While white is in big demand, there are also other marbles, from Rosso Verona to Serpentine, that also fill a role with people looking for earth tones and a warmer stone than granite.

Great Lakes’ Booms says in the old days, when most granite produced was quite homogeneous in appearance, the veining in marble offered personality and texture. Today’s popular granites are full of movement, but marble still provides a contrasting look for many people.

200 Cangelosi CUSTOM KITCHENClick photo to enlarge“Generally, the feldspar in granite isn’t found in earth-tone colors,” he says. “Because of the way they’re formed, marbles are likely to be light tan or beige or gold, and designers can complement their colors with other features, such as paint or wallpaper.”

Booms notes that anything approaching white in granite is likely to be salt-and-pepper, while Stasswender calls it spotty. Nor is the person looking for something in white likely to opt for a light-colored natural quartz product.

“It’s not something that always appeals to people,” says Baker’s Woodward. “The person who comes to me for CaesarStone® generally comes for CaesarStone initially. That’s what they want.”

Stasswender says much the same is true at Southwest Marble.

“They’re institutional-looking, and people don’t want the homogeneous look of white natural quartz,” he says. “We do carry some white-based products such as Zodiaq® and CaesarStone, but when we use those, they’re often for commercial operation. They don’t have the richness or the elegance of marble.”

FLIPSIDE

With rich earth tones and a warm feel – at least compared to granite – there’s a lot to love about marble countertops.

Except that’s not the entire story. And, those who sell marble for kitchens say telling the rest of the story is often where the process hits the fan.

“We make sure that the owner of the home knows what they’re in for when they elect to use marble in their kitchens,” says Cangelosi’s Cangelosi. “Even though we use an impregnating sealer, we tell them they still have to be a little careful about leaving a bottle of olive oil sitting there all night, or leaving a wine glass sitting there.”

Stasswender says it’s always been company policy to educate people about the stone they’re buying, but the process gets stepped up a notch when the talk turns to marble for a kitchen.

“We feel them out first, to find out if they really want marble,” he says. “If it’s because they like the way it looks, we tell them they’ve got to be aware that marble is a soft, calcium-based stone that’s going to scratch if it’s polished and it’s going to etch with acids.

“Then, we go through the part about not leaving anything on it longer than overnight, and if you spill something, clean it up immediately,” Stasswender adds. “Then, they get a care and cleaning manual.”

It may sound strenuous, but it’s really nothing out of the ordinary for people who sell marble kitchen countertops. Baker’s Woodward says not only does his company, “run people through the wringer,” before agreeing to do marble countertops, but would-be buyers are encouraged to take samples home and give them a try in their own kitchens before signing contracts.

Both Artelye and All Granite and Marble Corp. also require clients to sign a waiver before the job moves ahead.

“It doesn’t matter how clearly we explain it to them: if we install it and then they get a stain or a scratch, some of them get upset,” says Artelye’s Yoltay. “The waiver is a red flag for them. And, while I’ll make more money selling the marble, I want them and their friends to come back to me.”

“They have to sign a special waiver that releases us from any costs or damages arising from normal use,” says All Granite’s Siewior. “It’s usually just a matter of time before something happens with marble, and we want to make sure they know that.”