Marble Vanity Top Water Spots
(Lincroft , NJ)
I have a polished marble vanity top in my guest bath and honed marble on my bedroom furniture. My guest bath seems to get the most use.
I have a lot water spots that I can't seem to get clean.
Also, my bedroom tables have some dull spots that do not come off either. Do you have any suggestions?
Hi Catherine! You may have two questions depending on the type of "spots" on the marble in you bedroom. But let me come back to that.
"Water spots" and "dull spots" on marble vanity tops or countertops are a common marble repair issue (on both honed and polished surfaces); however, they are not truly a "stain" as many think.
Marble stains are a totally different animal and this is a HUGE point of confusion not only for homeowners, but for many in the stone industry, if you can believe it!
You'll often read or hear that "marble stains easy...". This is NOT true.
Marble (and travertine too) in general is very stain-resistant (moreso than many granites), but it does "etch" very easily. So people get the idea that these etch marks are "water stains" and that marble stains easy. No.
Thus, if we are talking about the same thing (etching), the dull spots and water spots you see may look lighter, clear or the same color as your marble. And on lighter marble colors, you may only notice the spots from certain viewing angles or depending on the light hitting the surface.
Often the spots are in the shape of a bottle, cup or glass ring that was placed on the top.
Marble is composed of calcite and reacts chemically with acidic substances like wine, coffee, juice, fruit, soda, alcoholic drinks and many (most) cleaning products that come in contact with your marble vanity top. (For this reason use products made for marble cleaning only)
The acidic/caustic reaction "etches" or corrodes the surface ruining the polish (or smooth honed surface) causing the appearance of the lighter-colored dull spots.
You will notice this most on polished marble floor tile and countertops. Marble vanity tops and tiles that are honed or have a matte surface still react and will etch, but you may
not see the result --dull spot-- as well because the surface is already somewhat dull.... not reflective like a polished marble.
Solution(s) to restore dull spots / water spots....
Option 1: Well, most likely a special marble polishing compound will restore the shine and "remove" these water spots (unless severe) on your polished surfaces. You can easily do this yourself using this ETCH REMOVER / Marble Polishing product which is made specifically for this purpose.
If this doesn't work, then you have severe etch marks (rare.... most etch marks are not severe) and must resort to the following two options, which are much more expensive.
Option 2: Again, this is not a stain. Your marble vanity top has, in effect, been de-polished. Polishing is accomplished by friction. Polishing is what makes the marble shiny, so in order to restore the shine and "remove" the spots you'll need to hire a professional to re-polish your marble (in severe, rough-to-the-touch etching).
Of course, this will not prevent the same problem from occuring again and sealing does not address this problem.
Option 3: Remove the polish with an acid wash or have the surface "honed" (requires a professional). A "honed" finish is smooth, but not shiny. "Water spots" still occur, but aren't as noticeable on a honed surface.
Restoring honed marble etch marks is different than on a "polished" finish. Unfortunately, there's no product to use. However, the fix is cheap and relatively easy. Complete instructions provided in the Restoring Marble Etching e-book.
In my house, we always use coasters and trays on our bathroom marble counter tops to avoid etching.
A marble sealer may still be necessary to protect against true stains: substances that are absorbed into and discolor the stone.
But this depends on the particular slab. Again, marble is typically highly resistant to staining and many varieties are so dense that they do not absorb liquids and do not need and should not have a sealer applied.
If you have a spot that is a different color or darker than your marble vanity top color then you have a "stain" which requires a completely different approach. If this is the case.... go to the marble stains page to learn about and find remedies to that particular problem.