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ADVICE WANTED!   Dec 19 , 2003
www.findstone.com   info@findstone.com
Q 5987: We had a limestone (16 inch x 16 inch) tile floor installed in a kitchen and the contractor was not very good. The floor was uneven to begin with and should have been leveled before the tile installation. The floor wasn't leveled and we used a VERY small grout line. Some tiles adjacent to each other are slightly uneven. Can these uneven tiles be SANDED down or can something else be done to make it appear more level. We certainly don't expect perfection but wanted to know if it could somehow be improved? . Dec 19, reply
R1:Probably. Get ahold of a real professional stone refinisher, Jvc, Expert Panelist
Q 5980: We recently had a limestone hearth installed but it still has not been polished. The saw marks are still evident and it is installed on a concrete base and sits 2.5 inches above a maple floor. I am looking to finish the stone for the best wear and durability. Any suggestions your end would be appreciated.The edges have been chipped with a chisel to give a rough effect and I want to be sure if something further needs to be done to finish / maintain that it is done properly. Have you experienced any problems with this material in this application? How should the underlying areas around where the floor meats the slab be best addressed..Thanks and enjoyed all the articles I've read, Brgds Bob, Dec 19, Reply
R1: Hi Bob, I am assuming that the saw marks are on the flat, top surface of the hearth piece. They should have been sanded out by the fabricator, or the mason installing the piece. No problem, you can do this yourself, start with 36 or 40 grit, and work up to the desired finish. In my shop, most limestone is finished to only 100 or 120 grit, which is finer than a typical mill finish. As to bringing the surface up to a polish, this will depend on the limestone you have. Many limestones will never polish no matter how long and hard you work on them, and those that will (very compact limestone) are often marketed as marble. Good luck with the project, and make sure you do something to contain the dust you are going to create. JVC, Expert Panelist
Q 5977: I have a new, polished black marble vanity top in my bathroom. No one ever told me I could not clean it with bathroom cleaners to be sure disinfected . . . Tonight I sprayed on Comet bathroom cleaner and have ruined my top. A friend lent me her marble cleaner and polish, but to no avail. There are white splotches all over my top. What can I do?! I am just sick. Stephanie, Dec 16, Reply
R1:Dear Stephanie: There is only a solution to your problem: you have to hire a bona fide stone restoration contractor who will slightly grind (hone) and re-polish your vanity top back to its original finish. Hey, it's only money! And BTW, don't you forget to send a heartfelt thank-you note to the people who sold you the countertop, for the good advice they gave you about its maintenance requirements. Maurizio, Expert panelist.
R2: Use a black granite restorer. It will require a polisher and stel wool pads and abut two hours, Don
R3: Comet and Ajax are two bleach products that will color spot your granite. Some good news is that a professional restoration company can remove those color spots most of the time. You really shouldn't use any home cleaning products on marble or granite because most of them contain acids that can burn the polish and eventually burn your stone. Any local tile distributors should carry daily stone cleaners. But at this point i wouldn't try to fix it myself and would contact your local stone restoration company.
Q 5975: I am currently redoing my kitchen. I want to use either marble or limestone for my counters. After reviewing your site I have pretty much given up using limestone. Are there certain marble types that are better than others for countertops (color, honed or polished)? My favorite is Carrara. Second favorite is Sahara Gold. Shelbey, Dec 16, Reply
R1: Dear Shelbey: If you don't mind the "change" the stone will go through over time due to use and abuse, then Honed White Carrara (low hone) is "your man". Maurizio, Expert panelist.
Q 5974: I have recently bought and laid an untreated French Limestone floor which I imported from Paris.Now that it has been laid, I am trying to clean it properly before I treat it.There are blooming marks and water marks which I have been able to remove,however there are paint splashes(white water based) that I just cannot remove.I dont want to damage the floor.Can you suggest anything???? Thanks, enirco, Dec 16, Reply
R1: Dear Enirco (or is it Enrico?): If you use a paint stripper based on Methylene Chloride (available at any hardware store) it will not damage the stone. Now, remember, it's never too early to think about the proper maintenance of your stone. It's a subject that's all too often neglected and, as you can tell by reading many of this site postings, you're not likely to get good information about it from your dealer or installer. Maurizio, Expert panelist
Q 5970: I have Uba Tuba granite countertops in my kitchen. Two slabs were laminated together on the edge to make the overhang, and the seam connecting them is quite visible, although it is very narrow. The installer said this was due to the crystalline structure of the stone and that nothing could be done about it. It isn't terribly unsightly except when the sun shines right on the edge of the granite. So, is it unfixable? Thanks for your help. Ellen, Dec 15, Reply
R1: Dear Eleen: The lamination of an edge is one of those areas where you separate the men from the boys. Certain "granites" will "show" more than others. Ubatuba, due to its crystalline structure is one of those that show the least. But then again, it is visible somehow, and the perception of "quite visible" varies greatly from an individual to another. Now, remember, it's never too early to think about the proper maintenance of your stone. Maurizio, Expert panelist
Q 5969: I put conglomerate marble throughout my entire house including half way up the wall in the bathroom and my entire master shower. I wish I had seen this web site before I did it. My problem is the tile is turning white in the shower and not from any deposits in my water. It also looks like it is dulling in front of my front door. It looks good otherwise. Is there anything I can do to restore the luster? What should I use for cleaning? It looks fine when wet. I would be glad to pay for this information but couldn't figure out how to pay and ask at the same time.Can you help me? Peggy, Dec 15, Reply
R1: Dear Peggy: Well, the way it works is: first you pay and then you ask! :-) I do believe I have the solution to your problem. Gimme a holler at: Maurizio@findstone.com and get in touch with me. There's a little fee involved (as you will be told), but I'll be glad to help. What's more I will even tell you how to get all of your money back! What more do you want from me? :-) Maurizio, Expert panelist
Q 5968:I am building a new house,what kind of marble flooring should i use for the indoor entrance area as well as ther bathroom floors and walls...polished versus the other types....giorgio, Dec 15, Reply
