SHOP PRODUCTS
Houzz Logo Print
mominthedubc

How do you like Marble Countertops?

15 years ago

We are thinking about possibly having a light marble countertop on our island; the base cabinet is black (espresso). The rest of the cabinets will probably be a light gray with a glaze and we are looking for a darker gray granite for those countertops (maybe blue pearl honed). How does marble hold up on a often used surface like an island?

Comments (32)

  • 15 years ago

    Search for threads about marble. This topis is already well covered. Not wanting to be rude, but I've answered the same question many times.

  • 15 years ago

    Here is a link to 16 pages of threads with various topics discussing marble. HTH!

    Here is a link that might be useful: marble discussions

  • Related Discussions

    How do you like your marble countertops?

    Q

    Comments (41)
    I often see posts about Carrera and Calacutta marbles --- has anybody done Crema Marfil? Is it really a "true" marble? I had a granite in mind for my master bath and there isn't enough of it. On my revisit to the stone yard I was once again attracted to the soothing qualities of crema marfil --- only a tiny bit of veining, very consistent, with once in a while fossils. It looks very pretty. My other granite choices just didn't seem to work as well with the fabrics and cabinets that I have in mind. The crema marfil would make a very monochromatic look, but it would allow my pretty windows to shine and would hopefully all just look pretty together. But, I came home, jumped on GW and saw so little about it that it worries me! Don't mean to hijack, I'm just hoping somebody has experience with this stone! Here is a picture of the combo --- the creamy color will be my cabinets, the dark brown paint and then the fabrics are window seat and window treatment. The little glass crackle tile would be periodic in the floor. I could do crema marfil floor tile as well, but again, not much info! BTW, kateskouros, if I had an island like your gorgeous island, I'd be propped up on it making margaritas!
    ...See More

    Do Any Of The Silestones Look Like Marble To You?

    Q

    Comments (5)
    I personally don't think that Ceasarstone and Silestone look anything like marble but I guess there are a lot of kinds of marble so I wouldn't know. I think that the two products are virtually the same and the choice comes down to color, availability and price. Depending on where you live, you may have better selection with one or the other, a good fabricator, or not.
    ...See More

    do you have marble and like it?

    Q

    Comments (25)
    I have it upstairs in the guest bath. I think it is so beautiful but I don't know that I would get it again. It's just too heartbreaking to think it won't always look just the way it did on the first day, it's been in for about 3 months. It's extremely gorgeous and I have already seen an etch just from water lying on it around where the faucets are. Just yesterday I put two more coats of sealer on it. I worried about that too if it would damage it or if I sealed in dirt or something. I don't think the fabricator put much sealer on it if any since it was a remnant and it just soaked it up like crazy. I didn't like doing it and don't look forward to the next time. It's a chemical and I had to use my hand to spread it around evenly after spraying it on. Maybe the next time I won't be so scared! The granite in our kitchen is easy to seal. It has so much pattern that it's forgiving and although it is a very light color too it's not as porous and has the pattern to hide any imperfections. I love my granite! I love to "look" at my marble!
    ...See More

    How do you seal your marble countertop??

    Q

    Comments (1)
    Hi lbrody.. I don't have a marble countertop, but I do have a marble backsplash..I sealed it with 511 sealer from Home Depot, as was suggested by my fabricator and my backksplash installer. Same product I used on my granite. Just wiped it on and then wiped off the excess. I was told once a year would be sufficient. KA:)
    ...See More
  • 15 years ago

    Please accept my apology. I didn't mean to be repetitious or annoying. Sorry and Thank you.

  • 15 years ago

    Marble is not generally recommended for countertops at all. Those that have them either don't use their kitchens a lot or are fine with the upkeep in sealing and the inevitable "patina" that develops from etching and the occasional stain that can results despite the sealing. Stains tend to show up more on white anything than dark anything. If you want info about it search for "marble stains" and "marble etching" or "marble patina" and "marble regret" on this forum. Honed marble and polished both etch but the honed makes the etching less noticeable. Some people love it with all its faults and many would never put it in.

    Sue

  • 15 years ago

    I second that - No, No, NO...
    Had a really bad experience in our previous rented home, and had to replace the marble island counter when we moved...ouch! All the other counters were granite, but the island is very convenient for prep-work and such. You have to be careful with turmeric and citrus fruits (never make lemonade on that counter!).

  • 15 years ago

    can't you have the marble resurfaced rather than tearing it out? Or does the etching go deep into the surface?

  • 15 years ago

    some people really, really love it. it depends on how comfortable you are with patina. think of all those Parisian cafe table tops.

  • 15 years ago

    Yes, you can easily have marble resurfaced, either professionally or you could do what I do, which is pass some fine grit paper over the surface every six months or so.

