Marble has been part of the history of humankind since ancient times. People use it for a wide variety of things, from huge monuments to chess pieces. Sculptors used only pure white marble to carve statues, while architects rejoiced in colored marble and veining. It is not surprising that it has made its way into the home by way of bathroom and kitchen countertops.
Back in the day, however, only the rich could afford to have marble in the home because it was notoriously difficult to quarry and transport. Today, that is no longer the case. Advances in quarry and transportation technologies have made true marble much more affordable. Contracting a reliable supplier to install marble countertops in your home is often just a phone call away.
The lure of marble
The best thing about marble is the way it looks. Though it is a natural rock, it has a soft, luminous glow that gives the impression of elegance and sophistication. Despite that, it is quite durable, able to withstand the elements quite well. It also improves with age, as the patina deepens over time.
The most recognizable feature of marble is the visible vein patterns. The color ranges from white to black, but in any of them, there is a distinct tracery of veins, usually white to gray. These are actually impurities in the stone, but they are a fortunate accident.
Many products have come into the market attempting to recreate the look of marble at a fraction of the costs. These include solid surface and laminate countertops. While these are attractive in their own way, there are nothing like the real thing.
In addition, laminate only has a thin layer of material to represent marble over a base material that does not have anything like the durability of stone. That makes a big difference when you use it as countertops for kitchens and bathrooms.
The only copycat that comes close to the deeply rich glow of marble is quartz stone. Engineered quartz can mimic any type of stone because it is manmade. However, it is generally more expensive than true marble, so it makes more sense to go for marble.
Benefits of marble
There are many benefits to marble countertops aside from its beauty and elegance.
- It is easy to add detail
- Marble is a relatively soft stone, which is why sculptors favor it for craving out statues. Because of this work-ability, you can add elaborate details to marble countertops, such as complex edge profiles. This makes it a favorite with fabricators as well!
- It is not as brittle as granite
- Granite is a wonderful material for kitchen countertops because it is beautiful in its own way, and it is extremely durable. However, this
durability means it is difficult to cut. It is prone to chipping during fabrication. In contrast, marble cuts quite easily, so fabricators have no problems with cutting it into fancy shapes.
- It is quite durable and heat resistant
- Marble is soft relative to granite, but it is still quite durable. It weathers well outdoors, and can stand a lot of use in the kitchen and the bathroom. It also resists heat quite well, although not as well as granite. However, with proper use, it is a great material for both kitchens and bathrooms.
The problems of marble
Marble is a wonderful material, but it does have its drawbacks. It stains quite easily, and worst of all, it etches when exposed to anything with acid. Even standing water can leave its mark.
The reason behind these issues lies in the nature of marble. Marble is a natural stone, and all natural stones are porous to some degree. The composition of marble is mostly calcium carbonate, which is extremely reactive to acids, even weak ones such as vinegar and wine. The calcite content of marble also makes it relatively soft. As a marble countertop owner, you need to guard against:
These are physical signs of damage on the marble’s surface resulting from exposure to acid. There is a noticeable eating away of the marble in these areas. The best way to avoid this is to keep any type of acid away from marble. If you see etches anyway, you can remove minor ones with a fine-grit sand paper or with polishing powder. With more serious etch marks, you may need to get a professional to help you.
Any relatively sharp edge such as the bottom of a ceramic figurine drawn across the surface can produce a scratch on marble countertops. However, polished marble tends to show it up more than one with a honed finish, so that is something to keep in mind.
These are discolorations on the surface of marble countertop or slightly below it, but it is not a physical damage like an etch mark. The best way to prevent stains is to seal the marble regularly, and to wipe up any spills immediately.
Marble countertops are not for everyone, but when it is, it makes quite a statement. If you decide it is the perfect one for your bathroom or kitchen, get in touch with a reputable countertop company.
KNC Granite is a countertop specialist serving the areas of Baltimore, Annapolis, Bethesda, Rockville, Alexandria VA, Arlington VA, and Washington DC. KNC Granite has a large array of granite and marble slabs from which to choose. You can check actual slabs at our showroom in Lanham, Maryland.
Aside from natural stones, we carry some of the top brands of engineered stone, including Cambria, Caesarstone, Silestone, and MSI, all of which come with manufacturer warranties.
We do not only supply top-quality countertops, however. We are experts at fabricating and installing kitchen counters or bathroom vanities, and can provide you with good advice regarding integrated sinks. We also specialize in kitchen remodeling and bathroom upgrade projects, delivering on time and on budget.
Give us a call or email us for your free in-home consultation and quote.