R1: Dear Giorgio: Most marbles are quite suitable. Polished versus honed? Which one do you like better? They will both require maintenance, but polished will turn out to be easier to do. Maurizio, Expert panelist
Q 5967: My question is I have two slabs of this avanza natural quartz countertop. There is a huge scratch that is rather deep along the front of one of them. How in the world can i fix this ? Or what type of material would be best to use in my attempts to fix this. and then sand it out. What is the best sealant to put on afterwards? Any help would be great. As I have found no body in mississippi to even come look and attempt to help me figure it out.I was thinking your products would help me however, i just don't know that much about theses avanza made countertop material to know what is WRONG and what is RIGHT.? any advise you could provide would be greatly appreciated.Thanks a million, Judi, Dec 15, Reply
R1: Dear Judi: "Avanza" is a particular type of engineered stone that's different from the mainstream because of the way is made and shaped. I am not at all familiar with any possible means and procedures to repair it. Maurizio, Expert panelist
Q 5966: we purchased (have not yet received) a travertine 47' round table made of travertine. We were told that no maintenance was required. If we dropped mustard or red wine, etc. on the table would it stain and how would we remove it, if it did. Does the table require a sealer and if yes how often. Len, Dec 15, Reply
R1: Dear Len: Your travertine table top does require a sealer all right. It's called: glass!No impregnator/sealer or topical sealer under the sun will ever prevent acid etching ("water stains' or "rings"). The idea of having a sheet of glass cut to size and put on top of the travertine is the only final solution possible. A few of my customers followed that advice and are quite happy! Maurizio, Expert panelist
Q 5962: I have had Madura Gold granite countertops installed in my kitchen recently. After installation and having paid alot of money for it, I noticed that the stone's finish is not absolutely smooth and there are some knicks in it. I called the installer and they told me that this is the way Madura Gold is... that you will have knicks in it and there is nothing they could do about it. I am very upset about this as it looks like it is defective and I paid good money for it. Could you tell me if this is true about this type of stone? Your advice is appreciated. Thanks. Marilyn, Dec 15, Reply
R1: Dear Marilyn: Without actually seeing the alleged severity of the nicks you're reporting I can't make a final assessment, but pitting is common to all true geological granites and most commercial granites, too. Now, remember, it's never too early to think about the proper maintenance of your stone. Maurizio, Expert panelist
Q 5961: We have just installed polished marble in the shower and tumbled marble on the shower floor. Please advise if the sealer will fill the pitted holes in the tumbled marble, or do we fill them with the grout. Also please advise what cleaner to use in the shower, and on the floor, and if we should we should avoid certain types of soaps. Thankyou. Maureen, Dec 15, Reply
R1: Dear Maureen: Far what I can understand you have tumbled travertine in your shower stall floor. Terrific stone, mind you, but you must fill the holes with unsanded grout. About the types of soap to be avoided, as a general rule liquid soaps are better than bars. Maurizio, Expert panelist
Q 5960: We are updating our kitchen and we think we are going with Uba Tuba granite for the counter tops. I’ve had three people warn me to stay away from black granite because it will show water spots and looks terrible. My kitchen has a lot of sunlight coming in too which I fear will make it worse. Is this advice I should be concerned about? Nancy, Dec 15, Reply
R1: Dear Nancy: First off, the last time a checked Ubatuba was green, not black. Second, the main reason why black granite (and Ubatuba, too) show "water stains" is because most fabricators are convinced that black granite and Ubatuba are granite, and what they have "learned" (by the salesmen) is that all granites need to be sealed or else! So, they religiously seal everything in sight that doesn't move, including their own brains! If you will not seal your Ubatuba, you will never have to worry about "water stains", nor any other stain, I promise!Maurizio, Expert panelist
Q 5959: I recently had a rosewood counter top installed. The contractor sealed it twice. Someone in my house left a soiled pot on it and now I have a circular stain on the granite. How can I remove the stain when I don't know what type of stain it is. Liz, Dec 15, Reply
R1: Dear Liz: You're gonna have to play detective! Try to poultice it with HP first, and if that won't work, try acetone. When it comes to stain removal, either you buy one of those expensive "Professional kits" Maurizio, Expert panelist
Q 5958: We have bought a brand new home from Lennar and upgraded the kitchen/entry flooring to marble. When we inspected the work, we were upset and horrified to find many of the tiles being uneven and misaligned. Upon our notification to the builder, they promptly replied that "This has been checked and is in accordance to industry standards for tolerance." We've since been scouring the internet and asking local contractors for such "standards" but have had no luck. Can you enlighten us by explaining what these standards are and what organization backs them up? Thank you.Charlie, Dec 15, Reply
R1: Dear Charlie: The industry standard for "lippage" on marble tiles is 1/32" and it is sanctioned by both the National Tile Council of America and the Marble Institute of America. If you can tell all those "lips" by just looking at your floor, it only means that they are way beyond standards! Demand to have the whole thing ripped out and done anew by somebody not even remotely related in any way to the "Michelangelo" (lowest bidder, I'm sure!) who pretended to do the installation job at your place. To tell you the truth, having experienced Lennar's reputation first hand, there are good chances that the whole installation, from the sub-floor up is faulty. Maurizio, Expert panelist
R2: In the tile industry the standards are very vague. In the 75 years of experience my family has we've seen terrible jobs pass and good ones not pass. In California our standard is the floor must be flat by a 1/4" per 8 feet. Your tile lines must be straight within a 1/8" per 8 feet. Now from corner to corner your tiles may look off but that sometimes results from the stone being out of square itself. I've had stone come 1/4" out of square in 12X12 which makes it hard to keep every corner perfectly lined up. But overall when you look at it it should be straight. The other standard is there should be no lip or edge of a tile sticking up higher then a nickel. You can fix that by marble refinish company come grind and refinish the floor. We have a organization called TCA which stands for Tile Contractors Association who is supposed to enforce the standards.

