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Natural Marble

A fascinating material that has been used for everything from artistic sculptures to architectural works. Natural marble has a rich history in art and in construction. Working with this material and caring for it though, may be even less known than the uses of the material itself. In this article we will discuss some basic information about natural marble. As we do, we will consider why people choose marble. We will also mention a bit about working with marble. Finally, we will examine caring for this intriguing material.

Why People Choose Marble

People favor one material over another for a plethora of reasons. In the case of natural marble, people are drawn to the elegance this natural stone exudes. In fact, natural marble has been used for the construction of some of the most prominent structures throughout history. For example, the United States Supreme Court building contains marble. But what are the characteristics of this stone?

Properties of Marble

Natural marble is characterized by is crystalline look. Peering at this stone close up one notices small shiny particles that glisten in the light. This is a mineral called calcium carbonate in crystal form. These crystals contribute to the sparkling nature of natural marble.

In addition to the shiny appearance of marble, the calcium carbonate (calcite) means that the material is relatively soft. Natural marble registers 3 to 4 on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness. This is one of the reasons it is often used as a sculpting material. Yet, in addition to the gleeming nature and the ability of the stone to be shaped, calcite offers another characteristic.

Calcareous natural stone (that is, stone that is composed of calcium carbonate) has a trait that some consider to be a drawback and others view as a quality that makes marble truly unique. Depending on the environment and what natural marble is exposed to, it will develop an aged look that some refer to as a "patina". This look is caused by a variety of factors, some of which we will mention a little later. But for now just know that one of the big contributors to marble's uniqueness is that it is a calcareous stone.

Working With Marble

Earlier in the article we said that natural marble is a "soft" natural stone. Yet, even though it is not an extremely hard material, that is not to say that it does not require specific equipment to work with marble. Let's look a couple of these now.

One thing to consider before beginning to work with marble is that it is capable of slowing you down if the wrong blades are used. Being a soft stone, marble debris will build up and slow the cutting process if the blade is not designed to cut soft stones. Although other blades may cut marble, a diamond blade designed to cut calcareous stone will perform the best.

In additon to the proper blade for cutting marble, polishing pads are also a key tool for working with slabs. Many polishing pads are available. Some of the options from which to choose include the following:

  • 3 Step
  • 5 Step
  • 7 Step
  • Wet Polishing Pads
  • Dry Polishing Pads

The main point here is that working with marble slabs requires specific tools and supplies.

Caring for Natural Marble

Another facet of basic marble knowledge is that, depending on your preference, marble can require some very specific care and maintenance practices. Earlier we mentioned that some owners of marble prefer to allow a patina to form on the material. This patina develops as the surface is used. However, some desire to keep the surface looking new and prevent this worn, or aged look to develop. Keeping marble looking as new as possible involves a maintenance routine. Let's consider one that some choose to use.

3 Part Marble Maintenance Routine

One effective maintenance routine that works for marble and other calcareous stone is involves three specific parts. Each part is designed to care for a specific aspect of maintenance. The three parts are as follows:

  1. Periodic sealer application - because nearly all natural stone is porous, marble needs to be sealed. Selaing marble helps with keeping water based and oil based liquids from changing the color of the marble and making it look aged. How often to apply sealer and how much to use depends on how "thirsty" the marble is. Performing a water test on the stone will reveal whether it is time to apply another sealer treatment.
  2. Daily cleaning with pH neutral cleaner - sealing a marble surface does no good if the proper daily cleaner is not used. Why? Because using the wrong cleaner will destroy the sealer a make it susceptible to stain causing liquids again. For this reason, use a daily cleaner designed for use on marble.
  3. Stain removal when necessary - if the marble surface does acquire a stain, be sure to us the appropriate stian remover to treat the stone. Additionally, calcareous stones like marble can etch. An etch is different from a stain but sometimes people confuse the two. Be sure you prpoerly identify any discolorations and treat then accordingly.

In conclusion, natural marble has a very strong appeal for many. This desirability stems from the composition of the stone. Additionally, working with marble requires specific tools just like most other stone materials do. Finally, caring for marble will involve various degrees of treatments depending on which look is preferred. Knowing these basic facets of marble information goes a long way toward successfully dealing with this unique natural stone.

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Marble Polishing Powder 2 lb. Marble Polishing Powder 2 lb.

Powder formulated to create a high gloss finish on stone countertops, floors, and as a general stone maintenance product.

List Price: $26.37
250 ML Eggshell Titanium Cartridge 250 ML Eggshell Titanium Cartridge

Shiny curing glue designed for a range of materials and surfaces that cures shiny with great results on natural and engineered stone.

List Price: $26.69
5" Duo Diamond blade 5" Duo Diamond blade

Double sided 5" blade used for sculpting calcareous materials like marble, travertine, limestone, and onyx natural stone.

List Price: $58.85
Slab Dolly 4 wheel Slab Dolly 4 wheel

Wood lined slab dolly featuring two - eight inch wheels and two steering rollers for safe slab switching and turning during use.

List Price: $240.92
14" Calcareous Stone Blade 14" Calcareous Stone Blade

14" diamond blade made for the specific use of cutting calcareous stone surfaces like marble, travertine, limestone, and onyx.

List Price: $261.12
5" High Speed Waterfed Air Tool 5" High Speed Waterfed Air Tool

Front exhaust air tool for grinding and cutting that is made to endure the tough environments of a granite fabrication shop.

List Price: $295.00
882lb Capacity Scissor Style Clamp 882lb Capacity Scissor Style Clamp

Practical space saving scissor style lifting clamp for positioning metal plates and stone slabs in warehouses and fabrication shops.

List Price: $482.68
Rotating Trestle Star Rotating Trestle Star

Sculpting stand capable of rotating the sculpture instead of having to physically walk around the sculpture to work on it.

List Price: $599.81
Expandable Scissor Table Expandable Scissor Table

Expandable, powder coated shop and work site scissor table with adjustable height and length with 4 five inch casters.

List Price: $884.98
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