Everything You Should Know About Polishing Marble

Marble tends to be a rather expensive material, so it’s only natural to want to care for it as much as you can. When properly polished, marble has a magnificent shine, leaving behind an elegant vibe.

Polishing MarbleView in gallery

Derived from limestone, marble has been used for centuries in sculptures, being found in landmarks across the entire world, from the Temple in Acropolis to the David by Michelangelo statue. We wanted to learn more about marble polishing, so we’ve put together this informative guide on how to polish marble for all those interested.

What to Know Beforehand

Black kitchen countertopView in gallery

Even with the right tools in your hands, you can’t just go off and start polishing marble without knowing a few things before you start. There are two different marble finishes that need to be aware of, so here goes:

  • Honed marble has a velvet-like surface that was obtained through sanding. It doesn’t have what you would call a full matte look, but it doesn’t shine too much either. Honed marble is often found on the floor because you don’t want them to be extra slippery. Some people like honed marble countertops in their kitchen because it’s less likely to scratch and even if it does, scarves are less visible since the surface isn’t glossy.
  • Polished marble is something that you’re likely to find on kitchen countertops and table inlays. It isn’t as porous as honed marble, which makes it less prone to staining. It also doesn’t require that much sealant because of its glossy surface. The glossy surface also makes the space look bigger, and nothing can really beat that gorgeous shine.

Note that, while it is possible to turn honed marble into polished marble and vice-versa, this is something that requires expertise and tools that you really don’t want to invest in if you don’t need them for your job, so it’s best to call in a professional to handle such things.

Polished marble countertopView in gallery

How to Polish Marble

Marble polishing is a process that can be done if you have patience. The steps in learning how to polish marble are fairly simple to remember, but you might want to keep this article open in front of you, just in case.

#1: Cleaning the marble

The very first thing that you have to do is make sure there are no dirt or dust particles on the marble’s surface. With marble, it is generally recommended that you clean spills as soon as they happen, but cleaning the surface entirely before you start polishing is crucial.

You can use a soft dry rag to clean the surface of your marble, as this will help remove any left-over crumbs and dust. Using a damp sponge, wet the surface and apply a coat of trusted marble cleaner. An alternative is to clean the surface using a mild liquid detergent and use a damp rag to wipe the surface. You want to make sure that all debris is removed before you start polishing.

A common mistake that people make when cleaning their marble is using bleach, vinegar, or detergents with abrasive particles. This should never be done as it can dull the marble’s surface.

#2: Deep marble cleaning

In time, you might notice there are some discolorations on the surface of your marble kitchen countertop, which are mostly left behind by food. In order to prepare the marble for polishing, you have to use poultices, which is a fancy word for “marble stain removers”. You can also create your own mixture by adding a tablespoon of ammonia to half a cup of hydrogen peroxide. Also mix in baking soda by adding it slowly, until the resulting mixture has a creamy texture.

Spread this solution across the stained areas. The best way to do so is by using a clean paintbrush. When all of these stains have been covered, cover them with plastic wrap and leave them for 12 to 24 hours. Remove the wrap and allow the surface to dry out.

This next part is a little tricky, so be very careful. You are going to have to scrape the dried cleaning solution off the surface of the marble by using some tool that can get the job done without scratching the surface. A razor blade can do the job, but you have to handle it carefully. If there is any cleaning solution residue left, you can use a damp cloth to wipe the marble surface.

#3: Using polishing powder

If your marble surface has severe etching, you’re going to need the help of a professional. However, minor edging can be handled with some polishing powder. Etching usually occurs because the material interacts with residue from acidic foods. When you get your hands on the polishing powder (which is available at plenty of home improvement stores), use a damp cloth to wipe the etched areas and apply the powder in small amounts on the etched spots.

Using a damp cloth, gently buff the powder by following the instructions on the label. You can use a damp rag to remove any extra powder residue. Once that’s out of the way, wipe the marble dry and notice how shiny the surface is once again.

#4: Sealing the surface

Applying sealant to a marble surface doesn’t mean you’ll be able to keep stains away from it forever. However, it can help fight off major stains and can make the surface look extra-glossy. You need to apply sealant about twice per year but doing so each season will ensure less over-time damage to your marble countertops.

You should never apply marble sealant without carefully reading the instructions first and without first making sure that the product you want to use is compatible with the marble type used to make your countertops.

