marble countertops - yay or nay?

Maegan Coolbaugh
November 7, 2019

So I fell in love with a marble slab. Like I want to marry it. However, I have two young kids, I am not high maintenance, love to cook. Is this material a bad choice for me? I would love it on a big island. But yes, things will get spilt and I will do lot's of prep there. Any experience with marble? Do you like it in terms of upkeep, etc? Thank you! Here's a photo of the marble slab in case you want to drool.

Comments (51)

  • Trish Walter

    Bad choice of you are not high maintenance and have little kids in my opinion.

    Granite is most forgiving. You can put a hot pan on it. You can forget spaghetti sauce, etc. until later.

  • PRO
    Patricia Colwell Consulting

    So families in Europe have kids , they cook a lot, they spill stuff and the marble gets a aptina which IMHO is what makes it agood choice for a counter but that said if you are thetype that wants the fake look of quartz they looks perfect all the time the maarble is not for you. I think most people I know wipe up spills when the occur and if so the marble does not stain .Make sure it is sealed as often as nessessary and enjoy would be my suggestion. Sometimes we just want the stuff we love . BTW I would have done marble in my kitchen if i did not have a huge stone wall in there that is my star and I run a catering biz from my home I would have embraced the patina

  • Related Discussions

    White countertops in bathroom..yay? Or nay?


    Comments (7)
    We have used a white quartz counter top in the bathroom before and it went nicely with a light stained double sink vanity. Man made materials hold up well and we are beginning to see colors that mimic natural stone. Quartz Masters Quartz recently came out with colors that are close to Calcutta Grey and Calcutta Gold marble to give you an example. I would stay away from natural stone counter tops unless you are very careful about what you put on it and seal it regularly. Even if the natural stone is sealed, oils can still penetrate into the stone if left on for a while.
    ...See More

    Yay or nay on soapstone in the kitchen?


    Comments (12)
    Just had soapstone put in my kitchen three weeks ago, I love my counters, I have already had scratches and dings on the edge by the dishwasher. I've used mineral oil twice to coat the stone and with each application the small scratches disappear. The dings aren't noticeable. But I knew going in by doing my research that if I wasn't ok with the patina that soapstone will acquire (scratches, nicks, dings) that I should choose something else. There isn't any "sealing" required, just periodic application of mineral oil or special wax for soapstone. You choose how often u want to apply depending on how dark u want it to look. Over time u apply less and less because it holds the dark shade longer and longer. There is a very informative article on here, if I can figure out how to tag it I will. But if u search the word soapstone it should come up. Good luck! Post photos!
    ...See More

    Yay or nay? Subway tile backsplash in putty.


    Comments (173)
    I really think the light cream tile will work well with your granite. The pictures you posted make it look almost white but in person it matches the cream undertones in your slab and well let your granite be the focal point. If you go darker you are going to end up regretting it as your walls and counters will blend together. Maybe take some high quality, up close pictures of the tile next to the slab and repost.
    ...See More

    Yay or nay?


    Comments (55)
    The grout color is a white and closely matches our counters. The tile guy is going to do a sample for review before grouting the entire kitchen. He's great! We have truly been blessed/lucky with amazing contractors as all have been different people (flooring, painted kitchen cabinets, quartz installer, and now tile).
    ...See More
  • PRO
    Architectural Kitchens & Baths

    We did a fairly large project (perimeter and island) with Honed Calacatta Lincoln. The family had two young children and the island was the central hub for crafts and homework. Parents were avid cooks/entertainers and red wine drinkers. Over a year and half after we completed the project, the homeowner elected to be on a kitchen tour to benefit a local charity. We were curious how the marble would look after 18+ months of the family's use. It was pristine... with the exception of one faint spot on the island. A good sealer and diligently "wiping" up after spills was key. Note: the homeowner even used the leftover piece from the slab in her laundry room!

  • Dormelles

    If you'll read through the comments on the following recent thread from someone dealing with a failed quartzite fabrication, you'll see some discussions on living with marble, including comments on the more durable dolomitic types and a link to an article by a mom who put marble on all her countertop surfaces in her house and how she maintained them:

  • Mrs Pete

    Nay. Do a quick search for the people on this site who've had trouble with marble -- admittedly, half of them are bathroom problems, not kitchen countertops, but the point is valid.

