Is Marble Kitchen Countertops Island a Good Idea?

QUESTION:

Will I regret getting a marble countertop for my island instead of granite? The marble looks so pretty!


ANSWER:

Yes marble is pretty, which helps trap many buyers into overlooking the maintenance demands of a marble kitchen countertop.

Many people who install marble kitchen countertops do so without knowing or being warned about etching, which presents an ongoing marble maintenance nuisance. Most often they do regret it.

Most people who originally wanted marble kitchen countertops that are warned about the unavoidable extra maintenance and visual annoyance of etch marks choose not to install marble.

To clarify, cleaning marble is not an issue for installations anywhere else in the house... kitchens and wet bars are the only problematic areas because these areas are exposed to so many acidic foods and drinks that will etch.

So, short answer is.... yes, most likely you will regret installing a marble kitchen countertop especially if you are doing it because you like the look.

The kitchen just gets too much abuse and really should be designed first for function, then aesthetics.

You don't want to always be hassling with repairing etch marks even if it is relatively easy to do on polished marble using the ETCH REMOVER / Marble Polishing Paste.

You have 1000s of beautiful granites to choose from that require very little (if any) maintenance beyond routine cleaning.

Just be sure to water test for sealing granite countertops and the lemon juice test to rule out the rare granite that etches and to find a granite that is not too absorbent.

Put the marble in a bathroom where cleaning marble is much less trouble.

Comments for Is Marble Kitchen Countertops Island a Good Idea?

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I did marble and love the look!
by: Mady

I, too, wanted marble. So I read all kinds of info...and here's what I learned. If you do honed marble (basically a matte finish, where the shine is removed), it is not as prone to etching. It will still stain....red wine, etc...and lemons, tomatoes will etch it. If you can live with the fact that it IS going to age, with some staining, then go for it. We installed white marble with very light gray/beige veining. WE LOVE THE LOOK. I love how marble "ages"...and the kids are gone, so our kitchen is not "high maintenance" or heavy use. I would NOT have done this before the kids moved out! So far, so good. Just make sure they do seal it (and you seal it as often as they recommend) and get a good installer, with good references!

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Love the look....
by: Ryan

Hi Mady,

Thanks for your comments!

What you say is essentially accurate, although I'd like to clarify one small point....

A honed marble still etches just as easy as a polished marble. Etching is due to the reaction of acids with the calcite crystal that marble is made of, so the finish doesn't change the reaction or damage.

It's just that etching is not as noticeable on a honed surface as it is on a polished surface.

Why?

Well, a polished surface has a shiny finish. When an acid etches the finish is eats into the marble destroying the polished layer to reveal the more dull marble underneath, which creates a noticeable spot.

A honed marble is not as shiny and somewhat "dull" to begin with, so when etching occurs on a honed marble it may not be AS noticeable, but it still occurs exactly the same as on a polished surface.

The common wisdom is to have kitchen marble honed and then seal it, which is what we recommended for a long time and perfectly fine idea for those who must have marble in the kitchen.

However, when all considered I think a polished marble kitchen countertop can be more easily maintained over time. Most polished marble is nearly stain-proof, so sealing is not necessary and etch marks are much more easily repaired on polished marble countertops than a honed top using the Marble Polish / Etch Remover.

Either way works, but many people underestimate the added maintenance and potential frustration with marble in the kitchen even when they love the look of marble and regret it, so we go a bit overboard warning people what they should expect.

But for those like yourself who understand the whole deal, marble is a great surface. I'm sure you'll get many years of enjoyment.

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