Marble testing in progress... why we're NOW not going with marble

dragonfly08November 17, 2011

Like many on this forum, I had fallen in love with the white marble countertop look and could not, for the life of me, get marble out of my mind! I tried. Really, I did. I did all the research on GW and online. I searched for white granite and quartzite... even found some lovely slabs locally that I really like. But then, I'd look at my inspiration photos or I'd turn to walk out of the stone yard and I'd find myself drooling over the marble look again.

I found myself frustrated that I was not convinced etching or staining or chipping would be all that big of a deal. Every time I made a decision to stick with granite/quartzite, I'd see another finished kitchen post where they went with marble and it would, indeed, be simply gorgeous. Couldn't I just go with it? After all, it's been around and used in kitchens for centuries. After all, I want a beautiful, but lived-in kitchen, not a showroom. So what if we have 2 very young children (and, perhaps, more to come)?

I was frustrated that I didn't find anything online that showed truly how prone marble was to etching, staining, etc. And I was frustrated that I didn't know anyone who had marble so I could get my curiosity answered in person.

Thus, marble stayed stuck in the back of my mind and wouldn't go away...

Today, I finally went and got a sample of white carrera marble. I even asked the salesperson to get me a price quote for the marble because, gosh darn it, we just might as well stick with the look we love and can't get past.

The marble was sealed at the store. A few hours later, I got down to business. On the left side, I poured a bit of tomato salsa, apple juice (sorry, no OJ in this toddler household), lemon juice and red wine. Same along the right side.

Here is the picture showing what happened when the left hand column was wiped within 1-2 mins:

I went ahead and grabbed the first small knife I could reach for and gently tapped the blunt end a few times. I also gently scraped it along the surface, again, using the blunt end. This is what happened:

Roughly 4 hrs later, I went and wiped off the right hand column. This is what resulted:

As you can see, there was immediate etching and staining, with red wine producing the darkest stain after 4 hrs (not surprising). I also noticed the while the etching remained, the very light staining from the first photo had improved 4 hrs later. Of course, this test was done with worst-case-scenario in mind. I do not go pouring food on my countertop without immediately wiping it. But in a busy household and with at least 3 other bodies that I am not always accountable for... let's just say that I've found splotches of stuff on my counter the next morning.

Needless to say, it took DH about 1.3 seconds to say, "Well, there's no way we're getting marble and spending all that money if it does that!" Sadly, I'd have to agree. As much as I LOVE the look and feel of marble, it would probably turn me into a neurotic mess... and, at this time in our young family life, not all that practical. Not to mention, no more throwing keys onto the countertop.

Hoping this clarifies why marble may not be the easiest stone to choose for a countertop for those who are still smitten like I am... sorry, was. Really. Ok, I'm still smitten. I will still ooh and ahh over the photos of finished marble kitchens... but as for me, I'm finally moving on... unless someone convinces me otherwise or those stains/etches magically disappear tomorrow!

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How do you fix it? I have a stain on the cararra marble on my bathroom sink. Dye from a wood cuticle pusher that got wet.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2011 at 11:01PM
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So you didn't seal it yourself? What kind of sealer did they use? How many coats? I've had slab (Calacatta Xtra) counters & backsplash for ~four years now and I don't have a single stain similar to what you've pictured. And we cook. We cook hard, and we cook a lot. My children are now 7 & 5, and my partner, the primary cook in our family (I am the baker), is a s-l-o-b. He doesn't care to wipe down the counters, and he doesn't care if things splash / splatter everywhere. My pissy passive-aggressive side refuses to constantly clean up after him, so we do have crap sitting on our counters overnight .... We have both a dishdrain and runnels, which means water (and god knows what other crud) sits on the counter and, again, we don't have a single stain like what you've pictured. We (I) use Miracle 511 but I'm no longer fastidious about sealing -- the first year, maybe a little after, I was on it, but then life took priority.

I go on a me-trip every year, and one time when I came back there was a dried blob of what I suspect was tomato sauce / paste on the counter. I scratched it up with my fingernail and there was a slightly dark spot there, but somehow by the next day it was gone. The sealer did its trick, I guess. You would NEVER find it because I (who cleaned it) can not find it. I did once stain the counter with rust (a piece of rusted steel wool was evidently on the bottom of the sponge I was using) but I put on a poultice and like five minutes later it was gone and I resealed it. That simple.

Marble probably isn't the right countertop for you, and I'm glad for you you discovered that before you had marble installed. Life is w-a-y too short to freak about a kitchen material, esp. a countertop! But your findings are 100% inconsistent with my multi-year real-life experience, and except for the exorbitant cost I'd do them again in a New York minute. The joy they give my eye and heart as I "play" short-order cook every day, all day, is priceless.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2011 at 11:05PM
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I think marble is wonderful for a baking area...where you plan to have heavy use and a good 'patina'. It's not supposed to be perfect, but a surface that's there for rolling out dough, making candy, etc. Same as a wooden cutting's a very handy surface and helps you create wonderful food, in your kitchen. When it stops being a functional element and becomes a decorative one...that's probably when the 'patina' becomes more of a problem.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2011 at 11:08PM
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rmkitchen.... nooooo!!! NOT what I wanted to hear! You basically describe how we/I use our kitchen right now which is why I was (in a way) happy to find that marble wouldn't be the right match for us! Don't bring me back to square one! Seriously, though, what I had been searching for was feedback from someone like you... Can I ask you for some photos of your countertop? Including any areas that might have "abuse" on it? Honestly, if it looks nothing like the sample I have sitting here, we just might take the plunge. I was so surprised by how quickly the stone etched/stained/chipped. The store sealed it only once. Yes. I've done my research. And I asked specifically about application. But she said that they always seal it only once, even with an actual order piece and then confirmed it with her colleague. I THOUGHT about asking what sealer she used, but of course, I forgot and now wished I did. Thank you for your response. And really, if at all possible, can you post a current photo?

Lavender... I dream of baking on a marble area!

Milehigh... I know there are lots of videos and resources online about self-fixing marble etches and stains. I also hear that stains tend to fade with time. Perhaps someone will offer first-hand experience.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2011 at 11:18PM
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Staining you can largely avoid with the right sealer. Etching you cannot. Some tell you their counters do not etch. They feel that the laws of chemistry, and what happens when acid contacts calcium carbonate, do not apply in their kitchens. But they do. Science is not established by feelings or opinion polls. Marble etches. Period.

