Do you love marble benches but are wondering whether they are right for you? Well I have marble kitchen benches that are 5 years old and I’ve just had them re-honed and polished, so let me tell you what you need to know.
Marble Bench Tops – Are They Worth It?
All the magazines feature kitchens with marble bench tops and we fall in love with them. But then we hear that marble benches stain and mark compared to engineered stones, and we’re left wondering – Are marble bench tops the right choice? Well YES and NO.
- Marble bench tops look beautiful
- Marble is a natural stone and each piece has a unique character
- It feels luxurious to touch
- It’s a hard wearing stone that has been around for centuries – just stand in the Acropolis in Athens and you know what I mean.
- Marble is porous and can stain
- Marble can chip and scratch
- Marble is etched by anything acidic
So you need to decide if the Pros are worth the Cons. I think they are and here’s how to breathe new life back into your marble bench tops.
I called The Marble Man in Brisbane (not sponsored) to re-hone and polish my marble kitchen benches. Here’s what they did….
Removing Stains from Marble
Yes marble can stain. Here’s what happens when your Nespresso machine leaks coffee and you don’t realise.
The coffee went under the machine, and I didn’t realise. So it sat there undetected and the stain penetrated the marble. I couldn’t get rid of the stain.
Last Friday Peter from The Marble Man came and applied a special paste to the coffee stain that would help draw out the stain from the marble. It’s important to know what the stain is – organic, rust, or oil as each stain requires a different treatment. Coffee is an organic stain, so he applied the paste and allowed it to work overnight.
I think it worked pretty well. The stain is about 80% gone and is certainly less noticeable. A new coffee machine is now on my Christmas list!
Repairing Marble Chips
My marble benches have a slightly rounded edge which reduces that chance of chips, but even still, there were 4 chips along the edge of the marble. There was also a problem where the marble joined near the sink that needed to be strengthened.
To repair the chips in the marble, Peter custom mixed a resin composite to closely match the grain of the marble and then set it with an ultra violet light (this takes an eye for colour and an artistic touch). It’s the same way a dentist sets a tooth filling, or a nail technician sets gel fingernails. You can’t even tell where the chips were. It just looks like the bench.
Re Honing and Polishing the Marble
The third problem with marble is that anything acidic can etch the marble. Etching leaves a dull or white patch on the marble. What causes it? Anything acidic – wine, tea, coffee, fruit … and so it goes on. This is what etching looks like. It’s hard to capture on camera but you can clearly see it when the light shines on the marble, and you can not wipe the marks clean.
Once all the stain removal and repairs were done, it was time to re hone and polish the marble. This process is like wet sanding the marble, so my kitchen was wrapped in plastic to catch any water and slurry spills made during the process. Here’s what you can expect…
It’s not bad. Not too loud and not too messy. Any slurry runs down the plastic and onto the towels, so no damage is done to your kitchen cabinets or floors.
The next decision you’ll need to make is what sort of shine do you want on your benches after it’s polished?
On the left is the high gloss polish. On the right is the natural semi-gloss finish. When I first saw it, I wanted the higher gloss finish because it looked so shiny and clean. In the end, Grant (my husband) and I chose the semi-gloss finish. Why? Because although when you get your marble re honed and polished it is sealed to protect against stains (such as the coffee stain), but it is not protected against etching (wine glass rings – I’m guilty of).
The semi-gloss is less shiny so the difference between the polished marble and any etching is not as great, therefore less noticeable. The high gloss looks great, but any etching is going to be more noticeable. In the end – life with 2 busy working adults and 2 busy teenagers meant we went for the semi-gloss finish. There is no right or wrong answer here – just choose what will work best for you at this moment in time.
The final step was applying 2 coats of penetrating sealer to prevent future stains, but it does not prevent etch marks.
The End Result
The end result is a very clean, clear marble bench top that has virtually no stains, chips or etching. So almost brand new.
I love the way it looks and feels but the reality is that it will develop etch marks again. That’s just the nature of a marble bench. If that’s going to do your head in, then go for Granite or a man made product such as Ceasarstone. Otherwise embrace the beauty and shortcomings that marble has, because there’s nothing else that comes close.
I know what you’re thinking… so how much? Well I have around 4.5 lineal metres of marble bench plus the marble around the sink. I had the coffee stain, 4 chips and a joint that needed strengthening. The total cost was about $1500 AUD.
It’s not cheap, but it’s just a maintenance cost you have to factor in if you want the look and feel of a real marble bench.
I used The Marble Man to re polish my marble benches. I literally pulled up behind one of their vans at the traffic lights, and called them to come and repair my marble. I had a very good experience. This is not a sponsored post. I was not compensated in any way for using this company, but I would highly recommend them if you live in the greater Brisbane and Sydney regions. In other areas, just search for marble re-polishing or repairs.
The Marble Man – they do what they say on the van.
Visit The Marble Man Website