Can honed finished marble countertops be polished so that it looks glossy/shiny? I've tried many marble polishes without success.
Yes, matte finished or honed marble countertops can be polished, but it will require the work of a professional with special abrasives.
The shine doesn't come from a bottle. It is a process similar (but requiring much more skill) to sanding a piece of rough wood to a silky smooth finish.
You always start with rough or raw marble. Then you continue to work or "finish" the surface with ever finer abrasives.
You can stop anywhere in this process depending on how rough or smooth or shiny you want the surface to be and there are variations of technique and procedures to achieve different looks like tumbled or flamed, etc.
A matte or "honed" surface is basically achieved by stopping the process right before the marble polishing step that turns the counter top surface glossy.
Typically marble finishing is done at the factory when the marble slabs are run through a big machine that grinds down and polishes the marble.
But if a marble countertop or tile is honed or tumbled when installed, you'll have to hire a marble maintenance pro to re-finish and "polish" the surface into a shine.
Now, you'll see some products on the market name "marble polish". In this case it is used in the same way as a "shoe polish." It's more of a topical coating that if enough is applied, you can buff it to a bit of a shine.
Confusing I know, but in reality none of these products will work to polish marble into a shine from a honed or matter surface finish.
This is a special case where the marble is already polished, but the surface layer has been slightly damaged by an acidic substance which destroys the very thin shiny layer making the spot look dull compared with the rest of the surface.
So, in this case the Marble Polishing Paste is effective because it basically mimics on a small scale the final step in marble polishing.
And you could use this paste for polishing marble that is honed, but you'd likely end up with an uneven finish. Like I said... marble polishing takes considerable skill, knowledge and experience to do well on a large scale.
But a DIYer can easily fix up small spots of etching with the paste.
Sealing marble has nothing to do with etching and this marble doesn't need sealing anyway... (since it passed the water test).
Sealing prevents staining... something absorbing into the marble, which will leave a darker spot.
The fact that the water and lemon juice spots did not darken tells you that nothing will absorb very easily or at all into the marble, so no use in sealing it.
(just FYI... the point of the lemon juice test is to see if the stone etches... not looking for darkening, but the white spot left behind)
This is typical of polished marble.... it is nearly stain-proof since it has such a low rate of absorption.
Marble does etch very easily though as your lemon juice test demonstrated, which does make it impractical for kitchen benchtops.
Using oil won't be a problem. It won't stain or etch. But there are numerous acidic foods besides lemon juice that will contact the marble.
Don't know that you really have any kind of legal case though. Don't see that it is fraud, just poor choice of materials.... but I'm not a lawyer, so maybe a look at your contract will reveal some legal angle to pursue.
In the meantime, use cutting boards, coasters, wipe up spills quickly (although etching happens in seconds) and rinse all plates, pots and pans immediately instead of setting on the marble.
I wanted a polished marble vanity top and picked one out, but was given one with a matte finish instead. The counter top is already installed. Is it possible to polish marble vanity tops once already installed or am I stuck with the honed marble countertop surface?
Marble polishing after installation is certainly possible, but it will cost you, since you'll need to hire a marble cleaning and restoration professional.
But it may be easier to just remove the original and replace it with a polished marble vanity that you ordered in the first place.
Of course, if it was the installers error then they should correct it in the manner you choose at no additional cost.
But if you ordered the marble vanity top separately and then had someone install it, you'll have to pay for the marble polishing to get the shiny, glossy look you desire.