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gena_hooper

The marble etches

Gena Hooper
14 years ago

It does. It really does. And it doesn't look like patina. Maybe after a year of etching, it will become patina. But it doesn't at the start. Does it ever?

I'm trying to digest this information. I've spent countless hours obsessing over a cabinet color to complement the Danby Imperial marble and my backsplash. If we ditch the marble, then we're almost back to square one (in the aesthetics department...layout has been firm for awhile). But I guess it's best to find this out now than afterwards. The marble isn't out yet. But it's in definite danger of being out. *sigh*

I'm off to take a long walk and have a nice dinner with hubby. Stars were aligned, and we have a sitter for tonight. Maybe I'll have better perspective afterwards.

What do you guys think? Other counter ideas? I've already thought about soapstone and wood. Maybe something like sochi's white quartzite, but haven't been able to find any in the Boston area. Ugh.

Here is a link that might be useful: post with pictures...too bummed to move all the photos here

Comments (32)

  • lovemcm
    14 years ago

    I have to say we considered the luce di luna (white quartzite). It is gorgeous and we had hoped it would be less etchable than marble. But when we tried the tests with various substances (wine, mustard, lemon juice, etc.), even our sealed sample etched like crazy. I feel your pain. But, better now than after it was installed! Maybe Sochi has found a sealer that would help. We found the luce di luna in RI, at a showroom that has since closed. If you have a fabricator and you're still considering the quartzite, call and ask them if they know where you could see some in your area. We visited at least 3 showrooms in Mass. when we were granite shopping. Some of them had huge selections.

    Sue

  • jeanteach
    14 years ago

    I totally understand your acceptance of "patina" and I agree that if the marble develops a patina then it would be fine. However, what you created with your liquids and fruits is not patina. It is, as you said, splotches. Personally, I would never be happy with all of those marks. I have honed Jet Mist, a granite, and even that shows some marks (possibly because I had an enhancer applied over a sealer and the two may be reacting). The marks are very minor and only noticeable at a certain angle, but when I see them I am annoyed. And they are nothing compared to what you created. On the other hand, my stainless steel sink scratched almost immediately, I was horrified, and within a week there were so many scratches (mostly from my cast iron pots) that it did, indeed, develop a patina. Presumably your marble would do the same, but it would probably take years. Do you really want to wait that long and hate it the whole time? In terms of another white, I can't help you there, as I went for black. But I hope others will chime in. Good luck!

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  • sochi
    14 years ago

    Maybe a stone expert out there can explain the etching thing with quartzite? I took two unsealed samples home while we were trying to decide on counters, a white marble I adored and the quartzite bianca, my second choice. The marble etched like crazy, as expected, the quartzite didn't. We went for the quartzite and have been using it for six or eight weeks now. I haven't babied it and I've been HUNTING for stains or etching. Nothing (yet). The fabricators did seal it, I have to check with what.

    I think marble counters using show etches within a few days don't they??

    I have seen older posts here from people with Luce di Luna, no etching, but at least one other post (other than petlady1's post above) said it did etch. What is up with that? I don't understand. Any ideas? Stone experts? Is it the sealing? Variety in the same kind of stone?

  • morgne
    14 years ago

    I have a suggestion! Take one of those things that etched the worst and deliberatly etch the ENTIRE thing. Really cover it. Totally and completely. And see what you think of that.

    THEN redo the test. And see if the etchings blend together. It's always possible that the etchings will form that patina. It's worth a shot, right?

  • country_smile
    14 years ago

    pickle - After seeing your test and etching results, I feel your heartache and disappointment. But, at least now you can make an informed decision. It would be interesting to see what happens if you do what morgne suggested. I love marble, and patina is ok but I'd have a problem if I had to see those splotches on my counters.

    The only place I have marble in my kitchen is on my hutch - which is mostly used for display & storage, not a working surface. I never thought I was one to "baby" something in my kitchen but that 24"x47" marble slab on my hutch has made it evident to me that there is an exception. I would have difficulty with all marble counters in my kitchen, even though in photos of others' kitchens they look absolutely to die for.

    Wishing you peace for whichever counter top you choose for your kitchen.

  • malhgold
    14 years ago

    Every time i see a post like this, I start to second guess myself and wonder why I put marble in my kitchen. The slab I purchased was labeled honed, but it is really more of a polished finish. I've had it in since October and do have some etching, but I can only see it at certain angles. I am anal about my counters, not only because they're marble, but that's just the type of cook I am. I must have some sort of compulsive complex where I can't stand messes and really do clean up as I go!! When I did my marble test, the polished sample really looked more like your sample test that my honed sample did. I wish I could give you some advice, because I know how you feel. I couldn't come up with anything else that I liked better to put on my island. For me, if it ever gets so bad, I will probably have a stone restorer come in and hone it.

    Are you planning the marble everywhere? We have brushed absolute black on our perimeter counters. I don't think I could've done the marble everywhere.

  • willowdecor
    14 years ago

    I have Calcutta in my pantry - honed and sealed with 511 Porous Plus and so far no etching - but it is not used like the kitchen where I have soapstone, which takes more of a beating. It has had red sauce and coffee spills on it over night with no problem. Here is a picture, but I feel your pain. In the end etching would have bothered me too much so I chose soaptone. Best of luck!