  • Fori

    Sure, if you're fine with patina. Patina looks great in some designs and bad in others.

    In a previous kitchen, I used marble slabs for a baking area and for a backsplash, with the majority of the counters in stainless steel. I wanted it all. :)

    (I don't mind the etching of marble, and most marbles do NOT stain, but they do tend to chip and get divots. THAT I wanted to avoid.)

    So consider slapping that slab on the wall.

  • PRO
    karen paul interiors

    I’ve had my countertop for over 10 years and I’m not a careful cook. I would do marble again. The veining in mine hides the sins and your marble between colors and veining would be a great candidate!

    Summer Living Room · More Info

    Maegan Coolbaugh thanked karen paul interiors
  • PRO
    Debbi Washburn

    As long as you know what you are getting into then why not? There are plenty of articles that tell you all about marble in the home and many folks who have it for years - flaws and all. If it going to make you panic every time someone spills something to the point where you can't relax and enjoy your home, then it's not worth it.

    Things happen - a top gets scratched, chipped, etched, your cabinets get scratched dinged dented or paints chip. Nothing is indestructible..

    Test it then just enjoy it!

    Maegan Coolbaugh thanked Debbi Washburn
  • Maegan Coolbaugh

    Karen - that slab is gorgeous! I just love the pale peaches/pinks that seem to be in marble.

  • PRO

    There are thousands of threads on this topic! If you can't live with etching, it's not for you. End of story :)

  • Lorrie H

    You have kids, you cook, the answer is easy NO. You love the marble and you think its beautiful, but your shiny new countertop will not stay looking pristine and you will not love it the way you do today. Marble is beautiful, I have it in my kitchen, I'm really careful, and no little ones around. I wouldn't use it again .

  • megs1030

    If you understand what you're getting into, then why not? Think of all the marble palazzos in Italy and Greece... they've been walking on for thousands of years and they are beautiful. Surely they've been scratched, spilled on, etc and they are still beautiful. I would ask about the different finishes, my understanding is that you may want to consider a honed finish. Shop, look around, get an education and ask lots of questions. And if you still love it, go for it!

  • PRO
    Joseph Corlett, LLC

    "Granite is most forgiving. You can put a hot pan on it."

    Not according to the Natural Stone institute.

  • PRO
    Diana Bier Interiors, LLC

    There are SO MANY discussions on this topic. Just google it and you'll be overwhelmed. My experience is that if you know what the pros and cons are, then do what you think you can live with. I have Danby marble counter tops in my kitchen and Calacatta marble floors and counter tops in two bathrooms. It's a "living" finish, and will etch, chip, and scratch over time no matter how much you wipe up spills, etc. If you want it to look like the day it was installed, forget it, you'll drive yourself crazy, so get the fake stuff (engineered quartz). If you don't mind the patina, which is code for wear, then get the most beautiful stone that Mother Nature ever produced--white marble.

  • Fsal

    Do it. I agonized over the same decision for months but could never appreciate anything about quartz after going to every single showroom in town. Every time I see the beauty of my marble counters and it’s sparkle; I know I made the right decision. Etching and all. Nothing beats the beauty of real stone in my book.

  • mjkjrobinson

    Ya and again ya! Love marble as long as it"s pretty!

  • Jora

    IMO - Better to go with what you love than regret about not getting it!

  • PRO
    Home Art Tile Kitchen & Bath

    Do you also love the patina and would you be able to live with it? You can be sure that your marble won't look the same in a year from installing it. If you're not sure, look into marble looking quartz options or even quartzite -- there are some wonderful options.

  • stir_fryi SE Mich

    Kids become teenagers (trust me, its true). Leave them home alone for a week and they will never, not once wipe the counters down. No.

  • Shannon_WI

    I love marble - in someone else’s home. It is so beautiful. As mentioned though, it WILL etch. Me, I love that my granite counters don’t etch, don’t stain, don‘t pit or chip. I have enough going on in my household; I won’t be a slave to my counters. And by the way, my granite also has all the gorgeous beauty that Mother Nature gave it. No, it does not have the translucency and unique appearance that only marble has. But when I come in the kitchen in the morning and find someone left a Coke can on the counter overnight, I just wipe the ring up, gone, and go about my business.

