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

ADVICE WANTED!   January 31, 2002
www.findstone.com   info@findstone.com

Ask any question, share your knowledge, or offer your services!

Inquirers: Experts will answer your questions and solve your problems. So email your question for free display here. If you are willing to pay for some specific service or want to buy some specific type of product, do state so.
Advisors: Please share your knowledge and expertise and give as detailed a reply as possible to each inquiry. If you can offer some specific service or product, please mention the type of service or the generic product-type with indicative prices. If you can email us a detailed list of products and services, we will give it as a separate link.

A 1394: I'm interested in finding a Los Angeles or Orange County company that sells Basaltina Granite. Also, would like to know if it is appropriate for a kitchen countertop. Cathy, Jan 31. Reply
R1: Dear Cathy: "Basaltina" is not a granite by a long shot. In Fact, it doesn't even pretend to be one. It's a volcanic stone called Basalt (hence the name Basaltina) and is quarried in the proximity of Rome, Italy. 
That said, you do NOT want to find out if anybody in Orange County, CA carries it. In fact, you want to stay as far away from it as possible (as a material for kitchen countertop). Too darn absorbent! No sealer can do a perfect and decently lasting job while dealing with such a degree of absorbency. Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, USA, Expert Panelist. Reply
A 1393: I just got a problem of scratch and spot hole (about 5x5x5 mm w/h/d) with my limestone floor on few places understood due some tools dropped, and black stain some area due wet surface. Is there any product / glue can repair those scratch and spot hole? and how to clean the black stain? Thank you. Prasong, Jan 31. Reply
R1: The only way to repair the scratch is to sand it off. For the hole, if it's deep enough, you can fill it with epoxy glue to match the color. About the black stain, I have no idea how it was formed, therefore, without that information, I wouldn't know how to remove it. Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, USA, Expert Panelist. Reply 
A 1392: We are really having quite a debate in our shop on how to properly and profitably price out a subcontractor's installation plus template fees. Any particular rule of thumb to follow? We bid the complete job, schedule and collect all funds plus provide the guarantee work. Our main work comprises of kitchens. Jan 31. Reply 
R1: Depending on the geographical area, you should be considering anywhere between $ 10 and $ 15 per square foot. Ciao, Maurizio, USA, Expert Panelist. Reply 
A 1391: I have 6 nos. 1"x18"x8' countertops w/sink and faucet cut outs and black flush mount acid resistant sinks I have 2 nos. 1"x18"x7' countertops w/sink and faucet cut outs and black flush mount acid resistant sinks I have 2 nos. 1"x18"x5' side countertops. I have 1" x 4" back splashes (lengths are same as all the countertops and side tops. They are from a school that was built in 1964 they need very little honing and cleaning. They are located in Bangor Maine and I am asking $9,000.00 for the whole lot. Jan 31. Reply
R2: Best of British!! Drop one of the zeros and you might have some luck. Hans, Australia, Expert Panelist, Reply
R1: Good luck, Pal! Let me know if you find any takers! Ciao, Maurizio, USA, Expert Panelist, Reply
A 1390: I noticed that you seem to have a lot of information about the wear and care of limestone. What do you know about Bulgarian white and yellow limestone and would you recommend it for use in a formal entryway? How soon would it begin to turn black from regular footstep traffic? Also do you know anything about Antique Blanc Rose and how practical that would be for a kitchen application -just looking at it makes you wonder how you clean it? Rachel, Jan 30. Reply
R1: Dear Rachel: I don't know the first thing about those Bulgarian limestone. Generally speaking I always encourage people to stay away from limestone, but then, this is just a general suggestion. What I do know for sure, however, is the you do NOT want Antique Blanc Rose in your kitchen floor!! (unless, of course, you're kitchen is going to be only some sort of show-place!). Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, USA, Expert Panelist, Reply
I would really appreciate your opinion on whether Antique Blanc Rose would be the right choice for a kitchen floor. Supposedly it is a hand made cooked stone that is over 100 years old salvaged from the South of France. Have you any experience with this stone? Rachel, Reply
