What Is Etching and How Does It Affect Your Marble?

There are benefits to marble and granite countertops in Roswell, but if you’ve been researching natural stone, you’ve probably heard of etching and may be concerned about it. Etching is something that affects natural stone, but more specifically marble. Whether you’re considering marble or granite countertops in Roswell, here’s what you need to know about etching.

What Is Etching?

Etching is the term used to describe surface damage on natural stone. It looks like a dull mark on the stone and may be ring-shaped or look like a water mark that won’t go away. Etching is more common in stones that are calcium based. That’s why limestone, quartzite, travertine, and marble are most often mentioned when discussing etching concerns.

What Causes Etching?

Etching basically occurs because of a chemical reaction between an acid and the calcium in the stone surface. This reaction damages the stone and causes the surface to become dull. The most common causes of acid interacting with the stone are from spilled food or drink. Even spills that are quickly cleaned up can allow the etching process to begin. The longer the spill is left on the marble, the more serious the etching will become. Common foods that cause etching are citrus foods or drink, tomato-based sauces, vinegar, juice, coffee, wine, and even fruit.

What Are the Degrees of Severity?

A minor etch causes the surface to lose shine while a moderate etch causes the loss of both shine and reflection. There’s usually a slightly rough feel to the area as well. More severe etching causes dullness, roughness, and visible pitting that can be 1/16 inch deep.

What Can You Do about Etching?

The best way to prevent etching is to be very careful when using any foods or cleaning products containing acid. The counters should only be cleaned with mild soap and water and spills should be cleaned up right away. Some homeowners choose a matte finish for their marble to help minimize the visibility of etching. Depending on how the surface of the marble was finished, there may be products to help polish small etched areas on a countertop to make it shiny again, but it’s important to remember that etching is not a stain and can’t be removed with cleaning.

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