Marble countertops add a beautiful touch to just about any kitchen and fit well within a broad variety of home décor plans. Before adding these stone countertops to your kitchen and bathrooms, however, it's a good idea to fully understand the pros and cons of marble.
The Calcium Carbonate Composition of Marble
Marble products result from treating limestone with intense pressure and heat. This process brings out beautiful veins, colors, and patterns. Limestone and marble are made up of carbonate compounds, so they are susceptible to damage from acidic solutions.
When countertops are made of marble, many common foods, such as tomatoes and vinegar, can lead to damage. The best way to avoid these concerns is to limit interactions between the countertop and acidic products.
A Variety of Colors and Patterns
There are many options to consider when replacing existing countertops with marble. There are many colors and patterns available.
Some of the most common colors include white, black, beige, and pink. However, you could also choose green and red.
The most common color and design is a striking white with very few visible veins or colors. White is often chosen for its ability to brighten up the rooms and coordinate with other colors in the home.
However, black marble is also very popular, and colored marble has been used to add interest to many design schemes.
Polished or Honed Finishes
After choosing a color, you may have the option of choosing a marble finish that is either polished or honed. Polished marble countertops are very glossy and reflect a lot of light to brighten bathrooms and kitchen. This finish is best when the countertop is in a low-exposure area and where there's a low risk for spills.
Honed marble hasn't been polished and results in a matte appearance. When honed marble is chosen, it's often because homeowners prefer a natural look or because the stone will be exposed to products that will leave scratches or etching.
For example, marble countertops in kitchens are often exposed to foods with a high acid content, knives and other cutlery, and heavy traffic that could all leave behind evidence of wear and tear.
Crosscuts and Vein Cuts
When artisans cut marble slabs, they either crosscut or vein-cut the stone. The cross-cutting method is sometimes referred to as open-flower cutting.
The marble is cut in an angled direction and results in beautiful patterns of whirls and colors. A vein cut is made parallel to the veins of the marble, so the resulting pieces of stone have long, elegant lines of subtle coloration.
Once your beautiful marble countertops are installed, you'll need to commit to a new level of care and attention. For example, when cooking or preparing food on the countertops, be sure to have a clean rag for immediately wiping up any spills, especially if the foods or liquids have acidic content.
You can avoid many damages by laying down a protective cloth, a large cutting board, or a silicone mat. Protect the countertops with hot pads before placing hot pots and pans on the surface and use placemats and coasters when creating place settings for meals.
Spot cleaning should be done with caution. Consult a professional and effective marble polishing in your home.
Once a week, marble countertops should be wiped down with a damp cloth. Use cleaners that are meant specifically for marble when something more than water is necessary.
Also, check with manufacturers to determine how often marble should be re-sealed. Proper maintenance lengthens the longevity and beauty of each marble slab.
Marble countertops often come with a high price tag, but they offer a great return on that investment when treating well. Before you spend money on marble, make sure you understand what you're buying, how to choose a style you'll love, and how to properly care for your new countertops.