Marble countertops are certainly fashionable today, but did you know that marble has been a popular material for building and decorative uses since ancient Greece and Rome? Some of the most famous pieces of art from the ancient world are made of marble, including Michelangelo's David. What gives marble such staying power? Most likely it's the combination of beauty and usefulness.
How Marble is Formed
Marble is formed naturally when heat, pressure and chemically active fluids are introduced to an existing stone over time in a process called metamorphism. The result is that the original stone, usually limestone or dolomite, takes on new properties.
This process accounts for marble's unique beauty. Minerals and substances that exist within crevasses in the original rock don't undertake the metamorphism process, and instead separate, turning into the well-known swirling patterns that make marble such a lovely and versatile decorating choice.
Marble's Use in Countertops
As a countertop material, marble must be sealed before use, but is easy to clean after sealing. Since the sealing process is likely to be a part of most standard marble countertop installations, most new owners of marble counters will be instructed as to when their counters will be ready to use. After that point, cleaning marble counters is easy and fast, requiring only gentle products like dish soap on a warm, damp cloth.
In addition to the utility of easy clean-up, marble remains popular because it is unique. The concept of marble is not, of course, but the actual countertops are always one-of-a-kind. This is because of the formation process discussed earlier. Each piece of marble has distinct markings depending on the other minerals present when the stone was formed.
When you consider its unique beauty and usefulness in construction and art, marble's lasting popularity is hardly a mystery.