Is this staining my marble counter?

three3applesFebruary 24, 2014

This is a seam that goes beneath my hand sprayer. The seam is caulked in white, but there is a pinkish stain that seems to be between the stone and the caulk that is seeping into my marble. At least that's how it looks. No matter what I try I cannot get the pink out. It was not like this a week or so ago and I have no knowledge of having spilled anything. I am quick to clean the counters.

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Here is another photo

    Bookmark   February 24, 2014 at 6:37PM
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I'm thinking that this is either that reddish bacteria that can show up in wet areas (I had this in one shower of our old house), or the unlacquered brass of our handspray and faucet somehow oxidizing and staining the marble. It really looks like the pink seeped into the cut sides of the stone. I used a counter cleaner and an antibacterial soap, nothing removed the pink. I now have Dupont oil stain remover on it and will wipe that off when it dries in a day or two.

The fabricator is coming out to redo two seams soon. I'm wondering, in addition to what is going on with this discoloration, how people keep dirt from getting between the "caulk" in marble seams and the stone itself. It seems like there is a small opening around the edges of these caulk/epoxy seams that dirt and stains can find their way into. We can't just make the seam wider all the time to eliminate the stain and then keep recaulking.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2014 at 8:08PM
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Is this the same seam that you recently had redone?
Edit: correction

This post was edited by romy718 on Tue, Feb 25, 14 at 1:42

    Bookmark   February 24, 2014 at 9:22PM
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I'm betting that's a rust bleed.

I can't imagine "caulking" a stone seam.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2014 at 9:34PM
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I haven't had it redone yet (at least not this seam). The other kitchen seam was redone in November.

It's not caulk, I just don't know what the material is called. I think it's an epoxy type material.

Rust from what?

How do I get it out of the marble so I don't have this red/pink stain?

    Bookmark   February 24, 2014 at 9:42PM
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There could be traces of iron in the marble; there is no getting it out. This is why God made solid surface.

Here is a link that might be useful: Marble

    Bookmark   February 25, 2014 at 7:15AM
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If it is from the metal of my hand sprayer, what can be done to create a better seal of epoxy in the seam between the two slabs? Obviously water is getting between the two slabs of marble. Before this stain occurred I noticed the edge of the epoxy was collecting dirt. There was a slight "edge" on either side of the expoxy seam that wasn't perfectly flush with the counter. I feel like there has to be a way to completely seal of seams of this sort, especially those that run beneath a faucet or sprayer and are constantly in contact with water.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2014 at 7:58AM
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Sophie Wheeler

Honestly, there are counters all over Europe that have much worse stains than that. And the people live with it just fine. If patina and rust stains bother you so badly, I don't think you were a good candidate for marble. They are NOT going to remain pristine.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2014 at 8:03AM
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I can certainly live with it just fine, but if there is a way to prevent it from getting worse I want to do it. I didn't know we would have a seam beneath our sprayer. It doesn't help that its unlacquered.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2014 at 8:19AM
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I had something that looked like this in some marble years ago in a first house and then again in some pale honey onyx in a wet bar a few years ago. For us, it turned out with the very transparent stone, the dry edges were left unsealed (which is "normal" I'm afraid) in a edge seam and a faucet hole and in combination with the "wrong" seaming product, the raw edges absorbed water and cleaning stuff which discolored it. Yours looks just like that.

The first time we didn't know what to do but the second one we got fixed. It was a process and was not completed in one day, but it was worth it. What they did was to get the wrong stuff out (caulk maybe?) of the seam, cleaned it and let it totally dry till there was no more color underneath. Then they sealed the stone with a special calcium stone sealer, and let that dry 24 hours and then came back to (properly) seam it. They were very careful and did a great multi colored matched seam that blended perfectly!

If you look closely at yours, you can see the stain is right at the seam raw edge and then gets wicked inside. It looks like the beginning of what happened to us. Is there any possible discoloration from your hand sprayer, or cleaning product that has been used or even food or something? Or maybe the actual raw edge of the hole is also causing a problem like ours did?

