Lustro Italiano > Natural Stone Care > Etch Protection

How to Protect Stone From Etching

It is a common occurence in natural stone surfaces that many have no doubt experienced and had to come up with a solution for. Etching can be a nuisance to say the least and a nightmare in the worse case scenario. Dealing with etched stone can be frustrating. And for that reason, many people are led to ask the question: "how can I protect my natural stone from etching?" If you have wondered that yourself, keep reading. Because in this article, we will cover the ins and outs of the etching of natural stone.

Etching In Various Types of Stone

One of the most commonly etched materials is natural marble. This natural stone is composed of calcite, a crystalized calcium carbonate that projects a shiny, glistening look to this natural stone. However, even though marble is perhaps the most well-known for getting etches, there are other materials that also contain calcium carbonate. Here is a list of some of the natural stone that contains clacium carbonate:

  • Marble
  • Limestone
  • Travertine
  • Onyx

This means that the above materials can be etched. So if you have one of those materials installed as a surface in your home, keep reading.

What is Etching

Often times people will call in asking how to remove a "stain" from their natural stone surface (usually it is marble). After talking with them for a bit and asking for pictures of the stain, the technician realizes that instead of a stain, the stone actually has an etch. So, if it is not a stain? What exactly is an etch?

There is a reason that etching occurs on stone that is composed of calcium carbonate. It is because of how the etching takes place. An etch happens when an acidic substance dissolves the calcite in a stone. The acid reacts with the calcium carbonate and the result is a dull looking spot. This "etching" is very easily seen on polished surfaces, but actually happens on any material that contains calcite.

So, even though it might appear to be a discoloration due to something being on or in the stone, it is actually a discoloration due to a part of the stone being dissolved.

How to Protect Against Etching

It is easy to see why people would be interested in how to protect a natural stone from becoming etched. After all, no etching means no discoloration and no etch removal is needed. Often times people that research etch protection are hoping to find a product that can be put on the surface of the stone that acts as a protective barrier against acid. In fact, some even mistakenly think that stone sealer can protect a stone from etching. However, this is completely false. There is no product you can put on a calcium carbonate stone that will protect it from etching. However, three are ways to combat etching.

Even though there is no protector, vigilance and diligence in cleaning up spills goes a long way toward etch prevention. After all, if the acidic liquid is cleaned up immediately, the etching may not even be noticeable. And if it is, you can always treat the etch using an etch remover.

In the end, etch protection may not be available in the form of a product that you apply, but you can rest assured that if you have etch remover on hand and are aware of the dangerous liquids that can cause discoloration and get them cleaned up quickly, you won't be dealing with a severely etched stone surface.