thoughts on my marble

kateskourosMarch 23, 2013

i was cleaning up after lunch today and started doing a quick once over of all the counters. we've been living in the house and using the kitchen full time since august, so it's been roughly seven months. i put no special care into them. (for a thorough cleaning i use a soft rag with warm, soapy water and then wipe with clean water. for a quick clean up, i just use warm water.)
i started thinking back to all the anxiety and worry i put into my choice of using honed calacatta gold on the perimeter as well as the island and thought, what was the big deal? i seriously have no clue why everyone from people at the stone yard, to my cabinetmaker maker to the appliance dealer would insist i was making the worst possible choice. and since i'm not an especially tidy person, i must assume the nay sayers are simply opposed to cleaning, ever. seriously, i have no other explanation.
i will say that one day i spotted a nickel sized stain of tomato sauce on the counter nearest to the range. it was easy for me to miss, since it was on the edge and not directly on the surface. it had already absorbed into the stone and so i made a mental note to buy a pumice stone the next time i was out, so i could hopefully rub it out that way.
a week or so had gone by when i thought of it, so i checked the stain but it was too late. it was gone. faded away somewhere else, to where, i don't know nor do i care. and while i have some etching, the only reason i noticed was because i was looking, so i could report back here on the issue ...or non issue, as it seems.
as an FYI: i have a husband who is not particularly neat and is in fact a bit of a slob. he never cleans up coffee spills or drips nor does he believe he should have to put used glasses or dishes in the dishwasher, but prefers to leave them on the counter for someone else (me) to take care of. also in residence are two children; a boy, age 10 and a girl, 9. the boy takes after his father. the girl is an angel who is sometimes a bit of a klutz when handling glasses, so i have lost one so far to a fall which landed on the counter. no chips, although i wouldn't expect there to be. it was only a glass, after all. however, had she banged one of my original calphalon hard-anodized aluminum heavy bottomed sauce pans across its surface i would be shocked if no damage were to occur. i try to educate the family to never deliberately bang pots on the counters and happily everyone has been compliant thus far.

the kids bathrooms however, are another story. somehow i let the stone guy talk me into installing polished carrara marble counter tops in both bathrooms. for me, the process of building became a bit overwhelming so there were a few times when it was just easier to agree so i could go back to sleep. i developed a wake-me-when-it's-over attitude. it happens.
obviously etching is much more noticeable on the polished surfaces. and while i wish i had remained more on guard instead of just taking the easy road and yessing everyone, it is what it is. they don't look bad, but a honed surface would have been a better choice.

the marble in my laundry room as well as master bath is polished, but they are both crema marfil which is better able to withstand etching compared to the calacatta and carrara.

yes, the installers sealed the counters. no, i have not re sealed since. yes, i would do it again. and no, i have NOT selected a backsplash yet. (sigh)

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I think it all depends on the person and their tolerances. What you describe as not bothering you would bother me incredibly.

I would never leave a tomato sauce stain on the counter for a week without it bothering me incredibly and chances are I would notice the slightest discoloring even if the stain were 90% gone. As for etching, any amount exceeds my tolerances. I like to keep things looking perfectly new. Imperfections are not charming to me. On top of that etching will only get worse with time.

Clearly marble is an acceptable counter for you because it's properties fall within your tolerances; however, not everyone may feel the same way.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2013 at 2:49PM
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Kateskouros, I really liked your post:) I can really see your stone and your lovely family! When I was planning my kitchen with soapstone and telling my SIL about it, I was stating that it was soft. She was concerned of my choice. I responded, "yes, if you throw a hammer at it, it could be a problem" She looked at me and made some statement as if that was a probability. Some people just like to throw doubt your way, as if they know all the answers to all the questions in the universe. I think it is a personality flaw.

