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ADVICE WANTED!   August 31 , 2004
www.findstone.com   info@findstone.com

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Q 6948: Thanks for a very informative forum. I am planning to install natural stone tiles in my foyer and kitchen. One choice is the Durango tile - Is it a good choice for kitchen floor? Would it scratch easily? Is it a travertine or limestone? I've been giving conflicting answers. Many thanks in advance. WO in NJ, Aug 28, Reply
R1: Dear Wing: Durango is full-fledged travertine. The lighter color one (kinda whitish) is pure garbage. The tan color is a terrific stone!!
Now, remember, it’s never too early to think about the proper maintenance of your stone. It’s a subject that’s all too often neglected and, as you can tell by reading many of this site’s postings, you’re not likely to get good information about it from your dealer or installer. Don’t become another statistic! Maurizio, Expert Panelist
R2: Hi WO in NJ Travertine is a type of limestone that is usually formed as cave deposits or mineral laden springs rather than under the ocean. Honed finish will be OK Polished in the kitchen --not such a good idea. Durango is a mexican travertine as far as I know
Q 6947: I am sorry that I found this site AFTER the long thought-out decision for the kitchen counter stone was made, but here goes. The stone we chose is a beautiful green-gold veined stone they call Golden Lightning. The fabricator did not seal it, nor say it should be sealed. It is not a highly polished surface, and I don't think it has etched at all in our 10 months of use. Bottom line - should we be doing something to this stone we don't know about? The country of origin, we were told, was Iran. Please advise. Thank you! Renee, Aug 28, Reply
R1: Dear Renee: Golden Lightning huh!... Never heard of it, but one thing I can promise you: it ain’t granite! True geological granite doesn’t have any veining, it’s never green and it looks … well, like granite! :-) Does your stone need to be sealed? I have no idea. If you spill water onto it and letere for a while, does the stone underneath the water becomes any darker than the rest? Is so, it does need to be sealed. If not, it doesn’t. Regardless, I would to encourage you to concentrate more on the daily maintenance issues. Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6946: I am looking for a stone tile to use for the driveway, garage, walkway and pool surround (5000sf/460sm) of a house in Southern California (on the coast). I love the look of the French limestone 'Beaumaniere Claire' which is a light beige with terra cotta striations, but I am concerned that it will absorb dirt and oil like a sponge and that the salt air will destroy it. Can you create a flamed surface with this particular limestone? A muriatic acid wash was suggested to create a non-slip surface around the
pool, but my instinct tells me to go with a flamed granite instead. I'm wondering if there is a sandstone that would possibly be appropriate. How does Australian Helidon compare with the Indian 'Thin Mint Lines' or Italian 'Santafiora'? I've also come across a Portuguese 'Abancado Lioz' and theGerman 'Bentheim' and 'Cotta" sandstones. There doesn't seem to be a standard measureme
it sit thnt system by which to compare any of them. The exterior of the house has just been clad in travertine with a slate
roof, and I'm looking for something lighter in color with a bit of visual texture to anchor it. There is an Indian granite 'Ghibli' that may work but again how absorbent is it and would it need to be treated with an impregnator/sealer? I am especially concerned about oil and tiremarks in the garage/driveway. I am looking for 24" (60cm) square tiles or something close in the sandstone, or probably a bit smaller in the granite. They would be laid over old existing surfaces made up of aggregate concrete, unfilled travertine and epoxy coated cement. Any immediate information would be greatly appreciated. Thank You, Elisabeth, Aug 28, Reply
R1: Hello, the best thing you could do to this is use cantera on your pool side because cantera stone absorbs heat in a matter of speaking and it doesn't reflect it back, the appearance can either be a natural look (honed type) chiseled or brushed type besides the figure of the border that you would like to use. and you have dark and light varieties of this stone. Marble and granite will bounce back heat and you would not be able to walk barefoot for a long period of time if the sun is strong, even if you use a honed appearance. Besides you have to make small stripe type of grooves to avoid a slippery surface on your pool coping.
For your garage there is a "cement oxidation" method that penetrates your mortar (cement) and you don't have to worry about repainting it because it is not a paint. This oxidative methos has a variety of colors and the surface can either be "plain" or have someone make the driveway a "stone face" type of driveway with molds of stone pavers.
This metod does not require constant maintenance and sealers are also used. The sealers and oxidation methods are divided into interior and exteriors type with a wide selection od colors or mixed colors as preferred by the customer.
