Cultured Marble

Cultured Marble is a matrix that consists of polyester resin, an activator (catalyst), limestone filler and pigmented color. These elements are mixed together to achieve a consistent blend that is poured into a mold. A chemical reaction is initiated by the activator to cause the resin to polymerize and harden which bonds the entire composite matrix together in a hard mass.
Cultured marble bathroom vanity
After several hours of chemical curing, the part is removed from the mold and ground, trimmed and polished. Cultured Marble is a seamless contructed product and thus the bowls and the backsplashes are integral into the deck of the top.

Cultured Onyx is similar except that in lieu of the limestone filler, a mineral base filler that has a translucent quality is substitued. Cultured Granite uses a crushed polymer filler to produce a granite like surface appearance.

Cultured Marble type products are poured into fiberglass, resin or stainless steel molds that have the mirror image of the finished product. Before the mixture is pured into the mold, it is carefully cleaned and then sprayed with a thin layer of a clear gel coat material that is 20-25 millimeters thick.

Cultured marble products have a protective layer of clear gel coat which provides the bright, shiny or matte surface of the vanity top.
Cultured marble bathroom vanity
The gel coat surface acts similar as a veneer on a piece of furniture. If this veneer is kept in good condition, all is fine. However, as this gel coat veneer inevitably wears, the product will deteriorate. This surface is susceptible to scratches as well as a condition known as Thermo Shock.

Thermo Shock occurs when there is a consistent change in termperature to the product. As the gel coated surface expands and contracts at a slightly different rate than the substrate, a “crazing”, the development of tiny hairline cractks, can occur around the drain. There are no repairs for this condition and the product must be replaced. Film Based Cultured Marble A newer phenomenon in the industry is the utilization of a plastic photographic film that is layed into the mold after the gel coat surface is applied. These films are typically photographs of various natural stones. The top layer is a clear gel coat layer followed by a thin piece of film that has the appearance of a natural marble or granite. This is then followed by the substrate mixture which is typically a limestone filler mixed with polyester resin. The film takes the place of the colored pigments in the mixture. Although the appearance can be quite nice, the inherent limitations with cultured marble such as heat limitations, burning, and the susceptibility of scratching remains the same.