This sounds more like a chemical reaction between an acid—the vinegar—and your marble, which is a calcium based stone and is vulnerable to acidic damage. This damage is more commonly called "etching." You may be able to address minor etching using a marble polishing compound, but if the damage is deep or covers a large area it is best for you to have it professionally restored. We are experts at etch removal and would be happy to restore your marble to its original polished condition. If the issue turns out to be discoloration of a coating after all, you have an entirely different problem which we would need to see in order to address your concerns.
Rugs are actually helpful in protecting your natural stone floors because they catch much of the grit and dirt that gets tracked in, reducing the potential wear and scratches such detritus can cause. However, there are some precautions you'll want to take. Use rug holders to prevent the rug from sliding, which is not only hazardous, but can also create the scratches you are trying to prevent. Do not use rugs backed with latex or rubber.
Please see our Caring For It page where you will find some quick tips and our downloadable Stone and Tile Care Guide.
If your floor is not deeply scratched, surface polishing may bring back an acceptable shine. However, may result in "shiny scratches" if any of the scratches were deeper than the surface polishing could address. If your floor has deep scratches, is worn badly, or otherwise damaged, a complete restoration is warranted. This is a decision we will be happy to advise you on. We provide free estimates for all restoration work.
Since the #1 culprit of damage to floors is dirt (grit, sand & dust), it is best to use a dry, untreated microfiber dust mop or a vacuum daily when possible. Damp mopping is recommended on a weekly basis and whenever there are visible spills. Be sure to thoroughly clean your mop and bucket after every use, and replace water frequently while mopping. A dirty mop can actually cause the damage you are seeking to avoid, so rinsing often is also recommended.
Unfortunately, what you see are not water marks, but actual surface damage. Both travertine and marble are calcium based stones and vulnerable to damage from acid (also called etching). To get rid of the etch marks, the stone will need to be polished out, much like a gemstone would have to be if it were scratched. If the etching is not too severe, you can try to resolve this problem yourself using an appropriate polishing compound. (See our Caring For It page for a link to recommended products.) If the etch marks are too deep or cover a large area, your travertine and marble will need professional honing and polishing to get them looking beautiful again.
Most of the time when a customer asks us why their natural stone countertop is not shiny anymore, the dullness is not a problem with the stone, but is caused by a filmy buildup of some kind on the surface. This comes from cleaning granite or other natural stone countertops with water and dish soap or some other inappropriate cleaner that leaves a residue. Switching to a pH neutral cleaner specifically designed for use on natural stone will fix this problem, though it may take several cleanings to do so. In rare cases, there are other, less benign reasons your countertops have become dull, which could require professional restoration. So, if a neutral stone-safe cleaner does not resolve the dullness or you would like a consultation before taking any action, please don't hesitate to call us. We'll help you figure out the best course to take to get your countertops back to the shine you love.
First of all, let me assure you that your marble vanity tops do not need to be replaced. Second, let me address a common misunderstanding—sealing protects against staining by filling the pores of the stone so it does not quickly absorb the staining agent and you have time to wipe up a spill. Sealing does not prevent etching, which is a chemical reaction to acid rather than an absorption issue. Etching is surface damage and can be remedied by professional honing and polishing to restore your original finish and leave your vanity tops looking as good or better than the day they were installed.
We use diamond abrasives and water to restore natural stone surfaces. This means that no dust is created during the process.
We provide free estimates. There have occasionally been special circumstances which required us to charge a fee for estimation, but this is never done without your prior notification.