Okay, let’s talk marble countertops.  Should you or shouldn’t you?

There is a lot of conversation swirling around about whether or not to have marble countertops in your home.  I saw one instagram post that said “buy the shoes, eat the cake, and get the marble countertops”.   The designer was very sad that other designers were “scaring” people away from putting it in their homes, and that some installers were down right refusing to put it in.

While, I would not refuse to put marble in your home, I do believe it is my responsibility to properly educate you as the hazards of using it, specifically in the kitchen.  So, here goes…why would I recommend against marble countertops in a kitchen.

Marble 101

I am a huge proponent of using natural stones for countertops in your home.  I think anyone who thinks they can create a product better than Mother Nature is crazy – but that is just me.  That being said, the hierarchy of stones for your countertops is:

  1. Soapstone
  2. Quartzite
  3. Granite
  4. Marbles
  5. Travertine

Marble is a soft stone whose make up is calcium carbonate, which makes is very susceptible to staining and etching.  Acidic substances such as orange juice and lemon juice, tomato products, and red wine ( this is just a small portion of things that can damage it, but the most notable examples) react with the calcium carbonate and literally erodes the surface leaving. The result is staining and etching.  So, what is an etch vs a stain?

 Etching

Etching is a dull spot left on marble after a stain like red wine is wiped away.  It is not as noticeable on honed marble as it is on polished, but most of the time, you select polished when installing it in your home.  Etch marks typically look like dull spots or cup rings.  Note, I said this is the result if you pay attention and wipe it away pretty quickly after it has been spilled.

terravista, marble, kitchen, bathroom, countertop, remodel, renovation, new build, white, gray, stains, etching, quartzite

terravista, marble, kitchen, bathroom, countertop, remodel, renovation, new build, white, gray, stains, etching, quartzite

 Staining

A stain occurs when wine or any liquid absorbs into the stone creating a dark spot.

terravista, marble, kitchen, bathroom, countertop, remodel, renovation, new build, white, gray, stains, etching, quartzite

terravista, marble, kitchen, bathroom, countertop, remodel, renovation, new build, white, gray, stains, etching, quartzite

So, what probably happened is the substance first etched the marble, damaging the surface and leaving the more porous raw marble exposed which is more absorbent.

So, what has happened is the liquid etched your marble when it was spilled, causing physical damage to the stone and removing the smooth surface layer.   Please note, this has nothing to do with whether or not is sealed properly.  Sealing it will not prevent your marble from etching.

Because it was etched, the stone is now stained because absorption took place.  Now, sealing can help prevent stains from being permanent if caught in time.  But you do have to take care of them properly and timely.

Marble Not Recommended for Kitchens

I do not recommend marble for kitchen countertops because of the tedious maintenance issues and stains and etching left behind.  MOST of my clientele are not willing to live with the “European,  lived in” feel that the marks leave behind.  Loving the natural imperfections of stone is one thing, but a client typically want to know that what is installed is the way it will stay, as long as they only have to keep up with the sealing schedule.

I do prefer to steer my clients to quartzite for kitchen counters, because it has beautiful gray and white color selections and is much, much more durable.  It is also available in oversized slabs for the large islands that are trending now.  See this gorgeous Perla Venata Quartzite we are using in a kitchen remodel.

terravista, marble, kitchen, bathroom, countertop, remodel, renovation, new build, white, gray, stains, etching, quartzite

Perla Venata Quartzite on oversized kitchen island

terravista, marble, kitchen, bathroom, countertop, remodel, renovation, new build, white, gray, stains, etching, quartzite

Perla Venata Quartzite on oversized kitchen island

That being said, I love using marble for bathrooms, baking surfaces, and other areas that are not high traffic food, service, and entertainment surfaces.  And, if after all the strengths and weaknesses are explained, you still want marble, then I say go for it!  Because you are making an informed decision and taking on all liability with your eyes wide open.  🙂

Let us know if we can help answer any more questions you may have about the right countertop to use in your home, or any other projects you may be working.  Leave a comment or give us a call; we would love to talk to you!

Image Source for feature image: Aria Stone Gallery 

 

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