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Read this before your next remodel.

By Caylin Harris
May 21, 2020
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There’s a lot of fuss made over marble countertops, but that’s because natural and engineered stone, like quartz, are the most popular countertop materials on the market. Marble has some serious cachet, but there’s a definite learning curve when it comes to marble countertop care. Interior designer Amy Sklar 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.

Marble is porous and it can stain.

It’s 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.

Cleaning marble is easy!

You don’t need any special products, just a damp microfiber cloth, some dish soap, and hot water. “A general rule of thumb is that acid is the enemy, so bleach, lemon-based cleaners, or vinegars can all etch the marble. While there are all sorts of special marble cleaners on the market, you don’t need them,” says Sklar. “Who needs one more cleaner in the house?” 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.

It could help 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.”

Marble develops 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, 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.

There are different finishes.

The polished marble texture you normally think of with countertops isn’t the only finish available. 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.