When building a new home or renovating an existing home, the kitchen deserves special attention. The available countertop materials include natural stone such as granite, soapstone, slate, or marble, butcher block wood, solid surfaces made with dense acrylic, polyester, or a blend, engineered stone made with quartz and acrylic or epoxy binder, concrete countertops, ceramic tile, and plastic laminate countertops.
The most popular countertops are made of natural stone. Marble countertops have a rich beauty that is worth the cost. Marble countertops come with either a honed or a polished surface.
Natural Stone Countertops
If the homeowner can afford them, natural stone countertops will increase the home’s value and are more popular with home buyers when it is time to sell. Marble countertops are very durable and last longer than some other materials. When choosing natural stone kitchen countertops, consider marble in either a honed or polished finish. A marble countertop in white with classic veining is a countertop that can last a lifetime. The one weakness in marble countertops is acidic liquids such as lemon juice or vinegar which can etch them. Marble comes in more colors than white, but they will show etching more, so extra care will need to be taken to protect them.
Honed Marble Finish
Honed marble countertops have a matte finish rather than a polished finish. They look natural and are not light reflective. A honed finish is achieved by halting the polishing process sooner. A honed surface is more scratch resistant and will hide scratches better. A honed surface will be less slippery when it is wet so it is ideal for flooring and countertops. The matt finish does leave the marble more susceptible to staining, so spills must be wiped up right away.
People choose a honed marble finish countertop because it feels like velvet or satin and has a deep rich look. This stone countertop will need periodic sealing and cleaning with water and a mild detergent. Honed marble finishes don’t show acid etching as much as polished surfaces do.
Polished marble has been smoothed and buffed with abrasive materials to give it a shiny polished look that can reflect light. Many homeowners like the glossy finish and the smooth feel of polished marble. But, this finish is more susceptible to scratches and etching and the shiny surface makes them more visible. Polished marble does not stain as easily but spills should still be wiped up right away. Polished marble finishes are not good for flooring because they can be slippery when wet. A polished marble surface is durable and easy to clean with water and mild soap.
Other Considerations When Choosing Marble Countertops
When choosing a marble countertop, consider sticking with classic white with attractive veining because etching will show less. Ask for help choosing the marble slab and how the seams will come together with the veining having a book match or mirrored appearance. Choose a slab with the most attractive veining pattern for your kitchen cabinet layout. Marble blocks can be cut in different ways to form unique veining patterns.
Finally, choose an attractive edge profile for the marble countertops. Modern machines and tools make it possible to choose from many edge profiles such as an eased edge, bull’s nose edge, a miter joint, or other curved edges. A curved edge will be less likely to chip than a straight 90-degree edge. The different edge profiles will be priced differently depending on their complexity.