How Much Do Marble Countertops Cost?
Marble counters are simply timeless and have tremendous durability. In fact, to say that it is durable is an understatement. Marble has been used for centuries as both a flooring and countertop material. Marble is usually cheaper than many other stone countertop options, it brightens kitchens, it is easy to clean and great for baking. Continue reading to see all the costs that come with marble countertops.
The average minimum cost of marble countertops is $40/sf.
The average maximum cost of marble countertops is $100/sf.
The average cost of marble countertops is $60/sf.
The average amount of marble bought for countertops is 53 square feet.
Labor, tools and supplies are not a significant portion of the cost required to install marble countertops. The vast majority of the total cost is material alone. For example, the material cost for 53 square feet of marble at the average rate of $60 per square foot is $3,180. The time to install the countertops averages around 10.2 hours. Low-end, per-hour labor costs are around $30, high-end, labor costs per hour are around $50. This puts labor costs in the $300 to $500 range for such a project. Even in the higher end, the labor is still only a sixth of the cost of the material. Tools and supplies usually run between $100 and $150.
Different grades of marble can also play with the cost range a bit. White Carrara marble is usually the least expensive type of marble. Calcutta marble is the most expensive. Typically, Calcutta has a more dramatic contrast between the white color and the larger, bolder veining. Carrara has more of an overall gray shade with softer veining. Both Calcutta and Carrara come in gold varieties that have tinges of gold throughout.
Carrara marble is by far the most common type of marble and, as previously mentioned, is usually the least expensive. Basic white Carrara is very affordable in most cases. Carrara marble's availability keeps its cost down. There are also fancier grades of marble such as Calcutta and Danby marble.
Marble is classified for soundness from A to D. Soundness is related to the appearance of the marble and how much of it was repaired at a factory before installation. An A rating means that the marble had very few flaws and more subtle veining. B ratings mean few flaws overall, but the marble may contain fissures or visible pitting. C ratings mean the material has some flaws that will be factory repaired, but the repaired areas may be visible. D ratings come as a result of many factory repaired flaws, but may also have bright colors and dramatic veins and swirls.
There are also two primary types of marble finishes to choose from. The first is polished marble and this results in a glossy, mirror-like appearance. The second is honed marble, and this leaves the finish with more of an opaque, satin finish. In order to achieve the honed finish, the top layer of the marble is removed. Both finishes should be sealed to protect it against staining. Polished marble needs to be re-polished regularly.
Both types of marble finishes need to be treated similarly. They both will need regular re-sealing, and both are very susceptible to etching. Using non-abrasive cleaners, hotpads for hot dishes and immediate spill cleanup can help keep staining and etching to a minimum. Sealed marble is generally fairly stain resistant, but etching is often confused with staining by both consumers and sellers. Etching in marble is unavoidable and is a factor in choosing marble as a kitchen countertop material.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Marble Countertops
Marble countertops have plenty of pros and cons depending on the consumer and the place where it is installed. Here are some general pros and cons for marble countertops.
Pros of Marble Countertops
It has a beautiful, natural appearance that goes with any decor and remains stylish no matter how trends change. Despite the discussions of staining and etching, the actual cleaning of marble is easy. Usually, a simple wipe-down with water and a little bit of gentle soap is enough to remove most stains. Marble also brightens both bathrooms and kitchens with its shiny surface. White marble is especially proficient at this. For avid bakers, marble is the perfect surface. Kneading and rolling dough are much easier activities on a shiny surface without residual stickiness.
Consumers who are unsure about marble for kitchen countertops will find that marble is a beautiful choice for bathroom countertops, where etching is less likely to be an issue. On the other hand, consumers who understand that marble is supposed to etch and age naturally, will find that it works wonderfully in kitchens as well.
Cons of Marble Countertops
Marble needs to be professionally installed, a potential negative for the DIY consumer. Marble will etch, and can scratch and chip. It can stain easily. This is especially true of white marble. It is extremely difficult to maintain a "like new" appearance without significant and professional maintenance.
The primary issue with marble for kitchen countertops is etching. Consumers often confuse this with staining and believe that if they seal the marble, it will not stain. Etching will happen with marble, there is no way to prevent this. Because of that, salespeople often try to talk consumers out of marble for kitchen countertops. Etching typically occurs through contact with acidic food or drinks, and obviously this is unavoidable if the marble is used for kitchen countertops. Etching is more visible on polished marble versus honed, but both are equally susceptible to the problem. Scratching and chipping can also be a problem in kitchens, due to the use of knives and heavy pots and pans.
Ultimately, choosing marble countertops over another type of natural stone comes down to personal preference. As stated, marble is plenty durable and functional, but will not continue to maintain a like-new appearance without significant maintenance. However, consumers who want their marble to age naturally will likely not find a more beautiful material.
Last updated on Oct 23, 2014
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