This is what I have learned after owning, maintaining, and enjoying a marble table top for years.
Are you considering purchasing marble dining tables, kitchen counters, or a marble table for its classic beauty and timeless elegance? There are a few things you need to take into consideration before making that big purchase.
Marble is a soft stone, so although it is very dense, it is also rather vulnerable to staining and scratching. But if you take the time and make the effort to maintain it properly, your marble top table or counter can be enjoyed for many years . . . and by future generations.
Pros and Cons of Marble Tables or Countertops
Beauty: Nothing compares to marble!
Requires careful cleaning and maintenance.
Durable if it is carefully and consistently cared for.
It scratches and etches easily, even if you seal it.
Always in style.
It will need to be sealed.
Can complement any style or setting.
You must use coasters, all the time.
One of the most environmentally friendly materials.
Stains and dulls quite easily.
The perfect surface for rolling out pastry.
The material is sensitive to heat, cold, and sticky substances.
Often less expensive as quartz or granite.
Professional refinishing can get expensive.
Advantages of a Marble Table Top or Countertop
There are many, many advantages to marble, and that's why it's such an enduringly popular material.
- It's Beautiful: Beauty is definitely at the top of the list of advantages of marble. Nothing can really compare. A marble dining table or end table will complement just about any décor and be an eye-catching conversation piece for guests.
- It's Durable With Proper Care: Marble is durable if it is cared for properly and consistently. With proper care, it just may outlast every other piece of furniture in your home!
- It's Timeless: It will never really go out of style. Notice how even antique pieces of marble furniture never get outdated. Marble is a surefire addition to your home that you won’t need to change or replace, and it is unlikely that you would ever want to!
- It's Versatile: Marble table tops are available in an array of beautiful natural colors, and tables can be designed to complement a contemporary, modern vibe as well as natural, traditional, or antique look. You will easily find a marble table that enhances your style.
- It Can Be Restored: Marble can be restored by a professional with good results if it is not maintained properly.
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Disadvantages of Marble Top Tables
Here are a few things to think about before buying a marble table or countertop:
- It Requires Maintenance: Marble requires careful cleaning and maintenance. You really can't let any messes sit, even for a minute!
- It Scratches Easily: It scratches and etches easily. Sealing will not prevent this.
- It May Need to Be Sealed Regularly: In heavy-use areas (like countertops), a marble top may need to be sealed regularly. Once a year is the standard recommendation to protect your marble and keep it looking new.
- It Requires Coasters: You will need to use coasters all the time. Even a plain old glass of water will leave a ring.
- It Can Be Easily Stained: In comparison to other stones (like granite), marble is rather sensitive to acidic foods and commonly used products. Wine, coffee, cola, and many household cleaners can stain or dull the finish of a marble table top.
- It's Sensitive to Temperature: Avoid placing anything sticky, hot, or icy cold directly on the marble table top.
- It's Expensive to Resurface: Stained or scratched marble can be resurfaced by a professional, but the cost of this service is significant.
Things That Will Stain Marble
- Tannins (found in coffee, tea, and wine)
- Beta Carotine (found in carrots and other vegetables)
- Calcium and Magnesium Carbonates (found in hard water)
- Acids or Alkalines (vinegar, ammonia, lemon, etc.)
Best Uses for Marble Table Tops
It is important to consider how the table will be used in your home. For example, a marble coffee table would work great in a formal living room where it would serve primarily as a showpiece rather than as as a coloring table for children or a spot to rest your laptop. If you are meticulous about the use of coasters, you can rest drinks on it, but if there is a spill, it needs to be wiped up immediately.
How to Care for a Marble Table or Countertop
How much effort is required to properly care for a marble table top? Generally, you just have to be careful!
- Use coasters consistently.
- If there is a spill, especially if it's something acidic, wipe it up immediately.
- If you have a marble dining table, you will likely want to invest in trivets and/or a table pad to protect the surface when serving meals.
- Use cleaners that are recommended for marble only. Traditional household cleaners that contain harsh chemicals and are acidic can damage the surface or cause a dulling of the finish.
- If you choose white marble, do not use wax. It could cause serious discoloration, possibly turning your beautiful white to a dull yellow.
- Remember to seal marble as recommended. Not all marbles need sealing. Be sure to ask if it needs to be sealed before you buy a specific piece of marble furniture. Sealing is relatively easy to do as long as you use a top quality sealer.
- Using a mild soap a few times a year is okay, but very warm water and a soft sponge will work just fine for daily cleanings. You can then buff the stone with a soft cotton or micro-fiber cloth.
Is the beauty of owning a marble table worth the effort of maintaining it? Absolutely! An elegant marble table can be the centerpiece of a room. You will likely find that it is your favorite piece of furniture in your home. Luckily, it will last forever, so you won’t have to replace it!