    As mentioned above, you could also look at the Quartz marble look-alikes.

  • PRO

    You won't wipe obsessively, your kids will not wipe. Not now, and not later. Why are we even talking about it ??? Get soapstone. Nobody can kill it. Nothing can kill it. And it's antimicrobial, heat impervious. Fall OUT of love with the marble and get a different look entirely.

    Leopards never change their spots.

  • nidnay

    Our kitchen counters and bathroom counters are all marble. I’d do it again in a heartbeat. Nothing beats the beauty and depth of real marble. I absolutely agonized over whether or not to install them because of all the horror stories I read. So many warnings about staining and etching etc. Well, I’ve had ZERO problems with it. No staining, and I had one little spot where I had some etching and I gently rubbed a little bonami over and around the etch mark and it completely disappeared (our tops are honed so the bonami had just the right amount of abrasiveness to cause it to blend in...used a very light touch).

    I am a neat cook and wipe up spills as they occur and use a cutting board for food prep. I’m not slathering ketchup and curry sauces all over my counters. But then, I never did that when I had granite either. I have discovered some mornings that I had inadvertently left coffee drips on the counter overnight. They wiped up with no problem and didn’t even etch the counter. Maybe it’s the marble I chose, I don’t know, but it just hasn’t been the trouble I was anticipating. I even let some friends use my kitchen for a gathering WHILE I WAS OUT OF TOWN and I was not around to “guard” my counters and there were no problems whatsoever.

    I love my marble counters and wouldn’t give a second thought to installing them again.

  • Zalco/bring back Sophie!

    Soapstone with marble subway tile is a great look.

  • Sue54321

    If you like the look of impractical marble, get quartz countertops. They look just like many varieties of marble and are 100% predictable in color (unliked stones like marble or granite) so you can match to your cabinets & paint colors exactly. They are much lower maintenance (non porous and don’t stain) and also cheaper.
    Marble in the kitchen is like siding a new house with wood or stucco instead of fiber cement. An old fashioned maintenance headache instead of just using the better newer technology to achieve exactly the same look for lower cost and almost zero maintenance.
    Get quartz and take the saved money and also time sealing & spend it on something fun instead.

  • kriii

    Love marble but I stained a marble table top pretty badly when I over watered a plant and didn't see the dirty water that seeped under the pot. That discouraged me from marble counters. Will have some in the back splash however. If you like it and don't mind it not being perfect go for it. I'll have the back splash sealed heavily but understand I may get some cooking splatters that stain.

  • PRO

    We used white marble for countertop, ledge & bench recently for a bathroom, small children and all. It’s a personal preference choice in the end. We looked at other options too weighing the pros & cons. Putting on my architect hat I would not advise a client one way or the other, despite what I decide for myself.

    For some people marble would make them sad/anxious about etching or chips, for others quartz would make them unhappy because it looks unnatural and opaque.

    Both the white marble and quartz samples I tried stained about the same when I tested different things on samples, especially blue sharpie marker :) I was not able to remove the stains from either.

  • PRO
    Diana Bier Interiors, LLC

    Regarding Sue's comments above, here are my thoughts:

    1. Engineered quartz may be attractive, but it in now way can fool anyone who really knows marble. Marble has a luminosity that just cannot be duplicated. If you can't tell the difference, then it doesn't matter. If you can, then you either get marble because of its beauty or you compromise on aesthetics.

    2. Even man-made stone has color variations. Just like porcelain/ceramic tile, you cannot accurately predict the color, as each dye-lot is unique, and may not resemble the sample you saw in the showroom. The Design Dilemma pages here are full of the problems of color and pattern matching in engineered quartz.

    3. Man made stone is definitely not porous, but it does chip and can develop markings from water and other substances. I have Caesarstone Raven in my vacation home, and there are marks I cannot get out. I also have chips around the sink.

    4. Quartz may be cheaper than natural stone, but not always. Carrara marble is probably less expensive than some Cambria/Caesarstone/Silestone products, as it's more plentiful. Calacatta on the other hand is very pricey and can cost many times more than Carrara. It's simple supply and demand that determines the price of any product.

