Identifying Discoloration On Counter Tops

No matter what kind of stone your counter top is made of, identifying discoloration on your stone is a subject that should be considered. In order to properly assess the potential for discoloration or staining, you will need to be aware of some basic information. This post will take a look at a couple of important things to consider when trying to understand stains and discoloration in stone counter tops.

Education Can Prevent Stone Discoloration

The fact that you are reading this post is evidence that you are interested in protecting your counter top. You are on the right track to gaining knowledge about stone surfaces. You are interested in how to care for and maintain your natural or engineered stone.

Why is being knowledgeable about stone so important when it comes to the discoloration of stone? Because not all stone is susceptible to the same kinds of discoloration or staining.

Some stone is natural and reacts with liquid substances. Other stone materials are man-made and need to be cared for in very specific ways. Additionally, some stone is marked as one type of material but in reality is another material altogether.

Knowing a little bit about identifying stone can be extremely helpful. After all, using stone does have benefits over other counter top materials. Even if you do not know how to identify stone, being aware of what chemicals or substances will harm your stone is vital to caring for your investment.

Sample of Quartzite

A Practical Example

One example of how being knowledgeable can help with regard to discoloration is found even before the purchase is made. As mentioned above, there are cases where a material is marked as quartzite but in reality contains minerals that are consistent with marble and not true quartzite. Now, that does not seem like a big deal on the surface. However, marble and quartzite are different materials. Marble contains calcite and quartzite does not. They are both natural, metamorphic rock, but they are different in composition and must be cared for differently. They also react differently to acidic substances.

Knowing some basic facts about stone can go a long way when it comes to caring for your surfaces. A good rule of thumb is know what your stone is so you will be able to rule out certain stain types.

Marble Sample - Identifying Discoloration

Types of Stone Discoloration

Knowing facts about your stone is not the only factor that contributes to identifying a stain or discoloration on your counter top surface. If you know what substance caused the discoloration you will be in a better position to remove the stain or spot from the surface.

For example, spilling olive oil on a stone counter top will create one kind of stain. Spilling ketchup or another condiment on the same counter top will cause another type. This is because the reaction of oil is different from the reaction of an acidic condiment like ketchup. Since the reactions are different, the stain removal will differ as well.

So in conclusion, knowing the type of stone and having knowledge of what substance caused the stain or discoloration are the 2 main pieces of information that you need in order to identify a blemish on your natural or engineered stone surface. After identifying the type of discoloration, you can begin looking for a stain removal product to try to remove the stain.

Image Credits:

Kitchen: By Bill Wilson - CC BY 2.0 no

Marble: By Zyance - Own work, CC BY-SA 2.5,

Quartzite: By Manishwiki15 - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

2 thoughts on “Identifying Discoloration On Counter Tops

  1. I’ve been wanting to get new counters in my kitchen but one of my biggest concerns is the potential for discoloration. My tile counter seems to have held up fine but I know my neighbors struggle with their marble. I’ll have to talk to a professional about what he or she would recommend for keeping the specific counters I get clean, just to ensure I do all that I can.

  2. Excellent point about the importance of knowing what caused the stain in the first place. If you do not know what the liquid was that stained the stone, it can make the process of treating the stain more difficult.

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