As noted on the home page of this website, natural marble is a by-product of limestone that has undergone high pressure and intense heat within the earth crust.
This process causes the limestone’s structure to change and that in combination with other minerals and materials introduced through this process provides the beautiful natural stone – marble. Marble’s coloring, patterns and veining are determined by nature.
What is Cultured Marble vs Natural Marble?
Cultured marble on the other hand is a man-made composite of fillers, pigments, polyester resins and bonding agents that are then placed into open molds. Ironically, cultured marble contains some marble, granite, onyx or limestone powders or dusts in its manufacture.
The manufacturer of cultured marble and not nature is responsible for the colors and veining patterns that are made much like you would find in the making of carpets or fabrics.
Because cultured marble is not a natural stone, the process for cultured marble care is different than that of natural stone. Here are some considerations:
- Cultured marble is not porous and does not present the same challenges of absorbency with spills as you would have with natural stone.
- Cultured marble, unlike natural marble, uses silicone to seal joints which makes it more mold and mildew resistant than grout used for natural stone.
- The caveat with silicone joint sealing, however, is that silicone will shrink over time exposing joints and it is also subjected to household movement and settling. Silicone joints should be inspected and part of an annual maintenance program.
- Because cultured marble is not porous, its much more mildew and bacteria resistant than natural stone so shower walls and vanity tops are easy to clean.
- Cultured stone is also impervious to chemical spills like hair coloring where natural marble is not.
How to Clean Cultured Marble is Much Like Car Care
Cultured marble is manufactured with a gel coating that acts like a protective surface, much like the paint on a car. This protective coating requires nothing more than simple soap and water to keep it clean. Harsh chemicals, acids, abrasive cleaners, scouring pads are not required for a cultured marble surface.
Cultured marble can be burned (like leaving a hot curling iron on your bathroom sink), may get scratched and can get stained.
- Any minor scratches, burns or stains can be buffed out of the cultured marble with an automotive buffing compound readily available at any hardware store or places where they sell automotive products.
- If your cultured marble has a shiny finish, stay with soap and water. On the other hand, if your cultured marble has a satin or matte finish, then you can use a mild abrasive like Soft Scrub or even a Scotch Brite pad without concern for harming the surface.
- Remove any hard water deposits with a mild solution of vinegar and water if regular soap and water won’t remove them.