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Marble is a natural, metamorphic stone derived from limestone. Marble is softened by heat and pressure then re-crystallizes into marble with some mineral changes. These changes are what gives marble many beautiful and subtle colors.

Although there are many stones to choose from for your interior designing needs, the advantage marble has over other stones is that it is very durable and is easily maintained when sealed. Marble comes in numerous finishes including gloss, hammered or honed finishes. The cost of marble depends on where it comes from with Chinese marble being available at about $70 per square meter whereas Italian marble can be as expensive as $200 per square meter.

Marble is a stone that has been used, and valued, for its strength, beauty and the resistance it has to fire and erosion. The ancient Greeks used marble to create many beautiful architectural pieces and the Taj Mahal remains a classic example of architectural beauty that was created using marble.

One of the reasons people use marble in their interior designs is that it is a rather expressive material that has a unique individuality which adds to the ambiance of your home. It makes your home look simple or sophisticated, elegant or rustic, warm or cool or sumptuous or minimalist. Marble is timeless, versatile and elegant making it a popular choice for enhancing homes.

Marble can be used for floors, walls, bench tops, tables and has many interior design uses. One of the most popular uses for marble is as bench tops. People generally prefer using marble for bench tops because of its durability and look.

It is always better to opt for a hone finish for marble bench tops as this is much more practical than highly polished marble. All natural stones have a tendency to expand and contract with different temperatures. For this reason you should avoid placing very hot or cold items directly on the marble bench top as it can cause the bench top to crack.

You have to exercise some care when using marble bench tops. Marble is a substance that reacts, on contact, with any acid. This includes acids that are found in foods like tomato, fruit juice, vinegar, etc. So it is best to use a cutting board or any other form of surface protection when working on a marble bench top. This will prevent reactions between the marble and the acids from different food stuffs.

When cleaning your marble bench tops, make it a point to avoid using any household cleaners on it like Jif and Handy Andy. This is because these household cleaners will only remove the polish of the marble bench top. Just as it is not advisable to place hot or cold items on the marble bench tops, you should avoid using hot dishes or cups on the marble bench tops as they can burn the marble. It is also important to avoid spilling alcoholic drinks or fruit juices on the marble bench top as it can etch into the polish of the marble bench top.

Remember to never leave wet perfumed soaps or aerosol cans on the marble bench tops as they can create stains. Marble is a substance that scratches easily so try to avoid scratching it as much as possible. This is best done by using chopping boards when working on marble bench tops and not dragging utensils across the surface of the marble.

To clean marble bench tops you can use a pure soap, like Velvet, that is diluted in water. You can also use a solution of half a capful of White King Bleach added to three liters of water to clean the marble bench top. You can easily brighten the surface of marble by rubbing the marble with a clean cloth dipped in turpentine. It is, however, better to do this only on marble floors as the smell of turpentine on your marble bench top may put you off cooking.

If you find any stains on your marble bench top they can be removed using a mixture of chloride lime and water. This paste has to be applied to the stain, wiped off and then polished. If you have soft marble surfaces with stains on them, you can remove the stain using a paste of cuttlefish, methylated spirits and bleach. This paste has to be applied using a soft cloth and rubbed till the stain disappears. Even toothpaste can remove stains. You have to apply it with your fingertips and rub till the stain disappears then polish the marble.

You can remove stains from black marble bench tops by making a mixture of equal parts of baking soda, whiting and salt. Add water to make a paste and then pour over the stain and let it stand till the stain disappears. The mixture then has to be washed off with soapy water, rinsed, and wiped dry.

In the case of white marble bench tops, you need a mixture of one part oxalic acid, ammonia and ten parts alcohol. Use a pad of gauze or open weave cloth, place it on the stain and saturate it with the mixture. Leaving for 15 30 minutes then wipe off the mixture with water and some ammonia, rinse, and dry.

If you have a colored marble bench top, you have to use salt and lemon juice to remove the stain. This mixture has to be left to stand for as long as needed, and then rinse with water and soda. Use clear water to rinse then wipe dry.

Marble bench tops provide a beautiful, elegant, classy, ambiance to any room for as many years as it is properly cared for.
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