Wednesday, April 17, 2013

living with marble in the kitchen

Would we put in marble kitchen counters if we built again?  If you are trying to make the marble vs other counter tops decision I can give you a little feedback.
We have lived with ours for just over a year, I still love it but here are my pros and cons.

We love our marble counter tops because:
They are gorgeous, they are just as beautiful as we imagined, a hard surface with a timeless patina.  Centuries of European kitchens can't all be wrong, it gets worn, but that only adds to the patina and beauty.

Does marble scratch and etch?
Marble does scratch occasionally when something is pulled along it, and yes it is etched slightly by acids like citrus juices and tomatoes.  By etching I mean you will be able to see the ring where a cup was, but only very slightly, in the right light and from the right angle.  Not so bad really.  You do not walk in and just see etch and scratch marks, and you use the right products these will fade away.  

The first Christmas we were in the house my father segmented about 5 oranges on the marble counter and left a very large square etched mark from the bowl he was using.  I took a deep breath and decided not to let it annoy me.  Instead I would think of my dad and that Christmas every time I noticed them, trying to be positive right?  The funny thing is a year later I can't find  them even when I am trying to.  They have simply been buffed away with cleaning and use.

Does marble stain?
So far so good, we are fairly diligent about cleaning up spills, especially red wine.  We had a dinner party a few weeks ago and several bottles were left on the counter overnight with red drips along the bottom, they cleaned away easily the next morning.  Who leaves large spills to sit on the counter any way. 

How to care for marble
Clean your marble with warm soap free water. The worst thing you can do is use an ordinary dish washing liquid or worse a scouring agent on the surface.  Acid and alkaline both cause damage, so make sure any product you use is PH neutral.

To protect and nourish my marble I use Du Pont Daily Stone & Tile Benchtop Cleaner, and the Granite & Marble Benchtop Cleaner + Protector.  It makes the marble shine and is safe to use on unsealed stone.  When I notice etch marks I spray on the cleaner and let it just sink in.  I am sure doing this repeatedly makes the etch and scratch marks fade over time.

This product is worth tracking down.  The Du Pont sales team were really helpful when my normal retailer stopped stocking it, they found my next nearest supplier, made sure it was in stock for me, and even sent me free bottle to keep me going until it was back in stock.  That's what I cal service!!

Why are kitchen manufacturers so anti marble?
Kitchen manufacturers never recommend marble but you have to think about their motivations.
They don't like comebacks and granite and composite stones are certainly hardy.  People are less likely to complain, and that's what they want, no complaints.  
Composites and granites are often pricier, is it any wonder they want you to buy them?  They are thinking about what is going to make the most profit, not what you really want.

Marble durability tests
Sealed and unsealed marble was really put through its paces in this post on The Petch House. 
Good before and after photos for citrus, tomatoes and red wine, when the results were in it held up well.

Should you choose marble?
Over all if you want a perfect surface then marble is probably not for you, choose a granite or stone composite that is scratch and etch proof.  If want the warm patina that only marble has, and don't mind a slightly worn look, then go ahead and indulge your marble desires, you won't regret it.

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