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ADVICE WANTED!   August 14 , 2002
www.findstone.com   info@findstone.com
Q 2488:We are remodeling the kitchen and are leaning towards installing blue pearl countertops. We live in Chattanooga TN. All of the local fabricators insist this stone must be sealed yearly, and from this site, I have found this not to be true, so I worry about the local knowledge base. I have spoken to a nationally distributed fabricator and they seem knowledgable and much more reasonably priced than other local companies (although they will still use a local company for installation). I think they can save us alot of money but I want to make sure we get a good product. Thanks. Jess, Aug 14, Reply
R2: Dear Jess, Blue Pearl is a very special type of granite that varies in composition from syenite to nepheline syenite. Because it comes from a place in Norway called Larvik it is also called larvikite. It has no quartz so is softer than most granites but it generally closes well. However, when you look at the surface at an angle there are small pits due to the mechanical abrasion of a spectacularly coloured mica known as lepidomelane. These should not cause any concern with respect to absorption. Polishing the surface of any granite, particularly Blue Pearl, provides a high natural resistance to soiling and there is no need to apply a sealer to this type of rock. But of course, the installers want to make more money out of you don't they; they want to sell you a sealed product now, and a sealer again next year, and so on. And if any problems arise with the sealer then I'm sure they will try to sell you a stripper, an impregnator, and maybe another sealer. Get the picture?, Dr. Hans Australia, Expert Panelist
R1: Dear Jess from Chattanooga: I will not comment about pricing and the type of quality you can expect to get from one fabricator over another one. Many a time I must assume, while giving my answers, but I never speculate.
Blue Pearl, an Anorthosite from Norway (not a grante by a long shot) is one of the best stones that money can buy for the intents and purposes of a kitchen countertop, for as long is not tampered with by the application of stone sealers and other unnatural stuff like that. The stone is so dense that won't take in anything!
Your local fabricators -- like most other fabricators in the entire country -- have gotten their "stone education" by a whole army of salesmen and the invoices of the importer/distributor. They actually believe that Blue Pearl is a granite! Hey, the invoice says so!! That's how deep they go about knowing the business they've gotten involved in! 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,
Q 2487: I have a lovely Verde-marble-topped console about 3 years old. I was told the marble is from Switzerland, but it exactly matches the marble floor of the room that contains the console. That marble I was told came from Taiwan. In any case, the console's marble has recently developed what appears to be granules of table salt over part of the surface. But, of course, they resist routine cleaning. Any suggestions? Also, the floor has two squares of Verde marble that have developed what appear to be ripples as from a stone dropped into water. Any way to return to the smooth glaze once there?  I just sent a few days ago a message having to do with Verde marble (from Switzerland, I was told) on a console top that has produced what look like table salt crystals. I was wondering whether there was anything I could do to remove them. I also have a dining room floor of Verde marble (from Taiwan, I was told) that has two tiles with raised blemishes. Is there a way to restore the original look? Fulmer, Aug 14, Reply
R1: Dear Fulmer: There are many green marbles that comes from different countries but look pretty much the same! The problems you're reporting on the floor could be caused by water under the tiles due, for instance, to missing grout; but, since it's happening also on your console, it just might be that you're using the wrong cleaning products. 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,
Q 2486: I am designing and planning to install a fireplace surround using 1.25 inch thick travertine marble. I would like to use very large pieces, the largest being roughly 3ft x 7ft but am unsure of the proper technique to bond the material to the wall. I had planned to use ˝ inch cement backer board attached to heavy framing. My main concern is breakage due to thermal movement of the large pieces. Can you offer any advice? In addition, what are the best sources for the marble? I would supply drawings of the individual pieces. Frank, Aug 14, Reply
Q 2485: Hi firstly what a great website! I am considering honed and sealed travertine for a bathroom vanity and guest room coffee/tea area will it stand up to reasonable use in these areas or will I be driven crazy worried about stains thankyou very much! cissy, Aug 14, Reply
R2: Dear Cissy: Excellent choice! Just use some common sense and a little grain of salt about it's daily maintenance. 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, Expert Panelist
R1: Dear Cissy, Travertine is mainly used both for exterior and interior purposes. There are many types of travertine as well. For example we sell some travertines that have onyx minerals in them and they are more durable then the other ones. As long as you have an installer who knows what he is doing, and they use the necessary sealant I don't think you will have many problems. But keep in mind, all stones will stain, even laminate floors will stain if the staining object/juice/wine whatever is not wiped off... Don't forget Roman empire was build by travertine, and it is white... and it lasted for centuries... and they didn't have seals then... if you have any other questions please feel free to ask. also check out the "library" section of findstone.com, they have detailed information on all stone types. Thanks, Gina
Thank you so much for your answers, great service! :-)
Q 2484: Which is the better sealant for granite (countertop) and travertine (backsplash) and why? Thanks, Monica, Aug 14, Reply
Q 2483: Hi, I'm fumbling through trying to improve my home. I am crazy about stone, would like to buy well and with confidence. Could you help me with some basic knowledge about what I am trying to select? I have received bids on installing a granite kitchen counter. This area is in the shape of an asymetric, square cornered "U". (one side is shorter than the other) I calculate high at 37 sqft flat surface, 10.5 linear ft. of bullnose, 16.5' linear of backsplash (4") and 9' of 3" sill inserts. The contractor calls this 61 sq ft total. I take into consideration various waste but think that this might not require as much stone if it was cut more precisely. What are the prohibitions associated with cutting 4" and 3" slabs from the same square foot piece? I have received an answer from the installer but would like to hear another opinion. Also, can you tell me where this stone (giallo veneziano) comes from as I cannot find it in the stone album? What price does this type of granite normally sell at? What differenciates quality and pricing? Please advise me about things to ask bout and things to be on the look out for with the "Michelangelos" of stonework in order to insure that I receive the best product and workmanship possible for my money. Thanks in advance for your help. I cant beleieve that there is someone like you out here. after finding and reading thru your site, I feel less scared.
I chose this particular stone because the original kitchen project installed a granite cook island of Juperana Giallo with lots of sweeping movement. The installation was done 3 years ago and budget prohibited me from doing all the counters at the same time. Now, different part of the mountain, different color intensity, different patterns. This new selection seemed to be the closest in overall color combinations with a small "speck" pattern to compliment the original piece. I also thought it might "seam" easier because the pattern is small and busy therfore requiring less stone. I'm so curious as to why you asked. Did I make a mistake??? Very Best Regards,Cindy, Aug 14, Reply
Q 2482: I recently had my front stoop redone with limestone and the contractor used muriatic acid to clean the stone after he installed it. After a few days the entire surface began to look like a big rust stain! All of the limestone is a rust color. Is there any easy way to remove the stains? Is pressure washing a good idea? Thanks. Anthony Aug 14, Reply
R2: Hi Anthony- Try using one of the rust removing products (CLR etc.) available at most home centers before giving up. Unless your contractor used contaminated acid to do the washing the staining came from a high iron content in the water he rinsed the limestone with after etching it. Rust stains are a common problem when working with many different types of stone - using a wet saw with water with a high iron content will cause the same stains. If your contractor neutralized the acid and rinsed the surface thoroughly it is unlikely the integrity of the stone was compromised. Warner, USA
R1: Well Anthony, Muriatic acid is used to clean brick, but should be kept far away from limestone. Have you ever mixed vinegar and baking soda and watched it fizz. You got the same kind of chemical reaction between the limestone and acid. What you are seeing is the insoluble residue left behind after the calcium carbonate dissolved. How deep into the stone the damage goes depends on the strength of the acid mixture, and how long it stayed on the stone before it was rinsed off. Pressure washing will probably only do more damage since the structural and chemical integrity of the stone has already been compromised. Sorry for the sad news, JVC, USA
Q 2481: I have to grout 4x8 quarry tile with a buffer because the joints have to be completely full. Any advice on technique? Reifler, Aug 14, Reply
Q 2480: How good is this stone. Is it the same as indo italian. does it have an ivory finish regards.Alexander, Aug 14, Reply
Q 2479: A friend of mine recently purchased Uba Tuba and I purchased Golden King, they were sold to us as Granite products but I recently read that in your answers that Uba Tuba is not a granite. If not, what type of stone is it? Also, is Golden King a Granite? How should we clean these products? they have been sealed by the dealer. Please help as I have a oil stain on my Golden King and have applied a Poultice (it is still on at this moment). Any advise would be great. Thanks. Aida, Aug 14, Reply
Q 2478: We recently put down marble floor in our kitchen. We left the sealer on for about four hours. The marble seems to have a dull haze on it.We later but the same marble in our laundry room. I didn't leave the sealer on too long and now the laundry room looks a lot better than the kitchen. I have buffed and put a polish on but it still doesn't look as good as the laundry room. What should I do? Sherry, Aug 14, Reply
Q 2477: Is there a performance difference between a fabricated soapstone and real soapstone? If not, what is the price difference. Also, what in your opinion is the best color for cabinets with soapstone countertops and sink? Flooring? Thanks. Melissa, Aug 14, Reply
R1: My understanding of the term "fabricated soapstone" is that some work has been done to a natural soapstone - be it grinding, polishing, "oiling" or shaping it according to some specs. It is possible that some factory may have used soapstone as a base in an agglomerate like they do with quartz or marble - but I have not come across such factory or such product (engineered or man made soapstone) either. Real soapstone - well, that's your soapstone in its natural state. As for color guidance, this is not a simple matter of matching with the soapstone. You will have to consider such issues as - the mood you're trying to achieve, your wall paints, your window treatments, and a whole line of other points that need to come together for the purpose of - guess what - creating the mood or effect you want to achieve. My suggestion is that you go to your nearest Lowe's or Home Depot or Expo and use the services of their in-store consultant decorator - because I'm not and I don't pretend to be. Or perhaps just browse through their room vignettes to get some ideas. My comments are purely based on decorating my house. Good luck. Gene, USA
Q 2476: I have a room that has tongue and groove cedar on the ceiling and I'm thinking that I would like to put rock on the wall, either the full wall or half way up. What is the best stone/rock to use for that, where do I get the information needed to install and does there need to be anything special on the cement foundation that is already been poured. I am starting from scratch, the walls are just studs right now. Thanks for any help. Ringer, Aug 12, Reply
Q 2475: I live in Dallas, TX and I am looking to have a natural granite installed in my kitchen (155sq ft.) and at $12.99sqft I'm wondering if this is a fair price or should I keep shopping around? Please advise thank you very much for your time and have a wonderful day! Christian, Aug 12, Reply
R1: Dear Christian: pretty please, tell me where you can get granite installed at $12.99 sqft. in Dallas. Everywhere else they are charging anywhere between $50 and $90 per square foot!! Check with your local Home Depot, if you don't believe me. I only have one comment about your $12.99 "granite": When a deal sounds too good to be true ... 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,  
Q 2474: I am building a barn style house and wanted to use slate rather than ceramic tile when practical as I love it's rustic look. I need to surface tub/shower walls, bath vanity, kitchen counters, kitchen and bath floors. We need surfaces that don't require unusual pampering and can take spills, water, hot pots etc.. Would slate work in any of these situations? What about slabs versus tiles? I have heard the slate I see at the local hardware store is an inferior grade, is this true and where should I look for a better quality? We are in Northern California Bay Area. Thanks, Linda, Aug 12, Reply 
R1: Dear Linda: If you're looking for a low-maintenance, worry-free material, you're way off base with slate, no matter what a good garde it is! Reconsider! 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,
Q 2473: I need advice on how to clean algae from my mother's marble head stone, what to use, any chemicals to avoid/ use? Shaun, Aug 12, Reply
R1: Dear Shaun: Scrape the worst with a razor blade, then finish the job up with straight household bleach. Maurizio,USA,
Q 2472: We have an floor made of Supergrey granite. Accidentally a floor microliquid (Jif) bottle leaked on the granite and was not removed before three days. As a result we have a 50cms black stain on the grey granite. Furthermore, right now all the marble
suppliers are closed due to holidays. Do you have any solutions and suggestions, maybe with products that are available in Europe as well? Jif microliquid contains amongst other ingredients anionic surfactants soap (less than 5%), polycarboxylate (less than 5%), nonionic surfactants (5% to 15%) & preservatives. Thanking you in advance for your
help. Ruth, U.K. Aug 11, Reply
R1: Dear Ruth: Quickly, send me an E-mail at: info@findstone.com. I'll be glad to e-mail you my free guidelines about stain removal. Maurizio,USA,
Dear Sir, I do thank you but I solved the problem with the Supergrey Granite. Keep up the good work. Ruth Borg
Dear Maurizio, Frst thanking you for your immediately reply, here is an update of what happened to date. Since the glaze from the granite was not removed despite the stain, I tried spraying O-Cedar on the granite. The stain faded slightly, though it is still visible. Now we put some talcum powder on it, hoping that by tomorrow it will vanish, however, to tell you the truth I sincerely have my doubts. Thanking you in advance for your help. Yours sincerely, Ruth
Q 2471: I have installed 12 x12 inch granite tiles to my kitchen counters. The granite is called "new imperial brown" and I used a charcoal unsanded grout called Polyblend. I noticed many small pits and fissures, visible to the naked eye, but was told the grout would fill these. It did not. The grout will be ready to seal in another 72 hours and I am apprehensive about going forward until I have a good answer about these imperfections. I have purchased a product called 511 Porous Plus, but need to know if it is the right product or if something else is needed to fill the imperfections. Andrew, Aug 12, Reply
R1: Dear Andrew: In as much 511 Porous Plus is a good sealer, it will NOT fill your pits and fissures. It's not the right product for your stone, either, since it's formulated for very porous stones only, which is not the case with your "granite". Get your money back, then, before buying a different sealer, make sure that your stone needs one to begin with (see the "lemon juice test" on the side-bar of this very page). If it doesn't, do NOT seal it. Only seal the grout. Now about your pits and fissures, they are natural traits of many a "granite", Only a proven professional with penetrating epoxy could fill them. Do NOT try that yourself! 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,
Q 2470: We would like to put a type of slate on our kitchen floor. Do you know if it is possible to buy lighter weight slate for use over floorboards. Any advice would be much appreciated. Regards, Susan, Aug 11, Reply
Q 2469: I've noticed several postings on the excellent findstone website relating to your study of 60 different limestones for building use. Did this analysis include Australian limestones? We live in South Australia and are thinking of using raw limestone blocks for exterior walls and raw limestone tiles for some interior walls in our new house; the tiles
are for the bathroom. Could you please comment on the relative merits of limestone from Mt. Gambier in South Australia, Carabooda limestone from Western Australia and Moore River limestone, also from WA? These are the limestones that we are aware of and have been recommended to us. What other domestic sources are available? We are leaning towards WA
limestone (Carabooda), as we have been told that it does not need to be sealed (for exterior use at least), unlike Mt Gambier limestone which is much more porous and will grow moss if not sealed! I have noticed on the findstone web site that it may be best to leave limestone unsealed, otherwise the sealant may adversely affect it. Do you have an opinion on this? Are there any sealants that are particularly suited to the limestones mentioned above? Are there any sealants to stay away from? Best regards, Sandra, South Australia. Aug 11, Reply
R1: Dear Sandra, I presume that this is a follow-up enquiry to the earlier one. My analysis included only one Australian limestone because I was unaware of its geotechnical characteristics. Once this became known it was quickly excluded because of the strict parameters which needed to be addressed for the Sydney buildings. This particular limestone (also from WA) was broadly similar to the three that you have mentioned in your enquiry. For your project, have you obtained a large sample of each so that you have the luxury of feeling it and doing all the necessary things with it. By doing this you might well be able to make up your own mind as to whether you want to use these types of rock. If not, why not get your architect to engage a stone scientist to do the homework for you. Maybe you should not be so limited in your thinking - there are many other unusual options., Dr. Hans, Australia, Expert Panelist
Q 2468: I was researching a honed granite kitchen countertop and was talked out of it by every supplier I came in contact with, but was really unsold when one gave me a sample of polished and honed and a month later my thumb print is still on the honed. I wish I had read your advise earlier, it would have saved me much research.
