Will marble kitchen counters hurt me at resale?

collins designMay 26, 2009

In our market (coastal Maine, fairly high-end) granite is king. A local realtor I asked said that most builders of new homes in our direct market are installing granite.

But we're renovating our kitchen and I don't love granite, nor can I find a slab that looks great with my cabinets. I will be here at least 2-3 years, and possibly longer, so I don't want to put in something I hate. I love marble, though!!!

Will marble be a problem if we need to sell in a couple years? It won't be pristine anymore, it scratches and etches and stains.... which I like, personally. But will that put people off? Will buyers be scared of the upkeep?

Marble is in just about every high-end kitchen in shelter magazines these days.

But should I stick with granite to be safe?

What would you do?

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I would go with what you like. There's no guarantee that a future buyer would like the choice in granite you'd put in either !! I've never made my home buying decision based on whether or not I liked the countertops in a kitchen. As a matter of fact 3 of the homes I purchased had hideous countertops, which I replaced with countertops of my choosing. You can't please everyone, please yourself and put in the marble.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2009 at 12:31PM
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Since you think you will be moving soon you can get your marble just take a little more care with it not to beat it up. IMHO granite is way over done.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2009 at 2:10PM
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When shopping for a house, I don't think most people will think about rejecting a house because it has marble instead of granite. I think they will say "hmmmm stone, okay" and then think about how they would use the kitchen and if it would work for them.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2009 at 3:33PM
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I think that marble is getting to be more popular in kitchens (just check the kitchens forum here), so you may be ahead of the curve with marble counters.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2009 at 3:54PM
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I don't think it will hurt the sale of your home IF you keep it sealed~~~guess this was my mistake...didn't seal it often enough....looked so etched and terrible...and I have replaced it getting ready to put our house on the market....I certainly would not have purchased it looking like it did....so KEEP IT SEALED~~~~

    Bookmark   May 26, 2009 at 5:50PM
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I personally do not like marble or granite. I have a formica type counter, and it looks as good today as it did 8 years ago and I do not take care of it like I should. Also there is a issue with granite etc staining and letting off something but you should research this out.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2009 at 6:12PM
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collins design

Thanks folks.

I just read that you can have marble re-honed in place, so I am going to look into that.

And I checked with a local real estate agent and she said in our market it's pretty popular (along with honed black granite/soapstone).

So I think I might go for it :)

    Bookmark   May 26, 2009 at 6:59PM
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I agree with mariend - I prefer corian or formica. I wouldn't want to fuss with marble and granite staining, etc. Just my 2 cents.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2009 at 9:17PM
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I'm Coastal Maine as well. I agree that granite is king (we have Coast Green with cherry cabinets), but I have seen marble in a few homes (usually older ones that were rehabbed, it especially suits Victorians). But if marble suits the style of the kitchen and the house, I say go for it (get it honed, seal it, and keep on top of stains). But I wouldn't go for one of the more expensive marbles, just get the plain carerra (I can never spell that, I'm sure it's wrong!) rather than something like calacatta gold. Very few non kitchen obsessed people realize that marble can go from $50 to $200 per square foot.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2009 at 12:45PM
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"I agree with mariend - I prefer corian or formica. I wouldn't want to fuss with marble and granite staining, etc. Just my 2 cents."

Choose the correct type of stone and you will not be able to harm it.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2009 at 2:31PM
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I don't think the vast majority of home buyers would be able to distinguish between marble and granite. Stone is stone to most people who haven't done a lot of research, and most haven't.

So what I think you're really asking is: If your counters are etched and stained, will that hurt the sale of your house? And to that I would answer yes, simply because when anything looks stained or damaged it makes one wonder how well the house was taken care of in general.

I don't know much about marble, but I do know thare are lots of granites out there that do not need any kind of special care (I have Paradiso and it wipes clean with no special cleaners or sealers). The bottom line is that when you are ready to sell, the counters should look good, clean and cared for. And that goes for whatever material you end up with.

In the end, I believe that remodeling for a potential buyer years down the road is not only unsatisfying, but futile. Unless you are remodeling for the purpose of immediate resale, you should get what you like.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2009 at 3:31PM
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Personally I prefer marble over granite, and granite over laminate. So it would be a PLUS for me! However, our current house had laminate when we bought it (and still has it). I would have preferred something else but it obviously didn't stop me from buying the house.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2009 at 4:18PM
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Looking at it from a buyer's standpoint though - will the house price seem high because it has marble in the kitchen? It won't to someone who likes and expects it. But someone who doesn't like it won't want to pay for it.
If you love it get it and enjoy it. But don't expect to get your money back.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2009 at 8:41AM
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collins design

Thank you-
marys1000, for what its worth, my carrara marble counters are costing quite a bit less than the mid-priced granites I was looking at! And far less than Caesarstone, quartz, etc. So I am definitely going to take the risk and do marble... it's what I really want, anyway!

