There’s no denying that marble is a classic material. It’s been used for building, design and art for thousands of years. It’s a beautiful natural stone that imbues any surface with a sense of style and luxury.
In the home, marble is most commonly used for benches and countertops, floors and walls, tiling and decorative features. While it’s unquestionably beautiful and luxurious, it does have its downsides.
Compared to many other building materials, marble countertops can be expensive, especially if you opt for a premium marble like Calacatta. As a porous stone, marble is also prone to staining and can be damaged by common kitchen acids and chemicals. Marble is also surprisingly soft compared to similar stones like granite and dolomite. This means it’s susceptible to scratching, etching and chipping.
So if you’re not 100% committed to marble for your kitchen countertops, you may be wondering what some of the alternatives are. We have a list right here, including some of the pros and cons of each material.
Quartz is an engineered stone, rather than a natural stone. As such, it offers a range of benefits over marble. It’s available in a wider range of colours and patterns than natural stones. While it is manufactured, it still has a deep, rich, natural-looking patterning.
As a non-porous surface, it’s stain resistant and will handle common staining ingredients like acids, oils, coffee and red wine. Its non-porous properties also make it a more hygienic surface to work with since it won’t harbour bacteria or germs in the pores.
Quartz is also incredibly durable, rivalling granite or concrete for toughness. However, it’s more forgiving than either of those substances, so it won’t scratch or crack as easily.
The main downside of quartz is the price. Top quality quartz can cost you as much as high-end marble. It’s also not as resistant to heat as granite and can be susceptible to damage from hot saucepans.
Super White Dolomite
Super white dolomite is a naturally occurring stone similar to marble. It’s available in beautiful white and grey tones with rich quartz veining. It offers a stylish and aesthetically similar alternative to marble without the hefty price tag.
Dolomite is denser than marble, so it’s less porous and less prone to staining and water damage. It’s also tough and less susceptible to chipping and scratching than marble.
Dolomite is, however, not as durable as something like granite. While it’s less porous than marble, it’s still a porous stone. That means it requires regular sealing to protect it from staining and other damage.
Granite is a natural stone and fantastic alternative to marble. It’s available in a range of colours and has deep, luxurious patterning. Each slab has natural variations throughout, so you can be sure that each piece of granite is completely unique.
Granite is one of the hardest naturally occurring stones in the world and is resistant to scratches and chips. It’s also naturally resistant to heat, which makes it an ideal material for the kitchen.
As a non-porous stone, it’s sanitary to work with and easy to clean. It’s also stain resistant.
Granite does come with its downsides. Like marble, granite is also expensive. It’s also very heavy and labour intensive to install and can sometimes require additional support structures to handle the weight. Granite can also crack when hit with a hard object and it’s very difficult to repair.
Contrary to what many people think, concrete is a premium material when used for kitchen countertops. Concrete can be finished in a range of colours and styles and white concrete provides one of the best “faux marble” finishes available.
Unlike natural stone slabs, which are difficult to shape and work with, concrete can be custom sized and shaped to fit any kitchen configuration. It’s incredibly tough, it won’t chip or scratch and it’s impervious to heat.
Concrete has similar downsides to granite. It can be expensive and labour intensive to install. It’s very heavy and may require reinforcing structures.
Concrete is also a porous material, so it’s prone to staining and water damage over time. To keep it looking new, it does require sealing every 12 months.
When it comes right down to it, most people love marble because of its look and feel together with the air of luxury it brings to a room. However, if you are concerned about the cost of your benchtop or the durability, it’s worth shopping around and looking at alternatives before committing to marble.