An Honest Review of Carrara Marble Countertops

Carrara marble countertops were my dream when I was planning our kitchen remodel. We found an awesome local company that gave us a great deal on a cabinet/countertop combo, allowing me to bring my dream to life! It’s been almost three years since we remodeled our kitchen, and although I still love the look of our carrara marble countertops, there are a few things you should know if you’re considering them for your home.

From a distance, our countertops are still gorgeous. The veining is the perfect soft gray, and the polished finish looks beautiful. I’ve gotten countless questions and comments about them whenever I share a photo on my Instagram account. I’ve received more questions than I can count asking for a review on them from people who are considering putting them in their own kitchens.

I always want to be totally honest with you guys, and the truth is that although polished carrara marble is gorgeous, I will think twice about using it in a kitchen again.

Pros

It’s beautiful! The beauty of real marble just can’t be replicated. It has a timeless, classic look that is versatile and luxurious.

It is budget-friendly. Although it’s more expensive than other stones, it’s generally one of the more affordable types of marble out there.

It’s heat-friendly. You can put a hot pot or pan directly on the countertop without a worry. That being said, you wouldn’t want to put something like that directly on the countertop because it could scratch. Note: although they can technically withstand heat, stone can be subject to heat shock, or cracking, under extreme temperature differences. Because marble sits colder than room temp, I’ve never directly done this for fear of cracking.

Cons

It’s a “soft” stone, meaning it is more porous than other stones and shows any imperfections in it’s perfectly polished finish. A few examples:

It dents and chips easily. I’ve dropped more than a couple things out of the upper cabinets and each one has left a nice dent in the stone. I also fairly recently dropped a candle off the open shelves in the above photo and it happened to hit right on the edge of the countertop and nicked a little chunk off. I was able to superglue it back on, but it is noticeable if you look closely. This isn’t ideal in a kitchen if you’re storing glassware, cans, dishes etc. above the countertops!

This dent is from when I dropped a jar of salsa while getting it out of the cupboard… oooops.

It scratches (etches) easily. Unlike other countertop varieties, you won’t be able to cut things directly on the countertop. Also, you need to be cautious about anything you put on the counters that could scratch them- even a pair of keys thrown haphazardly will leave their mark.

It gets dull easily. Anything acidic (citrus fruits, tomato juice, wine etc.) or any oils will affect the finish and leave a dull mark. If you catch a spill quickly enough, you’ll be fine, but if it sits for more than a few minutes, you’ll be in trouble!

This picture shows just about everything- dull spots, nicks and dents, and scratches. Yikes!

It stains easily. As above, if you spill anything dark, you’ll need to clean it up right away, otherwise you’ll risk a stain.

I don’t entirely remember how this stain happened, but it’s a dull spot and stain in one. Luckily it’s not really noticeable unless you look at it from just the right angle!

A way we’ve put a positive spin on the imperfections in our countertops is by thinking about them as “character.” I’ve also learned to live with them and look past the existing scratches/dull spots/dents- but I will admit that I still cringe with every new one!

As long as you know that you’re not too much of a perfectionist to handle the imperfections that come along with marble countertops, perhaps you’re willing to overlook the cons for the unmatched beauty that they bring.

If the thought of imperfections gives you anxiety but you’re not willing to part with your marble dreams, keep reading for some ways to incorporate marble into your kitchen without using it as your countertop material.

3 ways to use marble in the kitchen without having marble countertops

A carrara marble backsplash is a practical alternative to carrara countertops. You could do an entire backsplash or just an accent area above the stove- your choice! Either way, it is much less prone to imperfections than countertops.

Kitchen accessories such as utensils and utensil holders, serving platters, cutting boards, candles, and shelving can help to bring in that marble look you love, without the worrying about damage.

A marble dining table, although still prone to imperfections, will see less daily wear and tear than countertops might.

If you can’t resist marble countertops

  • Do your research on how to care for them, how to prevent stains/scratches/dents/chips/dull spots to the best of your ability, and what to expect. (If you’re reading this, you’re doing that- keep it up!)
  • Consider honed marble instead of polished. It still needs to be sealed, but overall, the matte finish will hide many of the imperfections that polished marble highlights.
  • Consider them in other locations rather than the kitchen. We also have a carrara marble bathroom vanity top and it is in near-perfect shape, even though that bathroom gets used multiple times per day!

It is possible to repair marble imperfections.

Know that it is possible to bring your marble countertops back to like-new condition via a DIY or professional approach. Depending on the damage, the countertops may need to be entirely sanded down and refinished, but other times, you might be able to handle it on your own with some elbow grease. Here’s a helpful article for more on repairing your countertops. Full disclosure- we haven’t repaired any of the damage to our countertops yet, but we plan on doing something before we decide to sell. I’ll be sure to share our efforts and successes/failures when we tackle that!


My hope is that you learned a thing or two about the cons of marble and were validated on your pros- because we all know that you don’t need to be talked into marble countertops. Their beauty speaks for itself. I just wanted to make sure you’re all aware of what you’re getting yourselves into before you commit- and if you decide it’s too much, then maybe you can consider some of the other options I’ve shared.

Do you have marble countertops? What are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments below!

Author: Laura Sima

Hey there, I'm Laura- creator of Sima Spaces. I'm a home renovator, designer, and blogger based in St. Paul, MN. When I'm not designing or renovating homes, you can find me working as a pediatric ICU RN, snuggling my dog or cat, skiing in CO, or enjoying a glass of wine on our patio.

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  • Wonderful Read,

    The entire article gives you a proper introduction to what involves having a Marble countertop in your kitchen and what Carrara marble is.

    In Italy we split Carrara marble in 2 different grade named: Carrara bianco CD (greyish background colour) Carrara bianco C (whitish background colour), if you really wish your marble to be as white as milk instead you should go for Calacatta Marble, Calacatta Gold or Statuario marble but as you can imagine the cost per square meter would significantly increase.

    I’d like just to give a quick opinion on the ”polished/honed surface finish matter” i see you reccomend a honed finish which is totally fine but you should consider that your marble surface would definitely get more porous and though more likely to stain, that said as i’m more like ” better scratches rather than stains” and as consequence better polished than honed.

    Best
    Davide
    https://acemarstone.com

  • Love the look of marble and really wanted it for our kitchen remodel but struggled with the cost and started looking at more affordable stones and then couldn’t decide at all so we went with a marble looking laminate thinking we could change it out later but I couldn’t be happier with it! Everyone that comes over thinks it’s real until we tell them. And it’s so durable! We have two small children so durability is a must. Plus the price was AMAZING! Made my penny pinching heart so happy. Just thought I’d share 🙂