Cultured marble kitchen countertops. Cultured marble bathroom vanity tops.
Cultured marble is a mixture of resin, colour pigments, hardeners and crushed limestone (marble). The product is formed in molds and can be made in many shapes, sizes and colours. Bathroom vanity tops and basins are molded into one piece which means there are no seams between counter and sink where bacteria could hide. The shiny finish clear or coloured gelcoat is very hard and non-porous to resist bacteria, hard-water marks, heat, stains, burns, chemicals and everyday wear and tear.
Because of the molding process used each cultured kitchen countertop or bathroom vanity top is different in colour from the other. Pigments may be added randomly to create "veining" to mimic the veins in natural marble. From a decorative point of view there is no shortage of colours to choose from. There are even companies that will produce a custom made colour or pattern to match your interior. Each manufacturer has its own line of colours and patterns. You will find additional colours by simply visiting another supplier.
Compared to real marble, cultured marble is practical, durable and especially, affordable.
The gelcoat helps to protect the cultured marble from staining or etching. Over time the gelcoat may breakdown by normal use (toothpaste, make-up, chemicals or hard water). The cultured marble kitchen countertop or cultured marble bathroom vanity top should be cleaned with a sponge or dish cloth. Do not use harsh cleaners that will scratch and dull the surface, instead, use common dish detergents. Never use scouring pads or steel wool as they will dull the surface.
During regular exposure to soap, toothpaste etc., cultured marble may become dull. To restore the original shine use a buffing compound. Tough stains may be removed by making a mixture of water, vinegar, ammonia and baking soda. You can prevent hard water stains by wiping away water droplets as soon as possible after use.
Only use a sealant on cultured marble products that have a high shine. Sealing is not required for counters with a matte finish.
Some minor scratches can be buffed away, or sanded with fine wet sandpaper and then buffed to a shine. Take care not to sand through the coated surface of the marble. Deep scratches that go through the coated surface may need professional repair. Unfortunately, large cracks, chips and breaks cannot be repaired, even by a professional.
* Cultured marble does not look as good as natural marble. The glossy finish may be the reason why some people think that vanity top looks like a plastic product.
* Some sources claim that the resin used may be heat responsive and leave burn or scorch marks. Some stone countertops may sustain heat but why not play it safe. Leave hot items on the stove to cool down or place hot pads, place mats or trivets on the countertop. Preventing burn marks is a lot less costly than removing them.