I have since ordered a polished Nero Assoluto countertop and, having read your article realize there is no need to seal it. It is being installed next week. Should I contact the supplier and request that they not seal it before installing it or is that something generally done on sight? Perhaps I'm too late and it has already been done.
I, like Carlos of previous advise given, live in Toronto, and would love the name of your former "student". 
Your advise is great, informative, funny and wonderfully detailed, it is wonderful of you to provide such a service. Tracey, Aug 11, Reply
R1: Dear Tracey: Are you talking about me? Good choice about your counterttop. Do make sure that they won't seal it, nor at the shop, nor at your place! About my former "student", send me an e-mail at: info@findstone.com 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,
Q 2467: A designer wants me to put travertive on my bathroom counter, floor and around the most used shower in the house. When I heard about the need to seal it, I expressed my concerns as I am a busy professional and not an overly attentive housekeeper. Sounds as if keeping travertine up is a little more work than I had bargained for. Can you give me the REAL scoop what needs to be done before installation and after to keep it looking good? Thanks, Candy, Aug 11, Reply
R1: Dear Candy: Contrary to popular misconception, travertine is quite a dense stone and does NOT need to be sealed. If you don't believe me, spill a few drops of water on the surface of a sample tiles and let me know if any of it will ever be absorbed by the stone! A sealer for stone (a.k.a. Impregnator) only helps solving the problem of absorbency of the stone, but offers no protection whatsoever. That said, I consider polished travertine a good choice for a bathroom, providing it's installed properly to begin with, and maintained properly afterwards. 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,  
Q 2466: I am so impressed with your site I thought I'd ask a question myself the answer is probably in your site however I would like some clarity. I have a newly installed marble bathroom I used a good sealer it is beautiful. My problem is the room is very small and has only a 20"x20" window for ventilation. The room sweats more than I thought it would. We use a rubber blade to wipe it down but our water is hard I don't know to best maintain it. Household cleaners are mentioned however I am unclear about acidic cleaners alkaline cleaners detergent cleaners which ones help which ones hurt, should I wipe the whole room or just the shower? Any clarity at all would be greatly appreciated. Kathy, Aug 10, Reply
R1: Dear Kathy: That's an easy one! 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,
Q 2465: I need advice on a stone choice for kitchen countertops. My husband and I have gone to major slab warehouse after slab warehouse. We can't find a granite (which we understand is the first choice) that we like. They are all too busy. We keep coming back to OUR first choice which is Crema Marfil 3cm. It's more understated and "quiet". But after reading your Q&A page we know it's not the right choice. So is there a granite out there that is as subtle and understated as the Crema Marfil? And as for marble not being appropriate for the kitchen, my aunt's home had Carrera marble countertops from the 1920's. Yes, they had scratches from many years heavy use but they were beautiful with a glow and a feel to them that was wonderful. Were they using a different sealer back then? Thanks for any help. Terry, Aug 10, Reply
R1: Dear Terry: Yeah, right, they were indeed using a different sealer back in the '20s: the very same that the ancient Egyptians used on their piramids, and the ancient Romans use on the Coliseum!! Let's just say that your aunt was "perceiving" marble like a Mediterranean, while in here and Northern Europe they perceived it like, well ... Americans! In a nutshell, your aunt couldn't care less! That was the sealer!! There nothing wrong with using honed marble in a kitchen, for as long you "think" like your aunt! 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,
Q 2464: I have two questions---I need to identify a marble dust statue that I purchased. It appears to be a roaring twenties flapper---or it could be a Victorian woman--not at all sure---it had a tag on it that said Robin Hood. 
Second question--how do I best remove rust from this marble dust statue? Thank you. Paige, Aug 10, Reply
R1: Dear Paige: If the rust stains are as old as the statue, then there's very little chance to remove them. You can try with a poultice mixing talc powder (baby powder) with a product called "Iron Out" (available at fine hardware stores) in a proportion of 1:1, then mix it with water to form a paste of the consistency of peanut butter. Maurizio,USA,
Q 2463: I am thinking of having honed granite for a kitchen countertop. I assume that a honed finish is more porous than a polished one but does that preclude its use for kitchens, i.e. can it be successfully sealed and not require resealing too often? The stones I am thinking of are verde tropical, giallo napoleone and azul bahia. Are any of these better candidates than others. Thank you for any help. Mary. Aug 10, Contact
R1: Dear Mary: A hone-finished "granite: slab is only slightly more absorbent than its polished counterpart, if any. The rate of absorbency of "granites" varies greatly from one type to another, accordingly with the type of stone they actually are. A good rule of thumb (with a few exceptions) is that dark colored "granites" are denser than light colored ones, therefore, when polished, dark colored "granites" are, most of the time, a better shoice as material for a kitchen countertop. On the other hand, dark colored "granite" are not advisable in their hone-finished version, because they will show all sorts of surface stains, against which no impregnator for stone will be able to do anything (impregnators only help prevent staining agents from going IN the stone, not certainly to sit ON it!). So, I guess it's a tough call! 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, USA,
Q 2462: It just frustrates me to no end that you allow retail questions here. All that this can do is to cause several vendors waste time sending samples to retail end users and fighting against each other by devaluating the price to get the basically one time and very low profit sale. It also is an insult to the vendor whom may have serviced the would be customer at their location - wasting time and energy over a 70 s/f tile sale - what a waste.....- respectfully, David, Aug 10, Reply 
R2: We are believers in the Web and thoroughly research the implications of any family decision (when possible). We quickly determined, from your site, that there is no "best" in countertop material. Unlike most other consumer materials or services, the subjective quality of the purchased product is not a direct function of the dollars expended.
Just reading the forums on your site describing the tragedies experienced by consumers who have invested the cost of a new car in their countertop only to be disappointed has been an eye opener.
Each type of countertop material has advantages and disadvantages and each consumer must weigh these against his own needs and desires.
Natural stone material (in my opinion!) is the most visually appealing and it can take heat. It is also near the top in cost. But, even if it's affordable there may be many problems associated with finding the right look, the right stone, the right fabricator, the right installer and the right care and maintenance procedures.
Laminated countertops, on the other hand, haven't the visual appeal of stone but their low cost and easy installation allows for frequent, uncomplicated changing to a new (and different) appearance.
Solid surface and engineered stone don't have the look of natural stone but should be stain resistant.
We looked at "granite" samples at Lowes & Home Depot but were unable to get test samples. We visited two local fabricators. One was too busy to give us any time or samples the other had a "granite" we liked and provided a sample for testing.
Our process left us with a decision to buy granite if we could find a color and pattern that we liked in a stone that's stain and etch resistant. The color and pattern of the Yellow Cabassa was right for us. No mention of it in your columns, forums or stone lists make us hesitate. If we can't verify it's performance, we will probably reconsider granite and go with Silestone Amarillo Palmira. By the way, the Silestone quote is roughly 20% higher than the "granite" quote. We wouldn't go to Silestone to save on initial cost. Hope that gives you some perspective. Denis, USA. 
R1: Dear David: Just in case you didn't know, they call it "Free Market Ecomony". If you don't like it, you should move to Cuba. To the best of my knowledge  it's the only country left that still has a true communist regime! Maurizio, USA,
Q 2461: Are there other name for Raja Lavender, Giallo Beach, Kashmir gold, Juprano. Thanks, Topazio, Aug 10, Reply
R1: Dear Topazio: Who cares about other names?! There are probably a couple of dozens, anyway! 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, USA,  
Q 2460: I am glad to find your site, I am at my wits end. Not altogether optimistic after reading your assessment of Kashmir white granite (not really granite at all??) but here is my specific question: I have the Kashmir white granite installed as countertop. Apparently it was never sealed (not necessary according to the builder). If you leave anything wet on it, it absorbs and leaves a stain, which eventually disappears (but not quite).
Worse, though, the top layer seems to be peeling off somehow and an underlying layer of raw, kind of shiny stone is starting to show up as streaks. As time goes on these streaks get bigger and shinier until the original surface is starting to get in the minority. From a distance it just looks streaky. This is happening even on the area of the countertop which gets little if any water on it. I have the balance of the granite around my fireplace which still looks pretty much normal. Both the homebuilder and the manufacturer tell me these are just "imperfections" inherent in the stone. Everyone else in the neighborhood has dark
countertops so I can't tell if they are having the same problem. Should it have been sealed?? and how can I determine if this is a defect or an "imperfection". 
If there is anyone in northern/southern Ontario who has any ideas, I am seriously considering replacing this countertop. It would be ideal if I could have ammunition from an independent expert to get a refund from the builder. Thanks very much. Margie, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Aug 10, Reply
R2: I have processed this stone many times with no major complaints. Is it possible that you might have a coat of paint from your cabinets. Try cleaning the stone with acetone and see if that solves the problem good luck,Maurizio, USA,  
R1: Dear Margie: Since you're reporting that your neighbors have dark "granite" countertops, 
chances are that they probably won't have any problem. Your Orthogneiss (that's what "White Cashmere" is -- some sort of metamorphic sandstone) is a total sponge, and only a few sealers could have done something -- if well applied -- to minimize the problems related to the absorbency rate of that stone.
That said, it's apparent from what you're reporting that both your builder and fabricator are less than cooperative. At this point, all things considered, unless you want to take them to court, you have to weigh the importance that you give to your mental health, opposed to all the aggravations you'd have by A) keeping your "granite" as is, or B) go through the frustrations and aggravation of a law suit. Then you draw your own conclusions. If you decide to replace your countertop, I then suggest you ...
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, USA,  
Q 2459: I am building a home and interested in counters made of Jerusalem limestone as well as tiles. Please send me any information about cost, upkeep, durability, suppliers etc. Many thanks, Susan, Aug 10, Reply
R1: Dear Susan: Suppliers? I don't even know where you live! Cost? I don't buy and sell stone. Upkeep? No such a thing: nobody can upkeep Jerusalem stone installed on a kitchen countertop! 
Don't bother reading my "Dos and Don'ts" at the end of this page's side bar: they wouldn't do you any good. Maurizio, USA,
Q 2458: I tried the lemon test on a sample called "Yellow Cabassa" (Giallo Cabaca). I found that the polished (and, possibly, sealed/impregnated) side passed with flying colors....no visible change in the surface after 10 minutes. Since I had told the fabricator why I wanted the sample he may have given me a sealed scrap. The rough side of the sample instantly absorbed the lemon juice and left a dark stain which appears to be permanent.
