Cultured marble is a synthetic material made with a unique blend of resin, crushed granite and marble dust. It is normally installed in bathrooms because of its non-porous texture and durability. People mostly install it in bathrooms and kitchen counters. It oozes of a natural lustre and sheen. It is widely preferred because of its designs and patterns. You should be aware of its properties and characteristics before you get this material installed at your premises. Here is an A to Z guide of cultured marble.
How is it Made?
Cultured marble is commonly used for shower areas and bathrooms. When marble dust and liquid resin are blended, this hard polymer material is obtained. Cultured marble has an amazing luster and brilliance. People prefer to use it for showers as it is cheaper than the real stone. It does not require sealing as it is a stain-resistant material. Normal marble is porous, while cultured marble is not. But acidic cleaners cause etching on the otherwise durable material.
Characteristics of Cultured Marble:
- This is not like the normal marble you usually find. It has some interesting properties and unique characteristics. Crushed granite and marble dust are stuck together with resin to make this hard polymer like material.
- People use this material more as it is quite durable and they do not have to worry much about maintenance.
- You need not seal it as it is non-porous and stain-resistant. But sealing is recommended if you want to maintain its beauty for long. It is not porous like other natural stones and hence, it is more preferred.
- Acidic cleaners easily etch or spoil cultured marble surfaces. A good quality cleaner can help you avoid such problems.
Benefits of Cultured Marble:
Unique designs and patterns can be created on this material by customization. It is possible to create unique veining patterns by trying to replicate from an original marble stone. You can get pretty designs, colorful hues and patterns on your customized cultured marble block and then use it the way you want. You can even get your basin sink or bathtub customized and prepared in a shape mold
Stain and Chip Resistant:
Cultured marble is non-porous unlike natural marble stone. It is also low-maintenance and hence more durable. This material resists staining and chips to a greater extent. Adhesives or fillers made from epoxy/resin can be used to fill the scratches and make the surface uniform.
It is low-maintenance as you will not have to keep on sealing it year after year. But you should use a non-abrasive cleaner to prevent any kind of scratches or damage to the surface.
Cultured marble is less expensive than tile. It is not as costly as granite or quartz. It is still preferred for countertops as it makes your interiors look beautiful and done up. Installing a cultured marble works out cheaper that installing a real marble stone as well. The reason for this is that natural marble stone is heavier and costly labor and manpower has to be used to install it and shape it as per your requirement, while cultured marble is generally customized to fit your size and is also lighter.
Since every piece of cultured marble is man-made through the process of casting, every piece is unique. You can easily tailor-make the colors, styles and sizes of the material as per your requirement.
Pros of Cultured Marble:
Cultured marble is non-porous and hence used for basins, sinks and other interior decor pieces. A cultured marble surface will rarely leak as the surface is non-porous and leakage-free.
The ingredients and make of this material make it absolutely durable and strong. This gives it lasting durability and strength. You can be rest-assured that a bathroom or kitchen fixtures made from cultured marble can last a very long time.
This material is also quite cheap. It is much lower priced than marble stone or even less than granite, quartz and other such natural stone, but it does manage to replicate their looks.
You can get the feel and look of a real marble stone with this material and at half the price. It is affordable and preferred by those who cannot afford costly marble stone for their floorings, countertops or walls.
You can get yours customized in a required size, shape and hue. If you are lucky, you can even direct what patterns and veining you need in your stone. Further polishing will add a brilliant sheen as well.
This is one of the best advantages of cultured marble. As there are no open pores, mold and mildew cannot breed.. As mold and mildew breed in damp areas, you can expect a completely mold-less and sanitized space on using this materia.
Some people find it to look quite artificial when compared to natural marble stone. But, you can keep looking for a better option, until you find something similar to a real marble.
Differences and Similarities Between Cultured and Real Marble:
Although cultured marble is quite good, it still is not the real marble. So what is the difference and what is the similarity?
- Both have a very high polish luster and have a veiny appearance.
- Both are ideal for kitchen finishing and bathroom decor.
- They both look quite similar.
- Marble is natural and obtained from the Earth’s crust naturally, while cultured marble is man-made and synthetic.
- Marble can be scratched or destroyed easily and is less durable, while cultured marble is more durable if maintained well.
- Marble does not come pre-formed to fit as countertops, tubs or sink basins, while you get pre-formed cultured marble bathroom and kitchen fixtures. This is because it is easily customizable.
- It is easy to maintain and clean cultured marble. If you find a leakage, you can easily rectify it with a gel coating, while marble is not so easily maintained.
- Cultured marble does not require any sealing as it is non-porous.
- Marble is costlier than cultured marble.
- A single piece marble is found to have different patterns all-over or from panel to panel, while cultured marble patterns are uniform.
Common Mistakes Made on Cultured Marble:
- Soap and shampoo spills on the cultured marble tubs often lead to staining and spots on the surface. There is acid in these products that even causes etching. Bacteria and mold thrives in these crevices and cracks.
- Some of you use abrasive scrub pads and steel scrubs for cleaning bathtubs. Abrasive pads may even scratch or crack the outer coat of the cultured marble tub.
- Paint thinners and acidic cleaners cause etching on the surface.
- Proper ventilation is required if you are getting any chemical treatment in your bathrooms. The fumes rising from these treatments may damage your cultured marble tubs.
- When you use a disinfectant on your bathtub, it is important to wait for a few minutes before you start scrubbing it. This will give it time to work on the stains to show better results.
- Do not only work on the visible stains, instead, rub and clean the entire area. There are other hidden areas, sides and inside of the tub, which are often loaded with germs. You need to clean the entire surface properly.
