With the popularity of marble for countertops and floors, it’s high time some misconceptions about polishing, etching, fabrication, and care are put to rest. There’s a common belief that when certain things are spilled on countertops, leaving rings and other marks, that it’s actually a stain. Likewise, there are a lot of misconceptions regarding the polishing of marble, a lot of them incorrectly associating this polishing process with that done to things such as brass, wood, and other materials.
The truth of the matter is, marble isn’t polished in the same way that other materials are. Like other natural stone materials, the polishing of marble is achieved through the use of high friction industrial stone polishing machines. That is to say, the polish on a marble surface is not a layer of protective material, but rather the shape of the surface itself. Upon a very close inspection through a magnifying glass or microscope, you would actually see a lot of imperfections and even the most glossy of marble surfaces.
This misunderstanding can lead to further problems, as there are in fact several different types of finish that can be applied to marble. One of the most common finishes is called home, and it actually has a slightly taller appearance than the glossy look of many countertops. This is, in fact, intentional, and is not the result of wear and tear, or the diminishing of a polished finish.
This honed finish is more common on floors, where the slippery nature of a glossy finish could actually be hazardous, and far more susceptible to the damage of foot traffic. Mistaking this honed finish for a doll appearance has resulted in a lot of dangerous experiments in homes where people have tried to apply waxes, and other finishes and polish is not intended to be applied to natural stone. It has also resulted in a lot of etching are people trying to bluff the dullness out to achieve a glossier appearance.
So, we come back to the issue at hand. When rings or stains appear on marble, it is not actually a stain at all. This is called etching, and it’s the result of acidic materials actually eating away at the surface of the marble. Natural stone like this doesn’t actually absorb anything, therefore there is no actual staining occurring.
When this happens, and people don’t fully understand the nature of polished marble, they often try to remedy this by applying stain removers, and various multipurpose polishes which simply don’t work. In fact, many of these can actually be more corrosive to the exposed etching of the marble, worsening it significantly.
Fortunately, there do exist many DIY kits they can be employed to fix these etching problems. Some of them involve mild sanding and the use of very specific types of polish purposed for restoring marble.
So, what can we walk away from this with? First, we can remember that a more dull appearance in marble is not necessarily a bad thing, as these honed finishes are intentional, as something that is less of a slipping hazard and easier to maintain. Second, we can remember that when we do get parent stains, this is actual structural damage to the marble which must be repaired with very specific tools and resources. Never apply general-purpose polishes or waxes to your marble surfaces.
To learn more about the marble polishing process, and how to prevent and remedy etching issues, fill out our contact form below or call us today. There’s a lot more to this and were happy to share our knowledge with you.