“DON’T USE MARBLE FOR YOUR KITCHEN!” Really!? Please, here are the real reasons people tell you this…
If you’re looking to do your kitchen countertops and are afraid to use marble because of ALL THE INFORMATION AGAINST IT out there, this article is for you.
Or if you’re simply just beginning in your journey of remodeling your kitchen and you’d like to know what you should know about marble, read this first before you go into the waters of all these claims and biases about how “marble isn’t good for kitchen countertops..”
Now, I’ve connected people with all kinds of stones over the years, helped educate them about what they should know, and encouraged them to get what they actually want knowing what there is to know about what they actually want.
Many clients wanted marble and they got it, without issues, and many other clients also wanted marble, but they were repelled by it due to what they had heard about it so they were trying to settle for alternatives like quartz, quartzite, or maybe even granite.
A quick disclaimer, for me it doesn’t matter what stone you get for your kitchen counters. I don’t really care what it is. But I do care for you to get the stone you actually want, as opposed to settling for something else. So what I want to do here is simply let you know about marble in simple terms and the real reasons why there is so much information out there on why you shouldn’t get marble for your kitchen counters.
I’ll break it down into two main parties that are against marble and let you know why they are against it, i.e. the real reasons they tell you to not go with marble.
The first one can be those who work in the industry. We can call them “industry people”. Maybe it’s your contractor, designer, architect, and/or fabricator trying to stray you away from getting marble. Think about whether or not you’ve experienced this in your journey of remodeling. If so, let me let you in on the actual real main reason they don’t want you to get marble: THEY DO NOT WANT TO DEAL WITH YOU WHEN SOMETHING HAPPENS TO THE MARBLE.
It’s really as simple as that. They’d rather you not get marble so they don’t get complaints from you down the line. Usually with granite or quartz there aren’t issues after a job is cut and installed, hence freedown from callbacks. But when it comes to marble, too many homeowners go into it uneducated, so when something like a stain happens they freak out. And these “industry people” would rather not deal with that and waste their time trying to fix a problem that isn’t theirs.
But this is what bugs me. I don’t know why they don’t just be upfront and honest about it in the first place. I’m not saying all “industry people” push clients away from marble, but the ones that do, I just don’t get it. Why don’t you just tell your client what there is to know about marble and allow them to be an adult and make a decision for themselves? Some of these “industry people” treat homeowners as if they are kids, and that’s annoying. Not cool. But then again some homeowners act like kids, don’t listen, and want something that doesn’t make sense, which is another thing, but let’s not get into that. I’d like to treat the people reading this article as if they are adults and can make their own decisions based on the information I provide. Stay tuned because later in this article I’ll let you know what there is to know about marble so you can decide whether or not you actually want it.
On another note, certain “industry people” also tell you not to get marble because they are lazy and either don’t know how to do good work or simply don’t want to. And that’s lame. Because understand this, it’s very easy to cut and not have problems with quartz and granite, hence the recommendation. Also in terms of quartzite, that is very hard, so cutting it can be hard, but it’s pretty low risk for the most part. Marble on the other hand is easy to cut, but it shouldn’t be cut as carefree as some may cut quartz. Quartz is usually replaceable, because it’s engineered. And it’s easier to cut it with confidence. But every marble piece is unique. If the one you chose breaks the replacement is not the same. That means work with people who understand and know how to handle marble. And don’t have lazy “industry people” on your roster. Instead have people who are open to doing good solid work and want to help you get what you are actually looking for.
Okay, enough of that, let’s get to the next party that tells you to not go with marble. We can call these people the “friends”. And for the “friends” we can have two subparties.
The first one is the “friends” who actually have marble, but have had bad experiences with it, but for some reason don’t get rid of it. It’s kind of weird, but it also makes sense. Most people get marble for beauty and aesthetics, hence why some of your “friends” might have marble in the first place. But due to the “maintenance” they try to tell you you shouldn’t get marble because it’s a “nightmare”. So the real reason for them to get you out of the marble thoughts is usually the following: SINCE THEY DON’T REALLY KNOW HOW TO UPKEEP IT THEY THINK IT’S A NIGHTMARE, HIGH MAINTENANCE, HENCE YOU SHOULDN’T GET IT.
There are a couple of problems here. For one, your lifestyle is different than theirs, so just because they had certain experiences with marble that doesn’t mean you will. Also, as mentioned earlier, if it’s such a burden for them, why don’t they just throw it away, sell it, or give it to you to try out? Chances are they love their marble, and even though the maintenance might seem like a “nightmare” for them, they don’t really mind it because of what they get in return, which is daily beauty, a certain look in their home, real marble, timelessness.
