Marble Countertops: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly Truth

Walk into any five-star hotel lobby, and you will find marble everywhere. A sea of this beautiful natural stone stretches across the entire structure from floor to wall. Right from the moment you step in, as you stroll towards the grand reception, the marbles’ contrasting veins scatter with each step you take. You see your reflection as you walk along the hotel’s gleaming floor. And finally, as you reach the elegant marble counter, you imagine seeing the same slab right inside your kitchen.

You know you want one, that’s for sure.

If you Google “marble countertops” on your internet browser, you’ll find a gallery of beautiful white kitchens right on your screen.

Heck, even on Pinterest, you’ll most likely find the same things.

There’s something about this classic countertop material that brings elegance and sophistication to any space. But what makes it a favorite among high-end structures?

If you’re curious to know, let’s find out:

The Good

1. Marble Countertops have a Timeless Beauty

Marble has an appearance that no human-made surface can match, like engineered quartz or solid surface.

Many countertop brands try to imitate the look and feel of natural marble. Yet not one product comes close to the real thing.

Engineered stones lack the depth and texture of natural stone. They, too, fall short in showing an authentic marble’s innate beauty and elegance.

All-white kitchen design with marble counter in Davao City, Philippines
"Volakas White" is a fine-grained marble with ribbons of grayish and brownish veins that flow through an alabaster white background.

Technology may copy the swirls and veins of stone, but it can not genuinely imitate marble’s natural texture, imperfections, and irregular veining.

Thus, marble’s striking appearance and natural warmth make it the obvious choice for many high-end residential and commercial projects.

Most, if not all, luxury hotels use it in various applications. These include countertops, vanity tops, floor tiles, wall cladding, elevator casing, and tabletops. It beautifies reception areas, hallways, facades, kitchens, and bathrooms.

Ultimately, many of history’s most iconic structures embody marble’s timeless beauty. The Taj Mahal, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and the Washington Monument, for example, are a few of the testaments of the stone’s enduring appeal.

Curious to know how much will your counter cost?

2. Marble Countertops Work Great in any Kitchen Style

If you are afraid that marble won’t match your kitchen’s color scheme, don’t worry.

The stone comes in hues of milky white, chocolate brown, coal-black, salmon pink, and even emerald green. With this vast array of options, we are sure that you will find a countertop piece that blends well with your entire kitchen.

However, despite the variety of marble colors available, white is the first choice for many kitchen countertops and bathroom vanities.

Marble countertop and island in Cebu City, Philippines
Marble countertops provide an upscale look in any kitchen.

Like a white button-down shirt, white marble, like the “Carrara White” (Italy) or the “Volakas White” (Greece), is adaptable. It complements any architectural style. It mixes well with materials such as stainless steel, wood, and tile.

Furthermore, it accepts multiple surface finishes, whether polished or honed (matte).

Also, marble has natural variations in its patterns that you will not find in any engineered stone.

Most slabs have prominent veins, while some have subtle lines throughout their surface. With a broad spectrum of available marble colors, these variations create a virtually unlimited number of color and pattern combinations.

Hence, every marble slab sold on the market is unique. Veins, shade, specks, and swirls vary among each piece. You will never find the exact marble slab in your kitchen elsewhere in the world.

Engineered stones, on the contrary, are machine and mass-produced. Every pattern in every square inch of the surface looks equally the same between every slab.

What’s more, marble is also flexible. You can shape it into curves, arches, squares, and ovals.

Its edges can be custom-built to fit any design you require.

Marble also works well with both traditional and modern interiors. It is a classic material that matches well even with most modern elements. Whether you have a farmhouse, an industrial, or an ultra-modern kitchen, a marble countertop adapts the architectural style you apply to it.

3. Marble Countertops Provide Great Functionality in the Kitchen

Marble may be known for its aesthetic charm, but did you know it is also a great workhorse inside the kitchen?

Marble countertops provide a flat, smooth surface ideal for various kitchen preparations, like peeling and cutting. It handles daily kitchen use effectively, especially when it is properly sealed.

Moreover, it resists heat very well. Marble countertops can stand up well against hot pots and pans, unlike solid surfaces or quartz.

With proper care and maintenance, your marble surface can provide decades of service inside your kitchen.

Dark brown marble counter for UCC Coffee in Mabolo, Cebu City, Philippines
Quarried in Spain, the "Emperador Dark" marble is a favorite material of many architects and interior designers because of its classic beauty.

