Cultured Marble Countertops
Cultured marble countertops are beautiful. They look like real marble,
but are a man-made resin that costs a lot less than real marble.
CULTURED MARBLE COUNTERTOPS:
- Are a cast polymer product. The man-made
resin is liquefied and the material poured into a mold to form your sink.
- Have a nonporous surface, so they resist stains
- Usually have a gloss finish, but can be ordered
flat finish - like the photo above, right. (This is an up-charge and
will cost more. People do this to have a vanity top that looks like a
solid surface top (like Corian), but at less cost than an actual solid surface
- Can be ordered with sinks built (or formed) right
in. These types of sinks are called integral (vs. drop-in bowls).
- Can be installed by the homeowner if they have a
belt-sander (see below).
- Are easy to keep clean (see below).
- Come in a wide array of colors and marbling
(although the exact color and marble - or veining - pattern cannot be guaranteed
because each top
is individually made).
- Come in several styles and patterns. The
veining in cultured marble countertops is always varied, but your top doesn't
have to be veined. Tops can be solid, two-toned, onyx, or granite.
Get a marbled top with a solid color integral bowl for a dramatic effect
(like the photo at right).
- The tops that look like granite are sometimes
called cultured granite countertops. The onyx colors look like marble,
but are a bit translucent and give more of a feeling of depth.
- Cultured marble countertops cost more than
laminate tops, but if they have their sinks formed right in (integral), they
aren't that much more than laminate tops with drop-ins.
- Can be ordered with beautiful inlays (this is an
CULTURED MARBLE COUNTERTOPS ARE NICE, BUT NOT USED
They are not really suited for the kitchen area. They will scratch,
scuff, and chip easily under normal kitchen use, but are quite suitable for, a bathroom or vanity area.
Cultured marble countertops tend to "dress-up" or make a bath vanity a bit more
There are several companies throughout the country that manufacture good
cultured marble countertops. These companies do not need to be large
corporations or have extensive, multi-million dollar technical equipment to
manufacture cultured marble countertops. Some small companies create the
Cultured marble countertops usually come with a 3 or 5 year limited warranty
WHAT CULTURED MARBLE IS USED FOR:
- Bathroom Vanities & Bowls
- Bar Sinks
- Custom, flat sheeting used for tub surrounds
- Whirlpool decks
- Shower surrounds
- Wall paneling or wainscoting
- Make-up tables (like the one pictured at
THE COST OF CULTURED MARBLE COUNTERTOPS
They are more expensive than laminate countertops, but usually less expensive
than solid surface countertops.
They are priced by the foot. Additions, such as finished ends, side
splashes, and bowls other than the manufacturer's standard bowl, or additional
bowls (like for a two bowl sink area) will cost more.
Be sure to let your supplier know if you are not
purchasing a standard faucet and handle (4" centers). Cultured marble
countertops come with predrilled holes for your faucet and handles. If you
are special ordering a faucet, or have any inkling that it may be different than
standard, let your supplier know. They will place the holes where needed,
depending on the type of faucet you buy, but only if you let them know - DON'T
INSTALLATION OF CULTURED MARBLE COUNTERTOPS
If you're handy, as a homeowner you can install cultured marble countertops
yourself. When it comes to whirlpool
decks, shower walls, wainscoting, or anything that might take additional cuts to fit pieces together
properly, you may want a professional to install cultured marble.
To install a normal vanity top, scribe to your wall. We always put
masking tape on the top, then use a marker to scribe. Use a belt sander with a large-grit
sandpaper (like 40), to remove material from the backsplash or sides of the vanity top.
Be sure to only sand the sides that will be up against a wall. Why?
The sides that aren't going to be against a wall and will show are finished and
polished. You don't want to have to try and polish them yourself, or have
a professional come in and re-polish.
Once the top is sized, the plumbing and fixtures may be added. Be sure
not to tighten fittings too much. Less is more when it comes to cultured
marble countertops, as they crack if too much pressure is applied.
Once all the fittings are mounted, you can use silicone to adhere the
cultured marble countertop to the top of your cabinet, but you do not have to do
this. Often your plumber will do this for you. (We've lived in our
home for 8 years, and never actually siliconed down the marble tops, and they
are just fine).
Also, you can put caulk between the top of the cultured marble countertop and the wall to
give it a finished off look. If
you've built a new home, you may want to wait a year or so before you do this.
New homes move and shift a lot. The wood in your home will shrink
and swell. If you add caulk right away, it may crack and pull away from
the wall or top, and you'll have to dig it all out and replace it in a year
anyway, so why not wait until the house has settled a bit. Some homes
never quit settling, you'll just have to play it by ear and use your common
CARE AND MAINTENANCE OF YOUR CULTURED MARBLE
- Wash the top with a non-abrasive cleanser and a damp
cloth or sponge. Never use anything that will scratch the top, and
always make sure the top is wet while you are cleaning it. Cultured
marble countertops are durable, but scratch easily.
- Do not use harsh cleansers, bleaches, peroxides,
or other harsh chemicals on your top.
- You can periodically apply past wax, or any
product that is designed specifically for cultured marble tops to maintain
your tops luster.
Return to our Compare Kitchen Countertops Page from our Cultured Marble Countertops page.