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Marble is probably one of the most well known and loved natural stones. It has gained an association with luxury interiors due to its beauty and uniqueness. From the pure splendour of Statuario to the bold magnificence of Calacatta Verde there is a marble for all occasions.

Properties of marble

The distinctive aesthetics of marble are owed to its geological components and formation. Marble actually starts life as limestone and is classed as a metamorphic rock. This means that through high heat and pressure, the structure of the limestone is transformed. The resulting stone contains all of the original carbonite materials (fossils and minerals) which are recrystalised into calcite. It is the other minerals present in the limestone that are responsible for the stunning colours that you associate with marble. For example, iron present in the limestone will results in reddish tones, whereas serpentine is responsible for green marble formation.

Just like limestone, the high levels of calcium carbonate present mean that it is highly sensitive to acidic substances. This is particularly pertinent for marble intended for us in a kitchen. Everyday acid such as lemon juice or vinegar that comes into contact with the stone will cause a chemical reaction. This results in a burn or an etch mark. Read on for advice on how to avoid this and what to do if it does happen.

Another similarity to limestone, is the softness of the marble. The measurement on the MOHs hardeness scale is usually between 2-3. This means that extra care has to be taken to prevent scratching the stone. However it also has the advantage that unlike the harder granites and quartzites it is much easier to restore the surface of marble after installation.

Marble finishes

The crystalline structure of marble created during the metamorphic process means that in general, it is easier to polish. This is another reason why it is a stone often associated with opulence. The beautiful shiny finish created when marble is polished is truly exquisite.

Honed and satin finished marble is also starting to become more popular. A honed finish refers to marble that has been ground to a smooth, flat finish. The surface is matte with a velvety feel. This is a beautiful way to finish a tile and also has an impact on maintenance. Although not more hardwearing as such, having a honed finish will show scratch marks and chemical etching less starkly than with a polished finish. One of the benefits of natural stone is that it can be honed or polished at any point if you change our mind. If your marble is being restored by the Athena Stonecare team, we will discuss the different options for the finish. some clients opt for a semi-polish or satin shine. This is a beautiful middle ground that will still reflect some light but can be more practical than a high polish.

Maintenance

The versatility and diversity of marble make it popular to add a touch of luxury in a kitchen or bathroom. No matter what colour and finish you choose, marble will elegantly endure with just a few simple steps for maintenance.

One of the best things that you can do for your marble worktop, shower enclosure or sink is keep it free from everyday acids. It is essential to use coasters to form a barrier between the stone surface and any potentially damaging liquids. This includes oil, vinegar and perfume. We also recommend keeping your marble surface as dry as possible. In a bathroom this will require a little time each day to wipe up surface water from shower walls, trays and sinks. This will stop the hard water deposits from building up and etching the stone surface. As marble will react to most household limescale removers you want to prevent the limescale from building up in the first place.

It is essential to only use pH neutral cleaning detergent on and around your stone. Fila Brio is a fantastic ready mixed pH neutral detergent spray. This can be used for all surfaces in your kitchen and bathroom. Fila Refresh is an ideal cleaning option for use on polished worktops. If used frequently it will clean, build up and maintain levels of stain protection as well as enhance the polished finish.

Professional services

There are occasions when it is beneficial to invest in a professional maintenance or restoration treatment. This might be part of a renovation project, or due to damage caused by incorrect cleaning or a spillage.

Professional marble restoration or maintenance services will require the use of diamond abrasives. These will gently grind away the very top layer of the stone to remove scratches, etch marks and staining. A series of finer grit abrasives are then used to resurface the stone to the desired finish. This will restore the stone back to its original beauty in addition to retaining the qualities of the marble from when it was first installed.

For more advice on maintenance visit our knowledge hub.

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