Loving my acid washed marble

mazy123July 29, 2012

Just wanted to post about acid washed marble since I couldn't find much info about it when I was making my marble decision. I got Carrara marble and the place that fabricated recommends an acid wash finish that basically pre etches the surface. Then they put four coats of sealer on it. I have had it for about two months and so far it has been great. No etches or staining yet. It is not shiny since the acid hones it and it has a different type of feel than just regular honed marble. I really like the feel of it and everyone that comes over can't stop touching it. Hope this helps anyone that might be thinking about marble.

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Sounds interesting! Can you post a few pics?

    Bookmark   July 29, 2012 at 7:46PM
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A lot (maybe all?) of honed marble is acid washed as part of the honing process. It comes in polished slabs, so they have to take the polish off, which is easiest to do with acid. Then they buff it to the desired degree and to make it more uniform. Sounds like yours was not buffed.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2012 at 8:37PM
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Hi Mazy123

My fabricator mentioned this option and said it looks really cool, but did not save any samples from the job he did. If you could post some pics, that would be wonderful! Thanks in advance.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2012 at 10:09AM
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I'm sure hoping Mazy peeks back into this thread. I'd definitely consider marble if the look is consistent throughout and I like it.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2012 at 4:06PM
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No staining? Not even from olive oil or mayonnaise? What type so sealer did you use?

    Bookmark   July 30, 2012 at 5:01PM
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I'm also curious to see acid washed marble.

Petunia--my honed Carrara doesn't stain from anything, including mayo or oil.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2012 at 8:54PM
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Hi Everyone,

I am about to post my finished kitchen pictures in the next couple of days. I will take some close up ones of the marble too.

No staining from anything. The sealer they used was bulletproof sealer. I can find out.

Lascatx, I don't know what the process was like exactly. I can call them and find out more details.

Fabricators were Dominion Marble and Granite in Ashburn VA.

If I leave a glass out or something leaves a smudgy, etchy looking mark, I just wipe it off with a towel and it is gone.

I will find out more today and report back.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2012 at 8:14AM
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I wanted to get back to you with more details about my acid washed marble. I asked my fabricator Austin from Dominion Granite and Marble in Ashburn Va to explain and this is the great explanation he gave:

For your knowledge let me explain the difference between a honed and acid washed finish.

Honing is a step along the way to a fully polished stone. Most countertop grade materials are ground and polished to a finish of 10,000 grit also known as the diamond 10 finish. This polishing process starts with a 30 grit diamond and makes about 7 stops along the way to diamond 10. Most honed materials are polished to either a 400 grit or 800 grit finish. Certain types of stone will not accept a full polish based on the type of material. Stones like travertine, limestone and soapstone will only go to about 600 grit and will not change by going any further.

Using honed marble has become a very popular option as a deterrent to acid etching. When a calcium based material like marble is introduced into a kitchen enviroment bad things can happen. Acidic household liquids from coffee to lime juice can etch or "burn" the material. Think back to mixing baking soda and vinegar in school and this will remind you of an acid/base reaction. We typically do not encourage honing as a way to blend etching due to the uniformity of a honed material.

When you look at a honed countertop that has had an acid etch you will be able to spot the damage almost as quickly as you would if the countertop has been polished. For this and other reasons we encourage acid washing.

Acid washing is a new take on a very old Italian tradition. In Carrara Italy is has been a custom for many generations to smash tomatoes on your white marble countertops before their first use. Outside of being fun to do this would accomplish two things. The material would be uniformly stained but it would also etch the entire surface due to the citric acid. Now in the 21st century we will manufacture a white marble countertop with a full polish then treat it with acid under controlled conditions. Through material testing we can determine the approximate amount of acid needed to yield a uniform acid washed finish. Muriatic acid is mixed with a certain amount of water for dilution, pressurized, sprayed onto the marble for a pre-determined amount of time then washed off. Not only is this process more cost effective than honing but it yields a finish that has a slight texture which is more desirable for long term use. Once washed we will impregnate the tops with an oliphobic impregnator to protect against staining and you are good to go.

Etching will still occur in the future but you will not be able to tell where the etching took place as the entire surface has a slight texture to it. This would be akin to a textured faux finish instead of a high gloss or flat paint job. We have been acid washing countertops for over 10 years and have never had a complaint. Most people have never heard of the process so we try and educate them on this option.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2012 at 6:14PM
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Mazy--thanks for posting this info. Still trying to digest. Very much looking forward to seeing pics of your marble so I can compare it to my honed Carrara. Thanks!

    Bookmark   August 21, 2012 at 6:22PM
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Very interesting! Maybe one of our stone experts will comment as well...

    Bookmark   August 21, 2012 at 8:02PM
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I think some fabricators are using marketing techniques to try to make their stone sound more special.

You have honed marble that is much like any honed marble anyone here has bought in recent years. Mine 6 years ago had acid -- I was told the same acid we use to pH balance our pool, poured and smoothed across the surface, washed off and then buffed to a uniform finish. Once delivered and brought into the house and laid flat, there was an area that did not appear uniform so they took it outside and I watched them give it another splash and buff. Same stuff, but my guys just call it honed.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2012 at 9:37PM
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I'm not saying there is anything wrong with what they are doing (unless they are charging more than the rest of the market there). Perhaps they are even being more accurate in some respects since all marble that I've ever been aware of is polished at the quarry and has to be honed on this end. It's like granite names -- their are common names, but there is no standardizing.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2012 at 9:43PM
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breezygirl, I know it is a lot of info to take in. I am getting ready to post pictures once my doors get back on after getting repainted.

lascatx, I don't know any more about what is done than what Austin wrote me. I do know that my acid washed marble feels different than the honed slabs that I felt in my marble search. I also took home marble samples from different fabricators and Dominon's acid washed sample was different and the one I was happiest with so I don't think that they are just calling their honed marble acid washed just to market it differently.

