Cultured Marble is a precise blend of polyester resin, catalyst, fillers and pigments that is thoroughly mixed and placed into open molds that have been coated with a clear gel coat. The gel coat is specially formulated to produce a tough, durable, transparent surface resistant to inservice wear. The manufacturer produces a unique range of colors, patterns, and veining.
The chemical reaction initiated by the catalyst causes the resin to polymerize and harden, bonding the entire matrix together in a hard, strong mass. After several hours of chemical curing, the parts are removed from the molds and trimmed, ground, polished and inspected. the parts are then ready for shipment and installation.
Cultured Marble is a manufactured product, and like natural marble, granite, etc., varies in shade and color. Other products such as carpet, wallpaper, and vinyl tile vary each time they are manufactured. Manufacturers refer to each "run" as a "dye lot."
The Advantages of Cultured Marble
• Beauty - Elegant, Luxurious appearance
• Durability - High strength, resistant to denting, chipping, abrasion and staining (with normal use and proper maintenance)
• Lower Cost - The casting process enables the manufacturer to produce cultured marble substantially lower than quarried marble
• Seamless Construction - Vanity tops can be cast in one piece (up to 12 feet in length) with integral bowls and back splash, minimizing seams
• Water and mildew resistant - Silicone is used to seal the seams, and it is much less likely to leak or mildew than ceramic tile installations that use porous grout. It is the responsibility of the homeowner to inspect and maintain all silicone joints. As houses settle and move, there is the opportunity for the joints to separate. This situation should be corrected as soon as possible so that more serious problems do not develop.
What Products can be made of Cultured Marble?
The list is endless, but the majority of cultured marble we sell is used for the following purposes:
1. Vanity Tops and Integral Bowls
2. Bath Tubs and Jetted Tubs
3. Bar Tops and Integral Bowls
4. Tub Surrounds
5. Shower Bases, Wall Surrounds, and Ceilings
6. Bath Flooring
7. Fireplace Facing, Hearth and Mantle
Care and Maintainance of Cultured Marble
Because of the hard gel-coat surface and non-porous surfaces, it resists staining. Care is very simple. Routine cleaning with a soft sponge or cloth or non-abrasive aerosol foam cleaner is all that is normally needed to give many years of trouble-free service. Harsh abrasive cleaners are neither required nor recommended.
Solid Surface Countertops
Solid materials, including stainless steel and man-made products such as Corian and wood, can be used for entire countertops. Sometimes solid materials are installed on just an island or other limited area in a kitchen with mostly tile or laminate countertops, for example, to provide a smooth surface for rolling dough or chopping.
In general, wood is not a good countertop material. It takes very high maintenance to keep sealed and dents easily without an easy fix. However, it's a fine choice to use in one area of the kitchen for chopping or to edge a countertop.
Stainless steel provides a commercial, sterile environment and complements many of the stoves, ovens and other cooking equipment so popular in high-end kitchens. Heavier gauges of steel are virtually indestructible; lighter gauges are suspect to dents. Stainless steel counters can also be quite pricey.
Solid-surfacing is a man-made material that's solid but can simulate the look and even feel of stone or marble countertops. Corian is a common name-brand that is popular because it's relatively easy to repair. Minor problems such as scratches, scuffs or stains on the counter can be easily removed with a sponge and a mild abrasive.