Maintaining Marble Countertops

Written by Josh McDermott

mcdermott remodeling taking care of marble countertopsAh, marble – the most luxurious of natural stones! Marble countertops have long been a status symbol for homeowners. Each slab is elegant and unique, and it can be a significant selling point when putting a house on the market. 

But if you want marble toppers in your kitchen, you should know how to maintain them. Marble, while being elegant and highly sought-after, is not exactly super durable. It needs care to keep it looking fresh and shiny. If you’re going to invest in a marble countertop, you should prepare yourself to invest a little effort as well. If you love the look, the time spent will be well worth it. 

Marble Has Its Pros and Cons 

Marble is prone to stains and discoloration that come from frequent use. No matter how well you care for your marble, it will, inevitably, start to show its age over time. Most will agree, it’s almost impossible to keep it looking pristine, especially in areas where you cook. If you’re looking for the “glass-half-full” perspective, the wear and tear add character to your countertop – it’s unique, and it has a story to tell! 

But regardless of the ‘beauty marks’ that come with use, there are simple ways you can care for your marble that fit easily into your cleaning routine. Proper care and careful maintenance will help your marble countertop retain its youthful glow for years to come. 

Seal It Real Good 

The first step to taking care of any marble countertop is to seal it. Marble is more porous than other stones, meaning it needs to be protected, so it doesn’t absorb stains or moisture. Once you’ve just purchased and installed your beautiful marble, it’s time to seal. It’s easy to do it yourself if you know how. 

mcdermott remodeling taking care of marble countertops

There are several different finishes for marble surfaces, including polished and honed. Polished will give you a glossy, high-shine look, while honed produces a more matte effect. However your marble countertop is finished, you need a sealant specific to that particular finish. 

You can buy a penetrating sealant at almost any local hardware store for under $50. Clean your countertop with water first and then let it dry completely before applying the sealant. Read the instructions on the product thoroughly, as not all application methods are the same. The seal should last about a year if applied properly. You’ll know it’s time for reapplication when you notice that water no longer beads on the surface. 

Routine Cleaning and Care 

The sealant will protect your countertops, but it can only do so much. You should be cleaning your marble daily by wiping it with a soft cloth, water, and gentle cleansers such as dish detergent. Avoid cleaning with harsh chemicals, as they can strip the sealant right off, making your countertops more susceptible to stains and etching. 

Use large cutting boards and coasters to prevent spills and rings. When spills do happen, wipe them up straight away, as they can absorb and stain the marble in less than 24 hours. 

The Deep Cleanse 

mcdermott remodeling taking care of marble countertopsAcidic substances like tomato juice, vinegar, citrus, and even coffee can leave dull-looking marks called etchings on your marble. If etchings or deep stains do appear, it is possible to get rid of them with a bit of elbow grease and good luck. Break out the more aggressive cleaners like Ajax, bleach, or polishing powder and use an abrasive sponge. These agents will remove the sealant, allowing you to get down to the stain on the surface. 

Once you’ve done this, the de-sealed area will look shinier than the rest of your countertop. You’ll have to remove the rest of the sealant the same way. Let it sit and dry, then reapply the sealant over the entire surface. 

When it’s Time To Call In the Pros 

If all else fails, it may be time to bring in the cavalry. Professional stone refinishers can remove etchings and heavy stains with industrial-grade grinders or fine-grit sandpaper. If you feel up to it, you can even use fine-grit sandpaper to buff out nicks and blemishes yourself. As before, just reseal the marble once you’re finished the job. 

If you really can’t get those stubborn stains out, you might just have to get used to them. Think of it this way; marble countertops show the character of the homeowner. Like a person, they have flaws and quirks that make them unique. And often, you may be the only one that notices them. 

To learn more about marble countertops, reach out today. Our design-build team brings almost three decades of renovation experience to the table, and we’d love to show you how we can help.  

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