Do you have any sample of your marble? The sink cutout maybe? You might try to reproduce the problem on a raw edge. Oh, and I almost forgot to mention, several other companies who looked at our problem, had no idea why it happened and just threw up their hands at it. We researched and found out what to do. Hope you get this identified and fixed real soon!

    Bookmark   February 25, 2014 at 9:27AM
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I was composing my reply and missed your just recent posts. Hope my experience can help you. Seems more and more like ours and what we did can certainly make it better. If it were mine, I would dismantle the plumbing, undo the seam, clean everything and let it DRY THOROUGHLY and then seal it (if you need suggestions on type of sealer, let me know), and then reassemble it again. Maybe too much trouble for everything. Maybe you can just do the seam alone at first. But the seam looks like it goes under the pull out hole, so that could be a probable contributing factor.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2014 at 9:38AM
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Yes, the seam goes all the way through the hole for the hand sprayer. I will have my husband take apart the plumbing for the hand sprayer tonight. In the meantime the Dupont oil stain remover is on the seam on the sink side of this part of the seam. It sounds like we have what you had, Cindallas. Thanks so much for responding! If you don't mind passing along the product you used to seal the edges of your slabs I would greatly appreciate it.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2014 at 10:53AM
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I used a product that was new to me called 'Stain Proof' original formula by Dry-Treat. We had to do a lot of research for something different (since the others had not worked for us) and came across this sealer. It has smaller molecules (or something) and seals the pores while still allowing any moisture to escape. (My DH is a testing engineer and he was impressed with all this - a tall order I assure you! We are not affiliated with this at all, just passing along lessons learned.)

This is not a low VOC product but once cured is food safe. Complete info and directions are in the link below. Basically, this is a solvent sealer that we wiped on with a cotton rag (had latex gloves on and you may need a mask or respirator or an open window as they suggest), let dry for up to 10 minutes and then repeat the process and the final in a quick wipe dry (with s second dry cloth). Initial cure is 24 hours but keeps penetrating and curing for an additional 3 weeks for the full deep cure. Best stain and water resistance after that.

They do have a new cream formula that IS a low VOC product and LEED compliant. I have not used this one personally but is supposed to have the same results, but a slower application method. This one has to stay on for an hour and initial cure time is 24 hrs with full deep cure in 3-5 weeks. Slower for what I used it for but you may prefer it. That is called Meta Cream and be sure to read all the directions. Click on the 'Products' and then 'Protection' for a drop down menu then click on it.

I used the original formula for our master bath for the onyx slabs and leathered limestone because it was faster. (I was personally sealing almost 1000 sq ft of tile and about 6 slabs of onyx (and seams) for the steam shower wall sections, bench and niches, the tub surround, wall sections and niches, both vanities and inserts in the limestone floor! And I did it myself because I was tired of problems with fabricators not doing what I asked, and I didn't want any problems with it. And the satisfaction and security of knowing it was done right. I had quite an assembly line going! I'd say I'm experienced with it!) There is a 'where to buy' section so you can look it up in your area or order it direct. We first had to special order it and now it's stocked locally. It's expensive as sealers go, but worth it for us. Original is $59 to $75 for a quart. It goes a long way. So just for this you will be buying more than you need.

It has an official warranty of 15 years if applied by a certified applicator, but we just did it ourselves. You may be interested in the official warranty in case look for authorized ( or is it certified?) applicators in your area.

Be sure your stain is out COMPLETELY before you seal with this and also that everything is totally dry inside. (It will slow down the curing process if damp.) Be sure to also seal not only on the flat part of the edge, but the very top edge like a 45 degree angle would get, that very top section if raw edge that looks stained now. And be sure to let dry completely and then seal the raw edges of the drilled holes for the plumbing.

If you have any questions at all just let me know. Hope this works for you like it did for us!

Here is a link that might be useful: Special sealer

    Bookmark   February 25, 2014 at 2:53PM
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Cindallas, thank you for the detailed and helpful response. I am familiar with Dry Treat, but have not used their products personally.