Marble is a great material for those who like patina, and a terrible material for those who want to convince themselves they won't get any.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2011 at 11:22PM
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marcolo... DH loved your reply! Patina and, I suppose, etching does not necessarily bother me. I'm not a form-over-function gal and want a kitchen that grows and feels lived-in over time. And, yes, I've read in plenty of places that with the right sealer, staining can largely be avoided. I just haven't seen any "used" countertop photos to confirm this. Without visual proof or first hand experience... and with EVERYONE (GC, KD, salespeople) telling you not to do it, it's hard to take the plunge.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2011 at 11:36PM
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I knew I should have skipped reading this thread when I saw the title. I just got back from the fabricators to approve the placement of the templates. Why didn't someone warn me that choosing the placement of the templates was almost as bad as choosing a white paint? I swear I would move those templates a quarter of an inch back and forth up and down until they were perfect (which they will never be since nothing is EVER perfect in my world). I should have taken a photo so I could agonize over it all night. Now this! Stains, etching, arg! I thought I had gotten over this when I plunked down the big bucks to buy marble. Rmkitchen, your post made me feel a little bit better.
Luckily my eyes are not as sharp as they used to be so maybe I won't see the flaws. And if I do, I will make up a wonderful little story to go with each one.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2011 at 11:39PM
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There's a thread that's been on the first couple of pages lately about marble alternatives. I'm on my phone. It will find and link it in a bit. Anyway, I posted my experience with UNSEALED carrera and how I ended up pleasantly surprised. I think I even talked about my friend with kids that really uses her counters (wine and all) and hers look great after several years. I was at her house the other day looking at her counters and admiring them. She went with honed so the etching wouldn't bother her as much but has had no staining. These things helped me get back on the marble wagon!

    Bookmark   November 18, 2011 at 12:14AM
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Many of those pics are from this forum.

Light makes a difference. You see etching much more if light is reflecting on the surface from your viewing angle. Obviously polished shows etching much worse than honed. But all marble etches in contact with acid. All. Including the marble of those who say theirs doesn't etch. Yes, yes it does.

It chips, too.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2011 at 12:18AM
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Babs... After these responses, I think I ought to change the subject title of this thread and hop back onto the marble wagon!
Marcolo... Thank you for the pics. I must not be searching correctly because I had not seen those pics (maybe 1 on google?). Some of them, especially the polished tops, look horrid! But I know that the camera catches funny angles and they tend to look worse than IRL.

Already, my stains are lighter (and this is with, apparently, terrible sealing job) and I will wait to see how they look overnight and over the next few days.

For those with marble countertops for a few years, can I see a photo of it from afar? Like those new-finished-kitchen shots, just with use? Wonder if the overall look stays just as beautiful... Even with the etching here and there.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2011 at 12:43AM
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Here's that thread for you. Sorry it's not linked. I'm still on my phone.

I don't have a photo of my friend's counters but they honestly look great. It convinced me!!

    Bookmark   November 18, 2011 at 12:48AM
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Babs... Thanks for the link. Yes, I had seen that in my research. As of right now, (aside from marble) we are down to a very light colored Japurana Delicatus or Taj Mahal quartzite. I've seen so many light/white granite available in our area and haven't fallen in love with any of them. Granted, I don't live in a large metropolitan area, though may be traveling to NYC soon for the holidays and might look at options down there and see if they'll ship it up to our local fabricators. Times like this, I want this renovation to start and be over with. Then, I think about how much we're investing and I want to get everything just right! Sigh...

    Bookmark   November 18, 2011 at 12:57AM
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Marcolo- Acid vs. calcium doesn't sound pretty. I hope to have a little marble area for baking, but for the rest of the kitchen...I have enough to worry about, without adding countertop care to the list :)

    Bookmark   November 18, 2011 at 1:12AM
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My Carrara just went in so I can't show a shot of them after years of use, but the chunk of my slabs that I tested for etching and staining NEVER stained at all with anything I threw at them. And it was NOT sealed. I tried hard to stain it. Nothing.

Etching is a different matter. It etched with anything acidic that came in contact for even a couple of seconds. I lived with the chunk on my counter for weeks and watched the etches. They really weren't that noticable in regular light at the angle at which you usually view counters. I decided it didn't bother me. I cook everyday and entertain regularly. I use all the yummy, etch-causing foods, too.

We've lived in the house for 5 days now. DH put the first etch in it last night spilling on it while having a lively conversation about what he was going to get done around here this weekend to help make the house functional. I was in and out of the kitchen all day today. I never noticed the etch or even gave it one thought.

If you have a particular etch in a prominent spot that really bothers you, you can rub the cut side of a lemon in circles all over the area of the etch. By doing so, you etch a larger area and can sort of feather the initial etch out to make it less visible. We've heard told the story of Meg Ryan or someone of that sort rubbing lemons all over her marble as soon as it went in. Etch it all over at once!

FWIW, I love my marble. Love.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2011 at 1:24AM
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steph2000 aunt has a newish home with marble in the bathroom and it is driving her crazy. She has had folks out 2-3 times in the last year to try to figure out how to deal with the etching/staining she is getting in the bathroom and wants to rip the marble out at this point. She strongly discourages me from considering it for a kitchen. She's really the only one I know with this material in her home, so my personal knowledge is limited.

The Granite Gurus did an interesting stain and etch test on their website. I'll include the link to part 2 here so you can see the results. You can easily see the link to part 1 if you want to read it.

I feel you on the marble love - and the marble fear. And like you, everywhere I go in my kitchen search here locally, everyone consistently discourages marble. It's a great look. It's also the hot look. And the cost is not insignificant.

I hope the link is helpful.

Here is a link that might be useful: Granite Gurus Marble Tests

    Bookmark   November 18, 2011 at 7:54AM
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Can you ask the fabricator for a local reference who had the marble installed a few years ago? People are usually very nice about letting you see their countertops(they are also marble lovers so they will understand your concern & the research you are doing)

    Bookmark   November 18, 2011 at 8:33AM
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I have seven year old polished marble they have etches galore but I have to point them out to DH and guest who say they want marble. During the day even I have a hard time telling if there are etches or if I am seeing a reflection of something on the counter but at night with dim lights I see them well. They use to bother me to no end but after so many real life problems now my mantra is it is only a rock after all and when we build a new kitchen I will reuse my counters.

Here are three pics from today I can not see any etches in the pics I put a nutmeg behind a 4" etch mark from an indian takeout we eat before my stove was hooked up:)and it does not show in the daytime I will try to get a pic tonight of it for you. I use large wood cutting boards to cover the busiest section of etches and I place stove spoons in a dish not directly on the counters. I have absolutely no stains at all just etches and scratches and chips but a sharpie blends those right in so even I can not find them when they happen.

Here are the most used areas of my kitchen.

the nutmeg is in the middle of a 4" etch but all I can see during daylight is the window reflection not the etch. I will try to capture it tonight if I have time. We are busy my daughters bday party is this weekend and we have 15 four and five year olds coming for a madeline party:)

    Bookmark   November 18, 2011 at 8:40AM
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I've always wondered why the etching wouldn't remove the sealer as it dissolves the marble. Anybody know?

    Bookmark   November 18, 2011 at 9:21AM
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Natural stone is porous and, while a sealer like the Akemi Nano I used on my counters will make water bead and coffee wipe right off, fat-based liquids like Chinese food sauce, liquid soap and acids from cleaning supplies did cause etching on a newly sealed counter.

Additionally, if you go with marble and are undermounting a sink, pay attention to the reveal. We had chips on the inside front edge of the sink after a not very long time. Better to have a slight setback or ogee edge.

If you can accept etching and the inevitable rings you'll see in raking light, marble is great. If it will bother you then it might not be the right choice for you.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2011 at 9:46AM
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An overview of my kitchen from last year, maybe?

