Saturday, March 25, 2006

Sealing Marble: More Marble Weirdness

In yesterdays post I showed a test I did to try and see how susceptible marble is to staining. I did a comparison test between unsealed marble and sealed marble. If you want to read about it, you can, but in short I did a series of 10 minute tests with various food stuffs, and then finished off with a one hour torture test.

Here’s is the final shot after the final hour long test.

The sealed marble surpassed even my own expectations. The unsealed marble did show significant discoloration. I guess that’s to be expected, right? Everyone says marble stains easily. I decided to do one more test. This time I slathered on more tomato paste, red wine and smooshed in some lime3 juice and lime peel. I left it in the sink over night. This morning it was kind of dry and crusty and I left it there until around noon. I got sick of looking at it so I scrapped off the mess. The tomato paste had really dried on around the edges. I was forced to get out a green scrub pad to get it off. When I was all done it looked pretty much as it did at the end of yesterday’s test. That’s the picture above.

To sum it up, the marble sealer worked fantastic. Even after sitting in the sink all night caked in things that should have stained it – that is, if you believe what you’re told – it came out looking great. The untreated side didn’t fair so well. There was no one particular stain, it just had an over all dinginess to it. The white part of the marble was no longer really white, it was more gray.

I decided I had proven the point that the sealer worked and I didn’t bother taking any more pictures. I figured the test was over and I had proved my point. There was no need to write any more about it, or so I thought. The real surprise came 2 or 3 hours later.

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I cleaned up the little test piece and left it on the counter and went about my day. Just a few minutes ago I went in to the kitchen and the dinginess was gone! All it had to do was dry and it was almost as good as new. The food stuff did some staining but it turns out to have been very minor. It was the water that was causing most of the discoloration. The sealer is still a good idea, and it will help with the glass rings and just regular protection. The truth is, though, sealed or unsealed the marble does just fine by itself. It’s all a myth. Marble is no more or less susceptible to staining than anything else. What it does have a problem with is soaking in water and turning dingy until it dries. That’s where the sealer comes in. It keeps the water out.

Here’s what it looks like right now. The marble in the background is the slab that had no testing done on it.

Can you guess which side of the sample has the sealer.


Jennifer said...

Wow. That's a definite difference! And a good thing to know, as well. Not that I'm planning to put marble in my kitchen, but you never know what might happen. :)

Anonymous said...

Looks like the only thing you have to be careful of is not cutting anything on it. Good idea doing a test. Besides the wine tomato and lime did you try coffee tea and viniger?

Greg said...

No, I didn't try anything but those three. I think I will try coffe, though, since I'm a coffee drinker. Someone else suggested mustard and tea. I don't have either in the house.

Anonymous said...

I have bought severely stained unsealed antique marble-topped pieces. Great bargains because of the stains. Predominantly white marble will clean up beautifully with bleach. Yep, plain old household bleach. Sacriligious, but it works like a charm. No more dingy or greying white. I've used it full strength on the worst stains. Rinse it well. When it's dry, you'll notice the marble seems "dried out." Goddard's Marble Polish is your friend. It's a hard cake wax sold in a tin. Rub it into the marble and polish it off. Initially, you may need to use a few coats of wax to achieve an appealing patina. Hand polished marble possesses an elegance similar to beautiful well-loved silver. Use it and enjoy it!

Greg said...

Wow, thanks for the tip, Lynette. When I get a chance maybe I'll try it on my test piece.

CanadaAdopts said...

I was looking into marble and a salesperson who happened to be Latin American rolled her eyes when I brought up the staining thing. She told me everyone back home has marble counters. And guess what--they all clean them with plain old bleach. They come out perfect every time. Glad to see it confirmed here.

Greg said...


Yep, bleach works great. I bought a 120 year old dingy marble vanity for the bathroom. I cleaned it with a bleach solution and fine grit sandpaper. It looks brand new now.

Deni said...

Your acid test article has truly validated my efforts to choose a sealer for my marble kitchen countertop. "Yes! Thank you. I realize Marble is a soft 'rock' that stains easily, which is why I have called..."

And, yes I agree that water is the ultimate culrprit,however most of the 'waterproof' sealers I have sampled list the possibilites of the stone pulling moisture and leaving an efforvecence weeks later...if this happens to wait a month to reapply. "HogWash!"

I bought impregnators, waterproofers, and sealers. I myself have run numerous tests on scrap pieces as well.

My boyfriend is getting antsy, I must choose this weekend. I also thought about acid staining and then sealing. I tested a sandstone/brick red/blue concrete stain combo and it looks kinda cool.

The sealer that you used, does it have a "natural" finish or is there a sheen? The product I was suggested to buy was DUPONT Sealer and Finish 'semi gloss'. 1 gallon $36 with a coverage range of 300 sq ft.

Thanks again! You understand my pain. LOL.

andebobandy said...

I know it's been a while since you posted this, so how did your counter tops fare?

Greg said...

It has been a while and they still look great. I did the honed marble in the kitchen and bath and polished marble in the dining room.


Unknown said...

Thank you for sharing!! 6 years after your post and I'm benefiting from them. They still doing well?

Unknown said...

2013, and I find your post from 2006. Thank you! We just laid 1100ft2 of polished carara marble (see for pics. Outdoors, for weddings, with the promise of wine, food and no doubt olive oil, not to mention cake and icing. Now researching sealers. Appreciate your work. BTW, we also installed huge marble slabs in both kitchens in 1997. Both still look beautiful, although we did find that hot pots tend to cause decolourising (whitening of rosa aurora). Solution is to have spare stone 12x12 scraps by the stove.

The Hill's said...

We must decide be a marble-ite or not. I love marble just not sure how relaxed my hubby will be with the character that will show up over time. How are your countertops holding up?

The Hill's said...

We must decide be a marble-ite or not! How are your counters holding up after all this time? Our kitchen will be heavily used as our family grows.

Mari said...

Greg, Thank you for all your testing and two great posts. Please share what sealer you used or recommend.
Also, would you still seal and bleach? Many thanks!

Anonymous said...

Hi -- so how is it holding up now? And what thickness was the marble countertop you installed?