Dear Rachel: I already answered your questions, didn't I? I repeat, I don't know the first thing about those two limestone. Nor I care to know. Just because they are limestone, I don't like them already! No limestone will ever find its way inside my house, and the same principle applies to Antique Blanc Rose, despite the impressiveness of the name!  Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, USA, Expert Panelist, Reply
Is blanc rose the right choice? If you like the look of course it is. John, USA, Expert Panelist, Reply 
Dear Rachel: I believe that I have already answered you question more than once, by now. There's no such a thing like a cooked stone. Either it's stone, or it's a manmade material. I do not like that particular material. Without being a prejudice, there's very little I like that comes out of France (besides a few marbles, Brie cheese, Champagne and Michelin tires). Ciao, Maurizio, USA, Expert Panelist, Reply
A 1389: Installed $150k worth of "natural" limestone in a bank foyer. The architect says it does not look like what he expected when he specified "natural." The owner refuses to pay for it--he says it looks "dirty." We are trying to resolve this short litigation. We are looking for downloadable technical data which can be used in a presentation to show the owner that they got what was ordered. Also that the quality of the vapor barrier in the substrate has a direct effect on the staining effect which can show up on natural stone use as a floor covering. Jan 30. Reply
R2: Dear in LA: This is a typical example of the reasons why I've learned to decline any installation job that involves limestone. You never know which limestone you're dealing with, to begin with, and you never know (until it happens) if something is going to go wrong. And, to top it all, when it happens, you will never know exactly what went wrong, nor if there's any chance (usually, there isn't one) that it can be rectified. Conclusion, to me it's too risky a proposition, and the contractor is usually the one who gets the rap (translation: who gets screwed!). The contractor is always the weakest factor in the equation. The architect is untouchable (he or she knows everything all the time!), and the owner holds the money bag! 
I don't believe that there's any technical solution to your situation. I sure wouldn't want to be in your shoes! The only advice I can give you is to try to find out if your liability insurance will pick up the tab for ripping out the whole darn thing and pay for the tiles. I could help you with that, by arguing -- as an expert -- that the unpredictable nature of many a limestone excludes any provable negligence for your part. That is, I'm afraid, all you can hope for. Do contact me directly (through findstone.com) if you feel I could help. I'm really sympathetic with your situation. Sorry. Ciao, Maurizio, USA, Expert Panelist, Reply
R1: Hello, As a former contractor in the area as well as Vegas & Phoenix I got to tell you that you have an uphill battle here. The Architect & Owner will tell you that you are the flooring expert. So when you lay stone over a substrate and you don't use an isolation or waterproof membrane you are basically s.o.l. The care and maintenance guidelines will be from the company that will provide your sealers and cleaners.
I'm not trying to drill you but I have been doing this for several years and want you to have eyes wide open. Sorry, Steven, USA, Expert Panelist, Reply
A 1388: Maurizio. I am JVC a fellow respondent on the FindStone web site. My area of expertise is limestone--architectural carving and masonry, but I must say that I have been enjoying quite an education by reading your comments on the site. 
My question for you is this. I am building my own place, and would like to use granite for my kitchen tops. Through a friend who has somehow acquired an old Cold Springs facility, I have access to a large variety of stones. Things like Dakota Mahogany, Blue Pearl, Uba Tuba, and all of the Texas reds and pinks, plus a few lighter colored stones that I do not know the name of. What in you opinion, are the best granites to use in a kitchen application, and which names are the ones to stay away from? Thank you, JVC. Jan 30. Reply
R1: Dear John: I'm always happy when a fellow panelist contacts me! I love to make new friends, wherever they are. I enjoy reading your answers, also (I can always use some new information. That's how, in part, I've got my alleged expertise, after all!). 
To be honest with you, I don't know all the names of all those different "granites." I believe that nobody knows them, also and above all in consideration of the fact that those names are not "written in stone"! Many a dealer fabricate their own names so that people can't shop them around! Let me tell you, though, that knowing all those fancy names doesn't make anybody a stone expert, unless one actually knows the stones behind the names! 
