Cleaning And Maintaining Marble Countertops

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Marble is one of the most elegant materials, and has been used as a decorative and structural material for thousands of years. The ancient Greeks used marble for many of their architectural creations, much of which still stands today. This is an obvious testament to the durability of the substance, one of the characteristics that makes it such a great material for kitchens. Marble countertops are very popular in Europe, where chefs have for years taken advantage of their naturally cold surface and high polish to help in the preparation of foods.

Marble countertops are an excellent choice, especially if you have a sophisticated sense of decor. If you do decide to go with marble, though, you must be sure to take very specific steps to maintain its appearance. Proper care of your marble will ensure that it stays beautiful and functional for many years.

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Seal it, Seal it, Seal it

One of the first steps to guaranteeing the longevity of your marble is to make sure it has a proper seal. First of all, you should hire a contractor for the installation. Marble is extremely heavy and difficult to handle for amateurs. Once the installation is complete, a good contractor will apply the first seal for you. Sealing is a process that should also be performed by a professional. You can do it yourself, but if it isn’t done properly you can cause permanent damage to the marble down the road.

Upon installation, the marble should be sealed at least two or three times. You will know a proper seal is formed when water forms droplets on the surface. If it begins to soak in or spread out rapidly, the seal is not quite complete. The countertop will need to be resealed about a year later, and after that it should last for some time. Always be sure to maintain the seal on the countertop. Over time, with repeated use, the seal can wear down. The sign is always going to be the stone’s response to moisture. If it beads, the seal is intact. If liquid runs or soaks in, then it needs a new sealant.

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Keep it Clean

While marble is fairly resistant to cracking, it is relatively porous for a stone. This means it is somewhat susceptible to stains, as it will absorb liquids relatively well. Any substances used on the surface or spilled on it should be cleaned up immediately. Immediate cleaning will make sure that the marble maintains the color you intend for it to have. This is especially important for lighter colors of marble, as they will be even more likely to show stains.

Tough Yet Delicate

While marble is a great surface for the preparation of some foods, it is not ideal for some activities. For instance, despite marble’s weight it is deceptively delicate. The high polish required to give marble its shine also leaves it pretty vulnerable to scratches from sharp objects. It should not be used as a cutting surface. Also, because it does require a sealant, you shouldn’t place hot objects directly on it. While the stone itself will likely not be terribly damaged, the seal and the polish will be. Finally, you shouldn’t put raw meats directly on the surface. The same porous quality that makes marble susceptible to stains will also make a great home for bacteria.

Marble’s weight may make it seem impervious to damage, but in reality it requires special attention. Maintain your marble and treat it delicately and you will enjoy it for many years to come.

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