The second subparty is the “friends” who don’t have marble. Maybe from all their research they were scared away from it. Maybe they wanted marble, but were too afraid to get it. And you know, misery loves company, right? So it makes sense for them to not want you to have marble too. People want to be connected with others. But then again, some “friends” might genuinely not care for marble and think what they have is better and may want to actually help you by encouraging their great experience with granite or quartz or whatever they have onto you. But they are not you. And you are not them. And the real reason they don’t want you to get marble is either BECAUSE THEY WANTED IT, BUT DIDN’T GET IT, HENCE YOU SHOULDN’T GET IT or BECAUSE THEY GENUINELY DON’T WANT IT AND THINK YOU’LL BE HAPPY WITHOUT IT AS THEY ARE.
The thing is everyone is different. And everyone lives differently. Encouraging and educating others is good and nothing replaces experiences. But it’s also important to be open to being educated and changing your mind, seeing things from a different angle.
Which leads me into what you should know about marble.
So for the “friends” who are having a “nightmare” with their marble, ask them this question: “When was the last time you sealed your stone?” See what answer they give you. Or just see their face and how they look at you after you ask that question.
The thing with marble, yes, it’s porous, yes, it can stain, and yes, it can etch. But what do all these things actually mean? And isn’t marble soft? It chips easily, right? “Oh no, I don’t think I want marble..”, right? Sure, don’t get marble. Thank you and goodbye.
For those of you who want to know a bit more let’s get into it.
I’ll start with the simple things, like the “softness” of marble. To explain this in a more entertaining way let me pretend I’m a character in a movie or something. Yo, it’s a rock! If you hit your head on it chances are you’ll get hurt. It’s not that soft dude. But I know, you’re talking about how it’s soft compared to granite. Sure, yes, it’s “softer” than granite. So just go with granite then if that’s your concern. No, there isn’t granite that looks like marble. What looks like marble is called marble homie. But real talk, you shouldn’t worry about marble bening too soft. It’s a rock. “Can it chip easily, though?” If you bang it hard enough, sure. But granite and all kinds of other stones can chip too. So don’t worry about marble being “soft” because note that it’s hard enough to have your plate not sink into it. You’re good.
Next up, marble is porous. Yes, it is. But so is granite and quartzite. There are different degrees in porosity. That’s why you should seal your stone. A sealer would go into the pores, making it less porous. And sealing a stone is super easy, more on that later. But if you want something that isn’t porous you can get engineered stone, aka quartz. Or maybe soapstone. Quartz doesn’t have the depth and translucency that marble has and will never replace marble. And soapstone is amazing, but the palette is more towards the grays, greens, and blacks, which if that’s the look you’re going for soapstone is a great bet!
Okay, so the big one I’ve heard people say so much — STAINS! Marble stains! Cry me a river, please. Stains. Stains. Marble stains. “I don’t want stains.” “I don’t want marble because it stains.” “MARBLE STAINS, DON’T GET IT!” Okay, don’t get marble because it stains. But then go ahead and stop wanting marble. Get some Uba Tuba or something and call it a day. Blup.
But if you want to be a bit more educated on marble and staining, let’s go.
So marble stains because it has porosity, i.e. translucency and layers upon layers of history. The very thing that makes marble so beautiful and unique has to do with its depth, i.e. pores, i.e. it can stain. But note, it usually stains easily if it’s not sealed. Hence you should be sealing your stone, simple. And what stains are you really worried about? Oh, the wine, that’s right! Wine! Wine! Okay, keep wining about the possibility of getting a wine stain because you drink wine every night, right? Wake up people! What’s the big deal!? Seal your stone with a silicone impregnator until water floats on top of it and drink all the wine you want, and watch wine rings float on top of your stone. Then jump in as if it was a pool of marble. What are those things called, floaties? I’m trying to get those off of you in your journey of deciding whether or not to be afraid of marble. I got you, I’m here. We’re getting there. Let’s swim these marble waters with the right information.
But now, real talk, jokes aside, staining isn’t something to really worry about. It really isn’t. Unless you’re into this idea of Plastic America, where nothing changes, ever. Then sure, just don’t go with marble. Get quartz and call it a day. And don’t complain about the lack of translucency and beauty that you compromise to not have a stain from time to time. But if you’re into marble, sure it might stain. It might not. Chances are it will. It just depends on your lifestyle. And how often you seal it. Actually, let’s get into sealing stone right now.
