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Choosing Quartz, Marble, Granite, or Porcelain Countertops

For any homeowner, the kitchen is more than just a place to cook; it’s the heart of the home. And when it comes to crafting the perfect culinary sanctuary, your choice of countertops is pivotal. But with an array of materials to choose from, making that decision can be daunting. From the luxurious sheen of marble to the practical durability of quartz, each surface has its own set of characteristics and advantages.

This comprehensive guide is designed to steer you through the labyrinth of countertop options available so you can make an informed choice that aligns with your home’s needs and your personal style.

Why is Choosing the Right Material so Important?

Selecting the right countertop material is one of the most significant design decisions you’ll make in your home. Not only does it impact the aesthetics of your space, but it also affects functionality, resale value, and overall maintenance needs. Your final choice should balance beauty with practicality to ensure a kitchen that not only looks good but also serves you well for years to come.

Quartz Countertops

Quartz countertops, often referred to as engineered stone, are made from a blend of natural quartz and resins to create a surface that’s both durable and low-maintenance.


  • Uniform appearance with a wide variety of colors and patterns
  • Non-porous, resistant to staining, and hygienic for food preparation
  • A durable material that’s resistant to scratches and chips

Pros and Cons


  • It doesn’t require sealing like some natural stone
  • It’s less likely to harbor bacteria, making it a great choice for families and avid cooks


  • Direct sunlight can cause colors to fade over time
  • It may not be as resistant to heat as granite or concrete countertops

Maintenance Tips

  • Day-to-day cleaning is straightforward, using mild soap and water
  • Avoid abrasive cleaners and harsh chemicals that can dull the surface
  • Use cutting boards to protect against scratches and avoid placing hot items directly on the surface to prevent thermal shock

Marble Countertops

For those seeking a timeless, elegant aesthetic, marble countertops are a classical choice, with their veiny patterns and polished finish.


  • Cool to the touch with an unparalleled, natural beauty
  • Every slab is unique, meaning no two countertops will look the same
  • The ability to withstand heat makes it perfect for bakers

Pros and Cons


  • The classical appeal adds significant value to your home
  • The heat-resistance properties make it an ideal surface for those who love to bake


  • Requires regular sealing to prevent staining
  • Less scratch-resistant than quartz or granite

Maintenance Tips

  • Seal marble every 6 to 12 months to maintain its luster and protect it from stains
  • Use a cutting board and trivets to protect the surface from scratches and heat.
  • Wipe up spills immediately with a soft cloth and mild detergent.

Granite Countertops

Quartz’s natural counterpart, granite, is extracted as large stone blocks and then cut into slabs, each revealing its unique pattern and coloration. Granite countertops are popular among our Pittsburgh customers for a variety of reasons.


  • Resilient to most household acids and alkalis
  • Heat-resistant and capable of withstanding high temperatures
  • Available in a wide range of earthy tones with speckles and veins

Pros and Cons


  • Granite is excellent at resisting chips and scratches
  • It’s a one-of-a-kind surface with no duplicates, offering exclusivity to your kitchen

Regular maintenance with sealing is still advised to protect against stains.
The weight of granite may require additional support in kitchen installations.

Maintenance Tips

  • Apply a sealant to granite every 1-2 years, depending on usage, to maintain its beauty and resist stains.
  • Clean with a soft cloth and mild detergent; avoid acidic and abrasive cleaners.
  • Consider re-polishing the surface occasionally to restore the shine

Porcelain Countertops

Porcelain may be synonymous with fine china, but it’s also gaining a reputation for being an excellent countertop material due to its durability and design versatility.


  • Waterproof and resistant to UV rays, making it an option for outdoor kitchens
  • Available in countless styles, including designs that mimic the look of natural stone
  • Non-porous and resistant to staining

Pros and Cons


  • Porcelain is highly resistant to staining and scratching
  • The material is versatile, offering a near-unlimited array of design options


  • More difficult to install due to its weight and requires professional help
  • It can be more expensive than other materials, particularly for high-end, designer options

Maintenance Tips

  • Wipe the surface with a damp cloth and a mild cleanser for regular maintenance.
  • Skip harsh chemicals; they’re not needed, and they can degrade grout
  • Prevent build-up of grime and mold in grout lines with regular cleaning

Comparison and Decision-making Factors

When comparing these countertop materials, several factors should guide your decision-making process. Consider the level of durability needed for your household, the aesthetic appeal that speaks to your design vision, the cost of both the initial installation and long-term maintenance, and the effort you’re willing to put into keeping your countertops in top shape.


Quartz and granite are the front-runners in durability, capable of withstanding the rigors of daily kitchen activities with ease. Marble, with its relative softness, and porcelain, with its potential for chipping, are better suited to kitchens where the workload is less intense.


The beauty of each material is deeply subjective. Marble offers a classic, opulent look, while granite brings the natural splendor of the earth into your kitchen. Quartz and porcelain provide the versatility of modern design, with a wide array of patterns and colors to choose from.


Quartz and porcelain typically fall on the higher end of the cost spectrum, while granite and marble are closer in terms of price. You’ll need to account for the initial installation cost and any long-term maintenance when budgeting for your new countertops.


If low maintenance is a priority, quartz, and porcelain are your top choices. Marble and granite require more care; however, they reward that effort with years of natural beauty in your kitchen.

Work with Express Cabinet and Granite Today!

Your countertops should be as unique as the meals you create in your kitchen. You can confidently choose the perfect material by weighing the factors of appearance, durability, cost, and maintenance. Whether you’re drawn to the robustness of granite countertops or the versatility of quartz countertops, your Pittsburgh home will look great with the help of our expert team.

Express Cabinet and Granite offers a wealth of choices that can cater to your every whim, turning your kitchen dreams into reality. With this guide and the right materials at your disposal, your kitchen transformation is well on its way to success. Contact us today to learn more!

Dennis Li