Our Complete Guide to Marble Countertops

Marble countertops are still a popular choice for many homeowners. White marble is especially coveted because you won’t find such a clean and crisp white in any other natural stone.

Although marble is a classic building material, it never goes out of style. Plus, it will make your kitchen look elegant and classy. In fact, when you select a marble countertop, you can be assured that your kitchen will have a totally unique look.

Where Does Marble Come From?

Marble is a natural stone made of calcium carbonate (calcite) or magnesium carbonate (dolomite). It’s a metamorphic rock created by the earth’s fusion of both heat and pressure producing a hard and durable stone.

What Are The Pros And Cons Of Marble Countertops?

There are many advantages to installing a marble countertop in your kitchen and not too many cons.

Advantages Of Marble Countertops

Here are just some of the advantages of marble countertops.

  • You kitchen will be unique and like no other in the entire world.
  • Marble is highly heat resistant.
  • Installing a marble countertop will greatly increase the value of your home.
  • Marble is highly durable and resistant to scratches and chips.
  • Marble is naturally cool to the touch so it’s a perfect surface for rolling pastry.
  • It’s widely available from most stone fabricators.

Disadvantages Of Marble Countertops

There are a few distinct disadvantages to marble countertops that you might want to consider.

  • Acidic foods can etch the marble. If your marble countertop is made from magnesium carbonate, then it will react to any type of acid liquid that you might spill on it. This includes vinegar and lemon juice. The acid will etch or “eat away” the top of the stone. This will leave the surface a little dull. However, if your countertop is white marble, this won’t be as noticeable as it would on a darker marble.
  • Because marble is quite porous, it can also stain quite readily, Therefore, it’s necessary to add a sealer to the surface to stop foodstuffs from seeping into the stone. You should note though, that a sealer will not prevent etching from acidic foods.

Colors And Patterns

Marble countertops are available in a huge range of colors and patterns. Colors can include black, gray, white, gold, blue, green and rose. Here are just a few common marble colors:

  • White or Blue-Gray Carrara from Italy
  • Green Connemara from Ireland
  • White or Blue & Black Creole from Georgia, USA
  • Pink, Salmon or Rose Etoway from Georgia, USA
  • White Murphy from the USA
  • White Parian from Greece
  • Gray/Brown Purbeck from the UK
  • White Ruskeala from Russia
  • Yellow Sienna from Italy
  • Swedish Green from Sweden
  • Vermont White from Vermont in the USA
  • White Wunsiedel from Germany
  • White Makrana from India

Different Types Of Marble

Did you know that there are different types of marble. Generally, these come from different regions and quarries around the world. Let’s explore these further.

1. Carrara Marble

This marble comes from Carrara in Italy. It’s a naturally white stone that generally has gray and blue veins. It’s quite cost-effective as far as marble goes and also highly durable.

2. Calacatta Marble

This also comes from Carrara in Italy. It’s a little pricier than Carrara marble. Commonly, it comes in white with dark veins. However, it’s also available in gold and gray tones.

3. Statuary Marble

Similar to Carrara marble, this has a natural glossy finish.

4. Levadia Black Marble

This is a Greek marble with a milky appearance. It features smoky white veins for a more distinct look.

5. Yule Marble

Yule marble comes from Yule Creek in Colorado. It’s a classic white marble.

6. Danby Marble

Danby marble is quarried in Vermont in the USA. It’s also less porous than other marbles.

Different Finishes For Marble Countertops

As well as a variety of colors and patterns, marble countertops are also available in different finishes. The most popular finishes are polished and honed.

1. Polished

This gives the countertop a glossy finish. To produce the glossy finish, the marble is sanded and buffed. This type of surface is most susceptible to staining and scratching.

2. Honed

A countertop with a honed finish will have a more matte appearance. With this type of finish, it’s far less noticeable if your marble become etched from the accidental spill of acidic foods.

3. Leather

This is the preferred finish for darker marble. It gives the surface some texture in order to hide scratches and fingerprint. It still has a slight gleam to it.

Marble Quarries Can Use Two Different Types Of Cut

It’s important to note that not all marble slabs are cut the same way. Some quarries may cut the marble slab in two different ways.

1. Cross Cut

This produces a slab with an open pattern resembling floral-type swirls. The pattern in these type of slabs can be quite random.

2. Vein Cut

By slicing the block of marble the other way, you’ll get a slab with a more striped appearance. The pattern in the slabs is more vein-like.

It’s quite important to take note of this because you may have to choose more than one slab to complete your kitchen countertops. Therefore, you’ll have a seam where the two pieces are joined.

You want to match the slabs of marble as closely as possible so the finished product looks uniform and pleasant.

Marble Countertops Can Also Have Different Edge Finishes

Although marble countertops can have a variety of different edge finishes, the most durable is a curved or bull-nose edge. This eliminates the possibility of the edge chipping if it’s accidentally hit by something hard.

For those a little more adventurous and with a decent budget, you can even have a pattern carved into the edge of your countertop.

Average Cost Of Installing Marble Countertops

The average cost of a marble countertop can range from $50 to $170 per square foot. Installation can set you back another $25 per square foot if you go with a licensed countertop professional.

A reliable and trustworthy marble installer should be able to give you a breakdown of the cost of the marble itself and the installation.

Of course, if you choose a slab with an intricate pattern, you’re likely to pay more.

Marble vs Granite: What’s The Difference?

Both marble and granite are natural stone. Therefore, they have a lot of similarities. They’re both fairly durable and will give a unique look to your kitchen.

However, there are some notable differences between the two that you might want to consider.

1. Appearance

Marble has a more veined appearance whereas granite is more flecked. But of course, this can depend on the actual slab and how it’s cut.

2. Staining And Absorption

Although marble is a highly durable stone, it can be more porous than granite. Therefore, it’s more susceptible to staining especially from acidic foods. Both marble and granite will require a sealer to protect the surface. However, the sealer on marble should be re-applied twice a year, whereas the granite sealer can last for 1 to 3 years.

3. Heat Resistance

Generally, granite is more heat resistant than marble. However, it’s important not to place hot pots and pan on either as this may scratch the surface.

4. Durability

Granite is a harder stone than marble. Therefore, it’s slightly less resistant to damage from cutting implements.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Is marble a good choice for kitchen countertops?

Yes, marble is still a popular choice for kitchen countertops.

Can you put hot pans on marble?

Generally, it’s safe to put hot pots and pans on marble. However, the marble is more likely to get scratched if you do this so it’s better to play it safe and use a trivet.

At what temperature does marble crack?

Marble will potentially start to crack at around 329 degrees Fahrenheit.

Is there a difference between a crack and a fissure in marble?

Absolutely, a crack can occur when marble has been dropped or generally mishandled. However, a fissure is a naturally feature in the stone itself. These don’t detract from the beauty of the stone but rather, add character.

Final Thoughts

If you’re thinking of installing a new kitchen countertop, you can’t go past marble. Not only is it highly durable but it will give your kitchen a distinctive, classy look.

Marble is quarried from various parts of the world producing a variety of different colors and patterns. But, white marble is still the most popular and adds an elegant touch to your kitchen.

Apart from the color, you also have different patterns and finishes to choose from. This gives a huge choice when deciding which piece of marble you want displayed in your kitchen.

Just remember that marble is fairly porous. Therefore, your countertop will have to have a sealer applied to protect the stone. This may have to be refreshed around twice a year.

But apart from this necessary maintenance, marble is still a beautiful and unique choice for any kitchen countertop.

Have you installed a marble countertop in your kitchen? Please share your experiences with us in the comments below.