So this sealing thing is a super easy thing to do. You don’t have to have anyone special come and do it. Seriously. For some reason people seem to think of it as this huge event. No, it’s not! If you can wipe your counters you can seal your counters. It’s that simple. In short, it really is as easy as getting a proper sealer, putting the sealer on the stone, watching it seep into the stone, and then a few minutes later wiping it off, and voila, your stone is sealed. But don’t stop there, have fun with this, seal your stone again right after. Then two weeks later seal it again. And then you should be solid for months to come. And feel free to seal your stone whenever you want. Because understand this, using your counters over time and having spills and wiping them off usually wears down the sealer over time. Hence your “friends” who say marble stains always, it’s like “duh, yeah, seal it dummy.” And use a good sealer. Don’t skimp on this. And don’t rely on anyone else to seal it other than yourself. Not your contractor, not your fabricator, not your designer, not your architect. You do it.
Now, listen, your sealer doesn’t have to be extravagant. Just make sure it’s good and safe to use. And then make sure you avoid cleaning your stone with acidic products like vinegar or things of that nature. Because that would remove the sealer pretty fast.
And if you’re really lazy and don’t want to seal your stone every 6 or so months then have someone come in and do it who offers a guarantee against stains for life after a special kind of sealing is done. Yes, this would be an additional cost, but it might be worth it for you. Just make sure you get the guarantee, get that certificate, and understand what the warranty covers.
So in short, if you seal your stone properly, for the most part you don’t have stains to worry about. And the great news is that if you do end up getting a stain, usually it can be extracted or removed pretty easily. Start with putting bleach on a paper towel and on the stone. Try that a few times. Or get yourself a stain remover. And get that stain extracted. Your marble can look as good as new. But then again, are stains that big of a deal, especially if they are subtle. This is for you to decide. Plastic America or Patina Life. Real life. Living stone. Choose what you want. But listen, marble stains aren’t as big of a nightmare as you might imagine if you just simply seal the stone. Super easy to do, doesn’t take much time or any “professional” to come and do it. It’s not the responsibility of a fabricator or contractor or designer or architect or stone supplier to seal your stone. This is for you to do as the owner of a stone. Just like you clean your floors (unless you don’t). Just like you vacuum your car (unless you don’t). Just like you wash your clothes (unless you don’t).
Okay, now we get to the big one. There is one main reason I look for from people when they say they don’t want to go with marble. One reason. The real one. And that is… are you ready for it? Etching. Yes, marble can etch and that is very different from stains. What etching basically is is acids biting into the stone. And this whole etching thing is usually a double edged sword. Because etching is pretty much acid reacting with the white calcite in the marble, i.e. the more white your stone is with calcite the more prone to etching it is. And who doesn’t want white marble, right? But look, it’s not just calcite and white stones that etch. Other stones can etch too. But with marble, typically the one thing people want, for it to be white, is the main thing that etches. So I’d say you’re in a bit of a pickle here. But no worries, I can get you out of it so you can put it in a sandwich or burger and just eat it away.
So etching, what does that even really mean, right? Etching is basically as mentioned earlier, it’s acids biting into the stone. Reacting with it if you will. And what are acids, the culprits to this whole thing? Typically things that are really acidic, duh, like lemons, limes, vinegar. Other things that have acidity like tomato sauce and coffee aren’t as concerning as lemons. And note, even if your stone is sealed, etching can stirp away the sealer and still bite into the stone. Etching is real. But it’s also not something to be all that afraid of. Just use a cutting board when you cut lemons and if a splash does happen just wipe it up. Have your radar high for just these acidic things coming into contact with your counters and if you can do that and avoid letting acids sit on your counters marble all of a sudden is pretty easy to have.
But to make matters better, even if an etch happens it’s usually repairable to a degree. Depends on how serious it is, but in general, marble can usually be repaired, and it doesn’t have to cost a fortune.
Speaking of cost, “MARBLE IS SO EXPENSIVE!, right?” Um, is it though? Compared to what? There is a big problem with generalized messages like this, because there’s more to it than that. Can marble be the most expensive stone on the market, yes. But is some beautiful looking marble less expensive than engineered stone, certain granites, and quartzites? Absolutely. Marble can reach crazy prices, but it can also be incredibly affordable.
At the end of the day it’s up to you to decide what you want to do. To get marble or not, up to you. Understand that Michelangelo’s David is made out of marble and it was outside in Florence for hundreds of years. Unless I’m mistaken, am I? Have you seen David in person? The masterpiece is timeless.
Listen, marble is marble. Stop trying to get the marble look without getting marble. If you want the marble look, learn about marble and then decide if you want it or not. Try it out as a cutting board if you want to. Test it’s limits. Test your comfort levels.