    5. "An old fashioned maintenance headache instead of just using the better newer technology to achieve exactly the same look for lower cost and almost zero maintenance."

    Ah, a statement with really no support whatever. There's no extra maintenance involved--I've never resealed any of my marble, don't cover it with plastic wrap, and clean it with soap and water, just like I'd clean any other surface, including quartz. I've already debunked the "exactly the same look/lower cost and zero maintenance" claims.

    This being said, marble IS different than quartz. Educate yourself on the differences, and see which you can live with. Make your decision based on the facts as stated by actual marble users and not spurious claims by those who have not used it.

    Maegan Coolbaugh thanked Diana Bier Interiors, LLC
  • megs1030

    1000% what @Diana Bier Interiors, LLC just said.

  • Maegan Coolbaugh

    Thanks Diana! I can definitely tell the difference but most likely the marble in the photo I provided is on the very pricey side because it's so beautiful! And it's in several states away so they won't bring it here. Not practical at all financially... but I do love marble over all other stones. (natural or man-made). It just looks like a work of art to me. I like the variability in it as well. I think I'll probably go for a light granite or unusual granite because of that reason. I'm sort of over the white countertop with grey veining I see so much lately, but I still want something on the lighter side. The example of the marble I provided is just different than anything I've seen lately it's hard to see it exactly but it has soft shades of purple and pinks in it too.

  • Shannon_WI

    @Diana Bier Interiors, LLC - that was really well-said. THAT is the post we should refer to when this question about marble counters next comes up (which it does frequently).

  • Sue54321

    Diana bier - thank you the education. It is good to learn from a pro!

  • PRO
    Diana Bier Interiors, LLC

    Thanks everyone, I really am commenting not as a pro here, but as a homeowner who has the product. I just would like to share my experience with y'all!

  • Pam A

    " I think I'll probably go for a light granite or unusual granite because of that reason. I'm sort of over the white countertop with grey veining I see so much lately, but I still want something on the lighter side. "

    There are a lot of quartzite options out there that could work. The challenge with quartzite is that some slabs are labelled to be quartzite but are actually marble (which can trick customers who swore off marble into buying them).

    I was in a similar situation as you - I wanted a lighter counter (love the look of soapstone but most are SO dark if you oil it), I preferred "swishy and swirly" patterns over "speckled and sparkly" patterns, but I was concerned about staining marble. I chose a quartzite I found at a yard that specializes in exotic stones. It was called Blue Ocean and I had the slabs honed to reduce the glare. There were many other quartzites that were lighter than this, just more one the cream-to-tan spectrum, I liked the cream-to-blue shades in this one. Pics below are the slabs in the warehouse and then an in progress pic of the kitchen (it is not a popular color combo because I mixed warm and cool colors, but I love it and I'm okay with that).

    Maegan Coolbaugh thanked Pam A
  • skunst2017

    Definitely not marble in the kitchen or bathrooms. Unless it's on the walls ....., Marble looses its luster ..and presents many problems ...Get granite instead , it will stay beautiful .

  • RedRyder

    Keep an open mind now that your marble slab is not in the running. Shop all the local stone yards and let yourself imagine living with the ones you’re attracted to. There are many options, but what the material is made of changes how you need to take care of it. There are tons of people with this countertop dilemma - be realistic about your family structure, your own need for cleanliness, etc. It can be a fun journey to shop for the “next to perfect” solution. (IMO marble is too precious for my kitchen. I couldn’t tolerate the possible staining and etching.). Keep us in the loop!

    Maegan Coolbaugh thanked RedRyder
  • ulisdone

    Please keep in mind that Carrara type marbles are very trendy right now. I realize they are called Classic, but they are a trend now and will look dated when the next big trend comes along. Plenty of marble installations from the 1960s (big time chic then) have been ripped out by new homeowners who found them off-trend in the later decades.

    Maegan Coolbaugh thanked ulisdone
  • Sue54321

    It seems likely you are goi f to want to see and pick your slab in person. However if that’s not a dealbreaker for you, when my sister did granite, she bought it through Costco. Her installer said he couldn’t even get the Costco retail price at cost wholesale.Might be worth considering.

  • Shannon_WI

    I am sorry, but I do not agree at all with @ulisdone’s post.

