What is Cultured Marble, and is it Right for My Home? May 27 2016, 1 Comment

Despite its name, cultured marble has no better taste, manners or education than any other surface material. If you're thinking about adding it to your kitchen or bath, there are some things you should know, and questions to ask, before you decide, including: What is cultured marble, and how do I know if it's right for my home?

What is Cultured Marble?

Cultured marble is a man-made product, that is a combination of polyester resins mixed with marble dust and pigments. Once it's blended, this precise mixture is then poured in to a clear, gel-coated mold, virtually any size or shape you desire, and left to set. The purpose of the gel coat is to provide a protective outer layer that is both durable, transparent, non-porous and resistant to most stains.

What Are Some Common Applications?

Because of their seamless nature, cultured marble installations are especially popular in bathrooms, where moisture may be a concern. Commonly produced products include:

  • Tub surrounds.
  • Bathroom flooring.
  • Tubs and jetted tubs.
  • Vanity tops with integrated bowls.
  • One piece shower unit including floor, surround and ceiling.

How Does Cultured Marble Compare in Value to Real Stone?

While this man made product does contain marble dust, that's where any comparison to quarried marble ends. When you get involved with marble and natural stone, you're looking at a completely different price point when you put those types of materials in your house, so when asking the question: "What is cultured marble valued at in relation to real stone, and what is the resale?" it's important to note that while you may not see a return on your investment, that doesn't mean it's not a cost-effective product to install.

Cultured Marble Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Flexibility - Because each item produced is individually cast from a mold, it has the ability to conform to any desired shape, rather than trying to buy or cut a product to fit your space.
  • Reduced cost - Cultured marble is much more economical than quarried marble. Durability - If properly maintained, this product will remain strong, resistant to chips, dents and staining.
  • Mold and mildew resistant - Using silicone, rather than porous grout to seal seams, greatly reduces the chances of either one taking hold, or of a leak developing.
  • Color choice - Creating a custom color is easy as pigment is added along with the other ingredients.
  • Seamless living - If you prefer the look of smooth, uninterrupted lines and an integrated sink bowl, this is the product for you.

Cons:

  • Resale - While you're guaranteed an increase in the value of your home when you add natural stone, that won't be the case with cultured marble.
  • Scratching - Abrasive cleaners or materials can mar the surface.
  • The absence of "wow" - While pleasant to look at, you'll be missing out on the wow factor that natural marble is famous for.

How Do I Take Care Of It?

There are specialty products on the market specifically designed for polishing, but for daily cleaning almost any multi-purpose counter cleaner will do. Because it is susceptible to scratches, only non-abrasive cleaners should be used, along with a soft cloth or sponge, and though it resists many stains, use caution with dyes, perfumes and acetone (nail polish remover), all of which can damage or discolor the surface.

If you have further questions about cultured marble, or about any man-made or natural stone surface in your home, call 561-994-4668 to speak to myself or someone on our team.

You can also email me directly at kevin@marblekareproducts.com or download our free Stone Cleaning Checklist below to get started. (Photo: www.houzz.com)