BTW, I saw the most beautiful marble, old counter top for a small vanity, in a local antique shop. It was a great price at $75. But the thing was so small that the sink would be tiny. Too small. The integrated backsplash and the edges where all sculpted in a nice 19th century look. I am sure it was from that era too. The etching was all over and created a wonderful patina.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2013 at 3:20PM
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It sounds like we have pretty much the same kitchen and bathroom counters and the same husband! I could have written your post. I couldn't agree more. Thanks for sharing.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2013 at 3:22PM
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thanks for the follow up on your kitchen and marble selection. i too ruminated for months over marble and am so glad i went with it rather than quartzite and other quasi look alikes. i love my marble and my kitchen would not be the same without it! as suggested on this forum, i got a few cutting boards that i placed strategically and that has worked fabulously. picture of custom sized cutting board by sink.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2013 at 7:19PM
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I love your post! : ) Glad you are loving your marble!!!

    Bookmark   March 24, 2013 at 8:40PM
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I remember your kitchen and your marble is drop dead gorgeous! If I lived alone I could really get into marble counters, but however, my DH is like yours on steroids. So it's coffee colored speckled quartz for us, sigh, though I think it has saved our marriage. :)

I do envy your calacutta!

    Bookmark   March 24, 2013 at 8:56PM
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katescouros, have you ever set a hot pan on the marble, and if so, any consequences? I love the look of marble and many tell me not to get it, but your post gives me hope! I at least want a slab of it in my baking area.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2013 at 9:46PM
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I am so glad to read that you are pleased with your marble. There's no talking me out of it and your affection for yours helps to affirm my decision. I'm new on the kitchen board so I went back and read all the threads about your project. Your kitchen is so lovely!

    Bookmark   March 24, 2013 at 11:14PM
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quiltgirl, given the cost of the counters i'm not about to find out. but i don't know of a single countertop material that isn't susceptible to thermal shock. sorry, you'll have to use a trivet or rest your pans on the stove top.

and thanks, belle. i'll post finish pics after i can decide on a backsplash. if that ever happens!

    Bookmark   March 24, 2013 at 11:54PM
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Thanks for that post. Very very helpful.

And no need to hurry on the back splash. I hear the ABB club is looking for a new president as Breezy is thinking of retiring. You should think of running for the post.


    Bookmark   March 25, 2013 at 8:16AM
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I too LOVE marble and have been testing honed Alabama white. I was able to easily buff out etching with a scotchbrite pad. The etches were completely gone. I haven't been able to get out a grease stain (left overnight) though. The sample was treated with dry treat and the stone company is surprised that it hasn't come out. I tried the overnight flour mixture and it lightened some. It blends pretty well with the veins. Honestly, I love marble so much that I think marble with some "flaws" is prettier than any granite I've seen.

I'd love to hear other's experience or wisdom on buffing out etches with the scotchbite pad. I haven't heard too many others reference it so I was surprised when it worked perfectly. The sample (8" x 8") was etched all over but was as good as new after I gave it a little buffing.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2013 at 8:48AM
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Are some marbles "harder" than others?

    Bookmark   March 25, 2013 at 10:37AM
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i think the other varieties with color aren't as porous as the calacutta and cararra. as i mentioned above, even though the crema marfil in my master and laundry are polished i don't worry about them at all. it's just like having granite.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2013 at 11:05AM
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I have etches (no stains) - we use a LOT of lemons! They are most noticeable when the lights are off and natural light is coming through the windows. I keep the lights on if I don't want anyone to see them.

I used scotchbrite and it left a duller hone that the original hone. But I honestly think that if etches bother you, then marble is not for you. You have to go in thinking it is going to etch. Mind you, I only have Montclair Danby, which is about 1/2 the cost of Calcatta. I don't know if I would feel the same way if I had spent 2x as much on my marble. No marble compares to Calcatta IMO for beauty.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2013 at 12:33PM
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We are waiting less than patiently for our marble countertops. Thanks for posting your pics! Beautiful.

