Home | About Us | Info | Buy | Sell | To Pay | Images | Library | Advice | Search | RSS Feeds | Site Map | Contact Us  

ADVICE WANTED!   August 31 , 2002
www.findstone.com   info@findstone.com
Q 2629: I am requesting info. on expert advice. This relates to requests I have made on your files A1007 dated 1/14/02 and file A 1704 reviewed by JVC,USA. The questions I have still relate to Trinity Church an old sandstone building with additional information about observed problems.
We are currently interested in preventing moisture from entering the stone to slow down the deterioration of the walls. Additional info. as follows:
1 We intend to remove trees ,shrubs ,and provide a 3 FT. no growth area from the wall to reduce moisture.
2 The sandstone walls are of a rubble core built on a field stone foundation. (NEW INFO.). The walls are about 2.5 FT thick. The landscaping has changed over the years and we have an additional 5 to 20 inches of dirt in contact with the sandstone walls around the building. That's 5 to 20 inches above the Fieldstone Foundation. We measured the dirt on the outside of the building and measured 4.8% to 16% moisture in the dirt. ( percentage by weight) Five days after a rain.
3 The flashing and the gutters are in fair condition but the ground drain lines require replacement because of roots.
4 We have dehumidifiers to place in the basement and block some ventilation holes.
Purposed action Comments are requested 1 Remove excessive dirt from outside walls to expose sandstone to the air above the fieldstone foundation. Move trees and shrubs at least 3FT. from foundation. In the future we may add a 3 FT. wide and 2 FT. deep trench below field stone grade and fill with limestone to reduce footing moisture. A footing type drain would be placed at the bottom of the trench. 2 Some discussions were had about leaving the ground at current grade and using a vapor barrier (Styro-fome with sealed joints) to block water from the sandstone walls. The reduced grade effects other areas of the church grounds. We are short of money and are working on water problems first where we can help ourselves. When practical we will call in stone restoration people for stone repair estimates and pricing. An additional question we have areas where sandstone patching has been done with PORTLAND mortar and cement. Should this be removed where possible? Are there Moisture measuring devices that can be used on stone? Also what is the critical moisture level in sandstone when it starts to loose its composition? Thank you ED Bojas, Aug 31, Reply
R1: Hi Ed, Still wrestling with your bear I see. First off, is the "field stone" foundation a different type of stone than the sandstone walls. Is there some sort of moisture barrier between the top of the foundation and the base of the wall. Yes, lowering the grade to its original level could help, if the wall stone that has been buried has not been too compromised, (deteriorated). Using a moisture barrier could also help keep additional moisture from entering the wall through the face of the stone, but it will not prevent moisture from wicking up from below, and that is most likely the root cause of the problem. I see the results of this on the 100 year old limestone buildings in my town. If you do use a barrier, I would suggest something other than Styrofoam such as rubber pond liner, and carry it down well below the foundation / wall level. Any thing you can do to keep surface water away from the foundation will be beneficial in the long run. That was the purpose of the gargoyles on the old cathedrals--get the roof run off away from the foundation. The French drains are also a good idea. But lets face it, after years of neglect, grade alterations, attractive landscaping, freeze/thaw cycles etc etc etc, there are going to be some expensive repair and restoration costs involved with the stone walls themselves. It would robably be cost effective to have a restoration expert on board now, so you can get specific advice addressing your specific problems, and you won't be spending your limited funds on cures that won't actually fix anything. Good luck, JVC, Expert Panelist

Q 2628: Laying granite countertops is a fairly simple process but the key, as always, is in the planning and preparation.
1) Assuming there is not an existing countertop, begin with a 3/4 sheet of exterior grade plywood. How you fasten this to your cabinets is up to you. Many people simply nail or screw them directly into the cabinet, but I prefer to mount them to the cabinet with steel L- brackets so that they can be more easily removed if you want to remodel at a later date.
2) Once you have the plywood attached to your cabinets, cover it with a layer of roofing felt (tarpaper etc., although they make much better waterproof liners than this specifically designed for this application, roofing felt is passable and far cheaper.) This is an extra precaution to help protect the plywood should water get through the grout, which will likely happen, especially around sinks.
3) Now is the time to make your cutouts for the sink, cook top etc. Mark an outline on the counter and use a drill and jigsaw to cut the openings.
4) After making your cuts, use a latex silicon to set the granite. They make this specific for natural stone, just ask the person for help at the tile store. Use epoxy for joint seem.
5) After setting the slabs, clean any thing from the joints and let it dry for 24 hours.
6) Hopefully by now you have a countertop you can be proud of, but don't forget to buy a good quality sealer and seal the granite. Granite is a pretty tough material, but it will stain (and etch), so seal it. Some sealers look unnaturally shiny, while others can dull the finish, so once again go to a knowledeable stone seller and get their advice. I would recommend getting two extra helpers to do-it-yourself installation for a big granite slab job, for no other reason that the sheer weight of the slabs. Good Luck. Jim, Aug 31, Reply


Q 2627: First of all thank you for having this site. It's already been very helpful. I just had a new travertine floor installed in my kitchen and laundry room. Although the installer wanted to use a non-sanded grout he changed his mind and went to a sanded grout instead. I decided that the wife and I could do the sealing. After reading several replies here, it seems that some feel I do NOT need to seal my stone but only the grout. Is that the case? I see where the sealer on the stone, if not properly cleaned off can create problems. If so, why should I apply a sealer to the stone in the first place? Can I not just seal the joints instead? Also, the floor was laid yesterday and grouted today. How long do I need to let the grout set before I seal it? Jolly, Aug 31, Reply

R1: Dear Jolly: Sanded grout? First mistake: it's the wrong grout, period. Too late now! ... Polished travertine on a kitchen floor? Second mistake: you don't want polished travertine (or marble) in a kitchen, period. Too late now! ... All in all you'll have other problems with no viable solution then worrying about staining! For whatever good is going to do to you, you can seal the grout within a couple of days. , Maurizio, USA,

Q 2626: Please tell me what kind of cleaner to use on shower walls/floor and bathroom vanities? I want to prevent build up of soap scum, etc. The shower walls and floor are squeegeed after every use. Should they be dried with a terry towel? I love the looks of the travertine in our new home and don't want to do anything that will mar the look. Thanks. Betty, California, Aug 31, Reply

R1: Dear Betty: That's an easy one! , See my "Dos and Don,ts" Maurizio, USA,

Q 2625: My wife and I have been looking for green stone countertops for a kitchen, and we've seen some very attractive slabs that appear to be rounded pebbles (1 to 10 inches across) of many muted colors in a green background. The store calls it "flintstone" and says it's from Brazil. I'm curious to know what kind of stone this is, how suitable is is for a kitchen countertop, and what the proper sealing treatment is? I have this concern that big chunks of rock of different composition might make it more apt to crack under heat stress or something like that.
I've also seen another green stone, with white veins and no pebbles, going by names such as "costa esmeralda" and "verde esmeralda." From my freshman geology and some recent reading, it sounds like these may all be forms of "greenstone" that appear in greenstone - granite belts. If the green is due to a soft mineral such as chlorite, then that might make a bad kitchen counter, but if it's due to serpentine and/or olivine, then it's plenty hard. Can you generalize about the greens in "greenstone," or at least the greens in esmeralda and "flintstone"?
This site was helpful in identifying Marinachi Green and Verde Gauguin (which we also like), but I didn't see any notes about sealing those stones. Any comments?
Finally, they had another slab of green that looked like green marble, but they assured me it was serpentine. How good is serpentine as a kitchen counter? What sealing is needed?
I realize there's a whole bundle of questions here; thanks very much! -- Lee Campbell, Aug 31, Reply

R1: Dear Lee: Starting from the bottom, they assured you right. There's no such an animal like green marble (true geological marble, that is). Green "marble" is either serpentine (most of the time) or ophicalcite. If the flintstone you're mentioning is the one that I believe I know, than it's got my vote all right! But I'm not sure (it's not very popular, at least here in the NorthEast US). There are lots of green "granites" that make an excellent choice for a kitchen countertop, such as Verde Butterfly, Ubatuba, Emerald Pearl, etc. just to name a few. You may want to check them out. Please, understand that I don't have the time to talk about each possible stone (green or any other color). There's a limit to what you can expect me to do on a voluntary basis, and I have a multi-faceted business to run, if I want to put food on my table. I'm not retired, yet! ... But I got it down to quite a simple proposition for you: see my column, ROCKING THE BOAT. and look for the article about selecting a good fabrication facility (and stone). That should help you with your decision. Maurizio, USA,

Q 2624: I'd like to know if Italian sandstone, in particular Pietra Cardosa, is suitable for a kitchen countertop that will have heavy usage. I've been told that it is more porous than marble but less than granite. I can't afford to put in a counter top that will require enormous care or that will stain easily. Dorothy, Aug 31, Reply

R1: Dear Dorothy: If you ask me, I wouldn't consider it. It is indeed quite porous. More than marble and much more than certain "granites". It's just as porous as certain other "granites" that are mentioned in some other posting below. Maurizio, Expert Panelist

Q 2623: Can you please give Specifications of the Granite (Black Galaxy):
1) Radiation Category
2) Internal Exposure Index
3) External Exposure Index
4) Density
5) Absorption Coefficient
6) Compression strength
7) Bending Strength
Your co-operation in this regard will be highly appreciated. Thanks & Regards Dr.963.*-ANAND
, Aug 30, Reply

R1: I found wide span of some parameters:
Specific gravity (approximately density): 2930-2970 kg/m3
Compressive strength: 270-200 (155)MPa
Bending strength: 27-15 (10)Mpa
Water absorption: 0.04-0.16 (0.2)%
I think radiation category is very low. I do not know what it is exposure index. Daniel, Expert Panelist


Q 2621:  I have recently purchased a slab of stone identified on findstone.com as Tropical Green and sometimes called Esmeralda. The local stone yard calls it Verde Laura . Any thoughts on or experience with this stone? Is it dense enough to serve as kitchen counter top? Have you ever seen it with a honed finish? The slab's been delivered and I've gotta make a decision on the finish. I really love the color and think It'll look great w/ the red slate, I just wish I could avoid the highly reflective finish. I've read that slabs with a lot of movement are the best candidates for a honed finish What is your view? Patrick, Aug 30, Reply

R1: Dear Patrick: I will go along with the concept that slabs with a lot of movement are the best candidates for a hone finish. I would suggest to apply a good-quality stone color enhancer to further minimize routine maintenance problems. Such type of products are indeed a great help with honed-finish slabs, not to mention that it will give you almost the same depth of color as if the slab were polished!Maurizio, USA,

Q 2620: What is REAL granite? I have just bought 840 square feet of "granite" tile...only to find out it's not true granite. The name of it is: Desert Gold that I bought at Home Depot. I have not laid it yet. I was going to install it in my shower and bathroom floor, but I don't want the hassle of sealing it every 3-6 months only to find out it's going to be nothing but problems anyway..no matter what I do. It really seems granite is not a wise choice for much of anything except walls that wont be close to water or threatened by stains. Maybe I can sell this crap... Thank you very much for a Very Informative site. At least we hadn't installed it yet. James, Aug 30, Reply

