Marble is a beautiful, classic material for countertops and adds a touch of high-end elegance to any home. However, marble does require care and maintenance to retain its character and charm. Understanding the maintenance needs of marble is the first step toward being successful at retaining its beauty.
Why Choose Marble Countertops?
Marble is natural, beautiful and every marble slab is uniquely colored and patterned. It is heat resistant and strong and as long as it's well supported by the structure of the cabinetry, it is unlikely to crack or chip. Marble is available in many natural colors, including gray, black, green and yellow, and it may have a dark patterned contrast or a more subtle veining. Marble can be honed or polished for a natural or shiny look. A honed finish may be less likely to show scratches, but it will be more likely to soak up liquids that can cause permanent stains. The high-gloss look of polished marble will bring out the beautiful colors and veining details, but it will be quick to show scratches and acid etching.
Scratches and Staining
Marble is very porous, susceptible to scratches and staining, and develops a natural patina as it is used. When used for kitchen countertops, marble can be affected by food, kitchen utensils, heat and water. Marble is easily scratched and will become etched if exposed to acids or harsh cleaning products. White is a popular countertop choice, but will also be the most likely color to show stains. Because of the potential marble has to scratch or stain, it is very important to use a quality marble sealant to protect it from damage.
As part of the maintenance process, the marble will need to be sealed with a penetrating liquid sealer. This is a process that will need to be repeated over the life of the marble dependent upon the manufacturer's instructions. The homeowner should expect to reapply the sealer annually or perhaps even more frequently. The sealer will soak into the pores of the marble and make it less likely that stains can occur, though it doesn't prevent them entirely. Sealing marble will also add water resistance to the countertop. The effectiveness of the sealer can be tested by putting a few drops of water on the surface of the marble; if it soaks in, the sealer may need to be reapplied. It is important to use the right type of sealer for your particular countertop, and for a kitchen countertop it will need to be non-toxic and food safe as well.
Daily Care of your Marble Countertops
• Wipe up spills immediately so they won't soak into the marble.
• Never use harsh cleaners or abrasive scrubbing pads.
• Mild dish washing soap and water can be used for cleaning with a soft towel or sponge.
• In the kitchen, protect the surface with cutting boards.
• Reseal the countertop as needed.
Marble countertops are a beautiful, practical addition to your home. With good choices about maintenance and daily care, your marble countertops will remain beautiful, useful and elegant for many years to come.