Durability of Marble Countertops // The Ravenna Kitchen 4 years laters


You may have noticed that there’s a lot of marble in the Porch House kitchen. But it’s not the first time we’ve used marble. Back when we were remodeling the Ravenna kitchen, some four odd years ago, we chose marble countertops. Yup, we put marble in a rental house. Of course it wasn’t a rental back then – it was our home – but we had a strong inclination we’d rent it out eventually. And sure enough, it’s been a rental for 2 1/2 years now. If you think we were crazy to put marble in, you aren’t alone. So today, we’re going to look at how those marble countertops have held up so far.

The Grit and Polish - Ravenna Marble Kitchen range table

By the way, these photos were all taken during a recent Airbnb turn. Sources and related posts are listed below. 

Four years ago, picking marble felt like a risky decision. So many people warn against the natural stone, citing staining, etching, and imperfections as pitfalls. At the time, neither Garrett nor I had personal experience with marble to draw from. But here’s the deal. I love natural materials. And I love the look of marble. I had high hopes that the so-called pitfalls of marble would feel more like a beautiful patina that got better with age, so I went with my gut and we purchased the marble.

Marble Nomenclature

Here we are 4 years later but before we look closer at how our countertops have held up, lets run through a few marble terms:

HONED // a matte finish on marble that has been dulled by sanding or acid bath. Honed creates a soft look that ages well (in my opinion). For many people, honed marble is easier to live with since it doesn’t show imperfections as much as polished marble. Honed marble is often sealed to keep it from staining.

POLISHED // a glossy, shiny surface on marble achieved by polishing. Polished marble won’t stain as easily as a honed finish will, but it shows scratches and etching.

ETCHING // dull spots on the marble caused by acid literally eating away a bit of the surface

STAINING // marble is a porous stone so things like wine or flower pollen can leave stains if not cleaned up quickly.

SCRATCHING // marble is a semi-hard stone, somewhere between soft soapstone and hard granite and can be scratched with hard objects like knives and belts.

All About Our Marble

The Ravenna House countertops are polished marble and they came with some sort of sealant applied, although we’re unsure of exactly what. In the past four years, we haven’t applied anything else to these countertops nor done any major maintenance. We cleaned the countertops with Meyer’s dish soap and countertop spray when we lived there, but of course the Ravenna House has been a rental for 2 1/2 years now. It’s hard to say exactly what the Airbnb and month-to-month tenants use, but it’s likely the same Meyers products since we leave them for their use.

What 4 Years of Wear and Tear Looks Like

Believe it or not, there is actually quite a bit of wear on the stretch of countertop shown in the last photo. It’s hard to tell, right? That’s the thing with marble etching and staining. Unless you’re really close and at just the right angle, you can’t tell it’s there. Here’s a closer look.

The Grit and Polish - Ravenna Marble Close Up

As you can see, our countertops now have a bit of etching, a couple scratches, and some subtle staining in this high traffic area. That original shiny, polished finish is now somewhere between polished and honed. But overall, these imperfections are hard to see. They’re definitely not obvious when you walk into the house or even when you’re in the kitchen. But if you bend down low enough and look just right, you can see them.

So What Are We Going To Do About It?

You may be wondering what we’re going to do about the wear and tare on these countertops, and honestly…nothing! The etching and subtle staining don’t bother me one bit. I actually like the patina of it all now. I’ve long preferred honed marble to polished, and the wear on these countertops gives them that same ‘aged gracefully’ quality. You could say, I’m a happy marble customer. I should mention that we’ll eventually likely re-seal these countertops just to keep them in good shape. It’s impossible to know how renters and guests will treat them so making them more durable is a good thing. But that’s not on the agenda right now and won’t be unless we notice a lot more staining and etching.

I’ve often heard that marble is not for perfectionists and I would have to agree. While the imperfections and aged-quality of the marble after 4 years doesn’t bother me one bit (or Garrett either), I’m sure it would drive some people crazy. So my advice: while marble isn’t particularly high-maintenance, it wouldn’t be a good fit the people that are perfectionists.