  • PRO
    Julia & Elizabeth

    I had a marble island for 26 years and it has held up well. I believe because it's an island and I was careful with it. I just installed marble in the rest of the kitchen and I regret it. The sealants aren't that great and you have to be careful. With little children I would purchase another stone.

  • beckysharp Reinstate SW Unconditionally

    What Diana said.

    It all depends on your personality. If you're fine with regular kitchen wear and tear on a living surface, go for it.

    We have a honed Carrara marble top for our island (new house/new kitchen last year) which sees a lot of use. I sealed it initially, and while stains aren't at all a problem (berries, turmeric, red wine, etc), there's been some etching. We're not obsessive about wiping things up, and I do a lot of canning and cooking, using a lot of tomatoes, vinegar, etc. And it's amazing for working dough.

    I don't police guests who set down or spill wine glasses, etc. I have three kids and they and their friends like to cook and aren't always as careful as they should be, and I don't police them either. I'm glad they're interested in cooking and spending time together in the kitchen.

    I got marble because how I love how it looks and feels. I still find myself caressing it : ) .

  • PRO
    Julia & Elizabeth

    @beckysharp Reinstate SW Unconditionally What sealant did you use on your marble countertop?

  • beckysharp Reinstate SW Unconditionally

    Julia & Elizabeth, the GardenWeb Kitchen forum-approved and -recommended 511 Porous Plus Sealer by Miracle Sealants Company. That one is for honed marble.

    I did a lot of research in the Kitchen forum, reading there for years (and through the archives) while we were planning our new house.

  • Mary Elizabeth


  • decoenthusiaste

    There are almost 24,000 discussions of "marble counters" on this site alone. No reason not to make a choice that is reasonable for you.

  • qam999

    I suggest getting an offcut of marble, at least 12" x 12". For several days, at every meal, spill each food item and each ingredient on the marble and let it sit 24 hours. Try to include red wine, mustard, turmeric, tomato sauce, several types of grease, lemon juice, vinegar, and blueberry jam. Then wipe and decide. It's a very personal decision.

  • PRO
    Julia & Elizabeth

    I agree that it is a personal decision and it depends on your personality. I have only had my perimeter countertops for a month and I know that I am being persnickety. I love marble and am not fond of any other stone. Long term I think they will be fine. You just have to know that they aren't as durable as other stones. I would recommend Danby honed marble. As far as sealants. I wanted MORE and my installer recommend another sealant. So far, so good.

  • PRO
    Dragonfly Tile & Stone Works, Inc.

    While you have received some good advice about the decision to use marble as a countertop, and it is often a dilemma discussed on this forum, I'll add one thing often over-looked. There are many specialized stone restoration companies (particularly if you live near a major metropolitan area) who can easily restore any natural stone surface to it's original beauty. Marble won't be "ruined". Many of our clients have marble surfaces. Some are tolerant of eventual wear and could care less. Others will have a restoration specialist come in at some point, or regularly, with the proper equipment and methods and return the surface to original. And it doesn't cost an arm and a leg. I'll use this analogy: How many people assume that their wood floors are ruined and must be torn out after years of wear and tear? Or do they choose to have a specialist refinish them? We think nothing of hiring carpet cleaners to restore our carpeting. The same can be done with natural stone. Oh, and if marble is a "trend", it's been so since the beginning of civilization.

  • sunshine home

    I used fantasy brown, which isn’t even as porous as other marbles, and I kind of regret it. It’s not that it stains directly, but the stone has gotten darker in places behind The stove. It also chips really easily near the sink.

  • beckysharp Reinstate SW Unconditionally

    So I fell in love with a marble slab. Like I want to marry it. However, I have two young kids, I am not high maintenance, love to cook.

    I guess what you need to ask yourself is, are you ok with the consequences of not being high maintenance?

  • Bobby

    I feel your pain! The only slabs I wanted to marry were marble too. But after tons of research and discussions with the stone salespeople I realized it would be a huge mistake especially as much as I cook.. I knew I couldn’t live with something So beautiful that I’d have to worry about on a daily basis, (stains, etching, etc). I would’ve ended up putting visqueen over it like my grandmas couches.. As much as I loved I knew we’d end up in divorce ct.. very sad

Need help with an existing Houzz order? Call 1-800-368-4268