Does a sealed surface distort the results of the lemon test? Is it reasonable to test the
unpolished surface? Lastly, is Yellow Cabassa a granite? 
I found this forum to be highly entertaining as well as informative. I greatly appreciate your
efforts. Denis, Aug 10, Reply
R1: Dear Denis: The fact that the rough side absorbed the lemon juice almost instantly doesn't mean much; with a few exceptions, all "granites" will react like that. The test must be performed on the polished side only. Of course, if it's sealed properly and with the right sealer, the lemon juice test will pass. But that's all right: it would mean that the absorbency of that stone can be easily and satisfactorily controlled, that your fabricator 
has the right sealer and knows how to use it. Go for it!
I don't know much about this "Yellow Cabassa", but I highly doubt it's a true granite. True geological granite is only whitish, of light gray, or pinkish. 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,
Q 2457: We, wife & self, are having Blue Vizag stone put in to replace our kitchen counter tops.
1. Is it granite?
2. Is it good for counter tops?
3. I looked through all of the stone album and did not find it listed, so what country is it quarried in? This is what she liked and I like it also. The stone is to ordered Monday, so thanks for any advise. Jim, Aug 10, Reply
R1: Dear Jim: I wish I had the answer to that! Never heard of that stuff! But ...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, USA,
Q 2456: I am interested in knowing the stone materials more. I often the names of various kinds of stone materials in English, but I wonder how to express their names in Chinese, as I am from China. I mean how to translate their names from English to Chinese. HX, Aug 9, Reply
R1: Dear HX: I'm Italian, how can you expect me to help you translating English names in 
Chinese!:-) Maurizio, USA,
Q 2455: What is the best tool to use for installation.....? Thanks. Donna, Aug 9, Reply  
R2: Get a professional Regards, Adriana, USA,
R1: Dear Donna: In a nutshell: a professional!! Maurizio, USA,
Q 2454: About two months ago we finished our pool in San Antonio. The flagstone around the perimeter and patio is flaking off the top side of the stone. While it is not real bad, it is noticeable and I am a little concerned how it will look in a year or two. Additionally, a few stones are developing a rough - almost - bubbled look - on the top side. 
Our pool contractor tells us that some flagstone just does that more than others. Should we accept his answer or possible ask him to replace the stone?
We picked a lighter color and did so from a sample of the flagstone that the pool contractor brought around. We had the option to go to the retailer and select the pallets of stone ourselves and asked the contractor if there was any real advantage to do so. He told us the stone guy knew what he was doing and would select good material. 
I was a little surprised to see the stone delivered loose by the mason rather than on pallets. At the time that struck me as odd and I have to admit that it makes me somewhat suspicious as to the quality of stone we may have received. Are there such a thing as "seconds" or lesser quality of stones? The contractor was the friend of a friend so we may have placed more trust in him than we should have. I a enclose a picture (click here) Thanks, Rod, Aug 9, Reply
R2: Rod, you do not mention the type of stone, (ie. sandstone, limestone, Quartzite or what) Some stones are better suited for your purpose than others, If it is sandstone, the problem will probably continue and get worse as time goes on. The same could be true if the stone is one of those thin bedded hill country limestones. When you look at the edge of the stone, does it appear to be monolithic, or does it look like a bunch of micro laminates? I'm not too far from San Antonio, and would be willing to come down there and really eyeball your situation. JVC, USA
R1: Dear Rod: First off, you have to determine what kind of stone you have. Flagstone is 
NOT a type of stone. It's rather a general definition of a loose shape of stone, but the stone itself could be just about anything, from bluestone, to slate (and dozens of DIFFERENT types among them), to sandstone, to limestone, etc. Maurizio, USA,
I asked about curing the flaking coping and patio around my pool (Q2454). JVC and Maurizio asked what kind of stone it is. I have been told that it is Dryden Limestone from Dryden, Texas. It does appear to have micro layers. It flakes off in thin pieces from the size of a dime to pieces 1 1/2 square inches or so. The smaller chips get very soft when they hit the pool. Rod
Q 2453: I had polished marble installed in the bathrooms and unfortunately, the installers were less than competent. They left grout haze all over. I read that you have a product. How much and how do I get it? Also how should I maintain marble (white) in the showers and on the floor. Thanks in advance. Rebecca, Aug 9, Reply
R1: Dear Rebecca: Get in touch with me at: info@findstone.com and i'll help you out with your grout haze problem. 
For routine maintenance after 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,
Q 2452: After I install marble what is the best way to keep it shiny? Miriam, Aug 9, Reply
R1: Dear Miriam: If your marble has been installed on a floor, the rule number one to follow 
if to NEVER WALK ON IT! :-)
As a second best option, 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,
Q 2451: I have Uba Tuba in my new kitchen (my house is not yet a year old). Within a day or two of moving in, I noticed a section of the granite, roughly about 6 or 7 inches around, that looked milky compared the the rest of the shiny countertop. The installer is saying that I must have put something on it to make that mark, but I believe it was there when we moved in. The only thing I've put on it is WSP 2000 Water Stain Protector made by Alpha Advantage--something he gave me after I pointed it out to him. It didn't go away. He even tried something else and it did not go away. Any ideas on what it might be? Thanks, 
Sue, Aug 9, Reply.
R1: Dear Sue: For starters, Uba Tuba doesn't need any "Water Stain Protector", or any other protector, for that matter. I don't know exactly what happen to your stone, but I do know that it shouldn't have happened. I suspect that the fabricator -- thinking that Uba Tuba is granite -- applied a stone sealer to it. Try to find that out. If that's the case, then that could be the cause of the "milky" look of that particular section of your countertop. Have the sealer totally removed with a paint stripper based on Methylene Chloride, and enjoy your worry-free Uba Tuba in it natural state for the rest of your natural life!
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,
Q 2450: Could you please give me the best advise on getting bath oil out of a marble bathroom counter? Regards, Sonya, Canada, Reply
R1: Dear Sonya: Absolutely! Poultice it out using a mix of talc powder (baby powder) and  acetone. Should you need more details about poulticing, send me an e-mail at: info@findstone.com.
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,
Q 2449: My marble tile is currently a variegated purple. Is there any way to dye it i.e., change the color without ripping it up and reinstalling another floor? Soloski, Aug 8, Reply
R1: Dear Soloski: Please, tell me that you're joking!! Maurizio, USA,
Q 2448: I live in Las Vegas, where the air is dry and temperatures can reach over 110 degrees Fahrenheit throughout the summer months. We are tiling our patio and were thinking of going with slate. A salesman told us that slate is an inferior product to porcelain and he would only recommend porcelain for our outdoor use. I prefer the look of slate to the porcelain tiles I have seen. But can the slate survive the Las Vegas summers? And is there so much maintenance on it that we will regret tiling a large area with it?
-- SBS, Aug 8, Reply
Q 2447: Where do the stone types PEN GREEN and RISING SUN come from. Are these common names or are there other names known. Thanks in advance. Nevil, Netherlands, 
Aug 8, Reply
Q 2446: I saw your web page filled with great tile advice! Maybe you can advise me as well. I just had about 1,000 sq. ft. of 24" filled & honed travertine installed over concrete floors. The contractor used Thinset and directly applied the tiles to the concrete except in the areas where cracks pre-existed in the concrete base. During the job I noticed that many of the tiles were very hollow sounding. They assured me that would go away after the grout was filled in. It did not go away. The job is done now and probably 50% or more of the tiles sound hollow in places when tapping or even walking on them. That doesn't seem right to me. Should I be concerned? If so, is there any other way to fix it other than ripping it up
and re-doing it? Please help! Thanks in advance for your assistance! Herbert, Aug 8, Reply
R1: Dear Herbert: Yes, you should be concerned, and big time, too! (The hollow sound is going to go away after grouting, huh! ... Wow!). Considering the extensiveness of the damage, I believe that ripping the whole thing out and start all over is the only sensible thing to do. 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,
Q 2445: What is the max overhang for 1 1/4" granite, Ubatuba, for a peninsula? 2. How do you support over 11"? What materials do you use to support it? 3. How do I avoid cracks? 3. Do you recommend silicone or liquid nails to glue it down? Thanks and have a great day!! Elizabeth. Aug 8, Reply
R1: Dear Elizabeth: On the 3 cm. thickness, the max. overhand without support is 11". Over that you have to support it with either metal or wood braces. I never use liquid nail, I only use silicone. 
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,
Q 2444: I have just removed the carpet in my kitchen to find a sandstone flagged floor beneath which is dirty. What would you suggest to clean it up and restore it to its natural beauty and how could I preserve it from being stained and damaged in future. Darren, Aug 8, Reply
R1: Dear Darren: Get hold of a local stone restoration company and have them assess your 
situation. Maurizio, USA,
Q 2443: We have just installed a 18" x 18" shell stone throughout our entire house. It appears some slight occasional edging has popped up here and there. The installer is going to put a light sander to it (with a diamond point?) to flatten the edges out. He claims the uneveness is unavoidable and a direct result from the inconsistency in the way the stone is cut. 
#1. Does the installer know what he is talking about or is he correcting a problem he caused?
#2. Is it o.k. to grind them down?
#3. What is the best way to seal the shellstone tiles? We bought a water based sealer made for natural stone and terrazo? How about waxing?
#4. How about keeping them clean?
#5. In our bathroom we are putting a natural stone called Rustica (12" x 12") on the walls, including inside the shower stall. The wall is dry wall which has been painted. What is the best way to insure they are installed properly? Adam, Aug 8, Reply
Q 2442: We are in the process of finishing a new kitchen. Briefly, we ordered a slate
countertop (1.5" thick, 5 pieces, about 60 SF) from a company that does not install, and now our GC is getting nervous about installing it.
Can anyone offer advice as to good epoxy (we have one joint between 2 pieces), best installation technique, or other information we could use to get the job done?
Our contractor is ultra-cautious, and is worried he will break the slate where the undermount sink goes. I haven't been able to find an installer, because they won't install something they haven't done the template for themselves, or provided themselves. Help!!! Reiley, Aug 8, Reply
R1: Dear Reiley: What do you expect anybody to tell you from here?! Get a local pro, if you 
can find one, that's all! The only thing I feel like saying is that I'm sorry about your selection of slate as a material for a kitchen countertop. I hope you get a lot of take-outs! Maurizio, USA,
Q 2441: Need advice on pressure washing bricks. Jim, Aug 8, Reply
Q 2440: I have been told that Caesar Stone is better than Corian and Kerrock even better than both of those. All of these products and more, such as Silas Stone are available here in California. 
Is it true that the Kerrock manufacturing using agitation to settle the material and increase density and baking the acrylic compound really makes it more durable and impervious to stains as compared to other man-made solid surfaces? Also, is there a problem with Caesar Stone due to the minute water content of the quartz crystals used that may cause expansion and can you give me comparisons of materials & manufacturing processes for these products that would help me in choosing the most durable surface for the price? Thanks, Ron, Aug 8, Reply
R1: Dear Ron: I believe I know a thing or two about about natural stone. About engineered 
stone I know much less than that, and so about plastic (solid surfaces).
Maurizio, USA,
Q 2439: I love your web site! I just discovered it and it covers all kinds of things pertinent to my house. I have a "granite" question. I have Uba Tuba slab counter tops in my kitchen, with Uba Tuba tile back splash. I always thought this was true granite, but from what your web site says, it is in fact something else. What is it called? I never sealed it myself ... interviewed a bunch of people and couldn't find someone I felt comfortable with ... then got lazy! I actually bought some Impregnator ... never used it either! However, I bought a product called StoneTech Professional Revitalizer. I use it once or twice a week. (I was using Windex, as recommended by the contractor, and I didn't like the results). This product claims to clean and protect. I spray it on, wipe with a damp cloth and then dry it with a towel. It looks great, although sometimes leaves a little film which shows fingerprints. All in all, I have been fairly happy with it, but after reading your web site, I was wondering if I using a good product? Is there another product you recommend specifically for Uba Tuba.
Also, I have Creme Marfil floors, which connects to my hardwood floors. The first month in my house, the cleaning service splashed vinegar/water they were using to clean my hard wood floors on my marble floors. Disaster! So, I fired the cleaning company, and now use a product which claims to be good for both hard wood and marble. It is called Quick n Brite. Any ideas if I am using a good product? I want to find something to clean both surfaces, so that I don't have this problem again. Kay, Aug 8, Reply
R3: Dear Kay: Sorry for the "confusion" Not all "granites" need to be treated the same way when it comes to sealing them, i.e.: you do NOT want to seal Ubatuba. When it comes to daily cleaning, there's no difference. I cannot comment on the particular product you mention, since I never tested it. I do know that StoneTech is a company with a good reputation, however. Whether you want to try our MB-5 out or not is entirely up to you. Maurizio Bertoli, USA,
R2: Mrs. Baer, First I am sorry for the confusion raised by the answers you have seen to similar questions in the past. Though everything you say is true I think I can clear this up quickly. Ubatuba is a great stone for the kitchen. It is not absorptive and does not require an impregnator. Products by Stone tech and MBstone for this purpose are an unnecessary expense (impregnators). Additionally if a stone does not absorb very much the impregnators applied to them are many times left on the top of the stone. The impregnators can over time etch and make the counter look oily or dirty. The product from Stonetech known as Revitalizer is a good product. It however states that it has a small amount of impregnator contained in its formulation. Therefore, I would recommend any other neutral cleaner specified for stone. Many of these products are able to be purchased through home improvement stores in the USA and via the internet all over the world. Again I am sorry for the confusion. Regards, Steven
R1: Dear Kay: Uba Tuba is a labradorite-based stone from Brazil. You bought an impregnator, but you don't want to use it on your stone. Get your money back, if you can.
