Marble is one of the most popular stones for construction. It's popular in residences for both countertops and floors, owing to its unique beauty, durability and elegance. The maintenance of marble is serious business, however. Marble itself is expensive, so it's advised that marble floors be treated with the utmost care — a process that includes regular waxing.
Marble is a variety of limestone. It's identifiable by the veins and rivers of darker colors that run through its surface and create a beautiful, elegant and timeless pattern. Marble has gone through a densifying process to crystallize its structure, which is what gives it its polished, uniform surface. Marble is available in nearly every color of the rainbow, and its soft, reflective surface gives bright elegance to its surroundings.
There are many varieties of marble and many ways of finishing it, depending on the desired aesthetics of the person designing the space. Smooth marble and textured marble are both available, and the texturing gives marble an unusual surface that makes it unique.
Marble is highly costly to install, so proper cleaning and treatment are critical to its maintenance and longevity. One of the best things you can do for marble is to clean it regularly and make sure it's polished and waxed. Marble floor polish and marble wax can be confusing products to navigate, but learning how to use them properly is critical.
What Does Marble Wax Do?
Marble wax is used as a coating to protect the surface of the marble. Marble is vulnerable to staining and discoloration, so it should be sealed with a commercial-grade stone sealer. This sealant is a protective layer between the stone and the outside world. After the application of the sealant, you're technically waxing and shining up the protective layer and not the stone itself.
For this reason, the sealant is considered a "sacrificial layer." Unlike the marble, the sealant is exposed to the elements. It's this sealant that's broken down over the years. Therefore, marble wax helps to protect both the surface of the marble and the surface of the grout in between. While marble may look uniform, like it's all one large sheet, marble tiles are laid side by side with thin strips of grouting in between to bond them.
Marble wax is applied to the surface of the marble to clean, polish and provide a protective coating. Marble and marble grout are both very sensitive to damage, especially from a liquid. The wax acts as a protective barrier that prevents rot or mildew from taking root in the grout and protects the marble itself from damage and discoloration caused by water or other liquids that come into contact with it.
What Kinds of Wax are Good for Marble?
There's a wide variety of marble floor polish and marble wax available. Self-polishing marble wax is a great way to get a shiny, glossy finish without a ton of time. Once you've removed any stains or marks from the floor with a commercial marble cleaner, you can apply a self-polishing water-based wax to the surface.
Another option for a marble wax is a paste wax. This can stain and discolor certain marble, so it's important to always spot test the wax before using. In many cases, especially if you've inherited the marble flooring, there's a good chance that you may find old wax already on the surface of the marble. In this case, you'll need to strip the existing wax to clear it of buildup before waxing again.
How to Apply Wax to Marble
Self-polishing wax should be applied after the floor has been thoroughly cleaned and dried. Depending on the size of the floor, you may want to apply the wax yourself with a lambswool cloth, buffing in a circular motion until the entire surface is covered. For a large floor, you may want to rent a buffing machine or outsource the job to a stone cleaning service.
You can even apply carnauba wax to marble countertops to fill in any gaps or crevices. Applying it with a soft cloth (lambswool is ideal) will help restore the smoothness and luster. Using a polishing machine is the fastest and easiest way to get the wax onto the marble, but depending on the surface area you need to cover, it may make more sense to apply the wax by hand.
Ashley Friedman is a freelance writer with experience working in the home, design and interiors space.