Kitchen Marble Countertops: To Use Or Not To Use, That Is The Question
Some of the most beautiful kitchen countertops are created with Marble slabs. The classic color combinations and beautiful veining make the stone highly sought after. Traditionally, marble has been widely used in bathrooms and on furniture tops because of its delicate nature and artistic qualities. Since the Greek and Roman eras, marble has been known as one of the finest choices for sculpture and decoration with its relatively soft nature that is reasonably resistant to shattering. Perhaps one of the most unique characteristics of the stone is the soft way it reflects light. On a honed marble surface, the light is dispersed in a broad gentle spectrum creating a glow or waxy look. This effect gives the stone a life-like quality that enhances the value and reinforces why this stone has stood the test of time in the art and construction industries.
A popular choice for today's kitchen design is to use marble on either the counter tops, backsplash, or both. Marble feels smooth and creamy to the touch making it desirable in casual kitchens where the primary focus of the room is creating a social gathering place that's both comfortable and beautiful. The large-scale movement and veining in the stone is a nice compliment to the small-scale graining in wood cabinets. The organic movement of the veining offers a welcomed contrast to flooring that is geometric from tile or linear from wood planks. As opposed to the standard granite colors with small patterning of chips, marble brings a touch of whimsy and soft elegance to the kitchen through the asymmetrical veining and wide range of whites such as Carrara, Calacatta, and Danby, to name a few. Marble in any color, but especially white is considered high-fashion for the home and uniquely suitable in both traditional and modern styles.
Although marble is visually appealing in the kitchen it is high-maintenance because of the same characteristics that make it so desirable. The softness of the stone makes it more susceptible to staining and scratching, making it necessary to pay special attention to protect and clean the surface to keep it in optimum condition. Marble is not recommended for medium to heavy-use kitchens. With such a wide range of color, the stone hardness varies based on the geology of the rock. Relatively speaking, the lighter colors are "softer" and the darker colors are "harder". This means that the popular white marbles of today are on the softer end of the spectrum and requires more care and prevention to maintain their beauty. One of the more resistant white marbles that is more appropriate for the kitchen is Danby Marble, quarried in Vermont, USA. Danby includes several color variations including Montclair, Imperial, and Mountain White. Even though this family of white marble is more forgiving than the others, it can still be stained and scratched without the proper respect.
Another viable option for kitchen countertops is engineered marble. These surfaces have come a long way in providing the beauty of natural stone with the durability and hassle-free aspect that's desirable. The engineering process includes combining natural marble particles with fillers and polymers to enhance the quality of the stone. These hybrid tops are low-maintenance and more resistant to stains than natural marble.