This oxidatin methods is very common in heavy traffics areas on hotels and driveways of houses. Wish you well Netz
R2: Dear Mrs Elisabeth, We would not suggest to use limestone for parkways or similar. You colud proceed with travertine with various finishing and thckness due to the use u should provide. As an alternative you could use yellow granite flamed that is good to be used in every part of your house. We could eventually provide you with any of this materials at a wonderful ratio quality / price. I am at your disposal for any further info. Best regards, Marta
R3: yes we can give a flamed look on stone but your best bet will be to get a flmed granite as this is one of the most ddurable stones and though expensive are very beautiful too. We have contacts in the USA for this type of stone, please email me for further info, regards, anwar
Q 6945: I am planning to get giallo veneziano for my countertop for a very busy family kitchen.... is this a good way to go.... i love it , but my husband prefers a darker green granite countertop, but i'm not sure i want to go that way.... is it true that the dark green counters will show every water spot, etc ... Aug 28, Reply
R1: Dear Carol: It is true and it is false at the same time. Dark green “granites” do not show any “water spot” if left alone, but if somebody is going to apply an impregnator/sealer to it thinking that it is granite, then, yes, there are very good chances that it will show “water spots.” Having said that, in an industry that’s virtually unregulated, how good and reputable the fabricator who’s is going to process it is far more important than the stone itself. That is why I seldom make final statements about any one particular stone. There may be differences within the same stone (and I’m not talking about looks, here!) from one bundle of slabs and the next. The slabs may have also been either “doctored” (which is bad), or “resined” (which could be good, but only to a certain extent) by the factory, which would make a big difference. Even more important, what’s a good stone in the hands of some “Michelangelo”?! I did write a very comprehensive article on “How to Shop for a Granite Kitchen Countertop” that will give you all the intelligence you need to venture yourself with confidence in the stone industry jungle! Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6944: We are looking to purchase granite for our kitchen island. The one that we liked is Black Cosmos (looks like Black Galaxy with silver flecks instead of gold), but I cannot find any information about this stone. Any info about the suitability of this stone for a countertop would be greatly appreciated. I did the 'lemon test' (using RealLemon concentrate liquid--I hope that's acceptable) and it didn't absorb the liquid or stain. So that's good, right? Thanks for all your good insights on the site and looking forward to your thoughts on this stone. Maryanne, Aug 28, Reply
R1: Dear Maryanne: (well yes, I admit it: I’m not really fond of anonymous! :-)) I’m not 100% sure about it, but it is my understanding that what you called “Black Cosmos” is still Black Galaxy. What I mean by that is that I believe that the stone is coming from the same quarry, but the specks of metal have a different color. But then again, I might be wrong. It doesn’t matter, anyway. If it passed the lemon juice (and oil) test with flying colors, then you’re in good shape about the stone itself. The most important thing, however, in an industry that’s virtually unregulated, how good and reputable the fabricator who’s is going to process it is far more important than the stone itself. That is why I seldom make final statements about any one particular stone. There may be differences within the same stone (and I’m not talking about looks, here! I’ve seen quite a few low-grade slabs on “Black Cosmo” lately) from one bundle of slabs and the next. The slabs may have also been either “doctored” (which is bad), or “resined” (which could be good, but only to a certain extent) by the factory, which would make a big difference. Even more important, what’s a good stone in the hands of some “Michelangelo”?! Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6943: Could you please clarify for me the pros and cons of granite vs. cambria. I have heard some things but am still very confused. Also, how much quartz is in each material? Please help in any way possible. Thanks! Aug 28, Reply
R1: Dear Kathryn: This question has been asked 1 million times and answered 1 million times already.
Engineered Stone (ES) is manmade material, and “granite” … which one are you interested in? 95% of the stone traded as granite are related to granite and to each other like a cat to a cow. Some have lots of quartz in it; some other only a little and some other yet none whatsoever. And, BTW, what’s so important about getting to know the percentage of quartz in a stone? Personally I’m not particularly fond of ES. It’s touted as an indestructible material, but it does have its problems like anything else under the sky.
How about getting to know if the fabrication facility that’s going to process a good slab of “granite” it is going to give you your money worth?
In an industry that’s virtually unregulated, how good and reputable the fabricator who’s is going to process it is far more important than the stone itself. That is why I seldom make final statements about any one particular stone. There may be differences within the same stone (and I’m not talking about looks, here!) from one bundle of slabs and the next. The slabs may have also been either “doctored” (which is bad), or “resined” (which could be good, but only to a certain extent) by the factory, which would make a big difference. Even more important, what’s a good stone in the hands of some “Michelangelo”?!
I did write a very comprehensive article on “How to Shop for a Granite Kitchen Countertop” that will give you all the intelligence you need to venture yourself with confidence in the stone industry jungle! Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6942: I have just had limestone counter tops installed in my kitchen (Tazmanian Gold, a beautiful mottled appearance). The fabricator said it had been sealed. I am wondering if it needs another coat of sealer because there are already several pale round stains appearing on the surface where glasses were sitting. The casual observer would probably not notice them unless someone called attention to them. This is only the second time anything has been prepared on them!

Also, there are several dark imperfections in the stone that look like cigarette burns...one is directly in front of the sink, and extremely noticeable. When I think of how much we paid to have this installed, it makes me sick. I can't believe the fabricator worked this stone into a counter top without even consulting us to let us know of the flaws in it.

Is this the fault of the company who sold us the stone, or the fault of the fabricator who saw the imperfections in the stone, and didn't let us know, or my own fault because I did not see this piece of stone directly? We saw one slab that we had marked for us and sent to the fabricator. The fabricator then contacted us and told us that we would need another slab for the dimensions needed. We contacted the place that sold us the original slab (which is a good distance from our home) and told them we needed another slab from the same run of limestone. They assured us it would match the first slab. However, the first slab did not have the imperfections (blackish-brown spots of shiny mineral that look like cigarette burns) that the second slab obviously had. Is there any way to dig these areas out and fill them to match the rest of the stone?