How did you remove the stain from your unsealed edges? Which product did you use? I'm anxious to wait until tomorrow night when the Dupont poultice I have on it is fully dry and I remove it to see whether our stain is still there or not.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2014 at 6:05PM
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Unfortunately, the company did the poultice and we did not know what they used. And at the time did not realize we should have paid more attention to that. They did add some dry powdery stuff to something that they had in a container already. And then mixed it and left it there and put plastic on top of it and taped it there. It was left overnight or maybe two days. And they did that either two or three times. It was not just once. We sealed it after with the Dry-Treat Stain Proof because they were going to use a generic sealer that could have just let the problem start all over again.

There is another current GW post that might be able to help you. They have a bad very long stain or blemish into a white marble kitchen counter and one or two respondants offers very technically and detailed information about different poultices they have knowledge of. Starting around Jan 29th. Might give you some more options to try. Their's is marble too so the formulas should work for your situation as well. They were also going to see what the fabricator was going to do and not go off on their own. But information gives you options and knowledge. Link below.

Always keep in mind that this is a marble that can etch if the poultice formula is designed for a harder stone like granite instead of marble.

Did they apply a sealer on top of everything? Do you know what kind or brand? Before they did the poultice, did they remove the seam material (caulk or expoxy) or is it still like your picture? In your close up, it looks like caulk and not a harder thinner epoxy line but I'm not sure of the scale.

Dry Treat has cleaning products that are gentle in stones but I've only used them outdoor and not on marble so I'd read their instructions and test a sample to be sure.

Here is a link that might be useful: Other GW post about white marble poultices for stain

    Bookmark   February 26, 2014 at 1:20AM
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Input the poultice on. The sealant used wasBulletproof. I don't love it and plan to seal all counters myself with Akemi Nano soon.

I don't know what they used for the seam since the containers had no labels. It was a 2-part mixture and feels very hard to the touch.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2014 at 7:29AM
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What's the material of the hand sprayer? Is it brass? What's the brand?

My counters were done with Bulletproof by the installer. Useless. I redid them with the Akemi Nano. It's stinky but very easy to apply and it dries quickly with no residual odor (open a window).

Liquids bead up but take care with the oils and anything with oil and color like a Chinese or Indian food sauce. I got a set of the flexible plastic mats from Crate and Barrel to put down when I worked. Helps a lot and easier to clean than the marble.

It's a great sealer and I now use it in our shower on the bench, shelves and walls (it should not be used on a floor).

    Bookmark   February 26, 2014 at 8:22AM
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Hi threeapples! So glad you guys finally finished the house and are in. Did you post finished pics? I'd love to see!

I haven't been on GW in a while and just stopped in & saw your post. If you remember, we have a white granite countertop on our island that got stained with blue dye. We were told to make a poultice out of flour and regular Dawn dishwashing liquid. I was going to suggest it for you, but you do have marble. I found this link that discusses what different stains on marble look like and what to do about them. Thought it might help.

Here is a link that might be useful: Marble Stains & Poultices

    Bookmark   February 26, 2014 at 1:49PM
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Thanks, mydreamhome. Our house still isn't finished. We are in though. I am hoping to post a reveal in a couple of months when things are more done.

Thanks for the link.

Round one of the Dupont poultice only got a small amount of the pink out. My husband tried to remove the handsprayer, but the bolt and washer underneath the counter are on so tight and seem to be siliconed on as well. He thinks removing it will damage the marble. I'm so frustrated. He is saying "the enemy of good is better" and that we should just leave it alone. I'm not sure what to do.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2014 at 10:45PM
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Have your husband click on the link, please:

Here is a link that might be useful: Wrench

    Bookmark   February 27, 2014 at 6:40AM
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Thanks, Trebuchet. I'm certain he does not have this tool! Lets hope it does the trick.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2014 at 8:00AM
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You can go through the whole fandango of removing the sprayer but I asked what the material was for a reason.

Didn't get an answer.

