Lime Etching on Quartz Countertops

by Chicago
(New York)

quartz countertop etch damage

quartz countertop etch damage

QUESTION:

First of all, thank you for a fantastic site.


We have a large kitchen tabletop. All we know is that it is an Engineered Stone quartz countertop. It is light grey with darker colored dots. It has a shiny surface.

During social events, we have ended up with some rather serious etchings (we didn't conduct the lime test when we moved in).

The area covered by these etchings are approx. 10x10 inches and with your fingertips you can easily feel how the shiny layer is missing in that area, as well as being matte instead of shiny. Looks terrible.

The etching came after lime and soda stains were left for hours. Water doesn't stain at all.

We are wondering how we should proceed with repairing this etched area? Any tips or links much appreciated.

ANSWER:

Thanks for the compliment about our site. We certainly work hard to educate our viewers and provide the most comprehensive and unbiased information available about natural stone and engineered stone.

Etching and any damage to engineered stone / quartz countertops is troublesome.

The marketing for quartz countertops would suggest that engineered stone is essentially stain and damage-proof.

Unfortunately, that is not the case. It can be stained and damaged by many things. And lighter colors tend to be more susceptible to damage than darker quartz countertop colors.

Also, damage to quartz is often permanent since what gets damaged is the colored resin, which cannot be repaired or restored.

This is where stone has a big advantage over quartz countertops. Stone can almost always be repair and restored to like new. Quartz typically cannot be repaired.

The good news is that significant damage to quartz or granite is not common.

But what to do in your case?

Well, quartz is very hard like granite, so there aren't any DIY products that can be used to repair etching.

Most likely re-polishing the quartz countertop is your only possibility.

I'd suggest contacting the manufacturer (if you can determine which company made your tops) and inquire about repair options and referral to a certified tech/fabricator in your area that can work on it.

Wish I could offer more concrete and actionable suggestions, but quartz countertops can be tricky when damaged and you have to go case by case on most.

Comments for Lime Etching on Quartz Countertops

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Why can't replacement resin kits be sold?
by: Anonymous

Similar to the original poster, we had a spill of something very acidic on our Caesarstone countertop and it etched away the top layer in a section of the countertop.

As you noted, the resin also provides a bit of color to the overall product, thus this stain is *very* noticeable.

Given that I (and apparently the original poster and so presumably many other people) have had this problem, why isn't it possible for an enterprising company out there to create little vials of tinted resins that can be used to "patch repair" mishaps like this?

While I feel like an idiot for damaging my countertop, I also think it's ridiculous that I need to essentially replace / refinish the entire thing?

Heck, my *car* came with a little vial of replacement paint for minor scratches!

Can you imagine if you got a scuff or scratch on your car paint, the only solution is to completely repaint the entire car?

Apologies but I am so frustrated. When I realized what happened, I just assumed that it would be super-easy to buy a little vial of the resin and fix it the way you'd fix any other home surface that needs retouching.

I wonder if it actually *IS* possible to sell little kits like this, but then Ceasarstone knows they'd be losing out on money (sort of like when it was discovered that Apple was intentionally making old phones slower so that frustrated consumers would buy an entirely new phone, even if they really didn't need it).

Any countertop specialists out there with an entrepreneurial bent -- please invent this; I think you'll make a ton of money!

==== Countertop Specialty comment:

I feel your pain and frustration. Quartz countertops are generally one of the best countertop materials and Caesarstone makes an excellent product.

However, no countertop material is perfect. All have flaws and weaknesses.

In the case of quartz countertops though, it is a shame that most people are led to believe that quartz is basically stain-proof.

No quartz manufacturer will state this and they will warn against using certain types of chemicals or cleaners in their care manuals.

But they push the idea that quartz doesn't need sealing like granite does which most people take to mean that it cannot be stained.

The marketing in general leaves consumers to think that quartz basically cannot be damaged and nothing is ever mentioned about what could happen if the wrong cleaner is used.

That it could bleach out the color and that such damage could be permanent.

But to be fair, you must learn the proper cleaning and maintenance procedures for any type of countertop. Many consumers just don't do this and learn the hard way.

All materials in the home need some type of care or maintenance. It's no different for kitchen countertops.