4. Marble Countertops are Ideal for Baking

In baking, having a marble surface, like a countertop or a pastry board, makes everything easier.

With a marble slab, you can effortlessly prepare various baking recipes. It provides a much-needed space to cut, knead, and roll nicely.

Furthermore, it absorbs heat naturally better than other materials.

You can easily set down a dozen freshly baked cookies without worrying about damaging your stone. Thanks to its high thermal conductivity, it does better than other materials, such as plastic or wood. This characteristic allows the marble to create magic in the kitchen.

Here’s why it has long been used in pastry and candy making:

  1. It keeps the dough relatively cool, preventing the butter from melting. It hinders flakiness and makes the dough hard to roll. Moreover, if you chill a marble board first, it functions even better.
  2. A marble surface allows you to temper chocolate adequately, which results in better-quality sweets. It helps produce chocolates with consistently tiny crystals and minimal white patches.
  3. It helps keep the ice cream cold while toppings are mixed in at your favorite creamery. This benefit encourages the customers to be creative with the flavors. In turn, it ultimately adds another level of fun to the experience.

Hence, pastry chefs, chocolate makers, and other food artisans love this particular natural stone. It’s just impossible to think of preparing most goodies without it.

And did you know that it is easy to clean, too?

All you need to do is wipe off the area with a dry paper towel. But, if you need a thorough cleaning, use a soft cloth and a specially formulated stone cleaner.

5. A Marble Countertop Increases Your Home's Resale Value

Still wondering why 5-star hotels and fancy restaurants use marble in their interiors?

Can you imagine seeing these lavish structures use low-end ceramic tiles for their reception or bar counter?

Marble is a premium material that provides elegance and sophistication in any space.

White marble table top in Cebu City, Philippines
A marble slab-topped coffee table makes an elegant centerpiece in the living room.

Despite its inherent flaws, it is the favorite of many architects and interior designers for various global projects. It provides an upscale look that tops any other surface, whether natural granite or engineered quartz.

You may not live in a 5-star hotel, but you can add value to your home by upgrading your kitchen with a beautiful marble slab.

After all, your home is an investment. Should you plan to move out in the future, your marble countertop is an enhancement that can surely help you sell your house faster and at a better price.

A beautiful kitchen always leaves a good impression not only on your visitors but also on potential buyers.

Book-matched marble is one of the truest ways to showcase the natural beauty of the stone and can become a statement piece of art.

Beauty, however, almost always comes with a price—both literally and figuratively.

For all its elegant beauty, marble sure does have its weaknesses. Here are some of the disadvantages of using a marble countertop at home:

The Bad

1. Marble Countertops are Susceptible to Staining and Etching

Marble’s crystalline structure makes it susceptible to stains and sensitive to acidic solutions (etching).

Thus, any spills or drips need to be wiped off after every kitchen preparation. Prolonged exposure to liquid may cause your marble to dull or discolor.

Hence, never let lemon juice, vinegar, or even tomato sauce sit on your marble countertop for too long. The acid reacts to marble’s Calcium carbonate composition. It eats away the stone’s surface, which, in turn, creates dull spots known as etches. 

Marble Stain Monkey Puppet Meme about marble countertop
When it comes to marble countertops, we recommend using an excellent stone sealer, like "Tenax Proseal."

Contrary to what most people think, etches are not stains. Instead, it is the effect of the chemical reaction between Calcium carbonate and acid. It is more of a dulling, not staining.

We recommend sealing your marble counter once or twice a year to prevent stains.

However, this does not provide absolute impenetrable protection for your stone. It only prolongs the window period for the liquid to penetrate your marble’s surface. It allows you to wipe off easily any spill or drip on your marble countertop for a certain amount of time.

Depending on your sealer‘s brand, this window period could be ten to thirty minutes.

In addition, ensure that your marble countertop is always clean and dry after every use.

Never let any liquid, such as wine, juice, or coffee, sit on its surface overnight. Otherwise, you’d be surprised to see some nasty marks on your kitchen countertop when you wake up the following day.

Marble requires a little more upkeep than a granite or quartz countertop. But this minor “inconvenience” is not as painstaking as you think:

  1. Sealing your marble countertop requires only a few minutes of your time. Plus, it would help if you did it twice, at least, each year.
  2. Keeping your countertop neat and dry does not require much effort. You can prevent liquids from staining your marble’s surface by doing simple things, such as using coasters and trays.
  3. Cleaning it after every use ensures that your countertop stays beautiful for decades.

