The Inside scoop

PLEASE be aware that we are seeing a dramatic increase in unexperienced companies improperly cleaning, polishing and restoring natural stone.  Unfortunately we have obtained many new clients because they were “sold” additional services by carpet and janitorial companies.  A two day class by the IICRC does not make a stone craftsman.

Stone is very different from every other flooring surfaces and it takes years of committed dedication to become proficient in the art of stone restoration.  Utilizing someone who isn’t experienced in using the right techniques and tooling can cause serious and sometimes permanent damage to your stone.  If the person who wants to polish your marble does not have extensive experience in residential stone restoration, please be very careful.

We have decades of experience restoring problems that could have been avoided.  In the interest of our customers, and trying to help you avoid expensive repairs in the future, we have listed a couple of situations that you should be aware of:

Utilizing Stone in your Design

  • Even though granite, glass and soft stones (marble, limestone, travertine, etc.) compliment each other aesthetically, when combined, they are very expensive and time consuming to restore.  For example, if you had a marble floor with granite inlays, we would have to hand polish the marble and hand polish the granite separately.  This could easily double the cost of a project.
  • Stones that are being sold as granite countertops are not always granite.  We have noticed many tops that are being sold as granite actually contain an acid sensitive mineral that will etch like a marble.  This is detrimental if the top is going to be used in an area where lemons, wine or other acidic liquids could etch the top.  We had one client where her coffee mugs literally fused to the top of her “granite” countertop from the acid rinse that was still present on the cup.
  • The shower isn’t always the best place for an acid sensitive stone.  Please keep in mind products that use an acid to clean like CLR, Windex with vinegar, scrubbing bubbles, etc. will severely etch a stone surface (see our photo gallery).  Give us a call, we will help you properly care for your stone shower.
  • When taking stone outside, it is best to cal us for advice and on-site consultation.  Many stones do not last long in our harsh climate.  The freeze thaw can literally cause a stone to expand and contract until it crumbles.  The resins in many Granites will discolor and become brittle.

Grout and Stone Issues

  • NEVER use sanded grout on polished marble, limestone, travertine, or any soft polished stone surface.  This also includes the new stain resistant grouts that contain silica.  Even though these are great grouts, the silica will create scratches that will absorb and/or distort light reflection.  The only way to restore the surface is to hone and remove the scratches with a diamond impregnated resin.  Unfortunately, the pads and compounds will pull out the silica and scratch the stone even more.  It is virtually impossible to get a great, scratch free shine if the stone is softer than the silica.
  • If you are using travertine with unfilled holes and sanded grout, please be aware that the sanded grout is much more absorbent than non-sanded or epoxy based grouts.  If the stone isn’t properly sealed and maintained after installation, the grouted areas will become dirty very quickly.  Because the stone is acid sensitive and very rough, there are only a few remedies available to restore the stone and grout.
  • Vinegar should never be used to clean natural stone and we do not recommend using it to clean any cementitious grout.  Vinegar cleans by “eating” the top of the surface off to reveal a cleaner surface below.  It also will eat the calcium in the natural stone resulting in etching and dull areas.

Restoring and Polishing Natural Stone

  • Restoring stone is an art.  We have decades of training and experience polishing and restoring natural stone.  What someone says may be a simple job, could turn out to be a very expensive restore if the process isn’t done correctly.  If you are talking with someone who is going to use pads such as spinergy, monkey, cheetah, or similar soft pads with encrusted diamonds, they are probably not an experienced stone craftsman.  Even though these pads may have diamonds “on” them, they will not properly polish a stone surface.  These pads could orange peel the surface and actually cause damage to the stone. We have repaired these surfaces with the correct method many times in recent years.  Ironically, these companies often charge more to damage the stone than it would have cost to have a stone craftsman perform the service correctly the first time.
  • There are very few times a floor should be crystallized to obtain a shine.  This process involves utilizing steel wool and acid to chemically alter the stone to obtain a shine.  This method could potentially lead to the stone spalling and disintegrating.  Often times, the only remedy is full replacement.  Many people use this method because it is cheap, easy and requires little skill.  If your floor company isn’t honing your floor with diamond impregnated resins and powder polishing, stop and ask them why not.

Wax and Natural Stone

  • Natural stone including, marble, granite, limestone, travertine, etc. is not meant to be coated.  These stones are meant to “breathe”  to avoid adhesion failure.  The only floors that could safely have a coating on them is slate, terrazzo (although we don’t recommend), VCT and sometimes concrete.  Most companies will just put a “wax” on stone to give them a fake shine.  The issue with most coatings is that they will chip, turn yellow and eventually look very dirty.  Most people who wax floors do not understand the floor or the coating.  If they say they are going to apply the coating with a mop, stop them.  Your beautiful natural floor will end up looking like plastic.

Pink Stains in your shower

  • Serratia marcescens is a species of rod-shaped gram-negative bacteria in the family Enterobacteriaceae.  Due to its abundant presence in the environment, and its preference for damp conditions, S. marcescens is commonly found growing in bathrooms (especially on tile grout, shower corners, toilet water line, and basin), where it manifests as a pink, pink-orange, or orange discoloration and slimy film feeding off phosphorus-containing materials or fatty substances such as soap and shampoo residue.  Once established, complete eradication of the organism is often difficult, but can be accomplished by application of a bleach-based disinfectant. Rinsing and drying surfaces after use can also prevent the establishment of the bacterium by removing its food source and making the environment less hospitable.

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