If you have expressed any interest at all in getting marble countertops, your idea may not have been very well received by those you have discussed it with. Often, ideas about marble suggest that it is not the best material for countertops, and you would be much more suited to using a material like granite for your counters.
This idea, based on the fact that granite is typically able to withstand against more use without becoming damaged, is obviously shared by many, as the material is used much more often for countertops than marble.
As it turns out, the properties of marble may make it a less logical choice for kitchen countertops when compared with granite countertops. However, the material should not be completely excluded if marble countertops were what you had in mind for your kitchen.
Traditional Uses of Marble
The name for marble is most likely derived from a Greek word meaning “shining stone,” and it is naturally created from the metamorphism process of limestone. The igneous stone can be comprised of a wide variety of ingredients, but the primary compound used in the process of creating marble is calcium carbonate. As other compounds are added to reduce the purity of marble rock, variations of the stone occur naturally as well.
Thus, high levels of purity in marble create the beautiful white material that most are familiar with, and stones lower in purity that include a mixture of added compounds result in pink, green, yellow, and even red marble.
Traditionally, marble has been used as a material for many things that do not include its role as a countertop ingredient. Of course, it was an obvious favorite of artists who frequently used it to sculpt now famous works of art like “David” by Michelangelo. Then, marble was mostly chosen because it is a relatively soft stone and thus easy to sculpt and carve into shape.
Now, you are most likely to see marble used as a construction material for everything from bathroom vanities to fireplaces, and less often marble countertops. For any use, it is an elegant and beautiful stone that can greatly enrich any home.
Granite vs. Marble Countertops
When it comes to appeal, it is truly difficult to beat the elegance and classic beauty of marble. So, why are marble countertops so often vetoed in exchange for granite counters?
As a stone material, granite makes more sense as a kitchen countertop material because it is a tougher stone that can handle more wear than marble. This durability means it can be used for much longer under harsher conditions without breaking, cracking, or becoming scratched as easily.
Additionally, granite is not as porous as marble and countertops made from granite are much less likely to become stained than marble countertops. Although the primary compound in marble, calcium carbonate, results in a beautiful natural stone, it is also highly vulnerable to damage and staining by acid, making it especially risky for use in the kitchen.
These properties do not add a lot of support to any campaign for marble countertops, and most will suggest that the very environment of a kitchen is likely to cause dozens of activities that could easily damage marble on a regular basis, leaving it scarred with stains, blemishes, cracks and even breaks. Why choose such a material when granite may be so much more suited to countertops?
The truth is that many people in the United States simply don’t end up with marble countertops in their kitchen. However, for others the idea to go with marble works very well and is precisely what they had in mind for their kitchen.
Going for Marble Countertops
Although many in the U.S. have still decided against marble countertops, the practice of using marble has actually increased in some regions of the world, and using marble in counters has been going strong as a tradition in Europe for many generations.
In fact, in many homes, marble is chosen for its rich beauty despite its imperfections, and a lot of homeowners prefer the way it looks. Although granite is also a very beautiful stone and makes exceptionally beautiful countertops, marble stone contributes a very distinct look. In contrast to the sturdy and often darker nature of granite, marble offers a lighter, translucent feel that many people think is warmer than that of granite.
For people who so love marble, it can work quite splendidly for a variety of reasons, the first being that some individuals are just prepared to deal with the required maintenance of marble countertops. A person wholly dedicated to investing some energy into knowing how to properly clean and maintain their marble in the kitchen may have no problems whatsoever in keeping their counters looking flawless.
For others, marble works because they simply don’t spend as much time cooking in their kitchen or otherwise using their counters, and their surfaces just aren’t as subject to normal kitchen wear and tear. Still others include a small section of marble counters in their kitchen or use accents to satisfy their desire for the stone while using a more practical material for the bulk of their countertops.
Finally, some people and especially those in Europe, actually love the way marble countertops age and feel that the use of marble in the kitchen gives it an appeal that keeps getting better over time.
Educating Yourself on Marble
If you truly have your mind set on marble, it is clear that you don’t have to sacrifice the look you want for your kitchen. Although some of the properties of marble make it less suited for counters and it is often overlooked in favor of granite, it can work for surfaces in the kitchen and stronger variations of marble do exist that can function quite nicely as counters.
