Cultured Marble vs. Real Marble: What's the Difference?
Cultured marble vs. real marble: what’s the difference? This is a question that many people ask when they are trying to decide which material to use for their countertops, backsplashes, or other surfaces in their homes.
In this article, we will discuss the differences between cultured marble, also known as faux marble, and real marble. We will talk about the pros and cons of both materials so that you can make an informed decision about which one is right for you!
What is Cultured Marble?
A type of artificial marble produced by mixing stone particles and resins with pigments to create a range of hues and natural-looking designs, as well as other materials such as cultured granite and onyx. It’s a porous substance that’s utilized in building construction.
Man-made, combining natural marble powder with synthetic resins and dyes to produce a stone that looks like it came straight from nature. It’s subsequently coated with a transparent, protective gel after being shaped into a countertop.
Because of the way it’s manufactured, cultured marble countertops are comparable to Corian and quartz countertops. However, it may also be utilized to create sinks, backsplashes, showers, and bathtubs.
What is real marble?
Marble is a metamorphic rock that forms when limestone is subjected to high pressure or heat. The resulting stone is often highly veined and polished, making it a popular material for countertops, flooring, and sculptures.
While most people think of marble as white, the stone can be found in a wide range of colors, from pale pink to deep green. Marble is also used in several industries beyond construction, including cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, and even agriculture.
Best Maintenance Products For Cleaning Marble Surfaces
Best Cleaning Product
By far the best product to clean Marble Countertops is Lithofin Power Clean. It’s acid free and suitable for all natural stone surfaces.
There are many products in the market designed to seal your natural stone. This is by far the best for Marble surfaces.
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What’s the difference between natural marble and cultured marble?
Natural marble comes from the ground and is a high-end, luxury material. Cultured marble countertops are manufactured surface that looks like real marble.
There are some other differences to consider:
Natural Marble is a beautiful stone that shines like no other. It has distinct hues, patterns, and a mirror-like sheen with depth to it.
The real thing is more expensive than cultured marble.
Natural Marble needs to be sealed to protect its pores from moisture damage.
There are no integrated sinks or backsplashes in marble countertops, and they will have seams except for smaller vanities.
Cultured marble, unlike natural marble, doesn’t need to be sealed as it doesn’t have any pores, and is more stain resistant.
Cultured marble appears to be marble, however, the beautiful texture and color variations are lost. The gel-coat sheen can appear plastic. And it’s a man-made material.
The countertop is formed from cultured marble. The countertop and sink are molded in one piece. Showers include built-in storage shelves.
There are no seams in cultured marble.
Both Natural Marble and Cultured Marble have the following:
Both may be restored to virtually new conditions.
Both can be marked, stained, scorched, fractured, or chemically altered.
Both have a similar level of care & cleaning requirements, although natural marble will require slightly more maintenance.
Top Maintenance Tips For Marble
How can you tell the difference between cultured marble and natural marble?
A clue that the countertop is made of cultured marble is if it has an integrated sink and splashback in the same color and style as well as no seams or caulking, a thin edge, and a flat below-ground finish.
Natural stone countertops, on the other hand, have top or under-mounted sinks with grout or caulk needed to seal the sink and backsplash areas, and don’t have consistent veins or color because it is a natural stone, and have the same color and design on the underside.
Some may claim that the look of cultured marble is nearly identical to marble, as many cultured marble hues are meant to imitate marble worktops, with a gleaming finish.
Cultured marble and natural marble may indeed be mistaken for one another from a distance. Even someone unfamiliar with countertop materials will instantly notice the difference up close.
In the world of construction materials, marble is considered to be the epitome of luxury, especially white marble from Carrara and Calacatta. Real marble has a variety of hues, unique veining patterns, as well as a distinctive look and feel
Cultured marble is a manufactured stone that isn’t considered a high-end countertop material. However, it has the potential to exude clean and basic elegance depending on the color and design chosen.