R1: Dear James: Many a "granites" (all natural stones anyway) are just as good as true geological granite, and many are even "better" that granite. Your "Desert Gold" belongs to neither one of the two groups above, unfortunately. "Granite" is indeed a wise choice when it's done ... wisely! Maurizio, USA,

Q 2619: How do we remove olive oil stains from granite? We live in Switzerland. I am quite impressed with your site. Thank you, Kevin, Aug 30, Reply

R1: Dear Kevin: see a link to my guide to stain removal. Click on it!, Maurizio, USA,

Q 2617: Came across your web site - great info. Maybe you can provide some insight...... We moved into a brand new home a few weeks back. The kitchen countertops are granite ("PortoFino"). It seems incredibly porous / absorbent. We have had the fabricator / installer come back twice to seal it, but that looks absolutely wonderful...) I have looked at neighbors countertops (haven't seen another PortoFino) and samples from Home Depot, Home Depot Expo, Lowes, etc - all seem to have a more "solid" top - almost like a very very thin sheet of glass - there are still some fissures, of course, but maybe only 10% of what I have... I've seen some limited info about impregnated sealers and resin/epoxy injection..... I don't really know much about those, but it sounds like what I am missing / need.... I'm envisioning this as a way to "fill up" these fissures - essentially filling the gaps with a solid substance.... Is this right ? What would you suggest ? Can you direct me to some more learning on this as an option.... I'm guessing if it is an option the counter top would have to be removed then re-installed.Marc, Aug 30, Reply

R1: Dear Marc: Your very last guess is right on the money, alas! I never even heard of this "Portofino" thing that only Mother Nature knows what kind of stone is! Obiously. the sealer is doing almost nothing. It's typical with extremely absorbent stones. A more proper sealer applied only the gods know how many times, may lead to an almost sealed stone, at best. For what you're telling us, your fabricator doesn't seem to be qualified enough to find such a sealer and apply it right. (read my answer to the posting No. 2614 below.) The resining process would have likely solved most of the problems that stone is obviously laden with, but it's a process that can be done only in special high-tech facilities specializing in that particular process (the resin is injected into the slabs under a vacuum condition) . Not even the producers of slabs can do that; they send them out to be resined before any processing. Maurizio,USA,

Q 2616: What thickness of granite is recommended for kitchen countertops? Thank you, M. Hobson, Aug 30, Reply

R1: Dear M. Hobson: There two schools of thoughts about it. One says 2 cm. with laminated edged (4 cm. at the edges). The other one says 3 cm. all the way. Which one is technically right? Both. If the selection of the stone, the fabrication and the installation are done right, neither one will break or crack. Personally, I belong to the first group. Gravity never takes a vacation, a sick day, or even a coffee break! Maurizio, USA,

Q 2615: We just had Saturnia Marble (light color) installed in our house. It does not have a high shine to it. But there are many places where the 18"X18" slabs are dull. We are also having a problem with the fill material popping out and leaving a void in the slab. Our decorater is trying to tell us that we should have known that this would happen to a natural stone. We paid a big price to go to marble. Should be have to put up with this? Please help us. Thanks, Lloyd, Aug 30, Reply

R1: Dear Loyd: I don't get it. Your decorator made you choose "Saturnia" stone (by the way, it's nothing but cross-cut travertine with a fancy name!), and then tells you that you should expect the BS you're experiencing when dealing with matural stone? Is that it? Just out of curiosity, what would you like to hear from me? That the filler shouldn't come out? You got it! What else? Now you know why -- when it comes to stone -- I position interior decorators at the very bottom of the food chain! , Maurizio, USA,

Q 2614: I have recently installed Kashmir white counter tops. I have notice that it seems to absorb alot of water and oil. The fabricator says he sealed the granite, but should it still absorb so much water. Should I seal again and with what? Thanks for any help you can provide. I wish I'd send your sight before I made my selection. Thanks Tina, Aug 30, Reply

R1: Dear Tina: I feel extremely sorry for you. Along with Imperial White and Shiwasaki, Kashmire orthogneiss it's always been at the very top of my hit list of the "granites" to be avoided in a kitchen. Sealing it properly (well ... "almost" is the best that you can expect!) Is something that only a professional can do for you. Your fabricator obviously doesn't know much about sealing stone (maybe they know how to seal granite, not certainly Kashmir!). The process implies the application of a good-quality impregnator sealer, say, 5 to 8 times, waiting at least 24 hours in between each application. Now, do you realistically think that your fabricator will come to your house for a whole week, each day, to seal your countertop?! , Maurizio, USA,

Q 2613: What do you think about polyshed spanish ivory cream marble in 3īby4ī? we want to install it in our living room , dining room and kitchen???also how to do the joints for marble-hard wood installation. thanks, Adrian, Aug 30, Reply

R1: Dear Adrian: Polished marble (whether Spanish Ivory Cream, or what-have-you) does NOT belong in a kitchen, end of story! In the other rooms you mentioned is quite all right. I don't quite understand your last question. Are you making reference to where the floor will meet with the hardwood floor on an adjecent room? If that's the case, my best suggestion is to use a marble saddle. , Maurizio,

Q 2612: My wife and I are in the process of remodeling our kitchen and are thinking about selecting 12x12 honed/filled travertine for the floor. Our home was built in the 60's. Raised foundation, 2"x5" T&G subfloor over 16" on center floor joists. My intent is to install HB over the subfloor as per MFG's specs. (thinset mortar secured by screws) And then install travertine. My concern is...Should I first install 3/8" exterior plywood prior to the HB? My first choice is not to because of level of the floor, but if it will sacrifice integrity of the tile then I will. In addition, someone informed me that travertine has less than 1/2 deflection of tile. What is "deflection"? and is natural stone much weaker than tile? Any advice that you can provide would be greatly appreciated. Sincerely, Rod, Aug 30, Reply

R1: Dear Rod: If you only have T&G subfloor, then I would first install 3/8" plywood before the HB. The information you've been given about natural stone (not only travertine) is correct. Although it can not be technically defined weaker than tile, it's definetly much more fragile. Once it's set properly, however (and the plywood is part of the equation) it will never crack. , Maurizio,

Q 2611: How do you remove minor scratches from a newly installed marble floor? Also, what can we put on the floor to prevent this from happening? (I am a contractor...this is my first marble floor) thanks, Meyer, Aug 30, Reply

R1: Dear Meyer:
Q #1. How do you remove a hole from a doughnut?
A #1. In the same way you remove scratches from marble!
Q #2. How do I protect a marble floor from straches?
A #2 a. You never walk on the floor!
A #2 b. You cover your floor with wall to wall carpet.
If this second option is selected, it's advisable to take pictures of the marble floor before doing that, so that you can show your friends and relatives what a beautiful marble floor you have under the carpet! :-) (I hope you didn't mind the little kidding around. It's part of my character!) , Maurizio, Expert PAnelist

Q 2610: I'm looking for information on Grishmill Stones. Gretchen, Aug 30, Reply

R1: Dear Gretchen, I do not know grishmill stones only gristmill or grist mill stones. They were made especially from sandstones. Sandstone millstones were used to grind grains for animal feed, because during the grinding process the sandstone would disintegrate and be ground into the grain. Millstones made of granite were used for the milling of grains for human consumption. Daniel, Slovakia,


Q 2607: I'm looking for 20lb. red and black marble to carve. I'm a sculptor teacher in Mishawka, IN. I would really appreciate the help. I will take other colors of marble, too. Thank-you very much. ASAP because these students are in class this semester. Beth, Aug 30, Reply

R1: Hi Beth, You do not mention the age of the class you are working with, but black marble is really not a stone for a beginner to start with. Very hard and brittle, and frustrating for a novice. If these are high school or younger kids, I would suggest you look into getting some alabaster (Utah and Colorado), or even some Indiana limestone. It does not have the colors you are looking for, but is a great carving medium. If you absolutly need to give them marble. the colorado yule would be a good choice, although it is white. As a rule, the lighter colors are easier to work.. JVC, Expert Panelist

Q 2605: Help! I have recently had Imperial White granite installed in my beautiful new indigo blue stained kitchen (with stainless steel appliances). With the beautiful color of my new cabinets, it was very hard to find a granite that would compliment my new cabinets without trying to compete with them. I talked with several fabricators and slab yards and finally chose my fabricator mostly because I was so pleased with the custom cabinets and he was recommended to me by the cabinetmaker. I have three slabs of Imperial White installed on my countertops with a full backsplash. It is absolutely beautiful. The fabricator has told me that he has sealed it. As he was putting it in, I noticed these huge (and I mean huge) dark (greasy-looking) spots. I was told that it was where they put the glue and it would go a way in two days, then was told a week. It has now been 8 days and though the spots look a lot better, they are still visible. I have called the granite yard where I purchased the three slabs. He said he had heard of this happening once before and it was because the wrong glue was used. I do not know if this is the problem with mine or not. I asked him what had been the solution. He said the fabricator had made it right. I asked what he meant by that and he said the fabricator had had to replace all of the granite. This morning as I was washing my granite with only warm water and a very mild soap, the backsplash immediately upon the slightest touch with the wet rag became immediately dark. The countertops did not. This tells me that the backsplash is not sealed. Am I correct? My main concern is that the glue spots are still dark after 8 days. Any advice, please? Laqueta Alexander, Aug 30, Reply

R1: Dear Laqueta Alexander: You hit the nail right in the head when you said that "it was very hard to find a granite that would compliment my new cabinets". In fact, YOU DID NOT FIND IT!! If Imperial White is a granite, then I am the Emperor of China! But then, who knows, since the "granite" yard people will no boubt show you an invoice that will "prove" to you that for some black magic spell your metamorphic sandstone (or something like that) became a granite, then, maybe, I AM indeed the Emperor of China! Never mind. That stone is too darn absorbent (as you can tell from the backsplash that, obviously, was not sealed) and, in my humble opinion, does not belong in a kitchen -- no matter how well sealed it's been. And another thing, about that stain? ... Maybe it will go away in, say, eight years or somethin'. Unless, of course, they use the same magic spell that turned Imperial White into granite! You should have chosen "Bianco Sardo", a.k.a. "Luna Pearl". That's granite, all right! , Maurizio,

Q 2604: I am very interested in the origins of my Pietra Cardosa slabs. Does the town of PietraSanta make sense? Most stone places say the quarry is very old and not much left.Just out of curiosity, Rich, New Jersey USA, Aug 30, Reply

R1: Dear Rich, your stone PIETRA DEL CARDOSA is sandstone (up to schist) from Italy from the territory, where Carrara marble is quarried. Daniel, Slovakia,

Q 2601: Our contractor installed honed finish, Bianco Antico marble tiles in our shower, and unfortunately, he forgot to seal the tiles before grouting. The tiles now have a haze that is difficult to get rid of, and the color of the stone changed also. The contractor has already tried mild acid wash. Could you tell me if there is a product or some other method to get the haze off, and possibly restore the color?, Alice, Aug 30, Reply

