7 FAQs About Marble Countertops
Marble, though not quite as popular as granite, is a natural stone with many benefits for homeowners. This material is beautiful and can bring timeless elegance to your space. Plus, it’s ideal for smaller kitchens or bathrooms that don’t have much natural light.
At Outlook Construction & Remodeling in Flagstaff, AZ, our clients love marble because of the following benefits:
- It stays cool, so it’s great for baking
- Softer, so it’s easy to cut and shape compared to other materials
- It has a natural glow, so it reflects light in a room
- Will not burn if hot dishes are placed on it
- It’s strong and durable
- It’s elegant, and the variety of colors means it pairs well with any décor
If you are in or near Flagstaff, AZ, and are thinking about upgrading your kitchen, bathroom, office, or laundry room countertops to marble, you probably have some questions. We’re here to help! We are the area’s experts in kitchen remodeling and have installed plenty of marble countertops in all areas of our customer’s homes over the years.
Below, we’ve answered the seven most frequently asked questions about marble countertops that we receive here at Outlook Construction & Remodeling.
Most Asked Questions About Marble Counters
The team at Outlook Construction & Remodeling, Inc. are experts when it comes to installing marble countertops in Flagstaff, AZ. We are proud to be part of the Northern Arizona Building Association (NABA) and the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). Therefore, you can trust us when it comes to installing marble countertops in your home.
Keep reading to learn more about having this wonderful material installed in your kitchen, bathroom, or any other area of your home.
How much are marble countertops?
The most expensive component of this project will be the material. On average, marble will cost you $55 per square foot. Therefore, if you need 40 square feet, it will be $2,200. Labor costs average between $35 to $45 per hour, so the total will be around $350 to $450.
The type of marble you choose will also affect the price. Some of the other factors that may affect your final cost are:
- Disposal of the old countertop
- Your location
- The dimensions of the space in which the countertop is to be installed.
The prices above represent averages across the country. For a personalized breakdown of the cost here in Flagstaff, AZ, we invite you to reach out to us for a quote.
How do I clean marble countertops?
You can keep your marble countertops looking great if you properly care for them. Though marble is a durable material, it does have a delicate side.
The first thing you need to be aware of is that marble is primarily composed of calcium carbonate. Therefore, it’s sensitive to acidic solutions, so things like lemon juice or vinegar can cause etching. Some people think the etching adds character and others feel the need to grind down the top layer and reseal it when there is lots of etching.
General cleaning is simple. All you really need is a mild, non-abrasive, non-acidic soap with water and a soft cloth. However, you can purchase a stone cleaner specifically formulated to clean marble. The most important thing to remember is that you need to avoid acidic cleaners.
Stain removal can be a bit more complicated than general cleaning. The key is to identify what caused the stain and apply the appropriate solution. Keep in mind that the sooner you deal with a stain, the easier it will be to remove it.
How is marble polished?
While it’s true that marble countertops are beautiful and have many advantages, they have some disadvantages too—the primary one being their tendency to stain or etch. Etching is dulled spots that appear pitted and may feel rough to the touch.
A matte finish on your counter will hide these imperfections, while the glossy finish that most people prefer shines a spotlight on them. This is when your countertops will need to be polished to bring back that shine.
Of course, before you get started, you need to understand the difference between the two finishes:
- Honed Marble: this is a velvety finish. It’s not really matte, but it’s also not exactly glossy. It’s ideal for flooring because it’s less slippery than polished marble. Some homeowners prefer this finish for their countertops because it’s not as prone to scratches and hides etching better than polished.
- Polished Marble: this is a glossy finish. It is more common for countertops and table inlays because it’s less porous and won’t stain as easily as honed. Plus, you may not have to seal polished marble as often, and the semi-reflective surface can make a small area feel bigger.
To polish your counters, start by cleaning them, then follow these steps:
- Brush off crumbs and dust, spray with a mild cleaner, wipe, and dry. If you have any stains, make sure to take the necessary steps to remove them.
- Use a polishing powder to buff out any etching.
