What makes marble so timeless, restoration, taking care of it, and more.
Marble stone has been ubiquitous with building and architecture for millennia. The constitution of it makes it easy to manipulate and work into other compounds to create a diverse range of materials. The slabs that are quarried can produce solid structures that last generations if taken care of properly, and look beautiful from a design perspective. It’s considered a symbol of wealth and prosperity and the stone itself is used across cultures.
What makes marble so widely used?
At its core, marble is comprised mostly of calcium-carbonate. Marble is a derivative of limestone which is calcium-carbonate, and as such has many different uses. Aside from countertops and floors, marble can be found used as a construction aggregate – mixed in with cement, found in paint, used as soil treatment, and in supplements. Due to marble’s composition, it will react to anything acidic. This makes it a fantastic acid neutralizer, when prepared properly, but it also means the natural stone needs a certain level of attentiveness if it is used in buildings and interior of homes.
Marble from the quarry
Marble is a metamorphic rock. To metamorphose means to transform. The quality of transformation on a geologic scale can lead to some spectacular natural stone formations. Consider a sedimentary rock like limestone, formed closer to the surface of the Earth’s crust. Through the movement of the Earth, surface rocks can find their way deeper into the crust. Now exposed to other minerals, more heat, and exponential pressure, this once limestone can become a new stone – marble.
USA, France, Belgium, India, Spain, Italy, Egypt, Turkey, Brazil, Portugal and Greece are among the countries exporting the most marble. The marble extraction process is often done by slow carving out large quarries. Marble is often named after where they are mined, such as Italy’s famous Carrara marble – responsible for much of the marble carvings that popular Italian renaissance art is known for.
Watch “ll Capo” (The Chief): a striking look at marble quarrying in the Italian Alps video here.
The variability is abundant as marble comes in different colours, and depending on the region will also contain different patterns of veining. as well as coloration variance in the veining as well. The colour variance comes from the addition of ‘impurities’ that may find its way into the composition of marble’s calcium carbonate.
Marble will take on new colour characteristics when there are other minerals mixed in:
- Hematite: will add reddish hues to marble due it hematite’s composition of iron oxide
- Limonite: will add yellow hues to marble from hydrated iron oxide compounds
- Calcite: marble is made of calcium carbonite, and if it doesn’t have any impurities mixed in, marble will be the purest of white
Marble at home
The versatility of the stone often allows for its use as a statement like detailing around another material, it can also be used as a finishing touch to tie together a kitchen like the backsplash, as flooring, used as accent design on walls, and countertops.
When the installation work of marble is done professionally using high quality marble, it can increase the value of your home. The visual attractiveness of using marble in your home always leaves a uniqueness, as no two piece of marble is ever the same.
Marble does not heat up quickly unlike wood and concrete. It has the capacity to hold temperature better than other materials, and so it can be understood as something that material that cools down the temperature of interior spaces. This often makes it a choice pick to be used in the kitchen as it can withstand extreme heat.
Marble is also easy to disinfect, making it great for high traffic areas like the kitchen, floors, hallways, and bathrooms.
Maintaining your marble
As sturdy as marble might feel, it’s important to remember that all natural stones are porous. Depending on the type of stone, the stain resistance varies. With marble, the porosity of the stone is higher than other stones like granite. As such, it will absorb liquid more readily than other stones that are less porous. Not that marble will soak up liquids like a sponge, but if liquid is left on the marble for long enough, the liquid will penetrate deep enough that it may stain the stone and be nearly impossible to remove.
If you live in a space where there is marble, it is important to remember to get it sealed properly. The thing you want to avoid is to neglect proper care of your marble and be left with a lustreless stone. In the case of kitchen countertops, one key thing you can do to maintain the beauty of it is to clean up messes and spills immediately. This way, it removes the potential of staining.
