Etching or Staining on Crema Marfil Marble
(Palm City Florida)
Our house was just remodeled and we put Crema Marfil marble countertop in the Kitchen (big mistake).
After we started using the Kitchen we noticed etching or staining around the sink or if we put anything down that would leave a water ring.
The marble company came out and remove all issues and re-sealed.
It happened again only this time worse. They came out again and redid all areas and again re-sealed with a different sealer.
That was yesterday. They think it has something to do with my water. We have well water and a very expensive softener system on it.
Any ideas on how to stop this. The staining is colorless and smooth. What about using Rain x on it to help bead up the water quicker???
One thing we know for sure... your countertop installer does not know marble repair or how to clean marble very well.
I'm certainly not looking to criticize any fabricator. I wish your installer and all fabricators really knew their craft well.
But this is a big frustration within the stone industry. It's unregulated and does not require any licensing, etc., so the level of skill and knowledge of marble and granite countertop fabricators can vary widely.
I don't relish pointing this out about our own profession, but such is reality.
If they had a clue about marble stains and etching, the installers would know that sealing and re-sealing will not do a darn thing to prevent etching... the colorless and smooth "water rings" you describe.
Sealers work to help minimize the chance of staining, which occurs when a substance absorbs into the stone.
Etching is a completely different marble maintenance issue than staining. Sealing will not prevent it.
What you are describing is definitely etching, which is a chemical reaction between the marble and an acidic or otherwise caustic substance.
Because of the etching issue any reputable, knowledgeable fabricator/installer will warn their clients about it and recommend against installing marble countertops in the kitchen since it is impossible to prevent etching in a kitchen.
Kitchen counter tops just get too much use and abuse being constantly exposed to juices, sodas, fruits and many other things that are acidic making marble cleaning and etching a constant battle.
Fortunately , etching can be repaired rather easily on shiny, polished marble using the Marble Polish / Etch Remover .
And you can repair etch marks yourself on honed marble following instructions in the Removing Etch Marks e-book .
Or you can have etch marks professionally repaired if you don't mind paying a lot more money or if the damage is extensive.
In your case it appears the water is also causing some of the etching. This is possible. Some water supplies are acidic and well water certainly can be acidic.
Rain-X won't help and should not be applied.
The sealers already applied should be making the water bead up and prevent absorption and marble stains, but that won't make one bit of difference with etching.
Etching occurs instantly upon contact. So, even water or other acidic substances beading up on the surface will etch the marble.
And FYI... just because the spots and rings are without color does not mean they were caused by water.
That's just the way etch marks look no matter what they were caused by.
Very rarely are they caused by water. Only when the water is unusually acidic and/or from repeated exposure to water that has mild acidity.
Usually it's from a commonly acidic substance and too often from using the wrong products for marble cleaning.
Nearly all common and brand-name cleaners are damaging to marble. They will etch. So, you should be using only products safe for cleaning marble .
The only way to prevent etching is to prevent contact with acids. Again, impossible in the kitchen, so you'll have to simply repair them using the above recommended methods as they occur.
As a last resort, you could apply a permanent topical coating such as those by Kinloch, however, this is really not recommended.
Such coatings can make the stone look plastic, need maintenance of their own and can often complicate maintenance and repair of the marble.
So, you may just trade one problem for another that is often worse.
Permanent topical coatings can be useful in some marble maintenance situations and they are achieving better performance with improved chemistry, but again it's much preferred to leave stone alone as much as possible and not apply any permanent coating.
You've already sealed the surface, so not likely to have any issues with marble stains and you'll just have to learn to deal with the etching restoring the damage as it occurs. It's enough of a nuisance to avoid installing marble kitchen countertops, but if that's what you got it's really not a difficult problem to handle.... it's just a constant battle.