  • 15 years ago

    I am a fabricator and installer and NEVER recommend marble countertops (especially light colored) for the kitchen especially. Looks great in the Pottery Barn catalogue but very impractical due to staining and etching. We use a 15-year Stain Proof sealer, however, it does not do anything for the etching or discoloration. Most fabricators will not install marble in the kitchen--we make the consumer aware of the issues and then have them sign off on the contract that we are not responsible for the application. Good Luck!

  • 15 years ago

    WOW... most of the threads I have read about marble sing the praises of it's beauty. It had me convinced that I wanted it. I absolutely love the look of it and was only going to use it on the baking counter. My plan isn't finalized yet but I would think I'd do some prep on that counter too. Perhaps I have to rethink this. Unfortunately for me, I have a very very long time before I get to make those fun decisions.

  • 15 years ago

    I have marble on all surfaces in my kitchen, nearly a year now. I have never "babied" my marble and I'm not hung up about a pristine kitchen. It's the most used room in the house, so we just relax when we're in it. We eat most meals at our island every day, so the marble is well-used.

    Ours is honed and well-sealed with a top product (Miracle 511). Haven't sealed it since December. It has never stained, and I've spilled a full glass of Pinot Noir and half a pot of just-brewed coffee (duh, I forgot to put the pot under the spout!), as well as spilled some cut berries on it. Not even a trace of a stain -- nothing ever appeared. We are not overly careful when prepping, cooking, etc., but I do cup the lemons when I squeeze them -- which I'd do, anyway. There are numerous etch marks, mostly tiny things and a few about an inch or so in diameter. You honestly don't see them unless the light is right and you angle your head to look for them.

    It's incredibly beautiful to look at. It's not cold to the touch like granite is. I have an ogee edge and there are no chips or cuts. I've never aspired to keep a pristine kitchen, and I wouldn't be happy if I were always uptight about spots.

    Marble certainly isn't for everyone. People repeat their compliments over and over when they come back to our home. It's always the first thing people notice. It was a budget-buster, too, but I'd choose it again in a heartbeat.

  • 15 years ago

    I have a four year-old who thinks homemade lemonade is divine (shades of The Seven Silly Eaters!) AND I have lots of white marble countertop and full backsplash. I make the lemonade; I squeeze lemon on my two year-old's beloved broccoli (which he requests on a daily basis); orange juice splashes out when I pour some in their smoothies; apple and other random produce detritus ends up on the counter; we cook with tomato and so far, so good. I mean so far, so EXCELLENT! (the only spot where we've a stain is on our butcherblock -- character!)

    I can't help it, I think our countertop is the prettiest one I've ever seen. Granted, ours is honed and I guess if I were willing to shine a light at a certain angle and hold my neck at a different, uncomfortable angle I could see the etching but you know what? I never do those things! I'm too buy living my life, cooking in and enjoying our kitchen. Imagine that ....

    Clearly marble isn't for everyone. If you're afraid of staining and / or etching, then don't do it. Life is simply too short to add that kind of stress in a naturally messy place.

  • 15 years ago

    Momindubc, I hope you've read the other threads. Most are more favorable than this one has started out, but the bottom line is that marble isn't for everyone. I made the anology to wearing linen before -- if you are a person who enjoys the naural character and soft yet crisp wrinkles of linen, you may be a marble person. If you take your jeans to the cleaners, don't even think about it. In between -- you'll have to weigh it yourself. But do go with honoed marble. As easy as I am about the honed marble in a kitchen, I would never put polished marble on a kitchen work surface.

    Phoggie, I hope you'll see this and seriously reconsider a tremendous waste and financially adverse decision. marble counters are more popular than ever and say high end kitchen to most folks (Christopher Peacock?). They could be a great selling point. If they are honed and really looking worn but not to the point of a decent patina, take some fine sandpaper -- a finishing grade of 220 or a bit higher and polish them out in light, circular motions. Wipe them down with a damp cloth, let them dry and appply a good sealer. If they started out polished (sounds like they might have), it will take some more work -- maybe intentionally etching the entire surface by applying an acid (lemon juice) and then buffing or having them done professionally. Even with a pro doing them for you, I'd much rather see you spend a few hundred dollars than several thousand plus risking damage to your cabinets, backsplash and the rest of your kitchen, especially for something that might decrease your resale value. Shoot, if you were (are?) in my area, I'd come help you myself.

  • 15 years ago

    rmkitchen,

    What type of honed marble do you have? I've read that some types of marble are more porous than others.

    I'm still hoping to have honed marble somewhere in my new kitchen.

