Head to Head Marble Test With Photos. Surprise Ending!
After weeks of obsessing we finally went out and got four marble samples from two local stone yards. In doing so we had two questions: 1. How bad is the marble etching issue, and 2. Is the premium for Danby marble worth it?
Two days later we have our answer, and it was a surprise!
First the test: Samples of Danby, carrara 1, a calacatta, carrara 2, and white granite with dots of olive oil, food coloring, balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, grapefruit juice. All were sealed with Miracle 511 sealer (couldn't find Porous Plus). We got two carraras because they were the cheapest and we really hoped to use one:
Five minutes later: Except for granite all etched from the vinegar and the grapefruit juice, some small stains from food coloring:
Following the protocol on the Danby Web site, next morning I scrubbed the samples with some Comet. I didn't go crazy - scrubbed them maybe 15-20 seconds or so. No benefit from the carraras - both remained as etched as ever, though the staining faded. As expected, the etching vanished from the Danby. Though a small spot of stain remained it looked as new:
Here's the surprise - the Comet also removed all etching - plus all staining - from the random calacatta I picked. I picked it because it was the cheapest calacatta in the yard we were at. I looked at it for at least 10 minutes in every kind of light and couldn't find a trace. The little spots you see are cracks from when the sample was broken off of the slab:
So now the tough test: Same substances for two and a half hours.
Result, as expected, more prominent staining and etching. Couple of examples:
I again scrubbed the samples with Comet to see if I could get the etching/staining off. Once again the carraras disappointed - while the staining wasn't an issue I couldn't get the etching to budge.
The other disappointment: While staining improved, etching didn't improve that much on the Danby. Also in addition to etching prominent "dark spots" remained on the stone.
Finally we turned to our calacatta. At this point I was really rooting for it but not expecting much. The final result:
Stains gone, etching still there (you can see the circles if you look carefully) but considerably improved. Note that sample was taken in same place under same light as pre-Comet treatment. The small dings are the cracks noted above. Also note that when I pick it up and really scrutinize it the etching *is* visible - its just harder to see.
The winner: Random calacatta took the prize!
To be honest, after weeks of being pro-marble the test made us pause. We really thought we were fine with etching until we saw it up close and personal. After the test the carraras are out of the running. We were fairly happy with the calacatta's performance; that is the only marble we're considering now. We are fairly neat people - only time we could imagine leaving liquids sitting on a counter is during a dinner party.
My conclusion: Marble is gorgeous. There is no substitute. The stuff also etches like crazy - it is *really* something to think about. Good news is every marble is different so if you're considering it test, test and test some more! Don't rely on someone else's results - I've noticed that all my "honed" marbles felt different and the etching looked MUCH worse on some than others. That might explain why some "marble" people say the etching is no big deal while others freak out. Try different kinds - you never know what might happen.