Marble brings class and elegance to any home or business. People have loved the look of marble throughout the centuries. However, not all marble is created equal. There are different grades of marble, with the highest quality being a sought-after product. When you are ready to add marble countertops, flooring, or other accents to your living spaces, you should understand the stone’s quality. Let’s look at the different grades of marble.
What Is Marble?
Marble gets its coloring, veining, and texture from the metamorphic changes to limestone. This natural stone is used in public buildings, residential homes, offices, and religious buildings. Along with countertops, marble makes a popular choice for backsplashes, facades, tiles, and wall cladding. If you want a more durable marble, choosing a high-quality grade of this stone is important. While marble brings plenty of elegance to any building, it can be challenging to tell if a particular product is considered a high-quality stone. For that reason, the Marble Institute of America has established guidelines for marble grades.
Different Grades of Marbles
Grade A marble features very few geological flaws. The colors are subtle without prominent veining. It has a less dramatic appearance than other types of marble. You might think that “Grade A” marble means a highly desirable product, but this stone is less aesthetically pleasing than the other grades.
Next on the scale is Grade B. Within this classification, the marble contains very few flaws like Grade A. There could be some pitting in the stone. The veins are dry, meaning there is a separation between the natural materials. As a result, filling covers minor imperfections and makes the stone more stable for use.
A marble with defined lines of separation, flaws, and voids is classified as Grade C. In many cases, manufacturers must address those issues during the fabrication stage. Some of the repaired areas could be noticeable. Natural stone chips are often used to fill any voids in the marble, resulting in a few non-polished spots.
Grade D marble contains the most natural flaws. The fabricator must use cement, epoxy, and dowels to make repairs. Some parts of the marble might not have the same luster as those unrepaired areas. While this stone contains the most flaws, it features the best decorative qualities.
Choose a High-Quality Marble
As you can tell, Grade A might have the least amount of flaws, but it doesn’t have those bold colors or gorgeous veining. Along with the different grades of marble, there are other ways to inspect the quality of the stone. Before selecting marble for your home or business, take time to examine the material.
First, you want to check the coloration of the stone. Marble can range in color from pristine white to smoky black. Most natural stones have subtle colors. If the marble is Class A, it is likely a solid white color. The minerals in the limestone layers can create yellow, pink, gray, green, or blue hues. Any bright colors mean that the natural marble has been mixed with other materials to create a custom color.
You also want to look at the veining in the marble. Swirls and veins are present when mineral impurities are mixed with the limestone. Natural marble will often have long streaks. Manufactured materials can have a swirled appearance, but it doesn’t have the dimension or depth that naturally occurs in authentic marble.
One of the most desirable attributes of marble is the glossiness of the stone. While synthetic stones on the marketplace use crushed glass, these materials do not have the high-quality sheen as natural marble. That glossiness is one way to determine if you have authentic marble materials.
Cracks, veins, and fissures can give marble a natural appearance, but in some cases, those features can affect the product’s strength. A high-quality marble slab should not have fractures that go all the way through the material. While veins can be present, you should not see prominent cracks running in the marble. In some cases, the manufacturer will apply epoxy or fiberglass to help reinforce the material so that it does not break.
Marble with large chips and cracks could indicate a poor quality material. While some cracking and chipping are normal, if more than 5 percent of the material is chipped, it is too soft for an installation. You want to look at the smoothness of the marble, especially on the back, front, and edges of the product. Low-quality marble will have pockmarks with visible signs of crumbling.
There are times when a manufacturer will fill in a crack or chip on the marble. Those areas can be quickly identified when the marble is viewed from a slight angle. Any disruption to the mirror-like surface indicates a lower quality material. A high-quality marble does not contain breaks or holes in the surface.
Finally, there is the knife test. Since authentic marble is a natural stone, it can show scratches more easily than imitation materials. Marble is malleable, which is why it is a popular choice for custom-shaped countertops. With regular use, marble develops an individualized look for the owner. A knife test can help you determine if the material is authentic marble. Scratch a knife across an inconspicuous part of the underside. If there is no damage, the material could be a manufactured stone or granite.
Always Check the Grade of Your Marble
Marble has several different grades. Grade A marble is the highest class, but it doesn’t offer much color or veining. Some lower grades have deep veins, swirls, and tones. No matter what you choose, make sure that the marble is an authentic material that can hold up to the needs of your home or business.
Looking for Granite Companies Nearby?
If you have any questions about finding the right marble for your next renovation project, reach out to Marble Concepts. Our professional team will help you select the best materials for your floors, countertops, or other applications. You can schedule a consultation by calling 215-396-7393.