spramirezz

DIY honing marble countertop

spramirezz
January 24, 2018

I am interested in honing my currently polished marble countertops. They have many water marks and I was wondering if the sanding process will get rid of these marks or will I have to use an etching powder. Also, can the marble be sanded without honing powder. My plan was to use a 400 grit sand paper (with an orbital sander) and sand on the wet surface then seal with 511 Porous Plus Sealer. Am I on the right track?

Comments (35)

  • mama goose_gw zn6OH

    I mechanically honed a 3x5 carrara marble dining table, which was converted to a kitchen island. If you're honing a large stretch of counter, you are in for a long haul--I'd suggest starting with a lower/coarser grit, then working your way to 400. IIRC, I used 600 grit last, for a satiny smooth finish, then used an auto buffer with the shaggy cover. I've polished new etches with a very smooth sanding sponge (one that has had the grit worn off) and dampened alumina powder. The carrara has never been sealed, but no stains, despite my grandson's best attempts. ;)

    I also honed a large number of black/gray New St.Laurent marble tiles, first with diluted white vinegar, then with the above method, for kitchen perimeter counter and sink backsplash. I've since been informed that my tiles are more limestone than marble, due to high fossil content. I tried the 511 sealer on the marble/limestone, and I liked the way it enhanced the colors, so I sealed the tile tops. I occasionally polish the marble/limestone, which gives it a rich glow, without the glass-like hard polish it originally had. Since we don't use the perimeter counter for wet prep or dining, I've had a very few small etches. I just use the sanding sponge for those.

    I've read about celebrities honing their polished tops with tomatoes, lemons, etc. but in my experience, the acid alone leaves a very splotchy appearance.

    If you do a search on this forum, and on the remodeling forum, you can find several threads on DIY honing marble.


    spramirezz thanked mama goose_gw zn6OH
  • PRO
    Joseph Corlett, LLC

    "They have many water marks and I was wondering if the sanding process will get rid of these marks or will I have to use an etching powder."


    Yes, abrasion will eliminate etch without "etching powder."


    "Also, can the marble be sanded without honing powder."


    Yes.


    "My plan was to use a 400 grit sand paper (with an orbital sander) and sand on the wet surface then seal with 511 Porous Plus Sealer. Am I on the right track?"


    400 is too light a grit except for the lightest of etches; you'll be there forever. Get the first three of these pads from Braxton Bragg.

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  • spramirezz

    Thank you for your response Joseph. Are those pads meant to be used with a grinder or can they be used with a sander?

  • PRO
    Joseph Corlett, LLC

    You can use them with either. They have hook 'n loop backing.

  • lazy_gardens

    Also get a really GOOD respirator meant for use with rock dust (not a paper mask, you need the Darth Vader type OSHA rates) and figure out how you will control dust.

  • live_wire_oak

    You are not doing this in your kitchen are you? How do you plan to control the grit created? Grit that will scratch everything and ruin your drawer glides!

  • PRO
    Joseph Corlett, LLC

    Keep a spritz of water on it as you abrade. No respirator, no ruined drawer glides, but put some drop cloths on the floor and/or appliances please.

  • PRO
    Mint Tile LLC

    Few thoughts. BE CAREFUL. An angle grinder on stone in the wrong hands may not end well for you :):) If you do not have a variable speed angle grinder I would consider a variable speed rotex sander and successive wet grits . I know not your DIY skillset.

  • spramirezz

    The pads I am buying recommended 4000rpm's. At what rpm range should marble be honed at?

  • PRO
    Mint Tile LLC

    Again i wouldnt advise pads on a grinder unless you have spent a few years on those specific tools with stone. 4000 is the rec. speed and very dangerous .

  • spramirezz

    thank you for all the useful information!

  • PRO
    Joseph Corlett, LLC

    You’ll be flinging slurry all over at 4K. 600 tops.

  • spramirezz

    ok thanks I got a variable speed sander 0-3700

  • PRO
    Mint Tile LLC

    Powertools not designed for use w/water and being safe

    you could also go to a counter fabricator for a remnant piece or buy some marble tiles and start practicing on that first. Theres a lot to doing it and using the proper type pads/sander/grits and methods. I do like your will and passion to DIY. Really hard to walk you thru it here.

  • bubblyjock

    What about doing it the old-fashioned elbow-grease way, no machine tools involved? Just musing, really - I have no clue!


  • PRO
    The Cook's Kitchen

    The biggest issue is that this is dangerous, even for someone male with good upper body strength. For the average female who does not have as much upper body strength to begin with, it is even more dangerous. You have to be able to control the machinery that does not want to be controlled. You can damage walls, cabinets, and yourself if it gets away from you.

    Also, a a DA sander that is rated to be used with water isn’t an angle grinder. Nor is it inexpensive. Using an angle grinder dry will generate dust. Wetting anything down... well water and electricity don’t mix except with the correct tools. Please be sure that you use only a GFI circuit! A compressed air powered DA would be a much better choice here!

