Marble Countertop Pros and Cons

Marble Countertops Pros and Cons

Marble countertops can add natural beauty and elegance to any kitchen or bathroom. The unique veining and patterns in marble make each slab one-of-a-kind. Marble is also praised for its durability and scratch resistance. However, marble requires frequent sealing and care to prevent etching, scratches, and stains. Before visiting your countertop store, it helps to weigh the marble countertop’s pros and cons carefully.

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What is Marble?

Marble is a metamorphic rock that originated from limestone or dolomite. Through heat and pressure underground, the minerals re-crystallize to form marble. The swirls and dark veining often occur during this process. Marble has been valued since ancient times for its beauty and low maintenance. Many famous sculptures and monuments like the Taj Mahal use marble.

These days, marble remains popular for countertops, floors, walls, and other home surfaces. There are many more expensive marble varieties to pick from. Some of the most desired premium marbles are Carrara and Calacatta from Italy. These white marbles with striking gray veining can be quite expensive.

The Benefits of Marble Countertops

Elegance and Style

Marble brings a refined, classic elegance to any space. The colors and patterns occur naturally, making each marble slab unique. Marble can be polished into a glossy finish that enhances the veining. Many homeowners seek marble for its upscale, one-of-a-kind beauty. It brings style and luxury to kitchens, baths, and other rooms.


According to research by the Natural Stone Institute, marble rates at least a 3 on the Mohs mineral hardness scale, making it a highly durable top surface that resists scratches from regular daily use and cleaning.

Thanks to its density and hardness, marble is very durable. It is scratch-resistant and can withstand heavy use in kitchens. Marble rates at least a 3 on the Mohs scale, sometimes higher. It can serve as a kitchen or bathroom countertop surface for many years. This natural stone kitchen countertop top material is comparable to granite in hardness.

Low Maintenance

Once the marble is installed and sealed properly, very little maintenance is needed. Just use a gentle cleaner for periodic cleaning. Avoid abrasive pads or powders that could damage the marble’s finish. With proper care and sealing, marble countertops can look beautiful for many years before needing professional honing or polishing.

Heat Resistance

Marble is heat resistant and more durable when subjected to heat than many other natural stones. While you still need to use hot pads, and trivets and prevent direct heat contact other materials whenever possible, marble can withstand hot pots from the oven or stove temporarily. Materials like quartz can actually scorch if exposed to extremely hot pans fresh from the oven.

Resists Bacteria Growth

Marble contains properties that inhibit the growth of bacteria, making it very hygienic. This benefit makes marble popular for bathroom vanities and showers as an alternative to natural granite stone which may harbor more bacteria in damp environments.

Adds Resale Value

The classic, luxurious elegance that marble provides kitchen countertops can boost a home’s resale value for interior design trendsetters. More so than granite, marble countertops make a statement that buyers recognize as conveying higher market value according to real estate data. Even higher-maintenance surfaces like marble get recouped and even raise property worth.

Wide Range of Global Sources

Marble gets quarried all across the globe, so there are vast options of natural patterns, colors, and types to match any home decor style. Carrara marble from Italy or Calacatta marble turns Traditional kitchens into showstoppers. Vivid green Guatemalan marble makes a vibrant choice. White marbles with gray veining remain popular for their versatility and flexible uses for construction applications. This natural abundance makes pricing competitive globally for homeowners or builders.

The Downsides of Marble

While marble has many positive attributes if cared for properly, there are also some important downsides to consider before deciding on granite countertops.

Frequent Sealing Required

Marble is porous, which means liquids can penetrate the surface and cause stains. So marble countertops must be sealed very frequently to prevent staining. Sealing also gives some protection against etching. Plan to reseal the cons of marble countertops every 3-4 months. Let any spills sit on top rather than absorb into stone.

Prone to Etching and Scratching

The polished surface of marble can easily become etched when acidic liquids make contact. Things like wine, juice, vinegar, or lemon juice can leave dull spots where the finish becomes eroded. These marks require professional polishing to remove. Marble can also become scratched by objects dragged across its surface. Take care not to scrape cookware across your marble kitchen counters.

Can Stain Easily

Over time with frequent use, marble countertops can become stained even if well-sealed. Spills that sit too long can leave permanent discoloration even after cleaning attempts. Keep all liquids wiped up quickly on the marble to prevent permanent stains. But some common kitchen and bathroom products can stain marble surfaces regardless.

Higher Maintenance Than Other Countertop Materials

Marble requires much more frequent sealing and conscientious care than granite, quartz, or ceramic tile. Home chefs need to use trivets and take extra caution against spills, etching, or scratching. Marble needs special cleaners instead of abrasive scouring powders. All this diligent maintenance makes it higher maintenance than other countertop options.

Expensive Purchase and Installation Cost

Natural marble slabs are one of the more expensive countertop installation materials. Exotic imported marble varieties can cost over $200 per square foot installed. The entire tear-out and replacement of old countertops drives installation costs too. Shop around for marble remnant slabs or smaller projects to save.

Marble Countertop Varieties

Marble comes in a rainbow of colors and patterns. The major categories include:

White Marbles

The most popular marble colors are white backgrounds with gray veining. Names like Carrara, Calacatta, Statuario, and Thassos describe the quarry origins of these striking white Italian and Greek marbles. Subtle veining or very dramatic gray patterns occur. These elegant white marbles are ideal for Traditional, Old World, and Contemporary kitchen and bath designs.

Colored Marbles

Many marble varieties have captivating colors as their background instead of white. Pink, gold, green, red, and other vibrant marble colors make exciting design statements. Some feature very bold, artistic patterns too. Red Rosso marble counters make a bold choice for Tuscan décor.

Black Marbles

Some marble types come in black as their background color with distinctive white veining traces throughout. Black absolute marble or Nero Marquina are examples of dramatic shades of black gray and charcoal.

Blended Marbles

You can also find marble that incorporates two or more colors blended. These multicolored materials may have large color sections or more subtle mixtures of different stone swirls.

How to Care for Marble Countertops

Caring properly for marble takes some diligence but helps preserve its good looks. Here are top tips for marble countertop care:

  • Seal marble counters every 3-4 months using an impregnating sealer formulated for natural stone. This prevents stains and etching.

  • Use coasters under all glasses. Wipe up spills immediately before liquids can be absorbed.

  • Avoid using acidic liquids like wine, fruit juice, or vinegar directly on marble. If accidental contact occurs, clean and rinse the area immediately.

  • Don’t place hot pots or pans directly on marble surfaces. The extreme heat can damage marble. Always use trivets or hot pads.

  • Clean marble gently with pH-neutral stone cleaners, not harsh disinfectants or powders. Use a soft cloth only.

  • For accidental etches or scratches, call a professional stone restoration company. Repairs should be done once a year or more.

Should You Choose Marble Countertops?

The elegance and luxury of marble come with higher maintenance needs and costs compared to granite, quartz, or solid surface countertops. Marble requires sealing and handling with extra care to prevent staining or etching in kitchens and bathrooms. If you love the unique beauty of marble and don’t mind the frequent sealing and careful maintenance required, marble can make a gorgeous, high-end countertop material.

Shop around for marble offers the most competitive installer pricing. Make sure to budget for professional honing and polishing every couple of years as needed. Consider lower-use areas rather than heavy-duty kitchen workstations for marble. Ultimately your design style preferences, budget, and willingness to properly maintain marble should steer your decision.

Bayram Gulsen

Bayram Gulsen is the owner of Cabinets City. He always had this passion to redefine cabinetry to be at its best along with his dedicated team and the author of Cabinets City blog: You can find Bayram on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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