I need information on how to maintain the limestone. I'm also thinking about backsplash in tumbled limestone. Can this be sealed such that it can be cleaned on a regular basis, or is it going to end up staining? I love the look of the tumbled 4" squares of limestone, as our home is furnished with French antiques. However, if it is going to be a maintenance nightmare, I'll go with some type of ceramic or porcelain. Many thanks for any information you can provide, Aug 28, Reply

R1: Well, here you are asking about maintainance issues on your backsplash, and you haven't even considered the maintainance issues for your limestone countertop. Those rings you are seeing are etch marks from acidic liquids. Your kitchen is full of them, and no amount of "sealer" in the world will keep the stone from etching. And obviously, since you find natural inclusions with in the stone to be problems, and want to assess the blame onto someone for something only nature has control over, you are never going to be happy with this material in your kitchen. Too bad whoever convinced you to choose a limestone for your kitchen did not explain to you about natural variation in the stone in general, and and the specific issues calcitic stones present. JVC, Expert Panelist
Q 6941: Are granite slabs used for showers? What's the upkeep on these? Would granite slabs be better than porcelain tile? Thanks! Aug 28, Reply
R1: Dear Jack: Yes, they are. It all depends on the “granite” one chooses and the way it’s installed. Ditto. Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6940: I found some beautiful natural colored marble tiles that I would like to use in our master bath floors/shower. I've always used ceramic tile and had great luck with it in many houses. However, in this new house I'd like something a little nicer for our beautiful bathroom/dressing room. What is the upkeep on marble floors/shower and how do you clean it? Aug 26, Reply
R1: Dear Susan: First off, the way the marble tiles are installed in a shower stall is of a vital importance. Second, if properly care for, marble can be very enjoyable! Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6939: Hi-On the Caesarstone website, it says that some of their products can be ordered with a honed finish. Do you think this will have the same problems as honed granite? Aug 26, Reply
R1: Dear Marg: Yes, exactly the same problems. Ciao and good luck, Maurizio
Q 6938: I'm just beginning the process of renovating both a kitchen and bath in an 1850 gothic cottage. And it's now time to decide what countertops to use in those two rooms. I do want a stone countertop in both, but really didn't want the high sheen of polished granite. After reading your comments on honed granite, I believe I'll stay away. I do want a black or blue-black color in the kitchen and thought about soapstone but it seems to be more temperamental than honed granite. My designer is suggesting that I install Black Absolute "granite." Hence, I think I'm going to have to allow the counters to shine. BUT I still wonder what you think about quartz? I would have considered only granite if I was buying one with a beautiful natural pattern in it. But I want as little pattern as possible. What do you think? Lisa, NYC. Aug 26, Reply
R1: Dear Lisa: Now, why would anybody ever consider Engineered Stone (ES) over Black granite?? Same price, but still more beautiful. Also, Black granite is more maintenance-free than ES. It doesn’t need to be sealed (you actually will NOT allow anybody to seal it!) and you can always put a hot pot onto it. You can’t do that on ES, that’s for sure!!
What it really boils down to is that in an industry that’s virtually unregulated, how good and reputable the fabricator who’s is going to process it is far more important than the stone itself. That is why I seldom make final statements about any one particular stone. There may be differences within the same stone (and I’m not talking about looks, here!) from one bundle of slabs and the next. The slabs may have also been either “doctored” (which is bad), or “resined” (which could be good, but only to a certain extent) by the factory, which would make a big difference. Even more important, what’s a good stone in the hands of some “Michelangelo”?! Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6937: I just recently found the site and have learned alot. I am writing to see if you can offer some advice on the new countertop that we had installed in our kitchen. It is, I've been told, Kashmir Ivory. Do you have any advice on how to keep the countertop shiny? What do we have to do to prevent stains? I have only had the countertop for a few days and I already have an unwanted stain from bacon grease (a few splatters). Is there a way to remove this? Does this stone need to have a sealer? The installer said they applied a sealer, but I have no idea what type, nor do I think it is applied evenly. After washing dishes, I could see water stains. (They evenually dried up). Any information you can provide will be greatly appreciated. Geneva, Aug 26, Reply
R1: Dear Geneva; Obviously you fabricator did a lousy job at sealing your countertop. The following is a follow-up of mine to a thread posted by a homeowner like you on a another stone related forum, who had the same type of “granite” installed.I concur with Dave. Two applications of an impregnator are not nearly enough for a "sponge" like Kashmir White. Keep on sealing!!
Which brings up a very important point: I receive literally dozens of e-mails every day from inquirers asking about the suitability of one "granite" or another. Many a granite needs to be sealed, and certain "extreme" one need it real bad. So the question boils down to: “If they apply an impregnator/sealer will I have any problem in the future?
There's no answer to that. In fact, if PROPERLY sealed with the RIGHT impregnator, the answer would be: “Yes, go ahead and enjoy your stone!
But that presumes a "perfect world." And we do not live in a perfect world, do we?!...
No matter how good an impregnator is, it is just as good as the operator who applies it. Most of the time, if a stone needs to be sealed the impregnator has to be applied twice (I consider that a minimum requirement, unless we're dealing with dense stones such as honed or tumbled travertine, etc.) But then again, that's only a rule of thumb, because not all impregnators are the same! With very porous stones like the one object of this thread, at least three applications will be necessary.
And now here comes the kicker: all impregnators on the market will tell you to perform the second application after a couple of hours or so. My own product reads that on the directions printed on the bottle, too. It's a lie.
An interval of at least 24 hours is required for the best performance.
So, why I, Maurizio Bertoli, the inventor of the motto: "Education before any sale!" ever wrote that on my impregnator/sealer? Because I was losing sales to the lies that everybody else had printed on their products, that's why! How many contractors do you think there are out there that will take the time to go back to a certain home three time (or more) in three different days to finish the sealing job??! So, the contractor goes for the "easy" impregnator that says that after a couple of hours you can do the second application! (If they plan to wait THAT long anyway!)
I always try very hard to present myself as a model of integrity and act upon it, but there's a limit. I consider the lie that I deliver as self-defense. For integrity sake I can't keep looking at all the other "salesmen" smiling all the way to the bank and me - with one of the best products on the market - losing dealers left and right because I am the only one who printed the truth on my bottle, can I?...
