Marble 101: Advantages, Disadvantages, and How to Care For It
Let’s be honest here. Chances are you’re reading this because you love the look of marble but you’re absolutely terrified of damaging it. We totally get it, marble has acquired rap for being fragile and difficult to maintain. But don’t dismiss it too quickly! This beautiful stone can be best suited for some lifestyles.
Consider Your Lifestyle
When considering marble, like every other stone surface, we recommend you think about how you live your life. Do you always keep things neat and spotless? Would you say you’re a gourmet and prefer to spend more time in your kitchen than your family room? Do you have a home filled with children’s laughter (and the occasional kitchen disaster)? Do you thrive in chaos? Do you work a lot or have a busy life with little time in your kitchen?
These things matter when you’re thinking about which countertop will be best for your needs. That’s why our Stone Consultants will help you figure it out. We love all stone types equally! If you’re properly educated on how to be a responsible marble caretaker and combine that with the protective measures we take during fabrication, you will realize that marble is an enchanting surface worth a little more consideration. We hope you have your learning hats on, folks! Let’s dive in to Marble 101!
A Timeless Classic
Marble is a metamorphic rock , which basically means what it sounds like. It started out as one stone, and when put under certain environmental conditions changed into another. Without going deeper, marble is limestone that crystallized and was mined from the earth. Marble comes from all over the world, and several American quarries were used to construct the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC.
When we think of marble, we recall many words to describe it. Timeless. Luxury. Classic. There is a reason for that. The many varieties of marble provide us with subtle or dramatic veining, and a less “busy” background than some granite varieties out there. The reason engineered quartz companies try to replicate the beauty of marble is because most marble varieties work with neutral palettes and they age very well with kitchen trends as they emerge. Yet, try as they may, engineered quartz manufacturers haven’t fully captured the inner glow characteristic of real marble. Let’s continue detailing marble so you’re in the loop to make the best informed decision.
Marble slabs have a wide range between 100-138″ wide to 50-80″ tall. We utilize many stone suppliers to source your stone here in Indianapolis, and we will look for material in a pattern and size that will work best for your project. With any natural stone, there are natural characteristics such as fissures and pits that lend to your stone’s unique character; they cannot be removed or polished out. We will make sure you are able to view your material in person so you know exactly what will be installed in your space.
Marble pricing in the Midwest is comparable to all price tiers of other natural stones. There are patterns that start around the same price granite will, and it will slowly climb up towards a prestige level. Rest assured, there is a marble for every budget. When we estimate for any project, we consider the price of the material and all the optional fixtures and services your project needs for completion.
Here’s where things get scary and then we bring you back down with some solutions. Can marble stain? Yes. Unsealed marble is a very thirsty stone. However, Peak Stone Company seals every marble with an impregnated 15-year sealer to slow the absorption of liquids and provide extra stain resistance. Our sealer comes with a 15-year performance warranty to help put your mind at ease.
Does this mean you can leave a spill sitting for an hour on a properly sealed marble countertop? No. The sealer buys you enough time to clean up liquids without going into a panic because someone tipped a glass over. Make it a habit to always use a trivet or spoon rest while cooking to avoid issues. If you don’t get to a spill in enough time or missed a spot while cleaning, call us! We can talk you through a method using a stone poultice that will pull most marble stains right out.
The Cons of Marble
Can marble scratch? Yes, marble is softer than let’s say, a different type of stone like granite (that’s like comparing an apple to an eggplant, but here we are). Generally, it is about as hard as a copper penny. It is important to note that some varieties of marble like Fantasy Brown (this one is sometimes mislabeled as a soft quartzite) have better scratch resistance than a softer marble variety like Carrara, because they have quartz naturally present in their layered composition.
Our Greenwood showroom desk is made from Fantasy Brown marble, and it has weathered many raw edge granite samples being slid and dragged across its surface daily with no noticeable scratches. Are we going to recommend you do the same to your new countertops? Absolutely not. We just know this is a tougher variety of marble that can better resist scratching in comparison to other patterns. Regardless, put your cutting board to good use!
Can marble etch? Most definitely. The calcite content of marble makes it react to most acids and bases. Your finish can be damaged if they’re allowed to sit on marble tops for too long. On a polished marble, etching can resemble a water mark on furniture. As time passes, the area that was damaged can darken as the calcite reacts to the acid. Please clean acidic or alkaline spills up as soon as possible to prevent damage to your stone’s finish. If you do experience etching firsthand, we can easily make a repair call to your house with an etch remover/polishing compound to see if it can be removed.
The Pros of Marble
We admit, the possibility of etching is alarming to most folks. However, there is one very cool way of getting around some of the etching issues, by going with a honed or suede/leather finish on your marble. The matte finish is sought after by a lot of homeowners, and it can help camouflage citrus or tomato-related mishaps (the most common culprits for etching in a kitchen).
Next, we want to highlight a place where marble is exceptional. It has great heat resistance, much better than that of engineered quartz. Marble is a popular choice with folks who love baking. We still recommend using hot pads or trivets with any stone just to be safe.
If this still doesn’t have you convinced that marble can withstand your daily life, we will acquire samples you can use to test substances in your home that your tops would come in regular contact with, so you can be sure of what you’re getting before you commit.
Cleaning Your Marble
A few drops of dish-washing liquid (without bleach) diluted in warm water and soft cloth is what we recommend for everyday cleaning. For tougher jobs, we recommend using a cleaner made specifically for natural stone. Disinfectant wipes are also acceptable to use on sealed stone if you have bacteria concerns, just make sure you read the label carefully to avoid any mishaps.
If you get hard water scaling around your faucet, call us and we’ll talk to our Project Managers on the best way to handle removing it. We are always happy to coach you through cleaning procedures.
Do not use solvents, 100% bleach, or ammonia on your top. It can have an impact on your sealer and the stone.
Please wipe away oven cleaners and rinse the area with water as soon as they encounter your top to prevent damage.
Other Marble 101 Guidelines
Marble countertops will age, mellow, and develop a lovely patina over time. Patination is something to consider when you are making your decision.
Never sit or stand on a countertop because it can cause a stress crack or fracture. Stay safe and use a step ladder.
If you chip your countertop, please save the chip if you can so it can be included in the repair. Marble chips can be easily repaired. While the material will be stable and look better cosmetically, after any repair is performed, that portion of stone will never be as it was when the material was first installed.
Woohoo! You have completed Marble 101! Please know you are welcome to contact us before trying anything you’re unsure about with your stone top. Advice is always free, repairs come with charges!