Marble is probably the most beautiful of natural stones and we use it everywhere. Yet just how much do we know about them? Read on to learn more.
Marble — we all know it well as the preferred material for kitchen countertops, bathroom countertops and floors, shower surrounds, and more impressive entryway floors.
But, there’s probably a lot that you may not know about marble, so here are 25 things in that vein:
1. What Marble Is
Marble is actually a metamorphic stone resulting from limestone that has been subjected to an enormous amount of pressure over a long period of time.
2. Where Marble Was First Used
Marble’s first use goes all the way back to 438 BC when tiles and columns were crafted using Pentelic marble. It soon became quite popular in ancient Greece and Rome for constructing various types of structures, like massive pillars.
3. What the Process Was
When the Greeks and Romans were using marble for their buildings for its sheer beauty, the process of mining it was difficult and quite long. They had to use hammers and wedges for releasing the marble from the ground. Then, they had to arduously pull it from there, using levers, pulleys, wooden beams, and winches like in old movies such as “Ben Hur” and “The Ten Commandments”.
4. Early Uses for Marble
When it first got its start, marble was used for more than just statues and buildings. In fact, colored marble was utilized for creating gorgeous tile flooring. And, many of the most iconic buildings worldwide were built of marble, including:
- Athens, Greece- The Parthenon- Circa 438 BC
- Rome, Italy-The Coliseum- Circa 70 AD
- Rome, Italy-The Pantheon- Circa 125 AD
- Pisa, Italy- The Pisa Cathedral- Circa 1063
- India- The Taj Mahal- Completed 1653
- USA- The White House- Started 1792, completed 1800
- USA- The Washington Monument- 1888
- USA- The Lincoln Memorial- 1917
5. Marble’s Many Colors
The colors can greatly vary due to a wide range of minerals that can be present in the stone. Here’s an example. Pure calcite marble will be pure white, while red marble acquires its special rosy tone from hematite. On the other hand, limonite imparts marble’s yellowish or green tone.
6. Today’s Uses for Marble
Fast forward to modern day and we use marble for a number of purposes, both structural and aesthetic. Marble is commonly used in the building of modern structures, including churches, public offices like courthouses, and even in high-end homes. It is also used, both indoors and outdoors, as well, for columns, steps, walls, floors, and by far its most popular use, countertops.
7. Marble Countertops of Today
In spite of the fact that ancient Roman and Grecian times were more than 2,000 years ago, the majority of cultures worldwide still have a great appreciation for marble even today. Marble is a source of classic beauty for any home. And, there’s no denying the fact that marble countertops have their own special way of adding a touch of class to just about any kitchen.
The singular stark white looks have a special way of making your kitchen look especially clean and remarkably classic. After all, marble has been one of the most popular aesthetic options for centuries. It also ties in perfectly with all styles of kitchens and baths because of its classic beauty.
8. Marble Countertop Advantages
Marble countertops have a subtle sheen that evokes an air of elegance, adding a truly timeless ambiance to homes. Luxurious and luminous marble has the ability to impart a fresh brightness that granite, soapstone, and man-made materials aren’t able to duplicate. When you choose the classic look of marble for your kitchen, bar, or bathroom countertops, it gives you a number of advantages.
9. Distinctive & Beautiful
Countertop materials that are man-made make a valiant attempt at imitating the look of marble. Unfortunately, they have only had some very limited success. Because marble has been created from limestone rock or sedimentary dolomite via natural processes, every single piece has a unique appearance. The wide variety of colors and hues that you find in marble are determined by its area of origin, as well as the proportional mineral mix in the primary limestone.
The distinctive and truly beautiful veining that marble is so well-known for is the direct result of the impurities that have become trapped in the limestone by the earth’s extreme pressure and heat, which transform it into marble.
10. Marble is Quite Durable
Since marble is natural stone, not a manmade material, it’s much more resistant to breaking, cracking, and scratching than the majority of all other countertop materials available today. In addition, although it is quite durable, marble is also somewhat softer than granite. What this means is that incorporating certain alluring design elements, like more ornate edges, during the process of fabrication are possible with marble.
11. Marble is Actually Affordable
It’s quite true that marble looks extraordinarily expensive, however, it can actually turn out to be less expensive, in many cases, than some other natural stone materials used for countertops. The cost may vary and that depends on the thickness and type of marble that you choose. In fact, marble often costs less than quartz or granite.
12. Marble is Heat Resistant
You may not have known that marble has been a long-time favorite of both home-bakers and professional chefs. Why? Well, that’s because it remains cool and that makes it perfect for when you have to roll-out pastry. Another little-known fact is that marble countertops are actually heat-resistant, too. Marble will never burn or catch fire. On the other hand, though, it’s a smart move to preserve marble’s beautiful finish by simply avoiding putting hot pots and pans on your marble countertop surface without the benefit of some kind of protection under it.
13. Marble Lasts
Just as it has been utilized as a premium building material for so many centuries, marble has the ability to keep withstanding the test of time. This is a fairly well-known fact that has been consistently documented over the years. Marble just happens to be one of the longest-lasting stones that can be used for solid-surface countertops on the market today.
It can tend to seem expensive, but the fact is that marble countertops basically pay for themselves. So, as far as marble countertops are concerned, when they’re expertly installed, sealed properly, and carefully maintained, you’ll have the opportunity to enjoy the magnificent beauty of yours for a lifetime.
