Marble is an age-old building material that has stood the test of time over centuries of architecture, art and interior design. It has been considered an exquisite sculptural material since classical times, as it is easy to carve yet resistant to shattering. Additionally, the low index of refraction of calcite allows light to penetrate the surface, resulting in a waxy look that gives life to a sculpture.
The material is so highly regarded that entire buildings are often made with it, including the Taj Majal in India. The Greeks built a number of monumental marble structures, such as the Parthenon, the Theseum, the Temple of Zeus and the Temple of Artemis, which was the first of the grand structures to be made of marble. The Greeks were also the first to bring marble into the home, as baths and pools were often lined with this stunning and durable material. Why is marble so common in interiors — particularly countertops — all around the world? Let’s explore just a handful of the reasons marble has stood the test of time.
Lots of Character
Each cut of marble is unique. Selecting a piece is like choosing an original work of art while envisioning its placement in your space. You must understand where the veining will be located in your countertop and figure out how different pieces might come together. This is exciting! The slab of marble in your home is unlike any other in the world, and you have the opportunity to create your own personal masterpiece. While white is undeniably the most common color of marble, there are actually hundreds of varieties that come in a plethora of colors, including taupe, green, gold, red and black. However, white is considered the easiest to maintain, which may be surprising. More on that later…
Bright and Cheerful
If you select white marble for your countertop or backsplash, you are adding a significant amount of cheerfulness and light to your space. Hardly any natural material is as white as marble, and the organic look brings a sense of nature indoors. Natural and artificial light alike will bounce off the surface, illuminating the room in a pleasant way.
Sturdy Yet Soft to the Touch
Marble is both durable and fragile. It is a metamorphic stone formed when sediment crystallizes under great heat or pressure to form hard rock. Marble is not the hardest of natural stones, which means it is softer to the touch and more porous, which makes it susceptible to staining and etching. However, this soft feeling is often preferable, as many appreciate the way marble feels to the touch.
Easy to Maintain
Despite popular opinion, marble cleaning is a simple task, whether you are cleaning off the surface or working out a stain. For quick cleaning, you can spread warm water and dish soap (nothing with acid or lemon juice!) over the counter, and for stains, mix baking soda and water in a paste and leave it overnight. However, marble is often labeled as finicky and weak, as stains and etching can occur over time. You can avoid this by making sure to seal the marble right away. Additionally, you can choose the more low-maintenance of the two finishes. A honed finish creates a more soft, matte look, which disguises scratches and etching. A polished finish provides a shiny look that won’t stain as easily but will show scratches and etching more clearly. It depends on the look and level of maintenance you want to dedicate, but a honed finish will be more durable in the long run.
Marble has the capacity to last for several years in a high-traffic space. It can withstand years of wear and tear, but may capture a few small marks, such as etches, if you’re not careful. Etches are the dull spots formed when acid reacts with the carbon carbonate makeup of marble. You may see these subtle marks at restaurants, bars and a home with a well-used marble countertop. Any splash of lemon juice, vinegar, tomato sauce or other acidic items might leave an etching on marble. Note that this is not a stain, but rather more of a scratch or a dulling to the material. Again, choosing a honed finish will help disguise these marks, as they have already been dulled and naturally etched, as opposed to the pristine polished marble finish.
Perfect for Active Kitchens
Marble countertops are perfect for those who spend a lot of time in the kitchen, as the material is forgiving and durable. As long as you are not using the surface as a cutting board or letting harmful materials soak into the marble, you can safely keep your countertop from distress. Many use the clean and cold surface of marble to roll dough and prepare cookies or other baked goods. Additionally, marble is resistant to scorching from hot items placed on the surface.
In addition to the practical reasons for incorporating marble, you cannot deny the breathtaking quality of this organic material and its ability to add an extra dose of class and esteem. Overall, marble is a beauty to behold, and its classic and luxurious style adds elegance to any space. As mentioned, the unique veining in each cut is reminiscent of a work of art. Whether you are choosing marble for a countertop or backsplash, lining an entire wall with marble, or acquiring a stunning marble statue, you will be pleased with this gorgeous and timeless material.