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What is Etching on Natural Stone?

Jan 12, 2023

Home 9 Business 9 What is Etching on Natural Stone?

Have you got a stain, dull spot or damage on your marble, granite or other natural stone that just won’t go away? Have you tried cleaning solutions and poultices without success? There is a good chance your stain is etching, sometimes called “etch marks,” and sadly, it cannot be washed off.

What is Etching?

Etching is a process where a material, such as stone or metal, is corroded or worn away by an acidic substance. In the case of stone, the acid can cause the surface of the stone to become dull or discolored, and can even create small pits or grooves. Etching can occur naturally over time due to exposure to acidic substances in the environment, such as rainwater or pollutants, or it can be caused by the use of acidic cleaning solutions on the stone. Etching is often considered a form of damage, and can be removed by using a mild acid solution and physical abrasion.

What Causes Etching?

There are several substances and conditions that can cause etching on stone surfaces:

  • Acidic substances such as lemon juice, vinegar, wine, and many cleaning solutions contain acids that can etch stone.
  • Hard water can also contain high levels of minerals, such as calcium and magnesium, that can react with the surface of the stone and cause etching.
  • Pollutants and other chemicals in the air can also cause etching on stone over time.
  • Biological growths such as moss, lichens and algae can also cause etching if not removed properly.

It is important to be aware of these sources of etching and take appropriate measures to protect stone surfaces from them.

How to Remove Etching

Etching on stone can typically be removed by using a combination of a mild acid solution and physical abrasion, kits can be purchased on Amazon and many hardware stores. It is important to test the acid solution and abrasive method on a small, inconspicuous area before applying to the entire surface, as some stone may be more delicate and can be further damaged. Additionally, always wear protective gear, such as gloves and safety goggles, and work in a well-ventilated area.

Should I Hire a Stone Restoration Professional to Remove Etching?

It depends on the severity of the etching and the size of the area affected. If the etching is minor and only covers a small area, it may be possible to remove it yourself. However, if the etching is severe or covers a large area, it’s best to hire a professional.

A professional stone restoration company like Boston Stone Restoration, will have the experience and specialized equipment needed to remove the etching effectively and safely. They will also be able to assess the condition of your stone and determine the best course of action to restore the surface.

+ How to Prevent Stone Surface Etching

Additionally, If the stone is important, valuable or a part of a historical building, it is recommended to hire a professional, as they will have the knowledge to preserve and protect the stone while removing the etching.

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