Dark Emperador Marble Tile on Kitchen Countertops

by Rachel L.
(Allen, TX)

QUESTION:

We would like to use Dark Emperador marble tiles to tile our kitchen counter tops. I realize that there are some downsides to marble in the kitchen, but I think that a good sealer and the dark tile might make those concerns less of a problem. What do we need to know about using 12 x 12 marble tiles for this area? Thank you in advance for your tips and advice.


ANSWER:

Dark Emperador is typically sold as a marble or limestone because that's what it looks like, but it is a different stone called dolostone.

It still has some calcite which is reactive with acids, but typically Dark Emperador is not as sensitive to acids as most marble.

Sensitivity to acids is the main draw back with marble in the kitchen. You'll end up with a bunch of dull discolored spots on your countertop.... and the darker the marble the more noticeable these spots are.

Sealing has NOTHING to do with etching and sensitivity to acids. The ONLY thing a sealer will do is add some protection against staining, but.....

It's a mute point with Dark Emperador since it is too dense and non-pourous to seal anyway... thus it won't stain easy either. And I mean it cannot be sealed. If you apply sealer "just to be safe" all that will happen is the sealer will dry on the surface leaving a dull haze that you'll have to strip off.

Dark Emperador in the bathroom... great. In the kitchen... it's still dicey. I recommend that you test a few of the tiles to see how reactive to acids (lemon juice) they are.

If the test shows the tiles will etch, then I wouldn't put it in your kitchen because NOTHING will keep the countertop from etching and leaving dull spots from soda, juice, fruit, coffee, alcohol, salad dressing, mustard and a whole bunch of other acidic foods that will inevitably contact the tiles.

Now, etching on polished marble countertops and floors can be easily and effectively repaired using the ETCH REMOVER / Marble Polishing Paste.

For honed marble, there isn't a product that will can match the rest of the finish, so you'll have to follow the procedure in the Removing Etch Marks e-book.

If the sample tiles don't etch... go for it!

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Dark Emperador
by: Rachel L.

Thank you for that info. We will certainly do some testing to see if the Dark Emperador tile can stand up to our family's use. Would the characteristics of the stone be different if we decided to install a Dark Emperador island that was one large piece as opposed to the tile? I didn't know if the large pieces were treated or quarried differently to change some of the care of the stone.


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Dark Emperador Slab vs Tile
by: Ryan

Rachael,


No... tile or slab usually makes no difference except sometimes a slab may be "resined" which will afford a bit more protection, but not prevention.

Most stone varieties and colors have well-know characteristics, but since each slab/tile is unique it's always best to test to make sure it's the right stone for the intended use.

Ryan

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hate this floor
by: lisa

I put dark emperador tiles down on my hall kitchen and bathroom floor.I loved them when they were put down first they were so glossy but after about 2 months they started to go dull, i have spent a fortune on products to try to get them back to the original way but to no avail, i have hired buffers steamers and whatever else you can imagine,If i had the money i would take them up and replace them because i hate them now cause they never look clean......

Lisa,

Sorry to hear you've had some troubles with your new floor. That is very frustrating. However, the only thing that would make newly installed polished marble floors go "dull" is by using the wrong cleaning product.

Most likely an acidic or too alkaline cleaning product was used on the floor. Such products will "etch" the polish.

In other words, harsh chemicals will react with the marble and corrode the surface eating away the polished layer exposing the more dull raw marble.

No cleaner, buffer or steamer can "bring back" the polish on a large area that has been severely etched. In fact it may only make it worse.

You will need to have the floor professionally re-polished and then learn how to take care of marble properly. Unfortunately it sounds like you were not educated about the nature of marble prior to installation.

Check our products page in the coming weeks we will have a new comprehensive guide to cleaning and maintaining marble.

Regards,
Ryan

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How did it turn out?
by: Chris

Hi,

We have also been considering this tile for our countertops--I was wondering what decision you made and how did it turn out?

Thanks!
Chris

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We already installed Dark Emperador marble tile on our kitchen countertops
by: Carol

Opps! We realized early on that it was going to etch like crazy, so I covered the entire countertop with clear plastic ezpeel shelf coating until we could figure it out, and then laid thick plastic shelf liner and chopping mats everywhere...now I can't stand that scene anymore and really need to figure out how to manage to cook and live with these countertops. My husband says just let it etch and look lived-in, but I'd rather seal/polish/do something although I realize from reading the posts we may have no other options.

What's our best route for living with these countertops without them looking really awful?

Thanks,
Carol

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Already installed dark emperador
by: Ryan

Yes, repairing etch marks will be an ongoing project for you and can be frustrating, but it's doable.

If the marble countertop is polished (shiny) then use the Marble Polish / Etch Remover.

If honed, the follow the instructions provided in the Removing Etch Marks e-book.

If you ever severely etch the marble to where it is rough to the touch, you may have to hire a marble maintenance pro to fix such severe damage.

Also, if it's honed then after a while you may find you need to have the surface re-finished.

Repairing etching on polished marble is easy with the above product and will restore the color and shine to like new, but the DIY solution for a honed countertop may not yield a completely unnoticeable repair.

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Emperador dark chipping/flaking repair
by: Sue R

We installed beautiful emperador dark in our master bath 4 1/2 years ago, and recently my husband's sink edge began to chip (or flake) away. The suppliers said it was due to his saline nasal rinse and refuse to help.

Is there any product we can use to reseal, fill or otherwise repair it ourselves? We understand it will not look like new, and may even be very obvious, but we don't want to go to the expense of replacing both his and my (matching) countertops. Help!

====ADMIN COMMENT:

Why yes there is a simple DIY product. What you need is the Marble & Granite Repair Kit for Chips/Pits. The "gel" is for level surfaces and the "paste" for edges and vertical surfaces.

Edges and corners are more difficult, but you can still make a pretty good repair and nearly invisible since it allows the stone's natural color to come through.

Good Luck!

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Haziness on Marble Shower
by: Webhill

I have a slab of honed dark emperador in my shower used as bench seating.

Half of it has developed a white haziness that disappears when the slab is wet. What is this??

How do I fix it or stop it from worsening?? Please note that I always rinse down & towel dry the bench after showering, and do not use any cleaners on it except a mild soap solution as directed by our stone vendor.

=== Admin Comment:

It is possible that a product you use in the shower is acidic and has etched the marble, however, based on the pattern description it's more likely that this is soap scum build-up.

All showers get soap scum build-up on walls, floors and benches, but rarely is it an even distribution. Usually the heaviest build-up is in the lower section of the shower and it could vary due to shower stream and splash patterns, etc.

To remove soap scum and to generally keep your shower clean use this Bath & Shower: Hard Water / Soap Scum Remover, which is made specifically to be effective and safe on marble showers and natural stone.

And your stone rep may be well-intentioned, but using soap as a general marble cleaner is not the best advice. It's "okay"... most soaps won't damage the marble, but soap scum will build up no matter how much you rinse and this will make the marble look dull.

Soap film is very tenacious. You'd have to rinse with gallons and gallons of water to keep soap scum from building. So, rinsing and drying after each shower has no effect.

In fact, even regular cleaners cannot clean or remove soap scum. It requires a particular type of cleaner formulation and you can't use those made for fiberglass showers... they will etch and damage marble.

Best to use a "stone specific" cleaner like that recommended.

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