R2: Dear Alice, Any one who uses an acid wash ( no matter how mild ) on marble should be shot, or at least put on the rack for a few days. All calcitic based stones react to acid of any sort, and the net result is that your polished marble is now etched. JVC,  

R1: Dear Alice: The first product that you have to buy is a 45 caliber Smith & Wesson with at least six bullets. Once you have that, you shoot the bullets -- ALL OF THEM -- inside your contractor's body, making sure that each bullet hits a vital organ. Once you're done with that, let me know and will propose your name as a medal recipient for rendering a monumental favor to society. Well, ... If you want to settle for something less dramatic than that, just sever any contact with that idiot, effective immediately. You do NOT want that guy around your marble any more: HE MADE ENOUGH DAMAGE! I'm dead serious, now. And he doesn't like the idea that I am publicly defining him as a total, irreversible idiot, tell him to sue me! That fact that he didn't seal your marble has nothing to do with what you have been experiencing. The presence of a sealer would have possibly exasperated the situation. It's hard to tell what the problem is stemming from, although I have a few ideas about that. But you do NOT want to hear them, because they are pure speculation and, if they turn out to be true, the situation is hopeless. Get hold a good professional stone refinisher and let them decide if there's something at all that can be done to your marble, after all that mess. Maurizio,


Q 2599: I am installing a Travertine floor in my bathroom and want to know what the guidelines are for maintenance. Also, where I was looking to buy my Travertine, they told me that I needed to seal it twice. Once before the grout and once afterwards. I didn't see you mention that anywhere and suspect that it was incorrect. Prego, Richard, Aug 28, Reply

R1: Dear Richard (you should have said: "grazie") :-) You do want to read the posting No. 2489 and all the responses to it. I would then print the most significant ones out and show them to the people who told you to seal the hell out of your stone! , Maurizio, USA

Q 2598: Please help to identifiy these values:
What all this mean to me? and the numbers? is higher is better?
technical details, value: english.
ASTM test mothod:what does astm mean?
Absorption by weight:.137% compared to 0,22%
compressive strengh: 161.17 Mpa compared to 1750 kg/sq cm?
Flexural strength:14.28 Mpa compare to 150 kg/sq cm?
I chose this particular stone,as it looks like Chinese jade. " Verde Laura" is it a good choice? or should I change? LIng, Aug 28, Reply

R1: Dear Ling, it is difficult to instruct you by some sentences of such wide problem. ASTM is American Society for Testing Materials, which states technical norms, e.g. for stones. Lower water absorption is better. At compressive and flexural strength 1 Mpa = 10.156 kg/cm2. Verde Laura or better Verde Lavras is Brazilian gneiss of quite good quality. Daniel, Slovakia,


Q 2596: I am about to move into my new house that has new Colonial Dream countertops. The distributor says the slabs are from Brazil, the fabricatory says they are from India. Will I have a problem with these countertops? not easily available Sam, Aug 28, Reply

R1:COLONIAL DREAM is gneiss from Sri Lanka. I think it is good material for countertop & not easily available. Daniel, Slovakia,

Q 2595: How to get the black crystalized finish on nero marquina, lochadun, Aug 28, Reply

R1: Dear Lochadun: First, you attend a good seminar about stone refinishing ($800 plus travelling expenses, etc.). Second you invest some $4,000 worth of equipment, accessories and material. Third, since the seminar only taught you the basics and you still won't know s*#t about refinishing stone, practice for, say, a couple of year (working full time for someone who knows the trade would help a lot!), then, maybe -- just maybe -- you will be able to re-polish Negro Marquina. Maurizio, USA,

Q 2594: I want to put travertine in a shower and bathroom floor. i want to make the shower a steam shower which means the celing will have to be tiled also. what precautions should i take or is this not a good idea for a steam shower? thanks, Mandrex, Aug 28, Reply

R1: Dear Mandrex: Travertine is indeed an excellent choice for a shower stall enclosure, since -- contrary to popular miconception -- it is not a porous stone (see posting #2489 above and all the debate deriving from it. You're gonna have fun!). The major draw back is that, if you choose the polished version of the stone and plan to use the steamer intensively, it will gradually lose its original shine and become naturally honed. Personally I like that, but personal preferences can be different ... Make sure that the setter leave a gap of 1/16" in between the tiles for proper grouting (the thickmess of a round toothpick). "Bott-joint" installation in a shower enclosure is a big NO-NO! Finally, make sure that you'll be using the right products to maintain it. Travertine -- like all calcite-based stones -- has a delicate chemistry and can't be treated with any cleaner off the shelves of the supermarket. , Maurizio, Expert Panelist 


Q 2592: We just installed granite called "baracuda blue" is this a real stone? or ecological stone? as you mentioned? or a fabrication? Thank you for your response, Rebecca Davies, Aug 28, Reply

R2: Dear Rebecca: First, I never even heard of "Barracuda Blue" (sound like a fish to me!!) Second, I never even heard of ecological stone (whatever that means!). For all I now, since natural stone is, well ... natural, all stones are ecological! Third, there's no such an animal like blue granite, so, it must be a stone different from true geological granite, no matter what the invoice of the distributor says. , Maurizio, Expert Panelist

R1: Dear Rebecca, BARRACUDA BLUE is gneiss with garnet crystals from Brazil. Daniel, Slovakia,

Q 2591: I've used your site before and it is VERY helpful! Thank you for your time. I have another question regarding a specific travertine that I like. The name is Durango Noche and it is honed and filled. I do not know the origin. I am going to try to find that out. Do you have any knowledge of this particular travertine? Is is brittle? good quality? Any knowledge or input on this particular type would be very much appreciated. Kari, Aug 28, Reply

R1: Dear Kari: It's from Mexico. It's a very dense stone (like all travertines) and I personally like it very much (but then, I'm a sucker for travertine!). Good quality? Poor quality? Each and every stone can be either; it all depends from the grading. Unfortunately, there's no such a thing like a mandatory grading in the stone industry -- like, say, in the lumber trade -- so, you have to count on the reputation of your dealer. Maurizio, Expert Panelist

Q 2590: I bought a travertine slab that sets on a base made to support it. Together it's a cocktail table about 3 feet by 3 feet and 2 inches thick. After 18 months, it cracked down the middle all the way through. The seller, Baer's Furniture in South Florida, said too bad and it could not be fixed. It was not subjected to temperature changes, weight or any other known factors that might have contributed to its cracking all the way from top to bottom. I think it was shoddy workmanship. What do you think? Thanks Richard, Aug 28, Reply

R1: Dear Richard: Firstly, I don't think a single thing (I mean, how the heck could I know?!) Second, what good could it do thinking about it and coming up with some wild guess? If the dealer who sold the piece of furniture to you said "Too bad ...", then I guess you're on your own. There's a positive side to this, though: it can be repaired. Maurizio, Expert Panelist


Q 2588: Seven months ago we moved into our new house, equipped in Kitchen and Bathrooms with Black Galaxy Granite (beautiful stuff). Our Kitchen counter has either just developed, or we've just noticed a crack over the dishwasher, starting 6 inches or so from the front edge, running to the front edge, around and all the way through the lip. We have not stood on the countertop or anything stupid like that but the supplier/installer is implying abuse. citing "we've never heard of this sort of thing happening". My questions are: Can cracks happen spontaneously in Granite, what might the causes be and who is responsible in this type of situation? Patrick, Aug 28, Reply

R1: Dear Patrick: I'm sorry that you've having a problem with one of my favorute stones (I have the same in my own kitchen!) As you can understand it's impossible for me -- without actually seeing your situation -- to come up with a precise diagnosis. Taking for granted that you did not abuse your counter top, there could be more than one reoson why a crack occured. It could be presence of a stress point in the vicinity pf the crack (poo alignment of the top of the cabinets), or it could be the vibrations of the dishwasher, or even a combination of both. What surprises me most is your reported statement of your fabricator, that "we never heard of this sort of thing happening". That makes me think me that they've been in this kind of business for less than half an hour, because cracks on "granite" happens every day of the week and twice on Sunday! They shouldn't, mind you, if the installtion was done properly (sometimes, however, even with a proper installation it could happen, i.e.: in the case of a brand new house that settles), but they do happen because, after all, even a tough cokie like Gabbro (Black Galaxy) -- which is harder and denser than granite -- is still more fragile than glass. , Maurizio, Expert panelist

Q 2587:   I am installing 16 x 16 Turco Classic in Arizona. The first floor installation is over concrete. The second floor installation will be backer board over plywood. I plan on using 1/16 gaps with unsanded grout. What kind of thin set do you recommend? We have 4 children and the travertine will be in the kitchen and dining areas. I know you like to leave the stone in its natural state. Do you recommend this for our situation? If not, what type of sealant would be most practical? Also, the supplier of the stone recommended coating the back of the tile in addition to the troweled thin set to help hold the filler in the tile after installation. Is this really necessary if the thin set is applied to the floor properly? Thanks, Todd, Aug 26, Reply

R1: Dear Tod: White thinset is your second best choice. The very best -- at least in my opinion -- being a product available at the Home Depot called "Stone Setting Adhesive" (or something like that!). It's more expensive and more difficult to handle (you have to make small batches at a time, since it hardens in 10 / 15 minutes), but it will avoid any possible "surprise" due to possible migration of moisture from the setting material onto the surface of the stone (a distinct possibility with travertine). As far as using travertine in the kitchen, I sincerely hope that you didn't choose the polished version of it! If it has a hone-finish, then, in the kitchen, I would go for a sealing job. It wouldn't do you any good if it is polished. , Maurizio, Expert Panelist

Q 2586: I am in the process of renovating a small (7'2" x 7'3") galley kitchen and want to do granite countertops and matching floor tiles. The color combination that appeals to me is white, gray, some blue, and iridescent spots. I have a sample of granite which the vendor calls "Silver Blue" but which has a piece of label that says "Azul" and the rest is cut off. Some people I spoke with think it's Azul Aran but from what I've seen, I'm not sure. I find your replies extremely informative and illuminating. My question is can you recommend a particular granite(s) to consider? I want something durable, easy to maintain (I cook and clean up a lot), and which will retain its beautiful shine. Also, should it be sealed or not? I eagerly await your reply. Thank you. - Habousha, Aug 26, Reply

R1: Dear Habousha, I can confirm with high probability, SILVER BLUE is AZUL ARAN. This stone comes from Spain and petrographically it is pegmatite - magmatic rock of granite composition formed from magma inside veins. Daniel, Slovakia,

R1: Habousha My personal favorite is Blue Pearl and it does not need to be sealed. Check it out Regards Jeff


Q 2585: Hi! Iíve been reading your great advice on how to maintain granite countertops, but Iím having a hard time finding out how to simply remove hard water marks (rings) left from glasses. We have Absolute Black granite countertops. It is about 6 weeks old. Weíre almost positive it hasnít been sealed. (Obviously, I didnít read this website before we bought). Anyway, I am assuming that I need to do some sort of poultice, but I donít know which one specifically. Also, I have been using window cleaner. After reading the website, I am ordering the MB5 cleaner today. Thanks so much for the advice! Lesley, Aug 26, Reply

