Does marble get wear and tear?
Natural stone is a popular choice for countertops, because it is beautiful, easy to clean, and low maintenance. In the past, granite has been the go-to option for countertops, especially in the kitchen. That said, marble is catching up and is now being seen in more and more homes.
When you think about marble, find out whether it’s natural marble or cultured marble. The latter is man-made, so it’s susceptible to more damage than organic marble, since it is infused with polyesters, marble dust, and resins.
Marble, like other forms of natural stone, is durable. It’s convenient in a kitchen because its cool surface helps to lower the general temperature. It’s easy to clean with a damp wash cloth and some soap, though there are a few caveats that you have to keep in mind.
The constituent element in marble is carbonate, which means it reacts with acids. While acidic kitchen products will not corrode marble surfaces too much, they can cause etching. Etching appears like a dull stain, and it can be hard to get rid of.
Depending on the colour and style of your marble, the etching may not be distinct. You can’t really see an etch in daylight, and even under artificial lighting, it can pass for part of the marble’s natural pattern. Of course, when the etch is in the shape of a glass rim, it’s harder to pass it off as marble veining.
The kinds of products that can cause the marble to etch include tomato sauce, wine, lemon juice, acidic spices, and even some cleaning products. When you choose the soap that you will use on your marble counter, read the ingredients carefully and avoid it if it has an acidic base. Lemony fresh is not a description you want for your marble countertops because you’re likely to end up with citrusy etching instead.
Marble does get scratches, but they’re easily taken care of. If the scratches are not very deep, you can rub them off with fine sandpaper. Be careful of the texture though, or you might end up scratching the marble more in the process. Steel wool helps with scratches too, but watch out for steel splints in your fingers. That’s never fun.
In terms of heat damage, marble is fairly resistant, though granite fares better. Of course, any surface can crack under extreme heat, so you might want to avoid placing a hot pan directly on your stone counter. Place it in the sink instead, or on unsealed concrete surfaces.
As you select the type of marble you’d like, think about your budget. You can get low-end or high-end marble, the range is quite wide and versatile. You can also choose a honed surface or a polished one. Polished marble has a glossy sheen, while honed marble has a softer, matte appearance. In terms of functionality, honed surfaces don’t show etches and scratches as clearly as polished marble countertops.
Another important factor in minimising wear and tear is to seal your marble. Sealing makes the surface less porous, which reduces the chances of etching and staining. If you do get stains on your marble, you can try leaving a baking soda paste on the stain overnight. It may not fade completely, but at least its appearance will be minimised.
Some people don’t mind a little etching on their marble. It gives the countertops some character and personality, and mapping the source of these markings makes a great conversation starter. The etching does fade with time though, and the longer you have your countertops, the less you’ll worry about it.
Marble should be sealed professionally, but it’s a good idea to do a home sealant top up every once in a while. It’s a pretty straightforward process. Just scrub it with some Comet and a mild abrasive pad. Remember that marble does scratch, so whatever you use on it must always be mild, whether it’s a kitchen scrubber or some liquid soap.
So … while marble is beautiful, durable, and stylish, it does submit to wear and tear from acidic substances, and it gets occasional scratches. That said, marble is a patterned stone, so etches and stains can easily be mistaken for a natural part of the countertop design. They add a touch of character to your kitchen and bathroom surfaces and they fade with time. Still, if you’d like to minimise their appearance and avoid them altogether, make sure your marble is well sealed, and refurbish it periodically to restore the sealant.