Marble is one of the metamorphic rocks that are formed as a result of high temperatures and extreme pressure to which calcium-rich rocks are exposed.
This natural process produces low porosity, and strong natural stones that can be used in high traffic areas such as countertops.
Lately, Artificial stones (man made) have replaced the natural ones in homes around the world. And cultured marble is an example.
So what is the difference between natural marble and cultured marble, and which one is better in term of durability ?
In this article, we’ll present each types of marble, in addition, we’ll present the pros and cons of cultured and natural marble to make it easier for you to choose.
Natural Marble VS Cultured Marble
The reason for the difference between natural marble and cultured marble is due to the nature of the rocks being significantly different.
The main differences are :
Natural marble has a distinct range of natural colors, and although the colors are different, their brightness is much lower than that of artificial marble.
Natural marble is characterized by different and natural designs, which is not found in cultured marble; Its shapes are very similar.
The basic characteristics of natural marble are inherent and cannot be changed, however, in the case of artificial marble, they can be changed based on the needs, and according to the specifications of the final product.
Natural marble lasts for a longer period, provided that it is maintained properly, and this does not apply to cultured marble, as continued use may lead to the fading of the printing layer on cultured marble, and this is one of the most important factors of the difference between natural marble and artificial marble.
What Are the Types of Marble?
There are several types of natural marble, that are formed by different protolith (a protolith is the origin rock before transformation).
This type is characterized by its low levels of magnesium carbonate; As it constitutes less than 5% of the percentage of different materials that make up calcite marble.
This type of natural marble is characterized by the fact that magnesium carbonate constitutes a high percentage of its total components; Its proportion ranges between 5-40% of the marble composition, and the place of its formation is the main element that affects the proportions of the materials contained in the marble.
It is characterized by containing solid calcium carbonate, which in turn was formed as a result of the gradual accumulation of cold solutions passing through small rivers. This marble is characterized by its transparent yellow, brown and green colors, and is often found in nature in the form of layers.
Vivid Stone Marble
This type of marble is called hydrated magnesium silicate marble, and its composition is dominated by the mineral serpentine.
Green Veins Marble
It is characterized by containing a high percentage of agglomerated serpentine, which is easy to shape without being broken or damaged.
Pros of Natural Marble
- One of the most important features of natural marble is that it does not absorb heat, or be affected by it quickly, so it is very heat resistant unlike the cultured marble.
- In the case of polished marble, it is a good reflector of light.
- Natural marble is a material that adapts to all conditions, and it can be placed in places exposed to heat, humidity and wind; As it is not affected by erosion and climate factors.
Cons of Natural Marble
Although natural marble is the best choice for those with good taste and those looking for excellence, the use of natural marble is one of the bad options in kitchens due to many defects and aggravating problems in the kitchen, so it can be used more in gardens, drawers and anywhere in the house except the kitchen, from These defects:
- High porosity: It is not desirable to place natural marble near cooking utensils because of its susceptibility to severe contamination of oil and fat spots, and the difficulty of cleaning it without harming it.
- High price: Natural marble is a very expensive material; Therefore, the cost of using it in the kitchen is very high, and the cost of maintaining and cleaning it from time to time is also expensive.
- Color tone difference: marble material is a natural material; Therefore, the shades of colors vary greatly from one source to another, so the marble pieces must be placed on the ground and the color gradation should be checked correctly to ensure the appropriate degree. It is also preferable to buy marble from one source to prevent the large difference in color grades.
- The difference in textures: It is also difficult to choose marble because of the many ripples and differences and the shape of the grains that make up the marble. Marble is sometimes painted with an oily layer that gives it a more beautiful shape, especially after cleaning and scouring operations, but this layer disappears with time, causing a change in color and fading in most cases.
- Can be cracked: You may find that many marble slabs have cracks and crevices, and the main problem is that natural marble countertops are not easily reparable.
- High absorbability: Most types of natural marble have a great ability to absorb liquids, and this is the reason why marble is colored in different liquid colors, so the absorbability must be checked before purchasing.
- Stains: Marble is an alkaline substance, which means that it easily reacts chemically with acidic materials, and this reaction produces stains that cannot be removed, and these acidic materials include various cleaning materials, so they must be cleaned in special ways, and some stains may occur due to bad extensions and water leakage under the marble. Which causes multiple spots.
- Ease of slipping: Marble is a soft material that is easy to slip on, so it poses a risk when placed on the floors, and care must be taken when placing it in areas designated for children, for example.
What Are the Types of Cultured Marble?
Cultured marble is an industrial and commercial alternative to natural marble. It is made of limestone, but its texture is more compact, and its texture is softer, and it is used in the manufacture of floors, entrances and drawers.
Cultured marble is made from a mixture of marble powder and glue, with a range of colors and additives that are added to get it in the desired shape and texture. Many transparent colors are available from it, and among the most important types of cultured marble we cite:
This type is one of the best and most widely used types of artificial marble. Where there is a great demand for it for the manufacture of: kitchens, floors, food travel, laundries, and bathrooms, marble is also known for being environmentally friendly, and is often made of resin, aluminum powder, and industrial dyes to add various colors to it.
This type of artificial marble occupies the second place in terms of quality, after the previous type, and it is characterized by the possibility of its flesh easily in the event of direct blows, and it emits a strong smell.
Sodium Carbonate Marble
This type of marble is the lowest quality, and it is not recommended to use it because it is easy to break, and this type of marble is often made in China at a low cost; As it consists of lime and white sand.
Pros of Cultured Marble
- The design of cultured marble is characterized by beauty, because it contains many pigments and colors that may not be found in natural marble, which increases its aesthetic value, in addition, it contains a percentage of glue that works to protect it from the formation of pores between the crushed marble particles, which gives it Attractive luster.
- Artificial marble is easy to maintain when exposed to minor scratches, and it is characterized by the absence of pores on the outer layer, due to the presence of a protective layer on it, unlike natural marble, which is characterized by the presence of pores, which causes fluids to drink if spilled on it.
- cultured marble is easy to clean, using a soft sponge or a microfiber cloth.
- The cost of cultured marble is lower compared to artificial marble.
- It is easy to install, without the need to put in additional small parts; It is designed and manufactured based on precise measurements.
Cons of Cultured Marble
Cultured marble needs extreme care during its installation or use process; Its disadvantages are as follows:
- Easy to break: Cultured marble may be more susceptible to breakage and scratching than natural marble, so care must be taken during its installation and use.
- Heat insulation: As for thermal insulation, artificial marble is a poor heat insulator; Therefore, it may break if exposed to high temperatures, and this makes it a bad choice in restaurants and kitchens.
- Health damages: One of the most important defects of cultured marble is its health damage to the respiratory system due to its manufacture of chemicals that harm the lung, especially when dust spreads while cutting marble, and this matter concerns workers in cutting and installing marble.