Few things are as elegant and durable as marble countertops. Properly maintained marble and granite counters are incredibly tough and can look as good as new years after they're installed. There is one type of damage, however, that can occur, and can be quite frustrating. Known as "etching," these marks can affect all kinds of granite and marble, but there's no reason to let them get you down. If you're researching different types of countertops in Roswell, here's what you should know about etching.
A Chemical Reaction
Usually present as a dull mark in the stone or a ring shape, etching is a reaction that takes place between acid and the calcium that exists in the stone's surface. Etching commonly effects calcium-based materials such as marble, granite, travertine, and quartzite. While spills on granite and marble shouldn't stain, they can lead to etching. The longer a spill is left unattended on the surface of the marble, the more likely it is that etching will occur. In particular, any spilled liquid that contains acids such as tomato-based sauces, citrus juices, coffee, and wine are the most likely to cause etching.
Damage from Etching
Etching does nothing to harm the structural integrity of marble. Granite or marble affected by etching will be just as durable and tough as those without. However, the damage done by etching - no matter how minor - is permanent. It's important to remember that etching is a chemical reaction taking place within the marble, and is not a stain, so you can't alleviate its effects by scrubbing. Minor etching usually results in giving the countertop a dull appearance. The more severe the etching, the more of the luster and reflection of the stone you're likely to lose. At its most severe, you may feel a roughness to the surface of your counters, and even pitting that can reach a depth of up to 1/16th of an inch.
Solutions to Etching
One of the most important things you can do to protect your marble and granite countertops is to seal them regularly. Applying two or three coats of sealer every three to five years will prevent stains from seeping into the stone, thereby preventing etching. Regardless of whether your countertops have been recently sealed, if a spill occurs, clean it as quickly as possible. Also, clean the countertops regularly using only a mild soap and water. If etching occurs, there are some steps you can take to reduce its effects. Some homeowners might want to limit the visible effects of etching by choosing a matte finish for their countertops. There are also some products available where you can polish etched areas of your counters to make them shine as much as possible.
None of this should discourage you from buying marble kitchen countertops in Roswell. Marble and granite are the most popular materials for countertops because they're elegant and reliable. Most etching is relatively minor and does nothing to diminish your counter's functionality. Furthermore, if you regularly seal your marble, and clean up quickly after spills occur, there's no reason why your marble countertops can't be as beautiful as the day they were installed for years into the future.