Other ways to know the difference between cultured marble and natural marble
The most typical indicators that you’re dealing with cultured marble rather than genuine marble are an integrated sink and backsplash in the same color and style, no seams or caulking, a thin edge, and a dim gray underside.
Additional clues are…
On natural marble countertops, sinks and backsplashes are separately attached to the marble. Either the sink will sit on top of the marble, or it will be under-mounted with the marble forming an edge around and above the sink.
For sinks and backsplashes, the material will include grout or caulking.
Polished marble may have a glossy or matte honed finish, but it never appears like its cheap plastic.
Surfaces of marble countertops (depending on slab size) will have seams linking the slabs.
Natural marble vanities and worktops are typically 1 3/4″ (3 cm) thick and come with ornamental patterns. To prevent leaks, natural marble vanities and countertops do not have a lip at the edge.
Another telltale sign that marble is fake is the underside. Although the underside of marble appears dull, the pattern and color will be visible.
Small tiles with many grout lines on the wall and floor are typically used in marble showers.
Real marble is rich in color and pattern and has random veins.
A protective gel coat is applied to cultured marble, which has a sheen similar to polished marble but lacks nature’s beauty and movement. Cultured marble has a plasticky appearance up close when compared to natural marble.
The surface of cultured marble countertops is entirely smooth, with no seams, grout lines, or caulk.
The underside of a cultured marble countertop will be a drab, homogeneous gray without any pattern.
At around ⅜” (2 cm), the edges of cultured marble are usually thin and come with a lip to prevent drips off the edge. It is possible to produce unusual patterns, but they are not generally produced.
Normally, the walls and floors of a shower are one solid piece. The walls may be molded as one huge piece. The wall panels are molded to include seats and shelves. All of the shower pan floor is molded together.
Colors and patterns may appear similar. On cultured marble, though, they will be flat and very consistent in appearance.
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How to clean cultured marble and real marble
Cleaning cultured marble is relatively easy – you can use a variety of different cleaners, as long as they are non-abrasive and pH neutral. Stone Care Marble Cleaning Spray is a great choice, as it is safe and effective.
Another option is Puracy cleaner. It’s important to protect the shine and gel coat of cultured marble, so using a product like Gel-Gloss Polish for Cultured Marble is a good idea.
Sealing marble helps prevent stains, but it’s not necessary with cultured marble as the gel coat is non-porous. However, staining can still occur from hair and food dyes.
Real marble is also easy to clean, but you need to be careful with the type of cleaners you use. Most common cleaners will dull and etch the marble finish, so it’s important to use specific marble cleaners.
Sealing marble is a good idea to help prevent stains, but cultured marble doesn’t require sealing. Heat can damage both types of marble, but real marble is more resistant to heat than cultured marble.
Repair options for marble countertops and cultured marble countertops
Both surfaces are repairable. However, marble repair methods are distinct from cultured marble restoration and do not overlap.
Many types of damage, including marble stains, scratches, etch marks, chips, and fractures can often be repaired with simple DIY techniques.
Cultured marble is made of resins, which can be sanded, buffed, and polished.
That said, cultured marble countertops cannot be repaired to look new. The best a cultured marble repair kit can do is make the surface look better than before the damage occurred especially if the gel coating has been removed.
Both materials can be repaired to nearly new condition if you call in a natural stone professional.
Final Thoughts On The Difference Between Cultured Marble and Real Marble
Cultured marble and real marble are two popular materials used in homes. Both have their own unique benefits and drawbacks. cultured marble is easier to clean and maintain, but it is not as heat resistant as real marble.
Real marble is more expensive, but its beauty and durability make it a good investment for some homeowners.
When deciding between the two materials, it is important to consider your needs and budget. cultured marble may be the better choice for some, while others may prefer real marble.
Ultimately, the decision comes down to personal preference.
Don’t forget you can call us anytime if you have any questions or concerns about how best to look after your natural stone countertops or floors.