Our kitchen is not large so we have to use all the counters we have, esp. since we're messy and a horizontal surface in our house is begging for crap to be placed upon it!

You can see we receive no direct sunlight in there -- the breakfast nook has the windows. The etches are hard to see unless the lights are on and you bend your neck just so. Etches do not bother me, but I read that they really bother marcolo. Not a judgment call, but a reality-based one: if etches will bother you then all you'll ever see are the etches. roarah's pics are fantastic because her marble is polished and she has direct sunlight -- a real litmus test!

This is to the right of the cooktop:

These are the etches I was able to capture:

This is my baking corner (and I bake nearly daily, so there's a lot of stuff going on on these counters):

And here's a more horizontal view:

Here's the slab directly behind the cooktop; not sure what the yellow is as it's not on the slab -- must be a reflection (and I'm too lazy to go back and take another pic -- sorry). My partner does a lot of stir-fries so it is splatter-city back there:

Oh! You know what? I forgot to take pics around the sink. Shoot. Let me load the dishwasher first and if I have time before Kindergarten is out I'll take some pics of the sink area and post back. Man, I do NOT want to clean (and those of you with little and / or disabled children will understand that the few hours you have 'off the clock' are not most happily spent cleaning ...), so I don't want any snickering or rude comments about how messy we are. We're real, that's all!

    Bookmark   November 18, 2011 at 10:55AM
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Rmkitchen- Finally! A lived in kitchen! You are my hero :)

It's so nice to see that someone else has crayon 'artwork' in their kitchen. The marble is beautiful, but I'm really taken with your crystal knob hardware. That's so pretty with the vintage pulls...nice combination.

You're making me feel MUCH better about using marble on the entire island, with a big cutting board for prep. I've been debating between wood, with marble inset or marble with cutting board. If you don't mind...I'm saving a picture or two of your kitchen, for my file.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2011 at 11:41AM
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My marble has not stained at all. I did get an etch from a soap bottle but applied a poultice of just plain baking soda mixed with a little water and that made the ring disappear. Surely there will be more etches over time but I love the marble and absolutely no regrets.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2011 at 11:45AM
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I too am a fan of marble. Really can't bring myself to commit to it, but having hard time finding something else! I think etching would drive me nuts at least the first few years. I know this from my experience with having a new car. Now years later, I don't mind the scratches, but when it was new... it drove me batty! I resigned myself to white quartz with a marble backsplash, but am not in love with the quartz or they just don't go together perfectly. Not sure what I'm going to do at this point.

In my googlings, I found this thread about polishing etching. Have you seen it?

Here is a link that might be useful: Thread about polishing etched marble

    Bookmark   November 18, 2011 at 12:04PM
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breezy... love your marble and kitchen, too! Thanks for sharing!

Eatrealfood... great idea! Hadn't thought about doing that. Thanks.

roarah... BEAUTIFUL marble! You are bold to have it polished and it's gorgeous. I know they say etches are much more visible with polished stone, but the reverse must be true for photographs because I cannot see them!

rococo... thanks for the heads up about the undermount sink. We do, in fact, have an undermount farmers sink, as you probably know from my other posts. Would you mind sharing a photo of the chip? I'm assuming it's the upper front corner where the countertop butts up against it? What edging do you have on your countertop?

rmkitchen... WOW!!! You, too, are my hero! The countertops are gorgeous and I'm thrilled to see how beautiful the entire kitchen is with family use! Especially love the childproofing! :) I cannot wait to show DH tonight... I officially have jumped back onto the marble wagon. *happy sigh*

    Bookmark   November 18, 2011 at 12:05PM
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Wow -- thank you all! When the kitchen was first done it felt stark to me (even though I had drooled over white white white), but once the children's artwork went up it felt, a la Goldilocks, "just right" to me.

Okay, so I loaded the dishwasher and did wipe down the area, but other than that here it is. I hate a zero-radius sink: serious ick-collector.

(from atop a stepstool), the sink area:

And then the messy area around the faucets / light (air) switch / soap dispenser -- the biggest culprit here is the stained caulk, but it's funny how easily I stopped seeing it. Ha ha!

For this pic I removed the dishrack which is always out 'round here. Truthfully, I cannot recall if the splotches were there before. The slabs I'd selected were switched by the stone yard (the fabricator and I were really ticked); what we ended up with had a lot more gold and splotchy gold than I'd wanted (or than the slabs I'd selected had). At the time I was seeing gold-splotched red but now I don't care. I just see the pretty marble. Hmm.

Here's a pic from when it was installed so perhaps I should give that area a good scrub ... ahem.

And here are the runnels and the hard-working counter to the left of the sink. Again, I honestly cannot remember about that big splotch.

Here's when it was installed and unfortunately I can't tell (about the splotch), but I suspect there was some discoloration (inherent in the stone) there. And yes, it could be exacerbated by time and use -- I can't say either way. Sorry.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2011 at 12:39PM
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Our marble is stain-free, but definitely not etch-free. If you think that you can live with etches, I say go for it! I love marble and how it "evolves".

This is a mystery etch and it's HUGE. I woke up one morning to make coffee and there was a sticky, dried blob there. I cleaned it up and this is what stayed. It's pretty wicked looking with overhead lights and a flash:

Here is what it looks like any other time:

We solved the splotching next to the stove problem by getting one of these (it's here 24/7 and used several times a day):

I also got a cool tray for my oil and vinegar. Keeps the bottoms from etching or staining the marble:

    Bookmark   November 18, 2011 at 12:41PM
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RMkitchen, your kitchen is beautiful.

I wonder if it would help the OP if someone knows if some marble is better than others. I know when I purchased my Travertine, and Slate I was told not to buy from certain area quarry i.e. Italy, Vermont, China.

We know marble will etch but some maybe harder or better quality to withstand more abuse for a kitchen counter.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2011 at 12:50PM
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I want to get naked and roll on rmkitchen's counter top. And on the rangetop backsplash, too, but it's probably not possible.

That response aside, I'll tell you my experience. My DH and I went through this decision process about seven years ago. I wanted all marble; he thought he would ruin it. My GC, in a rare lapse, agreed with me. Everyone else said I was nuts. (I didn't discover GardenWeb until a year after we built the house, so, no help there.) I ended up lowering a portion of my island to use as a baking counter and using polished Thassos extra white as the counter. Yeah, I know, I'm nutty that way. This marble is widely panned as a kitchen counter, plus it's polished, to boot. It photographs like a sheet of white paper. Etches like mad, and I adore it. As to stains, I have gotten one, and it's from a rubber foot on a food processor. It's a very faint gray that appears to be beneath the surface and looks like the almost imperceptible crystalline structure of the marble. I probably could try a poultice, but don't see the point as it's so unnoticeable. Weird though. I haven't used sealer in five years. My other counters are granite.
I have one other experience with marble. In my last house, I had a portable baking slab that was a Carrara look-alike, pale gray background with deeper gray veins, probably from China. I was on a trip, and when I came back, I discovered gooey, thick soy sauce had been spilled on it and left there, for, um, several days. Not only did it stain that marble, but it ate a divot out of it. That's probably the ultimate etch.
Anyway, could you inset an area of marble into a countertop of some other material, so that you get some of what you love, but confine the area?