All in all, I reached the conclusion that, while I always used to consider a sealing job as a contractor activity, it is much better if the homeowner is going to do it. At least they can take all the time the need. After all it's their possession! Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6936: We stored some filled travertine outside prior to instillation. Some of the pieces had mildew on them. We put the stone tiles in water and bleach to kill the mildew and remove the black spots on them. It removed the mildew however they have a dull look to them versus the ones not treated with bleach and water. Please advise. Thank you in advance for your help. Diana . Aug 26, Reply
R1: Dear Diana: The solution of water and bleach etched the surface of your tile. Only a bona fide stone restoration contractor could re-polish them. Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6935: I've read through answers you've given and couldn't get a definitive yes/no about whether or not to seal. We have about 100 sq' of granite counter tops throughout our kitchen (junipera/juniperara?). It's a fairly new home and we are the second owners. We've lived here almost 2 years and the kitchen is a heavily used room. So far, no problems with the granite. Should I seal? Any harm sealing? What should I use? Thx, Aug 26, Reply
R1: Dear Elsie: How can you expect a definite Yes/No answer about sealing 300 different “granites” 285 of which are not even related to granite or to one another?! :-)
If you didn’t get any stain it means that it was sealed properly (for a refreshing change!), because your stone is naturally very porous indeed. There’s no harm at applying a good-quality stone impregnator (like my outlandish MB-4!). Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6935: Hello there, I was hoping to get some objective advice regarding a marble floor installation recently completed at my home. I am by no means an expert on marble or the laying thereof, but I feel that something is quite amiss. My question is: is it normal for the floor to be uneven, i.e. certain marble tiles are higher/lower than others on the floor. You can feel slight ridges due to unevenness through the floor. The installer "warned" me before installation that this could very well be a possibility because according to him no floor is level and he was never requested to lay marble "tight" with minimal grout line. He also says due to the way marble is cut that it never is a straight smooth floor when you run your hands across it - that there will be small ridges here and there. I'd like to point out that it's not the grout that is high/low, it is the actual tiles. I had contracted this job through Lowe's, and Lowe's and the contractors they hired are all in agreement that the job was done satisfactorily. I would appreciate some input as to whether I am just expecting perfection out of something that is not possible, or I'm just being fed a line due to an inexperienced installer. Thanks for your time, Anne Marie, Aug 26, Reply
R1: Dear Anne Marie: I’ve got bad news and good news for you. The bad news is that you’ve been fed a line and big time too. It’s funny noticing that since the installer knows that he doesn’t know what he’s doing is “warning” customers about his inability by delivering some hogwash like the one you’ve been fed. The good news are actually two good news: 1. Among the precious few industry standards about marble tile floors there’s one that indicates that the tolerance for “lippage” (is what you call ridges) is 1/32”. 2. The customer satisfaction policy of the big boxes is unrivaled. You will demand that your floor is ripped out and re-installed by a competent setter. You will find little resistance. And … I don’t care what you like, but unless it’s tumbled marble you want to keep your grout lines no more than 1/8” wide, sand-less grout. (1/16” is even better.) Now, remember, it’s never too early to think about the proper maintenance of your stone. It’s a subject that’s all too often neglected and, as you can tell by reading many of this site’s postings, you’re not likely to get good information about it from your dealer or installer. Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6934: Hi! I am looking into tiles for our foyer and laundry room, as we are in the process of putting an addition on our house. I really like the look of travertine and was not real keen on the recommendation (from the folks we are buying the tile from! ) that I would need to seal it to keep it clean. Since I was looking around for info on travertine and ran across your page I thought I might be able to bother you for some advice on where to look for the best information on installation and care of travertine! Aug 26, Reply
R1: Dear Richard: To seal travertine to keep it clean??!! That’s a good one all right!! :-)
It’s probably part of the new “religious cult” that preaches to seal everything in sight that doesn’t move!! Travertine does not need to be sealed, but it does need to be taken care of in the right way. Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6933: I have been reading some of your answers to all the many questions. I live in Fairbanks, Alaska. In May I had a granite counter top installed (ubatuba). When they installed the counter top it broke in-between the sink top and bottom, they were able to put together with no major chunks. They put some kind of glue and started to grind out any unevenness. The fracture lines are evident but seem to be solid?!!!! I have the choice to repair it a little more with a large discount, or replace it. I have not had good luck with these people being that it is now August and am now getting these choices. If I keep this counter will I expect further destruction in time?? I am having such a hard time deciding. Please help with your expect advise!!!! Aug 26, Reply
R1: Dear Equinox: Have it replaced and have the narrow areas in front and back of the sink properly rodded. Maurizio, Expert Panelist

Q 6932: Thank you for your informative site...I've been reading with great interest. We recently purchased and had installed 'granite' countertops from a small company in our area. We got a 'really great deal', which causes me now to wonder about the composition of our countertop. Our color is "Golden Leaf" and it is pictured in the attached photo. We gave it two applications of sealant upon installation (4 months ago) but it seems to be starting to absorb somewhat. Could you speculate as to what kind of stone this is and with what frequency sealing is required? Regards and thanks, Dee, Aug 26, Reply

R1: Dear Dee: I’m not very familiar with that particular stone, but it looks like true granite to me. The frequency of the sealing procedure is strictly related to the product that was originally applied. Two applications may not have been enough if the impregnator that your fabricator used is on the thin side. It could also be one of those impregnators that need to be applied once a year or so. It much depends also from the type of cleaner you use for routine care. It may not damage the stone, but it could be detrimental to the sealer. There’s no sure rule.My impregnator/sealer, MB-4 needs to be applied only once every 10 years (it comes with 10-warranty). My specialty products will never damage any impregnator/sealer.So, you see, too many variables! Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6932: I have searched the site and can't find any specific advice as to sealing travertine table tops - specifically ones on a screen porch. We have two round travertine top dining tables and a travertine top wine console. It's not only conceivable, but likely, that our grandchildren or their grandparents(!) will spill food/liquid on them. They are not sealed. Should we seal them; and if so, what do you recommend we use? Thank you for your help - Peter, Aug 16, Reply
R1: Dear Peter: A sealer for stone (better defined as “impregnator”) is not a topical sealer of sorts that will envelope your stone within an impenetrable cocoon. All sealers for stone are impregnators and, as such, are below-surface products that only deal with the rate of absorbency of the stone by dramatically reducing it. It is obvious that since they have to go below the stone surface, they have to be absorbed by it to begin with. It is also obvious that since none of the stuff will be allowed to cure and stay on the surface, no protection whatsoever to the surface itself can be expected.
Having said that and coming to your travertine, for starter it will not absorb a darn thing, since it’s the densest stone there is available among the calcite-based ones. (Widespread popular misconception has it that travertine is very absorbent. It is not, and it’s a scientific fact, not my opinion.) Therefore the application of an impregnator/sealer to it would only help its makers and its distributors to put their kids through college.
