Make no mistake, as similar as these two natural stones are, there are some key distinctions – find out what they are before buying.
Many designers and homeowners alike are faced with the confusion that comes along with differentiating between Carrara and Calacatta marble, and they aren’t truly to blame for their confusion because the differences between Carrara and Calacatta marble are pretty subtle and incredibly nuanced – it often takes an expert eye. Much of the lack of understanding is due to the fact that they are both high-quality Italian marbles that are awfully close in appearance. Both Carrara and Calacatta marble are white with elegant gray veining.
Worse yet, a great deal of the world’s Calacatta marble comes from Carrara, Italy – where does it end? Because of this, they are often used interchangeably, but if you really want the correct stone for your home, you’d be wise to know the key distinctions. Generally speaking, Carrara is a deeper gray with much softer veining, while Calacatta skews whiter with thick, substantial veining.
Still, Carrara vs. Calacatta marble: where are the differences? Well, you’re not alone, and like many if you haven’t been able to tell the subtle differences between these two beautiful stones, this article should be a great guide and reference point to help you understand those differences and hopefully make the choice for your home or office all the more easy. At last, you’ll know how to tell the difference between Carrara and Calacatta marble.
Carrara marble is the most common marble found in Italy, and it’s named after the region it comes from – Carrara, Italy. Carrara marble is often classified as much softer looking than Calacatta because of its subtle light gray veining that can sometimes hue toward blue. It’s often characterized by soft feather grains that homeowners go crazy over.
It makes for an incredibly unique looking material, as each slab of Carrara marble is created from one block, and when installed by a professional hand, the grains and veins run together and create a stunning design pattern, which ensures no two Carrara marble surfaces have exactly the same design.
Calacatta marble is often much whiter, a characteristic many homeowners and service professionals associate with luxury. It’s generally bright white with thick, elegant veins that can come in a variety of colors from beige all the way to gold.
It also comes from the same place in Italy, but Calacatta is usually much smoother than your typical Carrara marble. Because of its classic, timeless look, Calacatta marble has been a mainstay in bathrooms and as kitchen countertops for years. If you enjoy more dramatic veins in your natural stone, then Calacatta may be the right option for you.
Carrara Marble Bathroom
Carrara marble is one of the classiest choices you can make as far as bathroom décor goes. This elegant bathroom has a Carrara marble counter, as well as marble tiling throughout the entire space. While it looks incredible, keep in mind that if you also have a marble basin (sink), you’re going to spend a lot of time cleaning and wiping it down – you don’t want to let all the moisture sit there and take hold.
If you keep up with the maintenance, then it should look great for a long time, rather than dull and fade in a pretty short time. For this reason, this type of material is best kept to the countertop, but even that will be water prone in a bathroom, so keep on top of it and your bathroom will look lustrous for years to come.
Calacatta Marble Bathroom
While Calacatta marble is expensive and some homeowners might hesitate to use it in the bathroom, when done well this natural stone can be a major highlight, taking a boring bathroom to the next level. Calacatta marble will lighten up any bathroom with a great backsplash and make all who use it feel like royalty, as long as they do the proper maintenance to safeguard against its porous nature by cleaning regularly and sealing frequently.
This type of marble seems to suck up most anything that falls on its surface, so you’re going to want to protect your investment by implementing a strict, no excuses cleaning schedule. Never use any acidic or other harsh cleaning agents on your Calacatta marble, as only products designed specifically for stone care should ever touch it. We recommend a highly versatile formulated marble and granite daily cleaner, one that’s tough yet gentle, such as Granite Gold Daily Cleaner®.
Carrara Marble Kitchen
Carrara marble adds a flair of style to any room, and this is especially true in the kitchen where it’s one of the most popular choices for kitchen countertops and islands. It’s light yet elegant color helps the kitchen area look more spacious, putting all who eat and cook there at ease. Take care of your marble by giving it the occasional polish as well as a strong seal, and it should remain pristine for years to come.
This Carrara marble countertop has thick yet soft gray veins running through it, and it really showcases the quality of the stone. Usually, Carrara marble works better in the kitchen than Calacatta because it tends to be darker and more heavily veined, hiding all those coffee, wine, and food stains that are bound to occur. To prevent staining, seal the marble with a marble and granite sealer such as Granite Gold Sealer®. Frequent use of this water-based stone sealer maintains maximum surface protection against staining, etching, and soil buildup, which can be helpful if you aren’t the world’s neatest person, as it will be a touch more forgiving than bright white Calacatta.
Calacatta Marble Kitchen
Obviously, Calacatta marble looks great on any surface or room, but when used in the kitchen it comes with greater maintenance responsibilities. While there really isn’t much of a difference between Carrara and Calacatta marble when it comes to being stain-proof, there is a difference between how visible these stains will be – remember, Calacatta tends to be whiter. They are both pretty porous, and nobody would classify either of them as low-maintenance.
However, if you’re insistent on using Calacatta marble in the kitchen, there are ways it can work. Just be vigilant about stains and always seal (and reseal!) your marble to prevent etching and premature aging. Things are often dropped in the kitchen, so there’s certainly a possibility that a heavy pan or kitchen tool could chip your precious marble.
Great looking marble isn’t exactly cheap, and there is a reason for that – it’s timeless. From classic to contemporary, a good slab of marble can be mixed with any home décor. So, how much are we talking? Carrara marble is going to be a bit cheaper, as it’s more aggressively queried and thus the supply is much higher. Also, this leads it to being seen less high-end. A good slab of Carrara marble is going to cost anywhere from $75 to $100 per square foot before it’s installed.
Calacatta is considered the rarer of the two natural stones, and with that there comes a premium. Conservatively speaking, you’re going to pay double what you would for Carrara marble, and the price tag may go as high as $250 per square foot. Of course, these prices are all going to vary depending on the supplier you choose, but think of these prices as a ballpark figure.
Essentially, these two natural stones are incredibly similar, and the choice you make is going to rely largely on your budget. While Calacatta is seen as a little more high-end, that’s not a knock against the elegance of Carrara marble – it just happens to be more widely available.
Both have similar maintenance requirements, are virtually the same density, and come from Italy. The key difference is going to lie in the color of the two marbles, as Carrara skews gray and Calacatta skews white. Its whiteness reflects the purity of the marble, leading to a higher cost for the average consumer. Keep this in mind and you’ll finally know how to tell the difference between Carrara and Calacatta marble.
Whether you have marble in your home or another type of stone such as granite, slate, or travertine, natural-stone care needs to be a part of your regular routine. Granite Gold® carries all the cleaning, sealing, and polishing products you need to properly care for your stone. Call 1-800-475-STONE (7866) today to speak to the Stone Care Experts.