Now for the record, it is the DW that is the kitchen slob, who spills coffee and leaves all kinds of tomato and lime junk all over the counters when she cooks. Me, not worried one little bit about it.

Two questions: Ann Sacks tile? Which ones and what about your pulls? We are waiting for our designer to come Wed night and help us. But I love yours.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2013 at 12:42PM
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Another thanks for your sincere post- it's all so believable I can visualize in your kitchen and loving it.

I have marble night stands, marble dresser top, marble in bathrooms and love it all-even where a crack is in the dresser. It just goes with the antiquity of the set.

I'm still debating using it: my local granite shop sells it as a class B (the real deal not a fake, very reputable company, visited and touched many products there and in their larger location), while another "marble and granite" shop sells it as a class E.

To all marble lovers-let's take some comfort in unity.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2013 at 12:54PM
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bee: i saw another post referencing breezy's departure as the ABB club president. i didn't give it much thought, but now i have to ask, what does ABB stand for?

    Bookmark   March 25, 2013 at 1:11PM
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Lol! ABB is an A2gemini-coined acronym for "All But Backsplash", referring to a kitchen that is complete except for a backsplash. I've been ABB for 16 months. You beat me by a mile, Kate, if you count from the time your kitchen was ABB even when you weren't living there yet.

I'm staring to look for a backsplash now so started a post looking for tile help about the unofficial ABB president looking to retire. Hey, I love your sense of style. Care to look at my pics and weigh in?

Back on-topic, I, too, love my marble. Carrara in my case. It makes me happy every time I walk in the kitchen. No stains. Plenty of small etches that don't bother me. Did you know that potato is acidic and can etch? I didn't until my food processor lid with potato juice on it from grating spuds left a ring.

Here is a link that might be useful: My backsplash thread

    Bookmark   March 25, 2013 at 2:24PM
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breezy, i've been watching your backsplash thread and the only reason i haven't weighed in is because i'm waiting for YOU to make a decision so i can have another reference before deciding! this is getting ridiculous. even when i was pulling all the materials together i gave no thought to the backsplash. i didn't want to think about it. and so curious as to how this very integral part of our kitchens leaves us in such a conundrum. i've said this once before but it bears repeating; i do believe it was easier to commit to a husband.

as far as my general opinion goes (for me at least), i don't want to bring in any other color, aside from whites and grays. i much prefer to incorporate hits of color from accessories and soft goods. i love that fabric you showed on your thread. i'm thinking romans would work well, but i'm going to concentrate on that after the backsplash. i definitely want it kept neutral. i seem to be stuck though, on whether to pursue more marble or ceramic. too white or boring perhaps for some, but they're not my concern. i know myself and i prefer to choose the classic over what i may refer to later as a bout of temporary insanity. i just don't want any crying five or seven years from now after i've grown tired of my selection. better i should end up hating the fabric i've chosen for a few window treatments than an entire backsplash.

how's that for help? right! which is basically why i haven't joined your discussion. don't think i'm ignoring you. believe me, i'm here. -just not much of a help. ;-)

* any comments made by me are strictly in regard to my space and choices and no one else's. my reference to "insanity" is not meant as a criticism or lack of sensitivity to those suffering mental illness.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2013 at 4:10PM
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Thank you for this candid explanation of how marble is working for you. I'm not quite certain whether I can or can't live with marble in the kitchen. I have it in one bathroom and haven't had any issues with it yet. I also found an antique chest with marble top that has some staining and etching and I still love the marble on it. Your post gives me hope. I too have a sloppy male in the house who almost never wipes up spills and also likes to leave his dishes on the counter rather than putting them in the dishwasher or even sink. I think I would be ok with some staining and etching, but it's so hard to know until you experience it. Your post really helps me visualize. Thank you.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2013 at 4:44PM
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Great post kateskouros! When did you finish your kitchen? We just hit two years, no backsplash yet, ABB 24 months and counting.. It is making me a bit crazy. I can't read Breezy's thread, the subject is that painful for me at this point! Nor do I think I can start a new one, I'm not brave enough. Too many false starts. DH is pressuring to just do painted glass.

