If you’re renovating your home, you already know that choosing materials requires a careful balance of aesthetics, function and price. And when it comes to key items like countertops, there’s not much room to compromise on any of the above. Your kitchen and bathroom countertops occupy a large area (which means they are visually significant) and they are frequently used (which means they have to withstand some wear and tear). Let’s break down marble, quartz and granite in terms of durability, beauty and budget, to see how they rank.
MARBLE is easily the most expensive of the three options, but many argue that its beauty is well worth the hefty price tag. Marble is a metamorphic rock that’s formed under pressure. Even the best imitations can’t hold a candle to the original. It’s found around the world and depending on the type and amount of impurities contained, it can be tinted in colour or even black. It’s unique, can in the right home, can significantly increase its property value. While marble comes in a range of price points, the beautiful bright-white stuff that people swoon over is definitely on the high end of the spectrum. Another “con” is that this organic material requires regular maintenance to keep it looking great. Marble can also etch and stain, which can be a concern.
QUARTZ is a popular option for those looking for something that’s more moderately priced while offering great durability and style. Some people critique quartz as looking “fake,” and that’s because technically it is. Contrary to popular belief, quartz countertops are man-made via a process that involves grinding up quartz stone and mixing the chips or dust with resin to form the slab. This process is what makes this material superior in terms of durability – no maintenance and impervious to spills and stains. The manufacturing process also means quarts countertops are colour-consistent. On the “con” side, the edges of a quartz countertop can chip, and this material can fade or discolour with prolonged exposure to sunlight.
GRANITE Last but certainly not least, this material is inexpensive and super-durable, and for these very reasons it became all the rage a couple of decades ago. Unfortunately, the heavily speckled granite countertops that were installed in virtually every new or renovated home 20 years ago are really showing its age. On the “pro” side, granite also comes in subtler colours and patterns that can echo modern trends, like white(ish). With that being said, all granite has flecks and specks. Also, unlike its quartz counterparts, granite is not uniform in colour, so one slab can vary from the next.
Even at the best of times, choosing materials for your home can be a head-spinning experience and sometimes, balancing function, beauty and budget is a job that’s best left to a professional. This is especially the case when it comes to big-ticket items, like countertops. Communicate your needs and wants, consider your lifestyle, and invest in a product that will stand the test of time.
Toronto-based stager Red Barrinuevo is the property stylist on HGTV Canada’s Hot Market Series and the Principal Designer at Redesign4more. He is an award-winning interior stylist who was also named one of the most influential people in real estate staging this year by RESA Global. His firm is known for enhancing and creating stylish yet functional spaces through its creative home staging, interior decorating, and design services. www.redesign4more.com