14. Marble is Always Unique
And, when it’s used for countertops in your home, every single one is unique simply because it’s a natural stone. So, if you’re a homeowner and you want countertops in your kitchen or bath that are uniquely designed especially for your home, you should consider using marble.
15. The Many Colors of Marble Countertops
Marble countertops are available in a variety of beautiful colors, so you’re sure to find one that is perfectly suited to your personal taste. It’s important to bear in mind, however, that if you choose darker marble countertops for your kitchen counters, any etching will be more noticeable than if you choose a lighter colored marble.
16. Downsides of Marble Countertops
All countertop materials have a downside and marble is no different. When you select marble for your counters, one such disadvantage is that marble is a soft and porous stone. What that means to you is that it can be prone to chipping and staining. When that happens, its elegance and beauty can be diminished. This can, of course, be avoided by simply using a little bit of caution and common sense when it comes to your marble countertops and following the use and care directions.
17. Maintaining and Protecting Marble Countertops
Marble can be considered by some to be high-maintenance. That does not, however, mean that you shouldn’t consider marble as your countertop of choice. There are some very simple and easy methods for protecting your marble countertops and keeping them looking absolutely gorgeous for many years.
You can easily clean your countertops with a spray bottle filled with some gentle dish soap and warm water. Using a soft rag that won’t scratch the surface, simply spray, wipe, and then buff dry with another rag that is clean and dry. Here are a few more helpful maintenance hints for your marble countertops:
- Make sure your marble countertops have been properly sealed and re-seal them often. Unfortunately, if you just spill a glass of wine on an improperly sealed marble countertop, you could end up with a stain.
- Immediately blot up all spills.
- Never use any kind of harsh chemicals, like bleach, on your marble countertops because it could easily cause serious damage.
- Don’t use store-bought generic cleaning products on any marble. Those too-good-to-be-true claims that they could be making are just that and those products could damage your marble countertops.
- Don’t even try making any kind of homemade cleaning solutions that contain ammonia, vinegar, or anything else like that. They’re basically acidic and can have a damaging effect on your marble countertops.
18. Marble Tile Options
Marble is not just for countertops either. There’s also marble tile for flooring, backsplashes, and bathroom shower surrounds. Marble tile is available in a variety of colors. This makes it the perfect choice to accentuate all types of decor. And, besides the multitude of available hues, the vein pattern differences, and various available grains distinguish each piece of marble from all the others.
Differentiating one type of marble from another can be pretty difficult for the untrained eye. There are so many options for choosing from that it could be helpful to first do a little bit of research to help you with making the best decision for your home.
19. Different Marble Tile Types
There are a number of types of marble tile and they’re all beautiful, including:
- Calacatta marble
- Carrara marble
- Crema Marfil marble
- Emperador marble
- Statuary marble
Here are some additional specifics of these types of marble tile.
20. Carrara Marble Tile
Carrara is usually gray, blue-gray, or white, and generally used for building decor and sculptures. The veining in this type of tile is usually more linear. It can be very fine or feathery and soft. On the other hand, it can also be quite dramatic. Carrara is a more readily available marble tile option, making it one of the most commonly used for residential purposes. It’s often utilized in bathrooms because of its pristine whiteness and airy clean feel.
21. Calacatta Marble Tile
This type of marble tile is somewhat rare and therefore is considered to be a “luxury stone”. Its name is sometimes misspelled. For example, some call it Calacata, Calcutta, or Calcata. It’s commonly mistaken sometimes for Carrara marble as well. Calacatta marble is frequently quarried in Italy’s Carrara region, so it does share some similarities with Carrara marble.
This includes its white coloring and gray veining. Calacatta marble, however, is usually whiter and has darker veining in larger patterns than Carrara. This makes it perfect for many homes with its striking looks, especially when you pair it with stainless steel in your kitchen or even with white porcelain in your bathroom.
22. Crema Marfil Marble Tile
This type of tile is quarried in Spain and offers numerous tonal variations. The most well-known of these tiles are a yellow or light-beige color and have uniform backgrounds with veining that varies in irregularity and intensity. It’s generally used in conjunction with some darker or more colorful natural stones. It’s also usually utilized for flooring, exterior cladding, or decorations. Major reserves and a broad market availability make Crema Marfil marble tile an excellent choice for both architects and homeowners.
23. Emperador Marble Tile
This tile is also quarried in Spain from three different regions. It generally varies from the grays and whites that are associated with Carrara and Calacatta. It’s available in several shades of brown and typically has irregular veining and fine grains. The darker colors make it the perfect choice for high-traffic flooring areas. This type of marble tile also makes amazing fireplace surrounds.
24. Statuary Marble Tile
This tile is Carrara’s sister-stone, featuring uniform backgrounds of a light gray tone with truly dramatic and more distinctive veining. It also has a background that is semi-translucent, giving it a beautiful glossy look, reflecting light and providing a radiant finish capable of enhancing any room.
25. Marble vs. Granite
So, the question many homeowners ask is which is better. If you’re a fan of HGTV and DIY network TV shows, you’ve surely seen it come up plenty of times when prospective homeowners are looking at houses like on “House Hunters” or picking countertop and flooring materials for a reno, as on “Brother vs. Brother”. Nine times out of ten, most people would prefer marble but often settle for something less expensive. And, if you want that truly classic look, nothing out-performs marble, hands-down.
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