About Marble Countertops
Marble is one of the tried and true materials for architectural applications. It has been used for sculptures, flooring, pillars, and even entire buildings. In fact, marble has been used for all sorts of furnishings; even within the home. In this article we will take a look at some features of marble. Additionally, we will explore some points about marble countertops such as fabricating and caring for and maintaining countertops made from marble.
What Is Marble?
Marble is a natural stone that is made up of calcium carbonate (or calcium magnesium carbonate) mineral. It is a metamorphic rock that was once limestone but has been transformed through natural forces into a new material. Once you have seen marble it is easy to identify. Why is this the case? Because marble has some very distinct properties.
Properties of Marble
Marble is usually a light colored stone. In fact, the purest marbles are actually white in color. However, marble can be other colors too. Impurities (other kinds of minerals that are not calcite) show up in the form of other colors and cause this natural stone to have veining and other distinguishing characteristics.
The calcite (calcium carbonate) in the stone is in crystal form. As a result, the surface of marble can be polished to a high gloss finish that is shiny. Because of this property, marble has been used for flooring in buildings throughout history.
Another characteristic of marble is that it is a soft stone; registering at 3 on the Mohs hardness scale. This characteristic makes it a good material for sculpting. Hence, throughout the past, sculptors have used marble for many notable art works.
Marble's properties make it an appealing material for various uses in design and decor. In fact, its visual beauty means it is an appealing choice for specific functions in and around the home. Kitchens and bathrooms adorn this wondrous natural stone. In what way?
One of the common ways that marble is used in and around the home is in the way of countertops for the kitchen and bathrooms. Additionally, marble is selected as a worktop or even a table top material in commercial environments.
Marble worktops are often selected because of their visual appeal. The elegant appearance of this natural material along with the mesmerizing veining patterns that can be observed on the surface of a marble stone countertop.
Fabricating Countertops With Marble
When it comes to fabricating marble countertops there are some specific tool requirements that need to be acknowledged. Since marble is a fairly soft material as far as stone goes, diamond blades designed for cutting it are required. If the incorrect diamond blade is used, the work will not go as smoothly and it can slow down or even halt progress. For this reason, it is recommended that fabricators use marble bridge saw blades for cutting marble.
In addition to knowing which diamond blade to use for cutting marble, it is important to select an adhesive for bonding marble as well. Having a glue that will blend with the color of the marble surface that is being glued is important. This ensures that the seams in the countertop will be as hard to see as possible.
Marble Countertop Durability
Marble is a structurally durable material. Meaning, it is a natural stone that does not wear out easily. It is a soft stone though as we mentioned previously in this article. Yet there are many buildings that are hundreds of years old made of marble. Does that mean though that owning marble is a breeze?
Care & Maintenance of Marble Counters
Even though marble countertops are structurally durable, they must be cared for and maintained properly. This will require some work and some specific attention. Let's look a bit closer at the care and maintenance of marble countertops.
On a regular basis, you will want to use a cleaner that is designed for use on marble surfaces. As we have already discussed, marble surface contain calcite. What we did not cover though is that calcite is very sensitive to acidic liquids and substances. Many household cleaners are acidic. Using an acidic cleaner on marble can cause the surface to etch and become dull looking. This reaction is known as etching.
Be sure you use a pH neutral marble cleaner on marble countertops. This way you will not hurt the calcite in the marble and the finish will stay looking as elegant as ever.
In the event that you do have a situation where an acidic liquid gets on your marble surface and you want to remove it, etch remover will allow you to remove the dull spot.
Periodic & Regular Sealing
Even though you can remove an etch, it is much better if you simply protect your marble surface from the substances that deteriorate the calcite. One way to protect your marble is by sealing the stone with an impregnating sealer periodically. By using a premium stone sealer on the marble, you slow down the rate at which acids can dissolve the calcium carbonate. This is important because even fruit juices, vinegar, and other common liquids contain acid.
Acid from any number of foods or juices will dissolve the calcium carbonate in the marble as fast or even faster than acidic cleaners. An another way of protecting marble from etching is by regularly using a fortified stone polish. Fortified stone polish is a polish that maintains the shine of the stone. These products also contain sealers and by using it regularly the seal is restored through the sealer in the polish.
Are Marble Counters Right for You?
Marble surfaces are not for everyone. They are however, for those that truly appreciate the beauty of natural stone countertops. If you enjoy the elegant appearance of a timeless stone material that has been used for all sorts of applications, marble is for you. It has been featured in both small scale design projects as well as large architectural designs.
However, if you choose to select marble as your countertop surface, make sure you know how to care for and maintain your countertop surface with the proper products or you could find that your marble surface is not a delightful as you would like.