When I see a new stone coming on the market under the label of "granite," I look at it from any possible angle, run my little "lemon juice test," apply my sealer on it (if the test leads me to conclude that it needs to be sealed), test again to see how the sealer is performing, then draw my own conclusions about the feasibility of that stone. 
I'd suggest you (and anybody else, for that matter) to follow the same procedure. Hey, I'd like to get to know you better. You never know what a new acquaintance can lead to! Ciao, 
Maurizio, USA, Expert Panelist, Reply
A 1387: Dear Maurizio, Thank you so much for the advice with the smooth Arizona sandstone hearth. I have some follow-up questions and hope I can make myself clear. The following questions pertain to the stains on the smooth Arizona sandstone hearth. What is the % concentration or strength of the hydrogen peroxide I should use on the smooth hearth? (Beauty shops which I have called no longer use it. However, I may be able to obtain it through my place of employment) How should it be applied? How long should I leave it on? Should I agitate periodically with a soft brush? How do I take it up after the allotted time?, wet vac? or wipe up? The following question pertains to the stains on the rough-cut Arizona sandstone fireplace where wax has dripped. I have since removed the wax, but stains (from the coloring in the wax?) still exist. Since this is a vertical face and nothing sets on it what do I use to take out stains on this (there is still a slight stain left after I use vinegar)? Thank you very much for your time. Bob in Seattle. Jan 30. Reply
R1: Dear Bob: 30 / 40 volume. Wear rubber gloves. Put some baby powder in a glass or stainless steel bowl, pour some HP on it and mix to form a paste more or less of the consistency of peanut-butter (this is a poultice). Apply the poultice onto the stain (approx. 1/4" thick) and leave it there until is totally dry. After that, remove the talc (baby powder), clean with a damp rag or a wet brush, and check if the stains came out. Repeat it if necessary. Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, USA, Expert Panelist, Reply
Dear Maurizio, I finally found some 40% hydrogen peroxide solution (which has phosphoric acid in it as a stabilizer). There are two parts to my problem. The first deals with the fireplace hearth (smooth finish). How do I use the peroxide? With the poultice I purchased (I've used it about a dozen times with slow results) it is applied and agitated for a period of 40 minutes and then removed using a wet vac. Do I dilute the peroxide or use it full strength? How do I prepare the surface before applying the peroxide? How long do I leave it on? Do I agitate during application? How do I remove it afterwards? The second problem pertains to the sandstone vertical face (rough cut and  brick-like). How do I remove the stains from this surface? Thanks for being patient with Bob in Seattle. Reply
A 1386: I'm finishing a wet bar in the basement with a set of base cabinets butting a studded, drywall, 42" wall upon which will set an 8 foot x 24" wide 3cm granite. Since the granite will essentially be balanced on a 4 " wide wall, the question arises as to how to adequately brace the countertop. Even with 3cm granite, the builder plans to use a plywood base and support it with metal brackets. He's not committed to a specific number, and I'm trying to find out the 'sense of the community'. This is most important to me in that I'm making some final decisions about decoration for the exterior wall of the bar, and want to match up some decorative corbels to help hide the brackets. Any ideas or suggestions? Kevin, Jan 30, Reply
R2: The spans between the center supports should be no more than 24" or 61 cm the countertop in 3 cm material should not cantilever with out support more than 10" or 25 cm. Hope this helps. Regards, Steven, USA, Expert Panelist. Reply
R1: The builder is doing the right thing. The heavy stone needs support. It will not hold on without  supports. Have you considered Granite Columns to support the hanging corners. You can get round columns. Alternatively stack up small squares of granite 3" thick in the form of an arch. This can be made by using small 4" x 4" square pieces of granite and placed on top of each other in such a manner that you get a perfect arch. Regards, Arun, India, Expert Panelist. Reply
A 1385: I am responsible for the cleaning and maintaining of approximately 60,000 marble headstones. Any suggestions as to algae/moss/lichen control and/or any other environmentally kind products? Some of which are over one hundred years old. Must not kill grass or trees. Robert, Jan 29. Reply
R4: You can use bleach in a low pressure (pump up) sprayer. Each stone would need to be treated individually as a general spraying of the entire area would not be acceptable. We have also used cleaners with a sodium trisulfate agent on limestone, but to be perfectly honest with you, I'm not sure how effective this is, and if there is any chemical reaction with the stone itself. JVC, USA, Expert Panelist, Reply