    Bookmark   November 18, 2011 at 12:58PM
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sayde... thanks for sharing a green way to remove etching.

jenhp... your countertop/bs combo actually sounds lovely. Part of the reason for this post is b/c I don't want to settle for something I'm not in love with.

rmkitchen... the runnel look great. I'm loving all your photos.

hsw... great tips! And looks like a yummy meal about to be made there with the heavy cream, butter, mushrooms, peppers and onions!

marquest... yes, thank you... that would be most helpful. I've read that Vermont Danby is less absorbent; not really sure about other quarry sources.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2011 at 1:00PM
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Hmmm, I was told that Vermont marble (what we chose) is less porous than Italian. 3 months in, we don't have staining but do have some etching, which really doesn't bother me. Very glad our island countertop is walnut, though, as I do most of my prep there.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2011 at 1:05PM
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hsw sc -
i like your wooden cutting board - could you tell us where you purchased it?

    Bookmark   November 18, 2011 at 1:39PM
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kitchendetective... yes, I'd love to wrap myself up in rmkitchen's countertop, too! I've considered inserting marble into a part of my countertop, but aesthetically, don't like the look on paper. Our island is pretty large, 42"x117", and I'm planning on it being one flat, level slab. The step-up/-down look doesn't do it for me, though DH wanted that initially. I think the problem is what stone/top I'd pair with it aside from wood that wouldn't clash. I had not been looking at the darker palettes. But, it's a good idea and something that might be worth revisiting.

On another note... the marble sample I tested yesterday has lightened considerably to the point where only light staining that remains is from the red wine that was on for 4hrs (bottom right):

I can totally live with this... and love that I didn't do anything aside from wiping it down with a wet cloth.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2011 at 1:39PM
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"I think marble is wonderful for a baking area."

It is actually not all that good if you keep the room at a normal temperature.

Stone counters have a high thermal mass. They also conduct heat well.
When you touch the stone it feels cool since it carries heat away from your finger, and you cannot supply enough heat to warm the contact spot.

A wood or laminate counter is NOT a good heat conductor, and has a lower thermal mass. When you touch the counter you quickly warm the contact spot up so the counter does not feel cool.

Both of the counters are at room temperature though.

A stone slab you can put in the refrigerator or freezer actually is colder than room temperature, and can stay that way for a decent amount of time.

Commercial bakeries often keep the room cooler than normal. This allows the stone to become cooler, and it mass then slows the temperature rise..

"I did get an etch from a soap bottle but applied a poultice of just plain baking soda mixed with a little water and that made the ring disappear."

If water abd baking soda removed it, it was not etched.
Etching is when an acid dissolves some of the stone surface.
It leaves a less polished spot that can only be removed by polishing the stone again (at least in the damaged spot).
There is no practical way to protect marble from chemical attach and etching by acidic substances.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2011 at 3:10PM
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dragonfly08, I think you are going to regret not getting that stone. It looks like you really want to see it in your kitchen. LOL

At least your kitchen would be different "Not just another granite counter"

    Bookmark   November 18, 2011 at 3:26PM
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Dragonfly, try letting some bleach sitting on your stains for 5-10 minutes and see what happens.

It worked perfectly for me after thoroughly abusing my sample, I don't know if this can hurt marble over time but if there was an awful spot, I feel better knowing something could work.

Also, I've seen some etched countertops that look brand new after being rebuffed/rehoned. This is something you can have done every few years if you weren't happy with the patina. I've heard it's hundreds of dollars so you wouldn't want to do it too often. I don't know if it gets rid of really bad etches, but I am under the impression it at least clears up the tiny ones.

I don't own it yet so I am definitely not an expert.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2011 at 5:14PM
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Hey! I started the discussion about look alikes. : ) I really think we're going to do the marble. The Vermont Danby is less likely to stain although you still have to seal it. It will etch just as fast as the others though. I've have a couple 12" squares on my counter for a few weeks. They are definitely etched and as the light catches it I stare and see how I feel about it! lol
It's weird b/c the Carrara tile I have on the counter is etched but also the whole finish has changed in a few short weeks and it is shiny here and there. I think that's the patina? I don't think they are really etches but it just looks almost like a mixture of polished and honed all swirled around. It's very pretty actually.

The Danby hasn't done that but does have a few inch etch from apple juice when we made a pie. I'm waiting to see how it evolves over time : )

I'll post some pics of those pieces although I have to say it is really hard to capture in a photo!

    Bookmark   November 18, 2011 at 5:29PM
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babushka_cat, thank you! I got it through Amazon after searching in the Kitchen section for an "over the counter cutting board". I wanted a board that hugged the lip of the counter but didn't take up as much space as a kneading board does, but was bigger than 15x17 and Blanco made just that. They have some nice kneading boards on there, though. Boos and Chefs Catalog in particular.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2011 at 5:38PM
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Someone mentioned that marbles differ with regard to how porous they are, and I remembered seeing a chart of absorption rates on the Vermont Danby website:

This isn't an unbiased source, so don't take it as the Gospel truth, but it does show that marbles vary quite a bit. Any tests should be done on a sample of your slab that is sealed the way you will seal it.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2011 at 5:52PM
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We have been in our new house almost 3 months, and I love my marble c-tops more and more each day! Honestly. I was very afraid of them and over-protective at first, but now I "know" them. Mine are honed, and so far, all I have is some very small, light etching. To be etching was caused by water drops (goodness knows what that says abou our local water supply!) You can just barely see it when the light hits it just so. And, oddly enough, they seem to be fading away. You certainly can't feel them...maybe you can feel them in polished stone, but I can't in my Carrara honed. And while I am a careful cook, much like HSW (btw...I want info on that great looking board, too), dh is NOT careful. He made iced tea and left a big ole splash on the counter all night once. I was horrified the next morning when I saw it, certain I'd have a lovely brown stain, but nada. Zilch, I don't think it even left an etch. I've had homemade spaghetti sauce sitting on it for 20 minutes before I noticed, and again, no stain.

Now, I do have 2 children, so I did my island in walnut...I love it for its look, but I mainly did it so I could let them do projects and things without me freaking out all the time.

I think if you get honed and are prepared for a bit of etching, you'll be ok. It is so soft and delicious looking....nothing else looks just like it. I really don't think you will end of with a counter full of those stains like in your test, unless you frequently host indoor tailgating for a frat house or something. Most people just aren't that slack with their new kitchens!

    Bookmark   November 18, 2011 at 6:03PM
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Here are pics of the marble samples I've been keeping on my counter..

A Week Ago with the Sun coming in (Danby):




I hadn't noticed it until looking at the pics from last week, but the etching doesn't seem as prominent as it was. It's definitely there but softer edges.

