Marble, like travertine, is a type of limestone that has absorbed other elements and then hardened into a more durable rock. The other elements in the marble give it the classic striations that many people prefer when choosing marble in their homes. Marble tends to come in lighter colors than granite, but is available in the same tile and slab options, and can be used in the same areas of the house, including floors, counters and walls.
Granite is a stone made from volcanic activity. It combines quartz with feldspar, mica and many other minerals to form a variety of shades and patterns. Overall, granite is a hardier material than marble, and will neither stain nor shatter as easily. When comparing long-term costs, granite tends to require less maintenance and repairs, saving money years down the line.
Countertop costs range widely. The most inexpensive granite countertops cost $5 to $10 per square foot in 2010, while marble costs a few dollars more. The real price is in the installation. Both types of stone cost between $40 and $120 for professional installation, more than floors. Installers must cut countertop tile more carefully and install extras like edges and backsplashes, which can cost more to create than simple tile.
Stone floors are installed in tile, and like all stone tile, marble and granite usually come in tile sizes a foot wide or greater. Marble floors tend to cost between $9 and $20 per square foot for materials and installation in 2010. Granite floors start somewhat less, at $6, but still go up into the $20s for the highest quality. Floors are usually simpler than countertops when it comes to edging and spacing, which makes installation cheaper.
Slab granite and marble are large sheets which are installed on countertops instead of tile. Slab stone is thicker than tile and must be installed more carefully so that it doesn't crack or damage the counters. This slab stone costs several hundred dollars more than tile, and again marble will cost several dollars more per square foot.