Marble Bathroom Countertops vs. Silestone

by Erika
(Alexandria, VA , USA)

QUESTION:

I am trying to decide between Silestone quartz countertops and natural marble bathroom countertops for our remodeling project. I have read that marble is both durable and can stain easily which is confusing.

I love the look of the marble but I have two small children and am worried about how it will hold up over time.

It would be in a bathroom that will probably be a high traffic area as the kids get older and we spread out a little more.

I am looking at white Carrara marble. My fallback would be Silestone, which seems to be pretty maintenance free. Any suggestions? Thank you, Erika

ANSWER:

Erika, you'll find more detailed information on the countertop comparison pages on this site, but basically in a high traffic bathroom used by young kids Silestone quartz countertops are much less likely to give you a maintenance problem.

Of course, Silestone will not look as nice or elegant as White Carrara marble (in most people's opinion).

And marble is durable... it will last forever. How it looks in 20 years will depend on how you take care of it. Now marble may be a bit more sensitive than other surfaces, but the above is true for ALL surfaces.

Staining is not the issue. It's a bit of a myth that marble stains easy. Raw or honed marble will stain, but polished marble is a different story.

Polishing marble (or any stone) changes the surface tension and makes it much less absorbent. Polished marble can stain if you leave something on it for a few hours, but generally it is not a problem.


Etching is the main problem. Polished marble will corrode upon contact with acids (many foods and some bath products) and alkaline cleaning chemicals.

Etching causes dull light spots on the countertop. They are not very noticeable with White Carrara marble, but you may get them.

I have White Carrara marble in a bathroom that gets used heavily during parties and by guests. Haven't had a problem yet, but many products can etch marble, which doesn't happen with Silestone or granite.

Most mild etch marks can be removed using a marble polishing powder, but if the damage is severe then you may need a pro.

Cleaning is also more particular with marble. You can use many (but not every) normal household cleaning product on Silestone, but you should use only hot water and/or products safe for cleaning marble.

And really the best way to clean Silestone or any quartz countertop is to use specially formulated stone cleaners and not common harsh household cleaners.

This is not a big deal... get the right product and clean it, but with a busy family, sometimes things get confused and using the wrong product could damage (etch) the marble.

With heavy use by kids though, I'd lean toward the Silestone and put the marble countertops in your bathroom.

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HIGH TRAFFIC PRODUCT!
by: Anonymous

With young children or high traffic areas I would be less concerned with maintenance than I would with cleanliness.

The likely hood of either product becoming damaged by children is unlikely, they are stone products.

With silestone you get the added protection of Microban which will inhibit the growth of bacteria and a non-porous top which will not allow germs, mold or mildew to penetrate, ultimately helping to ensure a safer, cleaner enviroment...

I hope that this helps in your decision, Good Luck!




Cleanliness
by: Ryan

Studies show that like granite, Silestone rates very well for cleanliness and anti-bacterial qualities. Polished marble is essentially non-porous and non-absorbent.

In practice, the frequency and thoroughness of your cleaning routine are far more important factors influencing bacterial growth and/or overall cleanliness than microban or porosity.

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