So happy you're loving your marble!

    Bookmark   March 25, 2013 at 5:16PM
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you know sochi, i really don't remember when we finished! the whole experience of building was (and continues to be) such a horrible nightmare for us. so many things are not done and the backsplash really is the least of our worries. i'm getting pretty tired of wiping down the painted wall behind the range though, so i hope to get that finished (dare i say?) this year.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2013 at 7:01PM
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Kateskouros-I burst out laughing at your comment about picking out a BS being harder than selecting a spouse. Then, had to explain/translate to DH. I described your kitchen as having the most beautiful bones I had see on GW. I've thought of it often and every now and then search for progress.

I would be honored to help with photoshopping any back splashes. Really, your space is that beautiful and an inspiration to the forum. Feel free to PM me:). Breezy's finishing up round 1 (nearing post 150) of ABB ... I know we are up for many more. It's so much fun to dream and plan.... Best, oldbat2 be

    Bookmark   March 25, 2013 at 7:48PM
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Kateskouros-I burst out laughing at your comment about picking out a BS being harder than selecting a spouse. Then, had to explain/translate to DH. I described your kitchen as having the most beautiful bones I had see on GW. I've thought of it often and every now and then search for progress.

I would be honored to help with photoshopping any back splashes. Really, your space is that beautiful and an inspiration to the forum. Feel free to PM me:). Breezy's finishing up round 1 (nearing post 150) of ABB ... I know we are up for many more. It's so much fun to dream and plan.... Best, oldbat2 be

    Bookmark   March 25, 2013 at 7:50PM
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oh, thank you so much oldbat2be! (aren't we all?)
i know you are working tirelessly on breezy's backsplash and it really helps the process quite a bit. it's ME who would be honored if you care to help. in fact, i was all set to take updated pics of kitchen when the charger for my camera battery decided to die. i had to order a new one from nikon, and have no idea when it will be in. but as soon as i'm able, i'll take some new pics and let you know!

    Bookmark   March 25, 2013 at 7:59PM
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I feel so late to the party! Happy for you that you're delighted with your marble. I love love love Calcutta! I don't think I've seen your kitchen......and somehow I can never find anyone's kitchen again on the finished kitchen blog. Could you please re-post for those of us that haven't seen it? Or a link would be helpful!

    Bookmark   March 25, 2013 at 8:23PM
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i'll post updated pics soon, sanjuangirl!

    Bookmark   March 25, 2013 at 9:12PM
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Exceptionally excellent post, thank you so much for sharing. Would you kindly consider posting photos of your counters, perhaps some closeups showing chips, etching, visible stains, areas where stain has faded...that sort of thing. It would be helpful and most appreciated. Thank you again!

    Bookmark   April 12, 2013 at 7:32AM
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Kate! I know you had such a nightmare build, but it's good to hear things are going great. I feel like old buds who have been through the war together. I have decided to jump in to another home remodel while you are happily in your home though....wish it were me happily living in my finished home :)

We are two weeks away from moving into a rental while they gut our house. Sigh, it'll be another long year (again!).

I love your post about the marble. I am really wanting to take that plunge with this house. While I loved my white princess, I think I really want marble this time. Especially since the WP has changed color so much over the years and has gone so gray.

Thanks for chiming in about the ease and happiness of marble--I love to hear the other side once in a while!

    Bookmark   April 13, 2013 at 1:20AM
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Holly- Kay

Oh Kate, I think I am married to the same man. I am so glad that you love your marble and I like it when a person knows what they want. IMO people who have to constantly criticize another's choice needs to actually get a life! Enjoy your lovely marble!

    Bookmark   April 13, 2013 at 9:30AM
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