Interesting that yours had acid on it too. Have you been happy with it? Does yours feel different too?

    Bookmark   August 22, 2012 at 8:23AM
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I've been very happy with mine. I knew I didn't want shiny granite in my kitchen. At the time, there weren't as many people installing marble in kitchens or choices for either the stone or finish. I was just happy to find someone who had spent some time in Europe and understood what I wanted and had no qualms about helping me get it. I didn't really find a lot of variations to try on, but you could certainly have a variety of final effects depending on how much acid is poured on, how long it is left on and how the stone is treated after it is washed off -- mainly on a scale of a bit rough to semi-polished. The closer you get to polished, the more that etching is going to show up.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2012 at 12:43AM
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The use of acids to hone marbles is interesting to me. While it may produce good results on some marbles other marbles which exhibit certain characteristics or of lesser quality(lower grade)may not fare so well.If the stone has weaker minerals that are more susceptible to attack from acids such as weaker veining systems or certain minerals it may be eroded to the point where it will look like an antiqued finish. Anyone who has polished marble and has gotten etch marks know that those etched areas can be prone to soiling more easily as the stone is open(rough texture). Some stones may become too rough using this process to maintain easily even with a proper sealing job. Under a microscope the the stone after acid washing may look like a thomases english muffin(knooks and cranies). This can make maintaining the surface harder.
If the fabricator is knowledgeable of the stone he or she can produce good results. I Think similar and in some cases better results can be obtained using different types of abrasives to establish a honed finish. Using silicone carbides and aluminum oxides are one way of honing marble in a much safer way.
When your acid washed counter needs to be refinihed(someday) you don't really want to give it an acid wash using toxic products like muriatic acid in your home.
Muriatic acid is just plain nasty to work with in your kitchen. It can etch glass with the fumes(which are very toxic). Please keep in mind a stone refinisher can achieve the same results with out using harsh acids.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2012 at 12:12PM
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I tried to talk my husband into an acid washed marble for his bathroom vanity. It was very different from honed. It gave it an antiqued look. It emphasized all the nooks and crannies of the marble. It was a much rougher finish than honed.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2012 at 1:07PM
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Thanks so much for the info!

I'm about to do marble in my kitchen, and we've been debating over acid-washed or honed. Actually, we are in VA too, and Dominion is one of the companies we're looking into. I would love to see photos of your countertops. And I would also love to hear more about your experience with Dominion. What did you end up paying per square foot? We're finding prices vary widely around here! How was the installation?

Thanks so much!

    Bookmark   September 2, 2012 at 9:32PM
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Hi Sydneyleigh, Sorry I am just seeing this now. I sent you an email with my contact info. Hope you get that.

Somebody from the kitchen forums came to see my kitchen today. She saw I lived in Northern Virginia and wanted to see the marble in real life. I am happy for anyone that wants to come to Ashburn to see it and touch it.

Hope that helps.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2012 at 8:08PM
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@MAZY123 - Hi there - I think I helped that lady yesterday. I'm the in house design consultant at Avanti Marble & Granite and she came to select her stone and told me that story. What a small world!

    Bookmark   September 14, 2012 at 11:57AM
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Would it be possible to post a picture of your countertops? Thanks!

    Bookmark   September 14, 2012 at 2:00PM
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bumping for pics

    Bookmark   September 14, 2012 at 2:38PM
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Hi Everyone, Here is my first attempt at posting a picture. Hope it works!

MelYoung, That is such a small world story!!

    Bookmark   September 14, 2012 at 9:49PM
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Hi Mazy123,

Just wanted to send you a quick note to say thanks for your help! Seeing your counters helped my husband envision in them our space a bit more. And now he's completely on board with the acid-washing - thank goodness! He's got a few days off in October, and we will be using them to get all the details nailed down for the re-do. Maybe we'll have a new kitchen by the new year!

Also, we met with Bonnie last night, and totally loved her! I was very impressed by her knowledge of cabinetry and attention to detail. I'm excited to see how she transforms our builder-grade maple cabinets!

Thanks again!

    Bookmark   September 20, 2012 at 7:44AM
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Cool kitchen...we need more pics!

    Bookmark   September 20, 2012 at 8:09AM
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Hi Everyone, I'm the person that went to go see Mazy123's kitchen. I am so happy I did. First, it just solidified my decision to go with marble and I am so happy that I got to see first hand what her marble looked like. One word - beautiful! It was smooth yet had a just the tiniest bit of texture and there was not an etch in site! The only issue is that not all fabricators acid wash marble - mine doesn't so I will have to go down the honed route. However, for everyone that can still have this as an option I would seriously consider it! I can't wait for Mazy to post more pics of her kitchen it was incredibly beautiful and it inspired me a great deal! And yes, I got my marble at Avanti (I told them about your marble Mazy123! - it is a small world :) ). Thanks again for letting me come in and see your kitchen...

    Bookmark   September 20, 2012 at 1:01PM
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Do you still love it after two years? Debating the same thing with the same company!

    Bookmark   July 14, 2014 at 4:40PM
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In case anyone else finds this helpful, the original poster very kindly called me and still loves her countertops. Many meals later, there has been no staining and the little bit of etching does not bother her. The acid wash, as billed, makes the etching harder to see. Will be installing the same next month!

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 6:54PM
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Thanks for update.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 10:17PM
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Jpage, please post pics. Excited for you!

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 11:32PM
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