That was the good news. The bad news is the fact that travertine is a calcite-based stone, therefore it readily reacts to acidic spills by etching, which is not staining: it’s rather surface damage, a mark of corrosion, which has nothing to do with the (very limited) absorbency rate of the stone itself, but exclusively with its natural chemical make-up. Soda, drinks, lemonade, orange juice, vinegar, salad dressing … you name it, will damage the stone surface by just becoming in contact with it in a matter of a few seconds. These damages will look like “water spots” or “water rings.”
No sealer for stone under the sun will ever offer one iota of protection against those occurrences.
Bottom line: the wrong stone for the wrong application. End of story. Maurizio, Expert Panelist

Q 6931: I just installed some 12x12 granite tiles, and after they dried, several right in the middle of the room are many shades lighter than the rest of the lot (moral is--don't lay after dark Is there a product or chemical that I can use to INTENTIONALLY DARKEN the light tiles permanently? Aug 16, Reply
R1: Dear Steven: Yes, there is: a stone color enhancer like my outlandish MB-6! But before you purchase some, give your floor more time to dry completely. It may take a few weeks. Applying the color enhancer now would be a grave mistake, since you obviously still have moisture in those tiles. Once everything will be totally dry, you may choose to keep the original color and apply an impregnator/sealer like my Universe-famous MB-4, or the color enhancer if you still want your floor darker. Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6930: Our cleaning lady told us that she cleaned a bathroom countertop (one of three) with Lysol. The result was that the countertop finish (shine) was removed and the countertop looks “bleached” in color. What can we do to restore it to the same finish as the other two ? (the cleaning lady claims that she has been using Lysol on all three countertops over a period of time, Aug 16, Reply
R1: Dear Mike: Your only option is to get hold of a bona fide stone restoration contractor who will have to hone and re-polish your countertop. Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6929: I have been involved in the stone industry since 1976 and find your web site to be very informative and your Questions/Answers likewise and most entertaining. Following market demand our company is increasingly processing Quartz Engineered Stone (Silestone, Caesar Stone etc...), in the industry however negative rumors abound including that these materials have been banned in many states of the USA and that demand for the product in USA has drastically declined to the point of imminent extiction.I would appreciate your comments.Regards Claude, Aug 16, Reply
R1: Dear Claude: Many thanks for your nice comment. I must make clear however, that findstone.com is NOT my website. It belongs to a nice gentleman, Mr. Vinay Somani, out of Mumbay (former Bombay), India. Having said that and coming to your question, I’m not implying that those rumors are urban legends; I’m just saying that I never heard them. I’ve never been much involved in the Engineered Stone industry. The material has his own merits, but it is not the bullet-proof alternative to granite that their promoters wanted to make people believe. If you add to the mix the fact that it cost just as much as granite – if not more … you fill the blanks!The only reason why it found a share of the market is because of the rampant and scary ignorance displayed by the natural stone industry operators, which in turn is the consequence of the lack of standards and training and certification programs. The consequence of this ignorance are horror stories about “granite” and other stones coming in every day in sites like this one; hence the leverage that the salesmen of Engineered Stone can use to peddle their product.That is only my opinion, of course; but ask to yourself: who in his right mind would chose a very expensive imitation of something if the real thing didn’t have any problem? Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, Expert panelist
Q 6928: AFter much legwork and deliberation, I have fallen in love with a batch of Giallo Veneziano that is the exact look I've been searching for. Unfortunately, it is 2 cm and my builder's forman is steering me away from using it. He says it is prone to cracking !?! Nobody I talk to seems to agree. Also, for some reason, this particular fabricator sells the 2cm and 3cm for the same price, but then adds on the extra cost for the extra laminated edge for the 2cm, so it may come out above my budget. I've searched every granite source I have in town and can'f find a 3cm I love as much as this one. I have found one that is close, but not as beautiful in my eyes. This particular one I love is less pink, darker and the white highlights just show so beautifully. I"'m afraid I'll be getting an inferior result if I go with the 2cm. Also, I understand that the lip above the undermount stainless sink will obviously be smaller, and Ï'm wondering if this will bother me. Most of the homes I"ve been in seem to have the 3cm. Another issue is that with the laminated edge, I was told it can be harder to clean and also, if you get an edge that is flush, you will see the seam. HELP!! Aug 16, Reply
R1: Dear Joan: When I was in the fabrication biz I was a fan of the 2 cm. laminated and encouraged all of my customers to go that way, although I had the 3 cm. alternative. (I was charging the same price. It does cost more in labor, but the 2cm slab was slightly cheaper.) In my own house, when I made my countertop I chose 2 cm. laminated. To the best of my knowledge, none of my countertops ever cracked. On the other hand, I’ve seen lots of 3 cm. slabs cracked. It all depends on the fabrication, installation and the sub-floor. Don’t forget that in this country we still build houses with wood-frames (if you ask me it is totally ridiculous!) and a 3 cm. countertop is 50% heavier that its 2 cm counterpart. It’s hardly an opinion, is it?! “Lady Gravity” never takes a break and she works 24/7 on those wooden joists! The key of the whole equation resides entirely on the fabricator. If they know what they’re doing you will be okay. If they don’t, no matter how thick you get your slab, you’re going to have problems. As for the sink lip, it’s strictly a question of personal preferences. To minimize the possibility of chipping, make sure that they give a certain radius to the upper part of the lip (2 or 3 cm. it doesn’t matter). Finally, if the lamination seam is done right, you’ve got to know it’s there to see it!