2. Marble is Soft

Marble is softer than granite or engineered quartz due to its mineral composition. Hence, marble countertops are prone to cracks, chips, and scratches.

Therefore, never cut directly on your kitchen counter. Always use a cutting board during every meal preparation instead.

Also, do not drag plates, trays, or other kitchen items across your marble as it may scratch your countertop’s surface.

And, as much as possible, try not to drop anything heavy on your marble counter. It can seriously damage your stone’s surface and warrant costly repair or unintended replacement. 

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3. Marble Countertops are Really Expensive

Marble, compared to other countertop materials, is an expensive product.

After all, it is a finite natural resource that has been highly sought after since ancient Greek and Roman times. Many of the statues and structures back then were made out of marble.

Today, it is mainly used for flooring and countertop applications for high-end spaces.

In addition, many of the most popular varieties, such as the “Carrara White” and the “Statuario” marble, can only be extracted from select quarries. For example, the “Emperador Dark” comes from Spain, while the “Volakas White” comes from Greece.

You can only find certain colors in specific parts of the globe.

The cost of extracting these blocks and transforming them into slabs is expensive and labor-intensive. Investing and maintaining these enormous cutting and line polishing machines cost a lot.

You also need to pay the workers, depending on the minimum wage where the stone is processed.

Once these slabs are ready, they are hauled and transported to the different distributors worldwide. The distance from its origin and the difficulty of moving these massive slabs, not to mention the risk of damage during transport, all contribute to the high price of marble.

Lastly, there’s the cost of transforming these slabs into countertops. Fabricating and installing marble counters require a highly-skilled and experienced team of professionals.

Trust us; you would not want anyone to do it for you unless you have extra cash to pay for a replacement.

Given these, it is essential to properly take care of your marble countertop to preserve its exceptional beauty and wide-ranging functionality. Work with a top-rated stone supplier to ensure you’ll get the best value for such premium countertop material.

Conclusion: The Ugly Truth

Well, let’s cut to the chase. The truth is that marble isn’t for everyone.

Yes, it’s a beautiful and sophisticated natural stone. But not everyone likes the upkeep it requires.

If you’re the type of person who wants everything neat and perfect in the kitchen, then marble may not be the best option for you.

Moreover, it may not be the best idea if you have children at home. 

Marble is susceptible to stains and etches. However, these superficial flaws do not affect your stone’s functionality as a kitchen countertop.

You won’t notice these blemishes unless you look closely into the actual surface. These marks, in turn, become subtle layers of household stories imprinted on a slab.

Over time, marble develops a beautiful patina that hides all these imperfections from sight.

Eventually, these scratches and etches blend and become part of the marble’s character. You’ll see them not as flaws but as pages of your life floating like an overlay above your counter.

Should You Get a Marble Countertop for Your Kitchen?

Marble may require extra maintenance and upkeep compared to other countertop materials, but this does not mean that you should not consider it in your home. Many of our customers do. It just means taking a little more care of your countertop for every use.

If you love the look and think you can handle the extra upkeep marble requires, you do not have to think twice about having it inside your home. Make your kitchen as elegant and sophisticated as those on your Pinterest board.

Ultimately, it all comes down to your personal preference.

Where Can I Buy a Marble Countertop in the Philippines?

Visit Stone Depot and check out our wide selection of marble, granite, and quartz slabs for your kitchen counter.

Here, we have various stone sizes, from granite tiles to large-format slabs, so you don’t have to worry about wastage and overspending. What’s more, we offer the best price in the market—guaranteed!

We have branches in Laguna, Cebu, Davao, Cagayan de Oro, and Iloilo City. Drop by our showroom today and get your free quote while you wait.

See you at our slab yard!

Miguel Aquino

Miguel Aquino

Miguel Aquino is the General Manager of Stone Depot, one of the Philippines' leading suppliers of granite, marble, and quartz. Since 2010, he has been in the stone industry, working for a similar company in Balintawak, Quezon City.

You can find him playing Magic: the Gathering at a hobby store every Friday night.

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1 thought on “Marble Countertops: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly Truth”

  1. Sarder Tajul Islam

    This blog is great and informative! I learned a lot about the timeless beauty and functionality of marble countertops. The article mentions that marble requires extra care and maintenance, but its elegance and sophistication make it worth it. I’m curious, what are some recommended methods for sealing and cleaning marble countertops to prevent stains and etching?

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