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Marble countertops stain easily, marked up and dull spots

Q. I have a question about my white marble kitchen counters, which seem to have some sealer on them, but absorb water and stain very easily. They are heavily marked up with these dull stains, and I was wondering if marble polishing powder and sealer would help the counter top to resist water and glass stains? Also, is it OK to use these products if there is some type of sealer already on the counter top? can I use the stain removing powder and then seal it or is it better to use the polish to give the counter a surface?
A. Hi there. First off, it doesn't sound it's sealed if it is absorbing water.
It sounds like you have white carrara (white with grey veining) but that's just a guess. Those dull stains, well, they're not actually stains. Here's a rule of thumb: an etch mark will always be lighter than the stone. A true stain will always be darker than the stone. Stains and etch marks must be treated differently. For true stains, you will need to use a poultice to remove them. For etching, which is actually damage to the surface caused by acids coming in contact with the stone, you will need to polish out the damage much like a jeweler polishes out scratches from a gemstone.
If you have mnor etching you can use a good quality marble polishing compound or powder. Anything beyond minor etching, you will want to call in a pro.
In your case, it sounds like you're dealing with a number of issues: the stains will have to be removed, then the countertops will need to be re-honed or repolished then properly sealed. I would suggest that you find a bona fide stone refinisher / restoration contractor who can get your marble counters back to new and tell you how to keep it that way. You will be suprised at how much you will gain from using a pro.
You can find one in your area by going to the Find a PRO section at www.stoneandtilepros.com.
Stu Rosen
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