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Apr 15, 2011 03:19 PM

Countertop Question

I know that this concern has been discussed here many times but now it is MY concern: granite vs marble. I love the look of marble but having once had two unsealed white marble bathrooms I swore, never again. I am wondering now whether with a good sealant marble countertops would survive a) blueberries b) tomatoey spaghetti sauce and c) the yellow stuff in the middle of lilies. As for granite, one is reasonably careful but inevitably something will get dragged across a countertop, probably either Cuisinart or toaster. Will it not scratch? After 20 years of Corian I am tempted to go with stone for its beauty but I want practicality too. Comments invited.

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  1. We remodeled a couple years ago and went with granite. So far so good and no scratching or other mishaps in spite of things being drug across it, hot pans being placed directly on it and a numer of other potentially harmful things. We got a slab with a lot of movement in it where scratches or other blemishes would tend to not be as visible.

    Do you have any interest in quartz or CesarStone countertops? We almost went with CesarStone except the best color for our project was apple green which we thought might have been a problem to live with long term and might not be practical for resale.

    1. Your answer may be found in the nearest cemetery. The marble stones are the ones worn and flaked, while granite of the same age weathers hardly at all. Granite is after all igneous, whereas marble is basically tempered limestone, and so is not only softer but subject to attack by anything acidic.

      I'm arguing strictly from a geological viewpoint, though, not from experience, since I don't like hard, rigid surfaces, but would like to have steel or bamboo instead of the tile I have now. Too easy to break stuff on, if you're as clumsy as I am sometimes.

      1. Marble cannot be sealed. It’s to pours and will just soak up the sealant. Granite can be sealed but there’s a lot of controversy if it really does any good in protecting the counter. Most granite is a few million years in the making and is very dense. Once polished it becomes durable and can be restored by re-polishing it. So don’t worry about surface scratches. I’m in the specialty countertop industry and sell Wood, Glass and Metal countertops to kitchen and bath dealers. The hot trend right now is to personalize your countertop system with several surfaces. Built in cutting boards, baking stations with marble tops, things like that. So, mix it up and have fun

        1. I think you are wise to beware of marble for something that gets as much use as a kitchen counter top. Enjoying a kitchen requires enough clean-up work as it is!

          Before going with granite, please take your Geiger counter to make sure it isn't emitting high levels of radioactivity. Not a joke.
          I wouldn't install any granite I didn't check first. You don't have to avoid granite, just make sure you don't get a bad slab.

          There is also something lovely about mixing surfaces in a kitchen - and just putting the marble in key places, like where you knead doughs, for example. Or as a back splash or decorative accent.

          It is hard to match the practicality of Corian-type surfaces. Ours looks as good today as when it was installed over 10 years ago - a periodic scuffing are all it takes....sometimes I use a touch of bleach instead of scrubbing, but I'm not sure that the bleaching is ok with all colors of corian, though! I just happen to love classic white, very conveniently it seems.

          Only one thing gives me pause before recommending Corian and its sisters for a new installation: I have recently discovered that Corian doesn't actually recycle well.

          Thank goodness I like my timeless, shaker-style cabinets. When I have the urge to redecorate, I'll confine myself to paint and maybe back-splash work.

          8 Replies
          1. re: cookware junkie

            I love our Corian as well. (Our cabinets are shaker style as well - love them.) No one thinks our countertop is Corian until they realize that the sink is integrated. It looks like stone.

            Everyone makes such a big deal about granite, but because so many people have it now, it no longer seems like such a luxury item :)

            1. re: SusanB

              Isn't that the truth? It is almost ho-hum, lol. And you're right, some corian/quartz surfaces do look so much like stone that it is hard to tell the difference without a closer look. It takes a discerning buyer to select the ones that look the most stone-like, but it is certainly possible.

            2. re: cookware junkie

              I’m aware of that report. It was proven by MIA that Constantino’s and Cambria (both Quarts Manufactures) hired the scientice that produced the report. It was a huge scandal in my industry five years ago. It was also proven that there’s more radiation in the soil under your house than in your granite countertops. Is there some granite that’s has a high radiation in it? Yes, and some has gotten to market. Rare, very rare. I like natural earthen materials myself.

              1. re: Woodfireguy

                Fascinating. Like the soy people did that faux research using hydrogenated coconut oil to scare us away from healthy fats, when soy oil is incredibly bad for your heart, and soy - unless it is properly fermented - is bad for digestion, and endocrine balance, etc.

                Follow the money.

              2. re: cookware junkie

                Years ago in a different apartment we put in Corian using a speckledy-sandy gray one and it didn't show a thing. Then 9 years agp we bought our present place which already had everything done in plain white Corian which shows scratches and gouges and needs to be professionally re-surfaced every three or four years.

                1. re: Querencia

                  What on earth are you doing on your counters??????????

                  Corian isn't a substitute for a cutting board or trivet.

                  1. re: cookware junkie

                    I have never used my Corian as a cutting board---I use cutting boards. I have never set a hot pan on my Corian---I use the ceramic stove top for that. I keep only a toaster and a coffee maker and a small radio sitting directly on the countertop. Under my Cuisinart I have a piece of 1 1/2-inch thick marble with little rubber feet glued on the bottom. I had the Corian professionally refinished four years ago. I am obsessional about taking care of my things. Nevertheless, the surface of this pure-white Corian shows a lot of scratches from daily use. And I find your tone kind of snotty.

              3. I have had white marble in the bathroom, honed limestone in the kitchen and now a grey/beige/white speckled polished granite in the kitchen. My favorite for looks was the limestone though I now really like the granite. For good or bad, it has never stained and it is difficult to even tell when this stuff is dirty and sometimes I don't know it unless I run my hand over it. I never had the limestone stain from any of the things you mentioned--as well as from a red wine bottle that sat out all night with red wine pooled around the base. What did mar it was any kind of strong acid like vinegar and citrus juice and other things we didn't even think of as acidic. Those left permanent whitish marks. For the perfect stone countertop, I think I'd go with the speckled that we have but honed instead of polished because I like that look. A number of people have told me that the nightmare stone is polished black granite, which shows everything. By the way, we've had our granite for two years and haven't resealed it at all.

                2 Replies
                1. re: escondido123

                  I have CeasarStone in my kitchen and bath. It is idiot proof. I does not provide the "flow" of the high end granite, but I think it is very attractive.

                  By the way, Escondido123, do you live in Escondido, CA? I was born there!

                  1. re: Jane917

                    Yes I do, lived here for 12 years in an old house downtown. Great place!