Everyone seems to agree on the elegance and status of marble. It has such rich associations that a single marble trinket bowl elevates your space. Internet searches will give you mixed messages about the stone, so what’s the real truth about marble in kitchens?
The most common use (both in bathrooms and kitchens) is backsplashes and counters. Some ambitious builders will use marble for the bath-tub or sink. Conservative types will restrict it to details and accessories. It could be a marble mirror frame, a small washbasin, a mini-fountain, or a decorative border in the shower cubicle. You could also opt for marble flooring tiles.
Marble is a hard, durable stone that resists heat well. This makes it good for countertops because they won’t crack under hot pots, pans, and plates. They also won’t be damaged by heat from your cooking surface. One thing marble ‘fears’ are sharp, pointy, or heavy objects. (Like stilettos, or metal-footed furniture). So in high-traffic areas like living rooms or office spaces, marble floors are often protected with strategic rugs and felt furniture pads.
Beauty and longevity
In the kitchen though, large appliances (like your fridge, oven, dishwasher, or cooker) are stationary, so there’s no harm of scuffing your marble floor. Kitchens are often humid, because of all that heated moisture from food and drinks. So between vapour and acid products, it doesn’t seem like marble belongs in the kitchen. Fortunately, you can fix that with the right finish. Start with a good seal – which should be re-applied every year or two.
Sealing fills the tiny holes in marble (it’s a porous stone). This prevents moisture from seeping through your marble surfaces and rotting what’s beneath. It’s also a form of low-scale sterilisation, because bacteria, germs, and other pathogens can’t get into the stone. It’s a crucial factor because your counters handle food frequently, so marble surfaces reduce chances of contamination and upset tummies. At the same time, it protects the surface from acid damage.
Seal it in
Acid products react with marble by staining, corroding, or etching. Your floors and counters will have grating discolouration and possibly some depressions as a result. Sealing prevents this, though in cases of stains, you can apply an overnight poultice to remove unsightly markings. Also, while marble works well with heat, it doesn’t conduct or absorb the temperature rise. So even in deepest summer (or after a gruelling bake-a-thon), the stone remains cool to the touch.
As a result, it lowers the entire kitchen temperature, making it more comfortable for you. Also, despite its porosity, marble has a low-slip rating while wet. That reduces accidental falls on moist kitchen surfaces, whether it’s a spill from the dishwasher or steam from the cooker. Plus, for added protection, you can further finish your marble walls and floors. Polished marble is more slippery and shiny, so avoid it in the kitchen. Opt for honed marble instead in a neutral shade. Its matte finish means any stains or etching will be less visible.