Marble Countertop Maintenance
With marble, French Limestone, onyx, and other calcium based stones becoming very popular for countertops, vanities, and vertical surfaces, the need for a comprehensive maintenance program is imperative.
Calcium based materials are very chemically sensitive. Of course because they are also much softer on the Mohs Hardness scale, they scratch more easily as well. Knife steel is about a 6.5 on the hardness scale and marble is between 3-4. Therefore by choosing one of these materials for a kitchen countertop or any other preparation surface, bathroom vanity, or shower, it becomes inevitable that restoration will eventually become necessary. In fact, periodic surface restoration will necessarily be routine if the surface is to be maintained, especially if polished.
Polished and higher honed surfaces will require the highest maintenance. This is because they will show etching and scratching the most. Low honed surfaces show fewer chemical and mechanical attacks. Of course the reason that polished and high hone surfaces are chosen is because they better show the colors of the stone. Also, shiny is what many customers associate marble with.
Customers choose marble and limestone because it is very ornate or “chic”. Fabricators sell it because they sell what the customers want. Many times customers become baffled or even angry by the quick deterioration of the surface due to the first tomato that is cut or orange juice that is spilled. Virtually every food and drink we consume has a pH value in the acidic range, along with products used in the bathroom as well. That, in combination with cutting, produces etches and scratches on the delicate surface. Showers tend to collect mineral deposits and soap scum around faucets.
That is where the restoration professional comes in to diagnose, fix, and prescribe the proper care and maintenance for the problem. Repairing the surface can be the easy part. Educating the customer to help them avoid or certainly delay the same problems from reoccurring as quickly is the hard part. The customer should be taught that spilled beverages need to be wiped up as soon as possible and the use of a good cutting board should be implemented. Showers should have a squeegee mounted in a handy location and it should be used routinely to help avoid buildup of conditioner and soap scum.
Use of a premium oleophobic impregnating sealer is highly advised on all natural stone, especially on honed surfaces. This will help retard the penetration of all foreign liquid contaminants. Grease, oil, and even acidic spills will be repelled (but not stopped 100%). Impregnators will not stop acid etching completely but can keep them close to the surface for easier repairs later. The surface should be re-impregnated when the surface no longer causes water to bead satisfactorily. I personally like the newer Majestic Low Odor Solvent Based Impregnator, as it is easy to work with and doesn’t produce offensive fumes.
Maintenance should be conducted with either Majestic No-Rinse Neutral Cleaner, Stone Soap, Stone Plus, or Conditioning Treatment and Polish. Of course it depends on whether the finish is honed or polished.
For polished surfaces, I recommend the Majestic No-Rinse Neutral Cleaner or Majestic Stone Plus. They can be purchased in a RTU (ready-to-use) formula or in concentrate. Both of these products are safe for all hard surfaces that water can be used on such as marble, limestone, onyx, glass, granite, quartz, etc.I suggest keeping them in a spray bottle, for easy routine use.
Use of the Majestic Conditioning Treatment & Polish will give some shine to dulled countertops and vanities while providing additional protection. It will not repair the polish, just simply enhance it.
Now for some light restoration procedures you can do at home. If the surface is honed, use of a 3” diameter 200 grit to 400 grit diamond impregnated pad should be sufficient for removing light etching and scratching. Simply start with the 200 grit pad and some water (wet sanding) and work the area for a minute or two. If that is sufficient, stop here. If the hone level is too low (still too dull), use the 400 grit pad and cover a slightly larger area feathering out to blend.
If the stone is polished, first try the Majestic Etch Remover product to remove light etching and scratches. This product is the same type product used at the factory to achieve a high polish on marble and similar stone. Make sure the Etch Remover is well mixed then wet the area to be polished with clean water, apply a teaspoon to the area or a soft micro-fiber cloth and begin polishing in a circular motion. Polish for a couple of minutes while keeping the compound wet. Remove the Majestic Etch Remover with squeegee and/or wet cloth. Buff any remaining residue with a soft dry cloth. Evaluate and repeat process, if necessary.
Of course you may need a professional contractor to do a full restoration on your project. Contact one of the Pros at sccpros.com for assistance in your area.
Once your surfaces have been restored to their original condition, or as close as possible, begin maintenance with the above approved products. As always, I have to close with the importance of partnering with a good distributor of quality products and technical support. It is essential for a contractor’s success. Call or email Stonecare Central for technical assistance at 800-342-4533 or email@example.com.