The pale, white stone with gray veins, known as marble, has been favored by humans for millennia. Despite being around for centuries, it has come back into fashion, thanks to gray minimalist interior design and accompanying packaging trends popularized by the internet and social media influencers on Instagram.
There’s a lot to admire about this sturdy natural stone – from its sleek finishes to its powerful associations with grandeur and luxury. However, its high maintenance has influenced homeowners to seek out other marble countertop alternatives. Stones like quartz, granite, and quartzite have a similar look but don’t require as much meticulous effort to keep in mint condition.
Why You Might Not Want Marble Countertops
Marble Countertops Cost
The cost of marble varies widely depending on the quality of the slabs you choose and their rarity. This stone is not always budget-friendly. Unique colors, patterns, and veining can drive up prices. Commonly purchased Carrara Marble costs roughly $45 per square foot. In contrast, a rare Italian marble-like black Calacatta, which has gold veining, retails for about $300 per square foot, excluding labor costs.
Marble Countertops Durability
Marble is a durable heat-resistant stone; however, it must be handled with care. It is far more porous than granite and quartz and reacts adversely to harsh cleaning materials that are not pH-neutral and any liquid or food spills that contain a high level of acidity.
While undeniably beautiful, marble scratches etches, and stuns easily, even after being sealed. To provide you with an example, water spilled and left too long on a marble counter will cause a stain unless wiped away immediately. Despite this, the majority of marble stains are barely visible and can usually only be seen if looking at the surface from a particular angle.
Marble Countertops Maintenance
All marble countertops should be sealed upon installation and then every 6-12 months after that, depending on the type of stone and how often it is used. Marble needs to be wiped down and/or cleaned directly after use with mild soap and/or a damp microfiber cloth, especially when preparing oily and acidic foods. Trivets are recommended when using hot pots and pans.
Stubborn stains caused by oil or paint may have to be removed with a poultice. This entails placing a special DIY or store-bought paste over the affected area for approximately 24-48 hours to draw out the stain. If a poultice doesn’t work, this may require professional help to buff out the stain and reseal the countertop at an additional cost.
If a marble countertop is used extensively, then placing a silicon sheet over it will help maintain the longevity of its polished or honed surface. In fact, any object, whether liquid or fresh produce, shouldn’t really be placed directly on the counter. This includes using placemats and coasters for cutlery and crockery.
Alternatives to Marble Countertops
If you’re looking for countertops that look like marble, then quartz, quartzite, and granite provide excellent alternatives. They are more durable, potentially cheaper, and lower maintenance. Just remember granite and quartzite are natural stones, and the patterns on your countertop will vary from those in showroom samples.
Granite That Looks Like Marble
Granite is an igneous, light-colored rock composed mainly of quartz and feldspar with minute amounts of mica and other minerals. Its unique mineral composition usually gives it a red, gray, pink, or white color, with darker mineral grains visible throughout the rock.
White with gray veins and grayish/black specs, Thunder White granite remains a popular choice for those looking to emulate White Carrara marble. At first glance, it’s almost impossible to tell the difference between the two.
Predominantly white and gray, with occasional green and yellow tones, Venus granite is quarried in India and is an affordable option at only $35 per square foot.
Quartz That Looks Like Marble
This manufactured stone undoubtedly offers the best marble look. Quartz minerals are mined and then ground into an aggregate. Once fused with resin and bound under intense pressure and heat, it transforms into slabs that are harder than granite.
Any quartz with Carrara in its name will look just like marble. This stone’s lush and lavish surface with subtle veins is one of the best alternative marble countertops.
Quartzite That Looks Like Marble
Not to be confused with man-made quartz, quartzite is a natural stone made from metamorphic rock. It forms when sandstone, rich in quartz, is altered due to heat and pressure, crystallizing the sand grains and silica cement that binds them together.
Also quarried in Brazil, this cold-colored stone comes in varied colors of soft gray with contrasting white veins. Ideal for those who love the aesthetic characteristics of marble but desire something a little different.
Also imported from Brazil, White Macuabas has a soft off-white background complimented by light longitudinal glazes in ivory undertones. Its thin, linear gray veins flow beautifully across each slab.
Your Best Countertop Installer in Chicago
Granite Selection is an industry leader specializing in quartz, granite, quartzite countertop slab fabrication, and in-home installation. If you want marble look alike countertops that are economical and versatile in both classic and contemporary spaces, then come and visit us today. Our highly knowledgeable staff can advise you on the best stone to use for your countertop. Alternatively, you can browse online through our extensive collection of stones and contact us for an affordable quote.
Paul Batashev is the owner and CEO of Granite Selection. The company began in 2011 Pay Less for Granite and has been transforming homes since 2011 with its expertise as a kitchen countertop company and manufacturer of fine custom granite countertops.