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Marble Kitchen Countertops

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Marble Kitchen Countertops

Marble Countertop Bathroom When you ask a countertop contractor about the wisdom of installing marble countertops, the typical answer is, “it depends on where you’re going to use them.” The general consensus is that marble makes a good surface for bathrooms, offices, fireplace surrounds and other locations where they don’t get heavy use. However, they are not recommended for the kitchen. Let’s take a look at the strengths and weaknesses of marble countertops and see if the opening premise holds up. Marble Countertops offer Spectacular Beauty The reason marble remains in heavy demand for countertops is its elegant good looks. This igneous stone comes in a wonderful display of color. Your choice of hues includes solid white, solid black and a range of variety colors in the rose, yellow, gray, green, white and black spectrums. No two slabs are alike, so you’ll be assured of having a unique countertop for your home. Marble Counters can Take the Heat Marble is heat resistant. In the kitchen, it stands up well to hot pans and pots. In the bathroom, a styling tool won’t mar it unless left on it hot for some time. It’s become popular for fireplace surrounds because it won’t yellow due to the heat and can withstand the occasional spark on its surface. Concerns about Marble There are two primary reasons that marble countertop installation is not recommended for the kitchen. These concerns are severe enough that some marble countertop manufacturers won’t warranty their counters if they are installed in the kitchen. The first concern is the porous nature of marble. It’s more porous than granite, so it more readily absorbs liquids. That means that oil, wine, juice and other spills penetrate deeper into the stone very quickly, and they are hard, if not impossible, to get out. Even in the bathroom, be cautious with things like nail polish, liquid makeup or remover that can stain the tops.  Marble’s natural beauty often leaves people undeterred by this eventuality, but fortunately there are sealers which are commercially available for the do-it-yourselfer, as well as professionals who can help. Marble can and should be sealed when installed and again every few years. However, if it is not done properly or often enough, staining is a “not if, but when” proposition.  While no products available on the market today offer a panacea, if you do accidentally stain or scratch your marble countertops, you do have some options. The second reason to be concerned about marble kitchen counters is that the material isn’t sturdy enough for the kitchen. Sharp knives can scratch the surface. Heavy pots or mugs may chip the marble or even break off a corner. These are the primary reasons some manufacturers won’t warranty marble countertops if used in kitchens and many countertop installers won’t install them. There are too many complaints from homeowners when their marble kitchen countertops stain, scratch, chip or crack. Conclusion If you love the look of marble – and it is beautiful – consider installing marble counters in locations other than the kitchen. They offer beauty and good longevity when they are treated with the care they require. Related posts: Pros and Cons of Granite Kitchen Countertops Pros and Cons of Concrete Countertops Pros and Cons of Wood Countertops Pros and Cons of Crushed Glass Countertops Pros and Cons of Slate Countertops Pros and Cons of Granite Bathroom Countertops
marble kitchen countertops 1

Marble Kitchen Countertops

When it comes to selecting kitchen countertops, classic white marble remains the top choice for many homeowners. It’s no surprise—the surface has been attracting fans for millennia. “It’s a natural material with great variety, depending on which species you select and how it’s cut,” says AD100 architect S. Russell Groves. “It creates a really lovely natural pattern, which you don’t get with a lot of artificial materials.”“You won’t find anything as white in nature as white marble,” adds Evan Nussbaum, a vice president at Stone Source in New York. “You just don’t get that color and kind of figuring in any other type of natural stone.”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. A nonfoliated 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. But as long as you choose carefully, know what to expect, and care for white marble countertops, they can be a beautiful, functional choice for your kitchen design that lasts a lifetime.VarietiesAlthough many people automatically think of creamy, white stone when they think of marble, “there are hundreds of varieties,” says Jason Cherrington, founder and managing director of the U.K.-based stone company Lapicida, including types that are taupe, green, gold, red, and black. For marble kitchen countertops, however, Nussbaum generally recommends sticking with white. Because acid etching leaves a whitish mark, it is much more noticeable on colored marble than on white marble. “We put a thousand caveats on any dark marble or nonwhite marble being used for kitchen countertops,” he says, “but it’s a personal choice.”While classic Italian white marbles like Calacatta and Statuario are generally excellent quality and a great kitchen idea, Nussbaum points out that equally high-quality marbles are available closer to home, including Vermont Danby and Colorado Yule.Selecting slabsEvery stone slab is slightly different, so it’s ideal to select the exact pieces of stone that will be used for your countertops. “There’s an art to marble—selecting the slabs and understanding where the veining is going to be located on the countertop,” says Groves. “You want to artfully place the markings so that it’s almost like a painting.”At the same time, it’s important to consider how different pieces come together. “The longer the piece you can get without any seams, the better,” says Groves. “If you do have seams, it’s always nice to book-match the marble,” so adjacent pieces have a mirrored appearance.PinterestFacebookA piece of Montclair Danby cross-cut marble. Photo courtesy of Stone SourceVeiningEvery quarry is different, but it’s possible to cut certain types of marble blocks two different ways to achieve unique veining patterns. Cross cut, or fleuri cut, results in stone slabs with “an open flowered pattern,” says Nussbaum, which looks fairly random and is ideal for book-matching. Vein cut, or striato, slices the block the other way to achieve a linear, striped appearance.“Designers have used both cuts to create some fantastic looks,” says Cherrington. “They may use vein cut on the wall and cross cut on the floor.”PinterestFacebookVein-cut marble results in a linear, striped appearance. Photo courtesy of Stone SourceFinish“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.”DetailsBesides its natural beauty, there’s a reason marble has historically been so popular for sculpture: It’s easy to work with tools. Add modern computer numerical control (CNC) milling machines to the equation and almost anything’s possible for kitchen decorating.There are countless edge profiles to choose from, but Groves prefers a simple eased edge, which takes the sharpness off a straight 90-degree corner. Cherrington points out that a bull’s nose, which has the profile of a half circle, is also a timeless favorite and functional winner. “Hard stones like marble are brittle, so if you hit a 90-degree corner with something hard, it will chip,” he says. “With a curve, it’s highly unlikely that it’s going to chip.”To give thin ¾-inch stone the look of a thicker slab, Groves says it’s possible to use a miter joint at the edge of the countertop to add a thicker face with an almost seamless appearance. “You can build up a really nice thick-looking piece without having to use a thick slab,” he says.It’s even possible to engrave the edge of a white marble countertop with a pattern of your choosing, says Cherrington, noting that Lapicida has developed marble tables featuring a carved brogue pattern on the edge in collaboration with designer Bethan Gray.PinterestFacebookA Carrara-top dining table by Lapicida features a carved edge. Photo courtesy of LapicidaMaintenanceFinishing marble countertops with a penetrating sealer is essential for long-term performance, says Nussbaum, “but not a magic bullet.” Acids will still etch the surface. Fortunately, if the countertop has a honed finish, an etched mark can usually be removed by scrubbing with a Comet paste using a Scotch-Brite pad, he says. If it’s a polished surface, it will require different abrasives and technical skill, which might best be left to a professional. If the marble does get a stain, it can often be removed with an alkaline poultice that gradually pulls the offending material out of the stone as it dries. But any of these interventions will also strip the sealer, he notes, so it needs to be reapplied after the repair.“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.”However, the best way to live with marble countertops may simply be to accept that they will patina over time. “If you’ve been to an old bakery or pizza shop and seen how white marble patinas, and like it,” says Nussbaum, “then it could be the perfect material for you.”

Marble Kitchen Countertops

Marble Kitchen Countertops
Marble Kitchen Countertops
Marble Kitchen Countertops

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