R3: Dear Robert, Cleaning of such a large number of headstones is a mammoth task. Many cleaners are available but we have to be very careful in selecting the same as they will not only have an impact on the stone but also on the green surroundings. The humid atmosphere is a potential growth area for biological growth. The cleaner system to be used should be a mildly alkaline material which will not effect the stone and the alkalinity will inhibit the growth of moss etc. We manufacture a product which is a variant of one of a product which is being extensively used by the Archeological Department of India for cleaning of monuments. Hope the above information is helpful. Regards, Arun, India, Expert Panelist, Reply
R2: Hi Robert with so many headstones I suggest a portable water power washer. Then rub with a cloth clean water with a touch of bleach added. Simply dont touch the grass or trees. Always Do a sample first. This will keep the moss at bay. John, USA, Expert Panelist, Reply
R1: Dear Robert: Not a funny job!! I don't think there's anything to prevent or control the formation of algae and mildew, but I do have a terrific biological cleaner that will clean those soiling agent on contact, without effecting the integrity of the stone. Contact me directly through findstone.com, and I will gladly send you a sample for you to try out. Ciao and good luck! Maurizio, USA, Expert Panelist, Reply
A 1384: What do you know about Bulgarian white and yellow limestone for usage in a formal hallway? Also what information can you share about Antique Blanc Rose for usage on a kitchen floor? I am interested in how you clean and maintain these floors? I am also wondering about the usage of the Antique Blanc Rose? Rachel, Jan 28, Reply
R3: Dear Rachel: If you ask me, cleaning that floor wouldn't be a problem: a good clean mop with a solution of water and a stone detergent (NOT a stone soap). The real problem will be represented by the removal of all the stains that you will eventually be getting, no matter how well you're going to have that stone sealed, even if the contractor uses the "Seal-all" impregnator made by the "Bestest" company. Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, USA, Expert Panelist. Reply 
R2: Hi Rachel , limestone is absorbent. You can clean with a stiff hand brush and a cleaning agent. Wet dry brush sparingly do not create a puddle with the sealer. Always do a sample first. John, USA, Expert Panelist. Reply 
R1: Dear Rachel, the name for Bulgarian limestone is VRATZA. It is used for years in our country. It is suitable for floor because of its pleasant color, stability, but in time dirt is difficult to remove dirt from surface from its filled pores. ANTIQUE BLANC ROSE is French type of terracotta. Daniel, Slovakia, Expert Panelist. Reply
Thank you for your prompt response to my questions regarding Bulgarian Limestone.
How would you remove the dirt from the filled pores -is it a complicated operation requiring professional cleaners or could you clean it by yourself with what cleanser? Does it require a "sealer" and what type would you recommend. How porous or absorbent is this stone? I thank you for taking the time to answer these questions. Rachel, Jan 29.
Thank you for your prompt response regarding Bulgarian Limestone. You mentioned that dirt would have to be cleaned from time to time from filled pores. Are you referring to professional machine cleaning -or can it be maintained for a reasonable period of time through home cleaning methods. Should this stone be sealed and would you have any information on what type of sealer. Also, what do you think about the maintenance of Antique Blanc Rose on a Kitchen Floor. Is it at all cleanable or practical? I appreciate your time and expertise, Rachel Reply
Dear Rachel, excuse me I am not expert for stone maintenance and using of terracotta. I can only say, that in my university the floors have been from Vratza limestone for over 20 years. Pores are filled by dirt. The floors were not cleaned by special technics or chemicals. Maybe other expert will advice you. Daniel, Slovakia, Expert Panelist. Reply
A 1383: Hello, I saw some comments you made recently on findstone.com. I'm interested in knowing if there is a way to seal or even varnish a limestone floor to limit the chances of it being damaged by careless neglect (I may have to rent out my house for a number of years, and I'm terrified about renters screwing up my recently-installed floor). Please let me know if your company can provide any assistance. I'm located in West Hollywood. Regards, Paul. Jan 28. Reply
R1: All you can do is to have your floor professionally sealed with a good-quality impregnator (I wouldn't mind if you'd consider using mine! It does come with a 20 year limited warranty). Other than that, I can't thing of anything else. Varnishing is totally out of the question!! 
