Marble, Travertine and Limestone offer unique looks that can be desirable for many uses in a home. However, it is important to understand the characteristics of any natural material before choosing to choose the best material for your needs. Listed below are some things to consider when choosing these materials, especially in high traffic areas.
Stains: Marble, Travertine and Limestone are naturally more porous than other natural stone materials used in the home and can be more prone to staining than Granite. Moreover, light colored Marble, Travertine and Limestone may show stains more clearly than a darker stone that might hide stains more readily. There are things that can be done to prevent and limit this. The first step is to keep these surfaces sealed periodically. This is a very easy process and should only take minutes. High quality sealers can be readily purchased at any hardware store. Many experts recommend sealing these materials at least 2 times per year. The second limiting factor to staining is to wipe the liquid up quickly. A surface stain is more easily removed than one that has been allowed to set into the stone. Some stains on these surfaces can be removed by the homeowner or a stone care professional.
Scratches: Marble, Travertine and Limestone are softer than other natural stones like granite and will scratch more easily than granite. All natural materials are graded on The Mohs Hardness Scale. Marble, Travertine and Limestone are generally 2-3 on the Mohs scale while Granites are generally 5-6 and quartz products at 7. (Only Diamonds are rated at 10). For comparison, a typical steel steak knife is around 5.5 and cannot scratch granite but could scratch marble, travertine or limestone. The use of cutting boards will help this greatly.
Etching: Etching occurs when an acidic liquid comes in contact with Marble, Travertine or Limestone. Etching removes the finish of the stone in the area where the liquid has come in contact with the stone, and can be especially conspicuous with polished finishes. Acidic food and beverage products such as orange juice, tomato juice and vinegar are common causes of etching on Marble, Travertine and Limestone. Care should be taken with any acidic liquids. Additionally, certain harsh cleaning chemicals can etch these surfaces. As always, we recommend soap and water as a day-to-day cleaner.
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