Cultured Marble vs. Real Marble: What's the Difference?

Cultured Marble vs. Real Marble: What's the Difference?

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!
If you would rather consult with a stone restoration professional, feel free to give us a call and we will be more than happy to assist 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.

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Reasons to Trust Marble Renovation
Reasons to Trust Marble Renovation

Best Maintenance Products For Stone Surfaces

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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.
David Smith Segarra
"We are a London-based family business with over 35 years experience, and passionate about natural stone. We specialise in marble restoration, providing personalised attention to detail for every customer. Based in Canary Wharf, covering all of Greater London. You can trust us for all your marble needs!"


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London, Canary Wharf

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
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
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.

Maintenance Tips For Natural Stone Surfaces

Marble Cleaning Tips
Reasons to Trust Marble Renovation
Marble Cleaning Tips
Reasons to trust marble renovation

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
about it.

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.

Real Marble
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.
Cultured Marble
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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Marble Cleaning & Polishing Services in London

We are a family-run business based in Canary Wharf, London, offering professional marble restoration services in the greater London area. With years of experience, our skilled team is dedicated to restoring the beauty and elegance of your marble surfaces to their original glory. Whether your marble surfaces are dull, stained, scratched, or damaged, we can provide a tailored restoration solution to meet your specific needs. Our services include cleaning, polishing, honing, repairing cracks and chips, and sealing to protect against future damage. 
Restoring a Concrete Countertop
If you would rather consult with a stone restoration professional, feel free to give us a call and we will be more than happy to assist you.

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.

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.
Kelson House, Stewart Street
London, Canary Wharf
E14 3JL
David: +44 (0) 7725 752 660
Andrew: +44 (0) 7894 834 255
Mon-Fri: 9:00AM - 7:00PM
Sat: 11:00AM - 6:00PM

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.

Further Reading: Marble Cleaning and Polishing Tips and Tricks

Discover the latest tips and tricks for marble cleaning and polishing, as well as other stone surfaces, by checking out the posts below. Our expert advice will help you maintain the beauty and durability of your stone surfaces for years to come. Whether you need to remove stains, prevent damage, or protect your surfaces from wear and tear, we have got you covered. Browse our posts now and discover practical solutions for all your marble cleaning and polishing needs, and more.

Marble Renovation

Marble Renovation is a family-owned business situated in Canary Wharf, London, with more than 35 years of expertise in stone restoration.
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