Also, another test I've done with a 6" square piece of honed marble. (I should have taken photos)
*Squeezed lemon juice (dots of it) onto the marble and wiped off in 30 seconds. Clear as day circle etches.
*Took 1/2 lemon and rubbed over whole piece and left for about 1 minute. I rinsed and wiped dry. The etches didn't show anymore-the whole surface was the same- probably b/c now the whole piece was etched! Although the piece was originally honed it was now a bit less shiny than it had been (I can compare b/c I have a few samples).
*I then (and I just tried this again) attempted to re-etch it with lemon (tomato sauce the 2nd time) and it doesn't show the etch! I mean, maybe VERY VERY lightly I can make out where I put it but no one else EVER could!
--GRANTED this process was much easier on a 6" square than if you tried it on a whole counter and it could appear uneven if you miss little spots here and there but I thought it was interesting that the pieces don't really seem to re-etch (at least obviously- I'm sure Something goes on chemically)

Good luck with your decision! I know it HAS kept me up at nights. HA!

    Bookmark   November 18, 2011 at 6:10PM
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dragon, I don't have/can't find pics of the chips. But here are pics of the sink install. It has an eased edge and a 1/16" negative reveal -- should have been 0 reveal. This was the way the stone guy installs and it was appropriate to the kitchen style though, functionally, I didn't care for it.

Would be interesting to see edges on other undermounted sinks. The photos folks have posted of the etching are pretty much what I had.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2011 at 8:24AM
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While we are on this topic it seems agreed on this forum that honed is the way to go to lessen the views of etching. Every now and then I'll hear an expert say it should be polished- maybe stains don't absorb as quickly?

This week on HGTVs show Kitchen Cousins the "cousins " were SO against the couple using carrara bc the husband is a professional chef and would be using that area for cooking while making you tube videos. They especially freaked that they wanted them honed! Then they went to the stone yard and the guy there again told them honed would get stained like crazy and to get polished. The couple stuck to honed despite all this.

So what's with some professionals recommending polished over honed?

Here is a link that might be useful: Kitchen Cousins Episode

    Bookmark   November 19, 2011 at 11:19AM
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Honed is the way to go, the cousins need to get informed.

As stated above, staining can be prevented using good stain prevention products, applied initially and then repeated during the use of the kitchen.

When etching occurs, the contrast is higher on a polished surface vs. honed, that is why it is recommended to get a honed surface. While it does not prevent etching, they blend better on a honed surface rather than polished.

good that they did not listen to the cousins!

    Bookmark   November 19, 2011 at 11:55AM
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Babushka -- ha! That's what I said. I told my dh the cousins were wrong as we watched it. He probably doubted I knew better than the professionals.
The couple that stuck to their honed decision are probably GWers!

    Bookmark   November 19, 2011 at 2:08PM
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My story of choosing a countertop was an evolution. I went looking for granite, saw marble out of the corner of my eye, and sort of knew it was not meant for countertops. I viewed many granite slabs and did not find one I loved.

After a couple of other granite yards, I decided just to look at the marble. Very quickly, I was informed that it was not for kitchen counters. But that didn't stop me.
I went to another stone yard.... they had a display on one wall with small samples. I loved the upper choices. The clerk informed me that I was looking at marble, and again it was NOT meant for kitchens. I quickly scanned the whole wall and said that I did not like anything below row such and such. So the salesman let me know that it was the division between marble and granite.

I knew I had defined my preference. Now, to narrow it down.... I fell in love with Calacutta marble. I priced it and thought about all the pros and cons. I was reading like a sponge as I had just found GW just prior to starting our remodel.

My decision was to go with Ceasarstone quartz... it was a compromise. And I have to say it has worked out wonderfully. The kitchen remodel was absolutely necessary, but I had no plans to stay in my house forever. Selling and moving south is in my dreams. My dream kitchen will have at least some Calacutta marble though!! Etches, stains and all!

    Bookmark   November 19, 2011 at 8:13PM
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fleur... Thanks for sharing. You bring up a good point that I was discussing with DH. We just moved into our current house and, unless something major happens in the future, we are planning on setting our roots here for a very long time. I am not worried about resale... so the important thing is that I pick something I will love living in and cooking in every day.

An update on our search and decision-making progress... Today, we received several quotes for White Carrara from the 2 granite places we're looking at (one place has the Juparana Delicatus, the other has the Taj Mahal Quartzite). Both quotes were similar, $100 difference, but 2/3 the price of the granite and quartzite! I had been holding my breath and bracing myself for something almost 1.5-2x the price of the other stones. Let me just say that a happy dance was going on in the bathroom (where I had to make phone calls w/o kids screaming or workers drilling)!

Now, decision time. We went back to one of the yards today so DH could see, for first time, the stones. Looked at the Juparana Delicatus again... still beautiful but much creamier and golden than the white marble. DH loved it, but he loved the marble, too. Monday, we will go see the quartzite. I'm pretty sure DH will like that too.

The biggest hurdle now... DH is SUPER concerned about the chipping that occurred with our sample. We've discussed the etching and staining extensively now... but can current marble-top owners weigh in on the superficial chipping?

    Bookmark   November 19, 2011 at 9:51PM
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rococo... thank you for the pictures. They got me thinking about sink installation, which is a good thing! BTW, is that a marble ledge you have for your windowsill?!

    Bookmark   November 19, 2011 at 9:56PM
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2LittleFishies, I'm dying to know the ending. What was the creative solution the cousins came up with to keep their marble stain-free for as long as possible? Did they cover it with plastic wrap? Did the wife get her magazine kitchen in the end?

fleur222, which Caesarstone did you end up with? Does it have a marble look?

dragonfly08, have you tried chipping the granite and quartzite? If I tried hard enough I could chip both granite and man-made quartz. Anything will chip if you try hard enough. You can minimize chipping by choosing a slightly rounded edge rather than a square edge and most chips can be repaired. Try searching for marble chip repair and see what you find.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2011 at 10:47PM
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mpagmom- Funny b/c I watched the episode and when I read that I was thinking- what? They didn't do anything! They gave the couple what they wanted and that was it! Unless I missed something along the way. lol

    Bookmark   November 19, 2011 at 11:37PM
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It may be in another life that I ever have marble, but this thread is really informative.

RMkitchen, I love your kitchen!

    Bookmark   November 20, 2011 at 9:54AM
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dragon, oh yes, he templated the window sills and used pieces for that. The windows improved 10,000 fold. It's like layering -- just adds to the overall effect.

As I read your posts, I get the impression that you really want marble, if only there wasn't a downside to it. We did have chips in the inside edge of the sink but using one of the Kohler ss sinks with the interior bevel -- or any sink with that bevel -- would have eliminated chipping there.

Otherwise, there was a chip on the outside edge of the island after someone leaned a metal step stool against it. But I chose the marble for looks and didn't look it up on the hardness scale. I'm sure any of the carrara family are harder, as is the Danby. I didn't get lucky with Danby slabs and the one I chose was gorgeous and had the right amount of activity for what I needed. I will say that everyone who came into the house remarked on how beautiful the marble counters were.

So even though you have samples and are doing tests, I'd only consider them to be a guideline since they're from different slabs. What I learned -- and given a mulligan I'd still make the same choice -- is that maintenance helped. I sealed with Akemi nano so spills weren't an issue unless they were oily/fatty. Akemi makes a marble cleaner/maintainer that was used weekly to help reduce etching. It removed certain etches (but not all) and provided a subtle sheen that was beautiful. I resealed every 6 months -- which took an hour total.