And ongoing maintenance -- which is the most important issue -- would only be in the hands of your tenants. Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, USA, Expert Panelist, Reply
A 1382: We have been in the vinyl installation for the past 10 years and like to add on this new business into to our service line. We like to learn more on this business, in areas of skill development and product knowledge. We see a potential business opportunity in the stone restoration in our country Malaysia. Any information and advise rendered will be very much appreciated. Jan 28. Reply
R1: I do offer training on stone refinishing on location. I can supply plenty references.
Contact me if you're interested. Ciao, Maurizio, USA, Expert panelist,
A 1381: I'm confused about the differences between marble & travertine. I'd like to retile my bathroom in honed marble or travertine flooring and polished marble or travertine shower surround. I live in Seattle and my current ceramic tile bathroom has a mildew problem which we're hoping to solve by demolishing the shower walls & floor, fixing dry rot, replacing shower walls, retiling, etc.
Some dealers tell me travertine will hold up better in a bathroom and is easier to care for. Others say marble is better. (One said they're exactly the same stone.) Recommendations are all over the map in terms of which stone, which finish, which sealer, which grout. What, in your opinion would work best for each of these two areas--travertine or marble, honed or polished? Would an epoxy grout be advisable--or is there a better choice, such as latex-modified unsanded grout? What type of sealant?
(One dealer says StoneTech Bulletproof sealer will last 15 years. Another says to get Miraseal.)
Alternatively, would a porcelain tile be a better choice, given the mildew problem? And if porcelain, should I put polished porcelain on the shower walls? (Somewhere on your QA board, someone said polished porcelain is more absorbent than unpolished, which seems counter-intuitive!) Thanks for your input. Jan 28. Reply
R3: It is not your specific ignorance that upset me. You have the right, as a consumer, to be specifically ignorant (out of my own fields I'm the stupidest guy on earth!!). What does upset me all the time is the specific ignorance of most trades people not to mention some self-appointed "stone experts". There's no justification for that in my book. Ciao, and thanks for your thank you, Maurizio, USA, Expert Panelist, Reply
R2: OK you need a lot of information. Travertine and marble, though different in some respects can be treated equally here for your purpose. 
First the mildew problem has nothing to do with the material selection. It is a moisture related issue. Please find a way to vent the space better than it currently is being done. In the mean time mix up bleach 1 part to water 5-8 parts and spray the mildew off the surface. 
Second if the travertine is filled well, it will do as well as the marble in the setting.