R1: Dear Lesley: Well, let's hope that your countertop had been actually sealed! Unless it's one of those as-rare-as-a-white-fly black "granite" that do etch, black "granite' does NOT etch (unless one uses hydrofluoric acid!) Now, black "granite" -- whether it's gabbro or dolerite or anorthosite, does not need to be sealed. If your fabricator sealed it anyway, then here you have your problem! Since the sealer didn't have any chance to go IN, some of it remained ON the stone surface and it's now etching (the sealer, that is, not the stone!). Yet another possibility is that your "black granite" had beed "doctored" by the factory (not you fabrication shop), with the application of some sort of black makep to make it more "sellable". It's typically the case with Black Zimbabwe "granite". Since the color of the stone when polished is only a dark grey (not really black) ... you fill the blanks. Either way, far from having to poultice, you have to get rid of either the sealer or the makeup. In the latter instance your "granite" will not be black anymore, but it will still be a very enjoyable stone. Have your fabricator come over and demand them to do it for you: you want the stone plain and natural, period. They will have to use a potent paint stripper based on Methylene Chloride to do the job, and you do NOT want to be around when that happens! Maurizio, USA, Expert Panelist

Q 2584: HI, I have a problem and would greatly appreciate a response. I have Verde Lavras granite countertops in my new kitchen. The granite has numerous small fissures. Each is small, no more than an inch or so long. They can been seen when a bright light shines on the counter top and you can feel them when you run your hand over the counter tops and especially when you run your fingernails over the counters. The installer says these are naturally occurring fissures and that nothing can or should be done about it. He says they are too small and shallow to use epoxy and that sanding/polishing would not accomplish anything. Is he right and should I accept the granite the way it is? Thanks you. Bonnie, Aug 26, Reply

R1: Dear Bonnie: He's right. , Maurizio, Expert Panelist

Q 2582: I am a new houseowner with natural marble tiles laid on my living room. Before I moved in, I notice long crack lines, approx 8 inch long, 3mm wide and around 4mm deep on several of the tiles. When I run my hands along this lines, I can't feel the crack lines. The crack seems to be covered by a transparent filler material. However, the 'cracklines' are very visible. When I raise this issue with the contractor, his said that these are fissure lines ( water line) which is common in natural marble. He claimed that they are not cracks. What is the international standards in the acceptance size of fissure lines. While I can accept the fact that some 'defects' are natural, but there must be some acceptable limits or else it's up to the contractor to decide to install every single tile with 'obsene' fissure lines on them. Please advise. By the way, please recommend me a website where pictures of different type of fissure lines are shown. I just want to know how many types of fissure lines are there in the industry. I would like to know if the fissure lines on my marble floor falls into this category. Thanks, Khoonj, Aug 26, Reply

R1: Dear Khoonj: I'd like to know that myself! Why don't you ask your contractor to show you in writing the industry standards he's talking about?! I never heard of fissures of the magnitude you're reporting, but I can't help you from here. You have to get hold of a good stone restoration contractor and have them make a sure assessment of the situation. Maurizio, USA

Q 2581: I have just installed 18 inch square honed limestone in my entry way - it is beautiful and i want to know how to keep it that way, grid, Aug 26, Reply

R1: Dear Grid: Never walk on them! As a second best solution, See my Dos and Don'ts". Maurizio

Q 2577: I would like the history about Marinace granite. How is was "created" and where it comes from. Thanks, Muducan. Aug 26, Reply

R1: Dear Muducan, MARINACE is very curious stone came from Brazil. It was formed from especially granite pieces which were deposited probably in dynamic water. Then granite round stones, sand and mud were consolidated to rock by presure and temperature under surface. This process was realized hundreds of millions of years ago. Daniel, Slovakia,


Q 2573: I have read all the letters and problems and replies on the problems with travertine. I did not see any specific answer on where to find a company that does professional honing in Los Angeles or Orange County area. Pls let me know ASAP as I do have the same problems with blotchy and marks... we just installed travertines today in our kitchen floor, backsplash and main entry...we had an installer help us. I wish I had read your site first... Thank you so much, Linda, Aug 24, Reply

R1: Dear Linda: You mean polished travertine in your kitchen? ... If that's the case I feel sorry for you. If it's honed there are hopes! I do know personally a very good stone refinisher in your neck of the woods. Send me an E-mail at: info@findstone.com , Maurizio, USA, Expert Panelist


R2: Wonderboard is what you need. Glue is ok for both but not the stone itself. Jeff

R1: Dear Resoovsn: Same difference. Just don't use greenboard. I don't like mastic for stone. I'd use a product available at the HD called Stone Setting Adhesive, by Custom Builders. , Maurizio, USA, Expert Panelist

Q 2571: I just purchased some wonderful Travertine. I just have one problem, about half of the tiles are stuck together! I am assuming that they packaged the tiles before the fill was completely dry. Before I hammer them apart with a putty knife and hammer I thought I should ask your advice on what I should do. Should I pry these babies apart and risk breaking them? If I can, do you have a "best way" to do it to reduce damage to the tile? Bob, Aug 24, Reply

R3: That very well could be water cohesion from factory they are packed wet. Try the putty knife first, they should come apart. jeff

R2: Dear Bob: Relax, nobody could put travertine tiles together before the filler is dry! Pry them open gently with a putty knife. That should do.it If they are stubborn, go do that in your backyard while having someone to help you by hosing the side of the tiles that your prying while you're doing it (please, wear your swimming trunks!!) :-) , Maurizio, USA, Expert Panelist

R1: Send them back ASAP, unless you like the cracked look or just enjoy honing, Jeffery

Q 2570: How do you find good fabricators or installers? Is there a shortage of resources in the industry? Is there a site or spot to look for quality people to hire them? Schona, Aug 24, Reply

R1: Dear Shona: See my column, ROCKING THE BOAT. Click on it, and look for the article about selecting a good fabrication facility (and stone). That should help you with your decision. Maurizio, USA

Q 2569: We are considering having a travertine floor installed in our kitchen. Would you recommend this or would a porcelain floor be a better choice? What are the advantages/disadvantages? Also, our home is in Texas and it is built on a concrete slab. There is a crack in our slab in the kitchen area and we have been told that can be a problem. This makes sense to me, but we would like to know if there is something we can do to fix the crack and still use either the travertine or porcelain. Nancy, Aug 24, Reply

R2: Nancy, Honed travetine is a great choice. I personally love the look. Porcelain does come quite close but you cant beat the look of stone. Its not as high maintenance as most think but is more than porcelin. A good impregnator on it and youll be fine As far as the crack goes if you use a good cleavage membrane from a manufacturer like Jamo, SGM etc you should be fine. Jeff

R1: Dear Nancy: Polished travertine is a NO-NO on a kitchen floor, unless, of course, you have no kids or pets, you're heavily into "take-outs" or "reservations" and use the kitchen like a show-place! Porcelain is "your main". There some that look alike travetine! About your subfloor slab, I would use an antifracture membrane as an alternative to a full fledged mud job (the best solution), before thinsetting the tiles. Maurizio, USA, Expert Panelist


R1: Dear Dick: Stone refinishing contractor. Evaluate situation. Maybe resurfacing necessary. Call maker Italian Craftsman Polish (Eastern Marble Supply, Scotch Plains, NJ). Tell'em I said "Hi!" Maurizio, USA, Expert Panelist

Q 2566: I am installing 1700 sq.ft. of honed and filled travertine imported from Turkey. The manufacturer is recommending the use of Stone Sealer #1. This product is formulated by Stone Technologies Inc. of Cleveland, TN. The product label describes this sealer as a reactive silicone polymer in a solvent base. Is this type of silicone sealer a better product to help protect the travertine as opposed to water-based sealers such as those found in the TileLab line of stone sealers? What typically is the composition of a water-based sealer? Your comments are greatly appreciated! Greg, Aug 24, Reply

R2: Greg, I would recommend 511 impregnator by miracle sealants its a great product. Tilelab is junk in my opinion. As far as sealers go the difference. between water based and solvent based varies. Solvent based will tend to penetrate deeper because the molecules are smaller than water. The water and the solvent are the carriers of the sealer, not the actual sealer itself. Jeff

R1: Dear Greg: The application of a sealer -- any sealer -- is dictated by two factors: 1) The rate of absorbency of the stone. 2) Where the stone is going to be installed (i.e.: granite does need to be sealed if used as material for a kitchen countertop, but the same granite would not need to be sealed if it were installed, say, on the walls of your studio, where the likelihood of staining is totally inexistent. I mean, you're not going to spill coffee or cooking oil on your studio's walls, are you!) Now, travertine (Turkish or whatever) is quite a dense stone, contrary to the popular misconception sponsored by the "salesmen" of sealers (I am among them, but I'm salesman, not a "salesman". See posting #2489 above: it fits your case like a glove!), which translates in a limited need of sealing to begin with. The second factor is therefore the deciding one to whether or not you want your stone suffocated by the application of a sealer. In a kitchen floor and inside a shower stall, I would do it. Anywhere else I wouldn't bother, if it were my own house. That said, typically (which means not all the time) solvent-based impregnator/sealers are thinner than water-based ones (no matter what the resin contained in them is: silicon, siloxane, epoxy-ester, fluorocarbon, etc.); therefore, if you decide to seal all or part of your floor, a thin solvent-based sealer is what you need. The water-based one you mention would be too thick in relation to the high density of the stone (a penetrating sealer has to go IN the stone, not ON). , Maurizio, USA, Expert Panelist

Q 2565: We have travertine in the shower recess in the bathroom. It has been there for 17 years. It appears that the filler has been worn out by soap or shampoo etc and the holes have turned green. We have cleaned the floor with correct cleaner but the areas that don't have holes looks patchy brown. What can we do to repair the damage done. Thanks Steven, Aug 24, Reply

R1: Dear Steven: The solid part of the stone turned patchy brown on the shower stall floor? How do the grout lines look like? Do they have like a hard whitish scab over them, or in the vicinity of the drain? How are the grout and caulk lines in the walls and corners of the stall? Any missing or cracked? You may have water under those tiles. Not a good news, unfortunately! About the moldy look of the filler, well it looks like that because you probably have mildew! , Maurizio, USA, Expert Panelist

Q 2564: What can I use to neutralize acid that a cleaning person used on my quarry tile floor? When I wash the floor the grout still comes out of the joints and you can clearly smell the acid. I also have grout haze on most of the tiles. Any help is fixing this would be greatly appreciated. Wish, Aug 24, Reply

R2: Hi- Common Baking Soda is one of most readily available ways to neutralize any remaining acid - moisten a small area with water and sprinkle on the baking soda. If there is acid present the area will react and gas bubbles will be present. Allow the water/baking soda to sit for 5 minutes or so or until bubbling stops. Rinse and repeat this process until there is no more activity. Rinse again and move on to the next area - repeat this process until you have finished the entire floor. There are many grout haze removers available - most home centers will have what you need. Warner, USA