Additionally, if you do find yourself in the category of those that desire marble in the kitchen, most experts agree you will have much more luck with the stone if you have it honed rather than polished. A honed finish on marble is much less susceptible to etching and other damage, thereby making it much more suitable for places like the kitchen.
Overall, educating yourself on the stone is the real key to maintaining marble countertops, and if you have made yourself aware of what it takes to keep them looking great, there is no reason that you can’t go with your desire for marble counters.
Tile surfaces can make up the largest area of space in a home, and all those tile floors don’t make for an easy cleaning process, especially if you have several different types of tile floors or surfaces. Whether in the bathroom, kitchen, or other locations in the house, tile cleaning takes a fair amount of effort.
Although it may not be fun, there are ways to keep your tile looking great with just a little bit of regular maintenance, and there are some tile cleaning tips that may help you when it comes time to give your tile surfaces a more thorough cleaning.
Important Rules to Remember
Regardless of your current tile cleaning routines, you can stay ahead of the game if you can keep two key things in mind as you move forward with your tile care. These two points can be applied for the maintenance of tile surfaces made of any material.
Clean Spills Quickly
First, never allow spills to set on any tile surface for any extended amount of time. Many spills contain substances that can easily cause staining or other damage to your tile, and it can happen faster than you may realize. To combat this, make a practice of cleaning any spills, no matter how small, as close to the moment they occur as you can.
To easily practice this step, store a few clean microfiber cloths in convenient locations around the house, so you can quickly grab one in the event of a spill. Also, try to stay on top of tracked in dirt near the door or rain water that may have crept in to rest on your tile surfaces.
A clean cloth in close proximity to the entrances of your home and a good mat can work wonders to keep outside agents from damaging your floors, and you can even start a practice of removing your shoes when you suspect you may be tracking in extra dirt.
Practicing a quick cleanup is the first cardinal rule of tile cleaning, and it will go far in helping you maintain the overall condition of your tile surfaces; it may be the most important action you can take.
Avoid Harsh Cleaning Products
The second rule surrounds one of the most efficient ways to damage the tile surfaces in your home: conducting your tile cleaning with furious scrubbing and cleaning products that contain strong or harsh chemicals. It is very easy to avoid working on your tile until the job becomes so big and surfaces become so dirty that you feel it will be impossible to clean them without a lot of help from your cleaning products, a process that drains your energy at the same time.
However, the damage caused by harsh products can cause permanent damage and may lead to ugly tile and costly repairs. If your floors haven’t already become stained or damaged, you shouldn’t feel persuaded to use these chemicals to do your cleaning, and a regular maintenance routine will save you from ever having to use them in the future while also saving you hours of back breaking work.
Some of the following tips should help you in the regular maintenance of your tile surfaces and demystify the art of tile cleaning. You may find out it is not as hard as you think to keep your tile looking great.
Tile Cleaning Guide to Regular Maintenance
Dusting Tile Surfaces
In most instances, you can use this guide to regular maintenance on any tile surface in your home. Essentially, all that should be involved in your routine care is removing the thin layer of dust or dirt that has accumulated since your last cleaning in some fashion and then cleaning tile surfaces with a soft, damp cloth or mop.
For removing built up dust or dirt on most tile surfaces, a dusting with a soft microfiber cloth should be perfectly fine for the job. For tile floors, a dusting mop that is equally soft will be necessary to dust the larger surfaces, and you should choose a high quality mop that won’t scratch or otherwise damage your floors.
To make regular dusting even easier, some find that a mop that includes a washable head can help cut down costs on the cost of buying one time use cleaning products. There are several quality mops on the market that are washable and will last you much longer before they need to be replaced.
As a note, some floors can be perfectly dusted with a bare floor vacuum, but those with tile surfaces that are a bit softer such as natural stone should be wary of using a vacuum to do the job. When in doubt, the best tools for dusting are a simple mop or microfiber cloth.
Once you have successfully dusted your tile surfaces, it is time to move on to the next step in routine tile cleaning. You may doubt that using a slightly damp mop to clean tile surfaces is really all that is necessary, but a little water to dampen your mop is actually the best way to clean tile.
Not only does this step help you avoid using harsh cleaning products that can be harmful to humans and pets in your home, it also keeps those chemicals away from the tile surfaces which they can easily damage. If you can keep up with regular maintenance, you will be amazed at the difference that a once over with a damp mop can do for the appearance of your tile.
