It’s hard not to fall in love with marble; its smooth, natural, classic beauty lures many people designing or remodeling their kitchens. It is a soft, porous stone from which great artists like Michael Angelo sculpted timeless masterpieces. Yet it’s exactly this soft, porous nature of marble that makes it a little capricious as a choice for frequently used kitchen countertops.
Risks of Marble Countertops in the Kitchen
The aesthetic aspects of marble are stunning. If you are just using these marble countertops on a movie set kitchen where very little food prep or cooking is going to happen, then there is no reason to avoid marble. If you are a person with a high sense of aesthetics who isn’t fussy about natural imperfections and stains, marble could work for you as well. And the fact it does not hold heat very well and stays cold easily makes it a fantastic choice for pastry aficionados.
On the other hand, you have to know marble stains and chips easily. Everything from curry to wine and even just any cooked food debris can leave its mark behind for good, to say nothing of etching from acidic foods like tomatoes, citrus fruits, or sugared-up fruit punch.
Spills can’t be left alone and must be cleaned as soon as possible. Because it’s soft and carve-able, marble can easily get nicked and chipped as well. You will also need to use special, non-acidic, non-abrasive cleansers to clean it, and it requires regular sealing to keep it looking its best. If these considerations do not faze you, then you are going to love having marble in your kitchen! It’s a choice you need to make based on you and your family’s needs and temperament.
Quartz Countertops as an Alternative to Marble in the Kitchen
The good news, however, for those of you who still crave that classic look of marble countertops—but are also sobered by the realization that high maintenance and frequent staining and chipping will get in the way of you realistically using and enjoying your kitchen—is that there are splendid quartz countertops that look and feel a lot like classic marble, but are far more durable.
Quartz countertops are also called “engineered” or “man-made” because they really are made out of natural quartz, but the stone has been crushed, re-engineered, and had other elements added to it. For example, a typical quartz countertop will consist of 93% crushed quartz mixed together with 7% polyester resin. Some models include coloring agents, colored glass, and UV absorbers to preserve the color from being damaged in sunnier locations. These countertops do not need sealing and resist staining and chipping very well.
Quartz Countertops and their Marble Counterparts
So if you have been coveting your neighbor’s Carrara or Calcutta marble countertops, but are afraid to have them installed in your own home, it is possible you can find a great quartz countertop counterpart to fit the bill. Let’s talk about your options.
Carrara Marble: This is that beautifully bright, cool marble with bluish-gray veins running through it that so many people love for its ability to gather and reflect light, brighten and open spaces, and show off a clean, fresh, classic style. There are quartz countertops that can do this too, including Cashmere Carrara by Q-Quartz, Frosty Carrina made by Caesarstone, or Lyra made by Silestone.
Calcutta Marble: Many people love Calcutta marble with its white background and variable color veining and flecks of crystals shining throughout (including anything from honey gold to blue-gray tones). Caesarstone makes a lovely Calcutta Nuvo, while Helix and Pulsar designs stand out from the Silestone line.
Emperador Dark Marble: This brown marble ranges from dark to light with dramatic veining and crystal throughout. Suitable quartz countertops within this color range include Silestone’s Bering and Mediterranean, Caesarstone’s Lagos Blue.
Crema Marfil: The light, warm honey or rose tones with light veining of Crema Marfil marble go well in a lot of classic kitchen styles. If you like this type of marble, but would like the quartz countertop version, take a look at Caesarstone’s Dreamy Marfil, or possibly Silestone’s Daria or Caramel Rhein.
These are just a few examples of man-made, engineered stone or quartz countertops you can apply in your kitchen where marble may not be the most optimal choice. It really involves looking at the way you and your family use the kitchen. There are indeed very active cooks and families who do love their natural marble countertops, do not mind the natural patina that develops after normal use and staining, and are willing to keep up with regular sealing maintenance. On the other hand, a lot of families would rather not have to worry.
So what do you think: marble or quartz countertops for your kitchen?