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Marble Countertops: Friend or Foe?

There’s no denying that marble evokes a sense of elegance and sophistication. In ancient Greece, temples to the gods were constructed of marble. The Romans built temples, cathedrals and sculptures in marble. Michelangelo’s famous statue of David was sculpted from a single block of marble. Marble has been a sign of wealth during the renaissance, Victorian era, and even today.

It’s no wonder that so many wish to bring the exquisite stone into their homes. The white appearance of marble can give a kitchen a clean aesthetic. Its beauty is timeless. But is a marble countertop right for your kitchen?

Granted, the use of marble can elevate the look of a kitchen and can last several lifetimes. The stone’s heat-resistant properties keep it cool, which can be beneficial if you’re making pastry dough. As a natural stone, each slab, and therefore each marble countertop will have its own unique characteristics and veining.

Despite its beauty, marble is a very porous stone. Without consistent diligence, it will be susceptible to staining and etching. Marble is a bit heavier than other natural stones, so the supporting structure will need to be able to accommodate the extra weight. Another drawback is that some fabricators won’t install marble countertops.

Historically, marble has been an expensive material, but in reality, the price is comparable to other natural stone materials. There are options when it comes to the quality and cost of marble. If marble isn’t in your budget, consider alternatives such as quartz. Quartz can resemble marble, has an assortment of veining options, and is much more durable.

Don’t think of marble as all or nothing. You can always use marble for an area of your kitchen you want to emphasize and use an alternative in high traffic areas. Otherwise, consider using marble for special accent pieces in your kitchen.

While marble is indeed porous, there are ways to try to prevent damage. A special sealant is available to coat and protect marble countertops. How often the sealant needs to be reapplied can vary from months to years. It will depend on factors such as the quality, where the marble was quarried, and how much the surface is used. Consult with the fabricator about your marble and spend some time doing research. For this reason, marble is considered a high-maintenance material.

Despite all its setbacks, it’s still a beautiful stone. If you want marble in your kitchen, get marble. Be diligent with the upkeep, and you can adore your marble’s elegance for decades to come. Otherwise, consider the accumulation of the inevitable scratches and stains on a well-loved surface as a sign of character with a lifetime of stories to tell.

Kirk Richardson
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