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The Pros And Cons Of Marble Countertops
The statue of Abraham Lincoln in the Lincoln Memorial, Michelangelo’s David and Rodin’s Kiss have one thing in common – they are all made of marble. This crystalline limestone is renowned for its beauty, having been used by sculptors and architects since those disciplines began. Marble has generally been seen as a mark of luxury and wealth but recently it can be found in a less luxurious all too common place, a place often known as a workspace or gathering place – the family kitchen. As a source for countertops and backsplashes marble has been caught up in the natural stone trend led by old stand by granite. But can the material used by Michelangelo for his most famous sculpture stand up to the rigors of the family kitchen with our metal instruments and less then gentle cooking techniques? The answer is maybe, if its treated right.
Marble Countertop Pros
One pro to marble is one the artists and architects have known for centuries – it is simply gorgeous. There is something about those delicate veins of color and the stone’s smoothness to the touch that captures our attention. When people think of marble they most often picture a piece of white stone with grey or sandy colored veins snaking through it but marble comes in a variety of colors. Marble can be white, black, green, blue, beige and many other colors. It can be veined with many small streaks or a few large sweeping ones. Its variety means there is a marble that will suit any color palate.
Other positives of marble countertops include it looking better and not worse with an aged patina. While many other countertop options will show their age and look worse, marble looks just as good if not better as it ages. It is durable and, unlike laminate or wood, can with stand heat and water. Marble countertops are also easy to clean but not maintenance free.
Marble Countertop Cons
That maintenance is one draw back of this type of countertop. Marble might be easy to clean and gain a lovely patina with time but it is a natural porous stone, which means it can stain. It may be fine with water but other common substances like lemon juice, alcohol or oil, can stain the stone if it isn’t sealed regularly twice a year. It is the same for granite or soapstone, two other natural stone countertop options, which need to be sealed or rubbed with mineral oil regularly to keep them looking sharp.
And speaking of sharp, marble can be scratched if used as a cutting surface so if your family neglects using cutting boards you may end up with permanent scratches in your countertop. Soapstone and engineered stone both scratch but these scratches can be buffed or sanded out, unlike those in marble.
Many stone countertops are also heavy so the cabinets underneath may need to be reinforced. You shouldn’t just take off a light laminate and plunk a slab of stone down in its place or you may need to replace your cabinets whether you wanted to or not. Make sure you are dealing with an experienced, reputable installer who knows what reinforcing maybe needed. The last thing you would want is for your cabinets to start cracking and need replacing after you have installed your beautiful marble countertop.
Marble countertops will offer your kitchen a timeless beauty and elegance. Those things are what made the sculptors and monument builders rely on it for centuries. Stone has a natural beauty that is hard to find in manufactured surfaces. Countertops made from stone are not necessarily out of reach for many people now and granite has become standard in many homes. Upgrading to marble may be expensive but not necessarily that much more than other high quality stone surfaces. Glass and stainless steel countertops are easily just as costly if not more costly than marble. The veining and color of marble will give your kitchen a unique look that you won’t see in your friend’s kitchens even if they decide to go the marble route as well. If you love the look, can pay the price and are willing to do the maintenance and care required there is little to replace the look and feel of marble.