Granite is characterized by a speckled look, but otherwise has a wide variation in colors and veining. No other natural stone has as much variety. It is also practical for its durability and heat resistance (up to 1200 degrees). This carefree stone is so hard, it is difficult to chip or scratch. Always use a cutting board, however, because it can dull your knives to cut on it.
Marble is a natural stone characterized by its soft veining. It is most commonly grey and white with veins rather than speckles, but does come is a variety of shades. Marble is a soft, porous stone and will show wear over time. Countertop sealers can be applied slow minimize staining. Etching however is an issue with marble, which cannot be easily fixed. Etching is a chemical process that alters the marble’s appearance and structure. This occurs when anything acidic comes into contact with the stone (IE: lemon, ice tea, citrus, wine, salad dressing). Etching will remove any shine to the stone and then leaves a dull rougher spot on the countertops. Since this is a chemical reaction, it is not reversible. Honing is a process by which polish of the stone is pre-worn away in fabrication on the countertops. While this makes the stone more porous it also minimizes the appearance of etching on the countertops. Marble customers understand and appreciate the character that wear and tear over time brings to marble.
Quartz is a manmade stone that derives its name from the natural mineral quartz which comprises about 95% of its make-up and then about 5% polymer resins. The combination of strong natural quartz gives quartz countertops great durability while the resins help to make the product non-porous (unlike natural stones. Quartz, because it is man-made will often be more consistent in pattern and offer a wide range of colors, patterns, styles, and brands to choose among. It is scratch, stain, and heat resistant (resistant not proof!). Quartz can typically accommodate more edge profiles, larger unsupported overhangs, and stone length than natural stones.