The first function of a countertop ? be it of
a bar, kitchen or bathroom ? is to provide a suitably elevated
working space. A suitably located countertop can help minimize
spillage. The second function of a countertop is to be
decorative. A medium like wood, though potentially decorative,
cannot withstand moisture for long.
Natural marble is among the most visually
appealing surfaces for countertops today, but it does have its
limitations owing to its porosity. There is no sure-fire way of
?proofing? marble against staining from tea, coffee, juices and
certain cosmetics. However, it is practically the only choice
in bathrooms that have been designed in marble. When natural
marble is used in bar and bathroom countertops, the owner
should be prepared to maintain it carefully.
more suitable alternative is artificial or ?cultured? marble.
This is molded from crushed natural marble in a binding medium
made up of resins, polyester, calcium carbonate and other
materials. The end product can resemble natural marble to the
point that the difference is unnoticeable.
Cultured marble is highly resistant to
moisture, staining, scratching and chipping. Since it is a
manufactured material, major cracks and breaks can be repaired
easily. At the same time, the nobility of marble shines
through. Tough though it is, cultured marble can still suffer
damage from certain cleaning agents. However, the supplier will
invariably point out what can and can not be safely used for
The color of cultured marble countertops can
be changed by resurfacing. Such services are offered by
porcelain or enamel refinishers and the results can be quite
visually appealing. It must be remembered though that the
?marbled? effect will be entirely lost and one solid color will
While cultured marble is the most practical
option for a gorgeous countertop, natural marble is a beautiful
choice for a more decorative counter surface.
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