5 tips you can adopt to care for your marble stone at home:
- Wipe things down immediately – especially during winter and you track road salt into the home
- Be extra cautious when using acidic solutions and citrus
- Consider having your stone countertop, backsplashes, vanities, and flooring sealed
- Start using coasters
- Even though natural stone countertops can handle high heat, use a heat resistant pad or cork padding when transferring hot objects from stove to countertop
Marble is widely used in sculptures and architecture because it’s easy to work with and carve. It scores a 3 out of 10 on the Mohs scale of hardness, which means it’s harder to crack, but a lot easier to scratch and chip.
On top of that, marble is highly reactive to acidic solutions, and is very porous. This means it will absorb liquids easily and will stain. If left exposed to acidic solutions, marble will degrade, and as a result lose its lustre.
In the instance where wear, tear, and erosion has occurred with your marble products, it is ideal to hire a professional to restore the stone decor in your home. The longer you leave the damage, the more your marble stone surfaces will be exposed to more damage.
Marble is porous and is home to microbial life such as bateria, cyanobacteria, algae, and fungi – Abdelhafez, A. et al. (2012)
Professional marble restoration services will have tools that can bring the lustre and beauty back to weathered marble surfaces. In general professionals will use a combination of alkaline or pH neutral cleaning solutions along with a steam cleaner to remove any microorganisms that can lead to a continual deterioration of the stone.
After that is done, you should expect the contractor to use a diamond polishing process. Depending on the company, they will have their own take on how many steps of diamond polishing that will happen. This is important, because the diamond grit polishing is needed to strip away the top layer of eroded marble in order to replenish and restore the shine and lustre of the natural stone.
Lippage removal, grout cleaning, and scratch removal by a restoration service
In the instance that you have chosen marble or any other natural stone as tile flooring, it’s possible that over the years of use, or through a bad job of installation, the tiles do not match up to remain flush.
Where two natural stone tiles meet is where grout can be found and lippage can happen. Lippage simply is where one stone tile does not overlap with the adjacent stone tile in a flush manner. You can hire a professional to grind down the stone tile so that the tile is flush with the adjacent tiles.
Grout is the filler material that can be found underneath the tiles as well as between. Grout is highly porous, and as such, if it isn’t maintained with a sealant, it can attract bacteria, dirt, grime, and become stained. If your marble is pure white, the juxtaposition of dirty grout with opulent white marble will become an eyesore.
Most natural stone and marble restoration services will have the expertise to help you refinish your floors to bring it back to a condition close if not just like it was when you just had your marble stone installed in your home.
Maintaining your marble surfaces and polishing marble
As stated earlier, marble is incredibly porous, and as such, you should take care to seal your marble at least once a year, depending on how often it is exposed to use.
Before you seal your marble, it is a good opportunity to give it a deep clean and polish. The work done takes a little bit of effort, but is completely worth it in the long run to maintain the beauty of your marble surfaces.
- Clean off your marble surface, and use a neutral cleaning solution or dish detergent with a sponge to clean off any visible debris. Wipe down any residue with a clean damp cloth.
- Target any spots that appear to have stains using a commercial marble poultice stain remover. There are DIY solutions out there that you can also use that will utilize baking soda, ammonia, and other ingredients. Let the poultice sit for overnight, up to 24 hours, or what the commercial product instruction says.
- Scrape off the poultice, wipe down the marble surface with a damp wet cloth, and apply commercial polishing powder to bring back the shine to your marble.
- Finish off using sealant to seal those pores on the marble and protect your stone surface from future stains!
Hire trusted and renowned marble restoration service
At the end of the day, the best work is done by those who pay attention to detail and known what they are doing. If you don’t happen to have the right tools to DIY the polishing process for your marble, it might be better to pay a little more money to get the job done right.
Although store bought polishing kits will come with most of what you need, the best work is done with the right tools. Shallow scratches will be easier for you to handle. However, when it comes to deeper etch marks on your marble surface, it might be a good idea to hire a service that specializes in restoring marble.
Asking for help is never usually the first on people’s mind, but if you don’t know what you’re doing, it can save you time, money, effort, and stress by just picking up the phone!
If you live in the Toronto, or Greater Toronto Area, give BRILHO Services a call at (416) 923-3300 for a consultation for your marble restoration needs.