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Marble is a metamorphic rock formed when limestone is exposed to high temperatures and pressures. Marble forms under such conditions because the calcite forming the limestone recrystallises forming a denser rock consisting of roughly equigranular calcite crystals.
A geologist might define granite as a coarse-grained, quartz- and feldspar-bearing igneous rock that is made up entirely of crystals. However, in our industry the word "granite" is used for any feldspar-bearing rock with interlocking crystals that are large enough to be seen with the unaided eye, and are harder and more resistant to scratching, staining and acidic reaction than marbles.
Defined geologically, Quartz is one of the most well-known minerals on earth. It occurs in basically all mineral environments, and is the important constituent of many rocks. Quartz is also the most varied of all minerals, occurring in all different forms, habits, and colours. There are more variety names given to Quartz than any other mineral. In our trade, Quartz is an engineered stone and is man made by combining approximately 97% Crushed Quartz rock and 3% Resin, mixed with pigments and often glass mirror chips. This makes the stone almost as durable granite, but slightly lighter, and more consistent in appearance than many natural stones.
Marble counter tops used to be regularly featured in many kitchen shops in the UK. In fact, it wasn't so long ago that the British stone industry didn't want to know about granite because it was too difficult (i.e. slow and expensive) to work with. Diamond abrasive technology has changed that, and now people don't want to work marble because it is too easily scratched and stained. There can also a (wrong) perception that marble is not hygienic because when it stains, which it does, it harbours foodstuffs. We have never seen any evidence to support this.
Marble is a relatively soft stone that can be scratched quite easily by the use of knives and other metal implements and, being calcium carbonate, is also susceptible to acidic dissolution from liquids such as lemon juice, red wine, carbonated drinks and vinegar. This can lead to staining effects as well as removing the shine and etching the surface.
Regardless of the problems that can affect marble, it ages gracefully so that the stains, scratches and other effects build up and slowly meld into an overall, more even appearance and a patina develops. If you understand how marble behaves and are prepared to wait for the rewards, there are no reasons not to use it for kitchen worktops.
Of course, not everyone wants the aged look. Some people would just think of it as tired- looking and not in keeping with many modern finishes that are often rather sterile by comparison. If you are going to have a working kitchen rather than just a showpiece and want marble, it might be better to have a honed rather than polished finish, so scratches will not show up so readily. However, a honed finish will be considerably more susceptible to staining and some form of protection is advisable.
Much of the process of marble ageing is actually from the absorption of oils, which eventually help to resist stains, and a treatment such as boiled Linseed oil or beeswax could be a simple way to provide good protection. Oils and waxes also help to reduce the effects of scratching.
However, only natural oils and waxes should be used and mineral and other oils that should not be ingested in any quantity must be avoided on any areas where food is prepared.
Stone soap and other well-known stone treatments could also be applied but may need more regular re- treatment than might be expected with granite or engineered quartz.
This is generally good advice to avoid disappointment by the customer if they have been clearly and openly informed in advance of the way marble ages over time and the customer may have to sign a disclosure saying they understand how it will age before a purchase is agreed.
In a fashion. We are a manufacturing/fabrication and installation business with a workshop and small office premises. We have a small display area where we greet customers and show samples and examples of the hundreds of materials available. We also have a small stock yard in which we carry a few slabs of the most commonly used slabs. Our customers are welcome to visit us and see what we do and how we work.
Simply telephone us to discuss what you need, email a plan to us with the details or arrange us to visit you to discuss and take measurements.
Off cuts vary hugely in price from just a few pounds to two or three hundred. Just a small piece several inches square could even be free. Additional charges will apply if the item needs to be cut to size and/or needs any polishing. Off-cuts are designated as such at our discretion.
Absolutely bowled over by my new granite work in the kitchen. This company does not just fit worktops! The whole experience is personal, bespoke and it’s certainly exceeded my expectations!