Marble Countertops Pros and Cons: 8 Things You Should Know Before a Remodel

Marble has many benefits, but make sure it's the right choice for your kitchen.

Marble countertops have been popular for a while, and they still have some serious cachet. But lately, other countertop materials have been stealing the spotlight. Among the many options now available, granite and engineered quartz, specifically, have been popping up in tons of kitchens nationwide.

So, if you're planning to remodel, should you still consider marble countertops for your kitchen? Interior designer Amy Sklar is here to help you decide. She has used marble in her own home and has helped clients choose countertop surfaces when she’s remaking their spaces. Here’s her quick primer on the pros and cons of marble countertops.

The Pros of Marble Countertops

It Could Improve Your Home's Value

People love real stone countertops. “It’s a status material and can help increase your home’s value. While it’s more expensive to install, it can be worth it,” says Sklar. Plus, marble countertops are a timeless look that won't go out of style anytime soon.

It's Useful for Baking

Bakers, listen up! From a practical standpoint, a marble surface can come in handy when you’re cooking or baking, because it’s naturally cool to the touch. “That’s why you’ll see a lot of old-school French bakeries that have marble counters. It helps keep the butter in the dough cool.”

It Comes In a Variety of Colors and Finishes

A bright, white, polished marble finish is stunning, but it's not the only finish available. You can choose your countertop in a range of gray, green, brown, and taupe shades.

Honed marble is ground down and isn’t polished, so it has a matte texture that feels more organic, explains Sklar. It’s less forgiving and can stain more easily, but you also don’t have to worry about etching from acids. So you have to pick the finish that you feel would work best for your needs.

It Has a Long Lifespan

Marble can last up to 100 years. As long as you maintain it well (which often includes applying sealants), it will last you the length of the time you live in your home. And since it has a timeless and elegant look, chances are you won't tire of it!

The Cons of Marble Countertops

It Can Stain

Marble is a natural stone, which means that it can easily absorb drips, spills, and pigment from food if anything sits too long on the surface. It also doesn’t hold up well to heat, so hot pots or pans should never be placed directly on marble. Time and wear can also cause it to etch, which is just a dulling of the finish.

It Can Get Scratched

Marble is a soft stone that scratches easily. Unlike a quartz or butcher block countertop, you can't slice vegetables directly on it. Rather, you need to invest in some solid cutting boards to protect the counters from scratching. For the same reason, it's best to avoid scouring cleansers (like Soft Scrub), or abrasive sponges when cleaning marble.

It Develops a Patina Over Time

There’s a reason a vintage marble-topped table looks like it’s seen a thing or two—it’s because it has. “Marble is a living finish, so it’s always going to change with age,” says Sklar. “The color darkens slightly, and any spills or etching starts to look more purposeful and uniform instead of accidental. It has personality. It’s really joyful. It feels organic and used and loved; it develops a history that makes it more interesting.” However, if patina isn't your thing, you may want to opt for a surface that will look pristine for years and years, like engineered quartz.

It's High-Maintenance to Clean

For some of the reasons already stated, cleaning marble can be tricky. Rather than reaching for any household cleaner, you have to check to make sure your product doesn't contain ingredients that might degrade the marble. “A general rule of thumb is that acid is the enemy, so bleach, lemon-based cleaners, and vinegar can all etch the marble," says Sklar.

So if you’re dealing with a stubborn stain, reach out to your manufacturer to see what they recommend. There might be some at-home remedies to try to remove them, but learn what you can't use before forging ahead.

On the bright side, for daily maintenance, you don’t need any special products—just a damp microfiber cloth, some dish soap, and hot water. "While there are all sorts of special marble cleaners on the market, you don’t need them," Sklar says. "Who needs one more cleaner in the house?”

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