If you look around the kitchen space of any modern home, you’re likely to come across marble countertops in the kitchen, bathroom, or fireplace surround. One of the most popular natural stone materials for countertops, marble is light, strong, heat-resistant, and offers a timeless elegant quality than few other countertop materials can match.
Here we’re going to look at marble, the pros and cons of this natural stone, the maintenance required, the price of marble counters, and much more.
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What is marble?
Marble is a common material used for kitchen countertops, bathroom sink counters, and fireplace surrounds. This natural stone is usually extracted from regions of Spain and Italy, though marble is a very common stone that’s widely used and easy to find all around the world.
White marble is commonly used in homes, and while marble comes in a variety of shades, it tends to be lighter colors (like white marble) that are commonly used. The bright light aesthetic of white marble makes it seem right at home in modern and transitional kitchen designs.
We do love a bright white kitchen!
Marble countertops are available in a glossy or matte finish depending on how you treat them. Polished marble has a sheen to it and is better protected from stains and damage, while honed marble has a more natural matte finish but is more susceptible to stains. Some people just prefer the look of honed marble despite it being more easily damaged.
What makes marble so popular?
Marble tends to be fairly cheap and is characterized by its distinctive veining. The veins in this natural stone are caused by Mother Nature herself, so every slab of this natural stone countertop is unique. If you want a stone surface that is unique and timelessly elegant, then marble for countertops is a great choice.
Used for centuries by sculptors and architects, some of the greatest pieces of art in the world have been created using marble stone. For example, Michaelangelo’s David is made from 100% carved marble stone, as well as many other pieces from that era.
All in all, this stone material is a strong and glamorous surface material with a fascinating history.
What are the pros and cons of marble countertops?
Although this natural stone has many amazing properties, it also has some properties that might be a dealbreaker for you depending on how you use your kitchen. Every countertop material has its pros and cons, so we want to make sure that we give you the honest truth on our products so you can make an informed decision.
Pros of marble counters
- Heat resistant – marble counters are naturally resistant to heat, so you can put hot things onto them for a little while without burning them. However, lighter colored marble (such as white marble) will be more prone to scorching damage.
- Naturally cool temperature – on a similar note, marble stone is naturally a very cool temperature, even if your house itself is warm. In the middle of a heatwave, marble stone will stay nice and cool.
- Elegant look – timeless yet classic, the aesthetic of marble stone has been used in architecture for centuries, giving your home an elegant and opulent look.
- Strong – while not the strongest natural stone countertop you can get, marble is still very durable and resistant to etching and chipping.
- Light colors – marble is one of the only stone materials that naturally comes in lighter colors (especially when compared to granite). Light and white marble is perfect for modern kitchen designs that are trying to maximize the light and brightness in the space for a glowing, clean look.
- Widely available – despite being extracted from European quarries, marble is widely available all over the US.
- Property value – a marble countertop can add a lot of value to your home when it comes time to resell, assuming that you’ve looked after it properly.
- Decades of use – if you clean and maintain marble stone surfaces properly, they can easily last for decades and decades.
Cons of marble counters
- Staining – the #1 biggest problem with marble stone is that it naturally stains quite easily. Marble is porous, meaning it’s full of little holes that can allow stains in if you let them sit too long. Regular cleaning and stone sealing can help to prevent stains from ruining your marble, but do bear this in mind. If you spill red wine, milk, ketchup, oil, vinegar or anything else on your marble kitchen island, clean it up pronto!
- Regular sealing required – as mentioned, you need to regularly “seal” marble stone to stop it from becoming too porous. Sealing involves soaking a special liquid into the stone that helps to “seal” or “plug up” the holes in the porous surface of the stone that can cause staining. Most stone surfaces need regular sealing, including granite, but marble needs it more than most.
- Very heavy – like a lot of stone kitchen surfaces, marble kitchen countertops are very heavy, making them difficult to install. You need to make sure that your cabinetry can handle the weight of these very heavy slabs.
- Etching and scratching – marble stone is more prone to etching and scratching that alternatives like granite and quartz. If you’ve got a high-traffic kitchen or you do an above-average amount of cooking, a marble surface might be too prone to etching for your needs. Nonetheless, a lot of the etching and scratching can be naturally buffed out or otherwise removed depending on the severity.
