I recently moved to a new house, and one of the things I loved when looking around was the black faux-marble finish of the work surfaces in the kitchen. They made the slightly dated wooden cupboards look a bit more upmarket, meaning I could put a kitchen renovation far down the list of priorities.
Alas, after a couple of months, I'm beginning to rethink how long it'll be before I start that kitchen Pinterest board. The problem? Hard water! I live in an area of the country categorised as having "hard to very hard water," which means limescale is a constant problem. I can cope with the buildup around the shower head and toilet bowl and the scale in my kettle. But it seems like smudgy white marks appear on my kitchen counters in seconds, and it shows a lot more on dark, shiny surfaces than it does on lighter ones. Almost immediately after I wipe down the counters or clean around the sink, those telltale white marks start appearing again.
As if that wasn't enough, in their infinite wisdom, the previous owners also chose matte black tiles for the flooring of the bathroom. When they're clean, they look lovely, but they need mopping multiple times a week to avoid white residue collecting around the textured grooves and lines. It turns out limescale looks a lot like dust when it collects in the corners of tiles! There are ways to get things looking good as new: a steam cleaner (filled with distilled water) can give great results, and good old-fashioned vinegar will also remove those white marks, but all solutions are temporary if you're constantly getting the areas wet, something that's difficult to avoid in a bathroom and a kitchen!
If you're thinking of getting dark tiles or counters in your kitchen or bathroom, I'd strongly suggest you check your water type first. A huge portion of the UK has hard water, and you need to be willing to commit to a lot of extra cleaning if you want your place looking spotless at all times! Lighter colours and gently textured finishes work better in these areas, but you'll still need to keep specific limescale products (or a lot of vinegar) on standby to keep everything looking perfect.