Marble is a natural material with a great variety of appearance that screams luxury. Classic white, and even lesser known black, marble countertops are hugely popular choices for many homeowners who are looking to update their kitchen with a classic and elegant feel.
What is Marble?
Marble is a rock formed by the metamorphism of sedimentary carbonate rocks. These are usually recrystallized carbonate minerals, mostly calcite or dolomite. Carrara marble is arguably the most popular choice for countertops and is quarried in the city of Carrara in Italy. Another marble quarried in the Carrara region is Statuary, which is typically brighter and more reflective than Carrara. Calacatta marble is rarer and more expensive than either Carrara or Statuary. It is quarried mainly in the Apuan Mountains of Carrara. Moving out of Italy, the true, black marble, Nero Marquina can be found in the Basque Country in Spain, specifically the Marquina region, hence the name. Crema Marfil is another marble quarried in Spain that is very common and readily available.
Pros of Marble Countertops
Marble looks extremely expensive and luxurious but can actually be less expensive than other natural stone countertops depending on the exact type and thickness of the slab.
Because of the natural metamorphic process that creates marble, it has a very distinctive look that is nearly impossible to imitate through synthetic means. This makes it perfect for homeowners looking to add a touch of character to their kitchen or bathroom.
Properly installed and sealed marble counters can last a lifetime if they are properly cared for and maintained. Because of this, they have an excellent return on investment.
Being a natural stone, marble is relatively resistant to scratching, although not nearly as resistant as other natural stones. It is also fairly heat-resistant. Marble won’t catch fire or burn, but it’s still best to preserve the finish by avoiding placing hot pots and pans directly onto the surface.
Cons of Marble Countertops
Marble is porous, which means oils and stains can seep into the stone and cause staining. However, if the counter is properly sealed and care is taken to clean all spills immediately, staining shouldn’t present any long-term issues.
Although natural stone is relatively durable, in general, marble is softer than other natural stones and is more prone to minor etching and scratching. Because of this, it’s important to use cutting boards and gentle cleaning materials to care for marble.
Although it’s affordable for natural stone, it’s still relatively expensive in the grand scheme of countertop material when compared to materials like tile, laminate, and wood. The expense of marble is also very dependent on the type of marble and the size of the slab. For example, a slab of Carrara marble is significantly less expensive than the same size slab of Calacatta marble.
Marble is a unique stone that can add a level of sophistication and luxury to any kitchen or bathroom. It has a distinct look not easily replicated, so, although the upfront cost may be more, the return on investment for marble countertop makes it an excellent choice.