Is Marble Really Worth It?

Is Marble Really Worth It?

March 17, 2016


Marble bathroom designed by Chrisicos Interiors. Photo by John Horner Photography.

Q: We’re working on a bath remodel. My husband and I love the look of white marble and that’s the direction we’re leaning. However, we are a bit hesitant. We’ve heard it’s a lot of work. We’ve been asking our friends and neighbors who have been through the remodeling process what their experiences have been and what they recommend. Some of them mentioned being steered away from marble in favor of “innovative” materials like quartz that don’t require the same maintenance as marble. We love the look of marble, but at the same time, we want to be realistic in our expectations. We’re approaching our retirement years and we want our bathroom to last through the remaining life of our home. Is marble our best bet? We’d really love some expert advice.

A: You bring up some excellent points and valid concerns about marble. We’re happy to help you understand the facts so you can make the right decision. First of all, you mention that you are remodeling your bathroom. So we’ll specifically focus on living with marble in the bath. The bathroom has a lot more moisture than the kitchen. So while the facts will apply to both kitchens and baths, just be aware that bathrooms are wetter, so they require a bit more awareness.

Yes, expectations are important. You won’t enjoy your new space as much if you’re not prepared to deal with the cleaning and maintenance that comes along with marble. You didn’t mention specifically where you are thinking about incorporating the marble. Is it just the vanity top? The floor? The shower and tub surround?

Whatever marble elements you’ll use, there are some basic facts to understand. Marble is porous and it will stain when liquids (especially oils) seep between the miniscule spaces between the crystals, or pores. A sealer will reduce the number of pores, but not prevent them entirely. Sealers basically buy you time to clean up spills before they penetrate too far into the marble. Acidic substances can be particularly harmful. This won’t be as much of a problem in the bath as it is in the kitchen, however you’ll want to use caution with any new skincare products, hair color, or soaps.

Marble will also scratch and dull over time and with use. If you are someone who prefers “pristine” then you may want to really think about it. The patina that develops is often the reason that some homeowners are particularly drawn to marble. Granted, you’re not going to be slicing and dicing on your vanity top, so scratching won’t be as much of an issue in the bath as it is in the kitchen.

For some, the scratches, etches, and spots that develop with use aren’t looked at as “flaws.” They’re expected… and desired. If you’re willing to accept the dull spots, you won’t have a problem. If you’re not okay with showing a little wear as your bathroom ages, you may want to reconsider. Choosing a honed finish over a reflective glossy finish, however, will make marks far less noticeable, so keep that in mind.

If maintenance is your biggest concern, here’s some basic information that will help keep your marble looking great for a long time.

• Clean up any spills as quickly as possible.
• Be sure your marble is properly sealed.
• In the shower, keep soap scum to a minimum by using a squeegee after each use.
• Avoid bleach. It will break down the shine.
• Never use vinegar, lemon juice, bleach, bathroom cleaners, grout cleaners or tub and tile cleaners to clean marble.
• Clean a marble with warm, sudsy water and a nonabrasive cloth or sponge.
• For marble floors, use a dust mop often and use only a stone soap or soapless cleaner. Always rinse with clean water and dry. Avoid vacuum cleaners with worn wheels, as they could scratch the surface.

There is one other item that’s important to mention. You said you’re approaching retirement age. Are you considering marble flooring? If so, please use caution. Marble can get very slippery when wet. If this is the home you plan to remain in through the years, be sure you choose an accessible design that will let you enjoy your bathroom for many years to come. Also think about who will do the cleaning when it gets tougher for you to move around as freely as you do now.

If you’re not put-off by the cleaning and yearly sealing, and you don’t mind the charming patina that develops, marble can make an incredibly beautiful transformation in the bathroom. Let us know if you have any additional questions and good luck with making your final decision. For more tips on marble maintenance and to make an appointment to see the wide array of marble slabs and tiles we have in stock at Marble & Granite, Inc., call us at 877-39-STONE.


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