Marble etching on purpose just to get it over with??

breezygirlFebruary 26, 2011

Someone asked a question on a recent marble thread that intrigued me. She querried that if marble will etch when exposed to an acidic substance, why not take an acidic substance to it at the beginning to get a uniformed etch?

Please don't laugh at me if I've just said something reeeeally stupid (I've got two slabs of gorgeous 4cm Carrara on hold and wanna know!), but........

Why couldn't you do this?

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

There was a feature in Apartment Therapy that described how Meg Ryan took tomatoes, cut in half, and rubbed them all over her marble to accomplish exactly what you proposed -- all over uniform etching.

So I guess you could do this.

But etching is like patina isn't it? -- it should build naturally with real use over time. It seems to go against the grain of having a wonderful organic material to artificially age it. Think Wabu Sabe.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2011 at 7:36PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I read that article as MR was "said" to have done it. I sometimes wonder about what celebs really do.

Yes, I understand that a patina develops over time, but I've read that can take decades. I'm not trying to age my stone, just wondering about giving it a uniform appearance. You have an interesting philosophical point though.

Any physical downsides to purposeful etching?

    Bookmark   February 26, 2011 at 8:30PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

The thing is, it seems, the material will continue to etch and wear and develop patina, so that process isn't stopped, but etching it to begin with might keep it from looking absolutely new in one area and dirty/worn in another? And, as Breezy is saying, keep it from taking years and years and maybe getting past the 'awkward' in-between stage. It's similar to why some people get brushed stainless? I don't know that it's technically different than polishing or honing or antiquing? Just another way of affecting the surface to change the appearance to what you want...

This is coming from someone with no experience, so may be being totally ignorant about some important aspect here, but I have pondered this same thing.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2011 at 8:53PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

breezy, that was me! LOL
I didn't get any answers and you are, so I'm tagging along - ok?

Like rhome said, a new marble counter is going to wear weird.
Like you, I was wondering why go through that. Etch the whole thing from the get go, and then sit back and let it take it's time to get the old patina. At least you wouldn't have to look at worn places and new places so long.

I'm looking at Carrara and Alabama marble, keep us posted on yours and be sure to post lots of pictures when you can!


    Bookmark   February 26, 2011 at 10:02PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have heard of people taking an acid to their polished marble to hone it. I have polished and honed carrara in my kitchen since mid summer and it is developing a nice patina.There is one spot on the polished that looks kind of weird. My daughter had a homemade raspberry ice pop that she took out of the freezer, couldn't get the case off of and left it on the counter, not realizing that it would melt and run all over the place. We discovered it the next morning and it is etched in a way that looks like a chalk outline of a murdered ice pop.It is right in front of the only tiny window in our kitchen so when i am washing pots and look to my right, I notice it. Today I had some oranges I was working with so I rubbed one on the spot. It dulled the rest of the polished surface but did not make the ice pop spot disappear. So, that leads me to the hypothesis that different substances left on the counter for diff time periods will have different effects. You can etch for a uniform look but I think the marble will continue to etch differently based on varieties of acidity. Just a theory.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2011 at 11:19PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Etched in a way that looks like a chalk outline of a murdered ice pop...LOL! That's a great description :)

Breezy- Are you using the marble on all your countertops, or just the island?

    Bookmark   February 27, 2011 at 12:07AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I think it might depend on your countertop and how much it will etch. For example, I just tested a piece of soft fossiliferous -- I don't know what it's termed, limestone? granite? I can't get my head around these classifications but all seemed to agree it is soft. When I left lemon on it for several days running I was left with a white powder everywhere. That is the dissolved stone I guess. Underneath it all looks a different color and nowhere near as alluring as formerly. So I don't think etching this particular stone in advance would really help things -- I guess it depends how the final, "etched" product looks. If it's ugly or hard to get etched, then why cross the bridge before you need to? If not, then where's the advantage?

    Bookmark   February 27, 2011 at 4:40AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

We had similar feeling when we were considering cedar shakes for siding on our old house. It looks great when new, great when weathered to soft gray, but oddly mottled between. And there are a lot of years between. We could probably have stained them gray and sealed them, but that's a different look. Real patina, by definition, takes time.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2011 at 8:46AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I was very interested in this myself as the piece of marble on top of my island I was able to get for a really good price because it was a remnant piece. Problem was I wanted it honed which would have jacked the price up higher than I was comfortable with. The stoneyard/fabricator gave me a couple of 4x4 samples that I "honed" myself with vinegar. DH and I were happy with the results and once installed, I did the same with the top. Is it perfect? No. Are we happy with it? Yes. The two things I would note was that at a certain angle you can tell the etching did not take totally evenly; the second thing is that some of the veins when looked at a certain way almost look like when you take a pencil and rub the flat side to build up the graphite on a piece of paper (hope that makes sense!). Also, I did seal it twice and will probably seal again this summer although I have not noticed any issue with staining. Here is a picture of the island shortly after I finished (don't pay attention to the date on the picture--it was taken about 18 months ago.)