For all the rest, 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,
Q 2438: I thoroughly enjoyed reading all the commentaries in the Advice Wanted section on findstone.com. I was hoping that I could ask some advice on stone restoration. I have been a manager, fabricator, and waterjet operator for a large company for 6 years. Lately, I have started doing restoration sidejobs around my neighborhood, mainly Carrara steps, tub decks, and the like. I use only true honing and polishing techniques. I feel that I have firm grasp on the art of restoration, but, the problem is that because I work mainly in the fabrication sector, I have no idea what to charge. I was hoping that perhaps you could give me a ballpark range on what to charge per sqft on a basic restoration of a basic stone (excluding serious repairs). I have been charging $15-$20 a sqft- am I ripping people off or am I ripping myself off? Please help! Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you, J. Aug 7, Reply
R4: Sir: This is what I do. Learn about how long it takes to do a task example an average step. Goal let say $100.00 per hour and you have 8 steps. Say each step takes a half hr. to do. Step refinishing: $100.00 X 4 hrs.= $ 400.00 Then these I add for just a little Drive time, LiL off on time calculation, set up time: misc. exsp.: $75.00 That is done on MY bid sheet. The proposal just will say something like: Step refinishing , including small repairs. $ 475.00 Floor restoration for marble and limestones pricing usually runs .35 per step or grit to & 1.00 per cut or step per sqft I hope this helps, Randy, USA
R3: My name is Dass from Singapore. I'm a stone restore by profession and doing stone restoration, stain removal, stone forensic and human error investigation for the past 8 years. I'm able to give an inside of it, if you can tell me from which country you are operating from. Dass, singapore,
R2: Dear J.: I charge $3.5 (that's three point five) per square foot and I am the most expensive guy in the most expensive area of the country! I can do easy 500 square feet a day, three cuts and polish) If you can fetch that kind of money without knowing what you're doing (it's just a logical assumption, no offense meant), let me know where you live and I'll move there right away! Maurizio, USA,
R1: To whom it may concern, I have been in the Protection & Restoration on site service and product formulation business now for 27 years. If you are getting $ 15-20.00 sq. ft for Restoration, I would say excellent for you!! Kim, USA.
Q 2437: Can anyone give me information as to the source and physical characteristics of
"Penwater" granite
? Aug 7, Reply
Q 2436: I have a question about Travertine. I am planning to install a pool in my backyard. My landscape designer told me that he has been using Travertine as a patio decking and pool surround with magnificent results. I'm sure it looks great after completion, but I question the maintenance and durability of using Travertine. I have 3 kids and don't want to "worry" about my patio staining or scratching. Can you tell me whether or not you would recommend Travertine for a patio? Will it hold up over time without significant maintenance? How would it compare to using brick, slate, or flagstone? Are some natural stones easier to maintain, with less staining problems? Will some retain their look longer? Will some do better under water conditions? I've enjoyed reading the advice on your web site. Thank you! KB, Aug 7, Reply
R1: Dear KB: I'm wondering what the ancient Romans were thinking when they built the Coliseum some 2,500 years ago!... 
"...Hmmm, will travertine hold up over time? What do we have to do to maintain it? What kind of sealer should we use, so that it won't get stained with the blood of the gladiators?"
Even if the Coliseum it's kinda beat up after all this time, it looks like the ancient Romans did find the answers to the questions above. Too bad they didn't put them in writing! :-) Maurizio, USA,  
Q 2435: We have a slate shower, it is approx. 5 1/2 years old and it is discolouring quite a bit. We were told that it was sealed with the proper sealer and I believe them as I remember the strong odour that it caused. However, many slate tiles are now obviously being affected by the water and are
discolouring. If it is a natural stone than I am really hoping that something can return it to its natural colour and then we can reseal it with perhaps a stronger sealer. Do you have any suggestions for cleaning it and also what kind of sealer that should be used? Thank you, Rose, Aug 7, Reply
R1: Dear Rose: You're not from the US, are you!
Many factors may be involved. The most immediate -- hopefully -- is that you only have an accumulation of soap film on the lower rows of tiles in your shower enclosure. Rub your finger tips on some of the tiles and see if they get soiled with a whitish, waxy film? If that's the case, then all you have to do is to use a proper stone cleaner formulated to remove soap scum.
Another case scenario could be that some of the grout or caulking are missing. That would be bad news, alas. If that's the case, water would have found its way behind the tiles and -- if the slate is a porous one -- the moisture has migrated through the core of the stone onto its surface, while chemically reacting with the stone's makeup, and bleeding on the surface an inorganic salt dubbed "efflorescence". In a case like that, more often than not the only possible solution is to remove the damaged tiles and start all over again.
As you can see, in the whole picture the sealer has nothing to do with anything.
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,
Q 2434: We have a new granite countertop. There is a small stain from an over-ripe tomato. Can this stain be lightened or removed? Neil, Aug 7, Reply
R1: Dear Neil: Yes, it can be removed by poulticing it with talc powder (baby powder) and Hydrogen Peroxide 30/40 volume (salon-grade, clear). For more details on poulticing, get directly in touch with me for free assistance: info@findstone.com. 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,
Q 2433: We are trying to decide between slate or concrete flooring. The questions we have are.....How durable is slate? Durable enough to handle heavy duty commercial traffic? How about the price? Next, I've seen concrete that has been "pressed" with a design making it look like pieces of stone.....is this a more realistic choice? We don't have huge amounts of money to spend, and again, it needs to be VERY durable. Stephanie, Aug 7, Reply
R2: Dear Stephanie, we do have some kinds of limestone that are very compact with an absorbtion percentage of only 0,97% that in a commercial center are very suitable and if well installed the life is very long, about 200 or 300 years or more! We do provide also specialized people to install the material if you want. Also the price is very affordable and if you want more information, let me know. With best regards., Alessandro, Italy
R1: Dear Stephanie: Would you ever put a chalk-board on a heavy-traffic floor? There's your answer about the slate idea. The pressed concrete sounds like a much better choice for your requirements, but I don't know much about it. Maurizio, USA,
Q 2432: Trying to find some advice on how to remove silicone from a granite bar top, it's black with a sort of green/silver swirl, silicone was spilled on the top and wiped off but still there is a hazy section where it was wiped, the bar is still under construction and has not been sealed. thank you for any help you can offer. Craig, Aug 7, Reply
R1: Dear Craig: If the silicone is cured, the only way to remove it is to use a paint stripper based on Methylene Chloride (nasty job!). Keep in mind that it will remove the sealer as well; therefore, the stone will need to be sealed again (if it needed to be sealed in the first place, that is.) 
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,
Q 2431: I am writing from London, England. I am looking for a black stone from Madras, which would be suitable for flooring. Do you know if this is still obtainable anywhere? Agnus, UK, Aug 6, Reply
R1: Dear Agnus: I didn't know you had AOL in England! Many thanks for your lovely words. Yes, I remember writing something about the black stone from Madras as a flooring material, and I still confirm that. I have no idea about its availability, especially in the UK, however. But, hey, this is what Findstone.com does for a living: Find Stones!! For a fee, alas! :-) 
I strongly urge you to inquire with them, because I know as a fact that they are quite familiar with that particular stone. About my consultation services, I've been offering them as far away as China, India, Nigeria, South Korea, etc. Baltimore is only a 3 hours drive from my office. Virtually around the corner! I'll be glad to help. For a fee, alas! :-) Maurizio, USA,
Q 2430: I have considered using polished/filled travertines for my entrance foyer, hallways, and 1st floor bathroom. These areas of the house will not have as much foot traffic as the family room and kitchen (laminate flooring). There are only 4 of us in the house and are usually barefoot or wear indoor
slippers. Should I be concerned about maintaining polished travertine? What are the disadvantages (if any) of polished versus honed? I don't want my hallways to end up dull in the middle and polished at the sides after years of foot traffic. I plan to seal it according to recommendations and use only water or stone cleaning solvents. I want to make sure I am making the right choice by choosing polished  travertines. Thanks in advance. Ben, Aug 7, Reply 
R1: Dear Ben: There's nothing wrong with polished travertine in rooms like the one you've 
listed, in relation to your family situation and habits. But nothing is for ever! I'd be lying to you if I'd try to make you believe that with the right procedures and products your floor will stay unscathed for ever and ever. Eventually, wear and tear will show and the floor will need to be refinished. 
After all, even hardwood floors go through that type of routine! Anyway, by using common sense (that I can see that you already have) and by following solid maintenance guidelines (which do NOT include sealing. It's totally useless with polished travertine. Contrary to popular misconception, it's an extremely dense stone and staining is not a factor. If you don't believe me, spill a few drops of water on a sample tile and see if it will ever be absorbed. Not even minimally, no matter how long you let it sit on it!) you should be able to enjoy your floor for many years, before it will need mechanical intervention.
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,
Q 2429: I have a marble floor and decided to clean the grout. I used Kaboom, which I bought off TV and it says to clean grout. It did a fantastic job on the grout, however, caused a dulling look on the marble. It will not go away. Can I use anything to make it shiny again or did I screw up and should I call a professional? I am hosting a party in several days and it looks awful. Is there a temporary fix I can do if the best way is to call a professional for a permanent fix. Thanks, Amy, Aug 6, Reply
R1: Dear Amy:
KABOOM!!! You did it all right!! Call a pro. 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. 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! and ... no more KABOOM!! Maurizio, USA,
Q 2428: A couple of questions:
We just had installed a phillipino shellstone, 18" by 18". There is lippage of about 1/16" here and there. I would say at least one part of every tile has some edge sticking up. He started by resurfacing the floor with cement. Then he used a multi-purpose white thinset. the bed being about 1/2 inch or more, sinking the tiles into that. Only half has been done so far. The tiles have little edges sticking up on almost on every tile. I think they are less than 1/16" thick. He claims it is caused by the irregularity of the tiles. I think it may be him. He is going to grind down the edges he said with a grinder.
#1. Is it the irregularity of the stone tiles (as our tile layer is claiming) or is it the layer himself? He is going to try grinding the edges down with a small grinder. Is this done?
#2. How would you recommend sealing these tiles to minimize staining? We also have them in the kitchen.
#3. We are also putting a different shellstone called Rustico on our bathroom walls. What would be the best way of insuring that they are done well? The wall is dry wall. 
We are in the Bahamas so it is hard to get expert opinions here. I'm extremely nervous about keeping the guy on the job. Thanx, Adam, Aug 6, Reply
R1: Dear Adam: It's hard to get expert opinion everywhere, it seems! Your installer may be right: shell stone is never uniform in thickness.  However, if he's going to grind the floor after words, there should be no  problems. I don't know much about shell stone, therefore I won't venture a guess about what to seal it with. Maurizio, USA,
Q 2427: We are laying out marble tiles in our new bathroom. Everything looks pretty good but the grout is not the right color. We have only grouted a few tiles. How would I removed the grout and prepare the joint for regrouting? Also one of the tile is scratched and has lost its shine. Is there any
product I can use to restore it or should I just replace it (it has not yet been grouted.) Thanks for your input. Btw, great site...I finally feel I am not alone dealing with these problems..Sylvie, Aug 6, Reply
R1: Dear Sylvie: A DIYer, huh! Nothing wrong with that, mind you, it's just that you can't repair your scratched and dull tile, so you'll have to replace it. Console yourself, though: most professional installers don't know how to refinish marble, either!
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,
Q 2426: Exterior slate install: Half inch 100% coverage/ type S mortar bed. Question is ... seal or not to seal... before install takes place or after tile is set in mortar bed ? thx. Earthwalk, Aug 6, Reply
R1: Dear Earthwalk: It all depends from the slate. Domestic (from New England) and Italian slate don't need any sealing (they use them for roofing!). Some other slates will. Spill some water on a sample and see if it gets absorbed, then decide, If it needs to be sealed, seal at least two weeks after installation. Maurizio, USA,
Q 2425: I have a white marble vanity top, corronado gold, that keeps getting more rings and water spots every day. I have a feeling I should never have been  sold this for a bathroom vanity. Do I need to buff it mechanically, or seal it again, or what? Please help. It is less than 2 years old and looks horrible. My contractor won't return my calls. Shouldn't marble last longer than this? Saks, Aug 6, Reply
R1: Dear Saks: Yes, it should last longer than this, if you follow some sound practices 
that, obviously your contractor "forgot" to give you! No stone sealer would ever solve your problem, not even for the future (nothing but common sense can prevent etching).
