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What’s Cultured Marble?

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Cultured marble is – as you may have already guessed – much like everything else “cultured” in that it is somehow manufactured rather than cut straight from the Earth like its natural (naturally uncultured?) cousin.

But, why do they call it cultured? Does it have active ingredients, like yogurt? Does it involve organic processes like some kind of pearl? And how do they “culture” rocks, anyway?

Cultured Marble Composition

Cultured marble is not grown, of course, but mixed using a blend of polyester or acrylic resin, stone dust (that may or may not be marble) and a binding agent. The point of cultured marble is that it looks like marble, not that it is made of marble.

And, it does look like marble. In fact, the manufacturing process allows for a wide range of colors and patterns, although people often choose cultured marble (aka “solid surface”) that looks like the real thing.

Cultured Marble Advantages 

Affordable – It’s far more reasonably priced than real marble. Real marble is heavy, hard to quarry and rare when compared to the manufactured alternative. Marble is only found in certain locations around the world, whereas solid surface can be manufactured anywhere.

Durable – Cultured marble is actually more durable than real marble because it is nonporous and is sealed with a tough gel coat that makes it much harder to burn, scratch or chip.

Variable – As previously mentioned, cultured marble will provide more options for less money. True marble will often cost more if you’re not willing to take what is on offer, whereas you can have cultured marble manufactured to suit very specific needs.

Malleable – Cultured marble is very tough, but even so it’s “soft” in the sense that it isn’t as quick to scratch or chip as real marble due to its gel coat. The downside is that the rare chip may need professional attention, but scratches can be buffed out with relative ease.

Cultured Marble Disadvantages

It’s not marble. That’s really the long and short of it. Marble does have a certain look and feel, but it’s approximated well by solid-surface materials and can be difficult to spot if natural colors and patterns are used.

ATGStores.com hopes this info helps you make more informed choices about cultured marble and other solid-surface products.

The Silhouette Collection from Cutler Kitchen & Bath features fine Canadian craftsmanship in cultured marble and a variety of wood-grain colors.

Fresca's "Stella" vanity combines a cultured marble top with a ceramic basin for a very modern look.

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