- Seal the counter to make it shiny and resistant to future staining or etching.
How do I care for and maintain marble countertops?
Marble is durable but is also soft and sensitive. We know it’s quite a paradox! Even if sealed properly, it can be stained or scratched and is prone to etching, which are dull spots formed when certain substances come into contact with it, such as vinegar, lemon juice, citrus fruit juices, wine, or coffee.
However, you can keep your marble safe with the following procedures:
- Preventative: this is the easiest and most effective way to protect your marble countertop. Always use placemats, cutting boards, and coasters. Ensure foods with high acidity are placed in a bowl or on a plate before placing them on the counter. Take care to avoid spilling wine, vinegar, or oil onto your counter. Of course, accidents do happen; just clean it immediately if something does get spilled.
- Daily Cleaning: depending on how often you use your countertop, you need to clean it regularly. As long as you do this, warm water and a soft cloth are fine. However, if you are cleaning up a spill or want a deeper clean, use a mild, non-acidic soap and water with a soft cloth.
- Long-term Cleaning: finally, to complete the routine of protecting your marble, make sure that you keep it sealed. You can do this yourself, or you can hire a professional. Either way, countertops should be sealed every six months to one year, though some products claim to be effective for up to 10 years.
What colors do marble counters come in?
Marble comes in a variety of colors and variations. There is white, beige, Calacatta, blue, green, red, gray, and more. The Calacatta and Calacatta Gold are two of the more popular white varieties.
The Calacatta is from Italy and is a calcitic white marble. Its chromatism is peculiar and features white and fine light-grey veins dotted with tiny amber and golden flecks. The Calacatta Gold, on the other hand, is white with grey and golden streaks of varying thicknesses.
Is marble a good material for kitchen countertops?
When you ask a contractor whether you should have marble countertops installed, they will probably tell you that it depends on where you plan to use them. This material is ideal for areas that don’t get a lot of use, such as offices, fireplace surrounds, and bathrooms. Typically, contractors do not recommend them for the kitchen.
There are some benefits of marble countertops, however:
- Looks great: the variety of colors and patterns/tones give you the assurance you will have unique counters. After all, no two slabs are alike.
- Can take the heat: marble is heat resistant, which means it can withstand pots and pans being placed on it in the kitchen. Therefore, a hot styling tool placed on it in the bathroom won’t hurt it. This is also why it’s so popular as a fireplace surround because the heat won’t turn it yellow, and it can stand against the occasional spark.
However, it’s some contractors may advise against their use in the kitchen for two primary reasons:
- It is porous: this material is more porous than others, which causes it to absorb liquids easily. Things like juice, wine, and other spills quickly soak into the stone. This makes them difficult, and sometimes impossible, to get out. Since spills are prone to happen in the kitchen, you might not want to have marble counters.
- Not sturdy enough: marble may not be sturdy enough for areas with heavy use, such as kitchens. Since it’s a softer material, knives can easily scratch the surface, or heavy pots or pans may chip the surface or even break off a corner.
Even so, plenty of people have chosen marble countertops for their kitchen and have been pleased with the luxurious-looking result. Just keep in mind that you’ll need to invest a bit of extra time into proper maintenance.
How does marble compare to other countertop materials?
You should be aware that natural stone can be found in a variety of colors and patterns, and no two slabs are alike. Materials such as marble, limestone, and soapstone are ideal if you want to create a unique look. However, it’s important to note that marble is a soft stone, which means it is likely to become stained or scratched if not properly sealed. Plus, marble tends to cost a bit more than other options.
The same could be said when comparing marble to other materials such as quartzite, quartz, dolomite, travertine, onyx, and porcelain. Marble is soft and easy to damage, but it does create a luxurious appearance that can’t be beaten by any other material on the market.
If you are interested in upgrading your countertops and creating a luxurious feel in your home, marble is a great option. Contact Outlook Construction & Remodeling in Flagstaff, AZ today if you have any other questions or you are ready to move forward with installing your marble countertops. We will gladly provide you with all of the information you need, as well as a free estimate for your marble countertop installation.