We bought inexpensive flexi mats from Crate & Barrel and used those. I kept a cutting board over the heaviest area next to the sink so that wouldn't get funky -- mine was that washable white stuff but similar strategy to the person who posted the wood cutting board next to the stove.

So yes, it was high maintenance but that might have been my marble. For others it doesn't seem as high. I think it's a lottery with the stone you get and to a lesser degree the sealer.

Wishing you luck with your eventual choice!

Here is a link that might be useful: offset sink

    Bookmark   November 20, 2011 at 12:59PM
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Thanks for posting this information on marble.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2011 at 2:50PM
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Marble requires maintenance for sure and depending on the household and your lifestyle that will dictate just how much maintenance it will require. It is also a matter of preference for each homeowner.There is a rule to diagnose a stain or an etch mark.If the stain is darker than the stone it is a true stain and depending on the staining agent there is a guide that can tell you what products can be used to make a poultice to remove the stain. A poulticing guide can be found at the link below.
There is a chapter on poulticing that could be helpful.
Any stain thet is lighter than the stone is an etch mark.'There are no exceptions to this rule.
Marbles etch from anything acidic that lands on the surface. This happens instantly and the degree of the etch will be determined by the substance causing it and the amount of time it was left on the surface.
If you feel the etch with your fingertip and it is smooth there are products on the market that will remove the etch.
If the etch feels rough to your touch than you will probably require the services of a stone refinisher.
However you should note that green marbles (that arent really marbles) will etch less in kitchen areas because they are serpentines and are composed of magnesium silicate mainly with small amounts of calcium carbonate.
Rain forest green and brown is a good choice for kitchens as well and are even more resistant to acids than the greens.
Getting back to marbles and true stains here is some info that might help. All stones have a different porousity rate.
Even the same named stones from different parts of a quarry can exhibit different rates. A polished stone will be more resistant to the intrusion of stains because during the polishing process at the processing plants the method to polish stones uses a product called potasium oxalate which has a reaction with the calcium in the stone creating chemical reaction causing the stone to become less porous. Another issue to consider with marble is that while a honed stone is more porous and must be well sealed with a high quality sealer. The most important part of sealing a stone is to make sure that the sealer is applied
correctly. Follow the directions of the manufacturer and the next day test it using the water test. If it stills absorbs water repeat the application again. Make sure when applying sealer the residue is always removed from the surface of the stone. Sealers for stone are impregnating and live below the surface. There will be no change from the selaer to the look of the stone. Sealers only do one thing and that is temporarily inhibit the intrusion of staining agents into the stone. Also please note a good sealer should last way longer than 6 months. Using the right products that dont degrade the sealer are the key to its longevity.
I work on a lot of marble kitchen countertops both honed and polished. Over the years we have honed (made matte finished) on site so many polished tops for our clients.
At the same time we have refinished so many polished ones that it really is a matter of personel preference which finish to go with. Clients of both honed and polished tops will call us in every 2-4 years to refinshed their tops.
Refinishing is exactly what it says we make them look like the day they were installed whether honed or changing from one to the other.
So again there are some products on the market that will help remove light etches from most marbles(browns and black marbles are harder to work with.
So if marble is in your heart and you have an understanding of the nature of the stone and you treat it accordingly why not have it in your kitchen.
I hope this post helps.
Stu Rosen

Here is a link that might be useful: mbstonecare care guide

    Bookmark   November 20, 2011 at 3:19PM
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Not to hijack the thread but is it possible to remove etching and stains from marble? I ask because I have a old side table with a marble top. It's beautiful but the marble is both etched and stained.

I would love to have it cleaned up. I wouldn't mind hiring someone to do it. All the etching and stains are from before I had it. It gets very light use from me so I don't think keeping it looking nice would be a problem.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2011 at 3:39PM
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Great Info, srosen! Thanks! I guess that's why some people recommend polished. Just to get an idea how much would it usually cost to refinish an average size island let's say? Is it VERY messy- a big project?

happyladi- I think you should read the post above yours for answers.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2011 at 3:56PM
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"is it possible to remove etching and stains from marble? I ask because I have a old side table with a marble top. It's beautiful but the marble is both etched and stained. "

If the stains are not very deep they may polish out when the etching is polished out.

If they are deep in may be areal chore to remove them.

Mable is metamorphosed limestone, though the stone industry may also refers to unmetamorphosed limestone as 'marble.'

It is soft and relatively porous compared to granite (though the actual porosity varies from stone to stone).

    Bookmark   November 20, 2011 at 4:45PM
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Thanks Stu. Maurizio and his experience are much missed here. In that regard, you've helped a good deal with your post. Nice to see his work is not lost.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2011 at 4:55PM
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Truly My pleasure-Maurizio was very passionate about stone.
He truly loved every aspect of the industry and helped so many people all over the world with their stone issues.
So yes we continue what he started.
To answer the above post from 2littlefishies yes most natural stones can be refinished and restored to original condition like the day they were installed .The finishes can also bechanges from polished to a deep honed finish or somewher in between. Stone Refinishers with a lot of experience can do magic to your worn countertops, vanities and floors as well.
Limestones,Marbles,Travertines,Serpentines can respond in most cases very well to refinishing. Working on granites,quartzite,and more exotic stones are the pinacle of stone refinishing and requires a very experianced craftsmen to work on them.
The pricing for this type of work will vary from area to areas and also be based on the stone and how much work will be required to make it look new again or change the finish. The process is done wet so there is no dust and a well trained company will make so well that if they leave one splatter it would be one too many.Alway hire a pro with references before engauging in this type of project.
As far as true stains which will always be darker than the stone it is possible in most cases to poultice them out.
Some stones like a bottocino are so hard and dense it wont stain easily but will etch like crazy. Remember etches will always be lighter than the stone and are caused by acidic substances.They can almost always be removed unless it was an industrial type of acid left on the surface for a long time.
Stu Rosen

    Bookmark   November 21, 2011 at 9:18AM
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An overview of my kitchen from last year, maybe?

Our kitchen is not large so we have to use all the counters we have, esp. since we're messy and a horizontal surface in our house is begging for crap to be placed upon it!

You can see we receive no direct sunlight in there -- the breakfast nook has the windows. The etches are hard to see unless the lights are on and you bend your neck just so. Etches do not bother me, but I read that they really bother marcolo. Not a judgment call, but a reality-based one: if etches will bother you then all you'll ever see are the etches. roarah's pics are fantastic because her marble is polished and she has direct sunlight -- a real litmus test!

This is to the right of the cooktop:

These are the etches I was able to capture:

This is my baking corner (and I bake nearly daily, so there's a lot of stuff going on on these counters):

And here's a more horizontal view:

Here's the slab directly behind the cooktop; not sure what the yellow is as it's not on the slab -- must be a reflection (and I'm too lazy to go back and take another pic -- sorry). My partner does a lot of stir-fries so it is splatter-city back there:

Oh! You know what? I forgot to take pics around the sink. Shoot. Let me load the dishwasher first and if I have time before Kindergarten is out I'll take some pics of the sink area and post back. Man, I do NOT want to clean (and those of you with little and / or disabled children will understand that the few hours you have 'off the clock' are not most happily spent cleaning ...), so I don't want any snickering or rude comments about how messy we are. We're real, that's all!

