Marble countertops are well-known for their stunning beauty and elegance. Once you start doing more research about them, however, you quickly find out that they aren’t the most durable or the most inexpensive countertop available.
For this reason, a process has been developed to incorporate its’ beauty together with durability to create the perfect kitchen surface. This is called “cultured marble” and has become a popular alternative.
How they are made
The process involves creating a mold of your kitchen counter and then adding thermoplastic resin and crushed stone into it. The precast mold is custom sized and shaped so it fits perfectly.
The mixture of resin and stone are pressed together with an extremely high pressure inside this mold. It is then allowed to dry and forms into a dense, hard material that is much stronger.
The end product is less porous but as you can imagine, it doesn’t have the exact same look. Cultured marble can look amazingly beautiful, but it does forfeit the original integrity of the stone.
While you’ll still get the same type of marbling effect that you would get in a naturally harvested product, the fact that it has been engineered can be quite apparent in some companies products.
They’re great for bathroom vanities and shower walls
Most cultured products comes with a gloss finish but you can also request a matte finish if you prefer. It’s a great countertop for bathrooms since its surface naturally resists stains and mildew, making them great in any area where moisture can be a problem.
It can be chipped and scratched easily though, so it’s not always the best choice for a kitchen countertop that is expected to undergo a lot of heavy wear and tear. If you don’t have a lot of traffic in the kitchen and prefer the look of cultured marble over other kitchen top alternatives, you may be very pleased with the price and the look.
It’s a cost effective alternative
You can get close to the look that you want without having to pay a steep price for it. They are, on average, cheaper than natural stone. The price for cultured stone falls in-between the amount you’d have to pay for a laminate surface and the price of granite. For this reason, it’s an attractive option that doesn’t come with a sky-high price tag.
If you love the look but don’t want to invest heavily in your kitchen, cultured marble countertops may be just what you need. Just like marble, they look stunning and beautiful in a bathroom or kitchen. Due to their design and the manufacturing processes involved, cultured is a more durable option and should be expected to last for many years.
I see quartzite I like then I read online that they are soft. How does one know if a particular product is hard or soft. Is a hard quartzite as durable as granite?
I really like the look and feel of cultured marble. What I don’t understand is why quartz a similar product made with a polymer resin and stone dust is preferable in the kitchen to cultured marble. Aren’t they essentially the same process and product? I’d like to use cultured marble in my kitchen but can go with quartz. It not the cost of the product but my preference. Can someone explain?
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Updated: April 3, 2014