Marble Kitchen Countertop
Marble is a luxurious surface that lends warmth and sophistication. Its price tag, comparative softness and susceptibility to stains mean it's not always used throughout the kitchen. Instead, many homeowners choose to install it on an island or separate baking center to both lower the cost and reduce wear and tear. Rich with crystals and color variations, marble comes in a variety of shades, including white, cream, black, green and pink.
What is it? Marble is a metamorphic rock (was once one form of rock but has changed to another) containing crystallized limestone.
This honed marble slab, quarried in Vermont, is one of the densest white stones available. With proper maintenance, the countertop will lend beauty to the kitchen for years to come. (Shown: 11/4” slab, Calacatta Mist). Photo courtesy of Arizona Tile
Honed marble countertops turn an island into a stunning showpiece. Marble lends itself to virtually limitless edge profile options. (Shown: 1 ¼” slab, Carrara). Photo courtesy of AKDO
Considerations When Choosing Marble Countertops
Thickness, Overhangs and Edges. Countertop thickness ranges from a three-quarter inch to an inch and a quarter (preferred). Standard overhang is one inch to an inch and a half. Edge options range, though straight remains the most popular.
Marble Types. Carrera is a white or blue-gray marble with soft veining. It lends old-world charm. Calacatta/Calcutta is white with more distinctive taupe veining.
Forms. Marble counters can come as slabs or tiles.
- Slabs. Marble slabs offer a solid and seamless look. If your counter is curved or arched, a seam will be required.
- Tile. If you love the look of marble but find its cost prohibitive, consider more affordable marble tiles. An added benefit: You can save the excess tiles after installation is complete, and in the future, if the countertop becomes stained, the damaged tile can be replaced.
Care and Maintenance. When it comes to keeping marble countertops looking new, a little prevention goes a long way: Place trivets under hot pots and pans, set coasters under glasses, use cutting boards when slicing food and wipe up any spills immediately. Marble is prone to etching, so be especially careful with acidsthat means pour orange juice carefully and don't wipe down the counters with vinegar.
Wipe the countertop with a soft cloth and warm water daily. Mild household cleansers are suitable, but you can also find cleaning products specific to marble. Certain oils and acids can stain. Marble should be resealed periodically.
In general, embrace the patina and minor imperfections marble countertops gain over the years.
The Bottom Line. Marble is a luxurious surface that lasts a lifetime. While pricey and not the most durable choice, the smooth and cool surface is an excellent choice for a baking center or pullout slab.