What It’s Really Like to Care for Marble Countertops [1 Year Update]

cream kitchen cabinets with marble countertop

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Considering whether you should go with marble countertops in your kitchen or bathrooms?!

Today I’m sharing my honest opinion on what it’s really like to care for our marble countertops.

As of this week, our marble countertops have been installed for one year.

One whole year of wiping up spills immediately, eating on placements, and being extra careful handling pots and pans.

Here’s my first hand experience on caring for marble countertops!

Also, I’ll let you in on a little secret… I’d still choose marble over quartz and granite… again and again.

Let’s get started…

Disclosure: Affiliate links may be used in this post, at no cost to you.

marble countertop kitchen island

Making the Decision to Go With Marble

Making the decision to go with marble is a really tough one.

Seriously! All you ever hear is to NOT go with marble because it’s too hard to take care of, particularly for families with children.

I almost listened to those opinions and was very close to not pulling the trigger on our marble countertops, but I’m SO glad I didn’t!

Only YOU can decide whether having marble countertops is worth it to you, but here are a few questions to ask yourself to help make your decision:

1. Are you and anyone in your family willing to wipe up spills fairly quickly?

When we’re talking about whether you’re willing to commit to something, we have to also include the reference to anyone in your family – meaning your husband and kids etc.

Marble does not discriminate! What YOU are willing to do is great, but making sure you get your husband and children on board is important as well.

For example, when you spill red wine or pasta sauce, you’ll want to wipe it up fairly quickly.

What happens if you’re out for a girls night though?

My husband knows that even when I’m not home, if something were to spill that could stain the countertops, he has to wipe it up quickly and can’t leave it until the morning.

If you have older kids this would apply to them as well if they are using the kitchen.

Because my kids are currently 6 and under, they are not capable of doing this, so they eat at our eat-in kitchen dining table instead of the kitchen island.

marble kitchen countertop

2. Can you and anyone in your family be careful with heavy items such as pots and pans?

Knocking a pan into the edge of your sink can cause a chip into your marble countertops. I would know from personal experience!

Are you and everyone in your family willing to take extra care when handling pots and pans, glass plates, heavy appliances etc?

Chips in your marble can be filled with an epoxy solution, but you’ll have to pay a restoration team for this service.

3. Will you be able to live with any imperfections if they arise?

Look, you may inevitably experience an irreversible stain.

Or, you may have a chip filled but you’ll always know it is there.

Do you have the type of personality that can live with this?

Will you embrace these imperfections if they happen, or will you let it stress you out for years to come?

These are REAL questions you need to answer as a family, before making your decision to go with marble.

Ongoing Maintenance for Marble Countertops

Another concern for many when choosing between natural stone vs engineered stone is the ongoing maintenance required for marble.

Here is what’s required for ongoing maintenance of our marble countertops:

Daily Maintenance

Every day I wipe my marble countertops down with paper towels and a natural cleaner I found.

I use this concentrated Thieves household cleaner mixed with water and it leaves my countertops nice and clean with no etching!

I fill these 17 oz glass amber spray bottles with 1.5 capfuls of Thieves and the remainder with cold water all the way to the top.

natural cleaner marble

The company who installed our countertops sealed them at installation, so honestly most things including coffee, hot sauce, and pasta sauce just wipe right off.

The one thing I’ve noticed sometimes sets in quickly is oils and red wine.

So if I spill one of those and notice a mark, I put this scrubbing paste directly on the mark and leave it there for a few hours. It almost always does the trick!

safe cleaner for marble

I’ve only had one more permanent stain from red wine, and it was from the bottom of a glass of wine and I guess I didn’t notice it until a full day later.

The restoration team from where I bought the marble came, and they used a commercial grade product on it, and it’s basically gone now after two treatments.

Annual Maintenance

Experts say marble needs to be sealed every 3-6 months but I’m guessing that depends on the product you use.

The company who installed ours used this product and said I only need to have it sealed every 12 months!

Because our countertops have a honed finish, I haven’t noticed a single spot of etching.

If you do have etching though, you can have a marble restoration team sand down a very fine layer to remove built up etching.

So those are not permanent, but the problem is you can only do that so many times.

marble counter kitchen

How to Prevent Etching and Staining

When you choose marble, you dread the day you may damage your countertops!

Here are a few of the tips I’ve learned along the way when caring for our marble countertops.

Etching on a Honed Marble Finish

We have not noticed etching at all thanks to our honed marble finish!

I was SO worried about experiencing etching, so I did lots of research beforehand on what causes it and what etching looks like.

Here’s the definition of what etching is:

According to Euro Marble, “marble etching is physical damage to the stone, generally caused by the marble coming into contact with certain substances containing acids including coffee, citrus, wine, tomatoes, alcohol and juice”.

We haven’t experienced this though, even where my Keurig sprays over coffee drops or pasta sauce has spilled. So there’s a big Pro to choosing a honed finish!

Regardless, if you’re considering a polished finish OR you want to be extra precautious, here are a few tips to prevent etching…

  • Handle all food on cutting boards or a silicone mat
  • Pour wine over your sink
  • Put something down underneath and around where you’re squeezing citrus fruits
  • Wipe up anything that does still get onto the countertop immediately or as soon as you notice

Staining on a Honed Marble Finish

Preventing staining is similar to preventing etching.

It doesn’t matter whether you have a polished or honed finish, staining is possible on both finishes!

Here’s some easy to implement tips you can add to your routine to further prevent staining:

  • Handle all food on cutting boards or a silicone mat
  • Pour wine over your sink
  • Wipe up anything that does still get onto the countertop immediately or as soon as you notice
  • Lay a hand towel down where you’re handling makeup on a bathroom counter
silicone mat for marble countertop care

Would We Choose Marble Again?

It’s the question everyone is wondering and one I get asked often…

I absolutely would choose marble again!

Yes, it’s a commitment to caring for it, but if you ask me, there is nothing more beautiful than natural stone.

I’ve had Quartz in my previous houses and while it’s low maintenance, it just looks like fake stone.

Engineered stones will come and go as fads, but marble will continue to stand the test of time!

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