Is marble good for kitchen countertops?
On the whole, marble is good for kitchen countertops if you’re going for a light, white, bright aesthetic. The white marble look is common in modern and transitional kitchens, with more and more people going for the flat finish of honed marble countertops in the kitchen.
Heat-resistant and cool
If you’re someone who does a lot of cooking with hot pans and you need somewhere to put them, marble countertops are a great choice for you. This stone is naturally cool and will retain its coolness no matter how hot your home is. It will also not burn if you put hot pans on top of it, though it’s prone to scorching if it’s a lighter color, so bear that in mind.
Unique stone patterns
Unlike man-made quartz, kitchen countertops made from marble come from natural stone quarries. Because the stone is made by Mother Earth, every slab of marble has unique colors, patterns, and veins running through them. This is great if you want your kitchen to have a one-of-a-kind countertop piece with a timeless opulence.
Lighter color palettes
If you’re designing a kitchen using lighter colors and whites, then marble is perfect for you. Marble is one of the only stone materials used for kitchen counters that naturally comes in lighter colors suitable to a lot of modern and transitional designs. It can also have a matte or shiny finish depending on whether you get it honed or polished.
Staining is a major problem with marble kitchen counters, so these porous surfaces require regular cleaning and sealing to stop spills from seeping into the stone. It’s recommended that you get your marble counters professionally sealed every couple of years. You can also get DIY sealing kits and everyday marble cleaners that have sealants built into the formula.
Is it worth it?
Yes, a marble counter, marble backsplash, or marble kitchen island can be a great addition to your kitchen, especially if you like lighter colors and use a lot of hot pans in your cooking. However, staining and etching are a problem with marble surfaces, so make sure to stay on top of your marble maintenance with regular cleaning and sealing.
How to remove stains from marble countertops
Removing stains from marble surfaces is certainly possible, especially if you have to right tools at your disposal. If you visit professional marble outlets and retailers, they will have a wide selection of anti-stain cleaning products you can use at home.
If you’re worried about damaging the marble more, you can also request professional stone cleaners to come and remove stains with professional equipment.
Removing stains from marble at home
If you want to remove stains from marble kitchen counters yourself, here’s what you need to do:
- Mix roughly equal parts baking soda and water until they form a paste-like consistency
- Put this paste mixture on a paper towel and put it directly onto the stain
- Let this paste sit for several hours (or overnight if possible)
- Remove the paste from the marble, clean it off, and dry the surface
- If the stain has gone, apply sealant (follow the instructions on your sealant of choice)
If you try removing stains with baking soda or other cleaning products but it doesn’t work, speak to a professional marble outlet or kitchen fitting service like Kitchen Infinity to get the professional help you need.
Free Countertop Chart
We Compared Marble, Granite, Laminate, Solid Surface and Quartz Countertops!
How much do marble countertops cost?
When it comes to kitchen countertop materials, one of the first things everybody wants to know is the price!
Generally speaking, marble is one of the cheaper stone materials to use for your kitchen surfaces, though the price can vary massively depending on what type of marble stone you desire. The rarer and more ornate the design, the more you’re going to pay for the slab.
Below are 5 common types of marble slab used in kitchen countertop design and how much they roughly cost on average, including materials and labor:
Carrara marble is a white-blue-gray marble that comes from the Carrara region of Italy. Usually the cheapest type of marble you’ll find, this will set you back around $50 per square foot of counter space
Crema Marfil Marble
Crema Marfil is a warm beige-yellow marble originating from Pinoso, Spain. This stone costs around $60 per square foot of counter space, making it another cheap option.
Bianco Venato Marble
White with black and gray veining, Bianco Venato Marble originates from Italy and costs around $65 per square foot of counter space. It’s one of the cheapest options if you like the veiny stone aesthetic.
Calacatta Borghini Marble
Calacatta marble comes from the Calacatta region of Italy. It is white with pronounced grey veins that give it a more dramatic and striking look than Bianco Venato. As such, Calacatta Borghini costs around $180 per square foot of counter space.
Portoro Genuine Extra Marble
Black with striking gold and white veining, Portoro Genuine Extra marble is without a doubt the most luxurious and opulent-looking marble you can buy for your kitchen or bathroom. As a result, this rare Italian marble will set you back around $300 per square foot of counter space.