R1: Dear Wish: Ammonia. Maurizio, USA, Expert Panelist

Q 2563: I was unable to locate the link to your free maintenance tips for natural stone. I have some around the house and would really like to know the "real" needs for maintaining my marble floors and granite countertop. I have considered some limestone for floors but have been unsure of the "proper care and feeding". Your help would be appreciated. Roland, Aug 24, Reply

R1: Dear Roland: You can get my free maintenance guidelines for residential stone installation by hitting the link at the bottom of this page's left side bar titled: "Maurizio's Dos and Don'ts". If you have any problems, send me an E-mail at: info@findstone.com Maurizio, USA, Expert Panelist

Q 2562: Hi, I recently bought a french bedroom set with marble tops and I want to identify the marble. I think it is macchia vecchia (based upon looking at various web sites). It is basically a dark rose with circular pieces of taupe scattered throughout it. It is very similar to the marble used in the floor of the Vatican. Can anyone help me identify this? Thanks in advance, Dennis, Aug 24, Reply

R1: Dear Dennis: Yep, that's what it is! I believe it's not quarried anymore; therefore keep your pieces good! , Maurizio, USA, Expert Panelist

Q 2561: We have half inch to three quarter inch slabs of marble that we would like to know how to cut. We know to use diamond blades. Is there a special one? We have a lot of large ones that have been broken! We would like to use it for counter tops And out door tables. I believe we need to use a wet saw. But how much water per min. I know how to cut marble tile for flooring is it the same method? THANK YOU FOR YOUR HELP PAM, Aug 24, Reply

R1: Dear Pam: If can cut marble, you can cut granite, too. It will only take a little longer, due to the extra hardness of the stone. Make sure the blade is not worned. , Maurizio, USA, Expert Panelist

Q 2560: I am considering using Maron Venato marble tiles on my laundry and powder room (no shower) I was told not to put it near a bathroom as I have children who sometimes miss! Is this true? Is the maintenance high? Are these tiles fragile? I have no idea about marble, only know that it looks and feels beautiful. Thank you for any information I did not really choose this particular stone, it was the only choice of real marble tile at my local store. Anne, Aug 24, Reply

R1: Dear Anne: I would be more concerned about your cleaning lady using some liquid toilet-bowl cleaner than the possible miss of your boys! Urine is only slightly acidic and doesn't do much damage to marble (if any. Some marbles are less acid sensitive than others). Go ahead enjoy it! , Maurizio, USA, Expert Panelist

Q 2559: Hi, I was wondering if you could help me with my marble floor. recently I hired some people to do something about my dull marble floor. I wanted it to be protected and shine again, so they applied HMK R55 Intensive Cleaner/Grout Film Remover followed by HMK S34 Silicone Impregnator. They followed the directions carefully and now it looks worse. It looks more dull and has a filmy look to it. What sould I use to remove that or do I need to at all? It is polished black champlain marble. Then should I use sealant or just repolish it or what. I am confused by what people have been saying. Thank you, Tim, Aug 24, Reply

R2: Tim You need to call a professional floor refinisher. A sealer will not make your shiny, especially an impregnator. That is designed to penetrate the marble to help stains from penetrating to deep. It is not a surface sealer. I dont recommend that either. you need a pro to polish it with a machine. Jeff

R1: Dear Tim: Well, if nothing else the HMK company made a sale! Now, like I said a little further below, what has that got to do with the price of tea in India? I mean, you need a stone restoration contractor to repolish your marble, and those clowns come out and just mop your floor and then apply a sealer that's not supposed to be left on the surface, and that won't do the first thing to make your marble shiny, and that your marble needs like you need a hole in your head! (S34 is a silicon impregnator and only clogs the pores of the stone to prevent staining, period.) If I were you I'd print out this answer of mine, then I would call those "Michelangelos" back and make them read it, then I would demand that they stripp every bit of the stupid sealer that had no business being there in the first place, and finally I would shoot them dead, thus rendering a huge favor to the whole human race! (Well, maybe it's a little extreme! ... Just kick them out of your house!) Toward the end of this page's left side bar you will find the link to my column, ROCKING THE BOAT. Click on it, and look for the article about selecting a good stone refinishing contractor. That should help you with your decision. Once back on this page, go again at the end of the side bar and click on my guidelines for maintenance of residential stone installation titled: "Maurizio's Dos and Don'ts". You do want to treasure those! Maurizio, USA, Expert Panelist

Q 2558: What is the proper way to clean a marble coffee table. It is white with pink and gray running through it. Can you use pledge? Your help will greatly be appreciated. Some areas look duller than others. Thanks, Shanon, Aug 24, Reply

R1: Dear Shanon: Nope, you can't use "Pledge" or the likes. , Maurizio, USA, Expert Panelist

Q 2557: I have a question. last night i brought home some limeaway from my job and left it on my counter and just noticed that it had eaten through the cup it was in and the paper towels that were underneath it. i believe the countertop is formica is there any way that i can safely remove this? thanks for your help, Aaron, Aug 24, Reply

R1: Dear Aroon: Now, what has this got to see with the price of tea in India?! Do you ever see any posting about Formica in this site?!... Maurizio, USA , Expert Panelist

Q 2556: I have "Kashmir Gold" granite countertops in my kitchen and was wondering if there is a way to darken the color of the stone? They are new countertops and I have not yet sealed them. They have a glossy look to them, so I suppose the granite is polished. I have considered using mineral oil on them before sealing, but thought I'd ask before I start experimenting.
After reading a couple of your responses to messages about Kashmir Gold, I'm wondering if my granite really is Kashmir or not. The installation invoice calls it "Emser Granite". They told me it's a local granite here in Northern California. The color is "Kashmir Gold". Anyway, just wanted to clarify the type of granite that I have. I'm still interested in a response.Thanks! Mike, Aug 24, Reply

R1: Dear Mike: If your "granite" were quarried in Northern California, how can it possibly be "Kashmire" (Gold of whatever)?! "Kashmire" is a stone of the Orthogneiss family (I believe) which is quarried in that particular Northern region of India. End of story. So, I really don't know what kind of stone you have. Most likely your fabricator doesn't know, either; besides knowing that somebody called it "Esmer", that it comes from Northern California, and that the invoice calls it granite. Anyway, back to your original question, you do NOT want to darken your stone with mineral oil (it will never dry). One possibility is to use boiled linseed oil diluted with mineral spirit (1:1), but personally I'm against it, because, being a natural organic matter it will yellow over time and be effected by the sunlight, too. A good-quality color enhancer (which, to best of my knowledge are all synthetic) should do the job for you, but, before you go into a full-fledged application, I urge you try on a piece of scrap. , Maurizio, USA , Expert Panelist  

Q 2555: When we renovated our kitchen we chose Verde Meritika granite slab countertops. This was installed a little less than two years ago. At the time of installation we didn't observe any cracks. About six months after it was installed, we discovered a small hairline fracture, partway across the countertop from kitchen area more or less straight back towards the wall (maybe 8 inches long). We thought we might have put too much weight on the slab at some point, and were careful about that in the future. Now within the past month or so, two different slabs have developed new hairline fractures, one all the way from wall to kitchenside across the entire slab near the previous crack, and the other on an entirely separate slab (similar to the first hairline fracture we observed). The only cause we can think of is that both locations are places where we often set a large crock pot which gets quite hot for prolonged eight hour plus periods -- but that doesn't make sense as granite is supposed to be heat resistant. The granite is set atop maple base cabinets. What causes these fractures? Are future factures likely? Is there anything we can do to prevent fractures? And, is there anything we can do to repair fractures? Thanks in advance, Sharon, Aug 24, Reply

R1: Dear Sharon: The fact that granite is ideed heat resistant doesn't mean that all "granites" are. Many of the stones traded as granite (and that granite are not, i.e.: your Marikata), may not be so heat resistant. Many are more fragile than others, and so on. There's also another consideration to be kept in mind: It's a story to put a pot off the stove range on a "granite" top for a few minutes, while it may be a different story to expose to prolonged, intensive heat the same stone. Finally, there's also the possibility that heat's got nothing to do with it, and that crackline you're experiencing are due to stress points -- due to poor installation -- that overtime exacted their toll. , Maurizio, USA , Expert Panelist

Q 2554: Just bought a new home with pale salmon colored flagstone flooring. Any tips on the best way to clean it?? Thanks. Ken, Aug 24, Reply

R1: Dear Ken: It much depends from the type of stone you have ("flagstone" is not a definition of a geological stone, like, for instance, marble or travertine, or slate, etc.) You can get my free maintenance guidelines for residential stone installation by hitting the link at the bottom of this page's left side bar titled: "Maurizio's Dos and Don'ts". See if you think they could help. Maurizio, USA , Expert Panelist

Q 2553: Hello, I am trying to install 20x20 floor tiles in my new kitchen. My problem is I don't know how to start the layout. I have read several "instructional" publications and they say to snap chalk lines from each corner of the room and begin there. I just don't get it! Can you help me? Do you have or know of a diagram with detailed instructions that I could get? Thanks in advance, Rebekah, Aug 24, Reply

R1: Home depot has good books on that. It would be longwinded for me to explain here. They run about 10$ and should get you going. Jeff

Q 2552: I have a light colored granite tile on my kitchen floor that is not sealed. I have heard conflicting advice about whether to seal it or not. I would like some unbiased advice on this. Also if it is sealed, where can I get an excellent sealant? At the present time I have a stain which I have been working on with an oil poultice. It was originally black, but now is a gray color. Should I continue to use the poultice and will it come completely out? Each time I use it it does seem to get lighter. Louise, Aug 24, Reply

R1: Dear Louise: Is your stain oil? If yes, poultice it with talc powder (baby powder) and acetone. If you need more frere assistance about poulticing, gimme a holler at: info@findstone.com. I'll be glad to assist you further. About the issue of sealing or not sealing topic (of course, your "granite" does need to be sealed!), toward the end of this page's left side bar you will find the link to my column, ROCKING THE BOAT. Click on it, and look for the article about selecting a good fabrication facility (and stone). That should help you understanding the issue. Once back on this page, go again at the end of the side bar and click on my guidelines for maintenance of residential stone installation titled: "Maurizio's Dos and Don'ts". You do want to treasure those! Maurizio, USA , Expert Panelist

Q 2551: I have been perusing your site and have found it to be most interesting. I think it has helped me to solve my problem of cleaning product etching on a marble bathroom countertop. I have nasty whitish bottle marks on the countertop, and have decided -on the basis of your advice to others - to call a professional. Any tips for finding a professional in Vancouver Canada? I am keenly interested in the information brochure, or pamphlet about caring for stone mentioned in some of your advice pieces. I would also like to know more about how you have become so knowledgeable about natural stone products. I only wish I had known about you many months ago! Thank you, and I hope to hear from you. Terry, Canada, Aug 24, Reply

R1: Dear Terry: Toward the end of this page's left side bar you will find the link to my column, ROCKING THE BOAT. Click on it, and look for the article about selecting a good stone refinishing contractor. That should help you with your decision. Once back on this page, go again at the end of the side bar and click on my guidelines for maintenance of residential stone installation titled: "Maurizio's Dos and Don'ts". You do want to treasure those! Maurizio, USA , Expert Panelist