Q 5954: Is it necessary to seal ubatuba and tropic brown granite. The stone will be used for counter tops. I am getting different answers. Can you please set the record straight, Rick, Dec 15, Reply
R1: Dear Rick: Nobody can set the record straight for sure, considering that we're dealing with products of nature. Ubatuba seldom needs to be sealed (almost never that is). With Tropic Brown there are more chances. But there are easy ways to find out for sure! Maurizio, Expert panelist
Q 5953:We have some unpolished granite in our entrance way which has been waxed over the past 40 years. we would now like to remove the was as it has yellowed. What is the method of removing this old wax. Jcolbet, Dec 15, Reply
R1: Dear Jcolbet: Yes, of course. You can contact a Janitor Supply Company in your area and buy a wax stripper. They will also tell you how to go about it. Maurizio, Expert panelist
Q 5951: We wanted to install Travertine throughout our downstairs. We need to know if you can lay Trevertine over old secure tile or if we need to pull up old tile first? Please let us know? Jennefier, Dec 15, Reply
R1: Dear Jennifer: Too many variables to consider in order to give you a half decent answer. Just keep in mind that travertine needs special care and, usually, it does not need to be sealed (especially when it's polished). Maurizio, Expert panelist
Q 5950: What is the best way to care for polished dark granite countertops, particularly for removing water spots? I was told that mineral oil was good, but that just seems to smear. Lindia, Dec 15, Reply
R1: Dear Lindia: Mineral oil is no good, and you already found that out! If you have "water stains" the problem is more serious that meet the eyes. In fact, you should NOT have "water stains" one any commercial granite. I must assume that your countertop was sealed with an impregnator/sealer by the fabricator, while you obviously have "granite" that did not need to be sealed. The "water spots" you have are probably due to the presence of the stupid impregnator that had no business being there to begin with! Have your fabricator come out and strip the ting off your countertop and live happily ever after. If for any chance they don't know how to do it (it's not easy), tell them that I'll be glad to teach them for a consultation fee. Maurizio, Expert panelist
Q 5949: I am constructing a shower stall and I have a vinyl pan and Portland floor that will have ceramic tile. I now want to install 12X12 granite slab tiles on the walls. The walls presently have been prepared with durarock. Question... Do I use normal thinset to adhere the granite slabs ( 1/4 inch thick ) to the durarock? Next do I butt them to each other? How do I seal the joint or is this necessary? Will the grey granite holdup in a shower stall? do I have to seal the granite with anything and if so how often? Your help is greatly appreciated. Thank you. George, Dec 15, Reply
R1: Dear George: I will answer your question in the same order they were asked: 1) Use white thin-set. 2) NEVER butt-joint!! 1/16" grout gap is an absolute must for proper grouting. Use sand-less grout and mix it with latex additive even if it has the stuff in the bag already; keep it a little bit on the thick side and make sure that you push it as deep as possible in between the pieces of slab. Take your time: the proper grouting of a shower stall is vital! Use color matching caulking in the corners. 3) The question about sealing the joints is moot after my previous answer. 4) It depends. Does your "granite" need to be sealed? Run my little lemon juice test to find out. If it does, I recommend you use my MB-4 Stone Impregnator. It comes with a 10-year warranty! Maurizio, Expert panelist
Q 5947: I was trying to clean a blackberry mark from my black galaxy counter with a sponge, and I stupidly turned the sponge over and used the "green scrubber" side.
It did clean the berry mark, but left a dull mark with tiny scratches. It isn't terrible, but I would like to restore this little mark to its original lustre. I do believe the granite was sealed by the fabricator and has always cleaned up nicely. Any suggestions??? Thanks for your help, Barbara Matthews, Dec 15, Reply
R1: Dear Barbara: The fact that the "granite" was sealed by your fabricator has nothing to do with it. Actually, consider yourself lucky that the sealing didn't create any problem (Black Galaxy should NOT be sealed). That said, there is absolutely nothing that you can do about that. Stone is polished by abrasion and friction, like gemstone, not by applying some sort of finish onto it. Basically, you scratched the stone surface, not a sealer of sorts. Only a proven stone restoration professional could fix your damage. Maurizio, Expert panelist
Q 5946: I am having a contractor install a new Granite counter top in my kitchen.I am helping him with some of the labor to reduce cost. He instructed me first to remove the current tile counter top and remove the cement under that, and install 3/4 inch plywood,immediatly over the cabinets. which I did. But when he came by to make the template for the counter top, he said that the plywood should be 5/8 inch and not 3/4 inch, and he said that the plywood might show and bull nose might not cover it all. He recommended that I should change the plywood to 5/8"

I already purchased the 3/4 inch and installed it, nailed and glued. Yest I am spending a fortune on the new Granite. I would like to know if it makes a difference to change it the surface to 5/8 inch, or is the 3/4" OK. By the way the thickness of the Granite slab is 3/4 inch, but the contractor says that some slabs might not be exactly 3/4 inch. Please advise as soon as you can since we are ready to
install the granite. I appreciate your advise and thank you so very much for your help and valuable information, Fadwa Tarazi, Dec 15, Reply

R1: Dear Fadwa Tarazi: Your contractor is 100% right on this one! . Maurizio, Expert panelist
Q 5944: We unfortunately installed a sandy colored limestone in the master bath.It's impossible to keep clean. Can limestone be glazed or is there any sort of finishing product that will prevent it from always looking dirty? The contractor left behind a sealant, which has an appearance and texture of a clear, lightweight soapy liquid. It's useless. Marcie, Dec 10, Reply
