Marble countertops are a timeless and elegant look for your home. In terms of the material itself, marble is one of the most sought-out natural stones in the world. It has been used as a building material for centuries and was used to build some of the most famous statues in the world. Marble has also been frequently used in homes, where it is usually incorporated as kitchen or bathroom countertops.
What is Marble?
So what exactly is marble? Marble is a metamorphic rock that begins as limestone. When the limestone is subject to intense heat and pressure, it recrystallizes and becomes marble. Marble comes in many different colors and veining patterns – everything from pure white to shades of red, green and blue with significant veining. The natural stone is quarried all over the world, with the most famous types coming from Italy and Greece. In modern times, marble is extracted from the quarries using explosives.
Factors to Consider
If you are contemplating buying marble countertops for your home, there are both advantages and disadvantages that you should know beforehand. You should always weigh the positives and negatives of making a large decision like buying a marble countertop.
A primary advantage of having marble countertops are the looks. The stone has a timeless and sophisticated appearance and is not something that will simply go out of style – evidenced by the fact that it has been used for thousands of years. As stated above, marble comes in a wide variety of both colors and veining patterns, so you are highly likely to find at least one that speaks to your design taste. Whether you are looking for something that is more of a classic, such as calacatta, or something bolder, like rainforest green, there are many types available to choose from.
Because of the stone’s beautiful looks and classic appeal, marble countertops have a high resale value in homes. Considering what a focal point your countertops can be, choosing marble can offer you great benefits in the long run. When it comes time to sell your house, you will surely have a major selling point in your marble countertops.
While there are many advantages to having marble countertops, they do come with some disadvantages as well. Something to keep in mind is that no natural stone will ever be perfect, and marble is no exception. Also remember that as long as you take good care of your marble countertops, they can stay in prime condition for years on end.
Prone to staining
One of the main disadvantages to having marble countertops are stains. If you happen to spill any acidic substances on the countertop, it will become stained. Acidic substances include things like coffee, wine and juice. This can be problematic if you have a busy kitchen or you happen to deal with frequent spills in your kitchen.
Prone to scratching
Another factor that is not in favor of marble is that the stone is prone to scratches. As with any spills, you will want to be extremely careful with your marble countertops so they don’t sustain scratches. But just like spills, scratches can be avoided simply by exercising caution.
Another of marble’s issues that you will encounter is etching. Etching occurs when marble becomes dull as a result of acidic substances contacting the countertop. As mentioned above, you will want to make sure that these acidic substances do not come in contact with your marble countertop.
Cost of Marble Countertops
While marble has long been established as a higher-end stone, the price of marble countertops will greatly depend on what type of marble you use. If you find a marble that is more commonly available, such as carrara, it will cost less than something that is rare. In general, marble countertops will cost between $50 to $150 per square foot installed, with higher end marble being on the expensive side. Remember, the rarer the marble you choose, the higher the cost will be.
How to Clean Marble Countertops
To clean your marble countertops, you should only use cleaners that are specifically meant to be used with marble. Never use any cleaners that are harsh, such as Windex, vinegar or bleach. Cleaners like these can end up damaging your marble countertops.
Fixing Minor Damages
If your marble sustains minor damages, like small chips in the stone, you do not necessarily have to call a professional to fix it. You can do any minor repairs on your own by purchasing a marble repair kit.
Another aspect of caring for your marble countertops you will need to know about is sealing. You must re-seal your marble countertops every few months in order to keep them in good shape. If you do not properly seal your marble countertops, they will be especially prone to staining and damage.
Alternatives to Marble
So what other option do you have if you want the look of marble, but not the required maintenance? If this is the case, quartz may be your best alternative. The stone, which is engineered by combining mostly quartz mineral with resins, polymers and pigments, can be modified in ways that make it look like marble. Another benefit of quartz is that it is not porous and will not need to be sealed. But despite these positive benefits, quartz does have its negative aspects. The material is not any cheaper than marble, and in some cases can cost more. Another downside to quartz is that, no matter how well it is modified to look like marble, it will never be able to provide you with the look and feel of actual marble.
When you buy marble countertops, you can make the decision on how they will be finished. The options for finishing are honed and polished. Honed marble will give you a matte look, which can be beneficial because it will better disguise any etching that is present. Polished marble will give you a shiny look that is very eye catching.
While marble’s porous nature can turn people away from using it as a kitchen countertop material, a major benefit to marble is that the surface stays cool, even in the middle of summer. Since you will be cooking and baking in the kitchen, this benefit might help sway your decision making.
If you are someone who does not mind putting in the effort to properly care for them, marble countertops are for you. The natural stone’s stunning beauty truly cannot be matched. Having marble countertops can manage to add life to any home.