You need a professional stone refinisher, now, to take care of your problem. 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 restoration contractor. That should help. 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,  
Q 2424: We have recently purchased a two year old house. Part of the house has coloured (gold-taupe) polished concrete tile floors. They are actually very nice. I have been told that the pigment is put in during the pouring process. I think because of the age of the floors it is probably time to reseal them. Can any one tell me how to do this and if there is any specific care for this type of floor? Many thanks. Barbara, Aug 6, Reply
R1: Dear Barbara: What the heck to I know about concrete?!
Maurizio, USA,  
Q 2423: I have recently discovered your site..and just in time! My partner and I have been asked to clean a large marble floor in the foyer of a sorority house. We first cleaned it, with paint thinner to remove another contractors mistake. Upon removing it, we washed the floor with hot /soapy (mild detergent) water. And we were told by the "house Mom" that they had always used "Mop & Glow" on these particular floors. Therefore...not know any better ...we did as we were told! And therein lies the problem. What do we do now??? They would like the floors to shine. What can we apply, or do to correct the current problem. Respectfully yours, Misty, Aug 6, Reply 
R1: Dear Respectfully Misty: You're into something you know nothing about! Mop & Glow, huh! Some marble maintenance, all right!
That floor needs to be thoroughly (I do mean THOROUGHLY) stripped, rehoned and repolished by a professional stone refinisher, then maintained according to specific guidelines for high traffic marble floor that I'll be glad to supply to you for free by the asking: info@findstone.com
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 restoration contractor. That should help. Maurizio, USA,  
Maurizio, Thanks for the info.! Yes, you are correct...we are clueless! We are a repair/maintenance contractors; no marble floor specialist. What professional product would you recommend. We have recently discovered a janitorial supply house in our DFW area, that carries many marble care products...so hopefully we could acquire your suggestions.
Thanks again, Misty
Q 2422: I had a Baltic Brown Granite Counter installed in a kitchen. I noticed the end of the peninsula was not touching the cabinet. I called for a repair. The installer came and put epoxy on the edge between the counter and the cabinet and held it down until it stuck. Was this repaired properly or am I going to have problems later? One edge is still not touching the cabinet. If it is not properly repaired how should it be done? Sal, 
Aug 6, Reply
R2: Sal, I don't have the answer to your question but I have a question if you don't mind. Did you have your Baltic Brown sealed? I've been told it's one of the "granites" you would normally NOT seal but it's been suggested to me, by this list, TO seal it. Lemon does not etch it. Water/lemon juice sits on top and does not appear to sink in. The granite DOES however turn dark when wet (as most all materials do) and then dries to it's original color.
I LOVE the colors in this piece of rock and can't wait to have it installed! I've gone with a very "Tuscan" look in the kitchen :) Monica, USA.
R1: Dear Sal: No, it was not repaired properly by a long shot!! To eliminate a gap one has 
to fill it (with wood shims or something), not to bend the stone down to meet the cabinet! Now you have a stress point that may cause your stone to crack. Have your "Michelangelo" come back and demand them to rectify the problem properly. (You can print this out and make them read it, if you wish.) 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,
Q 2421: My ferret ("Gracie") urinated on my granite floor tile. It left a nasty stain. I tried to lift the stain using vinegar, but it seemed to lighten the stain somewhat, but the darken the stone around it. What should I do? Thanks in advance, Christine, Aug 6, Reply
R1: Dear Christine: You have to poultice the stain out using a mix of talc powder (baby powder) and Hydrogen Peroxide salon-grade, clear (30-40 volume). To know more about poulticing techniques, ask for my free advice by e-mail  at: info@findstone.com.
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,
Q 2420: I need to find a company that is accepting applications for a stone fabricator. Anyone have any sources? Desiree, Aug 6, Reply
Q 2419: I hope you can help me. We have a home that was built in 1925. We have a total of 6 fireplaces throughout the house. The problem is that most of the fireplaces (4 out of the 6) all have cracks on the floor of the fireplace. The bottom of the fireplace seems to be concrete painted black. Although, we are not sure what the material is that is used. Can you tell me how I can patch the cracks? I do not wish to tear the whole thing out and I'm sure the house is settled considering the home is 77 years old. Kendra, Aug 6, Reply
R1: Dear Kendra: All I can tell you is to get hold of a professional stone mason. Maurizio, USA,
Q 2418: Can a cultured marble shower enclosure be painted? Karen, Aug 6, Reply
R1: Dear Karen: At this site we don't know anything about plastic (cultured marble), or about paint. Maurizio, USA,
Q 2417: We have a trachite stone benchtop that was installed in our kitchen over a year ago and although we had it professionally sealed straight after it was installed but have had continuous problems with the stone marking and etching from normal day to day use. Many attempts by the professional sealer to rectify the problem have failed. The supplier of the stone denies any responsibility so the matter is in the hands of the Dpt of Fair Trading. I have been instructed by them to get a report from an inbiased expert stating that either the stone can not be sealed to prevent etching and marking because of the nature of the stone OR the stone can be sealed effectively for up to a period of 12 months when it would need to be resealed, and the sealant that will do that is.......? If you can help with this I can provide you with a sample of the stone. 
We chose that particular stone because we assured by the supplier that although it is a natural product, unlike limestone or marble, it wouldn't mark if it was sealed professionally. And we really liked the appearance but would rather have had laminate that go through all this drama! I look forward to hearing from you. Sharyn, Aug 6, Reply
R2: Dear Sharyn: So, now we have trachyte, too!
Its a extrusive igneous rock whose essential components are sanidine, plagioclase  (andesine-labradorite), biotite. I don't much about its absorbency rate, so I won't comment on the necessity of sealing it or not. Based on its essential components, the stone should not etch, but ... as usual, according from the country of origin, there may be big differences due to its different accessories. To find out if it etches, you have to run the lemon juice test on a piece of scrap that was NOT sealed. If it does, then of course, no sealer on the planet will ever solve the problem of etching, since sealers only solve the problem of staining. If it doesn't etch, then it's the sealer that's etching! A different sealer made 
with a resin that's not effected by acids, should solve the problem, after thoroughly removing the current sealer.
If you need to contact me, send me an e-mail at: info@findstone.com. Maurizio, USA,
R1: I presume that you are talking about the Bowral Trachyte (but there might be some other trachytes out there). Usually this is a fairly dense and hard-wearing rock unless yours contains concentrations of ankeritic carbonate. Contact me if you want a report. Dr. Hans, Australia,  
Dear Dr Hans, all I know about our trachyte is that it comes from Italy [not necessarily assuming Bowral trachyte comes from Bowral though!] If you were to do a report for us where would I send a sample to for you to analyse and what would you charge? Thanks for the reply, Sharyn
Q 2416: I am purchasing a model home that has Blue Pearl granite countertops in the
kitchen. I noticed some granite scraps in the garage and intend take one and apply the lemon juice test before closing escrow.  I would like to know what sort imperfections to look for when I do my walk-thru.  (So far, I have found one small pit.)  Also, the kitchen flooring is broken flagstone with large, irregular areas of grout between the tiles.  Should this flooring be sealed? What is the best maintenance for such a floor?  What imperfections should I look for in the flooring during my walk-thru. I would appreciate any and all advice.   Thank you, DeeDee, Aug 6, Reply 
R2: Dear DeeDee: Don't waste your time with my lemon juice test: Blue Pearl (an Anorthosite  from Norway) is as bullet-proof as they come! Forget about the little pit,  will ya! As far as the flagstone floor is concerned, the necessity of sealing it would be only determined by the type of stone sitting on the floor (the word flagstone means nothing). Try to spill some water on it and see if it gets absorbed. If it does, then you seal, if it doesn't, then you don't. I would consider sealing the grout, though. 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,
R1: Dear double D's: You shouldn't find any problems with Blue Pearl granite in your kitchen. It is not very absorbent and has a fairly stable mineralogy. But because it has no quartz it is not as hard as most granites. This can also serve to make it physically more stable than a quartz-rich granite. If only you knew how beautiful this rock type (called larvikite) can be under a scientific microscope! The photomicrographs that I have taken of this and associated rock types for my clients are stunning and make great posters. As for the pits, you will find that most are associated with dark specks marking the location of an iron-rich mica called lepidomelane. This is a biotite rich in both ferric and ferrous iron. Because it is much softer than the bulk of the mineralogy it tends to be removed preferentially in the cutting, honing and polishing procedures. Nothing to worry about and it won't need sealing.
Dr. Hans, Australia,
Q 2415: Our company has a limestone-mine in his property in Iran. This limestone is completely natural and biologic (shell-stone) which is build of between 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 micronize form. We are interested to cooperate with international companies who would like to invest in our project. We can send you a piece of this material if you want. Payam, Aug 6, Reply
Q 2414: Please provide technical specification of Grey sardo Granite, Rosy Pink Granite, 
Bianco Rose marble. Thanks & best regards, ACPC, UAE. Aug 6, Reply
Q 2413: I am hoping you can help me with my problem! I had "Absolute Black" granite countertops installed several months ago (according to installer, granite came from South Africa, was polished in Italy, and then cut and edge polished in New Hampshire). They looked beautiful upon installation, but, within a week, showed what looked like etching (dull areas in the polished stone) near the stove, presumably from my cleaning a spill with a scrubbing sponge. The installer returned and applied a poultice which didn't work (and didn't seem like the right thing to do, in my opinion). He offered to remove the countertop section and have it repolished and reinstalled. I declined, because of the inconvenience involved (the installation process had taken weeks, but that's another story). Since then, the entire counter surface is marked with small scratched and/or dull areas, water rings, and spots, and when I clean with water or Windex, my wipe marks are apparent on the polished surface. It looks terrible!
After reading your other posts, I wonder if it is the sealer the installer applied (twice) to the countertops that is etching/scratching and absorbing water spots. I would like this problem resolved, but I am hesitant to contact the installer, as he seemed completely in the dark as to what the problem might be, and I am afraid he might do more harm than good. Do you know what the problem might be, and is there a solution short of removing the countertops and repolishing them at the fabricator? Can the sealer be removed, and would I need a professional to do it? How do I restore the polish to the etched/scratched areas? (I have tried granite "etch repair polish" and it shows little improvement.) Thank you in advance for your response. Tracy, Aug 6, Reply
R1: Dear Tracy: The vast majority of the fabricators are "trained" by the "salesmen" ruling 
the stone industry. So, they tell them: "This is granite", and they believe it. Then they tell them: "Every granite must be sealed" and they believe it. And so on. 
Dolerite (that's what black absolute from South Africa is, certainly not a granite) is a stone that, for the intents and purposes of a kitchen countertop, is much better than true geological granite, but sometimes -- like in your case -- instead of being as enjoyable and problem-free as it should, it becomes a maintenance nightmare, due to the in-depth "knowledge" about stone that most fabricators can flaunt! Dolerite is so inherently dense that does not need any sealer, and if you seal it anyway ... That's what you have! And, yes, your fabricator doesn't have a clue about what they're looking at! Even you realized that a poultice wouldn't do any good! ...Yes, the problem is exclusively the sealer. You've got to get rid of it and live happily ever after! I wouldn't do that myself: it's a nasty procedure that implies the use of a strong and dangerous solvent, namely Metylene Chloride. Since your fabricator seems so cooperative (they offered to bring that piece back to the shop and refinish it), I would print this out, show it to them, and demand that they strip the sealer off your beautiful Dolerite! By the way, the suggestion they gave you about using Windex and other stuff like that, is wrong, too! What a surprise, huh! 
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 understand further your situation. 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,  
Q 2412: I want to upgrade my backyard. I don't know what should I use flagstones or 
bricks for entrance.
I don't have much money. Which is cheaper than other? Thank you, Nancy, Aug 6, Reply 
R1: Hi Nancy, The best solution for you is to use the flagstone which is not only the cheapest but the good looking for the backyard.Good value for money and the long lasting solution. Rakesh, India
Q 2411: We recently installed a new granite counter top on an island in the kitchen. I am having a lot of trouble with stains from fats. I did not realize that granite was so susceptible to oil stains. It does not seem practical as a kitchen material. 
I wonder if it was not properly sealed prior to delivery and installation? The butter or other oil does not need to be on the counter for very long for a stain to develop. For example we just did a buffet dinner served off of the island. In under two hours there were two stains from a little drop of margarine that landed on the counter from someone setting the margarine serving knife on the counter. 
The first time I got a stain I cleaned as best I could and then tried to reseal the counter top. I used tile lab surface guard penetrating sealer.
According to the directions I was supposed to wipe this on the counter top and wait 15 minutes and then wipe dry. If there were spots where the sealer soaked in I was supposed to repeat the process. The directions indicated that they did not expect you would need to do this more than twice.
The first time, pretty much the whole surface absorbed the product but I wiped off the parts that did not soak in, and then repeated the process. 
The second time there was more product left standing after 15 minutes, and I wiped off this and repeated the process since so much seemed to soak in. I stopped after four times after the fourth time most of the area of the counter did not soak up the product, but significant areas did soak it up.
I felt I needed to stop since the directions indicated that twice was the expected maximum.
Also, the surface is not totally smooth there are many cracks and lines in the surface of the counter top, that can be seen if you hold your head down near the surface and look across the surface. 
