That stunning Carrara and Calacatta marble, using their white and gray veining, has been utilized for centuries in homes and public places. But these days, this organic marble is striking up a debate among homeowners, designers and contractors. We all love the look, but the discussion about the maintenance and wearability is bringing questions regarding if white marble is suitable to use.
As the specifying interior designer, I’ve been in the center of these debates involving clients that adore the look and contractors wary of wear. So I decided to bring in tile and marble pro Melissa Patterson, showroom manager of Renaissance Tile & Bath, to walk through the pros, cons, maintenance, and how to make the most of your marble.
Beth Dotolo, ASID, RID, NCIDQ
Here, marble tiles line the floor with a contemporary bath.
Patterson says there are three questions you must ask yourself when picking marble. You will discover that what some consider a “con,” like the natural patina that develops on marble as time passes, is actually a “pro” for you.
1. What’s the application? Granite is a natural product, so no matter what the application, it is going to change, age and wear over time. If you plan to use it on a floor, expect signs of wear from foot traffic. On a countertop like this, you are going to want to deal with any concerns you have about about staining and rusting.
Rebekah Zaveloff | KitchenLab
In this picture stunning white marble sits atop the kitchen counter tops.
2. What’s your attitude?
Are you the kind of person that requires a product to appear precisely as it did the day you bought it? Patterson describes two different mentalities: the American mindset and the European mindset. “When you enter a European building, you are able to walk to the stone floors that are centuries old. Here in America, everything is roped off. I think that Europeans reside more casually and enjoy the patina made from use and aging, where as some Americans want everything a little more pristine.”
Neither is right or wrong, it’s only a matter of asking yourself what your mindset is.
PC, Chelsea Atelier Architect
3. How do you reside? Are you the type of homeowner that picks up after yourself after every use in the kitchen? Or are you really a busy on-the-go homeowner, in which a kitchen counter wouldn’t have wiped down until the next morning?
Acid from substances like red wine, marinara sauce, blueberries and even lemons may tarnish the look of the marble if left to sit overnight. Remember the marble will not blot! This pertains to if chemicals have been allowed to soak into the surface.
The moist wall of this bathroom is highlighted in marble.
Aside from simply cleansing countertop surfaces after every use and wiping your marble walls and floors, there are a couple of things that you can do to lengthen the life of your own marble.
Beth Dotolo, ASID, RID, NCIDQ
Granite maintenance suggestion 1: Have your marble coated. A sealer won’t protect your marble completely, but it is going to get you some time if you’ve left an acidic material on your surface that was not wiped up right away. In a place like the fireplace surround shown this, a sealer can be valuable to safeguard against soot stains.
Granite maintenance suggestion two: Spot-treat your own marble. Many home improvement and tile companies sell a spray cleaner that’s also a sealant. You can use this cleaner occasionally in high-use areas as a spot treatment. A toilet sheathed in stunning marble like this could gain from place treatments around the bath faucets, tub entry and commode.
Venegas and Company
Granite maintenance suggestion 3: Consider polished vs. honed. A polished marble is a bit more resistant to staining, whereas a honed surface is somewhat more absorbent. A lot of people select a polished marble countertop for this reason.
In this toilet, marble is used on virtually every surface in the area.
The main point is you need to ask yourself how you live and what your preferences are. Granite has been used on countertops, floors, and other surfaces throughout Italy, New York, and other areas for decades. A number of these installations have a beautiful patina look where the veining has changed throughout the years.
If you are the type of homeowner that wants the marble to appear as it did the day you purchased it, a natural marble merchandise may just not be for you. But if you like the character and beauty a product develops with usage, marble may be a perfect choice for your property.
What’s your experience with marble? Tell us below!