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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Greensboro, NC
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    2

    Default How do we seal / protect our marble counters?

    We just finished a full kitchen reno a few months ago, and had "graphite" (dark grey with white veins) marble counters installed...and they look stunning! However, very soon after completion we began noticing very light colored spots all over the counters...after some trial and error we found this discoloring was coming from anything acidic, and that it was basically etching the counters!

    The counter installers warned us of general wear on the marble - which we can handle, because we feel it wouldn't look out of place in our 90 year old Craftsman bungalow...but this etching looks really bad!

    Does anyone know of a good protectant, polish, sealant, or anything that might keep our counters protected?

    Please Help!
    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Houston Texas
    Posts
    2,360

    Default Re: How do we seal / protect our marble counters?

    There are topical sealants you can use but there is nothing you can do to stop acids from doing their magic. You can't change the nature of natural stones. We always warn folks about the properties of marble, travertine, and Onyx but usually it falls on deaf ears.

    You can;

    1- Hover over the counters with a cattle prod

    2- Cover the marble with granite.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Greensboro, NC
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: How do we seal / protect our marble counters?

    Quote Originally Posted by HoustonRemodeler View Post
    There are topical sealants you can use but there is nothing you can do to stop acids from doing their magic. You can't change the nature of natural stones. We always warn folks about the properties of marble, travertine, and Onyx but usually it falls on deaf ears.

    You can;

    1- Hover over the counters with a cattle prod

    2- Cover the marble with granite.
    So...thank you for your sarcastic, and totally unhelpful comment...I specifically asked two different people at the counter company about the negatives of marble, and they both said "wear...scratches...dulling...etc". If I had been warned of this etching problem there's no way we would've moved forward with our choice.
    Does anyone out there have any constructive feedback?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Houston Texas
    Posts
    2,360

    Default Re: How do we seal / protect our marble counters?

    My apologies for using a bit of humor to help lighten your situation.

    The same advice still holds true as was stated in the beginning;

    There are topical sealants you can use but there is nothing you can do to stop acids from doing their magic. You can't change the nature of natural stones. The sealants will buy you some measure of time, but will not stop the eventual from happening.

    We hear this often when travertine / marble/ onyx becomes etched in a shower, a maid or a trying-to-be-helpful relative uses the wrong cleaning product, or someone forgets to attend to a spill. I have a growing collection of photographs. My main tile sales lady keeps a very large piece of Carrera marble on her desk, front and center, which all contracts are signed on. The marble is labeled and stained with all manner of common items; wine, mayonnaise, mustard, lipstick, cookie dough, jello, kool-aide. You can't miss the piece of marble, but yet folks still have the same complaint as you do, "Someone should have told us" There lies the dilemma. If a customer comes into a gun store and buys a gun, is it the responsibility of the gun store owner to warn the buyer of all potential hazards? Yes, the marble is stunning but it's still marble. It stains, chips easily, looses its shine in a few months, absorbs oils from meats and cheeses, it gets scratches from pots and pans, gets gouged from folks forgetting to use a cutting board, can get permanent rust stains from steel and iron objects placed on it such as cans, and then the kids get near it.

    Since most marbles are fairly porous, it should have been sealed with a quality water based sealant such as Dupont Bullet Proof.

    Should the slab folks have told you? That begs the question - do they know in the first place? Too many times sales people have never installed a tile in their lives, don't have marble counters at home, and earn a paycheck by moving product out the door. Rarely does a sales person ask where the tile is going, talk about expansion joints, floor deflection, waterproofing, tile gauges, grout joint size, grout selection, sealants.... As an experienced tile installer my house is covered in granite and still has the shine as it did when it was installed over a decade ago. We foster dogs, wear work boots inside, and aren't OCD about cleaning. The granite was chosen for its durability as well as the looks. Its the same reason you see granite and Silestone in hospital settings and not marble.

    I understand you're upset, but there isn't much that can be done at this point. You can try suing the place that sold you the marble, but I doubt you'll get very far and it certainly won't be worth the aggravation. You might be able to have the etched spots polished out but that will take an experienced hand, will leave depressions behind and will have to be re-done until you run out of money or get tired of having them stop by your house so often.

    Soapstone, if available in your area, may be an alternative if you can't find a granite you are happy with.
    Last edited by HoustonRemodeler; 10-27-2012 at 01:32 AM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    nova scotia, canada
    Posts
    1,522

    Default Re: How do we seal / protect our marble counters?

    from what i remember porous stone counters are supposed to be treated every 6 months with mineral oil which seals them and keeps them looking good.

    hopefully havanagranite will post in this thread as countertops are his specialty
    fire up the saw and make some dust

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