Sunday, April 25, 2010

Imperial Danby sample test

As promised, we put our honed Imperial Danby sample through a rigorous test to see how it would fare in our messy, three-kids-and-two-enthusiastic-cooks kitchen. We eat at home for almost every meal (husband and son excepted). My oldest is learning how to cook, and the little ones love to help. So our countertop must endure careless handling and emerge in reasonable shape.

First, we applied sealant twice as called for in the instructions. This is an unnamed, top-of-the-line sealer purchased at a specialty store. Unnamed because my cautious spouse doesn't want to invite legal trouble.

Here's the sealed sample before testing. It's absolutely pristine with some natural and beautiful texture variation.

Here are the test items (left to right): (top) pizza sauce, soy sauce, a decent and cheap shiraz, (middle) strawberries, coffee, (bottom) lemon, and yellow mustard. We smushed, poured, and otherwise put the test items on the sample.

We left the items there for one hour. Here are the results. This is the most serious etch. Surprisingly, it was the red wine. You can feel the much rougher texture with your fingertips. There is also a visible color change. I don't know if it's actually a stain or if it's a very severe etch.

This angle catches the etching best. Unfortunately, our countertop will have a window behind it similar to this. So the etching will be very visible and pronounced.

Result. Well. You can't believe it until you see it. I'd heard that marble etches. It does. Seriously. These photos were taken right after the sample was washed and dried. It remains to be seen whether the marks fade. I'll let you know.

I'd mentally downplayed the etching, thinking to myself how much I love patina. There is patina which reads as natural texture. And then there are large splotches. Maybe after time, the splotches blend together to become patina. I'm going to have to think this through. It may be acceptable or we may be back to the starting point. The latter would be very, very disappointing. I've been obsessing over cabinet color choices paired with the white marble. Ditching the marble would be a huge design setback.


  1. Oy! What a sad moment in your kitchen planning. First of all, the wine kind of stained. I am assuming your sample wasn't sealed. Was it polished or honed? I am going to go back and read the kitchen forum thread...maybe my questions will be answered there ;)

  2. Yep. The wine did stain a bit, and my sample was sealed. I can't imagine how bad the damage would be if it were unsealed. My sample was honed. Well...I'm going to be trying some different things like etching the whole sample and buffing out etches with Comet or Barkeeper's Friend. We'll see what happens.

  3. Ok. You inspired me to try my own etch test. I blogged it. I would recommend sanding with a 200 grit sandpaper to smooth it out. Did you use a water based sealer or silicone based? My marble guy said that when they install they will seal with a silicone based sealer and that I should water base seal it every 6-12 months. He pretty much said I should not have any problems with staining. Even if I decide to go with honed. And this is coming from a fabricator who really was trying to get me to go with granite because of the etching...which they, of course, assure me will happen.

    I hope you and the danby can be friends. It is so so so beautiful.

    Was the stone wet from the spots when you photographed it?

    Okay, you have me at the edge of my seat...

  4. Hmm...I don't know if it was water or silicone based. I'll have to go see. The Danby really is gorgeous, isn't it? I don't know if the stone was still wet, but hours later, the etches looked the same. Maybe they would have faded after days. Maybe not.

    Love your etch test. We tried one using lemon all over the sample.

  5. I saw! Great post ;)

  6. I too am totally stressing about picking marble for my new kitchen island... if not beautiful calacatta or danby (or possibly carrara), then WHATTTT??? If you have any ideas please let me know! We will do a honed absolute black granite for the perimeter and white cabinets... so should I just do the honed black for the island to? It just sounds so BORING!

  7. It's a really difficult choice, isn't it?! I looked at my latest Danby etching test and decided I could be happy with the results. Have you gotten samples of marble to see how the etching looks on your island? Because etching looks most obvious when light strikes it a certain way, you may not see it as much on an island. How about a white quartzite like luce de luna? I hope you find a material that you really love.


Thanks so much for commenting. I love reading your thoughts and responses.