R1: Dear Marcie: As far as I am concerned, the answer is, NO. But, hey, you can always go back to the merchant who sold the stuff to you. They know everything about limestone and then some! After all they buy and sell lots of it! I am sure that they will prove me wrong! Maurizio, Expert panelist
Q 5943: We just put granite tile on our countertops. However, the grout color lightened up by about two shaded and now looks grey instead of the brown that matched the Tropic Brown tiles. Any suggestions? I thought about sealing the tile and the grout with a sealant that would make it look wet.Do I need to seal the Granite or just the grout? Kelly, Dec 10, Reply
R1: Dear Kelly: There are products to stain grout that work quite well. Only after you stained the grout to the color you want, will you seal the whole thing with my MB-4 (of course!). Tropic Brown is a dense stone, but it still needs to be sealed. Maurizio, Expert panelist
Q 5941: My installer layed "hardybacker" down first (over wood subfloors), then used thinset to install the travertine tiles. Now I can see small cracks running parrallel the entire length of the kitchen. The cracks appear to follow where the hardybacker was butted to each other. Do I have to have the floor removed? What should have been used on top of the subfloor? Greta, Dec 10, Reply
R1: Dear Greta: Any given material is as good as the operator who uses it. There's nothing wrong with using hardy board over plywood, but there several issues to be reckoned with to ensure an overall good installation. For what you're telling us, yes, your floor must be ripped out. Sorry. Maurizio, Expert panelist
Q 5938: There is a paucity of information regarding the interpretation of granite specs/standards. For example, one sees hardness levels from 6 to 7 Mohs and I know that higher is better but higher means that the stone has a higher quartz content which makes it more susceptible to water absorption. Bottom line, which stones have good resistance to stains and make good kitchen counter tops? Bobbie, Dec 10, Reply
R1: Dear Bobbie: There is little relation between the hardness of commercial granites and their quartz content. Maurizio, Expert panelist
Q 5935: we just installed in our kitchen, and we noticed a lot of hairline cracks. i've been reading that fissure are normal. is this normal for all granite? do we need to seal it? or did we get "bad" granite? where does it originate - (we were told it's italian)? thanks! Dec 10, Reply
R1: I assume that you're talking about a granite countertop. Airline cracks?... Fissures are not common to all "granites", but they are usually only a few inches log at best, and easily recognizable. Lots of hairline cracks are only the premonition of more serious problems to come. I sincerely hope that I am wrong on this one. Maurizio, Expert panelist
Q 5933: We just ordered 4"x4" limestone tiles to place in our foyer. After reading the questions submitted on your site, I'm not so sure we should install this type of product in the main hallway. I thought this product was very dense and therefore fairly resistant to stain but many of the questions submitted were about stains. Would you recommend limestone for a hallway and if so, what sort of treatment would we use after installation. We will be attempting installation ourselves, is there any tricks of the trade you could suggest to make this less painless, and, how much grout is recommended. It doesn't appear that you use much between the tiles, I think the idea is to have the floor appear somewhat seamless. Is that correct? Any assistance you could offer would be greatly appreciated. Glo, Dec 10, Reply
R1: Dear Glo: While most limestone will lead to a successful installation, there are too many cases with unsolvable problems (see posting Q 5924 below) for me to advise anybody to use such material. Hone-finished marble would be a much better choice. That said, you need to use white thin-set and leave a 1/16" gap for proper grouting (Sandless grout only). "Butt-joint" installation is a big NO-NO. Now, remember, it's never too early to think about the proper maintenance of your stone. Maurizio, Expert panelist
Q 5932: I had my kitchen done in granite last year. It is less than a year old. My problem is I am noticing some small chips in certain areas of the counter tops.
We are not miss using the granite in any way. Everything I have read says the only thing that can cause it to chip is severe mis use.Any comments or suggestions would greatly be apprieciated,
Lisa, Dec 10, Reply
R1: Dear Lisa: What kind of "chips" are you exactly talking about? Chips on the edges of the countertop, or in the middle of it? If they are on the edges you must have hit the stone with some blunt object. If they are in the middle … have you been using some sort or glass cleaner or some home-brewed concoctions to clean your counter on a daily basis for any chance? Maurizio, Expert panelist
Q 5930: There is a lady in my town who has what she says "is a very rare piece of marble." I need to know it this is true or if you know where I can obtain information about this type of marble. She called it Rose DeMaskus (I'm not sure of the spelling).
She said it's an italian marble that she had shipped from a closed mine in Brazil. She said she had an entire slab shipped over to Louisiana and had her entire bathroom finished with the Rose DeMaskus. I don't know anything about marble so I need to know if I should consider purchasing this piece of marble from her.
She has the counter top piece which she says is approx. 1/6th of a slab. (It looks like it's approx. 3' x 4'). It appears to be in excelllent condition except for one end has been broken off. The other end is smooth and polished.
Can I find this marble elsewhere or would it be in my best interest to purchase the marble piece from her and what should I pay for the marble piece? Also, I would need to get the raw end cut and polished and approx. how much would I expect to pay for that service?
