Tips for Using Marble in the Bath

Natural Stone: Marble

Marble exudes elegance and luxury in bathroom settings. A popular choice not only for bathroom countertops but also as a bath and shower surround, marble slabs work well in moisture-prone settings. However, some slabs of marble react differently to water than others, oxidizing and changing color over time. What causes this to happen in some bathroom settings, while others host marble that shines beautifully for years?

Avoiding Oxidation Depends on Proper Marble Installation & Maintenance

Marble contains minerals that can cause it to oxidize or rust with exposure to water, acid, and bleach. However, this will only happen if it is not correctly installed and maintained. If your marble is sealed and cared for properly, rust will never become a problem. From Italy abroad to Washington D.C. domestically, many centuries-old marble structures continue on without rusting. 

How a Skilled Fabricator Can Prevent Marble Rusting

A skilled contractor can stop rust bleeding in marble with careful installation. This includes making sure surfaces like shower pans, seats, shelves, and curbs slope gently downward for proper water movement. Cement backer board must also be used, rather than drywall, which traps moisture and mildew and easily degrades. Oil-based putties and plumbing sealants should also not be placed in contact with stone surfaces. When the project is completed, a deep-penetrating sealer should be used on every marble surface. This type of impregnating sealer protects the surface of the stone while still allowing it to breathe. 

How Homeowners Can Prevent Marble Rusting

If not correctly maintained, oxidation can occur on the surface of marble within a few years. 

Regular maintenance safeguards properly sealed stone, as contact with moisture impacts sealer lifespan. Essential maintenance includes running a ventilation fan when shower to reduce humidity, squeegeeing marble post-shower, and towel-drying wet surfaces to ensure no water remains. Your marble must also be resealed periodically, whenever moisture no longer beads on the surface of the stone. 

What About Using Marble in Steam Showers?

Marble can be used successfully in steam showers, provided grade “A” or “B” marble is used. These grades hold less oxidizing minerals. “C” and “D” grade marble should not be used, as marble veining can rapidly degrade in the steam environment. 

Can Rust Stains Be Removed from Marble?

While some products work to remove marble rust, results may vary. In general, only surface stains can be eliminated. Those originating from deep within the stone don’t address the source, and are generally not removable. If damage is not too deep, a fabricator may be able to re-hone and reseal your marble, returning it to its former beauty. 


Find the perfect marble slab for your upcoming project, ensuring lasting results. Contact the the marble countertop experts at Granite Imports today.

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