A marble tile countertop is a beautiful addition to any kitchen. Used mostly for baking, it's ability to stay cool is well known, and a plus when working with pastries. Marble is also very expensive and may require regular maintenance.
Marble is a metamorphic rock from either limestone or dolomite, which are sedimentary rocks. This process causes a complete recrystallization of the original rock to form marble. This stone does not contain fossils or other sedimentary properties is the high heat and pressures needed to form marble.
Pure marble is white in color and very pure limestone is required for this. The veining and coloring is from impurities. Such as clay, silt, and sand. Iron oxide is also a common impurity, which is why marble tends to get rust stains. Proper sealing minimizes the rust staining.
Countries with high quality marble are Italy, China, Serbia, and the USA. An Italian marble tile countertop is the most highly prized of all marbles due to it's high purity and white color.
Some types are very porous, therefore it needs more maintenance, unlike other stones of higher density like granite. Marble may need to be sealed to prevent staining. Staining of marble can go very deep and be very difficult to remove.
Marble also matches up quite nicely with most kitchen backsplash materials, including stainless steel and pressed tin style backsplashes.
Marble is also soft in comparison to other stones, like granite. Marble can be scratched and chipped, so care needs to be taken when it comes to sharp objects contacting the surface. Scratches can be polished out if they do not go to deep.
Polishing a marble tile countertop when it gets dull can be done. To get a professional look, it usually requires the removal of the top. It then is taken to the fabricators facility for polishing. This will be after many years of use though, depending on how much you use the tops. Also note that marble can crack when lifted so this may not be the best idea, and a professional may be able to polish the countertop in place.
Newly available products allow for the polishing to be done while the tops are in place, such products are polishes and waxes. There are many products available to the DIYer and are much cheaper than a professional, and the results can be just as good.
This stone starts to deteriorate over time. Marble can crack if stressed unevenly. Marble is stable for approximately 25 years before it begins to deteriorate. Even then the deterioration is slow and not generally noticed. If the countertop is properly cared for it can last a lifetime.
Highly acidic foods can stain and weaken this countertop. These foods and drinks are citrus, wines, and coffee. Without proper sealing these foods and drinks can stain the marble very deeply. Products are available to remove stains and can be purchased online for very little as compared to professional restoration. Although professionals will, in most cases, give a professional result and are sometimes well worth the money.
High acid cleaners can weaken marble as well. Acid eats away at the calcium and accelerates the cracking. Highly abrasive cleaners can easily scratch and dull the surface as well as remove the protective sealant. Etching of the marble kitchen countertops can be minimized by sealants, but there is always a danger of damage from acids.
Overall marble tile countertops are a good choice for small areas of countertops. If a whole kitchen is topped in marble, the maintenance can be extensive and costly. Marble is a great option if the downfalls are of no concern. Prices of solid marble range from 75 to 200 dollars per square foot depending on the amount of cuts, the quality of the stone, and the complexity of the design.