A common bathroom surface material is cultured marble. Cultured marble is actually a surface composed of several materials, including marble dust, limestone and resin. The material is most common for bathroom vanity tops that have built-in sinks, but it can also be used for showers and bathtubs. No matter what surface is made of cultured marble, it is important to use the proper materials and procedures to keep it clean. Given its porous nature and malleable properties, cultured marble is not as resistant to stains and damage as other materials. There are, however, steps you can take to ensure your cultured marble surface lasts for years to come.
When it comes to cleaning cultured marble, keep one thing in mind. Do not use abrasive cleansers. Most cultured marble is sealed, and any cleansers containing abrasives or bleach can break down the seal. Water based cleansers work well for basic cleaning purposes. If you have soap scum or similar buildup on the surface, vinegar can break up the residue without harming the seal or cultured marble itself. If anything spills on the surface, be sure to wipe it up as soon as possible to prevent stains. Unlike other surfaces, cultured marble is susceptible to permanent stains, especially from materials such as hair dye and oil-based products. This is due to the variations in sealants used among cultured marble manufacturers. The safest course of action is to clean all spills right after they happen even if the manufacturer claims the seal will resist stains. Other options for preventing staining include placing a thick cloth over the surface while using products that can stain or using such products in areas that do not have cultured marble.
To maintain the finish of your cultured marble surface, consider how said surface looked when you first installed it. The main finishes available for cultured marble are satin and glossy. Satin, a low luster finish, requires little in the way of extra maintenance outside of regular cleaning. With glossy finishes, you may want to invest in a polish. Avoid polishes with carnuba wax, as these polishes are designed for less porous materials. Water or silicone based polishes are good options for this tricky surface. Some people may recommend polyurethane if the finish remains dull after polishing. Keep in mind, though, that it is difficult to apply polyurethane if you do not or cannot remove the cultured marble surface from the room. If the sealant spills on other fixtures, it can cause damage and may not be removed. Likewise, if the cultured marble has detail work, applying polyurethane into the crevices can take a long time. This is a project that can work with properly prepared cultured marble but is not recommended for those who are not able to invest a lot of time in the project.
Since cultured marble is more malleable than other kitchen and bathroom surfaces, it is more vulnerable to dings, scratches and similar imperfections. Use caution when holding heavy objects near or above cultured marble. Though it takes an object of great weight to cause noticeable damage, even a shampoo bottle can dent the surface. Such dents can change the overall texture of cultured marble over time. If you spot a dent or scratch on a solid colored surface, you can apply a small amount of appliance or car wax to fill in the gaps. However, if there are multiple flaws or if the surface is a unique color, have a professional rebuff and polish the surface for you. The cost will be higher than doing it yourself, but the finish will be more consistent throughout the surface.
Depending on your budget and ideas for your kitchen or bath, cultured marble can provide you with years of durability. Taking care of this material is different from maintaining stone or laminate. Most of the things you can do to maintain your cultured marble surface require little time on your part if practiced regularly. The key is keeping the seal in tact. Once you adjust your cleaning routine to accommodate this objective, your cultured marble will be around for years to come.