Stone Guide

Stone Comparison Chart

Marble Soapstone Granite Dolomite Quartzite Onyx Quartz Porcelain Terrazzo
Type Natural Natural Natural Natural Natural Natural Engineered Engineered Engineered
(Mohrs Hardness Scale)
2-4 3-5 6-7 3.5-5 7-8 6-7 7 7 6-7
Maintenance High High Low Medium Low Medium Low Low Low
Indoor Use Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Outdoor use Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No No
Heat Resistance
(out of 10)
5 9 8 6 9 3 4 9 7
Stain Resistance
(out of 10)
3.5 8.5 7.5 5.5 8.5 3.5 9 9.5 8
Scratch Resistance
(out of 10)
3 2 7 5 9 4 7 9 6
Price Levels
(1 – 6)
2-5 2-3 1-3 3-4 3-6 3 1-3 2 1

Stone Description

Marble A metamorphic rock known for its rich veining and wide array of colors, marble is valued for its refined aesthetic. It is softer than many stones and susceptible to scratching and staining, making it ideal for decorative installations where its beauty can be displayed with minimal wear. Soapstone Composed primarily of talc, soapstone is remarkably soft, dense, and non-porous, making it highly resistant to heat and stains. It has a smooth feel and a rustic appearance, often darkening over time, which is ideal for countertops and fireplaces.
Granite An igneous rock formed from cooled magma, granite is one of the hardest and most durable natural stones. It is highly resistant to scratches and heat, making it a popular choice for kitchen countertops and floors. Dolomite Often used as a more durable alternative to marble, dolomite is a sedimentary rock that shares a similar appearance to marble but with better resistance to scratches and etching. It requires sealing to prevent stains.
Quartzite This extremely hard metamorphic rock starts as sandstone and transforms under heat and pressure. Quartzite’s natural appearance is often similar to marble, featuring veining and a range of colors, from pure whites and grays to vibrant shades of red and blue. It’s known for its hardness and resistance to abrasion, making it suitable for high-traffic areas. Onyx A strikingly beautiful stone, onyx is characterized by its translucent quality and color banding. It is softer and more fragile, making it more suitable for low-traffic, decorative areas.
Quartz Engineered from natural quartz and polymer resins, quartz countertops are non-porous, stain-resistant, and available in a variety of colors and patterns. It does not require sealing and is very durable, though not as heat resistant as natural stone. Porcelain Made from refined clay and minerals that are fired at extremely high temperatures, porcelain slabs are incredibly dense and non-porous. One of the standout features of porcelain is its ability to mimic other materials, such as marble, granite, or wood, with remarkable authenticity while offering greater durability and less maintenance.
Terrazzo A composite material made from chips of marble, quartz, granite, or glass set in cement or epoxy, terrazzo is celebrated for its colorful, speckled appearance. It is durable, low maintenance, and used in a variety of decorative architectural applications.

Surface Descriptions

Polished Leathered Honed Brushed Matte Glossy
This finish is achieved by grinding and buffing the surface until it achieves a highly reflective sheen. Polished countertops are popular for their glossy appearance that highlights the color and features of the material, such as veins and specks. It also seals the pores, which makes the surface more stain-resistant but can be prone to showing fingerprints and smudges. The leathered finish offers a textured surface that retains the natural color of the stone while providing a more subtle sheen than polished surfaces. It is achieved by brushing the stone with diamond-tipped brushes. This finish is particularly good at hiding fingerprints and smudges and provides a slip-resistant surface. A honed finish is created by stopping short of the last polishing stage, resulting in a matte surface without a glossy shine. This finish provides a more natural or soft look to the stone and is generally preferred for marble, limestone, and granite. It is less reflective and hides scratches well, but can be more prone to staining if not sealed properly. Similar to the leathered finish, the brushed finish involves using brushes to create a slightly textured surface that enhances the stone’s natural appearance. This finish is more rugged and less glossy than polished surfaces, adding depth and warmth to the stone while offering better camouflage for scratches and fingerprints. Matte finishes are smooth with very little to no shine, providing a more understated and contemporary look. This finish absorbs light rather than reflecting it, which helps in hiding smudges, scratches, and fingerprints effectively. It’s ideal for heavily used surfaces where practicality is as important as style. Glossy finishes are highly reflective, achieved through extensive polishing. They bring out the vibrancy of the countertop material’s color and patterns and are easy to clean. However, like polished finishes, they can show water marks and fingerprints more readily than other finishes.

Care & Maintenance

Marble Marble is porous and soft, prone to scratching and staining. It requires regular sealing, typically once a year, to protect against stains. Daily cleaning should be gentle, using a soft cloth and mild, non-acidic cleaners to avoid etching the surface. Soapstone Soapstone is non-porous and relatively easy to maintain. It does not require sealing. However, to enhance its natural darkening process, it can be periodically treated with mineral oil. Soapstone is also highly resistant to heat and chemicals, making cleaning straightforward with just soap and water.
Granite Granite is durable but still requires periodic sealing to prevent staining. It’s best cleaned with a mild detergent or a cleaner specifically designed for granite. Abrasive cleaners should be avoided to maintain the surface’s integrity. Dolomite Similar to marble in care, dolomite needs regular sealing to protect against stains and etching. Use mild cleaners and avoid acidic substances, which can damage the surface.
Quartzite Quartzite requires sealing to prevent stains and should be cleaned with non-abrasive cleaners. Although it is scratch and heat-resistant, it’s best to use cutting boards and trivets to protect the surface. Onyx Onyx is quite delicate, needing frequent sealing and careful handling to avoid scratches and acid damage. It should be cleaned with a soft cloth and mild detergent, avoiding harsh chemicals and acidic cleaners.
Quartz Engineered quartz is non-porous and does not require sealing. It’s easy to maintain with just soap and water or a mild detergent. However, it is not as heat resistant as natural stone, so caution should be used with hot items. Porcelain Porcelain is highly durable and resistant to staining, scratching, and high temperatures. It requires minimal maintenance, typically needing just a wipe down with mild soap and water. No sealing is necessary.
Terrazzo Terrazzo is durable and low maintenance. It generally requires sealing upon installation and periodic resealing depending on traffic and use. Regular cleaning involves non-abrasive cleaners to avoid scratching the surface.