    Erika

  • 15 years ago

    I haven't visited this site for a long while--but allow me to jump in with my two cents. I have marble on my baking center--three years already? In any case, I cut my citrus on another counter, but absolutely don't do anything special to keep it looking beautiful. Mine is polished, and although there is some etching in some places, there are no stains. I always use a cutting board, having been brought up with ceramic countertops. If you have other counter surfaces, certainly go ahead with marble on one--it is wonderful and no more work than anything else--wipe it down and that's that.

  • 15 years ago

    I have a large calacatta island and I love, love, love it. When it was installed I half joked that I was going to bring my pillow down and sleep on it that night. We're 5 in the house including a teenager and a couple of 21 year olds and believe me, that island gets used.

    Sure, there are etched spots but like most here I have to crane my neck when the light is just right to see them. Nothing has stained it, not even the red icing in a can my daughter squirted on it to make designs. I'll reseal it in a couple of months and it'll be good for another year.

    It's funny, I really do like my kitchen but I could leave it without looking back. Not the marble, though. I've already talked to my installer about the possibililty of taking it with me when we move. It the thing in the kitchen that makes my heart sing.

  • 15 years ago

    Hi erikanh;

    My marble is called Calacatta Extra. It's a white marble with large grey veins -- hardly any gold (you have to really look for the gold). I love it!

    a photo during installation

    view of backsplash
    {{!gwi}}

    And you know, after I posted my initial response, I was thinking that in our kitchen, the marble is the easiest surface to clean! Somebody's little sticky fingers ... leave goo on the black island. That same somebody likes to take the fuchsia and turquoise chalk and color on the white cabinets: the fuchsia I can rub off (with a damp sponge) with elbow-grease; the turquoise lingers .... I've sealed and resealed the maple butcherblock at least twice a month but it's still stained -- it doesn't bother me, but it is visible. Whereas the white marble? Looks as good as new!

  • 15 years ago

    rmkitchen: Your marble and your kitchen are stunning. It's so nice to hear that you don't have to baby your counters or shoo your little ones away.

    I'm planning on butcher block on at least part of my island, except in a darker stain which I'm hoping might help to hide stains. Do you cut right on your butcher block? What do you do to maintain it?

    Erika

  • 15 years ago

    A marble called Danby IS recommended for kitchen counters. It's less porous and harder than Italian marble. Etches less easily too. You can see it here.

    Here is a link that might be useful: Danby Marble

  • 15 years ago

    erikanh -- thank you for your kind words!

    I use Holland Bowl Mill's Bee's Oil which was recommended by someone (I've forgotten who) here on GW. It's also great for soapstone (that's how I first read about it -- good for soapstone and butcher block). It is a really hard wax and takes some muscle (of course, I can always use the exercise!), but I think it's good stuff.

    I think part of the problem I've had with our butcherblock (staining) is because I haven't treated it often enough. Not to be an absolute bore, but we live in the Rocky Mountains (high altitude with thin, dry air) so we have to moisturize everything more often. Hair, lips, skin, butcherblock .... I think I should have been more diligent about applying the Bee's Oil every week for the first few months, to build up a really good protective seal. I've noticed that as I've been "better" about applying it more often (only recently, apres stains, naturally!) the countertop is repelling water. Like, when the juice squirts out of the tomato I'm cutting (and yes, I do cut right on the countertop -- that's why I wanted it) it just sits there in little puddles, it doesn't just sink right into the wood. I'm able to wipe the puddles up and you'd never know.

    Oh well. Live and learn!

  • 15 years ago

    phoggie/others: can you please post pictures of ?bad? looking marble counters?
    I've never seen aged countertops, only pretty NEW/unused ones in magazines or stores. I want to see patina-ed ones or ones so bad that you have to replace before selling your house, so that I can decide for myself whether I can live with patina marble. I think I can, but I am not sure.
    No one I know have marble countertops.

    I love love the look of marble, but I am not a very neat-gotta-keep-everything-sterile-looking mom (w/ 2 toddlers). So I'm concerned about having a large slab of marble on my island (w/ stools for eating).

    thank you very much,
    Amanda

  • 15 years ago

    Months ago I put a scrap of honed marble next to my sink to see how it would hold up. I didn't put a sealer on it first and it hasn't held up too well. There are rectangular etch marks on it from my bottle of dish liquid, and those etch marks have darkened.

    So, obvious as it sounds, I'm going to ask if the sealer makes a big difference. Maybe if I'd sealed the scrap it's look better now? I'll try sanding it with 220 paper and then seal it and see if it looks better with heavy use after that.

  • 15 years ago

    Straying a bit OT (though I'm obviously interested in the thread as we have 70 sf of Calcatta Gold countertop scheduled for installation next week), but re the issue of butcher block finishes: I have a strong preference. The standard advice is to use "food safe oil"--mineral plus bee's wax is a favorite. We started with that on our BB counters at the lake house. After repeated coats, a two second encounter with a cut strawberry or a drop of red wine would still stain enough to require resanding. This drove me crazy.

