One of the best characteristics of marble countertop, is the diversity of colors and veining. Laminate and solid surface countertops all try to recreate the beauty of marble. Yet nothing is similar to the three-dimensional depth and richness of real stone.
Marble changes from its original form (in this case, limestone or dolomite rock) to marble under severe pressure and heat.
This means that marble’s recognizing feature – the veining – is the result of impurities in the original limestone. Under extreme pressure and heat, the original materials completely re-crystallize.
If you want to get the look but not the price and maintenance, a viable and cost-effective option is the cultured marble countertop. Crushed marble is combined with thermoplastic resin and molded into slabs.
Unlike natural marble, the resins in cultured marble lend non-porosity to the material. Cultured stone still can stain, but staining is far less likely to happen.Cultured marble countertops have a gloss or flat finish, and can come with integral sinks or allow for a drop-in sink.
- Fancy details: Marble countertops can have fancy ogee edges (as well as other profile styles), due to the softness and overall workability of marble.
- Cutting: If you have worked with marble tiles, for instance, they cut easier than granite, which is prone to chip more easily. Marble cuts like a dream. This allows for fancier design capabilities without the fear of damage, relative to other types of stone.
- Decent durability: Even with marble’s inherent “softness,” it is still hard enough to withstand high traffic.
- Resists heat: It is an ideal work surface. It is also heat resistance, lending itself well to kitchen use.
Natural materials usually come with more practical disadvantages than manmade materials. With the manmade materials, the bad things have been engineered out.
The disadvantages of marble are:
- Scratches: Scratches tend to be more of an issue with polished marble. As a natural mineral, there are varieties of marble with varying degrees of hardness, but scratches are a pretty common concern, particularly in kitchen applications.
- Stains: Due to its softness or porosity, it is also more of a pain to service since it just loves to stain. Certain foods, especially on the acidic side, can result in permanent stains. Sealing the marble countertop and keeping up with sealing on a regular helps mitigate staining.
- Repairs: Repairs on marble countertops are not simple, unless the countertop is marble tile. In the case of marble tiles, you simply replace the damaged tile. Replacing a marble tile individually, without affecting surrounding tiles, is a painstaking task that you may want to leave in the hands of professional tile installers.
Anyway, the concerns of scratching and staining can be addressed by taking a little more care with the surface, being careful not to use the countertop as a cutting surface, and sealing it regularly.
If you can discipline yourself to properly maintainthe marble countertops, then you can have the beautiful marble countertops that maintains its value, and adds equity to any home or office.