Honed Marble Countertop Polishing

by David
(Viginia Beach, VA)


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.

However, there are products like ETCH Restore - Marble Polishing product that will make a dull spot etch mark on a previously polished marble shiny again.

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.

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Marble Kitchen Benchtop White Spots

by Lisa

marble etching

marble etching


Hello, We live in a new development where all kitchen bench tops are marble.

Many residents are complaining about the white rings left on the marble bench tops.

I have attached a photo of mine. I know that the rings have been left by lemon juice. From the state of my marble bench top we must use an awful lot!

I've done the lemon test that you suggest but the puddle didn't darken at all. It turned white immediately. The mark left is white and has a chalky feel to it.

I've done the water test as well but it doesn't seem to darken at all.

The developers are telling us all that we shouldn't use lemon juice and oil in the kitchen and that we should completely cover the marble bench top when using it. Not very practical.

I have tried telling the developers that perhaps the benchtops haven't been sealed but they aren't listening. (I do live in a country where there is a language barrier.)

Could you let me know if...

1. You think the marble pictured would benefit from sealing?

2. You think using a marble of this quality in a kitchen is wise or even common place please?

I would like to sound as if I know what I am talking about when I go to battle. These houses are all under warranty. Many thanks, Lisa


Although I can't say that installing a marble kitchen benchtop is a crime is certainly isn't a good choice for precisely the reason your picture demonstrates.

Marble (of any "quality") is sensitive to acids. Acidic substances like lemon juice will corrode marble leaving dull, white or lighter colored spots.

It's called "etching."

Unfortunately many designers and developers go for the chic luxurious look of marble without having a clue that it is a lot of trouble in a kitchen.

Marble everywhere else in the house is not a problem, but a kitchen just gets too much abuse and use and it's absolutely impossible to keep from etching it.

Luckily etch marks on polished marble can be restored using the Marble Polishing - Etch Repair product (click here), but it is a never-ending battle.

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.

Comments for Marble Kitchen Benchtop White Spots

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by: Anonymous

Oh dear... I am so very very sorry for the late reply. I thought I had responded months ago when I asked the question and you responded so quickly.
Thank you very much for your help. It really was fantastic.

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Marble Polishing of Matte Finished Vanity Top

by Mary
(Shelton, CT)


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.

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Restoring Etched Honed Marble Benchtops

by kerry


I have had my beautiful honed marble benchtop, white with grey streaks, for a few weeks now.

Although I am a "Benchtop Nazi", I have still managed to see the odd etching..dots and glass ring...on the top. This depends on the light.

I have tried the old methods of bi-carb soda etc. What can I use to clean this? Thank you, Kerry


Marble etching starts immediately upon contact with acidic foods, drinks and other substances like harsh cleaning products (which are nearly all common household cleaners brand-name or generic).

So, if you spill orange juice on the honed marble and wipe it up within 15 seconds, it could still etch the marble leaving a more dull spot.

For polished or shiny marble you can use a marble polishing paste, but for a honed marble benchtop you don't want to "polish" it.

So, you'll need to either call in a marble maintenance professional or follow the DIY method detailed in the Removing Etch Marks e-book.

The DIY solution is easy and cheap, but depending on the size of the etch mark (the smaller the better) you may not get as good of finish or blend with the surrounding marble countertop.

On marble flooring it would not matter since the wear of foot traffic, etc. will cause the spot to blend quickly.

The bi-carb soda thing is for stains... not for marble etching, which is why it didn't work.

Good Luck!

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