Conclusions on Tile Cleaning
As you can see, the practice of maintaining your tile is actually incredibly simple. Further, once you have gotten used to a regular maintenance routine, the time you spend keeping up with your cleaning will likely decrease over time, as you become more familiar with the process and your floors require less work to keep them tidy.
Unless floors and surfaces are otherwise damaged, tile cleaning should only require a simple surface dusting, basic cleaning with a slightly damp mop and quick attention to any spills or tracked dirt.
It’s hard to imagine getting excited about grout, right? It can be pretty uninteresting as far as materials are concerned, and your primary experience with it may be trying to deal with grout that is discolored, cracked, or coming loose from its proper place between your tiles.
However, despite the fact that people rarely acknowledge its importance, grout continues to secure the tiles of your floors or walls together, keeping water from seeping through and causing trouble. Even more importantly, its role as a bonding agent actually multiplies the strength of your floors or walls and prevents physical damage to your tile.
So, while we may not be able to get you fired up about grout, hopefully we can give you some information that will assist you with your next project or even help you care for the grout you have so it can continue to perform the job it is intended to.
Sanded vs. Unsanded Grout
There are essentially two different types of grout: sanded and unsanded, and your decision to use either one depends less on the tile you are using and more on the space you plan to use between them. When this space, also known as the joint, is slim (less than or equal to 1/8 inch), your best bet is the unsanded style of grout. In contrast, anything larger requires a sanded mixture to increase volume and keep the joint from shrinking between your tiles.
The only exception to this rule may appear when discussing the appropriate grout to use between polished stone like granite or marble. Even if the job requires thin joints, you may think twice before using a sanded grout because there is a potential for it to scratch the surface of your stone. A test on an inconspicuous section of your tile should give you a good idea on whether it is safe to use the unsanded variety of grout. When it looks like unsanded grout may cause harm, you may want to go with epoxy grout, which we will discuss later.
Sanded or unsanded, most grout today includes cement and the addition of polymer ingredients that help to keep it from becoming brittle and looking irregular in terms of color and texture. Older grouts that did not include these additives were often predisposed to becoming cracked and drying inconsistently.
Unfortunately, grout is still a porous material and thus susceptible to becoming stained, even with the addition of polymer ingredients. As such most experts suggest that it be sealed after it is dry to keep it from becoming discolored shortly after it is installed.
When to Use Epoxy Grout
Particularly harsh areas may call for something even stronger and resilient than sealed grout with polymer ingredients. Typically, these areas would equate to those that are regularly subjected to oil or strong acids, and most experts agree that epoxy grout is the way to go for these environments.
This type of grout is actually made of an adhesive like resin and a hardener, and it also comes in unsanded and sanded styles like cement based grout.
The advantages to using epoxy grout really come from its resistance to harsh substances and staining. In recent years, some versions of epoxy grout have incorporated detergents into their ingredients, which have led to grout that is easy to clean and maintain. Epoxy grout also has a reputation as a tough and sturdy material, making some types of epoxy grout ideal for use in high traffic areas or for use in counter or backsplash installations.
There are also disadvantages to using this type of grout. First, it is much more expensive than the average cement based grout, but they also often have a longer shelf life. Additionally, you should take care when using epoxy grout with unglazed tile, as it has the potential to stain porous surfaces. To avoid discoloration, most experts recommend sealing your tile before grouting.
Choosing Grout Color
Choosing the right grout color is an important step in the grouting process. Those who haven’t taken on a grouting project in awhile may be surprised to find you are far from being limited to neutral shades of white or gray, and there is quite a wide range of grout colors available.
Despite the bold choices available, you may ultimately be happiest with a safe, neutral color that doesn’t overpower the look of your tile. When going for bold, make sure you test the way it looks with your tile in the same lighting conditions that you plan to use it. Different types of light can produce varying results, and once the grout is down, it may not be easy to remedy a bad color choice.
Caring for Your Grout
When grout becomes stained, it doesn’t just become unsightly; the dirt that naturally builds up over time can also be accompanied by the existence of mold, which can actually have a negative impact on your health and be quite tricky to fend off.
In some cases, the damage to grout is not repairable, and the only solution available is the installation of new grout and occasionally new tile.
