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The Differences Between Marble and Granite Headstones

Having trouble choosing between a marble or granite headstone to commemorate the life of a loved one? While both stones have been used in the creation of monuments for centuries, there’s a big difference between marble and granite in terms of color, durability and maintenance requirements.

Here’s what you need to know about using these two stones for headstones or grave markers.


Color is a very important consideration when choosing between a marble or granite headstone. Marble comes in a wide array of colors, from neutral whites and grays to bolder shades like red or green. Traditionally, though, shades of white or gray are chosen for the creation of memorials since rarer colors are significantly more expensive. Most marbles feature unique swirling patterns and embedded shadings, adding visual interest and appeal to the stone.

Granite also features variegated colors. You can choose from black, gray, red, pink, brown, green and even blue. Granite is characterized by internal flecks that create interesting color variations. When properly engraved by a professional, granite’s unique, deep colors result in high contrast lettering that’s both long-lasting and easy to read.


The primary difference between granite and marble is the hardness of the stone, with granite being a much harder and more durable material than marble.

Marble is a soft stone that deteriorates as wind and rain make their way into the pores of the soft marble finish. This can cause marble to get cracked, chipped and eroded over time, especially if not properly cared for. The deterioration can affect the appearance of the inscription, making it progressively harder to read over time.

Granite, on the other hand, can withstand severe weather for centuries. While proper care considerations should still be followed with a granite stone, a memorial made of granite will withstand the elements much better than one made of marble.


Keeping a marble headstone clean can be a chore. You need to first soak the stone and then use a wooden scraper to remove algae or plant material. You’ll then brush on a mixture of non-ionic soap and water to scrub away debris and stains, all while keeping the stone wet. Once you’re satisfied, rinse the stone with clean water. Remember: You should only clean marble that’s in good condition. If any cracks or other damage are present, it may be best to leave the stone as is to prevent further damage.

Thanks to their enhanced durability compared to marble, granite headstones require minimal care and maintenance. All it takes is a quick once-over with soapy water to remove excess dirt and debris from a monument—but be sure to wipe down the stone with clean water and a clean rag to remove all traces of soapy residue.

The choices you make will last for generations, so it’s important to feel completely comfortable in your decision. Contact Harsha Monument Co. today to learn more about the difference between marble and granite for headstones and grave markers, so you can make the right choice to commemorate the legacy of your loved one.