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 and mildew.
  • Usually have a gloss finish, but can be ordered with a 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 top.)
  • 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 up-charge).

CULTURED MARBLE COUNTERTOPS ARE NICE, BUT NOT USED FOR KITCHENS:

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 stylish.

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 best tops.

Cultured marble countertops usually come with a 3 or 5 year limited warranty against defects.

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 right).

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 GET STUCK!!

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 sense.

CARE AND MAINTENANCE OF YOUR CULTURED MARBLE COUNTERTOP

  • 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.

OTHER RELATED PAGES:

Cleaning Cultured Marble - It's easy, but make sure you follow these guidelines or you will ruin it.

New! Comments

Have your say about what you just read! Leave me a comment in the box below.