Is it possible that it was not properly sealed in the first place? How would I tell? It seems unreasonable to expect that no oil substance come in contact with a kitchen surface. It seems to me that you cannot expect that every drop be wiped up immediately. Our dinner was served and we had a little dessert then cleaned the kitchen, and so the counter was wiped up within two hours of when the substance hit the counter. I honestly don't think I can enjoy my counter tops if I need to worry about spills. I appreciate any information and advice including opinions about my expectations for the counter top. Thank you, Donahue, Aug 6, Contact
R1: Dear Donahue: I'm sorry to be the one to welcome you in the stone industry! Of course, your "granite" is not a granite at all; of course, it was not sealed properly; of course, for what you report, you'll never be able to enjoy your countertop; of course, what you're experiencing is not fair (it's actually a full-fledged fraud!); and finally, of course, there are several "granites" that would have made you a happy camper instead.
To understand what I mean -- even if it's too late now -- 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 will explain you everything! 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, although they won't do much to make you happy! 
There's always a solution, though: Get rid of your countertop and choose a "granite" that will please you for years to come. After all, it's only money! Weigh that against your mental health and draw your own conclusions. Finally, you're welcome to communicate directly with me (if you feel like) at: info@findstone.com Maurizio, USA<  
Q 2410: How do I clean marble flooring with light colored grout and have it shine afterwards? Basnight, Aug 6, Reply
R1: Dear Basnight: I don't quite understand the extent of your question. Is your marble floor nice and shiny now, or is it dull? If the latter is the case, 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's what you'd need to have your marble floor polished as it was when originally installed. 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, and that's all you'd need, if your floor doesn't need refinishing now! Maurizio, USA,  
Q 2409: I am interested in doing a mosaic tile covering on my laminate countertops. Is this even possible, and if so, how would I go about it? Ajit, Aug 6, Reply
R1: Dear Ajit: Of course it is possible! How? ... Get a professional who knows how to do it, 
that's all! Maurizio, USA,
Q 2408: I have a slate hearth that candle wax has dripped onto. How do I clean it? I recently scrubbed the inside of the brick firewall and hearth with Spic and Span - it did an ok job but did not get the wax stain off. Also, after I do remove the stain (if I can) is there anything I should seal it with? The hearth is 10 years old. Thanks so much. Sue, Aug 6, Reply
R1: Dear Sue: Use a blow-torch. Maurizio, USA,
Q 2407: I have cleaned some of my own family monuments and I am looking to get into this area as a source of income. The primary problem I face in the area I am in is hard water lime buildup on monuments from cemetery sprinkler systems in town and city cemeteries - stones in country cemeteries with no watering other than natural rainfall don't really need any cleaning other than the biologicals that attach themselves to marble. This buildup is not a natural patina but a result of the necessity of creating a green carpet in cemeteries in a low rainfall area of the western U.S. - the encrustation on granite can get fairly thick, in many cases giving the monument an overall whitish-gray appearance and leaving it almost unreadable. This was the case with my Grandfather's stone. Once cleaned after 77 years of getting sprayed with hard water it was a nice polished rose granite. The main question is this, which I can't seem to find a straight answer - is there any other solution to this problem other than acidics and abrasives? Basically I have been using CLR and steel wool and lots of elbow grease, then neutralizing with non-ionic soap and baking soda for polished granite which doesn't appear to harm the surface. On another family stone there was a heavy lime deposit on a large rough sandblasted part of the stone which I removed with CLR and pumice stone, but you go through pumice stone pretty quickly on granite, is there a harder cleaning stone available which wouldn't harm rough granite but do the job more economically? And overall, is this course of treatment safe long-term for modern monuments or can anyone recommend better, faster and more economical products available, and where and from what company? Rich, Aug 6, Reply
Q 2406: I am attaching an image of a stone flooring. it's a French lime stone and most likely the name is "Alt-Portou". This stone is processed to give a antique look. The edges are given a pillow finish and the surface has a soft glow to it although it is natural surface.
How is this finish given to the stone? My basic interest to know if it possible to give a soft shine to natural surface of Kota Stone. Regards, Subodh, India, Aug 6, Reply
Q 2405: I just had a large area of beautiful multi-colored slate installed today and they grouted it. Unfortunately I don't think they wiped the slate off soon enough after grouting for even after my several scrubbings on hands and knees, it still will not come off. The thick grout is off, but what is left looks like a greyish dusting on the surface and the slate isn't pretty anymore. What can I do to get this grout off the slate? I probably need to remove this before sealing it don't I? I would very much appreciate your help. Thank you for your time. Tracy, Aug 6, Reply
R1: Dear Tracy: Get hold of you installer and demand them to clean the grout film off your 
slate surface, or else! Maurizio, USA,
Q 2404: I have found a "limestone graphite" (or vice versa) in Vancouver and I am wondering if you have info on it. Considering it for kitchen counter. I think it is from Italy. Thanks, Esther, Aug 6, Reply
R1: Dear Esther, By reading through the previous entries you should have got the drift that limestone is not a great choice for a kitchen counter. Kitchens contain acids (fruit juices, carbonated drinks, wine, coke, vinegar) and acid plus limestone gives a reaction that does not favour the limestone. Additionally, limestone is soft and can be quite porous. And now you have found a limestone that contains graphite. Graphite is used as a lubricant and as pencil leads and although it has the same chemical composition as diamond it is much softer than the limestone. How much penance would you like to serve?? Dr. Hans, USA,
Q 2403: We are replacing our kitchen sink and need to cut the marble in order to do so fit the new bigger one in. 
I do not know what type of marble it is but it has a smooth finish and is of medium thickness.  What do I need to consider? Know? Professionals will do the work ($$!!!! Ouch! They want $250!! To re-cut).  I am worried they might crack the whole piece….. What do u suggest? Mike, Aug 6, Reply
R1: Dear Mike: Hire a pro that will take responsibility not to crack the slab. That would involve roding, before cutting, which will bring the cost up ($250.00 is cheap!) Maurizio, USA,
Q 2402:I want to install a stone patio in the rear of my house (sand base).. I know very little about stone. Most retailers in my area (western NY) only sell fieldstone by the pallet. I saw quartzite stone on the net for patio use and it seems to be a good option. My question is, what is the difference between the two types of stones. Should I pursue trying to obtain quartzite versus fieldstone. Thanks, PMC, Aug 6, Reply
R1: Dear PMC: No, I wouldn't. Maurizio, USA,
Q 2401: I have a rock fireplace that must have been coated with some kind of sealer, and there's a few spots that have chipped off, exposing a white chalky look as if you are now seeing the inside of a rock. I'm not sure how to restore it. Also I need to clean the entire fireplace, it has black smoke stains . I don't know what kind of rock it is but it looks very natural flagstone like. Tami, Aug 6, Reply
Q 2400: Our designer asked the installer of our 16" x 16" travertine floor to use a European look with texture and with tight joints. The Greek bath house look. We have the floor installed and it is beautiful. We have some friends previous tile installers look at it and state that it is installed with out being flush. Can you define texture? The designer seems to think it is fine. What should we do? The tiles are a little uneven and we asked to have the lippage taken down. The floor is still with texture and I was wanting to get a professional opinion not just a tile setter. Cliff, Aug 6, Reply
R1: Dear Cliff: Your designer must be one of those persons who believes it's possible to have a Mercedes-Benz automobile just by bolting a tri-point star ornament on the hood of a Chevy! 
To get the real European look, you have to have the floor installed the European way, that is "ground-in-place". Anything different is just a pathetic "look-alike wannabe". Your friends previous tile installers are right. Get hold of a good professional stone refinisher and have that floor ground. They will also be able to talk to you about texture.
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 restoration 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. You do want to treasure those! Maurizio, USA<
Q 2399: What kind of paint would I use to paint a limestone rock that is in my outside flowerbed? DJL, Aug 6, Reply
R1: Dear DJL: Ask the paint store. Here we know about stone, not about paint. Maurizio, USA,
Q 2398: We have a natural looking slate floor. I like the look, so based on your sites information it sounds like I should not seal it, but should just continuing cleaning the spots as they come. It sounds like if there is an especially bad spot I could sand it down a little by hand and then use mineral oil.  
A person that I had come look at the slate told me that I should not use cleaners, and especially bleach, in cleaning the floor of my ceramic tile shower. I haven't seen this verified on your site yet. 
I was hoping your maintenance recommendations would verify or dispel the advice I've heard from all these sources. Thanks! Barb, Aug 6, Reply
R1: Dear Barb: If you can't use a cleaner, then what on earth should you be using to clean your ceramic tile shower?! I sincerely hope that the "genius" who told you that, also told you what to use instead, and that you're willing to share the "secret"!!
About the sealing of the slate, it all depends on the type of slate you have. Domestic (from New England) and Italian slate don't need any sealing. Many Indian and Chinese slates do need to be sealed, and some of them are beyond sealing (so porous they are!)
About the sanding thing ... I don't think so! You can only sand a smooth finished slate (like a chalk-board), not certainly a natural cleft finished slate like you have.
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,
Q 2397: I recently purchased a hand carved alabaster lamp (antique - approx 100 years old). It has many small holes and is dirty in several places. The antique dealer  recommended that I clean the lamp with dishwashing liquid and a toothbrush. So far, this has not worked very well. The lamp has a bit of a darker stain (it appears) in places. Do you have any suggestions or recommendations on what I can use to clean the lamp? I didn't know if there is some product I could buy that would be safe? Any suggestions you have would be greatly appreciated. Regards, Lisa, Aug 6, Reply
Q 2396: We have a textured slate floor that receives heavy traffic every day. It is light in color but gets a thin black film of oil and grease that does not completely clean even after daily scrubbing. The only places that appear very clean are where the rubber tires of the floor scrubber spin. We are curious if there are any rubber nubbed brushes available for Noble floor scrubbers or Clark scrubbers. We have tried many types of degreaser products but none seem to do the trick. Thank you. Doug, Aug 6, Reply
Q 2395: My home is 32 years old. The living room 20.0 x 25.0 feet has a slate floor. The house is built of second hand materials, I believe the floor is of Lilydale (Victoria, Australia) slate. In several spots on the floor small areas are crumbling, the grey surface is lifting and exposing a chalky substance underneath. Please advise me how to arrest this problem, and if possible repair the damage. Gary, Australia, Aug 6, Reply
R1: Dear Gary, The situation that you describe doesn't sound good. I don't like your chances of arresting the problem unless there is something that you are doing inadvertently to cause the problem (e.g. periodically applying liquid). If you can send me a sample of your problem I might be able to better assess the rock type and what might be happening. Dr. Hans, Australia,
Q 2394: Can you tell me if there is a website for installers abroad and also in this country? Paul, Aug 6, Reply
R2: Hi, I read your inquiry. We're a mexican company based in D.F., an we supply and install all kind of stones in different projects in mexico. we've installed hospitals, universities, Office buildings, Residential buildings and Residential Houses of very high value. If you're interested, please reply, Regards, Isaac
R1: which country ? Hyltd
Q 2393: Is it true that outdoor patio tile should be Porcelain because it will not crack when it turns frosty weather? Thanks, Janie, Aug 6, Reply
R5: No, thats bullshit ! Granite is one the most frost secure materials !! Carlos
R4: Hi Janie ! While porcelain tile may be an option, its certainly not even in the running when you consider the aesthetics, as well as the cost (of course, when I say aaaaargh ! to porcelain tile in a patio, I'm talking like a passionate stone lover ! lol). Try a quartzitic slate instead ; we have lots of customers in Europe (especially Northern Europe) who use it even in freeze/thaw situations ! Plenty available from India ; be glad to make you an offer with fotos ; what I'd need is the colour theme that you'd like to stick with, the approx quantity, and the shipping location. Many thanks. Deepak
R3: Dear madam ! it depends on the temepratures you have in yr place.
when the tiles are not frostproof (i.e. with a water absorption of less than 3%) then chances are that the frost cycles
will provoke huge craters in yr tiles.
so.. getting porcelain tiles will give you an aboslute guarantee that that will never happen-
do not forget that you may choose among the following types of tiles :
glazed porcelain tiles ( porcellanato smaltato)
unglazed porcelain tiles ( porcellanato )
klinker tiles ( extruded tiles )
any of these tiles will be absolutely frostproof.
do not forget then ::
the surface is subject to abrasion..
you should get at least a pEI 5 grading in the case of glazed porcelain. aesthetics also play a role..
do not forget that porcelain tiles have a water absorption of less than 3% ( normally less tha 0.3%) but still they will absorb liquids..
that might lead to dirty spots in yr surface that might prove hard to remove..
I would recommnend a KLINKER TILE or a GLAZED PORCELAIN tile
they will offer a better aesthetics and will last a long time
i will be happy to hear from you in case you need more advices, sandro amorati ( from sassuolo, italy.. the capital town of tile production..)