Professionals can also be used to clean and restore grout in less extreme situations. Because certain cleaners can damage the appearance of your grout or even cause material damage, a professional cleaning service that can distinguish between the grout you have and offer the appropriate solution may be the best way to revive the look of your grout. Often, these services can also be used to seal your grout and ensure you aren’t forced to deal with the same problem in the near future.
In terms of basic maintenance, you should never use cleaners with bleach ingredients to clean any type of colored grout. This can easily damage the appearance of your grout and cause the color to fade very quickly. Additionally, make sure that spills are tended to as quickly as possible, as the longer a spill is left on the surface of your grout, the more likely you are to be left with unsightly stains.
Marble can be one of the most beautiful and elegant choices for use as a surface in any room of your home. It can also be versatile and enduring, as long as it is cared for consistently in the right way. Proper attention to the correct cleaning methods and the best strategies to maintain your marble is the first step in keeping it in great condition and providing you a durable surface you can enjoy.
The difficulty with marble comes from its absorbent nature, causing it to be sensitive to not only spills but also things like household cleaners. Chemicals within these items can cause severe damage to the surface of your marble, causing it to look discolored or even to deteriorate. Doing what you can to properly care for your marble now can ultimately save you time, trouble, and restoration costs.
Basic Tips to Prevent Marble Damage
The best way to keep your marble looking fantastic is really to prevent damage in the first place, which you can do easily by following these tips for the basic maintenance and care of your marble.
Cleaning Your Marble
Typically, experts recommended that water be the only ingredient used as a cleaner on marble. If and when additional cleaners are required, those with neutral ingredients are best, as they are less likely to damage the marble. Ultimately, it is best if cleaners are not used by nonprofessionals, and the following tips should be suitable for the basic cleaning of your marble.
Getting into a daily maintenance routine may be the best way to keep your marble looking nice. This routine can vary according to the particular surface you are attempting to maintain.
For polished marble floors, you are better off not using brushes with harsh bristles that may damage the surface. It is also not advised that you use a vacuum to clean your floor, as they can also cause scratches. Ideally, a dry mop can be used daily to remove dust or dirt particles, and a damp mop can be used when more thorough cleaning is required.
When it comes to countertops, marble with a natural finish and no shine is probably better suited for the kitchen. These can be cleaned more easily with a microfiber cloth every day. Similar to marble floors, a damp cloth can also be used to clean more thoroughly. Never use chemical cleaners with abrasive ingredients and keep acidic ingredients like vinegar and citrus fruits off your marble surfaces as well.
For marble in the bathroom, make sure you wipe up excess water right away because hard water can easily damage the surface of your countertops. Also, take care when using glass cleaner to clean your mirrors if they are located directly over marble counters because the chemicals included in your glass cleaner can also damage surfaces.
You should also be cautious of placing wet bottles or cosmetic items directly onto the surface of marble in the bathroom and doing things like painting your nails or using harsh hair products near your marble as this could cause staining.
The Art of Marble Polishing
If you already own marble, you know that restoring or polishing marble is not the most straightforward task, and it can be a little complicated. This is partly due to the fact that there are actually several kinds of marble, and each variety of marble requires its own unique care.
If you have noticed different colors in marble, you are really seeing the variety brought about by various materials within the marble. For example, the elegant white marble that most people are familiar with is created from a high purity limestone. Alternatively, marble that contains ingredients in addition to basic limestone often produces colored marble, as in the case of green marble, the creation of limestone and the addition of large quantities of magnesium.
Typically, marble polishing is best left to professionals who can distinguish the type of marble surface you own and have the appropriate tools for the job. Using a professional service to bring out the natural shine of the marble surfaces in your home is the best way to save yourself the headache of later trying to restore the damage caused by an inadequate job.
Additional Care for Your Marble
You will probably want to occasionally clean marble floors with clean, warm water and dry them after cleaning with a dry, soft cloth. Conducting this type of cleaning at least twice a year can keep dust particles from building up on the surface of your floor and diminishing the overall look of the marble.
Generally, anything extra required for the regular maintenance of your marble would best be advised by a marble expert who can determine the type of stone you have and suggest the most appropriate practice for ongoing care.
If you are considering granite countertops, you probably already know that they make a lovely addition to any home, and the beauty of granite is certainly part of its appeal. However, granite also possesses a uniqueness that makes choosing the material feel like you are installing a truly original material in your home.
