Marble countertops are eye-catchingly beautiful. They’re a stunning and luxurious addition to any home, and while they’re timeless and elegant, many people shy away from them for one reason: etching.
What is etching?
Marble is a relatively soft stone with a calcium carbonate makeup. Because of this molecular makeup, marble is susceptible to etching which is the physical changes that occur to the stone when acid interacts with the calcium carbonate. The etches aren’t deep gouges or scratches as the name might lead you to believe. They also aren’t stains, although they’re often called water marks or water stains. Etches, quite simply, are spots on your counter where acid removed part of the marble surface and exposed a new layer of marble that isn’t polished, leaving behind a dull mark. Common causes of etching are citrus juices, wine, vinegar, and common household cleaners.
Is it a bad thing?
Not necessarily. This just comes down to personal taste. Much like some people prefer solid, meticulously stained wood and others like a more rustic, barnwood aesthetic, some people want their counters sleek and flawless while others prefer a little character in their countertop. If counters with character are your thing, etching will not only not bother you, it will appeal to you. Each mark and groove in your counter is a drink poured, a dinner prepared, and a memory made. Your counters will help tell the story of your life. Far from being blemishes, the etching left behind will be shadows of a life well-lived in what is often the number one gathering place in a home. Don’t forget, though, even if you don’t take this romanticized view of your kitchen and counters, minor etching is by no means highly noticeable. As mentioned, etches aren’t deep gauges in the stone so much as they’re a dulling of the polish, and they’re often only visible from the correct angle and in the correct lighting.
Aside from just accepting etching as a fact of life, there are a couple solutions for fixing it. Minor etching can often be maintained with store-bought marble polishes that are easy to use and often highly effective for small areas. These simply polish the exposed marble so it matches the rest of the counter. If your counters have extensive etching and are driving you mad, you can call in a professional to help. One of the benefits to marble counters is they don’t need to be replaced even if they do have severe etching. Any expert in marble countertops will be able to repolish the entire counter and have it looking brand new in no time.