R1: Dear Janie, it is not true! A good marble can be at any temperature, specially the one we do have produciton like beige, yellow, green, blue, white... If you are interested to know more, let me know what you need in quantities and qualities.Alessandro, Italy 
Q 2392: I have just laid quartz rock on my outside steps. I now need to wash the rock to remove the excess sand/cement mixture. My understanding is wire brush the stone with an acid wash. Can you please tell me the correct procedure. Thank you. Alan, Aug 6, Reply
Q 2391: I am looking for recent good references, about the rule and influence of moisture content on uniaxial compressive strength of Dolomites, Limestones. Thanks, Dr. Hayati, Israel, Aug 6, Reply
R1: Dear Dr. Hayati: If you find any please let me know. This subject is not a straight-forward one because of the many factors that can influence compressive strengths in such structurally, texturally and sometimes mineralogically complex rock types. Because of the infinite combinations of parameters it is unlikely that you would get a relationship between moisture content and rock strength that you could call "rule". Dr. Hans, Australia,  
Q 2390: I have a smooth surface sandstone fireplace that is very discolored and dirty. How do I clean it? Also - is there a way to clean it uniformly without streaks? It's not horribly dirty - just mostly age dirt - but some creosote around the hearth opening. Cathy, Aug 6, Reply
Q 2389: What is the difference between bluestone and fieldstone and/or flagstone? Phyllis, Aug 6, Reply
Q 2388: I live in Arkansas. I have been in the countertop business for 30 + years. I am in the process of enlarging my business and have become interested in granite tops. Do you know of any books or videos I can get on fabricating granite? I am especially interested in tailgate fabrication with a minimum of tools. Paul, Aug 6, Reply
R1: Dear Paul: I'm not really fond of "tailgate fabrication". I'm afraid you'll end up becoming another "Michelangelo"! ... And we've got more than enough of those already!
However, if you're really serious about it, send me an E-mail at: info@findstone.com and I'll see what I can do to help you. Maurizio, USA,
Q 2387: I have stone available for quarrying, but don't know how to contact a quarrying company. Help! Max, Aug 6, Reply
R3: Dear Max, Completly agree with Hans. Remember that stone is a God gift, but expertise and high professional tecnology will tell you if you can eat the apple... Do not risk, because it costs you more money than you can imagine... Also don t forget local legislation and green people. Manuel, Portugal, Inspection and quality control expert
R2: Do you have a sample to send us to see whether the stone can be introduces sucessfully in the market. As Hans mentioned there are many obstacles in get a quarry up and running. Deposit size Quality of material Distance to nearest port Availability of trained quarry personnel and many more. Sven, Norway,
R1: Dear Max, I too have many granite, sandstone, marble, and limestone deposits that are suitable for quarrying. And I know all of these rock types and the deposits inside out. But quarrying stone for building purposes is not easy, and as many people have discovered, is not always a money-making exercise. This type of activity is governed by many parameters and unless you get the equation right you are not going to make money. Most successful quarrying companies know this and have a good handle on these parameters. If some of the parameters are likely to be detrimental to a profitable operation it is essential to assess their negative impact on the ultimate bottom line before operations commence. One of the rules of quarrying is that you never start with known problems - there are enough unforeseen problems that arise when you least want them to. Get some expert advice on what you have to offer - look at the equation - then get in contact with a quarrying company. Dr. Hans, Australia,  
Q 2386: I have been in the Floor covering trade for more than 30 years now, having close contacts with the main Architects / Designers / Hoteliers / Specifiers in India. I intend branching out into the natural Stone trade, for which I know a substantial demand exists. I would be thankful if you could furnish me with some basic start-up knowledge / info as to what all is involved in the natural Stone / Slate line and all that I need to know about  this. Many thanks, Puneet, Aug 6, Reply
Q 2385: I have a black slate fire surround that was painted with several coats of white emulsion I have stripped these off but am left with patchy areas of what appears to be underlying black gloss which I cannot remove with paint stripper. The surround is huge and I really do not know what to try next with it without damaging the slate. Any suggestions to help me return the surround to it's original splendor would be welcome. Dawne, Aug 6, Reply
R1: Dear Dawne: If the slate has a natural cleft finish, then there's nothing you con do. If 
it has a smooth, flat finish (like a chaulk borad), then you can try to wet-sand it by using metal grade sandpaper. Start with a 100 grit, then 200 and 400. You have to work long and patiently with each grit. At the end, treat the stone surface with mineral oil to make it uniformly black. It should work! Maurizio, USA,
Q 2384: Could you please send us some details (chemical properties) and more about: 
1. Morwar marble
2. Vikas marble 
3. Pista marble
We are also having different type of quartz stone and we want to expand it all over. Shariq, India, Aug 6, Reply
Q 2383: Was wondering if you also accommodate opportunity for positions in the Dimensional Stone Trade. I am a Quarry Master with 17 Years and several Quarry Sites in Canada. Curd, Aug 6, Reply
Q 2382: I have a slate water fountain - which has turned colors during my move - I love the relaxing sound but currently hate the discoloration - not sure if you can assist me in learning how to clean it if you could point me in the right direction or give me some pointers I would be grateful. Christina, Aug 6 Reply
A 2381 (previously 2128): We recently had 1/2" Silver Sea Green granite tile installed on a new countertop; the workmanship is impeccable! But when you look across the surface, with window lighting beyond, about 25% of the tiles have what looks like dull surface smudges (not scratches) in various places. The areas on affected tiles are anywhere from 1/2" x 4" to 3" x 8", with more or less separate "smudges" within these areas. Looking straight down on the tile, there is no discoloration. If you run your finger very lightly over these spots, they seem slightly smoother/slicker than the adjacent non-blemished areas. The condition existed from the day it was installed; we haven't yet sealed the granite, pending resolution of this problem (the installer recommends solvent-based Miracle 511 Impregnator). Also, the installer doesn't know what the problem is. 
Thinking it might be oil or grease from the cutting process (they were 8" x 20" tiles cut down to 8" x 8" tiles), I tried the following solvents/cleaners:
-Tile Lab Heavy Duty Cleaner (contains: glycol ether & monoethanolamine).
-Tile Lab Stain Remover Paste ( " : alkili silicate, MEA, sodium bisulfate).
-Miracle Tile & Stone Cleaner (contents unknown).
-Phosphoric acid (puddled, not poultice style).
-Muriatic acid (puddled, not poultice style).
-Acetone (puddled, not poultice style).
-Paint thinner (puddled, not poultice style).
-Bon Ami (non-abrasive) scouring powder.
Nothing had any effect on the "marks".
A stone polisher looked at it & thought that "dirt" got between the original tiles in shipping from the factory, and vibration slightly roughened these areas. The fact that the marks seem smoother than the surrounding areas says "no" to that theory, but the fact that the "marks" are duller than surrounding areas says maybe? He was reluctant to try polishing for fear of causing bigger problems; but he did suggest that I could try something called Potea Gris; haven't done that yet. Anyone have a suggestion? Thanks. Hugh, USA, Aug 8. Reply
R1: Dear Hugh: You've got quite a mystery in your hands, all right! Quite a riddle, let me tell you. Your smudges are duller than the unscathed areas, but smoother ... It makes no sense. The database I have in between my ears is flagging at: "Epoxy residue", but it still makes no sense, considering that are brand-new tiles. On the other hand, being that I'm not familiar with that particular "granite", I can't even begin to guess whether it could be a natural characteristic of that stone. Yes, you're right, the diagnosis of the stone refinisher you've consulted with is ridiculous (to say the least), but what can you expect from somebody who won't even try polishing it because is afraid to create more damage??!! 
Since you already tried everything under the sun but a paint stripper (not thinner) based on Methylene Chloride, I'd give it a shot (follow the directions and precautionary warnings and recommendation printed on the product's can). If that won't work ... Well I quite don't know what else to tell you.
As far as the sealing thing is concerned (assuming that you'll be successful at removing the "mysterious" stains, or decide to keep your "granite" anyway), I wouldn't rush into it before finding out if your stone need any sealing at all to begin with. You don't want to add insult to the injury, do you!
Wait a minute! ... The epoxy residue thing keeps flagging inside my skull ... Maybe, just maybe that stone had been processed in Italy and has been "resined". If that's the case -- again just maybe -- it could be that there's a thin residue of resin on the top of the tiles (smoother and duller). Methylene Chloride should take care of that. Apply more than once if necessary. And, PLEASE, KEEP ME POSTED. I believe I deserve it! 
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, USA,  
Thanks for your considered and detailed reply to my A2128 June inquiry. I tried your "nagging thought" suggestion of a paint stripper, and used methylene chloride-based Jasco Premium Stripper. I tried 4 passes on a blemished granite scrap, and 2 passes on an actual countertop blemish. I greatly regret to say none of these trials had any effect whatsoever. So, now I think the only untried approach is polishing. I'm an engineer and mechanically handy; do you think there's any way I could try a small spot-polishing of a scrap or countertop blemish to see if it has any effect (before I call in the "pros" for the whole job)? By the way, in your reply you intimated that what I have might not be granite. For however it might affect your thoughts on the problem, I believe it is, in fact, granite. It looks like it, has obvious slicing-saw marks on the back side, and as the installer said, it's the hardest granite he'd ever seen. Thanks for your help. Hugh. 
Q 2381: You gave me a thorough reply (A2128 posted in June) to my request about eliminating surface dull spots from my newly-installed Silver Sea Green countertop granite tile. Your last suggestion of methylene chloride stripper didn't work, as did none of my previous solvents, etc. So, now I think the only untried approach is polishing.
We liked the look of natural stone v/s several manmade types. Originally, we saw it in 12x12 tiles at a Home Depot store, but they couldn't get anymore. Finally found some 8x20 tiles, very similar to the 12x12's, languishing in a warehouse locally. Had an installer cut them down to 8x8s, and they look great! Hugh, Aug 3, Reply
Q 2380: I have a problem with my marble and enjoyed your article. My father was very ill for 4 months and I used my marble table to put medicine but I first put a rubber over the top to protect well I think it ruined it, because I have shiny & dull spots & don't know what to do. I have tried buffing with a polish I was given, didn't work. What would I use? Russell, Aug 3, Reply
R2: Dear Russel: By the same token that a car wax doesn't polish a car's paint (unless it's 
already polished), a marble polish will not polish marble. Marble polishes are only a marketing gimmick, some wax of sorts in a bottle that has one scope and one scope only: Sell.
That said, to explain your situation, the rubber you've used actually etched the stone surface. It's a light etching, however, and you should be able to easily repair it by using a polishing compound for marble. Hit the link to my Dos and Don'ts toward the end of this page's side bar and see if you can find in it what you would need. Maurizio, USA,
R1: Dear Russell: I don't know what kind of rubber you put on the marble, but it appears as if the rubber was absorbent. I speculate that whatever medicines and other products you used have caused etches in the surface of the marble. These can be removed, but you will have to call a marble restoration specialist. Mike, USA,
Q 2379: We have just purchased a house with what would be a beautiful gray-green-bluish slate kitchen tiled floor but it is very stained and looks filthy! My partner thinks it is undressed slate as it is not a smooth surface. How can we clean it? Does it need sealant? Catherine, UK, Aug 3, Reply
R1: Dear Catherine: If your floor has a very rough surface then it is probably slate. I would use a strong solution of laundry soap e.g. Tide (1gal) combined with two cups of 30 to 40% hydrogen peroxide (available from your local Beauty Supply outlets) Mop on and then let it set for at least fifteen minutes. Agitate with a strong bristle brush. If you have access to and are comfortable with using a buffer then use this with a black pad instead of the brush. After agitation vacuum up the solution with a wet vac. Rinse thoroughly two or three times and vacuum up the solution. Let the floor dry for a minimum of 48 hours, then apply a minimum of two coats of penetrating sealer 24 hours apart. Mike, USA,
Q 2378: I feel blessed to have found your site. Thanks for all the great info. I'm 
considering buying Uba Tuba granite for my kitchen counters. Do you think that is a good choice? And does it have to be sealed? Thank you. Mary, Aug 3, Reply
R2: Dear Mary, You can consider buying Indian Seaweed Green Slabs for your kitchen counters which will look better and is very popular in Australia for kitchen counters and if slab joints are far apart no need for sealing the same. Lohia, India.
R1: Dear Mary: Absolutely, go for it!! No, it does not need to be sealed (my marketing guy 
will be shedding tears of desperation when he reads this!) Now, take good care of it!
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,
Q 2377: I've looked on your website and founds lot of solutions for cleaning stains and alike but none to make the stone look dirtier. 
I live in Yorkshire in the UK and are having some work done on my house, which is made out of local sandstone. The house is approx 200 years old and the stone looks dirty, probably due to all the 'real' coal fires people have and used to use. Part of the work requires the external wall to be rebuilt, as the original stone has deteriorated and for some nice flowers need to be carved on some of the pieces. I have found a local stone mason to do this but the price doubles if the stone has to be artificially aged!!!.
Like all Yorkshire people I don't want to spend more than I have to, so is there away I can make the stone dirty? I've thought of using some soot and water from the fire and painting it on. Is this right or would it wash out next time it rains and go streaky? Hope someone can help. 