Cabinets: custom // Marble: GS Cabinet // Large cutting board: Hardwood Industries | Range: American, Albert LeeWarehouse Sale | Vent: Viking, Albert Lee Warehouse Sale | Dishwasher: Viking, Albert Lee Warehouse Sale | Fridge: KitchenAid, Albert Lee Warehouse Sale | Backsplash: marble laid in herringbone pattern, Home Depot | Chandelier: West Elm | Ceiling Lights: Home Depot | Blinds: Home Depot | Sink: Amazon (similar) | Faucet: Katom | Table: craigslist | Chairs: Industry West | Oak floors: Hardwood Industries | Blue printed bowl (with cherries), West Elm | Mercury Glass Candle: Anthropologie | Drawer pulls: Home Depot | Cabinet latch hardware: Home Depot |

Read More

Ravenna kitchen marble choice // marble backsplash // Ravenna kitchen before and after // Marble 101 from Remodelista // How to clean marble from the Kitchn

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  1. Not entirely on topic but I’m hoping you’ll share how the airbnb experience has been working out!

    • Yes! Garrett just mentioned the same thing…I’ll try to get a post out in the next month on Airbnb, probably focusing on how Bryant is going.

      • When writing about your Airbnb experience, can you talk about what you do to protect yourselves? Wondering if you have a separate home insurance or don’t disclose to your insurance agent that it’s an Airbnb rental. My understanding is that there are no deduced Airbnb related home insurances?

        • We switched from primary to rental insurance when we converted each of the homes. Airbnb includes a $1,000,000 host guarantee for accidental damage and host protection insurance which covers hosts from liability claims up to $1,000,000.

  2. Hey! Thanks for the post! I’m curious if y’all have done any marble tile in showers? We’re about to put it in our shower remodel and I’ve seen lots of glorious photos on the internet, but I’m curious about how well it will actually hold up in a shower, and what the best way to keep it- and the grout surrounding it clean.

  3. Same same! Our house had marble countertops in pretty much the same shape when we bought it. I like the patina and do not mind the lived-in look. I have found them otherwise very easy to care for and clean. I’m calling it my old Parisian bakery look.

  4. I also like the “gentle” patina of the marble. The stains/scratches shown in the picture wouldn’t bother me a bit either. But what about colored stains? Wouldn’t red stains from wine or berries be much more obvious? Do you have any of those? If not, how did you prevent that? If so, does that not bother you either?

    • I’m with you – really noticeable red stains would bug me. But despite having a toddler in here, we never had any. We were always able to wash anything with dishsoap and water. I will say that one time flower pollen got on the marble and that took a bit of soaking (like overnight) but came up too.

  5. I also like the “gentle” patina. The stains/scratches in the pictures wouldn’t bother me a bit. But what about colored stains, like red from wine or berries? I feel like that would be much more obvious, and a distraction from the beauty of the marble rather than adding to it. Do you have any of those types of stains? If so does that not bother you either?

  6. Pretty sure you meant “wear and tear” but we got the message and the little I see wouldn’t bother me at all.

  7. How have you liked the turn latches on the cabinets? I love the look but they seem like such a pain to live with.

    • I actually love them except we’ve had a few of these inexpensive ones break on us (you can read more here). Rejuvenation and Restoration Hardware sell nicer ones that probably wouldn’t break.

    • I have turn latches on my kitchen cabinets in this house (10 years) and in a prior apartment (2 years). Although it seems like it would be fussy to have to turn the latch each time you open a cabinet it really isn’t any extra effort. You turn and pull at the same time and can push the door closed without using the latch. I have cheap stamped steel (house of antique hardware has similar ones for ~$3/each) latches on my cabinets and haven’t had one break yet. I’ve been temped by the beautiful cast brass latches but I’ve also been trying to be conscious of using materials in my house appropriately. it’s not a fancy house and was originally owned by a USPS worker and his small family. I was really inspired by the marble on the walls in the Ravena house but I’ve recently decided to use simple, basic tile for my back splash instead.

      • Thanks for the feedback Ryan. Glad to hear there are inexpensive latches that don’t break! And I hear you on the backsplash. I’m actually into no backslashes right now – it feels more simple and historic than large tile installations

  8. This is fantastic! I have been super nervous to use marble in my kitchen, but I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the look of marble and the idea of using such a traditional, natural option. Well, I’m nervous no more. I love the natural patina in your marble, which is putting my worst marble fears to rest. When I finally get around to my kitchen remodel, I’m definitely going with marble.

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