Third many times I think people think marble means shiny and travertine & limestone means honed. Though few limestones shine, all travertine and marble can be honed. The shiny surface will etch if improper cleaning materials and careless spills of acidic material stands too long. Scratches can be noticed more in a polished finish as well. Most polished marble isn't absorptive. So an impregnator doesn't do any good. If you hone a piece of stone the surface is not as smooth. Therefore it will not hurt to impregnate honed products. The core difference is your personal risk comfort level, meaning if you feel that you can treat a polished marble as carefully as you need to then it is a great way to go. If you think you will scratch and etch the surface frequently then the honed and sealed way is for you. If all this thought of care and maintenance for the tiles themselves seems daunting to you then the porcelain is the way to go. Yes, whether it is counter intuitive or not, the polished porcelain has surface stain issues, but you can seal it with the impregnator to help it out. As for the grouting, I know a lot can be said for epoxy grouts. But, just like the stones, you have to pay attention to the details. Please make sure your grout and caulk don't develop cracks or disappear. If they do fix it before the next time you use it. If you keep the grout and caulk whole, Assess what material appeals to you at all levels, and make sure the person who installs it knows exactly what they are doing all of the materials will do well. In closing, The shower is not a build it and forget it space, no matter what you choose you will always have to monitor and maintain it. Regards, Steven, USA, Expert Panelist Reply
R1: Marble and travertine are indeed different stones by the way they were formed, but are absolutely the same as far as maintenance is concerned. Geological marble (a minority) is a little bit more absorbent that other mercantile marbles (compact limestone, the majority). Travertine, as far as absorbency is concerned, is as dense as most marbles (compact limestone). In the environment of a bathroom, none of them need to be sealed (unless you're going to spill coffee or cooking oil in your bathroom, and without realizing it). A sealer for stone -- any brand, including my own (which, by the way, comes with a 20 year-warranty) -- do one thing and one thing only: prevent stains, period. No other protection than that. Etchings (wrongly referred to as "water stains", or "water rings") -- the most common problem with calcite-based stones -- will not be prevented. Not one bit. It is always best to leave the stone alone, like Mother Nature intended, rather than raping Her with chemicals that won't do the first thing for you. In all my traveling (about 40 years and counting) I never, I repeat NEVER saw one single true stain in a marble bathroom! I'm really sick and tired of all this "salesmanship" going on that, instead of trying to solve the problems by understanding them (but, hey, that would mean getting to actually know stone ... What are you kidding me?!), pretend to solve them with a "miracle-in-a-bottle". I'm really upset. Ciao, Maurizio, USA, Expert Panelist. Reply 
Please don't be upset, Maurizio. You're educating me (and dozens of others). Thank you so much for answering my questions. I feel like I'm a smarter consumer now that I've discovered Findstone, (which was recommended by a salesman who also pushed a "miracle in a bottle".) Reply
Thank you, Steven. Very informative. I'm still in the info-gathering mode and appreciate your input. Your reply has raised further Qs. Is there a particular impregnator you recommend for polished porcelain? Should I use the same on matte? Would I be better advised to use matte porcelain on my shower walls. Reply
I don't recommend impregnators one over the other. I just like to support individuals who contribute to a forum like this. Therefore use the products by Maurizio.
As for the porcelain, it's hard to recommend something to you without having ever met you. So, I propose you differentiate between the absorption issue of the polished porcelain and the surface dirt issue of the unpolished porcelain. One (the polished) can absorb more than the other can but the unpolished won't be as smooth. So it depends on you. Do you put off cleaning until another, then another, etc., day, or, are you the type that squeegees right after you are done and the tile never has a chance to get dirty or the chance to absorb anything. Take a couple of pieces home and test them for a while. Regards Steven, USA, Expert Panelist,
I haven't read your original question and Steven's answer to it (yet), but it seems to me that you're rising an issue about porcelain tiles absorbency. Allow me to intervene on this one (I'm sure Steven will forgive me), because I believe I know a thing or two about porcelain tiles. As a manufacturer of sealers, some 6 years ago I was approached by a manufacturer of porcelain tiles from South America who was looking for a specific sealer for such material. We formulated something specific and sent the sample to the guy. He got back to me reporting that the sealer was working fine, but that they decided not to pursue the issue, because, after all, it was not so important. And you know what? That guy was right! Anyway, technically speaking, porcelain tiles are slightly absorbent when polished, while totally liquid-proof when finished rough (opposite than stone). My point, however, is this: since you're talking about a shower enclosure, why is it that the (very limited) absorbency of the tiles concerns you so much? Are you perhaps afraid that you're going to stain your tile inside the shower stall with coffee or cooking oil?! 