In fact, if a distinct look is what you have in mind, you are definitely headed in the right direction with granite. Although the stone has become incredibly popular, each piece of granite is different from the next. Rest assured that you will be able to find the style that suits you in the vast array of patterns and colors available in granite countertops.
With that said, there are a lot of beautiful surfaces to choose from when it comes to natural stone, and if you are still on the fence about granite, this overview of its benefits and our summary of the choices you will have with granite may help you make a final decision.
Why is Granite a Good Choice?
In terms of sustainability, granite is one of the best choices out there. The hardness of the stone actually places it in the ranks as the second toughest material in existence, just missing out on the top spot behind the diamond. Essentially, this means your investment in granite will last for a long time, and a proper sealant can further ensure your granite countertops will provide you with a surface resistant to stains, scratches, and heat.
If you have them forever, you want your countertops to have a classic beauty that isn’t likely to lose its appeal with other home trends, and this is where another benefit of granite comes into play. The material has a timeless appeal, both because of its beauty and its strength, which has made it a consistent choice for individuals seeking a quality material for the surfaces in their home.
Another benefit to granite comes from its minimal upkeep. This material will not require constant maintenance, which is a very good quality when it comes to countertops. Its strength and durability means you can be sure it won’t deteriorate, even in one of the most used rooms of the house. Further, it will only take periodic sealing and regular cleaning with soap and water to keep your countertop surfaces looking good as new.
With all of these benefits, the last incentive you may have for installing granite in your home is the fact that it will actually increase the value of your property. Even if you aren’t planning on selling your home in the near future, you can bet buyers will still be drawn to the strength and beauty of your granite countertops at any point in the future, and they will also pay a higher price for homes already upgraded with the material.
A Variety of Granite Options
Once you are convinced that granite is definitely the way you want to go for your new countertops, you will find that you have an almost unlimited supply of labels and options to choose from. This can get overwhelming for some simply because of the huge number of granite styles involved, but it can be a little less daunting if you start narrowing down what you like in terms of granite colors, materials, and other custom options.
Pick a Color
The color of your granite countertops may be one of the easier decisions, although you may be surprised at the variety of colors that are actually available.
You are probably familiar with the more natural shades of granite in brown and black tones, which are chosen quite often. However, the sky is really the limit if you would like to broaden your horizons with a more unconventional granite color because you can find granite in nearly every color on the rainbow.
You can also find a wide variety of color saturation and hue, all leading to a look that can be highly customized to match any color scheme you desire.
Choose between Slab or Tile
Along with choosing the color of your granite countertops, you will also have to come to a decision on the type of granite material you would like to use. Typically, you will have two choices in terms of the granite material for your counters.
You may decide on a slab of natural granite, a popular choice in granite material because of its organic beauty and unique patterns. Granite slabs are even further distinguished by their color and dimensions, which can vary greatly, depending on the origin of each individual slab of granite. Although this adds to the one of a kind look of your granite countertops, choosing a natural slab of granite may make it more difficult for you to match the granite in the future, should you decide to add more granite later on.
Instead of the natural granite slab, some people choose to go with granite tiles for their countertops. As their name would suggest, these are simply tiles composed of granite that are adhered to a separate countertop surface and then sealed to expose the beauty of the granite. Using tiles as your granite material allows you to enjoy the countertop qualities that come with the slab, but your countertop may not ultimately possess the uniqueness that slab countertops are known for. On the other hand, any replacements or additions that you may choose to make in the future will be much easier to match to a countertop created with granite tiles.
Pick an Edging Style
Your granite countertops can stand out on an even larger scale if you decide to customize them with a particular edging style. As with granite color, you may be surprised again to find out that you have so many options in terms of edging, but edging styles can provide a variety of looks, ranging from elaborate and ornate to simple and classic.
These looks are all represented in the various edging options available for granite countertops, and some of the most popular choices are eased, rounded, beveled, bullnose, ogee, dupont, and even chiseled edges.
The right edging style will depend on the overall look and feel of your home as well as the color and material you have chosen to use.
No matter which choices you make between the color, material, and edging style, there is no doubt that your new granite countertops will be a great accessory for your home.
Marble Polishing Experts is a woman-owned business in Denver, Colorado with years of experience in marble restoration, granite restoration, flagstone, limestone, travertine, terrazzo, and tile and grout cleaning. Looking for stone experts? Call us today!
Marble Polishing Experts
2550 S University Blvd
Denver, CO 80210
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