Marble is a popular choice for counters and flooring in homes and businesses due to it’s beauty and available hues and veining. Sadly, most who have marble installed soon start to regret their decision. Marble can be a fickle beast and must be maintained properly to avoid serious headaches. Of course, when we talk about marble, you can also include limestone and travertine as they have similar properties.
Below are the top 10 mistakes people make that can cause costly repairs.
- Setting wine bottles on the counter – wine is acidic and even professional bartenders can leave a small drip on the lip of the bottle that gravity pushes down the outside and eventually to your counter where it will sit and etch your marble, leaving a reminder of that wine bottle.
- Not using coasters for EVERYTHING – even if you have a freshly washed glass with nothing but ice water in it, you are not safe. All dishwasher soap can leave an invisible (or some not so invisible) residue on your dishes and most have an acidic quality in order to help break down the food particles. When the condensation on your glass drips onto your marble, it brings that residue with it and leaves an etch.
- Food prep – what you are cutting and what you use to cut them on – many foods are acidic, including but not limited to tomatoes, lemons, limes, fruits and most meats. If the juices from these foods or the food itself sits too long on your marble, they will etch. Using a stone cutting board can scratch your marble. To avoid, place a towel between your cutting board and your marble and clean area immediately, blotting up any spills (NO WIPING!) and using a pH neutral cleaner to neutralize the acid.
- Make-up, hair products, lotions and perfumes – all these products if spilled, sprayed or left sitting on marble can etch or stain the marble. To help avoid these problems, use a tray to set the products on and blot up any spills or over-spray immediately (Again, NO WIPING!).
- Toothpaste and hand soap – both can contain some type of acidic property that can, yet again, etch your marble. My kids are perfect examples for this. It doesn’t seem to matter the size of the sink, they always seem to spit and drip toothpaste all around the sink and leave a trail of hand soap dripping from nozzle to the edge of the sink. These can be difficult to avoid but using a pH neutral cleaner to neutralize the acidic properties can help.
- Leaving wet or damp towels, sponges or mops sitting on marble – marble is a very porous stone and even if sealed, will try to soak up every bit of moisture possible, leaving water marks or etch marks.
- Moving furniture and chairs – sliding anything across marble is a bad idea but many people do not consider dining room chairs getting pushed to and from the table or the slight movement of a couch, sofa or loveseat when sat on. If possible, use rugs under furniture and get felt sliders to place on chair legs.
- Welcome mats and entry rugs are a MUST – unless you require everyone to remove their shoes before stepping onto your marble floors, dirt will be tracked into your home and will dull and scratch your marble over time. Welcome mats and rugs placed in high-traffic areas will help reduce the damage.
- Watch those repair techs – yet again, there are many people who will see a floor or counter with natural stone and think they do not have to be careful on or around it – WRONG! When you have to call in a plumber, handyman, or electrician, make sure they do not place their tool bags or equipment on your marble because they will inevitably scratch it. Also, do not – I repeat DO NOT, let the repair tech stand/kneel/sit on your marble counters! They can not only get scratched by any buttons or metal on their clothing but can fracture or crack!
- “All natural”, home-made cleaners or even worse, big box store cleaners – this is, by far, the easiest to avoid. Simply read the ingredients! If the cleaner you are using has any type of silica/silicone, oil, vinegar, bleach, scent, or anything acidic, DO NOT USE IT! Baking soda on dark stone, NO! You may have seen it mentioned in other blogs on this site, but Stone Pro has some of the best, safest, GREEN cleaning products we have all tried. DRImarbleandstone’s sister company is a distributor for Stone Pro. His restoration company has tested and approved all these products and so have the rest of us; otherwise, we would not recommend them to you.
Have any other ways to mess up your marble that I didn’t mention? Have a question about why I said what I said? Let me know! We want to hear from our readers because your comments and questions are just as valuable as the information we post!