Marble countertops are popular among homeowners since they are natural and classy. Although some people avoid marble since it requires a bit more maintenance than granite or quartz, it is still a highly durable material. In addition, many historical buildings and landmarks are made of marble, and we can still go and see them safe and sound. Aside from being strong and durable, marble countertops are also perfect for many cooking works like pastry or chocolate. Although white marble countertops are more common, you can also consider black marble countertops to speak of dark elegance and uniqueness.
As for the bathroom, marble countertops are again one of the top choices of many people. Marble gives the sense of luxury and relaxation perfectly. Unique patterns and veins on the marble surface make your bathroom an elegant part of your house.
What To Ask Before Buying A Marble Countertop?
Though marble is a high-quality natural material and many people’s first choice in their home as kitchen/bathroom countertops or bathroom vanity tops, buying a marble countertop needs delicate research. Since marble countertops are big investments for many people, homeowners are primarily interested in how much marble countertops cost.
Still, the buyers should consider some points as well before buying a marble countertop. In this post, you will learn some critical questions to reconsider or ask your installer before you sign a contract.
- How Well Do The Samples Match The Finished Product?
When you go to the stores, they will show you the samples of the stones they have in their stocks or that they can order for you. Considering that marble is a fully natural stone, you should bear in mind that it is hardly possible to find two marble patterns exactly the same. Therefore, if you take a sample piece of a marble countertop home, try to take one of those that are already in their stocks and also try to take a bigger sample so that you can see the patterns more holistically.
If you pick a marble stone to be ordered for you (not in their stocks), you should be prepared to find some difference between the one you see in the catalog or on the computer screen and the real product coming to you. However, it is also possible that after the countertop installation, the finished product supplied for you might be even better than the one you chose before. Who knows?
- What Is The Ideal Thickness For Marble countertops?
Marble countertops are normally produced with a thickness of 0,75” to 1,25”. Although these are industry standards, there is an increasing interest in the thicker slabs in both kitchens and bathrooms. Since thicker marble countertops are more resilient and sturdier, many people tend to choose marble countertops that are 2” or more in thickness. Also, thicker marble countertops can be installed with no need for plywood support, which reduces the installation time and looks better.
On the other hand, thinner marble countertops are cheaper and lighter. Being a more affordable option, thinner marble countertops can also be used as backsplashes or vertical wall covers to save some more horizontal space besides serving as your countertops. Also, since they are not as heavy as the thicker slabs, transportation and installation are easier; if your kitchen or bathroom ground cannot carry more weight for some reason, the lighter one can be a better option for you.
- Does The Slab Have Any Fissures or Cracks?
Marble countertops are made of natural stones under the Earth. Therefore, they may contain some fissures, which look like cracks. Actually, cracks are the real problems that weaken the stone and make it more vulnerable. Cracks are generally man-made, and they can happen during transportation or installation. On the other hand, fissures are geological formations in the stone, and they are natural; thus, they are not serious threats to your marble countertop. On the contrary, they add a more natural statement to the marble countertops, and some people really love it.
However, though rarely, some fissures can turn into real cracks if they are not repaired. Therefore, you should always be careful about fissures and cracks. You should ask the supplier about the details and try to understand the difference between a fissure and a crack. If you really like a marble stone with a crack or fissure, you should ask the supplier or installer to fix it before buying it.
- Will The Marble Countertop Fit Your Lifestyle?
Marble has long been used as a construction and decoration material. Today, it is widely used for countertops or some other decorative purposes. So, there is no doubt that it is a strong and elegant material that nature grants us—however, your lifestyle matters when it comes to marble countertops at home.
Although marble is a strong hard stone, it is more porous compared to granite or quartz. Thus, you should be taking care of your marble countertop both in the kitchen and in the bathroom. Withstanding the test of time is not a big deal for a marble countertop as long as you take care of the stains immediately. Otherwise, the stains might penetrate into the marble and be permanent there. If you think you or other family members could be lazy to do that, you can wend your way to the other alternatives. If naturality is not your first concern, you can consider cultured marble, which is more resistant to stains due to its non-porous surface.
You should ask about all the details about the maintenance and cleaning of the marble countertops. A few questions and decent answers might save you from countertop disasters.
- How About Sealing?
Marble countertops don’t have a shiny surface normally. The surface is sealed before you start using your countertop. The sealing provides you with a shinier and less porous surface, which brings in aesthetic and functional advantages to marble countertops. Aesthetically, the stone looks shiny and more elegant. Functionally, the stone becomes more resilient to the stains going deeper and staying there permanently. Also, sealing gives certain sanitation to your countertop surface as bacteria cannot survive on non-porous surfaces.
Although sealing has certain benefits, you should still bear in mind that some seals can change the surface color, and the marble countertop you picked in the store might look different in your home. Therefore, you should ask for both sealed and unsealed samples of the same marble stone to better envision the countertop.
- Honed or Polished Finish?
Once you have chosen stone among many marble countertops, it is time to decide on a finished style. Typically, there are honed and polished finishes on the market.
Honed finishes are matte in look, and they look much more natural. Although it is easy to scratch a honed edge, the scratches are almost impossible to be seen. You shouldn’t let this edge stay wet for a long while, especially with colored liquids, as the matte surface cannot push away the liquid or stain but absorb it.
On the other hand, polished and finished look shiny and are more resistant to stains and spills. However, you are still advised to clean it with mild detergent gently. Furthermore, polished edges are more prone to scratches; therefore, you should be more careful in this regard.
Aside from these edge surfaces, there are also some artistic details in the edging. Therefore, you should ask and learn as many details as possible about them before buying a marble countertop.
- How Are The Warranty Issues Dealt?
Both marble kitchen countertops and marble bathroom countertops are big investments for many homeowners, and thus warranty is one of the main issues that you should be concerned about. Many companies offer one year warranty for marble countertops. You can also transfer the warranty to the next homeowner if you happen to sell your house within the first year of installation. However, the companies usually tell you the details about care and maintenance upon installation. If your improper care and maintenance cause your problem with the countertops, they don’t regard it under warranty conditions.
Although these are typical warranty facts, there may be some minor differences among the companies, and you should ask for all the details in this critical issue.
We have just listed 7 questions to ask before buying marble countertops. Obviously, the questions are not limited to the ones listed above. Most probably, you will have more specific questions considering your local area and the existing conditions in your home. Such questions might help you even better than the general questions listed here. Moreover, you should ask your contractor to inform you about anything that might be good for you to know. His/her explanations can bear new questions in your mind, which might be highly critical later.