Any help on this subject would be greatly appreciated. Debra, Dec 10, Reply
R1: Dear Debra: An Italian marble quarried in Brazil??? How would you call a Brazilian marble, then?! I know that there are lots of Italian emigrants in Brazil, but they are usually people. I never heard of a whole quarry of marble moving to another country!! :-) That story is enough to make me go: Mmm... Look, if you like the stuff (whatever that is) and the price is something that you feel comfortable with (please, don't ask me how much it should cost!), then buy it. If not, leave it there! About the repair you should get hold of a bona fide stone restoration contractor to find out about the charge. Maurizio, Expert panelist
Q 5929: I'm hoping you can help answer the question of how to clean flagstone used as flooring indoors. We recently renovated a 1920 cottage using Wiarton flagstone in the porch, bathroom, mudroom and first floor bedroom. Sadly, shortly after completing the work we experienced a terrible flood which brought a tremendous amount of water and topsoil into the house saturating the flooring along with the grout. I have tried acid washing them but with little result. Can you recommend what else might work and what we could seal them with that wouldn't leave them shiny or discolored. Paula, Dec 10, Reply
R1: Dear Paula: Did you consult with the dealer who sold the stuff to you? If they can't tell you what to do, I do believe I have the solution to your problem. Maurizio, Expert panelist
Q 5926: I purachase a granite counter top. It is called "Pepperino" I have had problems since day 1 with staining. I am in the process now of cleaning some stains with a poultice of Acetone and paper towels as you recommended. Can you advise me as to what kind of stone I have because it seems that everything that touches it stains it. I have had the fabricator come back on two different occasions and reseal but that was at least six months ago. Do I have reeal granite or an imposter. It is suppose to be granite from China.Thank you Doris, Dec 10, Reply
R1: Dear Doris: Well, of course it is not granite! What else is new?! I jost so happen to have seen this "Pepperino" stuff. Very absorbent stone! You've got to know what you're doing when sealing it, and it does not seem to be the "forte" of your installer. Maurizio, Expert panelist
Q 5924: We have recently had limestone installed on the entire first floor of our home. It extends from the front door, to the kitchen, dining, living and bath areas. The problem after installation was a spotty, hazy white finish only viewable from an angle (such as when you walk in the front door and look at the floor). At first we were told by our installer that the floor was dirty and just had to clean it. Upon doing so many, many times, nothing changed. Then the installer told us he forgot to clean the floor before sealing it. So, we fired the installer and got another installer.
This new installer spent two days stripping the floor (SMELLY!!!) and then putting on two coats of "enhancer" to bring out the deep-richness of the stone; which did look better, but didn't solve the white haze problem. Then this new installer suggested coming back to "deep clean" the floor again and then polish it with a polishing machine. Well again, no difference! Now he wants to put a shiny top coat on the limestone, but can't guarantee the outcome of our not wanting the white haze. Finally, the new installer said "ya know, it might be bad limestone". Uugghh!! Please give me thought on this nightmare flooring! It constantly looks dirty no matter how much money we spend on it! Thanks and I look forward to hearing from you. Theresa, Dec 10, Reply
R1: Dear Theresa: I really hate to be the "I told you so" guy, but … how many times have I advised people to stay away from limestone? Of course I don't know exactly what happened to your limestone, but I can promise you that your problem has no solution. Sorry. But, hey, you can always go back to the merchant who sold the stuff to you. They know everything about limestone and then some! After all they buy and sell lots of it! I am sure that they will prove me wrong! Maurizio, Expert panelist
Q 5923: Hi-we are a church with a large narthex of what I think is Vermont tile. The surface is multi-colored with uneven stones. It has dulled over time-it has been down for 30 years. There are also a some white spots close to the edge of the tiles near the walls. Do we need to deep clean and reseal? What would you recommend? We would like a little shine-but not slippery for safety reasons-can you help? Wesely,Dec 10, Reply
R1: Dear Wesley: The only piece of advice that I feel like giving you is to get hold of a bona fide stone restoration outfit and let them assess your current situation and the proper course of action to rectify it. Maurizio, Expert panelist
Q 5922: We are considering honed slate as a countertop in the bathroom - it is beautiful, and fairly low maintenance (so we were told). Could you please tell me if honed slate would be suitable for a vanity countertop? And if not, what would your top recommendation be for a vanity countertop? Thanks. jackie, Dec 10, Reply
R1: Dear Jackie: You're absolutely right: "So we were told"!!! Drive away from it fast enough to leave skid marks on the ground! The top recommendation would be the right "granite" of course, but there are several other stones (marble included) that would fit the bill. Maurizio, Expert panelist
Q 5921: I have ubatuba granite countertops in my kitchen. The installer did something wrong on one rectangular corner which left a cloudy finish. I am unable to find the installer now and am trying to find some way to polish the countertop so that the surface appears uniform. Is such a problem addressed in your maintenance guide ? I appreciate your help! Janis, Dec 10, Reply
R1: Dear Janis: No it is not. You won't find anything in a bottle that could solve your problem. You need to hire a proven stone refinishing contractor to do that. Needless to say, however, my maintenance guidelines wouldn't be a waste of money, even if they don't solve that particular problem for you. You still have to face routine maintenance of your top, don't you? :-) Maurizio, Expert panelist
Q 5920: I have a soap stone shower base that I don't know how to care for. I have used strong cleaners on it and now it is all white and dried out looking. What do I do to fix this? Darlene, Dec 10, Reply
R1: Dear Darlene: Try to soak it with mineral oil. Maurizio, Expert panelist
Q 5918: I love your web site. It is very informative. I have a more serious problem than a typical rust stain. We have white Carrara marble shower and the veins are rusting deep into the marble. I have tried a few things but can’t seem to remove it. I am able to remove the surface rust stains using hydrogen peroxide on paper towel covered in plastic.I have also tried poultice left on for a week. I am concerned about dissolving the marble. Any thoughts as to how to get rid of this deeper rusting? Thanks in advance for your suggestions. Lloyd, Dec 10, Reply
R1: Dear Lloyd: Nope! But if the rusting keeps coming up you have a problem of migration of moisture through the core of the stone from behind the tiles. In layman talk: you've got water behind them marble tiles. If that's the case, you're in a world of hurt! Where the tiles set "butt-jointed" for any chance? Maurizio, Expert panelist
