Marble has been a popular trend in kitchen countertops for the past several years. If you compare performance characteristics in a kitchen environment, granite is the better choice. However, because of its subtle veining and aesthetic appeal, many are choosing marble. The main difference is that granite and marble are made of different minerals that perform differently in regards to chemical resistance and hardness. Marble will etch when exposed to acids and bases.
Marble is Relatively Soft
Marble will also scratch more easily since it scores a four on Mohs scale of hardness versus granite’s rating of seven. A knife blade will make obvious scratch marks on marble, and marble will not scratch glass. Some marbles, like Super White or Fantasy Brown, may have isolated pockets of quartz amid an overall composition of marble. When in doubt, check a few different areas of the stone. Some people assume that if marble is sealed, these tendencies will disappear but that is not actually the case. Most installers will use an impregnating sealer that sits just below the surface of the marble. Therefore, the surface is still susceptible to these occurrences.
Granite countertops are considered to be a low maintenance countertop surface. The likelihood of needing to be repaired or resurfaced is low. Technology for sealers has come a long way over the years, and many will last more than 10 years before needing to be reapplied. When they do need to be reapplied, it is something that most homeowners can do on their own as the process is similar to cleaning. Simply apply the product and wipe off the excess. It is a good idea to ask your installer which sealer was initially applied and use the same kind to reapply. Some sealers don’t play nicely with each other and when mixed, can create a sticky mess.
If you want to consider using marble in your kitchen you must set the proper expectation for its performance. It will not look the same 10 years from now as it did the day it was first installed. It will etch and scratch, we call this a patina and many consider it a thing of beauty. Yes, you can resurface the marble countertops to restore it to its original luster but this is a messy and expensive project. It is hard to duplicate the polish on areas that have been affected so you will usually need to do the whole thing.