How to Cut & Polish Marble Countertops

A marble counter top---with its luster, rich color and variations---adds beauty to your kitchen or bath.

Cutting the Counter top

The beauty of marble countertopsThe beauty of marble countertops
If you're installing the counter top yourself, you may need to cut it to size, and with the proper tools, the task is fairly easy. The best way to cut marble is with a circular saw, which you can rent if you don't have one. Cutting marble will cause it to lose its smoothness and shine, so it will be necessary to polish the face of the cut. The polishing method described here can also be used for scratches or etched areas on your counter top. You'll find most of the supplies you'll need in your home or the local hardware store.

Put on your safety goggles. Put on gloves if you are using them.

Make sure the marble counter top is fully supported on a workbench or table.

Measure the distance from one edge to where you want to make the cut. Mark the measurement with the pencil. Be sure to draw a full line across the counter top.

Strap or tape the straight edge along the measured mark. This will act as a guide for the saw when you make the cut.

Place the saw in line with the cutting mark.

Turn on the saw and make one pass with the saw across the cutting mark, following the straight edge, to score the marble. (Scoring is a very shallow cut used as a guide for the saw.)

Make several more passes, cutting approximately one-quarter inch deep with each pass. The number of passes required to cut through the marble will depend on the thickness of your counter top. Be sure to push slowly or the blade may gum up and crack or chip the marble.

Follow through with the final cut until the extra piece of marble is removed. Turn off the saw.

Polishing the Counter top

Sand the cut edge lightly with 120-grade sandpaper. Sprinkle some water over the edge as you sand to reduce the abrasion. You will move to progressively finer sandpaper, so don't over-sand at this stage.

Sand the cut edge with 320-grade sandpaper. You can continue to sprinkle it with water. At this stage, the roughness from the cut should begin to disappear.

Sand the cut edge with 1,000-grade sandpaper. Polish until the edge is smooth and shiny.

Rinse the edge with clean water and a clean sponge. Repeat as necessary to remove all grit.

Dry thoroughly with a clean dry cloth, and then buff with another chamois or clean, dry, soft cloth for a final polish, using even circular motions.

Things You Will Need

  • Tape measure
  • Pencil or grease pencil
  • Circular saw with high-tooth carbide wood blade
  • Safety goggles
  • Gloves (optional)
  • Straight edge
  • Bucket filled with clean water
  • 120-, 320-, and 1000-grade wet-or-dry sandpaper
  • Non-abrasive sponge
  • Mild liquid dishwashing detergent
  • Dry soft cloths

Tip

  • Use several passes with the saw to cut the counter top. This will reduce the risk of the blade binding, which can cause cracks or chips in the marble.

Warning

  • A diamond saw blade can quickly become clogged when cutting marble.

About the Author

A writer for over 25 years, Linda Covella boasts a background in art, computers, business and restaurant reviewing. She holds degrees in art, mechanical drafting, manufacturing management and a Certificate for Professional Technical Writing. She has a Bachelor of Science from San Jose State University.