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Why would a salesperson talk me out of marble?

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Recently, we had a customer visit our showroom looking for some straight answers about marble. Though this particular homeowner was very excited about his kitchen remodel, and had already decided on all of the surfaces, materials, and finishes that he wanted, he was visibly concerned. Turns out a stone salesperson from another stone supplier let the air out of his sails when it came to the Carrera Marble slabs he had selected. He was told he should go for granite instead, since granite is more likely to stay in mint condition, even with little maintenance. We’re glad he came to see us next!

Obviously, this customer was very confused, wondering “why would a salesperson talk me out of marble when I’d already done my homework and made up my mind?” Not to mention that marble is one of the most popular countertop choices out there. Our best guess…we fear what we do not understand.

The customer already knew that marble has the tendency to scratch, stain, and dull. It is what he expected…and even anticipated. Europeans have been enjoying the “lived-with” patina of marble countertops for ages. Here are the facts: 

  • Marble will stain when liquids (especially oil) seep between the miniscule spaces between the crystals, or pores. A sealer will reduce the number of pores, but not prevent them entirely. Sealers basically buy you time to clean up spills before they penetrate too far into the marble.
  • Since it is primarily composed of calcium carbonate, spills of lemon juice, vinegar, or other acids trigger a “fizzy” reaction and, over time, these eat into the marble leaving a dull mark, called etching. There is no easy way to reverse this once it has occurred. Our customer knew this, but was willing to accept the dull spots. He equated them to scratches on a new car. The first few will probably bug you far more than the many that will accumulate over time.

Some stone sales folks will attempt to dissuade customers from marble simply because they don’t want to deal with the aftermath. If the customer isn’t completely educated on what to expect, they may be disappointed with the end result. But any sales person worthy of the title should look at these opportunities as a chance to really educate their customers on what to expect. With proper education, there should be no issues. Simply saying granite is “better”, or giving vague answers, doesn’t help anybody.  

We did suggest, however, that our customer consider a honed finish for his marble. It may not be as “formal” as a glossy marble top, but since the surface isn’t reflective, marks are far less noticeable. Plus you can clean a honed marble surface with bleach, Soft Scrub or OxiClean. He liked the idea of honing the countertop.

At MCM Natural Stone we are proud of the expertise our sales team possesses, and we are happy to share this knowledge and experience with you. If you have concerns, doubts, or any questions about any surfacing material for your kitchen or bath projects, pay us a visit or give us a call at 585-586-6510.

Here are some helpful articles:

http://www.thekitchn.com/living-with-marble-countertops-one-year-later-203189

http://www.thekitchn.com/what-a-marble-etch-actually-looks-like-205544

http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-clean-marble-countertops-cleaning-lessons-from-the-kitchn-202955

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