But many believe or maybe expect that by now with all these "modern" surfaces being developed that countertops should be indestructible and/or impossible to damage. Just not the case.

Your idea to create a "replacement resin kit" makes a lot of sense except it won't work like touching up your car paint.

The resin is not something applied to the top of the countertop like paint to the top of the metal or plastic car body.

The resin is part of the entire mix of ingredients that go into making a quartz countertop. It is in the countertop... not on it. Thus it cannot simply be touched up by applying a resin to the top.

I suppose theoretically something like this could be done IF you could get the resin to absorb into the quartz countertop.

But that would be very difficult if not impossible since quartz countertops are basically non-porous.

And the resin color would have to exactly match the color of your quartz. This again is a big problem because it's not possible to make every quartz slab exactly the same color. Some slight variance can occur.

And then this theoretical resin repair product would likely be different enough in color to still be noticeable even if supposedly the exact color used to make the original countertop.

I'm certain that Caesarstone and/or any other quartz countertop brand or chemical company would definitely make such a product if it could possibly work.

They know customers are not happy when this type of damage occurs. And they do sort of warn about it casually in their care manuals.

They also know that customers are not going to replace their quartz countertops when this type of discoloring damage occurs. It's too expensive. And they certainly wouldn't replace it with the same brand.

So, if it was possible to make a resin replacement kit or any type of product that could repair chemical damage to the surface and restore the color, then they would definitely make it.

Replace the resin?
by: Anonymous

So if it is the resin it would stand to reason that you could strip the etching resin and reapply another one that would not etch?

==== Countertop Specialty comment:

Unfortunately, no. The entire quartz countertop slab is made with a resin. It isn't just on the surface, so you can't simply strip off the damaged layer and reapply new resin.

Also, there are coloring agents within the resin that create the color and pattern of the countertop. It's probably these dyes that are getting etched and bleached out.

Etching - Shadow Storm Quartzite
by: Anonymous

We bought what we were told was granite 3 years ago. A piece called Shadow Storm.

It etched on the first day we had it.

Subsequent research on shadow storm revealed that it is quartzite and not granite. My bad for not doing my own research before buying.

That said, I am now reading here that quartzite doesn't etch? So what in the world do we have?

This stone etches something awful. I have tried sealing it but unless you wipe up any acid instantly it will still etch.

We cook like crazy in our kitchen and live in FL surrounded by citrus trees that we use constantly for everything as well as all kinds of vinegars.

We do use cutting boards of course but splashes, juice that runs down the side of things, guests who don't know, etc., have all caused our beautiful counters to look dull and terrible.

I'm beyond disappointed and am considering biting the bullet and starting over but how do I choose a countertop that doesn't etch?

I like light colors. My old laminate was a LOT easier to take care of... ;).

Also, can my etching be buffed out since it is a natural stone?

==== Countertop Specialty comment:

You have marble countertops. A natural stone that basically etches on contact with acidic foods and drinks is either marble, travertine, limestone, or onyx (all of which are from the same family).

Let me explain how this probably occurred...

You may have been told that "Shadow Storm" was granite because either the salesperson didn't know better or tried to simplify things by calling it "granite" instead of "quartzite".

True "Shadow Storm" is quartzite.

Quartzite countertops make an excellent natural stone surface. Really, every bit as good as granite (except that it may chip just a bit more easily as it is harder and more brittle).

Just to clarify... a "quartz" countertop is not the same as quartzite. Quartzite is natural, quartz is a man-made countertop.

Quartzite has become much more well-known in recent years as white countertops and kitchens became fashionable. Quartzite has many white colors.

Here's where the problem begins...

Loads of people would love to install white marble kitchen countertops but marble etches and can be a maintenance pain in the kitchen.

Many quartzite colors look A LOT like white marble which is always popular.

So, many homeowners have been opting for white quartzite instead. Quartzite does not scratch and does not etch.

Because white quartzite and marble can so often look alike the slabs get misnamed. In other words, a white marble gets named as a white quartzite.

This could be done accidentally (again not knowing better or simply because it can be hard to tell the difference sometimes) or purposely as buyers are now looking for quartzite instead of marble and quartzite is more expensive than granite.