    Bookmark   May 31, 2009 at 5:22PM
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I am glad you are going to do marble! "Coastal ME, fairly high end" I think marble will be right in the pocket for you in a few years' time.

lowspark is right--stone is stone is stone to most people, many of whom would not be able to tell a light juparana "granite" from marble. Most "granites" are not granite, anyway; our emerald pearl, for example, is a larkavite (sp?).

And I am glad that those who have formica, etc. are happy with them, but please don't make the care and upkeep argument for them! I love looking at all the fun variety of colors and patterns in formica, and if that is what you like, you like to change things up more often, you need to think short-term, you are on a budget, or you need to consider the neighborhood standard, then that is absolutely great, I am not knocking them on that basis. But if you have a family, you've got to know that stone is FAR FAR FAR easier to live with and keep up.

I've had formica, it is WAY WAY WAY more delicate and damage prone than granite. You can't cut on it, you can't put a hot pan on it, it stains like crazy, and the finish wears off after a few years of scrubbing stains off. Same for corian--my parents have that and my sil, she hates it, and I have to say hers looks more than a little shopworn after 15 years. Yes, stains can be polished out, but it takes a lot of care to do it right over the course of many years.

I would like to see anyone scrape nail polish, acrylic paint, or melted wax off a formica counter with a razor blade and see if you have anything nice left. Or scrub a stain out with bleach cleanser and a scratchy scrubbie. The razor blade operation is a piece of cake with granite. Nothing but another rock or silica (sand)-based scrubber will scratch it. It rarely stains and when it does, stains can be pretty easily "flushed" or "pulled" out of the lighter stones and will not show and eventually flush themselves out of the darker ones.

So I really think care and upkeep are arguments FOR stone, not against it.

Marble may etch with acids--wine, vinegar, lemon juice, etc., but that is much less to worry about than all the considerations for plastic surfaces. Just have a protected landing spot for bottles of such liquids (the stove top or a plate, for example)--it is bottle rings that you most often see etched into marble. You may also want to have a different surface available for landing next to the fridge--that is the most likely place where grit on the bottom of things brought in may scratch or where leaking things may wet the counter with an etching substance.

Good luck with your new counters! Enjoy!

    Bookmark   June 1, 2009 at 9:10AM
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>>I would like to see anyone scrape nail polish, acrylic paint, or melted wax off a formica counter with a razor blade and see if you have anything nice left. Or scrub a stain out with bleach cleanser and a scratchy scrubbie. >>

I've taken both paint and melted wax off our old cheap Formica countertops without any problem. An old family recipe using turmeric and saffron, as well as lots of chiles, occasionally left a faint yellow stain. That came out using a scrubbie and a weak bleach solution.

Those counters finally were pulled out in 2003 and still looked fine. The corner seam was deteriorating which was why I was replacing them (plus, we finally had the money for something better).

They have been replaced by Swanstone - yes, the "plastic" that so many folks here sniff at. It's been a fabulous, easy to clean worksurface. Great for pastry making, and the old family recipe doesn't leave ANY yellowish traces at all. I also love the totally invisible corner seams, the matte non-glare surface (we get a ton of daylight every day, all year long), and quietness.

Getting back to the OP, I think you should get the marble you love. You don't know for certain you're going to leave, and if you end up staying you'll kick yourself for not getting what you wanted since you can afford it.

Life is short, so let yourself enjoy the ride.

Would stained counters bother me? No, but I'm more knowledgeable than most buyers. I can see beyond clutter and bad paint colors. It wouldn't matter to me if it was granite or marble, as I don't care for either one of them. I'd live with them until I could afford something else, that's all.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2009 at 1:50PM
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My formica has been through every stain imaginable, and they always come out. Bleach cleaners haven't hurt it a bit.
I have heard that you can't cut or put hot pots on granite either. Not trying to be difficult, but I just have to disagree that the laminate is more maintenance than stone.
The only reason I'm probably going to go with quartz is that we like the look, and my husband hated the particle board of the post form laminate.
Anyway, marble is quickly becoming the stone of choice in kitchens, so go for it. The more information that comes out about the care and maintenance of marble may influence those with young kids one way or the other, but it is so very pretty.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2009 at 10:53PM
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Honestly, I would never want marble in my kitchen because it scratches, etches, and stains. It might not put off people if it still looks good when you sell, but if it is stained and scratched it probably will.

If you really think there is a good chance you will sell in a couple of years it might not be the best choice. But if you think you will be there for a while, you should get the countertop you would like.

If I liked everything else about a house with marble I would buy it anyway and change it out so it wouldn't be a deal breaker.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2009 at 1:36PM
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