Cultured marble is a mixture of polyester and marble resins, which, after a chemical/industrial process, hardens to a degree similar to natural marble. Cultured marble has a higher resistance to staining, higher brightness, and less adherence to dirt.
The sink and countertop form a single piece, which prevents spillage and leaks. The price of cultured marble is much lower and more convenient in terms of quality and price compared with natural marble.
As the resin is treated as a plastic element, it gives greater resistance to impacts and bending. On the other side, natural marble is extremely fragile and can crack when it’s blown.
Cultured marble overview
Cultured marble is made from high-performance polymers and granulated marble. It has been proven for more than 30 years in hotels, offices, labs, and homes. It is resistant to acids, caustics, and solvents. It relies on a wide variety of colors, textures, designs, shapes, and finishes that fulfill every need and requirement. Cultured marble products have been readapted for every need and finish.
Cultured marble is subjected to 10,000 cycles in an abrasion testing machine with water with a high content of abrasives and does not wear or lose its reflective capacity. It has been found that after 16 hrs, exposure to acids, caustics, and household solvents does not affect its finish and resistance.
Unlike other synthetic construction materials, cultured marble is 100% resistant to acetone and other solvents. It will always present a commercial-type finish, even in domestic applications. The price of cultured marble is quite competitive compared with other solid surfaces.
Compared to plastic laminates (Formica, Thermoform, etc.), cultured marble offers several advantages. It is 100% waterproof, not allowing water to penetrate the joints and deteriorate the base and damage the finish. It is also more resistant to heat and direct flame. It is repairable in case of damage. You do not have to replace the entire piece. The manufacture of cultured marble is controlled by very strict industry standards.
1-Resistance to water and humidity
Cultured marble is not porous, since it is covered with a product called Gelcoat, used for coating ship hulls. Natural marble is porous and easier to suffer damage from water. Synthetic marble is ideal for creating cultured marble countertops instead.
Cultured marble does not require polishing treatment. It is permanently shiny and easier to clean because dirt does not adhere to it.
3-Cleanliness and safety
Most cultured marble vanity tops and sinks have a micro-ban coating that prevents the formation and proliferation of bacteria and fungi. Cultured marble is likewise resistant to cleaning products.
4-Scratches and high temperatures
Although cultured marble has good hardness, it is not recommended to cut or chop food without a cutting board. Anyway, it is less likely to cut or scratch the surface with a knife. If you ever scratch it, you can polish the affected area with a special paste to remove the mark.
However, when cutting or chopping food on a cultured marble countertop, use a protective board.
Cultured marble countertops have a soft texture and an incredible aesthetic that resembles natural marble. Just remember that cultured marble is a synthetic material.
Undoubtedly, resin-based materials have revolutionized the industry. Cultured marble combines elegance, hardness, robustness, modernity, and versatility.
When it comes to synthetic marble, you can choose the thickness, color, size, and shape of the pieces. Cultured marble stones can be round and pretty elaborate. This type of marble is frequently combined with other synthetic materials for better customization results. White cultured marble is very common in bathroom renovations.
8-Uses in homes and ships
Synthetic marble is an economical and practical solution for both kitchens and bathrooms. At first, it was only used only in the nautical industry in the construction of kitchen and bathroom countertops in boats because of its low weight and simplicity. Then, it started to gain popularity in apartments and offices.
As mentioned above, cultured marble can adjust to designs and spaces. It fits into small and large spaces seamlessly. Although natural marble is unique and comes in multiple patterns, it is less customizable than synthetic marble. Cultured marble can be cut so it can fit in places where natural marble slabs simply would not fit.
You don’t need to clean your cultured marble bathroom countertops so frequently. Cultured marble is more hygienic, meaning it gets dirty with difficulty. It is easy to maintain and responds better to humidity.
Differences between natural stone and artificial marble
Compared to natural marble and other construction materials for kitchen and bathroom countertops, cultured marble is less expensive. Other than that, cultured marble is resistant and designed to last. It is made of synthetic but quality materials.
Below, we’ll go through the differences between natural stone and artificial marble. Let’s see what distinguishes artificial stone from natural marble.
- The artificial stone is lighter than the natural one, which makes the cutting, transport, and machining process much easier.
- Unlike natural stone, cultured marble has zero porosity, which minimizes the risk of staining, facilitating maintenance. However, its low absorption tells on the gluing process, which should be done carefully otherwise, the slabs come off.
- As an artificial tool, it can be molded to any size and adapted to any surface. This does not happen with natural stone.
- Traditional marble is more translucent. If you put a natural and an artificial stone together, you will notice that cultured marble has a misty look.
- Since it is a mass-produced material, synthetic marble loses the exclusivity and exceptionality of natural stone, which has inimitable and unique pieces.
Tips for moving and installing cultured marble
Ideally, store the countertop that has not yet been installed in a vertical position, ensuring that the support is on the smaller side of the countertop, and never leave it in a horizontal position.
When moving synthetic marble, do it carefully, as this material can be damaged when not in place. Once installed, it easily withstands daily use.