    We had two smaller pieces of BB flanking the range. Becauase of the spattering issue, our installer had suggested using polyurethane. This would preclude any cutting on them, as urethane forms a protective film on the surface, and thus any cut compromises the protection. It's functional but I hate the way it looks, plasticky and way too shiny.

    At any rate I decided I needed something better for the island. I did oodles of online research. Had considered Watco BB oil and General Finishes Salad Bowl oil but then in a flash of inspiration realized I still had lots of Waterlox left over from doing our floors.

    I love our Waterlox'd floors! They are bulletproof, but using the satin finish, there is absolutely no sheen and you can see and feel the surface of the wood, unlike urethane. It's easy to apply and can be reapplied without resanding. It is tough as nails--this is a lake house with kids dripping from the lake running in and out all day.

    I checked and their website confirmed that it's safe for countertops (it is, for the technically interested, a polymerized tung oil product. Tung oil has been used for centuries to waterproof boats etc, but unlike pure tung oil, Waterlox dries quickly and without a sticky residue).

    I've put three coats on so far, Water beads immediately and there has been absolutely no staining.

    This is one of my true favorite products and you owe it to yourself to check it out:

    Waterlox

    HTH!

  • 15 years ago

    My friend just installed Caesarstone in the carrera marble look (sorry, can't remember the exact name of the colour). It is amazing. I'm not one for "fake" products, but this looks just like marble with none of the hassles- it won't stain or etch. I wish I could post a picture of it, but she doesn't allow pics to be taken.

    I didn't read thru all the posts above so sorry if this is repeated info.

  • 15 years ago

    budge, I know I'm being nosy, but why doesn't your friend allow pics to be taken?

  • 15 years ago

    Regarding Caesarstone:
    I've looked at the pix of Carrera Caesarstone. It's a good countertop material, but it has little to do with real marble. It has some fine markings but (inevitably for an artifical material) it lacks the single defining character of real marble, the sweeping veining. I would imagine that Caesarstone would come closer perhaps to granite, since granite often has more "speckling" than long sweeps of veining. I don't think anyone would have any trouble telling Caesarstone from the real thing. (Just look for the etching :-)

  • 15 years ago

    erikanh, she designed the kitchen herself and doesn't want any duplicates out there. I guess it's just a different take on the pride of a new kitchen. I'm in the "imitation is the greatest form of flattery camp", but she sees it differently and I can understand.

    On the butcherblock sealing, waterlox is great, but it is hard to find and not available at all in Canada (and can't be shipped in because of the type of chemicals in it). Lee Valley has a similar product.

    We bought some really expensive large, endgrain butcher block cutting boards and found that after a few months they were drying out and warping and cracking. I read here about the mineral oil and bees wax solution. It was really expensive to buy, so I started making my own - extremely simple (melt beeswax(1/3), add mineral oil (2/3), cool). If you add more beeswax, it gets stiffer and harder to apply.We do ours maybe every 2 weeks and they look good as new.

  • 15 years ago

    budge, your friend's perspective is interesting. I'm more like you ... I hope my finished kitchen will be so fabulous than many people will want to copy it. :)

    Thanks for the the beeswax/mineral oil recipe, I'm saving it.

    Erika

  • 15 years ago

    I'm so glad clinresga brought up Tung Oil (in Waterlox) because I totally forgot about it in my post about the butcherblock "butter" I use. If you or anyone in your family (or anyone who will eat food which has been prepared on your butcherblock countertop) has a nut allergy, then food can NOT be prepared on a Waterlox finished butcherblock countertop! NEVER EVER.

    No one in our family has allergies, but my four year-old's best friend has a severe nut allergy (among others) and thinking of the cooking projects we'd done together and I figured we'd do again once the kitchen was finished, I chose to not use any sort of Tung Oil product. Nut allergies are so prevalent today that even if this little boy isn't in our lives past nursery school, there will surely be other friends in the future who have nut allergies or whose siblings or parents have it.

  • 15 years ago

    budgel.....Now I am REALLY curious. Can you describe your friend's kitchen....materials and colors she used for cabinets, flooring, counter top, walls, etc.? I am in your "camp"...I would be flattered if someone thought mine was good enough to "copy".

  • 15 years ago

    Good point by rmkitchen re allergies to tung. It's not clearcut how much cross sensitivity there is between the two nuts but caution is always the best policy. In all honesty, if someone that allergic entered our kitchen, they'd anaphylax instantaneously due to the huge amount of peanut butter and nuts we consume and cook with in our kitchen--so, realistically, the residue from all of that would be a much greater risk than the countertops anyway.