Like granite, marble is a natural stone and exists throughout the world. When
polished and fabricated, marble is brilliantly beautiful. Unlike granite which has
a "sprinkled pattern", marble features an "elegant swirled pattern". Both natural
stones create a gorgeous upscale appeal when used as a kitchen or bathroom
countertop. Marble also makes a royal statement as a floor tile.
It is important to note that although granite and marble share similar traits of
beauty and durability, marble is softer, more porous and is more vulnerable
to scratching and staining versus granite. Marble is also less resistant to heat.
It is therefore less practical as a kitchen counter top and more suitable as a
bathroom vanity countertop.
Marble is A Natural Piece of Art.
Marble quarries exist in almost all areas of the world. Hardness, patterns and
color vary depending upon the quarry. Italian and Chinese variations are among
the most prized, and usually the most expensive. No two slabs of marble will
ever be identical in pattern although slabs cut from the same block of marble
will have a similar and complementing pattern and color. Each piece is therefore
considered a unique piece of art, so your marble counter top will aways be
unique unto itself. Be assured that regardless of quarry source, marble adds an
elegance that will impress.
Strength and Durability of Marble.
When marble is properly sealed and maintained, it will sustain its brilliance for a
lifetime. That's what makes it long-lasting investment. In fact, ancient civilizations
used marble in statues and architecture that is still standing today.
Marble is resistant to scratching, but it will scratch if abused. Although it is hard,
it is porous and susceptible to staining. That's why it must be properly sealed not
only after installation, but resealed at least annually.
Although marble is fireproof and heat resistant, extreme heat from hot pots and
pans can damage the countertop surface. Always use a mat placed between the
hot object and the marble surface. Extreme heat can discolor the marble and the
only option may be to replace the countertop.
Marble is a very hard stone so it would take a great deal of force to break or
crack. However, since marble is an expensive investment, one should always be
careful. Occasionally the sealant should be stripped and re-sealed by a trained
professional. When properly maintained, marble will last almost forever.
Fabricating and Installing Marble Countertops.
Unless you are skilled and well-experienced in installing marble counters, it is not
a do-it-yourself project. Slabs of marble are costly and if you expect an installation
that is a mark of elegance and distinction, hire a licensed and skilled marble counter
top installer. Kitchen cabinets and bathroom vanities must be reinforced to carry
the weight of marble. The size of a marble slab must be considered to minimize the
joining seams. Your style of sinks, faucets, cooktops and similar must be identified
to insure the accuracy of cutouts and hole drilling.
A knowledgeable marble countertop contractor will help preplan the project to conserve
costs while attaining superior results. Visit a countertop showroom to view example
installations and sample marble slabs. An interior designer that specializes in designing
kitchens and bathrooms can not only help conceive a proper design but can point-out
all factors that must be considered before beginning the project.
Cost of Marble Countertops.
A turnkey cost of a marble counter including marble slab, fabrication and installation
is similar to that of granite which can cost from about $60 to well over $100 per
square foot. Quarry source of the marble, thickness of the slab, shape of the counter,
and number of precision cuts will impact final cost.
Sealing and Caring For Marble.
Marble must be sealed by the contractor at original installation and should be resealed
at least once annually by a professional. Marble is porous and once the seal has worn-
off, it is more susceptible to scratching and staining.
Exercise proper care by wiping spills immediately. Particularly spills from acidic liquids
because they will etch into the surface. As added insurance, use protective mats and
coasters when setting beverages and cooking ingredients on the surface. Cleaning is
easy. Wipe the counter top with lukewarm water with a soft cloth or non-abrasive
sponge. A damp chamois is ideal.
Over time a marble top can become dull. By applying a coat of colorless wax on darker
hues of marble, luster will return and the wax will help prevent staining. Do not use
wax on white marble. It has a tendency to cause yellowing. There are commercial
marble cleaners available. Ask your installer contractor for recommendations. Deep
scratches and embedded stains may require the services of a professional to restore its
original luster and brilliance.
Marble Countertop Contractors