The photo doesn't show the sprayer but it appears -- from the tiny area that shows in the photo -- like it's brass or copper and that some type of oxidation from that, in contact with water, is leeching into the stone.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2014 at 8:10AM
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Rococo, I'm sorry I didn't answer you. I must have missed your comment while reading through the thread.

The handsprayer and faucet are unlaquered brass (stupid, I know). I'd actually like to remove them, clean the underside, and lacquer them for the sake of protection of the stone, but my husband is adamant we are messing with fire trying to remove them from this delicate marble counter.

I have some Akemi Nano that I intend to seal the entire kitchen's worth of counter in, but I want to somehow remove these fixtures first since I'm pretty sure the edges and openings of the slabs in these plumbing areas were not sealed. As you suggested (and I agree), the Bulletproof is useless.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2014 at 9:45AM
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I'm sure you are disappointed the DuPont sealer did not yield better results. But I do think you are on the right track. Remind me again, are you guys trying things in your own or are you working within the fabricators instructions / perimeters? Maybe the suggestions from other GW thread I linked from my 2/26 post could yield some better results? Or the one from mydreamhome with their own marble stain issues? Hope the wrench Trebruchet suggested will help give your DH the leverage to remove the sprayer.

You just need the right product in a series of poultices to absorb the stain so it can be cleaned, dried and sealed so it won't happen again. Mine was not successful the first time and it took two or three times to get the stain out. Don't give up.

I know Dry-Treat has some super cleaners and they specialize in the high calcium stones like marble, limestone and onyx. I was impressed when I did my initial testing and it won hands down over any others including DuPont and Miracle. They have quite a few different types; you could call them and see what they recommend. 1-866-667-5119. I've included a link below of their cleaner overview page. Or maybe Akemi has something since you like their Nano so much. I'm not familiar with the other products that they offer so I'll have to look them up. I hope you get better results soon.

Here is a link that might be useful: Dry-Treat cleaners overview

    Bookmark   February 28, 2014 at 6:04AM
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Three apples-I don't think that is rust but some mineral deposit from sitting water in the seam.
I would try this method before you start taking things apart.
Try this as a poultice fold up some paper towels like about six ply. cut them into a square or rectangle that will overlap the stain. place them on the stain and add some bleach.
just enough to wet the paper towels.
Let it sit there for an hour or two. With a gloved hand you can check on it in about an hour.
I see these type of stains within shower stalls often and the bleach works well. It wont damage the seam or the stone.
Hydrogen peroxide 30-40% volume will work well too.
But that needs to be made into a paste and gets left on for several days. The bleach is the easiest way to start.
As far as sealing it goes it may help somewhat in the future but I think it is the water on the surface that is the issue.
The water is getting in the edge of the seam so a sealer wont stop that but may make it somewhat easier to remove.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2014 at 6:37AM
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Thanks, everyone.

The fabricator agreed to redo the seam, but we need to get the fixture off first. I did not mention the wrench to my husband yet as we both had long days yesterday.

I too am leaning toward thinking this is from minerals in our water since we have this on the grout in one shower.

After cleaning and sealing is there a different way to do the seam so water doesn't get between the stone again?

    Bookmark   February 28, 2014 at 8:05AM
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I think if you change the seam the deposit may come back again. That seam is large and the cut looks slightly rough.
I like to follow the path of least resistance.
Consider trying the bleach/paper towel method.
I get those types of stains out often in shower stalls with this process.
Try it there first if your unsure. I would give it a try on the countertop at some point-if it works you will have a way to remove it should it come back.
This way you wont have to deal possibly with having to remove hardware.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2014 at 8:22AM
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I though it was untreated brass. That, like copper, will oxidize and it looks like the water is carrying the color to the stone.

I would try the poultice srosen suggests.

Otherwise, if it gets to the point where you are removing the faucet and sprayer I would replace them with nickel or chrome which won't have the same issue. Put the original faucet/sprayer on ebay -- they must be beautiful and with a different counter material no problem.