- Another common issue is to let the shower curtain run longer than the needed length. This makes the curtain forever damp and leads to mold breeding that eventually spreads on the tub as well.
Cultured Marble Cleaning and Maintenance Tips:
Cultured marble is not exactly zero-maintenance. It comes with some problems and some issues that need to be guarded. It easily gets scratched. If you do not clean regularly, you may notice a yellow stain. Also, you cannot use any cleaning liquid on its surface, as acidic cleaners may cause etching. Here are some tips to keep in mind.
- Do not clean your cultured marble surface with hot water as it may damage the shine.
- Do not use abrasive cleaners like bleach.
- Do not scrub the surface with abrasive pads as it may tarnish the surface and leave scratches.
- Do not use white vinegar for cleaning cultured marble. The acid content in vinegar may damage the shine and lustre.
- It is best to dry the cultured marble surfaces with a soft cloth after use.
- Bathtubs are best cleaned with a mild cleanser. Let the cleaning liquid be soaked in by the dense stain to make it soft. After a few minutes, gently remove the stain using a non-abrasive pad. Wash with plain water and dry off quickly.
- You should clean your cultured marble surfaces with a strong but approved cleaner twice a year and sometimes with a mild maintenance cleaner.
- Be careful not to drop heavy objects on your cultured marble fixtures.
- You may need to polish your surfaces after a few years to renew their sheen and lustre.
If you want to indulge in Do-It-Yourself, invest in good cleaning products. We recommend you to use pFOkUS products for cleaning your cultured marble fixtures. These have been specially formulated in laboratories after years of research and provide the best cleaning results.
Do-It-Yourself Cultured Marble Cleaning with pFOkUS Products:
Food and beverage spills are the biggest enemies of countertops. Bathtubs and bathroom fixtures get stained with shampoo and soap spills, soap scum and hard water dots. Only good quality cleaners can help you get rid of these stains properly. Only cultured marble approved cleaners can easily abolish the grime, dirt, stains and etching.
Deep Cleaning with Benaz:
pFOkUS’ Benaz is an incredible cultured-marble approved cleaner that helps to instantly remove all the stains from your cultured marble tubs, countertops, showers and other surfaces. You can clean grout and tile using Benaz which is a powerful cleaner. It wipes away all the hard water spots and etches leaving the surface sparkling and clean.
Weekly Maintenance with Valore Maintenance:
pFOkUS’ Valore Maintenance is a wonderful combination of a sealer and cleaner that helps you maintain the cleanliness and beauty of your cultured marble on a weekly basis. Valore helps to keep the sheen of the surface and also manages to remove any superficial dust, dirt and stains.
Professional Cultured Marble Restoration by Professionals:
If your cultured marble is deeply scratched, stained and lack-lustre, you can hire the help of professionals to restore it just like new. We recommend you to hire the services of a good service provider like D’Sapone that not only clean the surface, but also polish it to remove the etch and scratch marks. D’Sapone also uses pFOkUS products for their restoration services. Here is what you can expect from a professional service provider.
Tile and Grout Cleaning Using a Strong Cleaner:
Professionals have a proper know-how of cleaning procedures and science-backed approach to cleaning different surfaces. They first clean the tile and grout with cultured-marble approved cleaners to wipe away all the hard water dots and etch marks.
- Crack Repair Using Epoxy Sealer:
After cleaning, they check for cracks in cultured marble. They repair the cracks and pits with a solvent-based epoxy/resin adhesive or filler to get a permanent repair job.
Sealing Grout Using Titanium:
Next, they seal the grout between cultured marble tile using a titanium sealer to make the surface waterproof and to make it strong and durable.
Sealing Cultured Marble Using a Clear Topical Sealer:
Lastly, they seal the cultured marble to prevent re-staining. A layer of Celine – clear topical solvent based resin sealer soaks into the surface. It does not leave any residue and becomes invisible. It also leaves a lovely natural sheen. Celine makes the surface waterproof.
Polishing Cultured Marble:
Once the Celine has dried and filled in all the gaps in the cultured marble, all the pores have been shut and the stone is protected from further etching issues. Next, cultured marble polishing is done with Celine again. Marble Polishing is necessary to prevent further etching problems on the stone.
How to Remove Scratches from Cultured Marble?
If you hire a professional like D’Sapone, they have their own patented procedures to remove the scratches. But if you want to remove the scratches yourself, you will need to first sand the surface and restore it through sanding if the scratch is not too deep.
After sanding, you can use a good topical sealer like Celine from pFOkUS to polish the cultured marble surface. Polishing the surface with Celine will help you get rid of the scratches and give you a uniform looking surface with a brilliant sheen.
How can you Tell the Difference Between Real Marble and Cultured Marble?
Only a pro can differentiate between cultured marble and original marble as they are so similar. But, there are a few tricks to help you find out.
Real marble comes in many hues ranging from the whitest white to deep black. You need to mark out the difference in tonality, tint or shade. You can find soft color changes on real marble, while in cultured marble, you will see a stark monochromatic cast.
The impurities in real marble show up as swirls or various patterns and colors. You can mimic the same in cultured marble as well, but the results will be one-dimensional only and will lack in soft and natural flow like that in marble. Real marble from Carrara has a creamy vein, while Sienna marble is yellow in color with red, blue or violet veining.
You can also find out the difference between a real marble or a cultured marble by using a durable and sharp knife on the surface. If you instantly get a line, then it is real marble. If you have to put some pressure to get a scratch, then it is cultured marble.
Cultured marble can last upto 20 years easily. If you feel your cultured marble has lost its sheen, you can hire the services of D’Sapone to restore the sheen by polishing or you can do-it-yourself using pFOkUS products.
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