Who chose the fabricator? Please, don’t tell me that you got it through your builder!! I never worked for builders I was too good (oops: I meant: “too expensive1”) for them! Actually I did work for one, but only one! He was crazy: he was looking for quality!! I sincerely hope that your builder is one of those rare exceptions that confirm the rule. Maurizio, Expert Panelist

Q 6927: What is the difference between Silestone and Zodiaq, if any, and which is most durable, scratch, heat, and stain resistant? My biggest concern is having scratch and stain resistant. Thanks for the info? Liz, Aug 16, Reply
R1: Dear Liz: Engineered Stones (ES) are all the same. Stain and scratch resistance are okay. Heat resistant: only fair. Granite: scratch resistant: the same or better than ES, but much easier to repair than ES. Stain resistant: just as good. Granites that need sealing must be sealed properly, though. Heat resistant: excellent. Beauty? No contest! Price: the same.If you need additional assistance you can use my “one-on-one” consultation service that’s available for a small fee in the Educational Literature section Maurizio, Expert Panelist
R2: One cannot take away from granite its unique advantage and that is its natural beauty. Consumers who are looking for that random look inherent in natural stones should go for natural stones like granite. Engineered stones are products manufactured under controlled conditions. The result is consistency in color, characteristics (technical specs) and look. Beyond color and look, consumers should consider several other factors some of which are ease of maintenance and cleaning, stain resistance (to seal or not to seal), crack/chip/heat resistance, durability and warranty. Yes, warranty! Warranty, even if limited, offers a certain level of comfort and ease of mind to consumers. Consumers really need to establish for themselves what factors are important to them in deciding which material (engineered stone vs. natural stone) to use in their homes. Gene
Q 6926: My wife and I are remodeling our master bathroom and I fell in love with the idea of using Garnet Onyx for the countertop. While visiting a distributor in Brooklyn to look at the slabs in stock, I found a contrasting color Onyx that I would love to install as the shower walls. What is the opinion of this august group about using Onyx in these two applications? Thanks. Aug 16, Reply
R1: Dear Gary: It’s a very delicate stone and does require lots of TLC. Are you going to give it to her? If you need additional assistance you’re welcome to use my “one-on-one” consultation service that’s available for a small fee in the Educational Literature section Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6925: Would you please advise on the best stone to use in a bathroom, marble or granite? I would certainly appreciate the pros and cons on each. Thank you. Tracy, Aug 11, Reply
R1: Either when properly installed and sealed to protect it and maintained will give years of uses and continued unequaled beauty.
R2: Here we go again with the sealing thing!! It has really become some sort of religious cult!! Listen to the second clown (about marble): “just apply good sealer on it and enjoy your bathroom.” First off, a sealer has to be applied IN the stone, not ON it. Second, how much Ocean Spray™, coffee and cooking oil will one possibly spill (and let the spill unattended for half an hour or so) in a bathroom?? And enjoy?? … Does this guy mean to tell people that since the marble is sealed one can use anything to clean it with??! Or, perhaps, that since it’s been sealed, it will never need to be cleaned??! Or, perhaps again, that it will never get damaged (etch-marks) if, say perfume or toilet bowl cleaner or a generic cleaning agent are spilled on the marble??! Now we know why the industry has problems and consumers are all too often not happy with stone!! Marble could indeed be enjoyable in a bathroom if someone knows how to take proper care of it – which does NOT include sealing. With that kind of “information” one will never be a happy camper! And please, let’s not forget that I make a stone sealer, and a very good one at that!! The only difference is that I know exactly what one can expect from a stone sealer. Maurizio, expert panelist, USA
6924: I have been involved in the stone industry since 1976 and find your web site to be very informative and your Questions/Answers likewise and most entertaining.
Following market demand our company is increasingly processing Quartz Engineered Stone (Silestone, Caesar Stone etc...), in the industry however negative rumors abound including that these materials have been banned in many states of the USA and that demand for the product in USA has drastically declined to the point of imminent extiction. I would appreciate your comments. Regards Claude, Aug 11, Reply
R1: Not only is this material use growing, more and more people are accepting it as a viable alternative to natural stone ( too bad ). As hard as they try, nothing will ever compare to the beauty and uniqueness of natural stone
Q 6923: My name is Harold, in Delaware, USA. I have some questions and an interest to get some options for how to proceed with a granite cracking problem. I have just had a kitchen remodeled, in older home, built around 1961. I had Blue Pearl, Granite countertops installed within the last 6 weeks, and I noticed a crack at the sink area last night. It looks like the thickness of the granite counter top is 2-3 inches. The granite counter top was finished with a rounded edge. There is a double sink cut-out, near the end of a straight counter run. Starting right, moving left, there is a standard counter height, with granite length of maybe 8 ft, before a seam that is on left of the sink. The crack is propagated in front of the sink, from front of rounded counter top, moves away from the edge across the top, and continues around the back lip that is directly in front of the sink cut out. This area of the granite is the narrowest segment, due to the sink cut-out. The crack seems mostly hair line, but also has some very small fragments pitted out along the fault line. It became apparent to me, because when first using of the sink area, moisture settled into the crack, and highlighted the contrast defect. I need to know:
-Are these type defects usually delivered in the product?
-Are these type defects commonly resulting from cutting, transporting, installing, or floor/support unevenness?
-Since this is a new installation, what is the best approach to address such a problem?
-Should we expect to effectively repair this, or should we have the contractor cut out the sink area and re-install?
Further to my granite observations, I noticed last night that the crack in front of the sink was also propagated in imaginary straight line through the sink area, and continued through the granite strip behind the sink too. For me, this indicated a non-level installation, where the bulk weight of the full counter caused the failure and cracking of the narrower portions around the sink. The main question now is how much settlement, and therefore crack spreading can I expect, and whether to have the install gutted and redone?
-Any other advice and counsel, based on your experience will be helpful and appreciated. Thanks and best regards, Harold, Aug 10, Reply
R2: To me it sounds like a natural fault/defect in the material. Such defects are sometimes very difficult to discover in the rough block, and even when it has been cut and polished. But when it has been shifted around a bit, like when cut-to-size, transported and installed, the fracture will emerge. It is a defect and you should ask the supplier to repair it, or replace it. He would have had second grade material from his supplier of slabs and should be able to get the cost of the material back from there. H e might even have noticed the fracture while installing and hoped that you didn't notice. It costs a lot to cut and fit a kitchen top. If you can live with the crack, demand a discount. Good luck!
