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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 marble 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 counter tops?

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 is 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 noticeable 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.

Then use a fresh damp cloth to wipe away the soap. Repeat this step until the entire 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.

Why does marble turn yellow?

White marble can turn yellow or brown when the stone is directly it is exposed to water for long periods of time, or if the stone is penetrated by harsh chemicals, including bleach and acids found in some foods and household cleaners. The yellowing usually happens because iron in the stone oxidizes. If the seal on the marble has weakened or worn, water and other chemicals can reach the stones surface and absorb into the pores, which causes the discoloration.

Yellowing and discoloration can also be caused if the marble is not cleaned properly. Some cleaners, polishes and waxes that are not designed for marble can leave a build-up that will cause the stone to turn yellow.

In most cases the stone can be repaired. It is suggested that you contact an expert for these repairs.

What's the difference between marble and granite?

Granite and Marble are similar in many ways. They are both natural stones, and except for very high-end applications they are close in price. The main difference between marble and granite for many people is simply the look. Marble offers a classic, elegant look that is hard to match. It is one of the lightest and brightest natural stones available.

Can you cut directly on marble countertops?

No. Marble can be scratched. Even sealed marble should not be cut on as any damage to the sealer can allow liquids and food to reach the stone’s surface and pores. This can cause discoloration, etching and damage to the stone. Always use a cutting board with marble countertops.

How far can marble overhang cabinets?

It depends on the thickness of the stone and how much stone is fully supported. Typically, any overhang more than 10 inches will require support.

What do I need to do in order to care for and maintain my new countertops?

Using coasters under glasses and placing hot items on trivets or pot holders will help to keep your natural stone looking like it did the day it was installed. Many food items and drinks may contain acids that could etch or dull your stone. Countertops should be cleaned with a mild liquid dishwashing detergent and warm water. Do not use any household cleaning products, as this may break down the sealer on granite and may actually damage the surface of marble, limestone, or travertine.

What is the difference between Quartzites and Granites?

Granite is an igneous rock found more abundantly than quartzite, deep in the earth’s crust, providing the base for the many continents’ sedimentary rock. Quartzite consists of a larger volume of quartz than granite—under heat and pressure combined, quartzite is formed from sandstone and quartz, and depending on the amount of pressure to which it is subjected, empty grains of sandstone are stuffed with quartz. This means quartzite is actually harder than granites—on the Mohs scale of hardness from 1 to 10, with 10 being the hardest, granite measures in at around 6-6.5, and quartzite measures in at approximately 7.

What is the difference between marble and granite?

Most of the time, marble and granite can be identified by visible particles at the surface of the stone. Marble has veining, and granite has a flecked or granular appearance. Natural stone is categorized into two general categories according to its composition: Siliceous stone is composed mainly of silica- or quartz-like particles and tends to be very durable and easy to clean. Included in this category are granite, slate, and sandstone. Calcareous stone is composed mainly of calcium carbonate. It is sensitive to acidic cleaning products and frequently requires different cleaning procedures than siliceous stone. These types of stones include marble, travertine, limestone, & onyx.

Will my stone have visible seams?

Most stone installations will require a seam. During design & layout, you can work with your fabricator to try to minimize the number of seams and to locate them in a less conspicuous area.

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