Frequently Asked Marble Questions
If you're considering marble for your kitchen, bathroom or remodeling project, we have answers for the most common questions people have about the stone. If you have other questions, you can email us or reach out on Facebook.
- Does marble have to be sealed?
Marble is a porous material, which means it has pores, or tiny holes in the makeup of the stone that air and liquids can be absorbed into. This can be a problem in kitchens, where spills are common. So generally speaking, yes marble should be sealed. How often depends on the stone and sealing process.
When your mable is installed, you'll receive information about the proper sealing methods for your specific product. Typically you can seal marble yourself, the process usually involves spraying on the sealing agent and then using a soft cloth to rub it in.
Also note, because sealers wear over time, it is important to clean up spills quickly. If the sealer in an area has weakened, food and liquids can penetrate the stone which can can permanent stains, discoloration and etching.
- What is Etching?
In Marble, etching is a corrosive chemical reaction that occurs when an acids interact with the stone. Specifically, marble's calcium carbonate reacts, and is eaten away. This is not just a discoloration, but actual physical damage to the stone. Etching appears as dull spots on marble surfaces. Theses dull spots sometimes look like small stains, or water rings, but they go much deeper and are more difficult to repair. Unsealed areas could etch if lemon juice or other acidic foods penetrate the stone and remain long enough for this chemical reaction to occur. This is why etching is frequently a round shape, because it's often the result of a splash or the bottom of a container.
Etching is more noticeable on polished surfaces, but it does occur on all types of marble.
Etched marble can be repaired by a professional. Usually this means polishing or refinishing an area. For minor etching, there are some DIY products that do a good job of repairing or reducing the visibility of the damaged area. Be sure to check your manufacturer's recommendations before using any off-the-shelf products on your marble.
Please note, marble sealers do not completely prevent etching, so it's a good idea to clean up messes quickly, use trivets and coasters, and repair any damage before etching has a chance to occur.
- Can you put hot pots and pans on marble countertops?
Marble has a high heat tolerance, but you should not put extremely hot items directly on the stone. A pot or pan right off the cooktop for example, could cause a thermal shock that will crack the marble. Extreme heat can also cause a noticeable color change or minor burn mark on the stone. This is true of most natural stones. You're not likely to have an issue if you do put something hot on your marble countertop, but it is recommend that you let items cool down or use trivets and coasters to be safe. If you're looking for a stone with better heat tolerance than marble, try granite.
- What's the difference between polished marble and honed marble?
Polished marble is has a shiny, high-gloss look. It's very smooth and it's coating acts as a protectant. Honed marble is a flatter finish, it's less reflective. People often choose honed marble because it is less likely to scratch or etch. A scratch on a matte surface will usually be less noticialy than on a shiny finish. However, honed marble will be more susceptible to stains because the stones pores are closer to the surface. Both options are suitable for most applications, including use in kitchens and bathrooms.
- What's the best way to clean marble?
Use a non-abrasive dish soap and warm water. You'll want a pH neutral soap, as acidic cleaners can harm marble. Apply a thorough covering of the soapy water and scrub gently. Don’t use rough scrubbing cloths, just a soft towel.
The, use a fresh damp cloth to wipe away the soap. Repeat this step until all of the soap residue is gone.
After the countertop is completely dry, you can optionally use a soft chamois or microfiber cloth to give the marble a little polish. Make sure the countertop is completely dry, standing liquids (even water) can penetrate unsealed areas and cause etching.
There are also marble specific cleaning products and polishes available in stores. Make you’ve reviewed your stone manufacturer/installers guidelines for cleaning your specific stone before using a store bought cleaner.
- Does marble chip easily?
Marble is a softer stone than granite, quartz and many other natural stones. So yes, banging a pot or pan into the corner of your countertop could cause the stone to chip. The beauty and elegance comes with some sacrifices, one of those being you have to be a little more careful. While the stone is sturdy and often used in kitchens, chips are not uncommon. Luckily most chips can be repaired either with a DIY kit, or by a professional.