For centuries, marble has been a popular choice in home décor, not only for its unique and elegant appearance, but its durability. Marble is versatile, used for the kitchen or bath, and is revered for its brilliant white coloring. Although some types of marble are expensive, Carrara marble is an affordable option when compared to other natural stone choices.
However, marble may not the perfect choice for every household. It requires care to prevent etching and scratches, and requires some periodic maintenance.
If you picture your countertops remaining as pristine in future years as they were when they were installed, chances are that marble is not for you. Through the years, a marble countertop acquires a patina caused by exposure to daily wear and tear, which adds an aged or antique look to the stone. Although some people enjoy the natural changes in its appearance, others do not.
Our company has served Atlanta marble clients with expert craftsmanship for 10 years. Through our many installations of natural stone and quartz countertops, we’ve learned why marble is an excellent choice for some homeowners, and why others have decided on granite or quartz options instead.
Here’s a look at the lowdown on marble countertops.
Marble is a metamorphic rock, formed through very high heat and pressure. The minerals found in marble provide a variety of color and veining—white, green, gray, brown, and even salmon or rose—depending on what part of the world where it was quarried. The amount of veining and the size of the grain provides for marble’s unique variations in color. Some types of marble include:
- Crema Marfil, a light colored, warm beige marble, is found in Spain. Its neutral coloring makes it a favorite for decoration purposes.
- Fantasy Brown marble is a harder marble quarried in India, well-suited for kitchen countertops. Beautiful patterns of apricot, pewter or chestnut make it a popular choice for those who prefer marble, but want darker, richer colors.
- Carrara marble is favored for its dazzling white color, but there are also blue-gray variations. It is a high quality marble quarried in the city of Carrara, in Tuscany, Italy.
There are three types of finishes used on marble countertops, each with their own attributes. A honed or matte finish offers a soft appearance and will hide scratches. A polished finish will bring out the veining and color in the marble, and make it sparkle—but it will be show scratches more than a honed surface. On darker marble colors, a leather finish is preferred. It hides not only scratches but fingerprints as well.
Porous vs. Non-Porous
Natural stone, like marble or granite, is porous, meaning there are tiny holes in the stone that allow for air or liquid to pass through. If marble is not properly sealed, staining can damage the marble. Even if the countertop has been properly sealed, wine or some foods can leave a discoloration. To reduce the effects of staining, spills should be cleaned up immediately.
A marble countertop also requires periodic resealing during its lifetime. Check with your Atlanta marble professional to see how often your countertop needs to be resealed.