When you want to add elegance to your kitchen, you immediately think of marble. One of the most classic materials, marble has been used throughout history for statues, counters, floors, and backsplashes. Now, you are considering marble countertops for your kitchen. But is there anything you should know about this shining stone that could change the way you think about it? There is. Here is what you need to know before you get a marble countertop.
Marble Comes From The Mountains
What is marble? A metamorphic rock that was once limestone has been softened with calcite. In the presence of pressure and heat, such as that from magma, the limestone began to change. That is why you can find marble throughout the world. To this day, marble is quarried from some of the oldest layers of the earth’s crust in Colorado or Vermont in North America. Other locations include Asia, South America, and Europe. The most famous locations include Brazil and Italy.
No Two Slabs are Identical
Interestingly, marble slabs are not identical. Marble has veins of color running through it that are created by mineral deposits. Those minerals also add colors to the marble. However, any veining is considered a less pure version of the marble. Purity refers to the lack of color in the stone. The more complete the white, the more pure the marble. You will find the purest slabs of marble from Italy and Greece.
Carrara is the Most Common
Have you found yourself marveling at the beauty of the white and gray marble in high-end kitchens? There is a good chance that the marble is Carrara, one of the most common types of marble available. Carrara is named after a region in Italy where it was once quarried. Carrara has thin gray streaking that is soft and sometimes not noticeable. Some Carrara slabs may also contain a bit of blue.
You can find numerous Carrara slabs out there. Some of them are going to be less expensive, but you may locate purer slabs of this marble around.
Carrara is first, but there are other marbles out there you might want to consider for your kitchen or bathroom. Another Italian marble that is widely popular is Calacatta, which is very similar to Carrara. Calacatta has a starker white but has streaking of gold or copper, giving it a luxurious feel. Spain yields Crema Marfil and Emperador marble, both of which are warmer and more golden or brown. You will find that these two forms of marble are perfect for bright and welcoming kitchens.
Levadia Black from Greece, Connemara from Ireland, Giallo Antico from Tunisia, and Yule and Danby from Colorado and Vermont are also excellent options.
Caring For Marble
Many homeowners make a mistake in thinking that marble is similar to granite in terms of hardness and resilience. However, marble is neither low maintenance nor invincible. Marble is not resistant to heat. You cannot cut things directly on it, because it etches. If something heavy, like a stock pot, hits an edge or gets dropped, you could also end up with chips and cracks.
In other words, if you want to maintain your marble countertops, you are going to have to be prepared to give it routine TLC. The good news is that marble is easy enough to clean. So long as you use cleaners that you would use for your own hands—as in mild soap and water—you can keep your marble shiny. Also, ensure that you are using cutting boards when preparing anything acidic and that you wipe up spills immediately. Refresh the seal on the stone annually, too.
If you want to reduce the appearance of etching, choose a honed marble countertop, as the matte look makes scratches less noticeable.
The Pros and Cons of Marble Countertops
Lastly, let us take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of marble countertops side-by-side. That way, you can better compare marble to other options, like granite or quartz.
- Aesthetic. No one can deny that marble is gorgeous. The luxury it adds to a space, as well as the rich color, is unbeatable. The veining adds a touch of mystery, as well. With all the colors marble comes in, you can find a countertop that effortlessly matches the rest of your kitchen.
- Longevity. How long does marble last? A couple of hundred years with the proper maintenance. In other words, you won’t have to replace those countertops any time soon.
- Increased home value. Marble is one of the few materials that you can add to your home that increases the overall value. Although the percentage of that increase is up for debate, selling your home when you have marble countertops installed will be much easier than without.
- Ideal for hot kitchens. Marble is a naturally cool material that can keep a kitchen cooler for longer when you’re baking and cooking. Just keep in mind that you should not put hot pans directly on them.
- Cost. Due to the popularity and supply, marble tends to be one of the more expensive counters for your home. There are some versions of marble that are less pricey, but this still takes a decent chunk out of your remodeling or renovation budget.
- Etching and scratching. When the sealant or polish on marble fades, it is prone to scratching and etching. That is why you need to be careful when handling acids around marble. If it does get scratched, you will need #0000 dry steel wool to buff it out or hire a professional for repairs.
- Porosity. Marble is a natural stone, meaning it has tiny imperfections and pores that will soak up spills, staining it permanently. Marble should be sealed annually for this reason.
Looking To Install a Marble Countertop?
If you love marble, there is no reason not to have it installed in your home. For kitchens, marble is a beautiful stone that will add to the overall aesthetic. There are some downsides to marble, though, that you should keep in mind. Should you decide that marble does not fit the bill, contact Marble Concepts to learn more about granite or quartz. Our experienced team can guide you through the process of sourcing, customizing, and installing natural stone counters, floors, and more. Give us a call today at 215-396-7393 to learn more!