    Here is a link that might be useful: Calcutta honed

  • bmorepanic
    14 years ago


    I'm sad for you.

    Altho I love the look and coulda talked dh into the splurge, etching is why we don't have marble. I 'm not the kind of person who can stand to see that and I'd be trying to fix it all the time. In our kitchen it would have shown in the light like your photo every day.

  • beckysharp Reinstate SW Unconditionally
    14 years ago

    pickle2, did you see sfmomof2's marble etching test last month? She included Danby...

    Good luck!

    Becky

    Here is a link that might be useful: sfmomof2's marble etching test

  • marthavila
    14 years ago

    I have Imperial Danby on my cafe dining table. Granted, I don't use that tabletop like I would a countertop and I don't have a bustling family all around and I am very conscious of what I set upon it, spill on it, etc. Even so, there are some etches on it . . . but I really have to strain to see them. Nothing looks like the etches in your photo. I'm thinking more than anything it's the light. My table is situated in front of a bay with very large windows. Whether morning, noon or night, whether or not the lace curtains are drawn or when the pendant light is on, I haven't seen such. Did you photograph those etches at an angle?

  • rococogurl
    14 years ago

    I've got Castle White marble, nowhere near as hard as Danby and it's been in since October. It's sealed and has a few etches but nothing anyone but I would notice and nothing remotely close to that. We regular spatter coffee, pomegranate juice etc. I'm not that careful and either is DH. I do credit my sealer is the reason and I have a renewer/polish from the same brand.

    If you think you'll be that hard on the counters I'd go for one of the white granites or try to find a pale version of Bianco Romano.

  • jeri
    14 years ago

    I too would love to see someone completely cover a piece of marble with vinegar, or lemons, or tomatoes (ala Meg Ryan). I have to wonder if it would indeed have the Patina that everyone talks about and then spots such as these might not show?

  • wallycat
    14 years ago

    If you are uneasy with patina, which is guaranteed to occur, what about the new Cambria Waverton that looks JUST like marble but is a "solid surface" that won't patina on you?

  • writersblock (9b/10a)
    14 years ago

    >Waverton that looks JUST like marble

    The sample I looked at didn't look much like marble to me, I have to say. It was more like a limestone kind of pattern, very much like the Okite Bianco Carrara. Nice, but not much like marble, if that's what you're after.

  • kateskouros
    14 years ago

    i'm sorry i haven't read your entire blog or all the comments above but i've been regularly abusing a 24x24 sample of calacatta marble for over three years and it looks nothing like yours. did you seal it? sealed ours with porous 511 (only once) and although it develops a few faint stains, they do come out after a while. i honestly have not noticed any etching ...or anything that makes me rethink my choice.

  • Gena Hooper
    Original Author
    14 years ago

    Thanks for the commiseration. After a long ramble and good sushi, I feel better.

    Thanks bmore for adding the pic. I just blabbed and ran.

    Anyone who already has or wants marble, please don't doubt your decisions. I know marble has worked really well for lots of people. It's why I was so surprised at my results. This was just regular foodstuff applied with a spoon. Of course, I know marble etches, but still...to see how obvious and distinct the splotches were...just surprising.

    Yes, the marble was sealed. Twice as per the instructions. With Porous Plus 511. And we're experienced DIYers and followed the directions.

    Yes, the etching looks that obvious. It's not a trick of the light or camera angle. It is much, much more noticeable with the light slanting across it. Maybe if the marble was on an island away from windows, you may not notice the etching as much.

    Thanks for the link to the marble test post! I don't remember if she mentioned which Danby she tested. There are several different types. I guess I didn't pay as much attention to it as I should have.

    I need to think through countertop options. My husband and I are both like...well...it's kinda bad, but not as awful as it could have been. I was planning on putting the marble on the stove/sink L run and soapstone on the 36" deep fridge counter. Now I'm wondering about flipping it. Doing soapstone on the L run and doing marble on the fridge wall. The L run is where the major prep takes place and has two windows. The fridge wall will be mainly for sandwich making, secondary prep, and baking. No windows.

    I'd be glad to take on etching the entire surface with some lemon or something. Need to get another lemon. I'll post back later with results.

  • Gena Hooper
    Original Author
    14 years ago

    Oh, and thanks petlady1, about the etching info with white quartzite. It is weird how some people have it and others don't. Is it because they're different stones? Different quarries? Different sealers? I may still look for it, but I'll know to try my seal/etch test on it.

  • sabjimata
    14 years ago

    Pickle, your idea to flip the materials sounds like a very good solution to me. The Danby is gorgeous...how could you pass on it?

    Jeri, I just soaked some marble tile with vinegar...not exactly a whole countertop, but the results were good. Etching and then i scrubbed with a scotch brite to even it out. Instant honed.

    Here is a link that might be useful: my marble test

  • Fori
    14 years ago

    Flip it! Or use soapstone for counters and marble for backsplash.

