for?) When we got new counters about 7 years ago I replaced ceramic tile with marble but because I was on a budget I used marble tile -- WHITE carerra marble tile. I'm not kind to it -- I put hot things on it (as I do the island) -- I do have my cutting board built in so I NEVER cut on it and although when looking for new countertops, some of the merchants were very anti marble, I adore it!!!! And I've always liked the look of marble. My second choice would be soapstone and my third choice would be all wood (Julia Child had wood!)

  13. I see your point on both sides. We had quartz in the Florida condo kitchen, in a very light creamy "almost-no-pattern-at-all" (I don't like busy patterns) that I wanted to resemble sand at the beach. You know all of quartz's good points.

    In my retirement years from a cook's perspective, I want ease and also good looks in the kitchen. The problem is which one is the most important to you. Me? Easy in the prettiest color and pattern I can find.

    Good luck at the stone yard. Can't wait to see what you choose. Know it will be gorgeous 'cause you have good taste and a sweet mother.

  14. All I know is that marble tends to stain and can break easier than granite, BUT I thnk it's th most attractive. I agree with your Mom, get what you want. I've always been curious about soapstone. I like the idea of a mix of natural and ceasarstone. Best of both worlds!

  15. I've rethought my recent comment and think you should get what you want, just like your mother said. My husband said the same thing when I told him about your choices.

  16. I have granite and love the fact that nothing damages it. If I were to choose a white counter surface, it would need to be equally stain and scratch-resistant as what I have now. Just my two cents.

  17. Came to you blog via Charlotte and because I've been thinking about marble countertops. Someone told me "no, get granite" but I already have marble. It's from a Vermont quarry that was closed 60 years ago and the 3 slabs of marble came out of the Louisa County Courthouse in VA. I am 60 and am going with marble.
    So there!
    Life is short and growing shorter with every breath; as long as I can afford it and still pay bills/contribute to charity, I'm going with what I want and I want marble.

  18. What lovely choices! The marble is amazing... I have granite and well... its pretty and functional. And my island if butcher block. (I don't cut on the butcher block, I use a cutting board) But I love the combination! I think that's what I am trying to say is not to limit yourself. Get what you want... or get both... (Like I did)
    Its going to be amazing!
    Rainey @ The Project Table

  19. oy, after looking at this i am beginning to get the urge to demo my kitchen... not what i had even dreamed of but dang change is a good thing! i have white tile now, as in the last 25 years, its bullet proof, not one thing can ruin it, now you have me worried what my future may bring!

  20. For me, as a 62 yoa cooking woman, I'm all about ease of, prepping, taking things out of the oven and setting them on a countertop... But then, maybe I'm just lazy ;)

  21. Go with the Calacatta. I used it on my counters and backsplashes 7 years ago. It's beautiful and warmer than Carrara. Yes it will etch from acid - my husband pours lemonade all summer and splashes it on it. But it just becomes part of the patina. Nobody worries about this in Italy - and they've been using it there for centuries...

  22. I'm totally a granite girl, I've had it in both my kitchens {one for 9 years and one for 18} and it still looks exactly the way it did from day one. Easy to clean, you can't hurt in with anything. My son owns a tile and granite business and says that there is nothing prettier than white marble on day 1 but after several years it starts looking really bad. Just something to think about~

  23. psst...psst...psst
    i'm almost 60 as well and wonder where the time goes. Sometimes I still feel like i'm in high school trying to follow a lot of rules...grins.
    The kitchens are beautiful.
    May you get what you want and make lots of purdee desserts!
    I'll bring the gourmet coffee,

  24. If you love it, get it! You won't be sorry.

  25. Here's a good post about marble countertops:
    Maybe it will help you decide! Moms always say, "Get what you want." when they know you have no idea what you want.

  26. Same dilemma here for our kitchen reno. I don't know if our family with eleven grandchildren can take the marble, but like your very wise mother advices, we are almost 60, why can't we have what we want? I love to bake and those marble countertops would be put to good use. However, my husband's morning tea spilt on them would either have to end or I would just have to relax and enjoy all the stains. On the other hand, I'm ready to take a look at the quartz marble look alike.

    Good luck with getting exactly what you want! We all deserve it!

  27. This is beautiful! I've been looking around for marble countertops in Vancouver just like this. I just didn't really know how I wanted them done. This gave me some great ideas! Thanks for sharing.

  28. We invite you to visit our showroom and fabrication plant. See the area’s largest selection of top-quality tiles and polished stones.
    countertops san diego

  29. Nice article and great knowledge about white marble tile. I love this story and enjoy with your words!

  30. If you want to have Granite Countertops NJ, you have to hire experienced and professional people to get the job done. Not all can handle this and you may have to compromise with your kitchen design if installation is improper.

  31. Interesting. I have been trying to decide between granite and marble countertops for my home in Vancouver. I have been leaning toward marble, but I still can't quite decide.

    1. Granite has been utilized in the past to create ancient cities and historic buildings. it'd be a good plan if you utilize an expert contractor to put in and seal the granite countertops. several home improvement stores and on-line stores sell granite countertops. each of them supply deals that may facilitate cut prices of your granite countertops.

      Cheap Granite Countertops

  32. Thanks for the post. Many people are confused between these two stones.
    But these both stones looks absolutely stunning and beautiful in the kitchen.
    I found many more designs on eskandari. Do have a look

    Cheap Granite & Marble Countertops

  33. Love the way the entire kitchen has been designed and furnished in a very well planned way.

  34. I absolutely love the look of granite countertops nj! I prefer a nice, clean look in my kitchen and granite is perfect. Great article!

    1. Agreed! Granite countertops were my first choice after I purchased my house in NJ.

  35. Thanks for posting this. I am building a new home and making a lot of decisions on the details. I really like the look of both of these countertops.
    Gary Puntman |

  36. Agreed! Granite countertops were my first choice when I bought my house in NJ.

  37. Love your online journal! When we got rock here in NJ we ran with an organization that had a major choice in there yard and did all the manufacture nearby. So it was anything but difficult to get a quote, and the cost was grewt. One thing you didn't say is that valuing is normally per square foot PLUS straight foot of completed edge. So on the off chance that you have a vast island (as we do - hubby calls it a mainland) with a raised part and counter tallness part, it will cost significantly more by virtue of all the completed edges. Additionally, it's essential to choose your genuine chunk, not only the name of the kind of rock you are getting. There may be defects, shading contrasts you were not including on the off chance that you don't physically see th section you are getting. Can hardly wait to see it introduced. I cherish every one of the progressions to your kitchen!
    Lynnwood Quartz Contractors