I know, it would not be the same but it eliminates the issue. Your marble looks to be similar to mine -- very crystalline. Our was gorgeous, love it, but there always was something.

The Akemi will help with liquids but will need resealing about every 3 months. You can see when it starts to wear a bit. Or you could try the 511 Porous Plus product that folks used here a few years back.

This site has a lot of products and when I called I got the owner who told me how to deal with various stone issues. I had water stains on dark limestone in our shower and he explained how to restore it myself. It worked and it's been great since.

If you know the name of your marble, you might try to catch him and ask which sealer he recommends for the type of marble you have. He does restorations and steered me to the Akemi originally. He may still like that or not.

Here is a link that might be useful: Tri Point Pro

    Bookmark   February 28, 2014 at 9:04AM
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You need to verify what having the fabricator "redo" the seam means. It should mean he puts it on a CNC machine or uses a Seam Phantom. Secondly, he should use methelmethacrylate (acrylic) or epoxy to adhere the seam, not polyester or caulk.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2014 at 9:40AM
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threeapples, I gave a shout out to you in another post where you were awaiting a third Whitehaven sink, as you had problems with the first two. That is the sink we are purchasing, and I have been on pins and needles wondering if your third sink was a keeper. Can you put my mind at ease?

    Bookmark   February 28, 2014 at 7:13PM
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I don't know how they would put the counter on any machine considering it's adhered to the cabinets and there is cabinet/hutch that rests atop one half of this counter in the corner of this area of the kitchen.

I am unaware of the Seam Phantom, but will look that up.

This faucet cost more than an arm and a leg and it works well with the kitchen. If we can get it off and I can properly clean in it I'm going to laquer it, on the underside too.

iKeltz, the 3rd sink arrived with no issues. I am not loving it, however. The rubber feet on the protector we have in it stain the sink if I don't clean them many times a day (I think it's the minerals in our water). The Kohler sink cleaner made for cast iron sinks has taken the sheen off these areas I've rubbed it on so now we have many little circles with no shine on them. So, be careful what you use to clean the sink with. :)

    Bookmark   February 28, 2014 at 9:30PM
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I have a dornbracht faucet and sprayer that now costs over $3k. if i had to replace it because it was causing problems I wouldnt hesitate because some things --and a sink faucet is one -- simply arent worth this kind of energy. Certainly, there other are better and happier things to spend time on that a stain on a counter. Sealed brass has a very different look, which is why it went out of style for so long.

Fortunately, ebay exists and high end products can pay for themselves on resale.

You seem so upset by this and I know how aggravating this sort of thing can be. I'd love to rip out our shower tile which is a PITA but DH doesnt want the disruption. At least you've got an easier fix.

This post was edited by rococogurl on Fri, Feb 28, 14 at 21:51

    Bookmark   February 28, 2014 at 9:42PM
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All good points, Rococo.

I need to see if we can get the faucet off and have a look underneath.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2014 at 11:02PM
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3apples, you likely know this but for anyone else who is thinking about installing natural brass on marble. Unfinished brass is gorgeous and it's a living finish but it's a tough application deck-mounted on delicate white marble because it tarnishes and needs regular cleaning with Noxon or Brasso or with straight lemon juice or a mix of vinegar & salt. And we know about vinegar and lemon juice with most marbles. I'd be frog-taping the counters around the faucets before I opened the Brasso can.

Maybe it's just me now but I'm losing patience with PITA surfaces. Plus, there are so many faucets that won't create any issues. I'd find the top-rated Angie's list plumber (if you don't know someone good) to remove the old one and install the new one. Meanwhile, the stain can be poulticed.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2014 at 8:07AM
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"Maybe it's just me now but I'm losing patience with PITA surfaces."

As a former solid surface fabricator, this is music to my ears.

I've been telling potential customers for years that solid surface would laugh in the face of any faucet/hard water stain.

So have your romance with your natural stones. Like a handsome bad-boy boyfriend, when they show their real nature, you'll come back to me.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2014 at 9:55AM
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