First, what’s an etch?
Have you ever noticed rings on your marble countertop? These rings are called etches. An etch is not a stain. It is an actual changing of the stone itself, like a scratch. It’s not really a discolouration; but rather a dulling of your marble’s surface. This is why it often appears lighter than the natural stone’s colour.
In this post learn why marble etching occurs and how to prevent it from happening to your beautiful marble surfaces.
Why do etches occur?
Marble is a fairly soft stone. It is prone to etches because of its calcium carbonate makeup. Acid reacts with calcium carbonate and literally eats away a tiny bit of the stone’s surface, creating etches. Any splash of lemon juice, any drippy jar of tomato sauce, is going to leave a subtle mark on your polished marble countertops.
Common household liquids that can be responsible for marble etching include bleach, citrus, citrus-based products, alcohol and alcohol-based products, sodas, ink, rust, urine, coffee, cooking oils, and hand lotions… to name a few.
Marble etching can significantly reduce the appearance of your marble; from certain lights and angles, the rings on your marble countertop are more visible. Etching differs from a stain in this way, as you can only notice them when the light is right or when standing at the right angle.
How to prevent marble etching?
The only way to prevent marble etching is to prevent contact of acidic or caustic liquids and cleaners with the marble surface. Treat marble like you would a fine wood finish. Use coasters and cutting boards.
Let’s face it, even if we are super careful, accidents do happen. If you spill something acidic on your marble countertop make sure to clean it up immediately. These deficiencies can appear a mere seconds after spilling something!
We recommend using the R-311 Countertop Cleaner to clean up spills, and for daily cleaning and maintenance.
We also recommend professionally sealing your marble surfaces every 3-5 years depending on wear and tear. Sealer can help protect the natural stone and usually gives you a slightly larger window of time after spilling something before the damage is done.
If you notice marble etching has occurred even after cleaning up the spill, then you’ll want to explore our removal suggestions below.
How to remove marble etching?
The following are some basic first steps and links to further resources on how to remove marble etching from your marble surfaces:
- Before attempting any repairs, make sure the etch is not a stain. This is an important distinction to make as etches and stains get treated differently on marble surfaces. For more information on the difference between a stain and an etch, read more here
- If your marble is etched then check out the Marble Refinishing Kit. This DIY solution offers a simple 3-step process for removing rings, watermarks and small scratches from your marble surfaces to restore the natural stone to its original polished look. It works great for smaller surface area etches of 9 sq ft or less. For more information on how to use the kit read more here.
- If the etches cover a larger surface area of 9 sq ft or more then you’ll want to call in the experts! The Marble Clinic is happy to set up a free, no-obligation consultation. Please include photos of your marble etchings, scratches, or stains with your message so we can best serve you.