How Do Marble and Quartz Countertops Stack Up Against Stains and Scratches?

Quartz Surfaces PMC1098

Marble can show etch marks from acidic substances, whereas quartz resists etching, maintaining its finish over time.

Comparison of Marble and Quartz Countertops

Physical and Chemical Properties

Marble is a type of metamorphic rock whose main constituents are calcite or dolomite, both of which are prone to acid reactions. The acid etching of the surface of a marble slab is one of its salient features, an essential consideration for kitchen uses. While the porosity of marble varies, it is enough for all types that stain absorption is a concern, and they should be sealed to minimize it. Also, marble is rather soft, scoring approximately 3-5 on the hardness scale . As a result, it can be easily scratched or even chipped like other soft stones.

Quartz is made of around 90-95% of natural quartz crystals mixed with polymers and resins. The resulting stone is not porous and is highly resistant to stains and does not require sealing. At the same time, with the hardness of 7, quartz is significantly less scratch-prone than marble. The manufactured stone also appears to be less chemically sensitive due to the chemical resistance of polymers, though some chemicals or high temperatures may still damage the adhesive materials.

Aesthetic Variations and Design Flexibility

The uniqueness of marble in veining and a variety of colors one can only find in nature. The aesthetic appeal of marble is often considered the peak of sophistication and a luxury only available for natural stone. At the same time, however, finding marble slabs that match one another for larger projects can be rather challenging.

Unlike natural stone, quartz countertops are always available in the same color and pattern. They offer a more limited variety of looks, but they can still simulate many types of natural stone, including marble. Moreover, since quartz slabs can be much larger than natural stone, the presence of seams on quartz countertops is far less common.

Marble Countertops: Porosity and Stain Resistance

Preventive Measures and Treatments

Marble is beautiful but porous, and thus the most vulnerable to ruining the surface with stains. The initial defense is sealing, as the sealer coats the marble, filling the pores in the stone and preventing any liquid from getting in. Most experts argue that marble countertops should be resealed at least once a year, and high-traffic areas could use semi-annual sealing.

For instance, one may use coasters under glasses to prevent any acidic stain, and those may as well be caused by wine, coffee, or fruit juice. Additionally, wiping off the spills right away helps lower discoloration if those are oil-based liquids.

Common Stain Types and Removal Techniques

Generally, spots on a marble countertop can be either organic or inorganic, with one advocating for certain stain removal ingredients and programmed maintenance procedures.

Organic stain s may be removed using a mixture of 12% hydrogen peroxide to which a few drops of ammonia have been added. When rubbed on a spot and left to sit there for 24 hours, it will either lessen the spot or do away with it completely. In any case, for deep spots, the procedure may have to be repeated several times, or in worst-case scenarios, the stains will only fade away a little and stop where they are beyond removal.

Again, Inorganic stains include ink, rust, etc. The strategy employed for rust is fairly simple, yet also relatively dangerous since marble is sensitive to acids, and therefore, the substances recommended to make a commercial rust remover are toxic acids . Still, a mix using these substances and baking soda for absorptive properties is cooled and applied to the stained area for 24 hours, with a plastic wrap over it to increase its container properties. The mix is washed away 24 hours later and followed up by the same treatment. Another batch will almost certainly do, but it is relatively hazardous. Oil-based stains such as liniments or cooking oils will require a poultice of baking soda and water. It must stay on the countertop for between 24 and 48 hours but will already have turned yellow by 24 hours or sooner. For the most obstinate oil spots, the water should be replaced by mineral spirits.

Quartz Countertops and How They Do Not Stain

The durability and low maintenance of quartz countertops are a result of their engineered composition. Made of about 90-95% natural quartz granules and 5-10% polymer resins and pigments, quartz is an incredibly hard and non-porous surface. Liquids, which cause most common stains, cannot penetrate the non-porous surface, which makes quartz highly resistant to staining.

The Advantages of Being Non-Porous

The outstanding advantage of quartz’s being non-porous is that it does not stain easily and does not allow bacteria to rest near the surface. Quartz, whether cream or deep black , does not have to be sealed like natural stone, making it a great kitchen and bath option, where cleanliness is crucial. The non-porous feature of quartz makes it resistant to coffee, wine, lemon juice, olive oil, vinegar, makeup, and other common stains. Another great advantage achieved during the manufacturing process is the uniformity of the surface pattern and color, so it will fit any kitchen or bath design from contemporary to traditional.

Some Tips on Keeping Quartz Stain-Free

Maintaining quartz countertop in perfect condition is hassle-free:

  • Regular cleaning: wipe the surface with a soft cloth or sponge and a mild solution of detergent or soap. For everyday cleaning, use water with a bit of dish soap.
  • Spills: although quartz does not stain, it is a good idea to wipe spills as they occur, especially liquid with strong pigments or highly acidic.
  • Avoid harsh cleaners and solvents that may damage the surface. Quartz is usually pictured as very durable material, but it sensitive to some strong solutions, such as bleach, and even abrasive cleaners. Any harsh chemicals or solvents should not be used on quartz.
  • Heat: although quartz is more heat resistant than other countertops, it is a good idea to use trivets or hot pads under pots and pans. Direct exposure to high heat is not advised.
  • Cut: although you can, technically cut directly on quartz’s scratch resistance, it makes sense to keep the finish in perfect condition by using cutting board. It will protect both the surface and your knives, which might get dull.

Scratch Resistance

The most important feature of any countertop for a homeowner is the extent of resistance of the material surface to mechanical damage in the form of a scratch. Marble and quartz differ in their resistance due to their physical and chemical properties. As such, they also exhibit different levels of scratch resistance.

Marble’s Properties

Marble is a type of a natural stone whose phsyical properties include a rating of 3 to 5 in the Mohs scale. This makes the surface of marble less resistant to scratches than surfaces of harder materials . While this natural stone is a popular item for countertops due to its luxurious look and veining, it is also less resistant than quartz. As a result, cutting directly on the surface of the marble is not recommended.

Measures: Use cutting boards to prevent the surface from being scratched.


Quartz is an engineered slab made from natural quartz crystals and a resin whose hardness is rated 7 on the scale of Moh . This makes the material less prone to scratches than other options. Countertops made from quartz can be subjected to everyday use without any trace of wear.

Benefits of Quartz: This makes the shine surface last longer without any special effort in the form of cleaning procedures. However, other means of preventing this type of damage do not exist.

About Panmin

PANMIN is an innovative manufacturer of artificial quartz slabs. PANMINQUARTZ® is man-made quartz surfaces from PANMIN, which can be applied in residential and commercial interior decoration including kitchen countertops, bathroom vanities and office table. 

Currently, we have three factories, two in China and one in Cambodia to provide sufficient services to our customers.

For more information about PANMIN, please refer to our contact page and we should get back to you ASAP.

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