Etching or Staining on Crema Marfil Marble

by Sherie
(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.

Comments for Etching or Staining on Crema Marfil Marble

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So Happy to Find Your Page!
by: Sally

After I told the owner of a locally well-known interior design business that I would like to replace the builder-grade bathroom shower, soaking tub surround, pullman top, and floor tiles with granite, he recommended that I instead use crema marfil marble because it would upgrade my master bathroom much more than granite.

In support, he said that he presently had it in his own master bathroom and that he also had it in a prior home, which caused that home to sell at a premium price.

Since I was seriously considering whether to sell my home at a future time, I trusted his advice.

After my bathroom had been ripped out and his tradesmen were about two thirds of the way through the custom installation of my very expensive new bathroom, he unexpectedly told me that crema marfil "requires special, ongoing care, and you cannot just use the crema marfil shower and exit without using a squeege and wiping it down" because it would leave water spots and dull the highly polished finish.

This was not my expectation when I agreed to the crema marfil on his advice. In reality, crema marfil is a touchy surface and very high maintenance.

For instance, I accidentally dropped my shampoo bottle from a shower ledge, and did not realize the bottom of the plastic bottle slightly cracked. When I came home from a month-long vacation, the shower wall was caked to the floor with dried shampoo streaks.

When I removed the shampoo with soft cloths and plain water, the marble had lightened and etched in streaks where the shampoo had been.

Twice I left a glass of water on the pullman slab, and a perfect ring was etched in the marble. My cleaning lady was doing the mirrors one day with foam mirror cleaner and decided to wipe down the marble pullman with the same cloth, even though I had told her to only use the marble cleaner on the crema marfil.

This completely dulled the finish. These mishaps cost $400 to repair. Even after half a day spent working on the etching, the etching is still somewhat visible in certain places. And I have subsequently inadvertently caused further etching on the pullman top despite my constant vigilence.

And the floor tiles have some scratches now, although I wear socks or go barefoot on it. Thus, I am thrilled that you have a link on this page to what appears to be a great marble repair kit for only about $54. I intend to buy it. Would I ever install this marble again? Never!

Scared of new crema marfil marble maintenance
by: Anonymous

I never wanted this but the "contractor" talked me into it because he didn't want to admit he couldn't build something.

I like the comment about the matte look after the shine wears of but I fear stains and etching and what happens if something falls on it scratches etc.

Now, if this marble is so difficult why is the industry not being honest about it?

It's one more thing added to the millions to be cynical about regarding people in the "home improvement", tile, stone, contractors etc. business.

I am learning that these people are greedy unscrupulous untrustworthy the whole industry is disgusting and they all should be ashamed.

All the problems with it need to be mentioned up front because many people are ignorant and they can't trust anyone to tell them upfront. this guy just pushed for this marble for some reason now I'm learning what disaster it will probably be.

===== Countertop Specialty comment:

It's true that there are bad eggs in every bunch no matter which profession you examine.

We agree that all clients should be educated and warned against marble kitchen countertops in most cases.

Unfortunately, in many cases it isn't a matter of "honesty" but rather that many in the stone industry simply don't know their stuff well enough or are lazy.

Many interior designers love the look of marble and often overlook or are plain ignorant of the maintenance issues presented by a marble kitchen countertop and thus homeowners learn the hard way.

To be fair though... such information is readily available on this site and elsewhere online. As usual, buyer beware and do your own homework.

Yes, you expect a "professional" to act professionally and take good care of all clients. Although, a second opinion and/or a little extra research goes a long way toward eliminating disappointments and surprises.

It's true that marble kitchen countertops are more of a hassle to maintain, but etching, stains and scratches can all be repaired or remedied rather easily in most cases. It's just more work than a granite countertop, which can be irritating over time.

Do as the Europeans do....
by: Liz

You may not want to do this, but when I traveled in Europe, many of the kitchens had marble counters and they weren't sealed.

The marble was worn and natural but still beautiful and in some cases more than 50 years old. This isn't as elegant or as modern as you may like but the marble had a matte finish and looked more like a light stone.

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