And even if they do absorb a little bit of water (which they won't), why is it that such a possibility bothers you so much? Marble absorbs more than porcelain, yet, I never witnessed any problem cause by a (very limited, if any) absorption of water. If any of the water will ever get absorbed (which, again, it won't), it will dry out in a matter of a few minutes, period. Think for a minute: to have a chance to be absorbed by geological marble water needs to sit on it for at least 5 minutes. To be absorbed by porcelain, it will need at least 15 minutes. And I do mean, SIT ON IT, that is on a totally leveled surface. Where do you have such a leveled surface in your shower? You have wall that are vertical, therefore no liquid will ever sit on them, and your floor must have a pitch toward the drain. 
So, besides the fact that your shower will never have a chance to get stained with anything, what is all this fuss about sealing it? Save your time (and money). Ciao, Maurizio, USA, Expert Panelist, Reply
A 1380: The top section of my marble parsons table has broken in half. Is there any way to repair this? I've wondered if I could glue the two halves to a plywood base. Is there any glue that would hold it together? The broken piece is about 5 feet long and 18 inches deep. It is a slab about 1/2 inch thick. There is a 3 - 4 inch lip around the edge. The marble is called "Italian Rose". Please help. Thank you. Karen, Jan 28. Reply
R3: The cracks will eventually run through and crack the top. You may use a polyester resin to fill out the cracks. The resin will hve to be suitably pigmented to match colour and then the top will have to be refinished to remove excess resin leftovers. Regards 
Arun, India, Expert Panelist, Reply
R2: Karen, Maybe it can be repaired, maybe not. look in your yellow pages for a granite and marble fabricator, and have them check it out. They will probably want to rod the back in addition to the glue work. There are glues formulated for this kind of work, and coloring agents to add to the glue (epoxy or polyester). Good luck JVC, USA, Expert Panelist. Reply
R1: This is not a repair I would like you to carry out. If the piece has a number of veins in it then I believe a good fabrication facility could repair it for you where it won't be quite so noticeable. If it does not have a lot of veins then I believe it can still be repaired but you will see the line. Regards, Steven, USA, Expert Panelist. Reply 
A 1379: I had a travertine honed and filled tiles recently installed in my home. Unfortunately, on the second application of the sealer for the grout, our installer failed to adequately remove the sealer from the tiles. We now have a floor that appears dirty, leaves footprint markings and actually has some dried puddle markings. How can we correct this problem? Joan, Jan 28. Reply
R2: I don't know if I have answered this question recently or not. For the sake of repetition here it is again. Please have the original contractor who created this mess come back and fix it. Regards, Steven, USA, Expert Panelist. Reply 
R1: Joan: Different sealers may be stripped in different ways (inquire with the sealer's manufacturer about that). Call the contractor back and have him solve the problem he created. He's got paid, I don't. Ciao, Maurizio, USA, Expert Panelist, Reply 
A 1378: If you do get scratches on slate, is there a way to make them less visible? Jan 28. Reply
R3: If the slate is unpolished, then use a light sandpaper to remove the scratch. If the slate is polished, the same process may be used but the area will require repolishing and it is difficult to match the level of gloss. Regards Arun, India, Expert Panelist, Reply 
R2: Use mineral oil or lightly sand the scratch and use mineral oil. Regards, Steven, USA, Expert Panelist, Reply 
R1: Yes, with baby oil (or any other mineral oil). Ciao, Maurizio, USA, Expert Panelist, Reply 
A 1377: I stumbled across your website while trying to find pictures of serpentine and serpentinite. I found some material at the Morgantown Mine spoils dump in Morgantown, Pa that has me pretty well stumped. I found some large rocks (10-15 lbs) that had dark green bands running through them indicating there might be something inside. Some had lime green/yellow bands. I brought some home and broke them open with hammer and was surprised at what I found. The best specimen had a large green mass inside. I put that in my rock saw and came away with a chunk of rock that is dark olive green in color with roughly parallel wavy white lines. There are also red spots that make the rock appear to be bleeding. It has a slightly greasy feel to it.
I know that serpentine is found there at the spoils and I have found stuff that matches what I have read about it. So I am stumped. Oh ... I did get another fine slab of what I think is the same material but it is dark gray and looks like marble.
