What is Marble etching and how to prevent it

Here at Euro Marble, we’re often asked about etching on marble. Our customers ask us what it is, what causes it and if it can be prevented and/or removed once it’s occurred. As a result, we decided to put together this article to answer the questions we’re commonly asked.

What is etching on marble?

Marble etching is physical damage to the stone, generally caused by the marble coming into contact with certain substances containing acids including coffee, citrus, wine, tomatoes, alcohol and juice. This is different to a stain as etching is actually a corrosive reaction in the stone, which removes its surface layer to reveal the raw marble beneath. Think of it as burning the top layer of the marble. As a result, the exposed area is lighter and duller than it previously was. A stain on the other hand, occurs when a liquid penetrates the marble and causes discolouration within the stone.

Can Etching Be Prevented?

The good news is that there are many ways to reduce the likelihood of your marble becoming etched. These include the below:

  • A quality marble sealer is recommended to reduce the porosity of the stone meaning quickly wiped spills are less likely to etch the stone.
  • As per the previous point, if an acidic substance does come in contact with your marble, be sure to clean it immediately with a clean, damp cloth.
  • A honed surface is less susceptible to etching than a polished finish. If you are using natural stone in an area where it’s very likely to come into contact with acidic substances such as a high-traffic kitchen benchtop, consider a honed finish for your natural stone to reduce the visibility of etching.
  • Use coasters and chopping boards to prevent food and drink coming into direct contact with the marble wherever possible.
  • Be careful what you use to clean your natural stone as many multi-purpose cleaning sprays are acidic. We recommend using a cleaning spray specifically made for treating natural stone.

Can Marble Etching Be Reversed?

Unfortunately, it’s very difficult to reverse etching on marble once it has occurred as it’s a chemical reaction. There are certain polishing products you can use but it will never be as good as new unless you hire a natural stone professional to sand down the entire surface and re-finish it. Prevention is easier than a cure when it comes to etching and natural stone!

Here at Euro Marble, we’re one of the leading providers of Italian marble and many other types of natural stone here in Australia. Drop by our Sydney showroom, or call or email us today to discuss your individual natural stone requirements!

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