Marble countertops add elegance and style to any home. Their elegant look and natural patterns have been valued since the time of the Ancient Greeks. Countertops made of marble are very durable even if they do require some maintenance.
What is marble?
Marble is a metamorphic rock derived from limestone. Naturally occurring limestone is sealed inside the earth. While buried, it is exposed to tremendous heat and temperature. This changes its composition and turns it into marble. Limestone is a chalky, dusty rock, while marble is hard and compact.
Because of the high concentration of calcium in limestone, most naturally occurring marble exhibit white veins and changes in coloration. The color can turn milky or opaque because of the presence of calcium in the rock. Marble also glows. The calcium present in it allows light to penetrate about three millimeters into the rock before reflecting it. This mutes the light and causes the marble piece to glow. In the time of the Ancient Greeks, marble was a prized material used for sculpture because its glow made sculptures look real and more human. Today, marble is used in many applications like flooring and kitchen and bathroom fixtures.
The features of marble countertops
Marble tiles used for marble countertops are pieces of marble cut into squares. They are plastered or cemented onto a countertop core which is usually made of concrete. Marble tiles are used for the flat surfaces of a countertop, while edge finishing pieces are used for the corners and rim of the countertop. Edge finishing pieces and border tiles can be flat or slightly rounded, and they are also attached to the corners using plaster or cement. The edges of each tile and the spaces between the edge finishing pieces and marble tiles are sealed with vulcanized rubber sealant. This prevents moisture from seeping into the marble.
Having a solid marble countertop is a sign of exquisite taste, but is very expensive. What people with a limited budget do is they buy small marble tiles and use them as a highlight piece. Marble highlights are commonly used as the centerpieces on tables and counters. A kitchen countertop can be made with wooden borders and a marble inlay at the center. The marble inlay can be designed with carvings or etched with acid. Most highlight pieces do not need to be sealed with vulcanized sealant along their edges. Most homeowners feel that sealants can ruin the beauty of a well-worked marble piece.
Solid marble countertops can be bought from marble fabricators, and expect to get them at an expensive price. The biggest benefit of having a countertop made of solid marble is its durability. Marble tiles and multiple-piece fixtures are strong and solid. With proper care and maintenance, a marble countertop can give your kitchen an elegant look for a long time.