By Meg Escott
Here's my marble countertop review which includes a run down of the properties and pros and cons of marble countertops. We'll also look at whether or not a marble countertop is right for your home.
This page is part of the countertop designs series.
This marble countertop reivew wouldn't be complete without going into the properties of marble in more detail...
Aesthetic choice - The reason marble remains in heavy demand is its elegant good looks. This igneous stone comes in a wonderful display of colors and a variety of unique textures. There are no two marble countertops that look the same. Marble is divided into different grades based on how clean the stone is from veins, lines and spots. Usually, the lower grades of marble have more lines running through them. There is also a cheaper version of marble and is called cultured marble, which is made by mixing marble dust with plastic.
Seams - Seams will always technically be visible due to the texture of the stone. Veins run through each stone in a unique way so matching and joining two pieces of stone together without a visible seam is a tricky business.
One thing you can do with marble is use a book matching technique for the seams, making a feature out of the seam.
Darker stones with smaller patterns, will have less visible seams than lighter stones.
Stain resistance - Marble countertops are porous so proper sealing for the countertop is absolutely essential. Citrus juices, coffee, or alcohol (ie that red wine you love to sip while you're cooking) will etch or dull the marble surface. Avoid ring marks left by drinking glasses by using coasters. Protect your marble countertop by using mats under hot dishes and wipe spills up immediately.
Heat resistance - Marble has great heat resistant properties. It can stand up well to hot pans and pots it won’t yellow due to the heat. Heat resistant properties make marble a great choice for kitchen countertop that will surely last a long time.
Scratch resistance - In itself, marble is not a really strong material and being very porous as well makes it pretty fragile. Sealing is required to keep those scratches off the surface of the stone itself. In addition, corners of the countertop can be weaker areas as well and a cause for chipping and even cracking.
Cleanliness - As already said, marble is very porous so it has to be professionally sealed before use as it does stain easily. Once your countertop is sealed, it is relatively easy to keep clean. However there are some simple guidelines that you should follow to prolong the glowing look of your marble. Clean marble surfaces with marble soap or a mild dish washing liquid soap with warm water; also, thoroughly rinse and dry marble countertop after washing. Do not use vinegar, lemon juice, bathroom cleaners, grout cleaners, or tile cleaners on marble surfaces, as this will dull the natural stone.
Cost - Marble starts at around $60 and can go up to $200 per square foot installed.
Cultured marble would be less than this.
Comes in a variety of colors and patterns, smooth surface, won't chip or dent, heat-resistant.
Expensive, can be scratched or etched by acids (citrus, coffee, alcohol, some cleaning products) even if you seal it. But if you are vigilant about spills and seal your counters a few times a year (you can do this yourself with a simple spray product) marble is a good option.
We'll finish off this marble countertop review by going over some observations to help you decide whether or not this countertop is right for your home.
If marble is in your budget, there’s no denying that it’s one of the most beautiful countertops around.
Marble also covers the ‘green’ base. It’s an eco-friendly material and the processes that bring it from the quarry to your kitchen or bathroom are not harmful to the environment.
Once you’re satisfied you can afford it, the main questions to ask are about keeping your marble countertop in pristine condition.
If you have kids they probably won’t be as quick as you to wipe up any spills that might lead to stains. Do you want another thing to be on at your kids about?
You’ll also need to ensure that the marble is sealed and polished when necessary to keep it looking top notch.
So that concludes my marble countertop review. I hope you've found it useful. See below for more countertop material reviews.
For more information try the Natural Stone Institute.