    Bookmark   February 27, 2011 at 9:14AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Corrie--I got your back! I love the Alabama marble in Alabamamommy's. I wish it was available in the Pacific Northwest. Here's one of my 4cm honed Carrara slabs.

Sabjimata--Thanks for your experience. My slabs are honed, but still have some shineyness to them. On my test slab, the etched vs. honed surface difference is big. The length of time acidity stays on the surface makes a difference in the etching. I love the murdered ice pop comment!

Lavender--I'm not sure where I'll put the Carrara yet. Either throughout the entire kitchen or around the perimeter with something else on the island. The island is where I'll prep and where the most etching would occur. I'm thinking about using a wooden top there. DH still likes the idea of mixing soapstone in somewhere so we're still thinking.

Aliris--Good questions. I'm the kind of OCD person who wouldn't leave anything acidic laying on any surface for more than a few hours. (Although as kids get older I actually may take a vacation from them and could imagine a wild teenage party!) My marble etches easily. I guess I'm just looking at etching all of the honed-but-still-shiney surface off and let the rest happen. That should get me through the ugly in-between stage.

Mnerg--Your post is making me clarify my intentions. I'm not looking to create the time-worn patina unnaturally. Just get the honed-but-still-shiney surface off to get through the ugly in-between stage. I'm sure it will continue to patina from there, which will be great.

Farmhouse--Thank you so much!!! I was hoping someone had done this! Bless you for seeing this post. I don't want perfect. This is a natural material after all, but getting that shine off should help. Your marble is so beautiful, as is the rest of your kitchen. I had forgotten those great pantry doors were yours. Oh, and that range and hood! TDF! Thanks for sharing your experience and pics with us!

Alright Corrie--I'm in! Are you????!!

    Bookmark   February 27, 2011 at 1:35PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Let's do it!

I saw the Carrara, but what they showed me was mostly white. That might be because it's what I told them I wanted. LOL

Now, darn it, I like yours better.

The white was really bad about showing shiney and semi-shiney places. I'm going to go back and see if I can find some more like the ones you picked. Now that I see it, I like it better. (I'm marble fickle)

Plus, to top it all off, I'm thinking about wood for the island too.

There's just too many beautiful things, I need strawberry cake!


    Bookmark   February 27, 2011 at 9:00PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

No apologies for being fickle Corrie. You're the one paying the big bucks for it! I used to like quiet marble too. When I went to the yard to see the 4cm my fabricator was excited about and found these wild veins, I had no problem with the loudness! I'm almost worried about how those veins will lay out on the 24" deep perimeter counters. It could be hard to match the seems.

How was the strawberry cake? ;)

    Bookmark   March 2, 2011 at 4:33AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I think it sounds like an interesting idea. Reminds me of "jumping in the pool to get it over with" Or the Polar Bear plunge. Just do it, and do it fast!

I think you could use the sink cutout or some other large piece of your exact stone to test.

I live vicariously though all of the marble people on here. (but a little OT, I just found a piece of marble, with finished edges, about 52 x 21, with a base on CL for$50. I'm going to get it and use it for a desk in the room I'm redecorating for my 20 yo dd.)

    Bookmark   March 2, 2011 at 6:47AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Bee-yeah, like ripping the bandaid off! LOL! I have a sample of it that I played around with etching, but haven't done the whole thing yet. I have half a tomato about to go bad in the fridge so I think now is the time to test my theory.

Cool score on the marble! Is it Carrara? What a fun desk and nice mother you are!

    Bookmark   March 2, 2011 at 3:52PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

So interesting!

What kind of vinegar was used?

I realize this is an older thread.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2012 at 9:53PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Looking for a review of TCE Quartz
Looking to put in a Quartz countertop and was quoted...
Help on Cabinet Approach / Selection
Hi, I've actively scoured the forum for useful tidbits...
Your longest stretch of granite counter w/o seam?
Our counters will be re-templated later today. It...
What does this tile say to you?
I am still in the planning stages of a small, U-shaped...
Help with galley kitchen layout ... please.
Hi everyone! I am hoping you can help me with my layout...
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™