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Should we use marble in the kitchen?

When it comes to selecting kitchen countertops, classic white marble remains the top choice for many homeowners. It’s no surprise that marble countertops are so popular. The beauty, warmth, and character of a natural stone get most people every time. However, they usually chose marble over quartz for two main reasons: the look and the price. Marble is beloved as a timeless and classic material, adding a note of luxury to any room.

S. Russell Groves says “It creates a really lovely natural pattern, which you don’t get with a lot of artificial materials.”

 

The pros and cons of marble counters

But it’s not a perfect product. While good-quality marbles, such as the world-famous products from Carrara, Italy, are dense and relatively nonporous—which makes them durable and stain-resistant—they also have weaknesses.

Quartz is a man-made product that is non-porous (so stains cannot set into the stone) and incredibly durable – basically scratch proof. Granite (the other top countertop material) is not as durable as quartz, but is still more stain and scratch resistant than marble. Marble is porous, no foliated metamorphic rock, marble is generally composed of calcium carbonate (the same ingredient used in antacids such as Tums) or magnesium carbonate, which react to acids. An acidic kitchen liquid like lemon juice or vinegar will etch marble, leaving a dull, whitish mark where it has slightly eaten away the surface, even after the marble has been sealed. And softer than granite or quartz, allowing scratches and chips. If you have marble countertops in your kitchen, make sure you use cutting boards and lots of care when preparing acidic foods like tomatoes or lemons, as these can react with the marble and leave it etched. It’s not heat resistant, it etches easily, and it can chip if you accidentally whack, a heavy stockpot against it.

But the good news? Marble has plenty of pros. Marble is heat resistant, but to help keep a marble countertop looking its best, experts say piping hot pots and pans should be placed on top of a kitchen towel, pot holder, or trivet. Also, sealing a marble countertop on a yearly basis will help it resist stains and light scratches.

part of marble’s charm is the patina it takes on over years of use—after all, the look of marble that we prize so much arises because of imperfections.

 

 

Don’t worry! there is Marble Finishing methods

The good thing about marble is that you can always sand it down or polish it again,” says Groves. “With a lot of other materials, once you damage it, you can’t do that.” “The whole stone industry has been going through a massive wave of technology, and it’s transforming the product,” says Cherrington, noting that there are now more ways than ever to finish stone, including different brushing and polishing techniques. An orange-peel-like texture is possible, he notes, which “might be called a leather, brushed, or river-wash finish.”

But the most popular choices remain polished, which looks glossy, or honed, which appears matte. For homeowners concerned about acid etching, Nussbaum recommends a honed finish. “On a polished finish, etching is going to turn it dull and be more visible,” he says. “With honed, you’re dulling an already dull finish, so it disguises it.”

However, the best way to live with marble countertops may simply be to accept that they will patina over time.


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