6 Lessons for Carrara Marble Kitchen Countertops

I love the Carrara Marble countertops in my kitchen.  After living with them for a year, I have no regrets.  They are simply beautiful, and their imperfection makes them look loved and lived in. Carrara marble kitchen countertops are a classic choice for a timeless kitchen.

In this article, we discuss why Carrara marble is the best choice for bakers, how to fabricate and install for success, cleaning guidelines, how to fix chips, and best matching colors for paint and countertops.

Italian homeowners and restauranteurs have been using Carrara marble for tables and counters for thousands of years, and when you visit Italy, they are everywhere.

One of my favorite Carrara marble examples is in Pizzeria Locale in Boulder, CO. They use beautiful Cararra Marble for their tables and pizza counter.

Marble Counter pros and Cons
Pizzeria Locale in Boulder, CO has beautiful Carrara Marble table tops and counters.

The pizza counter is used and abused all day long, and I fell in love with it.  Before I saw this workhorse restaurant marble countertop, it was really hard to see what “etching” and “chips” would look like.

Marbele Counter
Chipped edges on marble counter are difficult to see and add character

I asked the waitress how they clean it, and she said she was diligent about wiping up spills, but chips do happen, and all it does is add to the personality and patina of the finish. They clean with soapy water and wipe with clean dishtowels.

Carrara marble one of the least expensive stone countertop materials because of plentiful supply.  Quartz makes a good replacement, but it doesn’t have the cool feel of marble, and its just not the same. Marble is perfect for bakers that make pies and bread because of the cold surface temperature.

 1. Marble counters stay cold, for better baking.

Marble is a dense, hard stone, so it conducts heat differently than other surfaces.   It has a high thermal mass, which means it can keep its temperature easier than other materials.  The counters actually stay at room temperature which feels cold to the touch because it is cooler than body temperature.

This is important because marble is an excellent surface for baking and kneading pie and bread dough.  The marble can absorb heat from the dough without getting warm itself.  Plus, it feels really good when you touch it.

Marble counters, baking, marble pros and cons
Marble counters are perfect for bakers.

2.  How you finish and fabricate marble is important.

Marble Kitchen Counter Installation

Choose a honed finish to minimize visual impact of etching.  You will occasionally end up with an etch finish, from spilled wine, lemon, vinegar or any other acid.  The contrast will be much less with a honed finished than with a polished finish.

Marble eased edge
Marble countertop with eased edge

Choose an eased edge for a simple finish.  Chips will not be as obvious and will seem like part of the plan.

Have your marble fabricator seal the stone with a 15 year marble sealer.  You will probably need to seal again, but this is not a place to scrimp.

3.  Clean with soapy water for best results.

For everyday cleaning, I wipe the counters down with a wet paper towel – I don’t trust sponges because of potential bacterial contamination. Then, dry with a clean soft kitchen towel.  Water is the universal solvent, and does an amazing job for daily clean-up.

I clean with soapy water weekly, and rinse with water. Fill a plastic spray bottle with water and a tablespoon of dishsoap.  Spray onto the counters, and wipe with a wet paper towel.  Dry with a clean soft kitchen towel.  There are marble cleaners on the market, but I really prefer the most natural alternative to avoid build-up on the surfaces. In the case of marble, simple soap and water is more effective anyway.

DO NOT use acidic cleaners with vinegar, orange, lemon or lime juice, or any other acidic ingredients because it will etch the marble surface.

Occasionally I find a stain from tomatoes, oil or even curry.  I can easily remove stains with a baking soda and water paste that I leave overnight.

4.  Protect your counters.

Use trivets or oven pads to protect the surface.  Marble is heat resistant (like quartz or granite), but accidents can happen if there are temperature extremes between the surface and a pot.

Don’t forget coasters to protect from drinks.  As I tell my family, this is a house not a fraternity.

As with any other hard surface, use cutting boards to protect from knives.

5.  Chips in marble aren’t a big deal compared to quartz or granite surfaces.

Chips happen with every hard counter surface.  Unlike granite or quartz I don’t need to call in a fabricator or buy expensive kits to fix the damage. I can simply sand the edges and consider it character.  After seeing the beautiful counters at Pizzeria Locale, I’m very happy to just sand the rough edges and accept that chips will happen.  If I’m lucky, my counter will one day look like the counters at Pizzeria Locale.

Marble pros and cons
Chips on marble counter add to character

6.  Cool colors for walls and cabinets look best with marble.

Stonington Bray Benjamin Moore HC-170
Stonington Bray Benjamin Moore HC-170


The best neutrals for marble are cool grays such as BM Stonington Gray (HC-170), and Wickham Gray (HC-171). Avoid warmer neutrals such as greige, beige and warmer taupes.

Chantilly Lace
Chantilly Lace Benjamin Moore OC-65

The best whites are blue whites such as Benjamin Moore White Diamond (OC-61) and true whites such as Chantilly Lace (OC-65). Off-whites can work too if they are not too warm or dark.  Stay away from darker and warmer whites and creams.

Hale Navy Benjamin Moore HC164
Hale Navy Benjamin Moore HC164


Blues and blacks such as Benjamin Moore Hale Navy (HC-164), Carbon Copy (2170-10), Onyx (2133-10) and blue-greens such as Gentleman’s Gray(1061-20) are the best colors.  Reds, yellows and warm greens (with alot of yellows in them) should be avoided.

Articles about Marble Countertops

In case you want to read more about marble and haven’t decided to install yet, you can research with the following articles:

The Verdict

I love my marble countertops, and they are perfect for our blended family with 5 teenagers and young adults.  They are used constantly by many people for many uses, from baking, cleaning and cooking to using the island counter as a home office.

Marble Counter Island, Backsplash, Marble Pros and Cons
Marble Counter Island

For homeowners they are either a work of art that gets lovingly cared for, or a complete hassle to maintain.  They are not always as palatable to homeowners that expect their counters to look as new as the day they were installed because of the patina and etching they develop.

If you have questions about colors or countertop choices, Contact Us.  We help you choose finishes with virtual E-Color consultations, or in person in the Denver Metro Area.

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