The Hidden Life of Marble

When we think of marble our imaginations often run wild with lavish kitchen work surfaces, grand hallways with marble flooring and staircases, and luxury vanity worktops.  But there are many more uses for this striking natural stone, and some are a little more unusual than others. So here are some typically lesser-known uses for marble.

Grand architecture

Thanks to its many unique properties, marble is often used in the construction of notable buildings around the world. For instance, the Taj Mahal (complete with domes and towers) was constructed between 1632 and 1653 from large slabs of glistening marble. This stone was chosen for its radiant colour, workability and grand aesthetics. It’s often said that when people want to make a statement, it is marble they turn to.

Acid neutralisers

Marble is composed of calcium carbonate, which means that it is very effective at neutralising acids. To turn it into a usable form, the highest purity marble is crushed to a powder, processed to remove impurities and then used to make medicinal products to treat acid indigestion. This powdered marble is also used to reduce the acid content of soils and streams.

Construction aggregate

Much of the marble that is mined is crushed, sized, then used as construction aggregate. This aggregate is typically the marble waste during the mining and processing stages. Adding marble to concrete mix improves the workability, compressive strength and permeability of the concrete.

Sculptures

As marble is a ‘soft’ stone, it is easy to sculpt. Some of the world’s most famous sculptures are carved from blocks of marble. The typically large calcite crystals of marble allow light to penetrate without great absorption, meaning it adds great depth to the stone that produces a soft “glow”. Marble can also be given a high polish finish which makes it an extremely fashionable material for grand, up-market features such as figurines, busts and even staircases.

Marble in the UK

One of the most notable marble structures in the UK is Marble Arch, completed in 1828. Built from Carrara marble, the design was originally intended for the main entrance to Buckingham Palace, however it was eventually moved to its current site by Hyde Park when the palace was extended in 1851.

Aside from Marble Arch, you may struggle to find many other substantial examples of the external use of marble in the UK.  This is because Great British marble use is rather restricted by geology—there just simply isn’t that much marble available to work with on these isles, so buildings and monuments tend to be constructed from other naturally occurring stones. Additionally, marble is not an ideal material for external use here in the UK due to the acidic nature of the environment.

However, you will find plenty of marble in the UK within people’s homes. There was an early boom in marble home features throughout the Victorian and Edwardian eras, when it was popular to use marble around fire places. Today, marble is a fashionable, and often a staple, material used around the home from internal floors, walls, kitchen work surfaces and Surrey marble vanity tops.

Marble at Mole Valley Masonry

Marble worktops add a timeless, elegant appeal to any home, and if properly cared for can last for many years. At Mole Valley Masonry our skilled craftsmen can produce exquisite marble pieces from bespoke designs, creating something that is both beautiful and unique.  So if you’re looking to upgrade your Surrey home with marble vanity tops or unique kitchen surfaces, please do not hesitate to get in touch.