Q 5915: My new Gallo St. Cecilia kitchen countertops developed a dark stain (ring) around the sink sprayer about a week after it the plumber installed the faucet, sprayer, handle and soap dispenser. I told him to be sure to use the adhesive for granite so it would not bleed into the stone. He came to look at it and said there was no water leak and assured me they used the correct adhesive. I am still skeptical that by accident they used the wrong stuff and then realized their mistake and used the correct stuff in the other 3 drilled holes. The plumber says to talk to the granite guy but since the problem did not develop until after the plumber installed the faucet and sprayer, I don’t think the granite people will help me. Would the poultice work on this type of stain? Thanks, Sandy, Dec 10, Reply
R1: Dear Sandy: If the plumber had used plumber's putty you would have had the stain in a matter of a few hours, not a week. What I think is happening is that when you use the sprayer there is a condensation of water in the part of the piping hidden by the stone (it's like the condensation of water on the outside of a glass filled with cold water). Such condensation gets absorbed by the sides of the hole and shows up as a darkening or the surrounding area. Ask for advice to your granite people on how to remove the stain first and then solve the problem. Maurizio, Expert panelist
Q 5914: Can you use marble slabs for keeping foods warm? In order to do so can you heat the slabs in the oven and or the microwave? JB,Dec 10, Reply
R1: Dear JB: It depends on the marble. Most class "A" marble are suitable for that purpose, but, as a general rule, using granite instead would be much better. Maurizio, Expert panelist
Q 5913: I just had a beige Gascogne limestone, 18 by 18, placed in my bathroom a few days ago; I went out to look at the installation and noticed that my limestone now looks humid and dark, When I chose these specific tiles(which I hand picked), they were a light soft beige, dry looking. Is this change normal???? The installer said he put on a sealant which he wasn't supposed to do....but besides that, it just doesn't have the same beauty anymore. Any Ideas? Also when I was out there a few days ago the "wet" product they had on had an "oily" feel, I don't know if that helps? Any feedback would be greatly appreciated. Audrey, Dec 10, Reply
R1: Dear Audrey: Let's just hope that the dark humid spots will disappear over time as the setting material will cure and dry. If the installer used regular thin-set (ooposed to the white one) you may have a permanent discoloration. Sure enough, the premature application of an impregnator/sealer does not help. The fact itself that you chose limestone for a bathroom environment does not help, either. Maurizio, Expert panelist
Q 5912: The fellow at the stone store told us the granite was quarried in Brazil, and available in the USA. The name of it was Emerald pearl granite. The granite is black with pea size white flecks in it. We were told it was a good choice for kitchen counter tops (he sells it, would he tell us it's a bad choice)? I can't find this on your extensive list of granites. Can you help? Also is resining done to all granite before the slabs are sent to the market retailers, and how will I know if it is? The builder we're dealing with has a good reputation and supposedly so does the stone store, but I'd rather error on the side of caution. Carguy, Dec 10, Reply
R1: Dear Carguy: No, not all "granites" are resined: only those that could benefit from the process. Emerald Pearl (which is in the list of the 150 most popular granites) is a Larvikite from Norway and it's an excellent choice for a kitchen countertop indeed! However, the way you describe it, what you're dealing does not sound like it! In fact, Emerald Pearl is green, not black with pea-size white flecks in it. At this point I don't know what stone you're actually facing. Besides, I seldom comment about any one particular stone. There may be differences within the same stone (and I'm not talking about looks, here!) from one bundle of slabs and the next. The slabs may have also been either "doctored" (which is bad), or "resined" (which is good) by the factory, which would make a big difference. Maurizio, Expert panelist
Q 5910: I built my house 10 years ago. My interior designer talked me in to using polished black marble in my master bath, including the shower. Big mistake! 5 years ago I replaced the marble in the shower stall with Granirex. I am wanting to get rid of the marble on the floor and also a Jacuzzi tub deck. I came across Catalina granite and wondered how well it would hold up in a bathroom? My house is very expensive and I want to reflect that in the materials used. Is there some other stone that you would recommend that is low maintenance and holds up well around water. I don't want to make the same mistake again? Mark, Dec 10, Reply
R1: Dear Mark: I really don't know much about this "Catalina" "granite", but there are indeed many stones that could be enjoyable, make a statement, and be very easy to maintain. I Maurizio, Expert panelist
Q 5909: Have been reading your messages. Could you please sent me "How to Shop for a Kitchen Countertop. and also comprehensive maintenance guidelines on residential stone installations. We are considering a granite counter top..ubatuba..for our remodel. HOw is this verses Caesarstone?thank you Vickie, Dec 10, Reply
R1: Dear Vickie: Ubatuba is better than engineered stone. About the two articles you are requesting, they are available for a small fee (which could be refundable) ("Maurizio's Dos and Don'ts"). Maurizio, Expert panelist
Q 5908: I have a shower with beige limestone (I don't know what kind) walls and
floor, installed about a year ago. The floor has developed a brown stain which is also on the walls up to about 4". I have tried household cleaners but the stain is still there.
A local stone expert told me he thought it was water seepage through the grout or drain. The contractor who did the work recently died so I can't go back to him.
This is the third try at the shower. The first two attempts were marble rectangles on the walls which leaked water and deteriorated so the third try was solid slabs of limestone.
Do you agree that it is probably water leakage? If so, what do I do about it? If I don't do anything, how bad is it likely to get? Thanks. John,
Nov 29, Reply
R1: Hi John. Wish I had some more information about this, but in general, limestone is a fairly absorbent stone, and even though I work with different limestones daily, I would be hesitant to recommend one for a shower application. Questions for you, Was the stone honed or polished?, was the stone sealed, and if so with what, and how many applications? What "household cleaners"
have been used on the stone? (limestone is highly reactive to anything acidic) Have you tried not using the shower for a period of time ( 2 weeks or so) to see if the discoloration goes away. It may be that the stone is saturated and the moisture is wicking up the walls, and it will need to dry out before it can be properly sealed anyway. Or the problem could be with the drain weepholes and the pan below the stone floor. I'm not at all qualified to go into that other than to say that's a major problem. and probably means a tear out and redue.