R3: Harold, Your kitchen top has broken during transportation or installation, and should be replaced. It is imperative that You call Your manufacturer asap in order to avoid giving him the chance to state that You have broken it Yourself ( which is impossible if the kitchen top has been installed the right way, that is, without the slightest possibility to move or “bend”) Sincere regards, Drs R. Nijenhuis
Q 6922: I have been scouring the "findstone" web site and a lot of the information is very interesting. One question I have is, do supplier or other vendors in the supply chain use some sort of ratings system or series of quality checks when purchasing stone from manufacturers? If so, could you share the system or quality checks they use? Your help is appreciated. Rgds, Matt, Aug 10, Reply

R2: Hi there, There are no general quality checks like for instance in the metal or plastics business. This is not possible in a business with 100 % natural material like wood or stone. You can have or better - you must accept slight differences in colour otherwise better take some painted concrete. In our marble quarries we wet the blocks as a quality check on cracks and colour before they are shipped out. This is about the easiest and most secure way to check your material. For some marble types we also cut the raw edges so the geological structures can be seen at once. It 's a pity to ship marble blocks for thousands of miles to find out there are some mistakes on it. Good luck. Jean-Paul
Q 6921: We have recently had Nova Blue limestone installed on the floors of our home. The floors were sealed with two coats of Impregnator and so far, are resisting stains and are easy to clean EXCEPT in the powder room. A small puddle of water sat on that floor for about an hour and it has stained the floor and it now appears that water splashes have stained the floor. I feel certain that the floor in this room must not have gotten sealed and I'm not sure what to do about the spots before I have it sealed. Secondly, the installer put impregnator over the pencil lines on my Nova Blue limestone. I have had many problems with my tile installers and would prefer not to have them attempt to get the spots out. Can you give me some advise about dealing with these water stains? Thank you, Jane, Aug 3, Reply
R1: Hi there, Limestone has a natural sedimentary origin which means that this geological product can absorb and return moist. Please don't do anything special on it and the spots will wear off eventually. Let nature take its course and after some months it should be ok again. Regards, JPH-Belgium
R2: There is a product call poultice--you apply and let set for 24 hours and then remove--it removes most everything. Make sure when u re-seal that you use an impreginator product for natural stone
Q 6920: My tile installer did a terrible job installing white Thassos marble (12"x12" tiles) in my shower (approximately 30 sq. ft.). The grout lines are not uniform, the grout lines are not properly alligned, the design does not flow from one wall to the next (the 'design' is to install the 12"x12" tiles on a 45 degree diagonal throughout the entire shower), the marble is uneven (there are "bumps" along the wall), and the joint lines are too large. When I confront him, his response is
1) to blame it on the white Thassos marble, which he claims is "much more difficult to install evenly than other tile," and 2) to blame it on the wall not being even (he says that when the cement board was installed that this did not allow for a perfect 90 degree angle from one wall to the adjacent wall). Needless to say there was an inordinate amount of waste on this job. The builder, the tile installer's uncle, agrees with the tile installer, as does the granite fabricator on the job, who happens to be friends with the family. I would appreciate some objective expert advise. Is white Thassos marble that much more difficult to install? Should it look that badly? And secondly, should the walls' angularity have a direct bearing on the quality of tile installation such that the wall design no longer "flows"? Attached is a photo of the job (the center vertical line is where two walls meet). Please advise. Thanks, Pamela, Aug 2, Reply
R1: Horrible job!! Rip it out and start with a professional installer who's references you've checked. Take the first installer to court for the costs . The pattern and grout joints should wrap through the corner and if the cement board was uneven and he knew that, he should have never started until the wall was corrected. G Healer
R2: I am an installer and just finished a white thassos shower in a 1.3 million dollar home. It seems to me that these guys are feeding you a line. Thassos is no harder to install than any other material , that should be obvious. If the installer was not up to the job he should of told you to find another installer. There are alot of wantobe tile guys out there putting out inferior product so you really need to watch out who does your tile work. I set my thassos with no joints and did the ceiling on a diagonal. This guy cannot even line up his grout joints so it is no suprise that the shower looks like a " Hack Job". Sorry but you are right to be unhappy when the cost of tile work is so high. If I did that bad a " Hack Job" I would pull it out and try to get it right, tile is for a long long time and you will be looking at it everyday. Listening to the tile setters friends and family will not get you the truth , just a bullshit line.
The Tile Guy
R3: This is just a poor installation. The shower was not properly laid out. There is nothing much more to say than just a unexperienced installation.
R4: Dear Pamela I could not help but smile after reading your problem with your tiler. It appears that you happened to have come across an incompetant tiler. It seems the only thing he is good at is making excuses. A half decent tiler would have set out the pattern on the wall before laying any tiles on the wall to make sure he can achieve the design that you want. However, looking at the picture your sent he has not bothered with spending some valuable time to avoid making that simple mistake. I think, he is one of those people who hopes for the best and think the client would like it at the end!!
