All stone products crack, and marble countertops are no exception. However, it takes a great deal of force, applied over long periods, to crack a marble countertop.
If you live in a part of the country regularly visited by tornadoes, typhoons or similar natural disasters, your marble countertop is exposed to a lot of weather abuse. Natural disasters can create winds of over 100 miles per hour, sometimes carrying common household objects such as vases, forks and pens with it. While a single impact from such items will not cause much harm, repeated impact will eventually take its toll on your marble countertop and cause it to crack.
Some earthquakes can level entire houses, particularly if the house is located along a fault line. In earthquake-prone areas, a strong earthquake can easily split your countertop in two. Also, debris and timber can fall over a marble countertop, causing it to crack under the weight.
Like other metamorphic rocks, marble is highly resistant to heat. However, this does not mean that your marble countertop is 100 percent immune to heat. Repeatedly placing a hot pan or a plate of hot food on a marble countertop will wear away at the calcium in it, causing it to soften and making it weaker against all kinds of wear. Reputable manufacturers and fabricators of marble countertops recommend using hot pads or trivets for dishes and pans.
Marble countertops are designed to endure many years of regular use, but there are some tasks they are not designed for. Using a marble countertop as a workspace for heavy equipment, for example, will cause it to crack under the weight. Marble countertops should never be used to cover surfaces required for activities such as hammering and drilling.
Acid-based cleansers and disinfectants can also corrode a marble countertop. Muriatic and hydrochloric acid are commonly used for cleaning swimming pool and bathroom tiles, but using such harsh chemicals on a marble piece will eat away at the calcium and reduce the countertop's structural integrity, making it more prone to cracks and damage.
Although marble countertops can last for decades, the wear and tear they sustain over the years will eventually take their toll. Countertops over 70 years old are common and are most susceptible to cracks. Marble countertops can stay tough and durable for about 20 years, after which they start to deteriorate.