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Marble is such a highly prized stone that, historically, it was a favored building material for the ancient Romans who used it extensively in palaces, for statutes and common areas. Many of those magnificent structures still exist. Today marble is a pricey natural stone whose best qualities are endurance and beauty, but there are some things to consider when buying marble countertops.
Let’s first begin with the distinction between granite and marble, because consumers often use their names synonymously. Granite is a rock comprised of hard crystals of magma—molten rock within earth’s core—with vein properties from feldspar and quartz. Marble, on the other hand, is a hardened form of limestone consisting of crystals of calcite or dolomite. Marble undergoes a metamorphosis, or, a physical change from limestone by being re-crystallized and hardened under great heat and pressure. Marble’s relatives are onyx, limestone and travertine. All stone products are mined from great quarries in various parts of the world.
Since granite is created at the earth’s mantle under great pressure and heat, it has an exceptionally hard surface. Marble however, is softer because it starts out as sediment carrying vegetation, shells, animal skeletons and silt that solidifies, and it is often found under water. One advantage of marble’s composites though, means the colors, irregularities and veining are extraordinarily beautiful and designers often like to juxtapose this natural look against man-made materials for a sophisticated singular impression. If the marble countertops are supposed to cover an area longer than the width of the slab however, it may require seaming and no two pieces are ever the same. Also, the sample that is shown to you may not be reliably consistent with the actual piece.
The cost of marble countertops will vary depending on the retailer, where the rock is quarried, shipping costs, time allotment and what type of arrangement the vendor has with the quarry, but it is generally expensive. Most often a square foot pricing is used. Do some advance research and choose your seller based on the comments from former customers and their overall reputation. For bids, remember to factor in installation costs, which can include removing the existing countertop, special edge formulation, and any other extraordinary cuts or features, including professional sealing.
Marble is not recommended for kitchen application because the calcium deposits in the stone are porous and prone to staining from foods like wine, for example; and is also effected by acids such as vinegar and citrus. Marble countertops should not be cleaned with abrasives or scrub brushes. Marble must also be resealed once a year—all stone products have pits—using special products made for stone in order to maintain its brilliance. Hand waxing will maintain it in-between. Marble is best when used in bathrooms, for fireplace borders, flooring, vanity tops or as a surround for whirlpools and bathtubs. None of the natural stone products are good for cutting surfaces; you will not only damage your knives but also create scratches. Finally, a nice surprise, marble is a good material for people with allergies, as it does not hold allergens on its surface.
If your marble purchase is on a tight time schedule, this product may not be for you. In addition to an on-site measurement and template creation, any unforeseen changes in specifications and shipping will delay the project.
Like any stone surface, marble countertops will increase the value of your home and with attention and care, will be an asset that lives beyond a lifetime.
A marble countertop is a beautiful addition to almost any decor, but I would not recommend this type of material in the kitchen. Granite countertops are strong and endure for a long time. Marble is not as durable under kitchen conditions. Marble bathroom countertops are best if you want to incorporate this type of stone into your home's decor.
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