Updated: Apr 10, 2018
After granite, marble is the most popular natural stone for use in home countertop and floor design, and just as timeless. Marble has been a popular material for both sculpture and architecture for millennia, thanks to both its enduring strength and luminous beauty.
What makes marble so special? It’s probably the way it reflects light, creating a glowing, clean, and natural look wherever it’s used. Marble comes from limestone, which is a sedimentary rock that’s composed of mud, sand, and shells that are pressed together; when that limestone is subjected to high heats and pressure, typically from the long process of mountain-building, it transforms from a sedimentary rock into a metamorphic one, and the components of the limestone are recrystallized. The resulting marble is smoother, denser, harder, and more uniform, often with swirling veins or sometimes completely white. Depending on the other minerals that were present in the marble’s formation, you might find other colors like creams, greens, or rose, black, or brown. All marbles share the incredible feature of deep light penetration into the stone, which makes it seem to almost glow from the inside, and creates an illusive surface that looks almost soft, despite its incredible strength.
The most classic and popular type of marble is Carrara, which is white or sometimes bluish-gray and lightly veined in a way that is often described as “feathery.” A similar white stone is Calacatta, which is rarer and typically has bolder, larger, and more erratic veining. Calacatta Gold is also very popular, which (as it sounds) combines the white and grey of traditional Calacatta with bright golden streaks and highlights, making it one of the most coveted luxury marbles.
Marble is able to reflect light so well partially because it is more porous than marble, and though this means it makes for one of the most beautiful materials known to man, it’s also a softer stone than granite and more prone to stains or scratches. For this reason, high-traffic kitchens that see a lot of action are better off using granite or quartz. Marble is very commonly chosen for bathrooms, vanities, or home decoration. It can be used for kitchen islands and countertops, of course, as long as the homeowners understand the care and maintenance that go into a marble countertop. Don’t let a wine spill or slice of lemon sit, and prepare yourself emotionally to see a few scratches or a little patina develop over the years.
You’ll be able to work with your fabricator to achieve exactly what you need in terms of look and lifestyle. Don’t be afraid to install marble–though it’s not as indestructible as granite (and to be fair, almost nothing is!) it’s still a tough and gorgeous material that will add class and luxury to any home.