Choosing a new countertop for your kitchen can be a really overwhelming experience. This is mainly because of all the different costs, types of materials and colors that are available. But, worry not, this specific article is going to help you become more educated on marble countertops so that you can make a more informed decision. Below, we will be going over the different types of marble, benefits of using marble, as well as the different characteristics of marble such as colors, veining, and of course finish.
The 3 Major Types Of Marble Countertops
When it comes to marble, there are 3 main types; Carrara, Calacatta, and Statuario. Each one has its own characteristics, styles, and looks.
– Carrara Marble: This is one of the most widely used types of marble. Its elegant and attractive, without being over the top. It tends to have a grayish white coloration to it, and the veins are less larger than other types of marble. In fact, instead of large veins, you will see smaller, more fine feathery like veins in Carrara marble countertops. This is also considered to be the more cost-efficient of the two.
– Calacatta Marble: This is a more rare stone which means it will cost a little more. This one tends to have more of a white appearance with little to no gray. The veins in Calacatta marble countertops are thick and predominate. Sometimes you can also find this type of marble with brown or even gold undertones.
– Statuario: This one is even rarer and its considered to be the most precious of the 3 stones in this article. While its very similar in style to the other two, it also has its own look; usually a very distinctive vein patterning that ranges in colors and tones, from white to gold to gray.
Benefits Of Marble Countertops
Obviously, if you want a material in your kitchen, you want one that isn’t only attractive, but functional and easy to maintain. Well, here are a few of the best benefits to buying marble countertops.
Unique In Looks: You won’t find another material that looks like marble. Some manufacturers like to say that their material is faux marble, but lets be honest, nothing looks as good as the original. While the above-mentioned 3 types come in mainly whites, grays, golds, etc you can also find other colors available. This has less to do with how its made and produced and more to do with where it comes from. Purbeck marble, for example, has a grayish brown color to it, and it comes from the Isle of Purbeck in Dorset. Swedish Green Marble on the other hand which has a greenish tone to it, comes from Sodermanland Sweden.
Heat Resistant: If you cook or bake in the kitchen a lot, this should be a good benefit to you! Marble countertops are incredibly heat resistant. This means you can place hot pots or pans right on the marble countertops, without worrying about putting a pot holder down first. This is not something you can do with Formica or laminates!
Customizable: Even though marble is an incredibly hard material, it still tends to be a dream to fabricate. So if you are looking for decorative edges or other perks, this is a material to consider. Unlike granite, which is more difficult to cut, and can sometimes get damaged while fabricating, marble countertops will not. Add into the fact that we live in a more modern society and have tools like numeric control milling machines and modern computers for cutting, and almost anything is possible for your counters.
Easy To Find: Marble, unlike some other materials out there, is readily available. Almost any fabricator, stone yard, and manufacture will offer or have the ability to get their hands on marble for your marble countertops. This means less wait time for you to get it fabricated and installed and you won’t have to pay a ton for shipping it from another far off country. You no longer have to have some heavy expensive slabs shipped from Italy, you can do a more localized purchase. For example, if you live in South Carolina, there are some really great stores in Columbia and Lexington that offer marble.
When it comes time to actually purchase your marble countertops, its a good idea to buy in larger slabs rather than smaller. When you purchase a larger slab you have, you will have a more uniform look. On the other hand, when you purchase smaller slabs you have seams in the marble countertops which need to be matched up perfectly, if not, it looks sort of like a disjointed puzzle. If you do, however, need to buy smaller slabs, consider a book matching design, that way the pieces next to it have a similar mirrored appearance.
When you purchase marble countertops, you can expect that its going to come from different quarries. Even so, you should be able to cut a block of marble a certain way to create creative veining patterns. These techniques are called Cross Cut or Fleuri Cut and Vein Cut or Striato cuts. Cross cuts give you the appearance of veins with an open flowered pattern which is perfect for book matching. On the other hand, Vein Cut will cut a block of marble the opposite way to create a more one-dimensional linear look. Designers agree that both cuts look good and each one has its own unique look.
Surely there are all sorts of finishes available for your marble countertops, however, you have 3 that are the most widely used and most commonly used. These finishes are; River Wash or Brushed, Honed and Glossy marble countertops. Again, each one has its own looks and benefits. River Wash, for instance, has an almost aged leather look to it. Glossy, is, of course, going to have a glossy, shiny and smooth finish. However, one thing that worries homeowners about the glossy finish is that acid etching can make the marble look dull. Honed is the answer to this problem. Since it already has a dull finish, acid etching is more disguised than it would be with a glossy finish. Essentially it all depends on you and what “look” you want for your marble countertops, but most people are partial to the honed finish rather than the glossy finish.
A sealer is a definite must for marble countertops, both honed and glossy marble countertops and its important that you always re-seal them after you, for example, get them professionally cleaned. One of the things to expect from marble countertops is acid etching. A few years from now, you might start to notice stains or even small divots in the stone. But, one of the great things about marble is that it can be refinished ie; polished or sanded down, so that is a definite plus! If you think you could appreciate the patina that will develop over time – and some people really do love the look of it once it does patina, then marble countertops might just be the perfect material for your kitchen needs.