Q 2550: I wish to replace a wood floor with Black Granite, either absolute black or black galaxy. My apartment ( I just bought) is done in deco and contemporary. Everyone I know says putting in a black floor is crazy. The wood floor is bleached oak and very ashy. I am trying to warm up the condo by using a spice cherry wood tone. I am fixated on Black so it will match the decor and give me the option to go with wood and stainless steel trim. Can you give your opinion or recommendation. Thank you, Francesca, Aug 24, Reply

R1: Dear Francesca: I'm no interior decorator, therefore I won't get involved on the aesthetics of your project, but there's no need to be insane to have a black absolute or black galaxy floor installed. I've seen several dozens of them and never heard any real complaint. For as long as it's installed properly and you clean it right, you shouldn't have any problem. , Maurizio, USA , Expert Panelist


Q 2548: Hi all I am new to the game, what is a good price to polish marble. And do any 1 know how to remove epoxy grout from quarry tiles, Aug 24, Reply

R3: You need a pro to polish marble. A heat gun will loosen epoxy enough to make it pliable enough to scrape, Jeff

R2: The price really depends on your area. A heat gun will soften the epoxy and methyl chloride will take off any residue left. Do not use them both at the same time. Wear gloves and a respirator because methyl chloride is mean stuff and it will burn your skin and is highly volatile. Jeff

R1: Hope you have plenty of money, Jeffery






Q 2542: What type of finish and type of bonding are used when installing the different natural stones. I am working on a degree in interior design. Any help would be greatly appreciated.  Sincerely, Lynne, Aug 23, Reply

R1: Dear Lynne: How many times have you already posted your stupid question? If you don't elaborate a little further, there's no way anybody can help you. Now, do you understand why I have not much tolerance with interior designers? Everything has to be asked and answered in a telegram format. Do you really want an answer to your question the way it is? Here we go: "1. Polished, honed, natural cleft, flamed, etc. 2. White thin set, most of the times." So, tell me, how much more intelligent are you now? People like you just plain upset me! Ciao and good luck (I sure wouldn't want to be one of your future customers!), Maurizio, USA, Expert Panelist







Q 2535: Hello there - Thanks for taking the trouble to put up such a useful page. 
We have a client who wants us to acid etch 1000 pcs of Italian limestone. I have done this with very special pieces of marble in the past, (having had a lot of experience in the glass etching business) but I would appreciate a bit of advice.  I would use self adhesive vinyl to mask out the polished face of the limestone, but how do people mask the edges and the back of the stone easily and economically? The panels will already be cut to size, so I can't make a well on top of the panels and cut the edges afterwards. 
Surely it's not necessary to cover the whole back and edges of the panel with vinyl?
Isn't there a product we can paint or spray on which will stop the acid, and which can be stripped off after washing? Perhaps there' s another trick which prevents the back and sides from being etched? I would very much appreciate your input. Michael, UAE, Aug 23, Reply

R1: Hi Michael- Cut your mask large enough to wrap all the edges a half inch. It really doesn't take all that much extra time and will help secure your mask. It really doesn't matter if the remainder of the exposed back etches - but to minimize etching on the back support your piece on a vinyl coated rack. Spray several light applications of acid to control the depth of the etching rather than making a well. Neutralize with DISTILLED water to prevent staining. Be sure to use appropriate breathing apparatus and goggles as stone will really gas off. Warner, USA


Q 2533: Could you tell me the best way to clean sandstone that has been layed around my foundation. It is about 3" high and 18 " - 24" long and has mortar joints just like brick. They have been on the house since 1963 ans are very dirty. I would like to clean them so they look nicer, we also have plants in the same area. Hope you have a solution Thank you Francis, USA, Aug 23, Reply

R1: Dear Francis: You can try power-washing them (at no more than 900 PSI) with a solution of hot water and household bleach (4:1). Some scrubbing may also turn out to be necessary here and there. Use a natural fiber brush (tampico) for that. Maurizio, Expert Panelist

Q 2532: We are trying to decide between fiberglass and sandstone for a tub surround, or whether or not to just replace the existing tiles and grout which are mildewed and cracked. what are the pros and cons of each? Joyce, USA, Aug 23, Reply

R1: Is your choice going to be installed in a trailor or the taj mahal ...Jeffery 

Q 2530: Is there anyone who can point me in the right direction in learning to carve my own Chess set? Thanks, Jarrod, Aug 23, Reply

R1: Dear Jarrod: No, I can't point you in any direction, but let me know when you're done: I'd love to play a game or two with you! (Chess is one of my passions!) Maurizio, USA  

Q 2527: I am a commercial pressure washer looking for some advice on cleaning rough limestone in the Colorado area. The project we are currently working consists of limestone and rock walls in the natural state. The have had hydraulic oil, grease and construction material spilled on it through a construction process. My company generally used low pressure and hot water for this type of material but I do not want to take any chances because of the historic significance. Any advise as to how to clean and what, if any, chemicals to use would be greatly appreciated, Tom, Aug 23, Reply

R1: Dear Tom: First off, I do like your apporach (low-pressure and hot water), which classifies you as a "good guy". Your technique is the soundest and it's usually enough, but, under the circunstances -- considering the kind of "nasty stuff" spilled on the stone -- some specialty chemical to be added to the water seems to be a better idea. If some of the "nasty stuff" has been deeply absorbed by the stone, then some poulticing will be necessary. Send me an e-mail at: info@findstone.com. I'll be glad ot help you. Ciao, Maurizio, USA,


Q 2525: Hello. What a great site! I live in south Mississippi and am looking for 12"x12" or 16"x16" slate pavers (Jade green or natural grey guaged one side or two). Also, do you recommend any sealant on pavers used outdoors (if so, which one/type) or is it preferable to allow them to weather naturally? David, Aug 23, Reply

Q 2524: Hi, I purchased Natural Indian Slate (greenish/gray)  to install in my bathroom. Can I put this on the wall and floor of the bath? I'm concerned of the buildup on the shower wall due to the cracks in the slate. If so, should I seal the slate and what should I use to clean it? Thanks so much for any help! Mary, Aug 23, Reply

R2: Dear Mary: Jeff gave you the best piece of advice possible. Follow it! , Maurizio, USA,

R1: Mary DO NOT use the slate in the shower! It can develop a condition called "lime putty" and its bad news. Unless your ready for constant maintenance , find another material. JEFF US

Q 2523:  I am renovating an old (200 yr.) stone farmhouse. The bathroom is of stone walls. I would like to have the shower walls be the exposed stone built in the (corner) walls. How do I do this? Waterproofing is key!!! What is the appropriate floor base? Any info appreciated!!! Ken, Aug 23, Reply

Q 2522: We have been working on the area of producing, installation and covering the surfaces with Marble, Granite and Travertine. As it is known, all mine and materials are scratched and discolored when they are treated and become dull in appearance.
For this reason we are looking for the solutions to strip away years of wear and tear and look virtually new. We, in Turkey, use a high motion conventional machine made in Italy to cover the defect on the surface lining that would seen in time and in some areas where a dense erosion occurs.
We would like to cooperate with your company about using,& marketing your production. We would be grateful if you give us detailed information about the policy of your company. Onder, Aug 23, Reply

R1: Dear Onder: What company are you talking about? My company? If so, send me an E-mail at: info@findstone.com Maurizio USA, Expert Panelist

Q 2521: We have 12" x 24" lava stone that we plan to install in a shower and bathroom floor. We have been advised to seal the stone on ALL sides before installation. Is that correct? What type of sealer is best? Also what is the proper way to clean haze and grout from lava after installation? We chose lava stone because of the location. It is a second floor bridge between our house and garage. Since there is no first floor, and the underside of the bathroom floor is exposed to the elements, we were concerned that cold temperatures would be transferred. Lava stone was suggested because it does not transfer the temperature as well.  Jessy, Aug 23, Reply

R1: Jessy, I dont know who has been giving you your information but FIRE THEM. I have never worked with lava stone but , you "NEVER" seal the back of anything before setting. Any thing you use to set it with will not stick. I dont care what it is. You might as well just lay them on the floor and grout it because that would last just as long and be half the trouble. Go to Maurizio's column on the side bar and read that. Youll get the picture, Regards Jeff

Q 2520: Please tell me where to go on the internet where I can find a list of rock quarry companies from all the surrounding states? Alice, Aug 23, Reply

Q 2519: My wife and I are in the process of developing a 2,500 sq. ft. loft in Chicago. One of our disagreements is the kitchen counter top. More specifically the counter top edge. We both agree that we like the look of Black Absolute, however, I want a straight edge where as she would like an unfinished jagged edge. Because I've never seen an edge like that I wondered if there are any problems associated with an unfinished jagged edge. Also, do you have any pictures you could send me via email so I can have a better idea of the design  element? Sincerely, Charles, Aug 23, Reply

R1: Dear Charles: Why fight it? ... Are you perhaps trying to make us believe that you're the boss in the house?! ... Hey, most of us are married, too, you know!! :-) I don't have pictures of a jagged edge, but there's nothing wrong with it from a technical point of view. , Maurizio USA, Expert Panelist

Q 2518:I have marketable stone on property I own 75 miles east of Las Vegas, New Mexico. I have sold small quantities of moss rock and flagstone in New Mexico - specifically in Santa Fe and Las Vegas. I have no equipment. My income is at the poverty level. I find the stone business enjoyable. I am wondering what my next step should be. Your guidance is appreciated. Thank you very much, Henry, Aug 23, Reply

Q 2517: Going to use 12x12 GRANITE TILES for kitchen counters. Does ANYONE HAVE CREATIVE ideas for counter edging besides wood moulding? Nancy, Aug 23, Reply

R1: Dear Nancy: What kind of "creative edging" can you expect out of 1 cm. (3/8") thickness? The only thing you can do to look into moldings different than wood (metal, maybe). , Maurizio USA, Expert Panelist

Q 2516: We have an old granite quarry that was working back as early as the late 1700s and early 1800s. The stone has been setting out in large piles aging for over 100 years and we are interested in selling the stone.
It would be greatly appreciated if you could help me understand how the stone is usually sold and graded. Our stone is considered to be "Concord White". It is actually finer grain 
than the Concord stones and we have used it for building structures and some homes. A lot of it is lichen encrusted and is being used for the "old" look for posts, steps, and terraces.
Thank you for your time and consideration. William, Aug 23, Reply

Q 2515: I recently used a penetrating sealer on multicolor slate tile so I was wondering is there anything I can use to make the stone darker or give it a wet-look or is it too late to apply anything over the existing sealer? Thanks Dean, Aug 23, Reply

R2: Dean, What you need is a stone enhancer, you will however have to remove the sealer that has been applied first. Jeff

R1: Dear Dean: You're right, you're too late to apply a good-quality color enhancer. It should have been applied before the sealer. If you try to do it now, either it won't go in, or it will only go in blotchy, here and there. , Maurizio, USA, Expert Panelist