Average marble kitchen counter price
Most people choose the cheaper marbles for their kitchen countertop, so the price doesn’t tend to be astronomically high.
The national US average for mid-range marble kitchen surfaces installation is around $4,000 including all the parts and labor.
However, it’s possible to reduce or increase this price depending on the type of marble you want, how big your kitchen is, and who you hire for the job. If you work with us here at Kitchen Infinity, we can promise you a very affordable installation rate!
Do marble countertops scratch easily?
The porosity of marble makes these countertops vulnerable to both etching and scratching, so this is definitely something to bear in mind if your kitchen gets a lot of traffic, if you have children, or if you use your kitchen more than the average homeowner.
On the whole, marble is a softer stone than something like granite, which is incredibly tough. This means that it’s a little bit more susceptible to scratching and chipping, though it’s not massively likely either. Famous sculptures like Michaelangelo’s David are made from marble – it needed to be strong but soft enough that you could chip away at it when making a sculpture.
No one stone material is perfect!
However, a lot of the scratches and etches on marble surfaces can be buffed out and removed pretty easily, either by the homeowners or a professional kitchen contractor who knows what they’re doing. As long as the scratches aren’t super deep, you’re normally able to return this stone to its previous form without too much lasting damage.
If you want to protect your marble surfaces from scratching, treat them with care, clean them regularly, and make sure that you regularly seal them so this stone is as impervious to damage as possible. Also make sure you protect them from water damage, as this could weaken the slab over time.
Can you put hot pans on marble?
Marble is naturally cool and heat-resistant, so it’s okay to put hot pots and hot pans onto marble surfaces for a short period of time. However, we wouldn’t recommend leaving hot pans on your marble surfaces for extended periods of time.
It’s not likely to do much damage, but it’s just not worth the risk.
However, with that said, you should be extra careful when it comes to lighter-colored and white marble, as this material is much more prone to scorching, so it could leave a dark mark if you’re not careful. Any scorching on marble can usually be cleaned off or removed professionally, but nothing is 100% and you may be left with dark discoloration that ruins the look of your counters.
We don’t want to ruin our lovely marble!
When it comes to placing hot pans on marble, you’re most likely to cause damage by scratching the stone with the pan rather than with the heat itself. A hard metal pan, combined with heat, could be the perfect way to create an unsightly scratch in your countertop if you don’t place it down gently.
Always be careful – marble is not indestructible.
Should I get a marble stone countertop for my kitchen?
If you’re looking for a light or white-colored kitchen counter that is naturally cool and heat-resistant, then a marble stone countertop is perfect for you. If you live in a warmer climate or do a lot of cooking with hot pans, this opulent and historic stone has all the properties you desire.
On the other hand, if you’re a little heavy-handed or you have small children and pets that could damage your surfaces easily, then marble isn’t ideal. Also, bear in mind that marble stains much more easily than stones like granite, so it’s not ideal if you’re somewhat of a messy cooker.
All in all, marble is a good kitchen material if you clean it, regularly seal it, and don’t treat it too harshly. However, if you want a more low-maintenance material that can take more everyday wear and tear, try granite or quartz instead.
We install marble countertops at competitive prices
Here at Kitchen Infinity, we install high-quality marble stone countertops at affordable prices, helping you to get the marble stone countertops you desire at a very competitive price. We work with all kinds of countertop materials, including quartz, laminate, granite, solid surfaces and marble – you’ve got plenty of options to choose from!
Our customer service is second to none – we pride ourselves on our stellar customer satisfaction and our polite service at all times. From our free inspections and quotes to our full professional installations and sealing, we make sure that your satisfaction is at the heart of everything we do.
Based in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and South Carolina, Kitchen Infinity is a strong team of kitchen contractors pooling their collective experience, techniques, and industry knowledge to bring you the very best kitchen surfaces you’ll find.
We sell marble slabs with various veining patterns, professionally installed and sealed to help resist etches and chips while staying resilient in the face of common stains like tomato sauce, lemon juice, coffee, milk, wine, and more. Every slab of our marble has its own character and aesthetic, making every marble kitchen space unique. If you’re looking for an alternative to natural stone you might be interested in solid surface like Corian®