Bathroom Vanity Tops: Natural Marble vs. Man-Made Synthetic

Karen Mitchell has a situation which is quite rare; but, with elements that are uniquely common.

What would be extremely rare is if her bathroom vanity top and sink were made out of one solid piece of natural marble. What is more likely, is this one piece bathroom vanity top with sink is not natural marble. It’s man-made from synthetic materials to look like natural marble. In the industry, we call this cultured marble.

What is common to these cultured marble bathroom vanity sink combos is this: over time, the vanity section gets a build-up of scratches, it still retains its gloss look (soap, perfumes, other toiletries) don’t harm the gloss, cleansers containing abrasives will remove the gloss; the sink bottom near the drain typically stains, dulls, and cracks.

When you determine it’s time to replace the cultured marble bathroom vanity sink combo, we recommend replacing the vanity top with a piece of natural marble or granite and the sink basin can be replaced with porcelain, ceramic, mosaic, glass, or metal. If you choose to have a marble bathroom vanity top, we suggest installing an under mount sink basin instead of an over mount sink basin; because, it’s easier to refinish the marble vanity top if it gets damaged in the future.

If Karen Mitchell’s sink is natural marble, and stains near the drain are caused by metal oxidation leeching deep into the marble. This staining is usually yellow, orange, brown, or a mixture of these colors and because they are so deep in the stone, the staining is considered permanent. Sometimes a poultice can be used to draw out the staining and the discoloration will be reduced to varying degrees based upon the initial depth of the staining.

This article is in response to a request for help, submitted by Karen Mitchell, on 09/08/08.