As a general discourse on limestone: limestone makes up the majority of stone types exposed on the surface of this planet. To be classified as a limestone it must be a sedimentary rock with at least 50% calcium carbonate in it's composition. The other 50% can be composed of anything that may have settled on the sea floor while the stone was being formed. These other components have a tremendous effect on the structure, hardness, density, appearance, and potential functionality of the formation. There are literally thousands of limestone formations, but only a small percentage of these are truly suitable for building purposes or dimensioned stone. In the part of the world I live in there is a section of stone that is thousands of feet thick, and covers some 60 million years of sedimentary deposition. Much of this section is composed of limestone formations, but there are maybe 4 or 5 that are used for building stone, and less than that for dimensioned stone. The rest, for one reason or another, are pretty much worthless for this purpose, but are valuable in other ways such as crushed rock for road base, agricultural lime, a component in portland cement etc. In today's booming natural stone market there are many many stones of different types that are being marketed for purposes they are not suited for. That is the result of no industry regulations or standards, and why my friend Maurizio talks about education before the sale. Unfortunately, many of those that need the education the most are too busy writingorders, and don't have time to learn anything about the productsthey are selling. So we have forums of this type full of tailsof woe, that hopefully help others make educated choices, or eventually, the industry may shoot itself in the foot. That's my two cents worth. JVC
R1:Dear john, from your question i see that the limestone cladding is not quite old.
may be there is a water leak somewhere behind it.
my advise pull down the slabs check for any leaks, dry up the limestone in sun. may be the water marks will go. if not go in for new slabs. but first clear up any leak behind the slabs. if it is absorbing water from the front side then it should soak up water all over the slab. since you say it is only in patches it sure must be a leak behind the slabs.Dilip
Q 5907: I am looking into making indoor bathroom sinks from blocks of either Thai sandstone or Palimanan sandstone from Indonesia. I want a honed/polished finish and I am wondering about the suitability of these stones for the purpose and also what kind of water and stain resistant treatments I should give them. Your advice would be appreciated, Thank you, John, Nov 29, Reply
R1: Limestone is not advisable for your requirement try granite. Dilip
Q 5906: Me again about the green marble......I looked at the pictures. The weight veins are more pronounced on mine....Cant really tell much on internet pictures between the diffrent green marbles. I did take a piece and sprayed it with vinegar. Nothing happened. Muratic acid out of the bottle made the veins bubble up and dissolve. I can drill it with out too much trouble. I guess that means its not Vermonte Verde for sure. Nov 29, Reply
Q 5905: I have just purchased/installed Marble countertops in two of my new bathrooms (Botticino in one and occianata? in the other). I was told by an "expert" in the field to clean them with rubbing alcohol. He raved aboutusing alcohol and said that they wouldn't even need to be sealed again if rubbing alcohol was used frequently. How good is this advice and what are some cons of using rubbing alcohol? Any info will be greatly appreciated. Flippini, Nov 29, Reply
R1: Dear Filippini: (It's "Breccia Oniciata". Terrific stone!) Do you own a gun, or a baseball bat, or somethin'? Use it the next time you see that genius! Nobody is going to press charges against you!! :-) Maurizio, Expert panelist
Q 5904: 1)How would granite with "movement" (such as "Colombo") look in a small (60+/- feet of counter space) U-shaped kitchen counter?
2)Any advice on accentuating cabinet colors versus contrasting them, with granite counter tops, for the same small kicthen (10'x10')?I'd appreciate your advice.Jerry.
Nov 29, Reply
R1: Dear Jerry: I'm sorry, but I make a lousy interior decorator. I am a plain blue-collar stone mechanic who's even 25% colorblind! :-) Maurizio, Expert panelist
Q 5901: I have seen honed slate tile kitchen countertops that looked pretty but a friend of mine is discouraging me from using them. She says they stain and do not hold up very well. What is the skinny? Pros and Cons.Kitchen for a family of five 2 adults - 3 kids - and lots of little friends coming over to eat. Smith, Nov 29, Reply
R1: Dear Smith: You have a REAL friend and you don't even realize it! Listen to him (or her)! Maurizio, Expert panelist
Q 5900: I have a question regarding a so called marble wall slab. I have a contractor telling me that the wall in a bath being remodeled is 1/4 inch marble slabs.. I did not believe they made 1/4 inch marble slabs due to the veins in marble? do they? thanks, Scott, Nov 29, Reply
R1: Dear Scott: They recently introduced that (5 or 6 years ago). Its kind of veneer marble - real marble, mind you - backed with some sort of epoxy resin. Very tough stuff! So … it could be! Maurizio, Expert panelist
Q 5899: I have placed five 3'X6' "Granite" monuments within our cemetery. When they arrived they were beautiful. Since then (three years) the sprinklers have left heavy water deposits on the monuments. What can we do to remove the spots and get the monuments back to a respectable appearance? We have used grill bricks, but no positive results, Garett,Nov 29, Reply
R1: Dear Garret: I'm afraid that it could be more than mineral deposits. Certain "granites" are sensible to outdoors elements. Get hold of a bona fide stone restoration contractor and ask them to assess the situation. Maurizio, Expert panelist
Q 5898: I have this Maryland Rubble stone fireplace. During our remodel a bottle of detergent was placed on the harth. Now there is a white spot on this stone. I have tried water, minerial spirits, murick acid to remove this spot and nothing has seemed to remove this spot. Is there any product out there to remove this spot? Jackie,Nov 29, Reply
R1: Dear Jackie: Your stone has been etched, not stained. Stains are always darker that the original finish of the stone. It's like fabric: stains make it darker or of a different color (still darker), while bleach make them lighter. A bleach stain is not a stain! Considering the rough surface of your stone it is technically impossible to repair the etch mark. But … does it "disappear" when you wet it with water? If that's the case, the application of a good-quality stone color enhancer (like my MB-6), will take care of that permanently. My consumer products are available through the link "Maurizio's products" . All my products come with a 100% money back guarantee if not completely satisfied! Maurizio, Expert panelist
