Kitchen Remodeling

Marble Countertops
By: Jimmy Sturo


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.

A 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 its maintenance.

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 result.

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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