Marble table tops have been more popular in the hospitality industry nowadays. Marble is a beautiful, tactile natural material; it is resistant to heat and it can also be reasonably priced if chosen carefully. It has a satisfying cold feel and comes in a variety of styles, each with its own distinctive appearance.
Marble table tops are accessible in a variety of standard shapes and sizes, as well as bespoke sizes and shapes. Almost all marble tops are 18mm depth (the standard thickness of cut marble sheets) and have a wide range of edge profile options.
As with any natural material, every marble table top will be unique – sometimes there are considerable differences between marbles even from the same quarry.
Because marble table tops are porous, they must be tightly covered (or lacquered). In use, they need to be carefully protected from staining, etching, and marking.
Marble edge profiles
There are many edge profiles such as bullnose edge, straight edge, etc. See more
White marble table tops
Most marble table tops in the hospitality industry are mainly white; most of that is Carrara marble which comes from Italy.
Carrara marble typically has milder, muted markings, often on a greyer background.
Arabsescato marble generally has more contrast between a whiter background and darker grey markings, but on a smaller scale than Calacatta.
Calacatta marble is also high-contrast, but on a larger scale than Arabsescato. It can sometimes also have a more ivory hue. Of the three, it is the most expensive and also the type with the greatest variety of patterns between tops.
Attaching marble table tops to bases
Marble table tops cannot be attached directly to table bases, which are normally connected together with screws. An attaching plate (usually of MDF or plywood) has to be glued to the underside of the top. These attaching plates need to be big enough for the ‘spider’ (ie. the top of the table base) but not so big that diners can see them. If the tables are used outside, the attaching plate must be made of a waterproof material (usually water-resistant MDF or marine ply).
Heavy tops, not least of marble, should not really be paired with a flip-top base; the mechanisms on the base are easily worn-out or broken as a result – they are also easily unbalanced.
What is Acid Etching?
Most hospitality operators will know well that table tops are vulnerable to chipping and staining. Etching is a further vulnerability particular to marble (and other stone) tops, caused by corrosive acids found in commonplace items such as wine, tea, coffee, fruit juice, mustard, and ketchup. Etching results in areas of the rougher surface, which have a ‘matt’ appearance, contrasting with the original glossier sealed surface. Often the color remains exactly the same. Using acid-based cleaning products such as hydrogen peroxide or bleach can also cause etching.
In our experience, it is nearly impossible to maintain marble table tops in mint condition, especially if you want to avoid any sort of staining or etching. If your tops might suffer from coffee staining, which often appears as dark rings, consider a darker color marble, such as grigio carnival, which hides coffee stains better
Chipping and scratching
Marble is a brittle material that can suffer from chipping when tables are pushed together for bigger parties. The corners of square and rectangular tops tend to be more vulnerable than circular tops, and some ‘sharper’ edge profiles are more prone to chipping.
Clean marble tops with warm water and soap, liquid detergent. Avoid using sanitizers and similar products (including the popular D10 sanitizer) at all costs. All liquids should be wiped from tops immediately to avoid staining and etching.
Difficult stains (maybe ink, wine, and so on) can be carefully removed from white spirit. White spirit can also be used to remove grease and oil stains. We strongly recommend first testing the cleaning material on a non-visible area such as the underside of a table. It may be necessary to re-apply a stone sealer after deep cleaning, to recreate the original surface sheen.
We cannot over-emphasize the care that must be taken to keep marble table tops in good condition.