    I’d feel much more comfortable if you just paid the stone restoration guys the $600 to have it done safely!

  • spramirezz

    Thanks everyone for your help!

  • spramirezz

    So honing today appears to be going well, again, thanks everyone for their helpful comments. Is there anything special to know when sealing? I was planning to thoroughly clean the counter with soap and water to remove all the grit. How long is it necessary to let it dry before the sealer is applied. I am using 511 Porous Plus...is one seal enough or should I do a couple coats?

  • bubblyjock

    Looking forward to some photos of it once it's all finished!

  • PRO
    Sophie Wheeler

    Remember that sealer only slows down staining and does nothing to prevent etches, chips, or scratches.

  • spramirezz

    Just need to seal, happy with the results!

  • Chisos

    good job! looks beautiful


  • kylecraig7914

    So did you wind up hiring this out or doing it yourself? What was your process?


  • spramirezz

    My husband and I did it together. It’s relatively easy but tedious. I used Joseph Corlett’s advice and got the diamond pads from Braxton Braggs. Make sure to read his comments above as I used ALL of his advice. The link does not seem to work anymore but these were the pads I used, Talon 6-Step Marble Wet Or Dry Polishing Pad, 5", Step 1, 2 & 3. Make sure to get the hook n loop backing if you use a sander. We only had to buy 1 pad for each step because our kitchen is not that big. You can probably contact the company and they can help you locate them or find something comparable. I was very impressed with the pads and it made the job a lot easier. We ended up buying this sander and used it at the lowest speed https://www.amazon.com/DEWALT-DWE6401DS-5-Inch-Sander-Shroud/dp/B007KZB2GE. We were careful not to use a crazy amount of water especially because the sander we bought is not meant for wet use but it was the cheapest option for us. We started out doing steps 1-3 in 1 ft by 1ft sections and once we got the hang of it we tackled larger sections at a time. For the edges we did hand sanding. Make sure to cover your backsplash and floors very well. It’s definitely doable but requires patience. I was very happy with the results. We sealed with 511 Porous Plus. Good luck!

  • Kristen Lynne

    Hello Spramirezz! I love the look of your honed counters! We're about to purchase a honed marble top for our island and I'm curious as to how the 511 sealer has been working for you? Thanks so much for any thoughts you can pass along. : ) Also, do you know what kind of marble you have? It's absolutely *gorgeous*

  • spramirezz

    It’s carrera marble! And the sealer works great!

  • Kristen Lynne

    Thank you so much! I'm worried about the sealer creating a shine on the honed surface. I'm guessing the 511 didn't do that? This is so encouraging!!! :D

  • spramirezz

    It’s gave a matte/satin finish. You can test an area first!

  • Kristen Lynne

    thanks so much!

  • mpbehren

    Found this thread as I’m looking to “clean up” my honed finish on my marble island. We’ve had some etching and even a few scratches. None of which are even visible at night, but when you look across it in the daylight they are bothersome to me. How is your honed finish holding up after the 511? That’s the sealer I used to seal ours initially after installation and we’ve never had a stain, just the etching which is virtually impossible to avoid as I’ve found. I’ve done some spot cleanup with some hand wet sanding with a 400 or 600 grit sand paper, but am looking to just redo the whole thing for a more uniform look. Also, Do you wish you had taken the sanding pads one more level fiber for a little bit more satin look or not? I know it a preference thing and you were coming from totally polished, which I’m not. Thanks for any response you can offer.

  • Kristen Lynne

    Just chiming in here, but I don’t think ANY sealer will prevent etching. I could be wrong, but I’m pretty sure that’s what I read in my research some months ago. My marble island isn’t sealed at all and so far no staining, but yes to some etching. I knew that going into it so I’m just embracing it. Sanding the entire counter may work? Though it would just start etching again. I hope some others with more experience can chime in too.

  • PRO
    Joseph Corlett, LLC

    "Sanding the entire counter may work?"


    Technically, yes, but this isn't a job for DIYers.

  • Kristen Lynne

    You’re saying that to someone who did DIY soapstone counters in their kitchen. ;) I’ve also worked with marble for bathroom counters and shower niche ledges. And thankfully we could afford to hire professionals to fabricate our marble island top, though we installed it ourselves. Of course it‘s easier and arguably safer for a professional to do these things, but if there is a will, there is usually a way (with the right tools and know-how). But I didn’t necessarily suggest that she sand down the island herself, I just threw out the idea that sanding down the island counter might work to remove the etching.

  • spramirezz

    Unfortunately we sold the house but for the time we had it the 511 sealer held up well, however, we were extra careful with citrus and such. That sealer was also the one to be most recommended when I did my research. I was happy with finish but I was going for the matte look. If your counters are already honed you may only have to do step 2 and 3. good luck!

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