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Why Did My White Marble Turn Yellow

Q: Why did my beautiful white marble suddenly begin to turn yellow?

A: Unfortunately, this problem is not uncommon, according to Fred Hueston, Chief Technical Advisor for Stone and Tile PROS, who says there are a number of causes for yellowing marble—and a number of possible cures.

The most common culprit is iron, which can be found in many natural stones. When exposed to water, acids or bleach, the iron will begin to oxidize and turn the stone yellow. In extreme circumstances, the marble can turn a brown color, akin to what happens to a piece of iron left out in the rain. To find out if your marble contains iron, you can have your stone tested by a lab. If oxidation is indeed your issue, preparing and applying a poultice solution may rid the yellowing from the marble in some cases. There are also some new products that are aimed at removing cases of iron oxidation. Confer with a Stone and Tile PRO Partner for poultice mixtures or other products that may work best for your situation.

Wear and tear can also cause yellowing of white marble. As the polish wears away, trapped dirt in the marble’s pores can turn the stone yellow. Improper cleaning, especially dirty mops, are a major cause for dirt to accumulate and remain even after cleaning. This type of yellowing may possibly be removed with a heavy-duty stone cleaner.

Wax build-up can turn your gorgeous marble from white to yellow. In this case, the floor will need to be stripped to attempt to remove the color.

Some stone floors are polished using the process of crystallization. If your marble contains any moisture when this type of polishing occurs, the stone will begin to yellow. This can sometimes be reversed with a powder marble polish and if not, the floor will need to be honed by your stone and tile care professional.

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