How to Maintain Marble Countertops
Marble makes some of the classiest and sleekest looking countertops. There is something so elegant about a fresh marble counter that instantly elevates the feeling in a room. And although marble is known for its strength and durability, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t require ongoing maintenance.
Marble countertops are used mostly in kitchens and bathrooms, and they can be expensive. It makes sense to look after them, considering you spent so much money to have them installed. A lot of the time, your countertop will not be solid, quarried slab marble, it will be a cheaper, slightly more processed version, known as cultured marble. This tends to be slightly weaker (although still very durable) and more prone to staining than slab marble.
It is important to remember that any type of countertop requires some degree of upkeep, and marble is no different. Here are some simple steps that you should follow, preserve your marble, and keep it looking brand new:
Regularly seal your countertop
Sealing your marble helps to make it resistant to stains. When your marble countertop is first installed, any good installer will seal it, allowing you to experience your new counter in its’ pristine condition for the first few months. After this, it is your responsibility to upkeep it. Marble should be sealed every 3 to 6 months, depending on the state of your counter.
There is a quick and easy test that you can do to help you determine whether or not your counter needs to be resealed. Carefully spill a small amount of water onto a section of your counter, and leave it for up to 15 minutes. If that section of the counter is stained when you wipe it away, this is a great indication you are ready for resealing.
Because you need to reseal marble so frequently, you may want to learn how to do this yourself. It is definitely possible to reseal your marble properly, as long as you know what you are doing. As long as you have the correct tools for the job (a soft cloth, natural stone cleaner, and natural stone sealer), you can perform the task pretty well. Depending on the size of your counters, this should only take about an hour. Most professionals recommend that if this is the route you want to take, you should at least alternate professional and DIY ceilings. No matter how good you get DIY projects, it still probably won’t be as good as someone with more experience.
Clean your countertop daily
Your marble countertop may look clean from afar, but it’s important to wipe it down to ensure nothing creates a stain regularly. Marble is a porous stone, so anything can seep into the small holes and create visible changes. You should be able to clean your counters with just a damp cloth and a mild soap or cleaner. Do not use heavily abrasive cleaners on marble – these can cut through the seal and leave stains themselves. There is also no reason to use these kinds of products – if you maintain your counter, all minor messes should be easily wiped up without harsh chemicals.
If you are concerned about proper cleaning for your counter, you can purchase cleaners that are specific for marble countertops. These can easily be purchased online, or you may be able to buy them from professional cleaners in your area. Regardless, make sure you do your research and get a cleaner that is guaranteed to work with your counter. Not all marble is the same, and you want to ensure you have products that perfectly cater to your needs.
You may also prefer to opt for a more natural cleaning solution. Baking soda mixed with water is a great way to clean your marble. This is great for cleaning, sanitizing and deodorizing your counters, and can help to maintain them at their original state. You have to be careful as it is an alkaline substance, which can cause issues with your counters if you use too much, or leave it on for too long. Never use it and walk away, always keep an eye on any potential issues occurring.
Wipe up any stains as they occur
It can be tempting to leave a stain and clean it up later, especially if you are in a rush. Marble is known for its easy staining – even spilled water can cause a long-term mess. Foods that are known to stain (red wine, coffee, anything citrus) will make very obvious stains on marble if they are left to sit for even a short time. They can swiftly break down the sealant (especially if it is due to be replaced soon anyway), and set into the marble, corroding it, leaving potentially visible marks. Once this happens, it can be so tricky to try and remove it. Take the extra few seconds to wipe everything away once you are done with the counter, so you have the peace of mind knowing everything is sorted.
Invest in protective covers
One of the best ways to maintain the integrity of your marble countertops is to make sure that areas that are prone to damage are covered. If you are cutting something, always use a chopping board, never cut directly onto the marble.
You may wish to invest in clear coating, especially around your oven area. This is the space that can easily get splashed and forgotten about in the cleaning process, which can then lead to stains. The clear coating covers your marble, protecting it without detracting from the classy aesthetic that marble maintains. This is not necessary for your entire counter (unless you want to), but it does help to protect high-traffic areas and areas where you can almost guarantee a higher risk of spillage. Sealants are great, but often they are just not enough.
You can get a protective layer professionally and permanently added to your marble counter. Alternatively, you can easily find something that is a lesser quality but will still get the job done just as well.
Never put anything hot directly on to marble surfaces
Although marble can withstand intense heat, it’s always best to avoid this where possible. Never place hot drinks directly onto the counter, always use a coaster. The same goes for pots and pans directly out of the oven – place them on trivets, as opposed to straight on the marble surface. Brand new marble might be able to tolerate the heat, but older marble may begin to show signs of breaking down. It’s easiest to develop good habits from the beginning, so you don’t have to try and change your behavior as you salvage your counters later.
A layer of clear protective coating can also work well to minimize heat damage – giving you another reason to consider adding it to your counter. Although it is still not recommended that you put anything hot directly onto it, this is still better than putting it right onto the counter with no protective layer at all.
Want marble countertops without the fuss?
If your heart set on the look of marble countertops but don’t want to deal with the upkeep, consider investing in marble-designed covers for your countertops. It is a great solution that is so much cheaper and so much easier to maintain
Covers can be found in a range of different styles, not just marble. They adhere to your countertop (no matter what it is made from) and can be removed whenever you feel like a change. Peel it off, and replace it with a newer, cleaner cover, maybe even something completely new. They are a fraction of the cost of real marble, and they look similar enough from far away. You can still manage to improve the look and feel of your kitchen, even if it’s artificial. Because they are so cheap, you don’t have to feel bad if you do accidentally spill something on your counter, or perhaps you don’t clean them as thoroughly as you should.
Marble counters are just like any other kind countertop
Always remember, marble countertops are going to experience the same cleaning and maintenance issues as almost any other kind. There is perhaps some misconception that because they are relatively expensive, it must mean that they last longer, and require less cleaning. While it is true that they can last a long time, they must be properly maintained, to extend their life as much as possible.
Cleaning and maintaining your marble countertops don’t have to be hard. All you really need to do is remember to wipe down the countertop after it has been used, and remember to reseal it every 3 to 6 months (whenever it needs it). These costs can become slightly expensive in the long run (especially if you opt for professional sealing services), but this just needs to be considered part of the cost of marble countertops. Most people find that there are so many benefits to marble, that this helps to offset this cost and make them worth the money.