    Bookmark   November 21, 2011 at 12:42PM
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Hi Stu-
If you look at my post from Fri, Nov 18, 11 at 18:10. I am curious about re-etching. If you etch the whole piece of marble does it not re-etch? Also,
are there any problems with doing this (rubbing lemon over it)? Is it wearing away the stone?
You mentioned remove etches using certain products. Does it make the surface uneven or form divots?

    Bookmark   November 21, 2011 at 9:18PM
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Earlier in this thread, someone asked about dings (the proper word escapes me now) in marble.

Our white Danby was installed approx 4-5 months ago. We have 4-6 small dings in the softened edge.

This kitchen is extremely lightly used. We're empty nesters most of the year and dh eats one meal a day, dinner, a sandwich. I cook a little but am on a no-knead bread baking binge. Even still, my baking stuff is mostly plastic canisters-they would not damage anything. I use cutting boards, trivets, etc., Well protected, very.

I actually do not know how these 'holes' occurred. I blame everything on my fabricator. I don't like anything he did and my dissatisfaction with him grows, if I pay attention to it. I love my cabinetry and cabmaker so much that that overshadows my like/hate with my counters.

In my case, I don't think it is a fault of the marble necessarily, but anything that that jerk touched. He sealed it, but I bought it honed. He matched it very poorly. (He will claim that I approved the positioning, but this is not what I approved.) The sink reveal goes from negative to flush to positive, but in small doses.

Shortly after my gc installed the sink, Kohler Karbon, and used Kohler's plumbing putty, the faucet area darkened in a circle. My superb, experienced, and trustworthy gc said the darkened area was b/c of the plumbing putty. And, of course, I mentally blame the crapola fabricator for picking the wrong slab for counters (he had big probs with my previous granite selection)oooh, I hate that guy. For everything. Hmmm, I don't sound like the voice of reason.

I love marble. About 20-25 years ago, I did our powder room floor and counter top in carrara. It has taken a beating, by gazillion kids, snowboots, cleaning, anything you can imagine. I don't know how many kids dribbled on it. It shows, kind of. The floor has scratches and was originally polished and later unintentionally honed, in spots, by hard use. But I love it and don't give a hoot about it's imperfections. Floors in Europe take a beating for centuries. I don't even think about the powder room marble. There are no dings in the powder room, anywhere. Powder room marble installers were old school, best game in town, artisans, painstaking artisans, stone in the bone guys.

In the days when fabricators and stone sellers were one and the same, and not defensively created to avoid the pointed finger of blame. Legally.

I have divots, little dings, 'holes' in my fancy marble counters. Don't know their origins or births.

White quartz would have fit with my modern design wishes, but I was afraid of perceived or documented, functional problems. So far, I was wrong.

Whatever, I love my still perfect Danby marble counters in my baking area.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2011 at 11:54PM
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That doesn't surprise me, given my experience choosing marble. My fabricator sent me to another supplier to look at slabs. They gave me a piece of Danby and another piece (the name escapes me but it was lovely and very white). The second piece got a little chip knocked off in the car and left some stone dust on the seat. That unnerved me, so I gave it another hard bang at home and another big chip fell out. Where the rough edges were, I could--literally--rub it and it crumbled like sugar. I couldn't believe it! The Danby held up better but was still soft.

OTOH, I've had my Calcatta in place since August, and there's not a single ding or stain. There is one etch so far, and I'll know there will be more. I'm okay with that. The surface is honed and you can't see it unless you look at it from the right angle.

I love my marble and would choose it again in a heartbeat, but it's not for those who want their surfaces to stay pristine. Also, I had the countertops to either side of the range done in Absolute Black, so I can spill oil, lemon juice and vinegar there to my heart's content. It was a good compromise for us.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2011 at 8:21AM
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Hi Anna chosak -- off topic, I know.
But have you posted pictures of your kitchen yet?
I'd love to see it.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2011 at 8:44AM
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Hi Francoise! No, not yet--waiting for the backsplash, which should go in soon. Thanks for your kind words. :-)

    Bookmark   November 22, 2011 at 9:31AM
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wow, Anna. That kind of crumbling should not happen to a countertop material. But it did serve as a good warning to you about the material.

I am not quite sorry about my marble. Dings don't bother me much. But the awful matching, or non matching is the main bad-and the darkened sink area.

It still gets fondled :)

    Bookmark   November 22, 2011 at 4:24PM
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For mpagmom: The Ceasarstone I chose was Nougat. There are some newer choices out there now. It does not look like marble. It does not feel like marble nor does it have the "emotion" of marble. It is similar in color and it works for my house, which is remodeled and updated.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2011 at 12:07PM
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I LOVE MARBLE. I'm going with Soapstone the other maligned stone. Thought all you marble lovers would like the attached photo...

Here is a link that might be useful: marble sidewalks

    Bookmark   November 30, 2011 at 11:59AM
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dragonfly08 - I was in LOVE with Marble and just had to have it, but in the end decided I could not live with the fear of hurting it.

I'm not sure if you've seen it in the stone yard, but we wound up with White Princess Quartzite and it does evoke marble. A year later I'm soooo happy we decided not to go with marble. I NEVER worry about my counters. I have a carerra marble backsplash and I am careful with it but I don't agonize over it because it's a vertical surface. The quartzite and the marble look great together.

Here are some examples:

Firsthouse_mp and I have White Princess, her's is honed, mine is polished:

Firsthouse_mp's island

My counters

Sochi's Luna di Luca is also very marble-like.

You can *almost* have the best of both worlds if you find the right quartzite.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2011 at 4:22PM
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eatrealfood... that's a pretty sidewalk! and I was planning on soapstone for our wine/coffee counter together with white marble!

momqs... beautiful countertops!! thanks for sharing! Yes, I had looked into quartzite, however, the only quartzite they had available locally was white quartzite. I actually had it on hold for a while, but decided it was too grey and lacked character. I longed to see a White Princess in person, but nothing near where we lived.

I decided to stop by some yards in NYC since I was in town for the Thanksgiving holiday. I was hoping to see White Princess Quartzite as well as more marble samples (the white carrara samples here in town weren't doing it for me... way more speckling than veinings). It was my intention that, unless I fell in love with another granite not seen locally, to find my marble slabs and purchase them. I was lucky to find several places in NYC that supplied my local yard. WOW. I was like a kid in a candy store! There were about 50 times MORE selection. Though they were out of the White Princess, I literally walked right into the elusive Super White Granite/Quartzite. It blew me away!!!!! Had all the gorgeous marble quality without the maintenance. Without hesitation, I placed my deposit and am currently waiting for my 2 slabs to arrive to my fabricator. Here is a photo I took of one of the slabs:

Thank you all so very much! This thread has been so helpful and honestly, if I hadn't found the Super White, I would be going with marble for sure.