Q 2514: Our company has a limestone-mine in its property in Iran. This limestone is completely natural and biologic (shell-stone) has 93-97% calcium - carbonate. We are in need of some information and consulting in the following items: 
1.The price of this material and other products that involve limestone?
2. How can we come in contact with international companies who are using limestone in some ways. 
3. Our general project is to powder limestone in micronized form. We are interested to cooperate with international companies who would like to invest in our project. Payam, Aug 23, Reply

Q 2513: I am building a patio with a stream down the middle. I was able to do the water feature with liner and thin stone. Now I want to build a small stacked stone wall around my oval reservoir with stone that are 3 - 4 inches thick and assorted lengths and I am not sure how to cut the curves and top cap block. Any ideas? I am also pouring cement around 3 very large slabs of stone (around a ton each) one of the stones has settled and is now 3/4 of an inch lower than the other two. Any ideas on how to raise the stone or lower the other two stones to make them level? Thanks Roger, Aug 23, Reply

Q 2512:I saw some granite flooring at home recently which had 18" x 18" x 1/2" thick granite set in 2 inch grout bed with wire mesh on top of building paper on plywood supported by wood I-joists. Several of the stone units when viewed from about 6 to 7 feet away at about a 10 degree angle appeared to show a crack (similar to a crease in a piece of paper). When I got right up over that stone there was no crack at all, not even a microcrack. I did notice that there was a single recessed light fixture overhead that reflected onto the same stone two lights bulbs instead of the one. Is this a defect in granite, since there were many stone units thru out the floor area that had similar reflection type cracks when viewed at a distance. Is this the result of installation, or a material property in your opinion. I am interested in installing the same type of granite at my home. Thank you. Martin, Aug 23, Reply

R1: Dear Martin: No, you did not have a mirage! Those inward crack are there, all right! Obviously the subfloor was not prepared properly: an additional layer of plywood, or cement board, or a full fledged mud job is required before setting the stone tiles. It's also vital that the joist meet the L720 requirement of flexibility. If both, or even one of the two factors of the equation are missing, you're going to have cracking, loosening of the tiles, and all sorts of "good stuff" like that! , Maurizio, USA, Expert Panelist

Q 2511: I am researching images for a new textbook in the UK, and need one of sacks of slaked lime. Would anyone know where I may be able to get one please? Thanks. Kevin, Aug 23, Reply

R1: Dear Kevin, try to ask in the nearest store with building materials. Daniel, Slovakia,

Q 2510: Do you know the chemical analysis of Bianco Pi Marble so that I can distinguish with different white marbles? The Bianco Pi Marble comes from Carrara and was made famous in Italy, the unique deposit in Carrara has completely been used after thousands of years of production. This material is excellent for making sculptures because of its white pureness and crystal like appearance. Best Regards, Alcides, USA. Aug 23, Reply

Q 2509: I am in the process of doing some research on granite countertops and came across a web sight that has a granite laminate. It is 1/4 to 7/8 thick granite bonded to fiberglass backing to limit it's flexibility and keeping the granite from cracking from what I understand. My question is have you heard of this product and is there any problems wit delamination or other problems? It seems like it makes the countertom lighter and more managable and should reduce the cost of installation. My other question is about your lemon test. I got some samples and was doing the lemon test and noticed some "staining" on one of the samples, How do I tell if this is because the sample was sealed when it shouldn't have been and the "stain" is actually etching of the sealer or if it is etching of the stone. Thanks in advance for the information, your web page has already been a great help in getting me started on the right path of choosing the right granite for a countertop. John, Aug 23, Reply

R2: Dear John: I've seen the laminated granite you're talking about. Nobody can tell you anything for sure about possible delamination (to recent a product), but I believe that it won't delaminate. Laminated like that the thin stone becomes incredibly flexible, but will never crack! Of course it's much lighter, but there are limitation on design. Especially the edges: they can be rounded or shaped. They're either straight or beveled. Conclusion, if one is not told, the final product looks like an plastic imitation of granite! About your lemon juice testing, if you ran it on scraps, they were not sealed; therefore the stone in question is a "hybrid" that you do not want in your kitchen. , Maurizio, USA, Expert Panelist

R1: We usually use two different kind of support. One is in aluminium, the other in fiberglass and resin. If the granite is processed in the right way you shouldn't have any problem; it becames like a normal solid piece of stone. Of course, it depends on the products used to get the lightpanel, and on other factors.

Q 2508: Can you tell me what is the best way to do regular cleaning of a honed sealed limestone floor. I am trying to take off regular dirt and surface debris. Thanks, BB, Aug 23, Reply

R1: Dear BB: , Maurizio, USA, Expert Panelist

Q 2507: Hello, What is Quartzite as classified in a type of construction material ? Is it Sedimentary stone? What are the possible colours? What is the related STONE MAINTENANCE info.? I'm glad that you've integrated, easier to understand Info. at your site, Thank you,TT, Aug 23, Reply

Q 2506: I have on old travertine kitchen table that belonged to my grandfather. My memory of eating at his house is that we just ate on it, with place mats, with no worries about spilling or anything. Should I be more careful of this stone? Can it stain badly? I don't mind a bit of wearing - small scratches, whatever, as the stone has never been filled and still has all it's natural crevices so a few scratches would never be noticed but I am concerned about possible water damage and such. Any advice on how to care for it is appreciated. Deborah, Aug 23, Reply

R1:  Dear Deborah: If water could ever damage stone we wouldn't have any stone in our homes! Stone it's processed with water from beginning to end! If a whole generation of your family ate on that table, why, all of a sudden, should it not be good anymore for that purpose? Relax and enjoy! Maurizio, USA, Expert Panelist

Q 2505: I have just had 2500 sqft of honed/filled travertine installed on floors. I also have 1 shower with the same travertine, 1 bathroom with polished travertine on floor and shower, and 1 bathroom and 1 steamer with polished marble. The tile setters all are suggesting sealing all of it. After reading your advise here...doesn't seem like a good idea. Please advise on the above what if anything should be done. Also have granite slabs in kitchen and creama marfil marble slabs on all bath and bar counters. Installer wants to seal them all?? Please advise on this also. Thanks, Karen, Aug 23, Reply

R1: Dear Karen: Of course your installer wants to seal them all! They are actually planning to use the very sealer that has so effectively permeated their brains! As you can see, it works wonders: not one single iota of intelligence has even the slightest chance to ever go in!! I would only seal the honed travertine in the kitchen floor (if it's the case) and, maybe, in the shower stall (especially if you have well water). As far as your kitchen "granite" countertop is concerned, before I'd allow some "Michelangelo" to fool around with it with some sealer (even it were my own!!), I would first find out if that particular stone needs to be sealed to begin with (see my lemon juice test on the side bar of this page). If it doesn't, NO WAY, JOSE'!! Of course, you're welcome to print this out and show it to your installer. I doubt it will do any good, but ... you never know ... miracles do happen from time to time! , Maurizio, USA, Expert Panelist


R2: Dear Tiffani, Lucky for you Maurizio is not the only "We" on this site. Cultured marble, while much more resistant to staining than natural marble, can still get stained. Most times it is not the "marble" itself but the clear gelcoat finish which gives cultured marble its "shine" that is stained. I would suggest you try to sand off the very top layer of this gelcoat finish with some 1000 grit wet sand paper. Try this in just one small part of the stain first to see if can be removed with a minimum light of sanding, you do not want to sand all the way through the gelcoat. If this does indeed remove the stain, carefully work your way over the stained area until the stain is gone, then you can polish the area back to a hi gloss shine with a fine automotve car polish/buffing compound. If you have access to a rotory buffing wheel like used for cars this works well, if not a clean cotton cloth and some elbow greese can work too, but will take a bit of effort. I hope this helps you, Bill, USA , Expert Panelist

R1: Dear Tiffani: We don't know much about plastic ("cultured marble") in this site, sorry. Maurizio, Usa, Expert Panelist

Q 2503: My stainless steel olive oil can leaked some olive oil on my new granite countertop (that had been sealed by the installer). There is a ring on the surface now. Using Dawn detergent and water and paper towels I was able to minimize the size and darkness of the ring, but it was still visible. I worked a little damp Kosher salt into the ring area to absorb the oil and it lightened and got smaller but it is still visible. What kind of product or poultice can I use to remove what remains of the stain? Thanks! Rosemarie, Aug 23, Reply

R1: Dear Rsoemarie: Poultice it with acetone (forget about your nail polish remover, get a can at your local hardware store). For precise guidelines on poulticing, send me an e-mail at: info@findstone.com. Maurizio, USA, Expert Panelist

Q 2502: Help, I have Crema Marfil marble on my floor it has dull spots where the shine is gone. It seems like water dropped leaves dull spots, is there anyway to bring back the shine to this marble. The products I have tried didn't help at all. Thank you, Sam, waiting for a reply. Aug 23, Reply

R1: Youve etched your marble with some sort of cleaner that contains acid. You need a pro. Jeff

Q 2501: I am in the process of having marble laid in the whole of the downstairs of my house including the kitchen ( I want a very light and very shiny floor surface and thought marble was the answer) I found your site as I am looking at how to maintain the highly polished effect I wanted I was initialy advised by the marble shop I bought the tiles from in London (the tiles are being imported from italy I am in London ) that because the marble will be sealed it wont stain in the kitchen area and to clean the floors with just good old fashioned hot water but after reading about your extensive knowledge of marble I feel I may have made a terrible mistake and it has cost me a lot of money I have gone really over my budget anyway but I felt at the time of buying that it would be a good investment can you please help me It is too late to cancel the order so I really do want to know how to clean and maintain this floor to keep it looking good I would really appreiciate an answer many thanks Marianne Tring (england) Aug 23, Reply

R1: Dear Marianne: I have the dubious honor to welcome you to the stone industry and the "Michelangelos" who run it! Needless to say, the application of a sealer for stone to the floor of your kitchen won't do the first thing to solve the problems and the surface damages that you will have. There is, however, a solution to your problem; Instead of making dinner, make ... reservations! :-) Sorry about that. You can get my free maintenance guidelines for residential stone installation by hitting the link at the bottom of this page's left side bar. Treasure them; you'll be glad you did, although they won't help you much! Ciao and good luck (I'm pissed off for you!), Maurizio, USA Expert Panelist

Q 2500: I don't know how you manage to answer so many questions on the site, but here's another one: I have some small surface blemishes scattered throughout our new granite tile countertop (it's very hard granite and passes your lemon juice test). I'm an engineer and mechanically handy; how would I try a small spot-polishing test (to see if it helps at all) before I call in "pros" for the whole job? Thanks. Hugh. Aug 14. Aug 23, Reply

R1: Dear Hugh: Just to try you would need some $300 worth of equipment and material that you can't rent anywhere. Are you ready for that? You can get my free maintenance guidelines for residential stone installation by hitting the link at the bottom of this page's left side bar. Treasure them; you'll be glad you did! Maurizio, USA, Expert Panelist

