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

THE RAVENNA HOUSE 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 |

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