I hope you told him what you thought about his explanation and what you thought of the workmanship. It is amature. I am no a tiler but have used some very good tilers who have done some very complex work. Believe me yours is not a very good one. My advice to you is, if you have not paid him already, tell him to re-do the job again at his expence and only pay him when he put it right. Good luck. If you are in England I can put in touch with some very good tilers. With best wishes, Abey
R5: It seems like you have got just a bad installation i can see from the picture. Is up to the installer to determine where all the cuts will be, prior to the installation. In regard of the wall not being 90 degrees ....that is a nice joke that i'll pass around my contractors here in the area. For the bumpy walls, well i should repeat myself , you just got a bad installer. Regarding the installer family my reccomandation to you is just make sure that they are not "family" they are completly wrong. Who is responding to you is : Valentino Lopergolo with 20 years experience on ceramic/porcellain/marble installation Valentio
R6: Thanks for your recent email regarding Thassos Marble. I would just like to bring to your attention that this product on a hole is alot difficult to install if your not a proper tiler, what you have got to remember is that marble is alot thicker than a normal ceramic and if you have not got the proper tools then you will automatically find it difficult to install. The fact that your walls were uneven to begin with obiviously didnt help the man to install the marble but he could have made a thicker bed adhesive to make them look tidy and all even, regarding the fact that you have had them install at an angle is not the problem the problem is that the man who has install the product has not lined them up correctly as you should have all lines joining, looking at your picture you have just been unlucky. I must advise you that if you still have grout covering your tiles then it has not been spread evenly or not been completed washed off, i think you need to put this one down as a bad job and move on, hopefully you did not pay the going rate to have this product fitted. Wellwood
R7: No, its just a lousy installation job, maybe the price paid for the installation is inadequate to pay for a decent job. Normally a ceramic tile installer is NOT COMPETENT enough to work on marble installations. You need a skilled marble installer, working from a verified SHOP DRAWING OF DETAILS. Regards, B. Yu
R8: I have worked natural stone for 33yrs and looking at your supplied photo of finished work i would comment as follows; this work is not terrible it's disgraceful, this tiler is not a professional tiler of marble or granite materials in fact I would go as far to say he's not even an amateur tiler of ceramic products. Whether the materials are Thassos or indeed any marble or granite the layout design remains the same and care should be taken for a semectricial layout as you required and should have discussed prior to commencement of work. You should first satisfy yourself that the tradesman has knowledge of the materials being used and that he or she has the relevant experience of fixing or fitting same. However you may have had the wool pulled over your eyes by being given a plausible presentation which may have been confirmed by your builder etc,. The excuse of the interior corners not being at a true 90 degree is laughable and is not a feasible reason for such poor workmanship, makes no difference. And in any case the tiler should have completed a site survey to examine levels, plumblines etc., having done this, the tiler should then consult with you if additional preparation works were necessary to be carried out prior to commencement of tiling operation. With regards to the amount of waste materials, the design layout which you specified would include approx., 20 - 30% waste, it's difficult to say as you have not included a full sized photo. In general this is a very poor job and should be rejected out-right. My advise is to consult with a local trade authority governing this trade and seek a site inspection and report of this work before contacting a lawyer
R9: A qualified installer will make Thassos marble look beautiful, if there are concerns with the the walls, because of the way the concrete board was installed, or the framing of the walls, a qualified installer would have addressed these problems before the installation. The picture you attached, and the problems you have described are not the product of a qualified installer. KP
R10: Dear Sir / Madam, we strongly believe it wasn't installed by tiles installer !!!
Generaly stone tile is a stone tile. So, for us there is no any difference between Thassos and others ( you need choose different cement only ) From this picture we can see that your " installer" hadn' had a proper tools for cutting tiles. Yes if your walls are not perfectly done it is more difficult to install tiles but it is not the reason your design does't flow. Good installer should check everything before he start his work !!!!! Best Regards
R11: Hi Pamela, Remark 1
I know the owner (Lazarides Company at Drama, Greece) and I happen to know the quarry on their isle of Thassos.
They have the best possible cutting equipment and very high standards in tolerances which largely exceeds even the USA-standards. Sorry, but that is a reality. Now if they sold large blocks or slabs that were cut elsewhere, the Tassos-quarry is not to blame.
Remark 2
If a so called expert comes to install tiles the first operation is to check the surface condition of the wall and the corresponding angles. Even a beginning scholar can tell you then whether your requirement can be met. You can not judge this but he should be able to do this. Where I live, in construction schools, pupils have to study maths and geometry before even touching a stone or a brick because that is general basics. I have no idea what is done in the States.
You were told very cheap excuses for a poor, poor job. And come to think you chose one of the best possible marble types that are ruined now as well.
I hope you at least gave it surface treatment with a silicon based solution as to protect the tiles from soaps etc. Best regards, Jean
R12: Hi Pamela, To do the level of quality it sounds like your installer suggested he would perform, he would have needed to float a mortar bed to make sure everything is flat and square. This always comes with a premium price, but one can't get the same job from tile board, without a lot of individual piece fitting. As far as the layout, if it is going to meet in the corners, the pattern will be offset in the "field" or the opposite edges. From my experience, white marble is not physically more difficult to install. It just requires white thinset to adhere it, because of it's translucency. Best of luck, Jim Gray
R13: Hello, We installed granite tiles(entire house) two months ago in our house. They decided to start the flooring from my master bedroom. When they statrted it looked like the tiles were aligned perfectly. They started the work on one Friday. When I looked the floor on Sunday, the tiles were uneven. The size of the tiles are 18" x 18" x 12mm and they are very heavy. I requested my builder to have a look at the flooring and he was also not happy about the installation. So, he invited an expert and he said the
floor is not leveled and advised us to level the floor and continue the work. So,they used self setter and allowed it to dry for 24hrs. After that eventhough I was not 100% satisfied, they did a better job after they leveled the floor
R14: Hello Pamela, Having seen your photo, and shown it to my tame tiler, ( I supply tiles, he fits them), the only thing to do is rip the lot out and start over at the tilers expense. The reason for cuts like the ones in the photo is simply poor preparation and planning on the part of your tiler. If there was a problem with the wall beforehand, he should have asked that this be corrected before he started.
If you are getting nowhere with the tiler, inform him in writng that you are consulting a solicitor and requesting an independant examination if the job by an expert. He will be forced to replace everything at his own expense and if fees are involved, to reimburse your expenses. This is what happens here
in France, in fact, the threat is usually enough to get the problem sorted out. If I can help further, please do not hesitate to contact me. Good luck, Allan.