Marble has a refined, timeless feel. Cultured marble, which is marble that has been engineered or manufactured, rather than quarried from natural deposits, allows homeowners everywhere to enjoy the essence of this fine stone. Technological advances in the creation of cultured marble has rendered it barely distinguishable from natural marble. When living in a home with a previously existing marble countertop, make sure you know whether or not the makeup is natural or manmade stone. Differences between the two may dictate different methods of maintaining or refurbishing your countertop.
Look at the patterns of the stone grain throughout the countertop. Natural marble's grain lacks regularity and has an organic feel. The crushed stone and pigments of cultured marble are mixed uniformly into resin, making the finished grain appear more consistent.
Examine the countertop thoroughly for cracks or chips. Cultured marble does not crack like natural marble; it chips much less easily. Look on the surface as well as the underside of the countertop overhang for signs of chipping.
See if any stains exist anywhere on the countertop. Real marble is porous and easily stained when not properly sealed. Cultured marble is nonporous, thus it rarely stains.
Attempt to drill a hole in an inconspicuous, finished spot on the countertop using a drill with a wood bit. Do not drill into an unfinished underside, as drilling may chip cultured marble in that area. Upon drilling, a hole will begin to form in cultured marble with a regular drill bit, whereas natural marble requires a special diamond or masonry drill bit to bore a hole.