I imagine most stone houses in the world are made from local quarried stone. That's defiantly the case here in the UK. In the UK we have some pretty strict planning laws, especially if like our house it is deemed as listed. Alternation to all listed building must generally go through the local planning department. Once the plans are granted it usually states that all material must be made from and must look and close as possible to the originals they are replacing. The moors around where we live have many abandoned small quarries all shut down so it get any stone you have to go to the bigger operations who turn the stone out by the truck load. Many Thanks, Darren, Aug 3, Reply
R1: Darren. Rapidly aging fresh cut stone is a problem. After all, it took quite a while for the stone on your house to get its weathered look. One of the primary agents that give the black appearance to weathered stone is the growth of molds and alga which get into the surface pores of the stone and take up residence. One thing you can try is to support the growth of these organisms by feeding them. Buttermilk, manure tea, liquid lawn fertilizer, compost tea all can act as growth mediums. We have even gone as far as burying stone in a compost pile for several months to hasten the aging process. However, the key here is patience, 200 years of weathering cannot be had overnight. Good luck, JVC, USA< Expert Paenlist.
Q 2376: I have Sainte Cecelia granite in my kitchen and got an olive oil ring on the countertop from the salad dressing bottle that was overlooked on the kitchen counter. Any help you can give would be appreciated. I recognize that I may need to seal again! Lynn, Aug 3, Reply
R1: Dear Lynn: I have an sure way to remove your stain (well ... almost!) send me an e-mail at: info@findstone.com, and I'll be glad to help you out (no charge, I promise!)
Yes, your stone will need to be sealed again (and again, and again!), but you have to remove the stain first. Maurizio, USA,
Q 2375: I chose slate tiles because I liked the way it looked, I like the natural stone. I just want to enhance the color and look of it. Boddi, Aug 3, Reply
R1: Dear Buddi: You'll need to apply a so called color enhancer. Maurizio, USA,
Q 2374: I want to put UbaVerde granite as kitchen counter, and Prelude for bathroom counters. Since I don't have a scrap piece, can I do the lemon test on the underside? Would UbaVerde be a good choice for kitchen counter? Joan, Aug 2, Reply 
R1: Dear Joan: No, doing the lemon juice test on the underside would be totally meaningless. Uba-Verde (I assume it's Uba Tuba) typically does not need to be sealed. 
Prelude? ... Never heard of it, sorry. (never heard of UbaVerde, either! Your retailer must have some vivid imagination when it comes to names! Many do that so that you can't shop them around). 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,
Q 2373: I would like to know if you can email me some information on how the production of granite tiles or just granite effects the environment? Basicly I need to know that when granite is produced into tiles what effect does it have on the environment? If you have this information can you please send it to me ASAP. Chelsey, Aug 2, Reply
Q 2372: My daughter was trying to be very helpful and cleaned a bathroom counter top with apparently a bleach based chemical. Unfortunately, there are now "spots" on my counter where the cleaner stained or removed the color of the counter. Is there any way this can be fixed with replacing the entire top? It is the typical laminate type counter. Hanson, Aug 2, Reply
R1: Dear Hanson: "Typical laminate"? ... For a minute I thought you were talking about marble. Sorry, my friend, this site is about natural stone. Maurizio, USA,
Q 2371: Hi, I am about to make an offer on a new town home that uses travertine on the kitchen & bathroom floors, the walls and surround of the shower and whirlpool bath as well as the entry hall floor. The kitchen counters are going to be granite and the bathroom counters are going to be cultured marble. The travertine floors will abut onto hardwood floors in all cases. 
What questions should I ask of the builder/developer to be certain that I am not getting myself into a looks great but is totally impractical and inappropriate material" situation relative to staining, durability, scratch resistance, cleaning, sealing, protecting, etc. 
I am hopeful and thankful that you exist and are willing to provide this advice. Bill Aug 2, Reply 
R1: Dear Bill: I assume that when you say travertine you're making reference to polished 
travertine. If that's the case, then you do NOT want it on your kitchen floor, unless you plan to use the kitchen as a show-place. If you plan to have any cooking or eating activity in it, just forget about it! No sealing is necessary (contrary to popular misconception travertine is an extremely dense stone), nor will it ever help preventing the kind of damages you'd have on the stone if it were installed on your kitchen floor.
As a last consideration, I wouldn't want a cultured marble in my bathroom counter and sink if they's pay me to get it!! It's a manmade plastic material that scratches like crazy and cracks, too (and nobody will ever be able to fix it!).
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,
Q 2370: I'm a pretty intrepid do-it-yourselfer, embarking on a kitchen remodel. I found some lovely white marble slabs from a torn-down hotel at a building materials recycling center, which I thought would work nicely for countertops. (After perusing your website, I realize this was Mistake #1, but I've already got the stuff.) My original thought was to cut the stone and make a bullnose edge myself, figuring that the marble was already distressed from its previous life, so any mishaps would just add character. However, I'm wondering whether this would be Mistake #2 -- can an ordinary human go to Home Depot and get the necessary tools to obtain decent results, or is this one of those cases of "Don't try this at home"? Thanks again for your good advice. Matt, Aug 2, Reply
R1: Dear Matt: You won't even find the "necessary tools" at the HD! Just forget about, no 
matter how "intrepid" you are! Seriously, it's not a DIY project. Go to a local fabrication facility and ask them to do the job for you. As far as the "Mistake # 1" -- as you call it -- it may turn out not to be so bad, after all. Hit the link to "July questions" on the side bar of this page, then read my answer to a posting by Stephanie, dated July 30 (Posting 
No. 2345), and see how it grabs you. If you like the idea, then get yourself some Muriatic acid (at the HD), make a solution of 1 to 2 with water (1 of acid and 2 of water. Follow all directions and precautionary recommendations on the bottle) and acid wash your counter to give it a nice low-hone finish. 
That is something that you can DIY. 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,
Q 2369: My partner is now applying the final steps in completing an 1/8 scale replica of the Cheops pyramid. The final stage would be applying slabs of limestone to the structure (the limestone is imported from the Mediterranean). The question is ... what product can be used to 'seal' the limestone from the atmosphere. The project is located in the British Columbia - Canada. For details of the climate etc. please contact us any time. Thank you. Lisa, Aug 2, Reply 
R1: Dear Lisa: Why don't you ask the ancient Egyptians? I'm sure they used the right sealer 
back then!! Hey, their pyramids are still there after some 5,000 years!!
Maurizio, USA,
Q 2368: I bought a granite counter top from HOME EXPO. I installed the undermount Kohler sink to the granite using the epoxy supplied by the granite mnfr (per instructions). The countertop and sink were mounted to the vanity. After one week, I put on the Kohler sealer but after 2 hours the sink dropped from the countertop. I carefully tried to remove the countertop from the vanity but it broke in 1/2 at the center holes. I would like to know why that happened & if there's a way of fixing the granite top. Thank you, Rick, Aug 2, Reply 
R4: Slab was hair crack, therefore after few hours its broken with light pressure. Thanking you sir, Yours Truly, Ali, India.
R2: You normally get what you pay for. The granite is junk at this point. The under mounted sink should have been mounted with bolts and this would not have happened. You may have saved a little but is cost you a lot. 
Leave the stone work to the people that know and understand it. Cheap outlets with untrained staff with very little knowledge of what they are doing. Bull in a china shop. Sorry this had to happen to you. Mark, USA.
R3: Dear Rick: I work in Brazil for a granite exporter and I'm in charge of the resin application process. We often see broken slabs and we currently fix them applying a viscous epoxy to the underside of the slab and afterwards a fiberglass net with more epoxy. In your case this should work, but you may have some epoxy that leaks through onto the other side. If the joint isn't perfect and there were chips around the crack you will want to put epoxy in the crack. You can color the epoxy with dyes to match the stone. If the stone is light colored and you accidentally spread the epoxy outside the crack onto the surrounding stone you may alter the appearance of the stone, especially if the system is a low viscosity one. If the stone is dark colored you won't noticed the difference. Afterwards if needed you can sand the epoxy with grit paper 120, 220, 320, 400, 800,and 1200. Then use a buffing paper. You might be able to skip some of theses grits. You have to use a paraffin wax so as not to burn the stone and you have to be careful. We use this process all the time to fix slabs that had a resin applied, but still showed a defect after going through the automatic polisher. Or you can rent a sander that uses water, then you won't need the wax.
Why all this happened? I'm not sure, but most epoxy failures are surface preparation failures. Epoxies don't like moisture or humidity. So apply them when it's not raining and the surface is very dry. You can dry the area with a heat gun. Our epoxies take about 30 minutes to gel and we apply the to the slab which has a temperature around 40C. They are dry to the touch after about 2-3 hours. Make sure the area is clean. Be careful to mix in the right ratio. Too much resin and not enough hardener means there will be unlinked resin and hardener. Too much hardener means the crosslink density will be low and the epoxy will be brittle. I hope this helps. Victor, Brazil. 
R2: Dear Rick: How could I possibly tell you what happened, without seeing your situation? 
Besides, why did YOU install the sink? It's not a DIY job! And what is it about this Kohler sealer thing? I never heard of it! Have a pro come over and take a look.
Maurizio, USA,
R1: Rick, I bet you thought you were going to save some money and get yourself a semi-DIY job. Your money and efforts would have been way better spent researching and contacting reputable custom stone manufacturers in your area. Most of us have offcuts from prior jobs suitable for vanities (and at reduced rates to boot - imagine that!) and are more than happy to do a good job at making & installing the finished tops. (After all, this is how we make a living). 
For your current predicament there is only one solution - take the pieces back and try to get a refund from EXPO. Chalk this experience up as "Lessons Learnt" and get yourself a proper vanity top from a manufacturer worth his salt. Adriana, USA.
Q 2367: We have new honed black granite (Black Impala) countertops, and they are proving to be quite a pain. After several go-rounds with our contractor over how streaky they looked with various enhancers, the contractor stripped off all the enhancer and applied a new sealer (two coats). The counters looked great, but the finish scratched very easily,
with a plastic salad spinner of all things. I then tried to clean the scratched spot with a wet, non-metallic sink scrubber, and apparently scratched some or all of the sealer finish, leaving a gray streak. What should I do to fix this? Are we doomed to a life of high maintenance with what we bought? Thanks, Mirbill, Aug 1, Reply
R1: Dear Mirbill: No, you don't have to accept a life of high maintenance and go insane. 
There's a very simple solution: Get rid of it! After all, it's only money, and your mental health is more important than that! ... I think. I'm not even inviting you to check my "Dos and Don'ts" out. They wouldn't do you any good! Maurizio, USA,
Regarding your reply to my question about honed black granite counters: 
Taking them out is not really an option for us right now. Is there any other advice you can give us to maintain them? Should they have a sealer or an enhancer, or both? Surely some people manage to live with them. How do they do it? Thank You, Mirbill.
Q 2366: I'm considering Crema Europa in a honed finish for my bathroom floor and
shower, and Crema Europa polished for the bathroom countertop.
Is this wise, or am I asking for a maintenance nightmare? I'm particularly concerned about dirt build-up on the floor and etching throughout, mostly on the tops. Terri, Aug 1, Reply
R1: Dear Terry: Follow my guidelines for maintenance of residential stone installation (you'll find them under the title: "Dos and Don'ts" toward the end of this page side bar) and you should be all right. Maurizio, USA,  
Q 2365: Do you know anything about the granite under the name of "Verde Ventura"? I am considering it for a kitchen countertop and after reading many of your postings, I am wondering if it's acceptable for a kitchen, what it's composition is and if it is a 'true' granite...... Thanks! Maria, Aug 1, Reply
Q2364: I recently tried to clean my marble floor with phosphorous acid and doing a good job until I spilled some of the acid on the floor from the bottle. Is there a way to bring the shine back on the Marble? Aug 1, Reply
R1: Dear ???: I have this theory (and, please correct me if I am wrong): Anonymous people not only are they rude, but they are idiots, too. Case in point: cleaning polished marble with an acid! Maurizio, USA,
Q 2363: What would you recommend for cleaning kitchen grease that has stayed on
our Italian granite around our sink
[it was hidden and went unnoticed] and now it leave a darker mark then all the rest. Thank you. Esther, Aug 1, Reply
R1: Dear Esther: You have to poultice the stain out using a mix of talc powder (baby powder) and acetone. For more free details about poulticing, send me an E-mail at: info@findstone.com. Maurizio, USA,
Q 2362: We just built a 3,000 sq ft house in Arizona and except for the three smaller bedrooms, we are having 18" X 18" travertine tile laid throughout the entire house, including the master bedroom, living room, family room, dining room, kitchen, hallways, and all 3 bathrooms. It is close to 2,600 sq ft of tile. We are having the tiles laid very close to each other with only 1/8" of grout. It should be completed in the next few days. I've read through some of your comments on the website regarding sealing travertine, and I see that in general you are against it. I have two young children (both under 4), so the chances of things being spilled on the tile is high. In my situation, would you recommend sealing the tile or not, or maybe just in the kitchen? If I don't seal the travertine, do I need to worry about the grout? Thanks in advance for your help. Jim, Aug 1, Reply
Q 2361: The builder/developer of our house used a Saturnia marble on the floors. The Saturnia had many holes and was “filled”. New holes keep appearing and the filler used in the older holes wears away and exposes the old holes. What can I use to fill these holes and where would I purchase such a substance? Thank you in advance for your reply. Cherise, Aug 1, Reply