Marble countertops are both classic and timeless. They bring a natural elegance to any room you furnish them with; a kitchen or bathroom, marble countertops furnish a room and do it well. They’re also highly heat resistant—ideal for kitchens and bathrooms, which traffic in all kinds of heated appliances and crockery. Nothing is foolproof, though, so how hot can marble countertops get before they’re too hot to handle?
The Short History of Marble
Since marble is a metamorphic rock, the answer is that your marble countertops probably handle more heat than you’d expect. Marble is formed from limestone and only changes under extreme heat and pressure. In fact, a crucial part of the metamorphic process subjects sedimentary rock, like limestone, to temperatures of up to 600 degrees Celsius—much higher than your average pot of boiling water.
The transformation doesn’t reverse; your marble countertops aren’t turning into limestone overnight because you forgot to use a coaster. That said, marble can liquefy when it contacts something too hot to handle. It resets afterward, but it will never be quite the same again.
How Much Heat is Too Much?
It doesn’t happen often, but it happens. The extreme heat needed to affect marble lies dormant in all kinds of unsuspecting kitchen and bathroom equipment.
You’ve invited people to dinner and thoughtfully set out ashtrays for those friends who smoke. But they only have to drop a cigarette butt on your marble countertop to do damage. Unlikely as it seems, the cherry-red core of a cigarette can reach temperatures of 700 C. That’s hotter than the magma that brought about the metamorphosis of the marble in the countertop now under slim, small, and definite threat.
Metal Baking Equipment
Just as marble countertops make for a beautiful work surface, certain baking projects necessitate incredibly high temperatures to succeed. Bread is a popular and obvious choice. While the average oven seldom exceeds 537 degrees Celsius, the bread baked at that temperature has a much higher internal temperature, and inevitably that gets translated to the pan or tray holding the bread.
Never set a bread-bearing dish straight from the oven on your marble countertop. Potholders, coasters, and even a reliable cutting board will avert potential damage, keeping your marble countertops clean and cool for future use.