Marble has always been regarded as a luxurious and expensive material. It has been used throughout history all over the world for building structures, walls, floors, monuments and works of art. Its beautiful colors and subtle vein patterns can enhance the beauty of any room.
This stone is so hardy that it is not only used indoors but outdoors as well. Builders have capitalized on marble’s elegance by using them in building floors, walls, ceilings and for decorative items. Homeowners can also enhance the elegance of their homes by using marble countertops.
As a result of our modern technological advancement, mining and processing marble became relatively easy. This stone is now more readily available to consumers. Although the stone is still expensive, it is now possible to build affordable marble countertops. You can enjoy the excellent qualities of marble, and the ease by which they are maintained. This stone is strong and tough and will resist stains, scratches and dents. Its solid density will not permit the intrusion of any type of liquid and dirt. If you take good care of your marble countertops you will surely be able to use them for years to come.
How Marble Is Different From Granite
For those who are granite countertops enthusiasts, a natural question will arise: What is the difference between granite and marble? Which one is better? The answers to these questions are quite revealing. Marble and granite are both natural hard stones but they have a number of distinct differences. You must consider these differences when choosing the type of countertop you will install in your home.
Although both stones are hard, granite has a greater density per square inch than marble therefore it is harder. The greater the density, the greater is the resistance to scratches, dents, heat and stains. However, the stone with lesser density is more flexible, easier to work with, and will allow more intricate designs to be incorporated into the stone. Marble’s flexibility makes it more applicable for making delicate items like decorative vases, bathroom vanity tops, fireplace mantels, and elegant countertops.
To compensate for marble’s lower density, there are new formulations of sealants and surface treatments that are being developed that will offer increased protection on the marble countertop surface. It is now possible to protect marble from cracks and chips that were difficult to solve in the past. So, the question as to which stone is best will depend on how you intend to use your countertop.
Types Of Marble
There are basically two types of marble being used to make marble countertops.
• Natural marble – this is the naturally occurring stone that is mined and quarried in different places around the world. It is a metamorphous rock consisting of compacted limestone or dolomite. This natural stone is available in different colors with varying hues. There are lighter shades of colors of marble which includes white, yellow, orange, pink and beige. There are also darker shades such as brown, red, black, gray and burgundy. Vein patterns are also present in each slab, but unlike granite, they are more subtle. Natural marble is more porous than granite therefore you need to adequately seal and laminate its surface to protect it from stains, scratches and dents.
• Cultured Marble – this is a good alternative to natural marble. It mimics the colors and vein patterns of marble. This is an engineered stone since it is designed and produced by man. The components of cultured marble are crushed natural marble, polyester, resins, calcium carbonate and other materials. These materials are mixed together and poured into molds that contain the final shape of the countertop. The resultant countertop surface has a uniform consistency which is totally impervious to water and dirt. Depending on the ratio of their components marble countertops made of cultured marble can even be stronger than natural hard stone countertops.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Marble Countertops
There are certain advantages to using marble countertops and there are also a number of downsides to it.
- Natural marble is very expensive. On the other hand, having marble countertops in your premises will definitely increase the value of your home.
- The strength and hardiness of natural and cultured marble will enable you to use it for years.
- Marble is resistant to stains, scratches, dents and heat. But you need to periodically seal the surface to protect it from stains and the elements. Using cultured marble will eliminate the need for periodical sealing because of its highly dense solid structure.
- Cultured marble is stronger and less prone to stains compared to natural marble but it lacks the feel of real marble.