You’ve been thinking about getting a new countertop for a while now and have been looking around at your different options. The alternatives to marble such as quartz, granite and even laminate surfaces all have one thing in common.
They are trying to match its’ unmistakable elegant beauty. Marble countertops can be considered to be the Cadillac of counters. It also comes with its own set of pros and cons as you’ll see below.
Marble begins as a metamorphic rock. This means that it starts out in a sedimentary form as dolomite or limestone rock and once it has been subjected to severe heat and pressure it turns into a beautiful stone. The change comes about due to the impurities found in the original dolomite or limestone rock.
When subjected to heat and pressure, the materials crystallize. As a stone that contains calcium carbonate, the purest that you can find is completely white. Think of the statues that artists created back in the Renaissance. This pure stone was used for the carving.
Marble slabs for your counter
There are many reasons why you may want to choose a it to adorn your counter but at the same time there are just as many or more reasons why you may want to explore your other options. In order to help guide you with your search, we have put together a complete list of the advantages and disadvantages that you can expect as a marble owner.
More design capabilities - If you have a counter that requires more than the usual fabrication efforts, you may want to turn to marble. Not every countertop has a strict rectangular shape. It is softer to work with than many other common stone slabs that are used for a counter. As a result, the overall workability of it is much better. It should also be considered if you’re looking for fancy edges or other extra fabrication perks.
When compared to granite, for example, marble is a dream to work with. With granite, it’s very difficult to cut the stone without chipping it and causing damage.
Classic beauty - This is by far its best feature and the reason why many people will not settle for anything less. If you’re looking for a white countertop, it will be hard if not impossible to find one that is as bright in quartz, soapstone or granite.
Naturally cool - If you do a lot of baking, you’ll absolutely love working with marble countertops! It stays cool naturally and is not a big heat conductor.
Heat resistant - It’s one of the best work services you can find for a kitchen. It is heat resistant but like quartz and granite, you should never place a pot that comes directly from the stove on it.
Durable - Although it is a soft stone, it is quite durable. It’s a porous material though so if you’re looking for something that is dense and can take a lot of bumps and bruises, you may want to consider quartz as an alternative.
Easy to find - Sometimes it can be difficult to track down the right granite or quartz slab that would be perfect for your kitchen. Marble, on the other hand, is widely available and can be found quite easily in most stone yards or fabricators. This means less wait time for you, in most cases, to get the right stone delivered and put in its rightful place on your kitchen counter.
As with a Cadillac that burns a lot of gas and is more expensive than other cars, there are some disadvantages associated with marble that you should be aware of.
Stains and scratches - Since it is a softer stone, you can expect to see more stains and scratches appearing on the surface. If you are willing to embrace a natural patina that will develop over time, this won’t be an issue for you. As far as stains go, marble does not react well with acidic foods. Some etching on the surface may develop when acids are allowed to come in contact with it. Sealing can help with stain control but doesn’t help all that much with etching.
Maintenance - Staining can be mitigated as long as you faithfully seal the countertop on a regular basis. It’s recommended that the surface be sealed at least once a year but if you cook a lot you’ll probably need to do it more often. This means that you’ll constantly have to be on the lookout for wear and tear on the sealed surface and be ready to apply another coat at any time. Once a marble counter becomes stained, it can be considered to be permanent.
Repairs - If you have a countertop consisting of marble tiles, there’s no problem with handling any repairs required. It’s simply a matter of replacing the damaged tile with a new one. This will need to be done by a professional though to retain the integrity of the tiles that are surrounding the damaged one. If, however, you have a slab, it’s difficult to fix any damage to get the countertop backup to its original beauty.
Is marble the right choice for you?
It all depends on the type of household you have, how much maintenance you are willing to put into your countertop and whether you feel that there is nothing else that would really make you happy. You will have to be prepared for the maintenance required to keep your countertop looking shiny or be willing to accept the natural patina that will develop through normal household use.
For many people, it’s marble or nothing. The beautiful marbling effect cannot be found in any other type of stone. It’s a deep rich natural stone that has its own type of story to tell, making it the true Cadillac when it comes to kitchen countertops.
Updated: April 1, 2014