Marble has been used as luxury flooring and countertops for thousands of years. Travel to Italy or Greece and you’ll see evidence of gorgeous, centuries-old marble, used in villa and religious ruins across those beautiful countries. That idea of legacy beauty and longevity make it an easy choice for a Chicago kitchen and bath remodel, right?
Well, not so fast. It’s true that marble is a stone that lasts, but it’s also a much softer material than other natural stone options such as granite. For this reason, we ask homeowners to think carefully before choosing marble as a surface feature in their remodel.
The good news is there are beautiful quartz products that look remarkably like marble, giving you the same light and luxurious look with a lifetime of permanence to offer.
When You Should NOT Choose Marble For Countertops or Flooring
Marble may not be the right choice for you if:
You are a perfectionist
We’re guessing you already know that marble is a softer stone, vulnerable to etching, scratching and staining. All of these are true. Even a sealed marble countertop will still show signs of wear over time. Assuming you take good care of it, try to clean up spills as soon as possible and protect it from more serious etches and scratches – these signs of wear will only be visible to you and the most discerning critics. They will appear and disappear with shifts in light and shadow, and some stains will probably fade or disappear over time.
However, if you’re a perfectionist or have compulsive tendencies when it comes to imperfections, your marble countertop or flooring could end up driving you crazy.
You have a busy household with young children
That same tendency towards etching, staining and scratching is more of a hazard in households with young children. You can only expect so much respect and care from young ones when it comes to the status of countertops and floors. Your marble might suffer in the meantime.
In this case, we’d caution against marble in the more active areas of the household, like kitchen, hall or bathroom floors and countertops. Perhaps you can take advantage of marble’s beauty in a formal entryway that isn’t used as much, or your master bathroom remodel where surfaces experience more gentle use.
You’re worried about maintenance and care requirements
Your marble will require greater care and maintenance than other countertop options, like quartz. In order to keep it looking its best, marble countertops and floors should be sealed annually. When (not if, assuming you cook in your kitchen) the marble is stained via a red wine ring, a splatter of rogue spaghetti sauce, etc., you’ll need to wipe it up ASAP and use a baking soda paste to soak the remainder up as much as possible. Even so, there may still be remnants of the stain for weeks, months or even years later.
If routine and conscientious maintenance and care are beyond your scope right now, this might not be the time to add marble countertops and floors to your life. If you have your heart set on it, think about ways it could accent your life – maybe a baker’s corner with a marble slab for rolling the dough or a beautiful master shower with marble tile.
Still Have Your Heart Set on Marble?
Are you still drawn towards marble countertops? We don’t blame you. Here are things to keep in mind.
- You might find you love the story told by your countertops wear and tear. We recommend reading, My Experience Living with Marble Countertops: One Year Later. It’s an excellent article written by a homeowner who chose marble, had her own acclimation period as she learned to handle and cope with inevitable staining and etching, and who has come through loving her marble on the other side.
- Choose honed marble rather than polished. Polished marble is shiny, glossy and virtually luminescent. However, that also makes it downright impossible to maintain to that level of perfection if it’s in use on a regular basis. Honed marble is just as lovely but won’t require quite as much diligence as polished marble, making it a better finish option for those concerned about surface consistency.
- Marble is best for those who aren’t into perfection, never cook, or are completely Type-A about cleaning anyway. If you fall into either of those categories, you’ll probably love your marble countertops in the long-run.
Need some professional advice as you move through the pros and cons of marble countertops and floors for your Chicago kitchen and bathroom remodels? Contact the team at Kitchens & Baths Unlimited or schedule a consultation and we’ll be happy to help. The goal is to design a beautiful and timeless kitchen that doesn’t need any re-dos or upgrades for decades to come.