If you’ve long dreamed of adding spectacular white Carrara marble countertops in a kitchen renovation, stop what you’re doing and read on! In this post, you can find the best alternatives to Carrara marble if you’re concerned about staining, etching and maintenance.
Taking the leap with a kitchen remodel is complicated, and you only get one chance to get it right. Learn about how we chose our marble and marble look countertops (quartz that looks like marble), all the alternatives we considered, and so much more!
*This post was originally published August 9, 2013 and updated with fresh content and details August 24, 2021.
For nearly two years before our Cream Kitchen remodel, I dwelled over kitchen counters. I had my heart set on Carrara marble.
The price is right, I’ve long been in love with them, and yet everyone I knew continued to steer me away. I finally decided that I should be more practical, so I started considering the alternatives.
Unfortunately, not only are the Carrara marble alternatives often more expensive, but you never truly see a price per square foot to compare prices.
So again, I dwelled. I got quotes, and then even more quotes. I looked at product and just wasn’t overjoyed with any of them, no matter how beautiful. So begins the journey towards our Danby Marble countertops and I hope you learn something from our process!
What is Carrara Marble?
First of all, what is this fabulous white Carrara marble that is so coveted (and evidently, also loathed) in the world of kitchen design?
Carrara is a soft gray marble with soft veining hailing from Carrara, Italy. It is one of the most popular natural countertop materials available today, and can be surprisingly inexpensive.
Carrara marble, like all marbles, is heat resistant and excellent for baking. It’s been used in European kitchens and bakeries for centuries, but not without a fair share of imperfections.
Marble tends to chip, show stains and etching, and need more frequent maintenance than other countertop options on the market. These are all things to consider as you move forward with your decisions!
Quartz that Looks like Marble
Let’s start with marble look quartz as an alternative to Carrara marble. It’s engineered with quartz (natural) and resin. This makes it highly durable, but can give a fabricated look because it’s not a natural material. Quartz countertops are not natural quartz, so keep that in mind.
We went with Quartz countertops for a marble alternative at our lake cottage. The surface is non-porous, so quartz is antimicrobial and can be cleaned easily. However, it’s not heat resistant, so be careful.
The cost of both quartz and quartzite (discussed next) can range between $60 and $150+ per square foot of material, not including installation.
Check out Ceasarstone’s Calcatta Nuvo, Pental Quartz, or Lyra by Silestone for excellent quartz alternatives to Carrara marble. Our countertops, pictured here, are Calacatta Arno.
Another option? Quartzite, which is a natural rock that is glossy and can resemble Carrara marble and others.
This natural quartzite material is excavated into slabs and then sealed or coated in polyurethanes, wax, acrylic etc for durability and longevity.
One of the biggest differences between quartz and quartzite is that quartzite is more expensive and difficult to install, so keep that in mind.
Look into White Fantasy quartzite and White Princess Quartzite as Carrara marble alternatives.
Granite that Looks like Marble
Granite seems to be waning in popularity these days, but there are still plenty of beautiful options for alternatives to Carrara marble in this category.
It can be a little less expensive, starting at just $50 a square foot.
Check out Casa Blanca granite, Glacier White granite, and Bianco Romano granite for options to compare to white Carrara marble.
During our St. Louis renovation, I was not satisfied with the quartz alternatives on the market. I truly just wanted something natural!
So I kept searching, researching and finally, I found Danby marble, from Vermont! It is denser than most marbles, making it less susceptible to stains. While etching can still occur, there is actually a cure for it!
This option is similar in pricing to Carrara and less expensive than Calacatta marble, with a very similar look, but often in the same range as quartz. However, because it is both beautiful and more durable, it made it a win for us.
We used Mountain Danby marble in our previous home in Kansas City, and Olympia Danby in our current home. The difference between the two is simply where they are taken from the earth. While both are beautiful, Olympia has less veining which seemed to be a better fit for our current kitchen.
Win? I think so. It has heavier grey veining, but I’m thrilled with the outcome next to our Cream Kitchen Cabinets.
Frequently Asked Questions
Depending on the specific marble you’re hoping to mimic, a quartz countertop is an excellent option to consider. Many varieties and brands of quartz countertops are so good that it can be difficult to distinguish between the two countertops!
Granite is generally less expensive than marble, starting as low as $50/square foot installed. Marble countertops tend to start at around $100/square foot and can go well over $200.
Learn all about the different types of Countertop Edges here!