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Category: Best Practices

How Often Should Marble be Sealed?

When should you seal marble?
Should you seal at all?

Simple questions. With a lot of different answers, and most of the answers are wrong! We’ve seen recommendations online that range from “never”, through “every three years”, right up to “every three months”! So, what’s a concerned homeowner to do?

Fortunately, there is an easy test you can do at home yourself, that will let you know almost immediately if it’s time to seal your marble or natural stone surface. It’s called “The Water Test“.

All you need is a teaspoon and tap water

  1. Place two teaspoons of tap water on the stone surface
  2. Allow the water to sit for at least 10 minutes
  3. Wipe off any excess water after 10 to 20 minutes
  4. Compare the surface where the water sat with adjacent areas that remained dry
  5. If the area where water sat is dark or still looks wet even after it’s been wiped down, your surface is too absorbent and needs sealing

liquid spilled on sealed and unsealed marble stone surface

Optional Second Test for Oil Absorbency:

Perform this test on surfaces regularly exposed to cooking or salad oils

  1. Using a cotton swab (Q-Tip), dab a small amount of pure mineral oil on the surface
  2. Let the mineral oil sit for about 15 minutes
  3. Wipe off any excess mineral oil with a clean, dry cloth
  4. If there is dark looking “stain” where the oil sat, the stone needs sealing
  5. Don’t panic! Pure mineral oil will evaporate like water, and won’t stain.

mineral oil for marble oil absorbency test

Was it time to seal?

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It’s Alive!

Marble is a natural material. It’s a living material.

Marble breathes. It ages. It changes over time. And it needs to be cared for, nourished, and preserved. Take good care of your marble and it will maintain its functional beauty for a lifetime.

Unlike plastics and most man-made materials, the surface of marble (and other natural stones) is porous. In sense, it breathes. Knowing that one simple fact, tells us that we need to treat our marble surfaces accordingly, and depending on where we have it installed.

On counter tops we are probably going to want a highly polished surface, and then to further seal that surface with a professional grade sealant.

On floors we will also want to protect our beautiful marble surfaces with a high wearing sealant. Otherwise, we risk having it stain whenever liquids spill on it.

On the other hand, we might want to look at different options for looking after our stone surfaces, perhaps only cleaning the natural open pored surface of a travertine wall. Although, travertine that is subject to wear, should also be sealed with a professional grade marble sealant.

 

Get to Know Your Stone

The first step in proper stone care and maintenance is to understand your stone’s geological classification and composition. Marble and other natural stone products are often quite different from each other. Sure, they all come from “rocks”, but not all rocks are created equal! Marble, granite, quartz, and other stones are products of millions of years of evolution. It is easier to care for your stone if you learn about its source and history.

Natural stone is categorized into three basic geological classifications by their respective formation processes: Sedimentary, Metamorphic and igneous. Additionally, stones in each category can be either Calcareous or Siliceous.

Calcareous stone
Composed mainly of calcium carbonate, a chemical compound commonly found in natural stone, shells and pearls. Calcium carbonate is sensitive to acidic solutions so mild, non-acidic cleaners are recommended.

Siliceous stone
Composed primarily of silicates, such as quartz, feldspar, mica, etc. as such, a siliceous stone is generally resistant to most acids found in kitchen settings, although acidic cleaners are still not recommended, as these stones may contain trace levels of minerals that are acid sensitive.

The following chart will be a helpful guide:

The Different Types of Stone in North America

The Different Types of Stone in North America

Learn More About the Care and Maintenance of North American Stone
from the Marble Institute of America

How to Remove a Marble Stain

Sometimes despite out best efforts to do everything right, and give our marble surfaces the care they deserve, something goes wrong. We gaze lovingly at our beautiful marble counter top—and—horror of horrors! A stain spot!

Do not panic. All is not yet lost.

It is possible to remove spot stains all by yourself. Here’s how.

  • Spread some poultice paste onto the stain.
  • Cover the paste with plastic wrap
  • Seal the plastic to the marble with painters tape
  • After the paste dries, usually overnight or about 24 hours, gently scrape the paste off
  • Repeat once more if the stain is still visible

If the stain is still there, or it’s too big or unwieldy to deal with on your own, we are here to help. Get in touch.

Take Good Care of Your Marble

Marble is a wonderful material. It looks great, and it is functional too. But like all good things, marble needs to be properly cared for to be at its best.

There are four important steps to keeping your marble surfaces in their best condition.

  1. Seal
    Well sealed marble helps to prevent staining, and keeps liquids from soaking into the stone. Spill a bit of clean, clear, water onto your marble counter top or floor. If it doesn’t bead, it’s time to seal it.
  2. Protect
    Care for marble just as you would care for a fine wood finish. Be sure to use place mats, coasters, and trivets, and avoid placing food or drink containers directly on the marble surface. Marble is especially sensitive to anything acidic. Vinegar, tomato juice, orange, and other citrus fruits and juices will actually etch marble.
  3. Keep it Clean
    Use a damp cloth or sponge, or use a product specifically designed to clean marble. Never use acidic cleaners or abrasive cleaners. Vinegar might work fine on your windows, but can ruin your nice marble finish!
  4. Remove Stains Immediately
    You can do it carefully yourself using poultice paste, but we recommend calling in an expert to do it for you.

Have questions? Not sure what to do about a problem you’re having with your marble floor or counter top? We’re here to help! Get in touch

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