There are many factors to consider when talking about marble. The main one seems to be DOES IT STAIN or is it fragile? This is the big question many people want to know? The whole marble versus granite or quartz debate plus many more considerations that can be overwhelming.
Isn’t marble super FANCY? Yes it’s beautiful but it’s not pretentious and very much affordable. It’s actually a very natural and honest material. It is one of the rare materials that brings beauty, elegance and class without having to cost a fortune like diamonds. Look at the white carrara marble Meryl Streep is leaning over giving it such a clean elegant feel.
Larger shot of the same bakery from the movie, so charming.
If you have travelled in Europe then you have seen marble in both art museums and in cafes. It’s used everywhere, from the elegant to the everyday, because it’s such a wonderful and beautiful material.
Aren’t there DIFFERENT TYPES of marble? Carrara marble is one of the more famous white materials, popularized during the roman empire. Many restaurants and cafes love using this marble since it has that clean elegant feel, with beautiful grey bluish veins that give it so much character. Other popular white marbles from Italy are Statuary marble and calacatta gold with heavier veining. Calacatta and other more heavily veined marbles than carrara are used in hotels and high end restaurants as feature walls. There are thousands of marbles on the market, the beauty is really determined by the eye of the beholder. Some like more veins, some like less veins, the most loved reason of marble is that there is never the same piece of design, which gives you your own unique beauty to admire.
In the recent years, quartz has been popularized because of it's low maintenance. And by doing so, companies have been trying to imitate the marble look to boost sales. In the end, there can be only so many variations of the imitation marble before you start seeing the same pattern over and over again.
Think model homes vs. custom homes. Model homes have 4 ~8 different designs that get replicated and randomly placed to seem different. But we all know the truth to that, which is fine, because they still look good! What we are focusing here today are the people who want to be individuals, who want their own style and not have a same item as your neighbor down the street.
Now back to the original question...
DOES IT STAIN Yes marble is a natural material and soft and porous and it can stain as well as chip and scratch. And yes it certainly etches. In fact, IT WILL ETCH. But there are sealants that can prevent the staining along with proper care.
This is one of the main reasons why engineered quartz has gained such popularity because of it's low maintenance. Like any natural materials, whether it's wood, marble, jade, etc. all have these characteristics which in our view adds to the beauty. Just like people, who grow and age, that is what makes us unique and different. Why do most of us love Europe. Most of Europe is old, dirty, uneven roads, and "unattractive" compared to places such as the U.S., Canada, Taiwan, Japan, and so on where everything is new and much more modern. But we look past all that in Europe, because there is history, there is culture, and exactly that we find beauty. Most of Europe's history is built with gorgeous marble status with white carrara marble.
So what is ETCHING? It’s just a colorless looking watermark. Usually wiping down with a warm cloth they go away. Water spots usually wipe away but acidic things like lemons or pickles or tomatoes can etch more permanently. Bottom line, etching will happen, its inherent to marble so be sure this isn’t something that is going to bother you down the road.
How do you CLEAN it? Well not with bleach or 409. Anything with vinegar is damaging. This may freak some people out who want to disinfect their counters. Soap and water work best with marble. 409 does make a stone cleaner that I read is okay for carrara but I haven’t tried it yet. I have wondered if the Mrs Meyers cleaner would be okay, I love that but I haven’t tried. If you have marble what do you use to clean? With marble, most people use one or more chopping boards so that really helps with cleanup and the need to disinfect. Just make sure your cleaners are natural with no vinegar. I think the J.R. Watkins will be fine but I haven’t really tried yet; Again, Edie’s fab post has a great link to cleaning tips.
Isn’t it PRICEY? When it comes to price you just have to shop around. It’s marble. It’s not cheap but you might be surprised when comparing it to other commonly used materials. Be sure and ask if the quoted price includes demo and removal of what you already have in place. Also if you want the best price get plain ol carrara. That is what I have. Not calcutta or the other heavily veined more precious marbles. Many designers talk a lot about Calcutta and Oro and other fancy marbles and that’s great, they are gorgeous, especially in a large kitchen or bath where you want to do something dramatic. But for my little cottage I knew plain ol carrara was the way to go. Honed and sealed. And I did a plain edge. I will say I have been surprised more and more when working with clients to find out that simple carrara is (not the calcutta mind you but basic carrera) is cheaper than granite. And certainly less expensive than quartz and silestone and other man made products.
Joni at Cote de Texas has calcutta and used it on her backsplash too..so pretty. Notice it has more veining than mine. Her blog is a wealth of knowledge on this topic! Read her post on the topic here.
What about DANBY MARBLE? Danby marble is pricier but more stain resistant and does not etch easily since it is a more dense marble (which I don’t really think staining is an issue if you hone and seal but that is just my experience).
What about you? Do you love marble like we do? Is it honed or polished? How do you clean it? Do you feel like you have to baby it? Would you use it again?
And now you know, at MIKOL, we have taken marble to another level! It's not just limited to interior design and furniture or kitchen wear. We are trying to use marble to break into the fashion world and introduce a whole new level of wearable marble beauty. (Real marble, not the printed version you see mostly in the market place)