Generally speaking, marble sealers come in the form of sprays or solutions that can be poured directly on your marble surface. You can use a dry cloth to spread the solution across the entire surface of the countertop, allowing it to soak for as long as the instructions tell you to. It doesn’t usually take longer than five minutes.

Using another clean and dry cloth, buff the sealer using circular motions. You should only stop once the sealer is completely soaked into the marble (if you touch the surface and notice that it’s sticky, keep rubbing in circular motions).

Modern kitchen with marble countertopView in gallery

Things to Avoid

Regardless of the nature of the marble surface you’re looking to polish, there are a few things that you should know that will help avoid making some of the most common mistakes that can lead to the deterioration of your marble surfaces:

  • Acids are one of marble’s greatest enemies. That’s why you should never use lemon or vinegar-based solutions to polish or clean your marble. Also, try to avoid spilling citrus juice on a marble countertop.
  • When cleaning a marble surface, one should never use metal scrubbers, as they will easily scratch the surface and eventually leave you with more work to do in order to bring back that gorgeous marble shine.
  • Marble can be natural and cultured, and there are differences in how these two types should be cleaner. Acetone can sometimes be used to clean natural marble, but it should always be avoided when cleaning cultured marble, as it will damage the protective gel coating on the surface.
  • Culture marble is less delicate compared to natural marble, but it still requires careful cleaning in order to prevent damage.

Polished Marble Decor Ideas

As we always like to stay informed whenever we write about a certain topic, we sometimes end up lost in the amazing home improvement ideas and interior decor that we find along the way. One website leads to another, and I have gathered a series of amazing and inspiring pics that are focused on interior decor using polished marble, and I thought I’d share them with you.

Contemporary Bathroom in Los AngelesView in gallery

American Home Improvement Inc. has shared a gorgeous image of a bathroom that brings forth the very best use of marble in such a trendy bathroom. The dark furniture cabinets create a gorgeous contrast with the marble countertops and the master marble floor, and the choice of predominant white makes the place look filled with light.

Traditional Bathroom Portland MaineView in gallery

Dominic Paul Mercadante Architecture shows another inspiring bathroom setup where marble is the main protagonist of the story. We’re talking about gray and marble tile flooring, marble countertops, undermount sinks facing opposing walls, and teaches that you can always make use of every little bit of space you have to create a gorgeous interior.

Traditional Kitchen in San FranciscoView in gallery

Fiorella Design created a dreamy kitchen, where dark hardwood floors and furniture meet the elegant of white marble kitchen island countertops, with everything brought together by the gray of the stainless steel appliances. The downside? Everything looks so clean and tidy, who would even dare to cook here?

Traditional Kitchen in San DiegoView in gallery

Marble doesn’t always have to present on countertops, as Thomas Development wants us to see. This time, we’re looking at a traditional kitchen that uses a marble backsplash contracted with a gorgeous choice of black granite for the furniture countertop. It is still amazing to me how black and white look so great together when furnishing and decorating a kitchen!

Contemporary Living Room in SeattleView in gallery

Who knew that you can decorate a contemporary living room by adding marble tiles to the wall and inside the fireplace? Even with its elegant look, the choice of marble here looks extremely cozy and inviting, so it’s definitely a place that you could relax in at the end of a long day.

Traditional Kitchen in NewarkView in gallery

What’s really interesting about choosing polished marble for your interior decor needs is the fact that you can make it work regardless of the theme chosen. Here we see how easy it is to create a coastal-inspired setup by combining a marble countertop with blue furniture, staying true to the beach colors and vibes inspired by coastal decor.

Kitchen table marble designView in gallery

Conclusion

Marble is a metamorphic rock that was subjected to chemical and physical transformation, with lots of heat and pressure being applied to it. It is such a unique and gorgeous material, having the perfect softness for carving, but still managing to withstand the test of time. When you consider what marble meant for the arts across the centuries, it’s easy to understand why this material is one of the most impressive and history-packed ones we’ve ever seen.

Caring for your marble surfaces isn’t always tricky, but it is a job that demands time and constant attention. Relatively expensive, but unique because of its nature and design, marble is surely worth looking after so, if you’re in need of learning how to polish a marble surface, the guide above will surely be of use to you.