Can Hot Pans Really Damage My Marble Countertops?

Although marble is a stunningly beautiful stone when it is used for countertops, it still lags in popularity behind granite and quartz. Many people are concerned that marble is too fragile or requires too much maintenance. You may even have heard that heat will seriously damage marble countertops. However, marble countertops can remain beautiful for many years with some simple precautions, according to the counter experts at Marble Concepts.

Popular for Centuries

Marble has been used as a building material for centuries and you can trust that it is durable based on the number of buildings with marble accents that are still just as beautiful hundreds of years after they were installed. However, marble is not a hard stone like quartz or granite which means you may see some staining or etching over time. Marble also requires some maintenance in order to keep it looking as good as new.

Heat and Marble

Although most manufacturers warn that you should always use trivets and hot pads under pans taken directly from the stove, this is actually to protect your counters from scratching due to grit that may be on the bottom of the pan. Placing a hot pan on a marble countertop most likely will not cause it to discolor or scald. In fact, this is less likely with a marble countertop than it is with quartz as there are often resins combined with the quartz that are not heat resistant.

Melting of Stone

It is highly unlikely that you could heat a pan on your stove to a temperature that would actually melt your marble countertops. In fact, there have been devastating house fires where the only thing left was the stone countertops. In order to melt stone, you would need a pan that reaches a temperature over 2,000 degrees. The hottest the average kitchen stove can make a pan is around 1,200 degrees. Although sitting the pan on the counter for a brief moment will more than likely not cause damage, leaving it there for an extended period might damage the protective sealant.

Coolness of Marble

One thing to keep in mind is that marble is a cool stone. This means that when you touch it, the counter always feels cooler than other surfaces. This makes it the perfect counter for those who enjoy baking as pastry dough needs a cool surface. It also may help keep your cold foods cooler and could cool your hot foods faster. However, this also means that there is more of a risk that a scalding hot pan could cause thermal shock. If a pan is extremely hot when you place it on the cool marble, it could lead to cracking, although this is also true of granite and quartz as well.

Sliding Hot Items

Although a warm pan may not cause your counters to crack or discolor, sliding hot items across your counter may cause damage. Metal pans or other items can scratch the surface of your marble countertop, so it is important to pick things up to move them around the counter to avoid scratches.

Etching and Staining

When preparing foods that are acidic, such as tomato sauces or citrus dishes it is important to wipe up any spills as soon as possible. Acidic material, including wine, coffee and fruit juices, can cause a chemical reaction with your marble counters that may lead to etching or staining. One way to protect your countertop is to have it sealed periodically. This blocks the porous areas of the stone from absorbing liquids which can lead to staining. There are many homeowners, however, who like the patina of a well-used countertop, embracing the scratches and discolorations. There are some types of marble that are more resistant to acids, such as some types of green marble, but even they can eventually discolor or scratch if they are not properly maintained.

Uniqueness of Marble

Every slab of marble is different as each slab is created in nature. This means that if you have a very large kitchen, different sections of your countertop may have different veining and coloring. For some, this is the attraction of marble as the kitchen appears different from each angle. A large kitchen may also mean additional seams to blend different slabs of marble together. This is just something to keep in mind when choosing a granite countertop.

Choosing a Finish

Another way to hide imperfections and small damage to your countertops is to choose a honed finish rather than a glossy surface. A honed finish not only camouflages scratches, but it can also hide etching and chips as well. Honed finishes work well in a wide range of kitchen designs, from rustic to traditional.

What to Do If Counter is Damaged

If you do place a hot pan on your marble countertop and cause thermal shock, there are ways to repair the damage. There are a few over-the-counter products that can help repair small cracks in stone countertops. For instance, if your counter develops a small chip, you can use special epoxy to fill in the chip. Hydrogen peroxide and water may also remove a stain from your counters. If the damage is significant, you will want to call a professional, like Marble Concepts, and have them perform an extensive repair.

If you are considering marble counters for your home, contact Marble Concepts today. Their friendly staff will guide you through the process and help you choose the marble counters that are perfect for your home and family. You can arrange for a no-obligation consultation by calling 215-396-7393 or you can fill out the easy online form to learn more about how marble countertops could improve the look of your kitchen, bath, or any other room in your home.