  • firstmmo
    14 years ago

    I went through the angst of the marble decision and in the end my husband just couldn't live with the etching, my possible complaints or the high maintenance. I will say that I am incredibly weird about my counters--I can't stand to have anything on them, so I think it was a very good choice on our part NOT to go with it. I chose white quartzite and it really doesn't stain at all--tests with oil, red wine, vinegar, balsamic, acetone, lemons leave it with almost nothing. The red wine left for 24 hrs had a faint shadow that disappeared after a day.

    I have a friend who is quite similar and she just HAD to have marble. They committed as part of their decision to have marble, to have a marble person come out each year and "fix" it. So, each year they pay someone $200-$300 to come out and take all the etches out. Afterwards, it looks amazingly new. If you have to have marble and you are willing to pay for the maintenance (just like having your deck power washed, your rugs cleaned, your windows washed, etc) you can make your counter perfect every year.

    I had always dreamed of marble, but if I'm truthful to myself and my real life, I know it's not a good fit, but I have been surprised by my friends who have since been "marble converts".......so a good "heart to heart" is a good thing!

  • Gena Hooper
    Original Author
    14 years ago

    Who knew it would be so easy to turn splotches to patina? Squeeze the juice from a lemon. Slather it over the sample with the lemon rind. Wait an hour. Instant patina.

    We're fine with this. However, I don't think we can do marble on the L run. Too much maintenance. On the 48"x36" piece...sure! For the L run...probably soapstone? But maybe Pietra del Cardoso? Honed Jet Mist?

    Oh, and that wine stain? It's vaguely there, but it took me forever to find it. So marble lovers, take heart!


    Now we want to see what happens if we stain/etch test it with wine et. al. again.

  • morgne
    14 years ago

    Yes! That's the real test, the second etching. I'm SO pleased you are doing it and eager for the results!

  • sabjimata
    14 years ago

    Good for you, Pickle!

  • bmorepanic
    14 years ago

    Good!

    I needed quite a bit more time and wine to get over it. I still feel a little wistful sometimes. But no marble was our best decision as some marble will be for you. I think you made a good choice.

  • sochi
    14 years ago

    Good for you! It sounds like you may have come to the perfect compromise.

  • jeri
    14 years ago

    Yea! This Thread has given me a great deal of confidence. Thanks Pickle and Sabjimata for all your time and effort testing and posting your results. You guys are awesome!

    And paying 2-3 hundred once a year to make it perfect again? I can totally live with that!

    Our current plan is Soapstone on the perimeter and Marble on the Island. :-)

  • rookie_2010
    14 years ago

    This thread is great! I have a honed marble island top that I'm not using yet (kitchen's not done). I didn't use it on the perimeter because I figured that if I need it re-honed, it would be cleaner and easier to just do the island top.

    For the past year, I've had a large sink cutout of the same marble but polished instead of honed. I've tried so hard to stain it and etch it. I have very, very faint coffee stains that took a day and a half of sitting to create After reading this post, I poured balsamic vinegar on it and left it for 10 minutes. I then poured white wine vinegar on it. The balsamic etched it but the white wine vinegar REALLY etched it! I actually watched it fizzle away the polish and fizzle an etch in the shape of the puddle I poured on it. It took about 2 minutes to do that. The funny thing is, the sink cutout has been sitting on top of my glass stove top for a year, basically unharmed. I spill everything on it and have even cut up watermelon and cantaloupe for school lunches on top of it.
    Important lesson: If using vinegar, carry it over to the non-marble side of your kitchen to pour or always pour over the sink.

  • Gena Hooper
    Original Author
    14 years ago

    Second etching trial:

    I redid all the original test materials (except for strawberries which had been devoured by berry-loving children). This photo was taken after the sample was rinsed, but not scrubbed with any cleanser. The sample was sealed prior to any testing, but was not re-sealed after testing began.

    Next I'm going to try cleaning and then Comet and/or light sanding to what happens.

    Hope this helps someone!

    Here is a link that might be useful: More info

  • morgne
    14 years ago

    Wow. It looks significantly better this second time around! After this next step of more cleaning I think there might even be ANOTHER step. The does-etching-again-blend-it-all-back-together test. If all it takes to etch it beautiful again is a once a month go over with the vinager cloth then....???

    A lot of us with soapstone oil more frequently than that.

  • niffy
    14 years ago

    Try a green scotchbrite pad. I just got a pretty bad circular etch out my honed statuary with one. Our counter is honed to 110 grit, which is so matte it is really helping hide etches and scratches.

  • homeredesign_comcast_net
    12 years ago

    We are also considering a white quartzite (Quartzite Bianca.. in lieu of marble because of etching), and I am so grateful to read these blogs about possible etching of white quartzite. I'd be horrified if we passed over marble because of etching only to find out white quartzite does the same. We have a slab picked out, and our fabricator has a piece of another slab to test etching, but based on what I'm reading here, not all white quartzites are etching, so we may have to see if they'll let us test a small corner of our slab.

    btw, sealing does nothing to prevent etching--it's for stains. I too wondered about the Meg Ryan treatment. Our fabricator said it would still show the 'individual' etch areas, but it will be interesting to see how others have experienced this treatment..