Marble surfaces: care, cost, and how to use them in your home

slabs of marble

What’s the most luxurious look and material you can think of? Let me guess – you probably immediately thought of marble, right?

Timeless and luxurious, marble surfaces are the go-to choice for adding elegance to your home. This material’s popularity has surged in recent years, thanks to its unique and striking veining, as well as a myriad of colours available.

Italian Carrara stones such as Statuario, Calacatta, Arabescato are classic choices, yet beautiful green and pink marbles from India and Portugal are becoming popular.

With the help of Kitchens Bedrooms & Bathrooms journo Charlotte Luxford, we’ve put together a guide with everything you need to know about marble…

A white kitchen with a marble splashback and dark flooring
Classic, Urbo and Metro matt lacquer bespoke kitchen in RAL 9016 with worktop in stainless steel and splashback in polished Arabescato marble. Roundhouse bespoke kitchens start at £35,000.

How to use this material in your home

Marble comes in an array of different colours with distinctive veining. But the five key types are: Carrara, Statuario, Calacatta, Emperador, and Crema Marfil.

It is classically used for flooring, work surfaces, and splashbacks. With hi-tech CNC cutting now available, it’s being made into intricate tiles, basins, and panelling, plus furniture and accessories.

This luxurious material is perfect for making design statements, whether that’s a book-matched splashback or a fluted marble island.

A bed with a stone headboard
Verde Luana marble, from £350 per sq m, Cullifords.
marble basin with wood panelling on the wall
Copenhagen basin console from the Ellisse collection is a contemporary take on a classic washstand, featuring a basin carved from Carrara marble, £4245.60 for the stand and basin, available from C.P. Hart

Buying tips

As this is an expensive material, it’s best to buy it from a supplier that can cut it to the size you need. Many of them
will come to your home, discuss your needs and draw up a template. This ensures you get the right finish and is especially important if you need a cut-out for a sink, hob, or bath.

“Like all natural materials, there is a lot of variation in colour, vein and mineral formation. So it’s important to see the slab in person or visit a showroom instead of making your decision though a single small cut sample,” explains Louisa Morgan, marketing director at Mandarin Stone.

A dark kitchen with a marble Butler's sink
Tuscan Farmhouse Carrara marble sink, from £3320, from Devol. The Haberdasher’s kitchen starts from £30,000.

How to take care of marble

Marble is considered soft and porous, meaning it’s more susceptible to scuffs and stains. Acidic substances such as lemon juice and vinegar can be troublesome, so it’s important to wipe up spills straight away.

Limescale build up can also be tricky to clean. So, black marbles such as Nero Marquina are best avoided in areas that come directly in contact with water. 

“If liquid is left on the surface for some time, it will etch, so it’s advised to clear up any spills as soon as they happen,” explains Oliver Webb, director at Cullifords.

“Polished marble is great for reflecting light and is usually more stain resistant than honed finishes, so it’s a popular choice for tiles and worktops. Honed marble doesn’t tend to show up scratches as much as polished stone though. Most staining on marble is down to poor sealing, upkeep, or if the sealant has worn off over time. The benefit of having a marble work surface is that stains that do appear can be removed with a poultice and it can be repolished in situ if needed,” he says. 

When it comes to maintaining your marble, make sure you use a soft cotton cloth or non-abrasive sponge. Opt for neutral cleaner and always avoid acidic cleaners like vinegar and bleach.

Marble-effect surfaces

Given marble’s desirable aesthetics but higher maintenance nature, it’s no surprise there is an array of products on the market mimicking the appearance. This includes quartz and high-tech man-made products such as Dekton.

“We are finding that the variety of quartz worktops available enables consumers to enjoy the advantages of marble-effect surfaces without the extra weight, especially on wraparound island designs, as marble isn’t always a reliable construction material as it can be brittle,” says Julia Steadman, commercial director at Brandt Design.

Also remember to make sure that the floor can support the weight when buying marble for bathrooms. This is especially important on upper floors and if you’re using large slabs of stone.

Caesarstone marble-look quartz surface
510 Impermia surface, £500 per m, Caesarstone.
dressing table with veiny material for the countertop
In this bedroom designed by Simon Taylor Furniture, a floating dressing table is topped with a marble-look surface to add a luxurious hotel feel. Bespoke bedrooms start from £20,000. 

Enjoyed this post? Here is all you need to know about quartz worktops

Featured image: Tiles, such as these ones from Mandarin Stone, are a great way to introduce it in your kitchen or bathroom, whether that’s a small splashback or an entire floor.

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