Q 5897: We recently had polished marble flooring installed in various areas of our home (baths and entryway/hallway). Unfortunately, the installer did not properly clean the grout in the master bath and left a haze. On top of that, he scratched several tiles in the entryway. While attempting to repolish the scratched tiles, he nicked the adjacent tiles and ultimately dulled the finish to several tiles. A stone restorer has subsequently resurfaced all floors via the crystallation method (per the restorer) to remove the grout haze, remove the scratches, and even out the appearance. The floors now no longer have the highly polished appearance. It has a rather honed finish. The restorer indicates that it would be impossible to restore the look of the floor to its original lustre. In observing his work, he used a huge steel pad under the polisher with a spray bottle. Thereafter, he sealed the floors and rebuffed. Still dull. He told me to keep the floors dry for 48 hours and then follow up with a mopping using hot water mixed with Murphy's Oil Soap diluted 20:1. Should he have used a diamond pad with polishing paste/powders? Also, is it true that the stone can only be brought to approximately 90% of its original lustre? From a scale of 1-10, I would say the entryway/hallway floors are a 7, with the master bath a 3. The restorer will be returning in about 10 days to rebuff (repolish?) the master bath to bring up the shine. Whatever guidance you can provide would be greatly appreciated. Thank you. Mia. Nov 29, Reply
R1: Dear Mia: You really dialed my number with this one! It looks to me like you've got "Michelangelo" first, and then his brother!! :-) Crystallization is the most disgraceful thing that could happen to marble. Unfortunately, since the stone industry is totally unregulated on this subject, nobody has the gumption to ban such make-believe "polishing" method once and for all. The guy is obviously a total fraud using a non-professional fraudulent (yet legally accepted, alas) method of stone "restoration", which does NOT restore the stone by a long shot, and can actually damage the stone itself. The fact that he could not bring your marble back to a high gloss, and that the guy gave you that lame statement about the "impossibility" to reproduce a factory finish polish, further proves that he should be polishing (oops, sorry: "crystallizing" - whatever the heck that means!) marble floors in jail! Yes, the way to go should have been diamond honing and powder- polishing. Can it be done now? Yes, but it's gonna be very difficult and very expensive, because of the crysta-crap sitting on your floor. The only way to rectify the whole thing is to grind (and I do mean: GRIND) the whole floor, followed by honing and polishing. If you add to that all the edging work all along the walls, you're in for a big ticket item! (Figure anywhere between $8 and $10 per square foot!) And all this just for having crysta-crapped your floor once! If I were you, I would demand that "Michelangelo" to totally remove the crystal-crap he put on your floor, on the grounds that you just don't want it. It's a powerful argument, because you wanted the stone restored to its original factory finish, not coated with some sort of transparent hard crust. And if he can't polish marble he should have told you so, and stated that he can only do that s-t instead. The fact is, however, that you will only tell that to him, because you don't really want him to do something as demanding from a professional point of view as grinding your floor!! He did enough damage already, thank you very much! This will only deliver the message that you will be calling a real pro to do the job right and that hew will have to pay for the grinding part of the job, or else you will drag his butt in court. Trust me, even if it's legally accepted, you can build a strong winning case against crystallization. I did that already a few years back assisting a customer in court. And it was a hands-down victory, too, because no crysta-crapper in the world can bring any real stone expert in court to endorse the method!. Maurizio, Expert panelist
Q 5894: My family owns and operates a monument sales and installation business, a few years ago Chinese granite became available to us but upon advice given to us by a local granite trade association we have thus far declined to use any Chinese granite. The association says that within a few years of being in the weather the stone will start bleeding rust from the higher iron content it has, they also claim a magnet will stick to the stone due to the iron content. They say this only about Chinese granite, no other granite from any other part of the world is mentioned. I can understand the associations concern wanting to protect it's members and customers from an inferior product or mabye another motive would be that the Chinese granite can be purchased at a far less price than a comparable granite from say Africa and this process is hurting the local market. In all my searching I have found nothing to say the associations claims to be correct. Thanks for any information anyone can give. J.C. Nov 29, Reply
R1: Dear J.C.: You're absolutely right. Consider one thing: the Man upstairs did not invent geography! The reputation of a country about quality products can be only related to technical know-how and workmanship, never to products of nature! Are they trying to tell you that a pure rough diamond from Paraguay is not as good as a pure rough diamond from South Africa just because it was mined in Paraguay? :-) Whether the particular stone you're making reference to is rich in iron mineral, it could be (several commercial granites, from all over the world are), but that has nothing to do with the fact that it's coming from China. Maurizio, Expert panelist
Q 5893: My name is Dan Williams and I am an owner/ builder. I am in the early construction stages of a new home (we are pouring the foundation next week). The house is in the Santa Fe style and we like browns, taupes, golds and reds. The home is 3100 sq. ft. (interior) and has two exterior porches with a connecting walkway. I am considering installing slate throughout the house except for the bedrooms (carpeting instead). I would also like to install a complementary (colorwise) granite as a countertop in the kitchen and bathrooms (X3). So far, several granite candidates that we are considering are Dakota Mahogany and Baltic Brown. I would also like to use the slate as a baseboard in the rooms that is installed in and on the shower walls. I need help in:
- Identifying a slate that meets our color criteria and is a good maintenance choice in a house with two small children and an active kitchen.
- When estimating the amount to order, how much over should one order. (I am an owner/builder but I have hired a custom builder as a supervisor)
- Granite (or other countertop) recommendations (I have read many of your responses on the website, including the lemon juice test) My main concerns here are complementing the slate floor colors and maintenance. Dan, Nov 29, Reply
R1: Dear Dan:Lots of questions! May I ask you what's in it for me if I answer them, since you obviously don't trust the people you will eventually be giving your money to (and I don't blame you for
that!), but also carefully avoided to pay my tiny consultation fee? Let me tell you something real quick:
You may like slate, but you do NOT want it! If you want to know more, as shocking as it may come to you, I want to get paid for my consultation!
About granite countertop, I would encourage you to purchase my article on how to shop for a granite countertop (available through the link: Maurizio's Dos and Don'ts in the side bar menu of the Expert Advice page), which will give you all the intelligence you need to pick the <rigth granite> and the <right> fabricator. If you can't afford that, then take your chances!It talks a