Porcelain vs. Marble Countertops: Which Surface Is Right for You?
Updating your kitchen is not only a great way to improve the function and appearance of your home, but it has the potential to show a great return on investment. In fact, Remodeling magazine’s Cost vs. Value Report from 2020 estimates that the national average for even a minor kitchen remodel has a return-on-investment of 77.6%.
One of the major decisions you’ll need to consider when undergoing a kitchen renovation or addition is choosing the type of countertop surface that fits in with your lifestyle and design preferences. Many homeowners looking to create high-end, modern interiors turn to natural stone as the gold standard in countertops. However, thanks to advances in projection technology, there are many new engineered surfaces to consider that closely mimic the look of natural stone while boasting additional perks.
If you like the look of natural stone, you may want to compare and contrast marble and porcelain. Porcelain is an engineered stone that’s making a huge splash in interior design. It’s a man-made surface that closely resembles the look of natural stone, even marble. However, it is highly durable and even resistant to heat, etching and UV-rays.
Which one is right for your home? Here are a few things you should know about Porcelain vs. Marble Countertops.
Gorgeous Marble Countertops
Marble is a timeless stone filled with delicate texture and beauty and has been a symbol for luxury for centuries. But, is it the right countertop choice for your home?
The Aesthetic of Marble Countertops
Even among natural stone varieties, marble has long been considered particularly beautiful and desirable. With varieties ranging from pure, white Thassos marble, to the dramatic gray striations on a bright, white background particular to Calacatta marble, to the soothing beige and brown waves of Fantasy-Brown marble, it’s not hard to see why this natural stone has captivated generations of builders, tradesmen, and interior designers.
Take, for example, this stunning New Jersey kitchen with a view featuring white Statuario marble countertops. Just like this contemporary kitchen, marble can easily become the focal point of any room.
Marble has a multitude of edge profile options. From Ogee, mitered, half and full bullnose to beveled, marble countertops are bound to have a style that matches your own.
Marble Countertops and Durability
Although it is one of the softer natural stone options on the market, with a Moh’s hardness rating between 3 and 5 (while granite is upwards of 6), it is still incredibly durable when properly sealed and cared for. Still, keeping bright marble in pristine condition isn’t always easy with a busy kitchen or with small children in the home, as it can be susceptible to staining, cracks, and other damage under rough treatment.
All in all, marble makes for a beautiful and timeless addition to any home. If you maintain it properly, it’s sure to be just as desirable in ten or twenty years as it is the day you install it.
The Cost of Marble Countertops
In terms of cost, marble has a similar average price as other natural stone options and is typically $40-$100 per square foot, depending on the stone type. However, keep in mind that maintenance costs can run moderate to high, as marble stone may need more frequent sealing.
Versatile Porcelain Countertops
Knowing that marble is a popular countertop material for kitchens, bathrooms, and more, you might wonder how modern porcelain countertops can compete.
Porcelain Countertops and Durability
For starters, porcelain countertops are incredibly strong and durable. This surface ranks anywhere from a 7-8 on the Mohs rating, depending on its exact composition. This means it is as hard, if not harder, than granite. Made from kaolinite clay that has been baked at extremely high temperatures, the finished product is compact and resistant to scratches, stains, abrasions, hot and cold temperatures, UV fading, and more. This non-porous surface is also considered food-safe because it doesn’t harbor bacteria, mold, and so on.
When you choose porcelain, you will enjoy a surface that’s up to 30% harder than granite. This makes it a great choice for busy households with high-trafficked areas. It’s also a recyclable material, so if you’re concerned about your carbon footprint, porcelain could serve as a viable alternative to natural stone.
The Aesthetic of Porcelain Countertops
So far, so good, but what does it look like? Does it offer the same classic beauty as marble? As it turns out, porcelain not only comes in a variety of colors and finishes, but it can be made to look like other materials, including natural stone.
This contemporary kitchen sports the look of timeless marble, with a twist. The porcelain countertops create the same natural beauty of marble, but with a high-gloss, modern finish. This is just one example of how you can achieve the look of marble with engineered porcelain.
You could say that porcelain doesn’t have the same visual depth as natural stone because the patterns are only surface deep, but the average person likely won’t notice the distinction unless the surface is somehow marred. On the upside, porcelain countertops can be made in large or odd sizes without any seams, unlike some natural stone options.
In terms of edge profile options, porcelain is a bit more limited than marble. Porcelain slab countertops are much thinner than natural stone surfaces. To present the illusion of a thicker countertop, a mitered edge is used in porcelain applications.
The Cost of Porcelain Countertops
Finally, the pricing is in the same range as many other natural stone options. Typically, porcelain countertops will range from $60-$100 per square foot
Which Countertop Surface is Right for You?
Choosing the right countertop materials for your home upgrade or addition is no easy task. With so many options to explore, you can naturally become overwhelmed. However, when it comes to picking porcelain vs. marble countertops, you simply have to consider your priorities.
We would love to help you pick the perfect countertop material for your next kitchen upgrade or addition. To request a complimentary consultation with one of our design experts, click here.