Marble countertops are the ultimate in luxury design; marble adds value to your home and beauty to your life. The very word conjures up associations with elegance, grace and beauty, such as that of the Taj Mahal, the Parthenon and Michelangelo’s David. For centuries, marble was only accessible to the very wealthy, but today’s technology has improved the efficiency of extracting and processing marble, making marble countertops, floors, walls and accents an affordable luxury for many Louisianans.

Unfortunately, many stone suppliers in the state display marble slabs in outdoor yards. This is the worst way to view fine marble, since glare from the sun or dust can distort the appearance of the stone. It’s far better to see the marble indoors where the light resembles that of your home. Dealing with heat and humidity can also be exhausting and draining. Choosing a countertop is an important decision; you’ll want to be comfortable, at ease and able to take the time you need to make your choice. Omni Surfaces, for example, maintains a 15,000 square-foot showroom in Lafayette that’s well lit and fully air-conditioned; this is the type of surroundings that you want when making a major purchase for your home.

Marble Basics

Before you head off to a marble showroom, it can be helpful to know a few facts about this extraordinary stone. Marble is a metamorphic stone that forms when limestone is subjected to tremendous pressure over a long period of time. The purest marble is white and composed mainly of calcite or dolomite. Impurities such as iron or carbon can get caught in the marble’s structure during formation. These incidental minerals give marble a wide variety of colors, from neutral to exotic.

Marble is quarried in large blocks, processed into slabs then shipped. You can choose a finish for your countertop and an edge, and your fabricator will cut the marble to suit your project. A marble countertop, when properly cared for, will last a lifetime and beyond. Marble is largely resistant to cracks, scratches and burns.

Hundreds of Choices

It’s the beauty of marble that is its true value. Marble reflects the light and appears to glow from within, lending it a depth that other stones simply can’t replicate.

Virtually any type of marble looks wonderful on a countertop, wall or floor. A classic Carrara marble from Italy is the kitchen countertop material we most often associate with the stone. Smooth white with soft grey feathery streaks, Carrara marble can have a honed surface, but is more often polished to a high gloss. Many people confuse Carrara with Calacatta, another Italian marble that’s white with grey veins. Calacatta tends to be whiter, with more dramatic veining, and it’s rarer than Carrara. Statuario has more distinctive veining that can range from grey to gold. Crema Marfil is a beige marble with cinnamon veining that originates in Alicante, Spain. Because this marble is highly sought after, there are many Crema Marfil lookalikes. Emperador is another Spanish marble that has a dramatic appearance; most varieties are dark brown with criss-crossing cream veining.

There are hundreds of varieties of marble, so you’re sure to be able to find the ideal marble slab for your home. Visit a marble showroom in Louisiana today and explore the beauty of marble.