In the Know | Stone Table Tops

- Mar 18, 2019

Table tops made simple with our handy guide to stone tops. Answering your questions like, what's the difference between marble and granite? and which stone tops can I use outside?


Verde Rajistan marble sample in the Inside Out Contracts showroom

Quarried worldwide, marble is a highly desirable natural material. The higher up in the quarry marble is taken from, the stronger and more affordable. Marble from lower in the quarry is deemed more attractive due to its veining but this will also make it more delicate and therefore more expensive. Marble is very porous so is susceptible to staining and acid etching if it comes into contact with liquids such as tea, coffee, alcohol and even water.


Blue Pearl granite sample in the Inside Out Contracts showroom

Granite is a hard wearing naturally occurring material made up of a combination of elements, including quartz. It's much heavier than marble and can be used outdoors.


Starlight White Quartz sample in the Inside Out Contracts showroom

Quartz is a man-made stone material made from compressed natural quartz. It is highly durable and strong but also very expensive.

Key takeaways - What's the difference between marble, granite and quartz?

  • Marble is porous and has characteristic veining, marble cannot be used outside
  • Granite is much less porous, is hard-wearing and can be used in outdoor areas
  • Quartz is man-made, highly durable and not porous. It can be specified for exterior settings


Grigio Venato terrazzo table top in the Inside Out Showroom

Terrazzo is traditionally used in Italian homes for flooring. A new material for contract furniture. Terrazzo is man-made from marble chips and bound traditionally in concrete, although resin can also be used as a binding agent. These materials combine to form a beautiful and unique product.

However, concrete and marble are both highly porous. That means terrazzo is just as easily stained as marble.

You can lessen the appearance of staining and acid etching by specifying colours that suit the venue. For example, if your client would like terrazzo in their coffee shop or wine bar, choose a dark coloured terrazzo so any etching that occurs will be less visible.

How to finish your stone, polished or honed?

Honed Noir St Laurent marble table top in the Inside Out Contracts Showroom

Honed - A honed finish is created by smoothing the surface of the stone. This gives a lovely matte look that preserves the stone's natural beauty. Honed tops will scratch more easily than polished tops.

Polished - Polishing enhances the look of the stone, generally making it look darker. You can polish a stone table top with a high or low shine. A polish will help to resist staining but won't prevent it.

These finishes on stone table tops will need regular maintenance and proper care. You should re apply sealant to your honed marble or refresh the polished surface often.

Take a look at our care and maintenance guide to learn about the best ways to care for your furniture.

Table top edge profiles

A table top made from stone can be cut to a variety of shapes from a simple square edge to Reverse Chamfer. It is recommended that with marble and terrazzo table tops, the edges and especially the corners of a square top should be rounded to avoid damage and chips if they're knocked. You can see below the range of different edge profiles that can be used for stones with the Du Pont and O. GEE edges being suitable only for marble.