So, a white "marble" slab gets sold as "quartzite". And thus solves the mystery of why your quartzite countertop is etching.

You were sold not granite, not quartzite, but a marble countertop that looked like Shadow Storm quartzite.

It is possible that some quartzite slabs contain enough calcium carbonate (what marble is made of) to etch like marble a little bit, but if the countertop is easily etched as you describe, then it is marble... not quartzite.

The good news is...

Marble etching can be repaired using the Marble Etch Remover product to restore a shiny polished finish.

So, that is what you need to do. Use the above product to remove the etch marks.

Don't use common cleaners since most will etch marble. Use a Granite & Marble Stone Cleaning Spray instead.

Then use cutting boards, coasters, trivets, and anything else you can do to minimize contact with acids.

You will get more etch marks, but you'll get good at removing them and it will just become part of your countertop maintenance routine.

Polish gone after backsplash installed
by: Anonymous

Out beautiful, high shine smooth quartz countertoo was installed and three days later, TEC grout was used on a wall to ceiling backsplash.

My gorgeous countertop is now dull and cloudy. Same exact countertop up in my bathroom never had grout and is perfectly shiny and smooth.

What's up with the grout ruining the kitchen counter. Will polishing restore the smooth shine?

==== Countertop Specialty comment:

It may not be the grout at all. It could be a "grout haze remover" or similar product that was used on the backsplash to clean up after grouting. Possibly it was also used to wipe off the countertop damaging the polish or resin of the quartz.

Repolishing quartz can be done, but it's not common. You'll want a person experience with quartz countertops. Although, repolishing may not solve any discoloration of the resin.

Solution for Quartz Countertop Etching with Limeaway?
by: Anonymous

This may seem idiotic, but our Quartz countertop was so extensively damaged ( etched dull big spots) that I am considering covering the remainder of the surface with the same product to at least have a uniform surface appearance. Please advise. Thank you!!

==== Countertop Specialty comment:

Well, in theory, the idea isn't bad since you probably cannot repair the etch-like damage.

The only problem is that it will be difficult to control how the Limeaway reacts over the entire surface. You may get fairly even color, but it could be somewhat splotchy as well.

Although, even if it does turn out splotchy, it may look better than one big etch mark.

Quartz countertop damaged by Bostik grout?
by: Anonymous

My quartz countertop was installed 10 days ago. Today, my backsplash was installed by installers and home improvement store suggested they use Bostik grout. Many areas of the counter look like the polish has been removed. Is there any way to restore my countertop?

======= Countertop Specialty comment:

It may be possible to restore the shine to the quartz countertop, however, it must first be determined what happened and why.

I suggest contacting both Bostik and the quartz countertop manufacturer.

From Bostik you want to know the composition of the grout, chemical ingredients, etc.

Then from the quartz maker you want to know if anything in the grout would damage.

You may be able to have the surface repolished, but be sure to use an experience pro. Also, speak to manufacturer for specifics.

And you may try using Bar-Keepers Friend and/or a "magic eraser". Both have been successful at times removing weird spots from quartz countertops.

quartzite (natural stone) etching
by: Anonymous

Hello

Maybe you can shed light on a debate about what is etching quartzite (the natural stone, not engineered). On one side of the debate are those that believe it is because the stone is not "true quartzite" because true quartzite is highly resistant to etching. What that side does not take into consideration though, is that the majority of slab products have a resin applied at the quarry before shipping (to prevent fractures, enhance color, etc.).

The other side of the debate believes etching is caused by a chemical reaction between the resin (not stone) and acid.

The last explanation seems to make the most sense because people with the same material are having different experiences with etching, where some etch and others do not. The second camp said it's because resins can have different ingredients depending on the country the stone was quarried/resined.

Appreciate your thoughts.

=== Comment: Well the debate will continue because either side could be right in any particular case.

Quartzite won't etch... some resins will and given that many/most are resined it's most likely these stones that experience the majority of etching problems.

However, it's possible to get mixed stones that don't behave like the traditional stone in that geological classification. Thus, it is possible that some stones labeled as "quartzite" could etch.

But these will be few... resins are most likely cause.

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