Stains can be difficult to deal with on stone tile or sculpture. Homeowners typically choose marble for its high quality and the variety of colors marble is available in compared to other types of stone. These benefits also come with unique care requirements--marble is very sensitive to chemicals and can be easily stained under the right circumstances. These stains can be difficult to remove.
Marble is a limestone-based stone that comes in many different colors due to its impurities. These impurities are other minerals that found their way into the limestone as it was being formed under water, creating the well-known striations in the marble. Decorative marble is typically cut and polished in order to highlight these impurities and enhance the beauty of the stone. As limestone, marble is extremely porous, which allows liquids to seep deep into the stone very quickly.
Normal stains--those with a neutral pH or alkaline substances--will stain marble deeply, but will not usually cause permanent damage. Normal stains usually can be wiped out or absorbed in time. Acid stains are different. The acid will very quickly begin to eat away at the limestone in the marble, a process called "etching" that damages the marble surface. This is a permanent condition.
In a home, the most common types of acidic spills are usually fruit-based. Wine and fruit juices spill on the marble surface and immediately start eating at the stone. Such liquids contains a large amount of natural acid left over from their fermentation and from natural chemical compounds.
In order to prevent the damage from these types of stains, marble is coated with a protective coat that seals the porous stone completely so that the juice cannot reach the surface of the stone. This often creates a necessary gloss over the marble, although some treatments are designed to keep the natural look of the stone while protecting it. This seal is especially important for lighter marbles, which can change their color in the presence of acids.
Once a surface has been damaged by acid, the only solution is to repolish the marble to smooth it back out again and removed the damaged section. A poultice with alcohol, acetone or other chemicals can often absorb the stain from the marble. This should be done by a professional who has experience in treating and cleaning marble.
- Photo Credit Marble - Unpolished image by JacWill from Fotolia.com
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