A common bathroom surface material is cultured marble. Cultured marble is actually a surface made up of various 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. Due to its porous nature and its malleable properties, cultured marble is not as resistant to stains and damage as other materials. However, there are steps you can take to ensure that your cultured marble surface will last for many years.
When it comes to cleaning cultured marble, keep one thing in mind. Do not use abrasive cleaners. Most cultured marbles are sealed and any cleaner that contains abrasives or bleach can break the seal. Water-based cleaners work well for basic cleaning purposes. If you have soap scum or similar build-up on the surface, the vinegar can break up the residue without damaging the stamp or cultured marble. If something spills onto the surface, be sure to clean it up as soon as possible to avoid staining. Unlike other surfaces, cultivated marble is susceptible to permanent staining, especially from materials like hair dyes and oil-based products. This is due to variations in sealants used among cultured marble manufacturers. The safest course of action is to clean up all spills immediately after they occur, even if the manufacturer claims the seal will resist staining. Other stain prevention options include placing a thick cloth on 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 what the surface looked like when you first installed it. The main finishes available for cultured marble are satin and gloss. Satin, a low-gloss finish, requires little additional 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-based or silicone polishes are good options for this difficult surface. Some people may recommend polyurethane if the finish remains dull after polishing. However, keep in mind that it is difficult to apply polyurethane if you cannot or cannot remove the cultured marble surface from the room. If sealant spills on other accessories, it can cause damage and may not wash off. Also, if the cultured marble has detail work, applying polyurethane to the cracks can be time consuming. This is a project that can work with properly prepared cultured marble, but is not recommended for those who cannot invest a lot of time on the project.
Since cultured marble is more malleable than other kitchen and bathroom surfaces, it is more vulnerable to bumps, scratches, and similar imperfections. Take care when holding heavy objects near or on top of cultured marble. Although it takes a heavy object to do noticeable damage, even a shampoo bottle can dent the surface. Such dents can change the overall texture of cultured marble over time. If you notice a dent or scratch on a solid-colored surface, you can apply a small amount of auto or appliance wax to fill in the gaps. However, if there are multiple flaws or the surface is a single color, have a professional reject it and polish the surface for you. The cost will be higher than doing it yourself, but the finish will be more consistent across the entire surface.
Depending on your budget and ideas for your kitchen or bathroom, cultured marble can give you years of durability. Caring for this material is different from maintaining stone or laminate. Most of the things you can do to maintain your cultured marble surface take little time on your part if you practice them regularly. The key is to keep the seal intact. Once you adjust your cleaning routine to suit this goal, your cultured marble will be available for years to come.