Your kitchen is one of the most important parts of your house. Beyond cooking and eating, it is the comfort zone for some people and as such, choosing the perfect countertop replacement for your kitchen should be done with careful consideration.

The most popular options for countertops are granite, marble and quartz, and to the inexperienced eye, they all look the same. While it may seem like there is a special skill for identifying which is which, there are some tell-tale signs that can help you tell the difference between these highly valuable materials for your kitchen countertop.

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1. Stone type

Yes, they are all stones. But there is a difference in their types and modes of creation. While they all occur naturally, granite and marble are only slightly refined to be used as countertops, quartz, on the other hand, is combined with resins and polymers before it can be used. Also, due to their completely natural form, granite and marble tend to have a non-uniformed pattern while quartz usually has a uniformed colour and pattern consistency.

2. Sealant Application

The next difference between these rocks comes in the form of the sealant for the final product, which is the countertop. Marble, unlike granite, requires a lot of sealing to avoid scratching and etching while using. Granite also requires sealing but only as a necessity, not an ultimate essential while quartz doesn’t require a lot of sealing. Also, you need to reapply sealant for marble countertops more often than for granite or quartz.

3. Heat Conduction

When it comes to their conduction of heat, these three also differ. Granite and quartz are very much heat resistant, granite so much so that you can take a pot off the stove and place directly on the countertop. Marble, however, is not as resistant to either granite or quartz in comparison and may etch if a mat is not placed between the pot and its surface.

4. Longevity of Use

Finally, the quality of use becomes the last line to draw across these stones. Marble, because of its porosity and likelihood to stain is usually ranked lowest when it comes to longevity while quartz is ranked highest. Another factor is the fact that quartz is nearly indestructible and easier to keep bacteria free, and at such can be used for longer periods.

5. Cost of Installation

As with most things, money also becomes a determinant of the difference between these countertops. While the prices range closely to each other, quartz is considered more expensive to install with very little difference to marble. Most often, it is cheaper to go with granite. On the other hand, because of the minimal maintanence on quartz, it could potentially be the cheaper option in the long run.

Now that you know the differences, you can make an informed decision about your kitchen countertop choice!