Q 2499: Hello to all Expert panelists I just found your site and am Im impressed but this has me confussed I want granite tops but from all the problems Im seeing from all these people I dont know if I want to spend that kind of money for the headach I am reading about. Or am I getting this all wrong . I am from ESTEVAN SASK CANADA and from what I can find out my choses of color are very slim , the color I chose is ATLANTIC BLACK from CANADA somewhere is there a better chose to eliminate the concerns Im reading about Thank You in advance for your reply Wayne, Aug 23, Reply

Dear Wayne: Why should you be so concerned? Toward the end of this page's left side bar you will find the link to my column, ROCKING THE BOAT. Click on it, and look for the article about selecting a good fabrication facility (and stone). That should help you with your decision. By the way, Atlantic Black is an extremely good choice! Once back on this page, go again at the end of the side bar and click on my guidelines for maintenance of residential stone installation. You do want to treasure those! Maurizio, USA, Expert Panelist

Q 2498: I own a home with a walk-out basement, so the sides of my lot are quite sloped. I want a good way to move my lawnmower etc. down the side of my house. I am thinking of setting flagstones down in the rock that is already on that side of the house and making a walkway. Am I going to be wasting my time or do you think this is a wise solution. The grade is moderately steep. Do you think the stones will stay in the 1 1/2" rock that is already there. Please help.Chad, Aug 23, Reply

Q 2497: Hopefully some one can help me with this problem: I have a client who wants to replace travertine which has been "broken" into random pieces. He wants the same broken look with the new travertine. What is the best way to break travertine slabs? They are approximately 40 - 52 sq ft. Thanks. John, Aug 23, Reply

R1: Dear John: With a hammer! Ciao, Maurizio, USA, Expert Panelist

Q 2496: I am not very experienced on the computer, but would like to know how much fieldstone, landscaping boulders with & without moss, beige flagstone, Large slabs, & river rock sells for. This is all sandstone. I have plenty of all of this & am located near Cookeville, TN. I can extract it, weigh it, & palletize it. Janet, Aug 23, Reply

Q 2495: Hi, I wonder if I could ask for some advice? I have recently uncovered a sandstone fireplace which has been hidden behind brick, rubble and cement for 70 years. Not being a geologist, I do not know which variety of sandstone it is but the house is on the Wirral peninsula in North West England where the stone is very common. The original fireplace dates from c.1770. It is covered in a soot, grease and dirt with bits of cement attached. I would like to restore it!! Should I be considering a chemical solution, blasting or other alternatives?? Please help..Andrew Graham, Aug 23, Reply

Dear Andrew: First, you remove the bits of cement using (very gently) a chisel, followed by a razor blade. Second, you will need the following six ingredients:
1. A stiff natural bristle brush (tampico fiber. Like those used to do laundry).
2. A pair of rubber gloves and protective goggles
3. Warm water and household bleach (3:1).
4. protective masking for the floor and adjacent walls.
5. A lot of patience. 6. A whole truckload of elbow-grease! Maurizio, USA, Expert Panelist

Q 2493: I have just started a large remodel project. One of the areas to be totally redone is the kitchen. My husband and his father are licensed homebuilders and thus doing all the work. The countertops themselves are not very difficult and it's about 50 square feet. However, after reading on this site I am terribly concerned about what I am getting myself into. It sound to me as though Granite is a total nightmare! My questions are this...the site has an Absolute Black, which is what I have selected, but from reading here there is no such thing. I recieved a sample and it's solid, but how much trouble is this going to be? Next question, I've read it should be seald, it should not be sealed...which is it? Stains and Cleaning, I am now worried about this. The order has not been delivered and will be some time before the work starts should I cancel? Where do I go Thanks! Mimi , Aug 19, Reply

R1: Dear Mimi: People like you really concern me. Somehow you remind me of a certain person who -- over a radio interview about the importance for the USA to switch to the metric system and join the rest of the world (we're the only country left that stubbornly stick to the English system) -- declared that a few years earlier she had tried to understand the metric system and "...went absolutely crazy!", while everybody with an I.Q. just a tad higher than a carrot could learn it in 5 minutes flat, since is the simplest system possible. Definitely much simpler than the English system!!
Now, where did you ever read that there's no such a thing like "Black Absolute"? I've talking about it all the time! It's a Dolerite from South Africa, it's quite a dense stone and it represents an excellent choice for a kitchen countertop, providing that: A) comes with a highly polished finish (hone-finish black granite is a maintenance nightmare, and you should know why, if you really read anything about this subject), and B) Is not sealed. Sealer for stone are supposed to go IN the stone, not ON it. Due to the inherent density of the stone -- which is one of its main advantages over true geological granite -- a sealer for stone (a.k.a. "Impregnator") will not go in; therefore there's the distinct possibility that it will create problems in the immediate future. The nature of such problems is been reported time and gain in these very pages.
So now, Mimi, what's so difficult and complicated to understand? I don't think that anybody could have given it to you in a simpler manner! To further help people understand and properly select stone I wrote a whole paper about it (that I made available to everybody at no charge), and I mentioned that and told inquirers how to get hold of it countless times. What else can I possibly do? Here it is again: Toward the end of this page's left side bar you will find the link to my column, ROCKING THE BOAT. Click on it, and look for the article about selecting a good fabrication facility (and stone). That should help you with your decision. Once back on this page, go again at the end of the side bar and click on my guidelines for maintenance of residential stone installation. You do want to treasure those! Maurizio,Expert Panelist

I sent you an email earlier about my granite from Do It Yourself Granite. Well tonight I performed the lemon juice test and left it there for about 5 minutes and nothing happened When we wiped it clean there was a very slight darker tone under the drops that only appeared when we looked at it under bright light and moved the scrap piece around to catch the reflection. Now my husband and I have a disagreement about ďto seal or not to sealĒ I told him what Iíve read and that according to the test there is no reason to seal b/c I doubt lemon juice will sit on my counter unnoticed for a period of time and that even if it does itís going to take some serious looking to find it. I also told him that the sealer may be the problem down the road thus costing us more to have it removed.
You are the expert and heís a crazy man.
Can you settle this? Thanks again! Mimi

Q 2492: Hi, I'm trying to find an appropriate product to both seal and protect a flagstone patio. The flagstone pieces are in bedded in concrete and are beginning to become loose. My hope is that there is some product out there (adhesive) to secure the flagstone and then apply another product to the surface to both seal and protect it.Thanks for any help Joe, Aug 19, Reply

R1: Dear Joe: First off, the word flagstone makes only reference to the way the different pieces of stones were cut and the way they were installed. As far as the actual type of stone is concerned, it could be anything, therefore, without knowing what type of stone we're dealing with, there's no way I can tell you what kind of sealer (if any) to use. About solidifying the loose pieces of stone, exterior installations are not really my strong point. The best thing I can tell you is to get hold of a good stone mason. Maurizio, Expert Panelist


A 1119: I need some help with some words I hope you can take the time to help me : Delippage, grinding, honing, flaming, tumbling, satin, polishing, crystallization, buffing compounds, impregnators, color enhancers,and topical coating. USA, Oct 3. Reply R1: Here they are!
Delippage: A grinding action aiming at eliminating "lips" from a poorly executed installation, a "lip" being a difference in level where two tiles meet. The industry standard of acceptability of a "lip" is 1/32" Grinding: An aggressive frictioning action implemented with very coarse tools and material aiming at reducing the thickness of a given piece of stone.
Honing: It's grinding with gloves! It's still grinding, but with much less aggressive tools and material, which is meant to eliminate scratch patterns from a stone surface, without producing additional ones (at least very visible). There are several degrees of honing; Low hone, when the final result is a smooth surface without any reflection whatsoever. Medium hone, when there's a slight reflection from a low angle point of view; high hone, when it's almost polished. Medium hone and high hone -- according with different types of stone -- are also referred to as "Satin finish".
Flaming: Is a particular process that aims at tempering the surface of a slab of granite (or marble). The procedure is usually implemented on a very rough surface, and is carried out by alternating the action of a very powerful torch, with cold water from a hose. The operator actually holds a torch with one hand and the hose with the other.

It's a process by which rough pieces of stone (usually precut to a determined size) are put inside an asymmetrically turning barrel (or drum, or tumble), together with some harder materials, usually, stones. The process -- that goes on for several hours -- produces a rough, yet scratch-free finish, and it also creates chips along the edges of the pieces of stone (that get smoothed out by the tumbling action), giving a final look as if the stone had been used for centuries.
Polishing: Is the extremely fine abrasive action -- that follows the honing phase -- that will produce a gloss as high as the stone at hand can show. It can be implemented with specialty powders, or with manmade "brick" (same abrasive powders cemented together with some sort of resin). The most popular powders for polishing stone are aluminum oxide, or tin oxide.
Crystallization: It's a marketing term to describe what turns out to be a make-believe polishing procedure for calcite-based stones. It's designed for operators with no previous experience, who would like to learn how to polish marble, but think it's too difficult. The process is a chemical approach which is meant to actually destroy the crystals of Calcium Carbonate on the surface of the stone by means of a strong acid (typically fluoridric acid), so that some other shining agents (mostly waxes) can bond to it.
Buffing compound: itís a mix a polishing powders. Some times it can be found in a cream or paste form.
Impregnator: it's a below surface, penetrating sealer meant to clog the pores of the stone, so that it will not absorb staining substances.
Color enhancer: It's mostly mineral oil (of the type that doesn't evaporate), that's absorbed by the stone and gives it a so called "wet look". It's very popular with tumbled marble. Most color enhancers are impregnators, too.
Topical coating: Itís a coating that's applied to any surface for protection purposes. In the case of a floor it could be a wax. In the case of a hardwood floor it could be polyurethane, etc.
Ciao, Maurizio, USA

A 1656: This web site rocks! 
My general contractor just poured a 400 square foot concrete foundation/slab with a 2" recessed surface that slopes to a drain within the center of the slab. The slab is for a sunroom that will have plants (humic acid) and humidity. There will be cross traffic from garage to kitchen, and from an outdoor pool to bathroom. Pool coping will be Arizona Flagstone with Rattlesnake (or less preferably Millsap) boulder highlights. House is deep red/maroon brick. So: red or dark stone, non-slip, and siliceous cement/matrix are required. Prefer flagstone over tile due to slope. Water absorption is quite OK, and oil/organic staining is somewhat OK if the rock's texture has hiding power and if staining can be minimized by sealer. Have considered granites, but also wish to consider slates and sandstones. Problem is: I believe slates and sandstones have wildly varying properties (they're definitely softer than granite). Also, some may be too expensive for my budget, some may not be available, and some may be unknown by all, but I was wondering which of the following slates best fits the criteria above (and why, if the answer is not burdensome <g>), or, which of the following slates can be eliminated?

Slates from Brazilian / Brasilian http://www.findstone.com/BRAslate1.htm Azul Imperial, Azul Macauba, Flamingo Rosa Brasile, Rosa Corallo
Slates from North-India http://www.findstone.com/INDn-slate.htm Golden Multicolor, Jak Multicolor, Panther, Copper, Raja Red, Taj Rose
Slates from North-India http://www.findstone.com/INDn-slate1.htm Terra Red
Thanks in advance! Bill. April 5. Reply