One piece of advice for those who do not live in a large metropolitan area and cannot seem to be satisfied with the granite selection available locally: travel to your nearest large city. I promise you your selection will increase tremendously and you will feel immensely better about your final choice.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2011 at 5:32PM
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Congrats on finding something you love AND can live with!! That granite is gorgeous! Here is a quote I just saw on the decorating forum for all those who posted pics of their sightly imperfect but still beautiful marble:
"In life as in design, it is not perfection you should be after. There's beauty in the faded and worn, the well loved, and the sentimental...After all, life has seams. Your home should be like a loosely woven fabric of desires, memories, practical, notions, and even compromises."
- Celerie Kemble

    Bookmark   December 1, 2011 at 6:41PM
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That's gorgeous! That's my dream countertop but I doubt I'll be able to find it around here (but it won't be for lack of trying!) Congratulations!

    Bookmark   December 1, 2011 at 6:42PM
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Oh that's fantastic news! So happy that you won't have to baby your countertops. It's so much easier.

It's a gorgeous slab I know you'll be happy!

    Bookmark   December 1, 2011 at 7:08PM
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Congrats on the big "decide." Now you know why some of us live here LOL.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2011 at 8:04PM
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My report is that my marble counters (Bianco Antico from Artistic tile) have acquired since the Thanksgiving weekend both etches and stains and we are not even officially in the kitchen yet. The stain was from a small drop of red wine; it seems to blend in with the stone, which endears me even moreso to this selection. I don't know how the etches occurred; I think my contractors must have set something down in that spot. They were working in that area installing an oven; I know none of us set anything there. Anyway, they were immediately noticeable to me but no one else has noticed. I am going to wait it out and see how long it takes for someone to comment. Honestly I don't expect them to notice.

It is a little difficult to see beautiful pristine counters take their first hits, but now that they have, I think I am going to be able to live with marble quite well. I do see why others may not.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2011 at 8:36PM
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Dragonfly08: Yay!!! So happy you found something you love. That quartzite is beautiful AND you'll have more peace of mind with it.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2011 at 9:06PM
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Can you tell me what stone yards you went to in the NYC area? I would love to know as I am in the process of selecting a counter as well.

Thanks a lot.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2011 at 9:12PM
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Thank you all! Yes, I am over-the-moon happy to have found this piece. Mpagmom... I found that I had to take the initiative and look for the slab of my dreams myself. My local granite salesperson tried to find what she thought I would want from their various suppliers, but no one really knows what you want except for you. I asked for the names of a few suppliers they normally get their stones from (all located in NYC/NJ) and then either perused those places' websites or called them regarding specific stones. They can always email you photos of specific slabs in their inventory. No matter how remote you live, your local stone yards need to get their stones somewhere and those places typically have a much much larger selection.

nyccarrie... The particular place where I found the Super White was PMI International located in LIC. Their website is: Their headquarters are located in NJ. I just went during their business hours and was able to take a look thru their inventory in the warehouse. Also, if you do a google search for "granite and marble" plus your zip code, you should come up with a few places, most of which may have websites with listings of their current inventory. Good luck!

    Bookmark   December 2, 2011 at 10:38AM
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dragonfly: Great news that you found a beautiful countertop. I love when you put in all the work AND end up with something that will make you happy when you get up in the morning and go into the kitchen. :)

    Bookmark   December 2, 2011 at 3:40PM
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sorry two little fishies didnt see your prior post. You can hone marble using acidic compounds but I think it may be harder to acheive a uniform finish non some surfaces meaning it may streak. . It can also open the pores of the stone and makes it rougher(at a microscopic level) and will soil easier. Also yes it will always etch due to the chemical make up of the stone. Marbles are composed of calcium carbonate and are sensitive to acids. They will always etch unless coated with a topical acid resistant coating(which we never suggest). But then you dont really have marble any more. The coating will look like a coating waxy or plastic like and may cause other issues.
To properly hone marble it should be done with progressive grits of abrasives such as diamonds,aluminum oxcides,silicon carbons or similar. There are different levels of honed finish that a skilled stone refinisher could acheive an a marble surface. More matte,high honed or somewhere in between depending on what the client wanted.
I advise folks with marble in kitchens(if they are having issues) to hone them more matt thereby hiding the etches somewhat and making maintenance easier.
Then tested for porousity and sealed or color enhanced properly.
Dragonfly-you will be very happy with the super white quartzite.Clients that have it always rave about it-It will serve you well.
Stu Rosen

    Bookmark   December 3, 2011 at 9:44AM
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It would really help if we could get a ball park figure for having the marble re-finished down the road if perceived necessary. Let's say an island - 4 x 8 - Are we talking a few hundred or a few thousand? Is this something a very hand DIY person could do?

    Bookmark   December 3, 2011 at 12:17PM
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The cost to refinish marble countertops will be based on size,condition of stone(how severe is the scracthing, etching and or staining,cracks,chips,etc)type of stone(darker stones and some limestones can be tricky to refinish)time and materials.
Special pricing if we change the finish from polished to honed(easier and reasonably priced) or honed to polished(which is impossible to do to granite on site- very-difficult to do on marble(can be pricey).
Our pricing on an average kitchen(60-80sqft) with normal wear and etching will start at around $650.00 and up. Larger kitchens with multiple islands and multiple countertops and other areas over 100 sq ft can that can be done in a day will start $900.00 and up.
Pricing will vary region to region.
Stone refinishing is one of those trades where experience is very important. I have been doing this since 2003 and still learn something everyday. While some stones are easier to work on others can be a serious undertaking. Not to mention the possibility of damaging fixtures back splashes,cabinets etc. Other issues could be dust or water containment and proper masking techniques so appliances,wallpaper,furniture and fabrics are protected .
So While I am sure that a very handy person could do or try to refinish the stone there is the question of purchasing and using the proper equipment.
I think in the long run it is cheaper to hire a bona -fide refinisher with references.
Stu Rosen

    Bookmark   December 3, 2011 at 3:41PM
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I have been following Dragonfly's thread on testing marble and was almost persuaded to go with Cambria Torquay .

But then I went to the stone yard today and told the salesperson my concern about marble and she said she would put it in her kitchen.

Then the owner of the stone yard said he was doing his kitchen in Carrara Marble.

They did have the Arctic White granite, which was beautiful but too grey for my project.

They told me that etching was a given but have never had people complain about stains. That if I wiped on the sealer every couple months, it would keep fat etc. from absorbing if it was wiped off immediately.

Now I am back to marble.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2011 at 4:36PM
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Dragonfly. I went through all the same emotions.. I read your first post. I skimmed the rest just now. I put 2 inch marble in my whole kitchen June 2010. I PANICKED and I don't regret it. I would have regretted not using it. I don't baby it at all.. I spill lemon juice when I make guacamole. I spill tomato sauce all the time. I have NO stains... lots of etching.. but you can only see that in certain lights. I just don't cut on it. I still love my white kitchen with white marble.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2012 at 8:29AM
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My marble now has a couple of very tiny nicks at the edge and a couple of small etches. But my entire kitchen is full of imperfections and "patina." So the marble fits right in. It is one of the things I love best about the kitchen and I am so glad I found it (Eureka Danby). Have posted elsewhere about how we re-honed with moistened fiber pads and an orbital sander when the marble was first installed. Came out fine and reduced any anxiety going forward because we can always do this again.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2012 at 8:37AM
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