Attached a picture of the green material in case anyone wants to see it. Thanks, Paul, Jan 28. Reply
R1: Dear Paul, near Morgantown there are the mine of magnetite skarns with some content of Cu. Skarn is rock formed in contact of diabase and limestones. In your samples various minerals can be visible: diopside, phlogopite and garnet followed by actinolite, chlorite, talc,
serpentine, pyrite, chalcopyrite and abundant magnetite. Daniel, Slovakia, Expert Panelist, Reply
A 1376: Decisions, decisions!! I've spent hours reading over your advice QA board, browsing the library as well as many other pages of Findstone. I'm trying to decide on whether to go with marble, travertine, ceramic or porcelain tile for my bathroom. 
I love the look of natural stone, but the more research I do, the more I feel discouraged about using it in my master bath. Am I correct in my impression that marble or travertine can be a major maintenance headache in comparison to ceramic or porcelain tile? What would you recommend, in order of long term ease of care? I'm worried about inevitable spills, cleaning solution mishaps and such. I see contradictory advice about sealing the stone (Pini says "use an impregnator and clean it with Windex," Maurizio says "you need a sealer as much as you need a hole in your head") which makes me even more leery of stone. I do love the way it looks but wonder how good it'll look in 10 years. Thank you for a thoughtful, richly informative website. I appreciate it that you're not commercially-driven as so many stone websites are. Jan 28. Reply
R2: You have said it. The stone is great and in ten years it will look better than the porcelain or ceramic. Some comments I make are applicable to both stone and ceramic.
For instance, ignoring the grout and caulk joints can cause a disaster in both.
With stone you have different types that have different needs. Maurizio is right in that stone doesn't absorb. However some feel that with a polished marble that a topical coating (wax) makes it easier to care for. Do not Windex marble or limestone due to the composition of both. With granite, Windex would destroy impregnators. So don't use Windex. It seems to me that the right answer depends on what you are willing to do as a consumer, as a specifier and quasi design source, I recommend stone more often than tile. I just spend a great deal of time teaching people about their purchase. Regards, Steven, USA, Expert Panelist
R1: Dear Decisions, decisions: You've got actually to love stone if you want to have it in your home. It is not just another commodity that you buy. It's rather something that you adopt. 
Natural stone, with its unmatchable beauty, should give you feelings. If you don't feel anything particular at looking at a piece of stone and think that not one single piece is the same, and that it took Mother Nature hundreds of thousands of years to make, then stone doesn't belong in your household. You just like the look of it. 
Stone does need some TLC, especially calcite based stones such as marble, travertine and the likes. And this TLC can't be overcome by a "miracle-in-a-bottle", such as a sealer (besides, marble and travertine don't really need to be sealed. It's a technical fact, not the opinion of a salesman. I do make a darn good sealer, and I do know what a sealer can or can't do for you). 
If your utmost concern is about easy maintenance, then the good news is that there are porcelain tiles that reproduce (and pretty darn well at that) the look of both marble and travertine, but give you the peace of mind that only a "bullet-proof" material such as porcelain can offer. 
Of course, I am a stone man and I would encourage you to buy natural stone, providing that you learn to accept its inherent physical and chemical limitations, and that you consequently learn how to take good care of it (there are ways, of course, but they are not as simple as a sealer plus Windex!!). In fact, I'd rather have stone stay where it is now, that see it getting in a place where it would not be appreciated for what it is, and cared for accordingly. Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, USA, Expert Panelist
A 1375: I have a question for the experts. This summer in June I got a job working in a showroom selling various natural stone products. I would like to get some concrete information concerning the different types of stone. I have been told many different things, but I would like to go out and research the facts myself, I have found many of the things I have been told concerning the different stones is false. I was wondering where I could go to get information on the different colors of granite. I was told that all granite was the same, but through reading your advice to peoples questions I have
found that they are not and that some of the pieces that I believed to be granite are not in actuality granite. Thank you in advance for any answers you can give me. Corie. Jan 28. Reply
R2: Corie.. How nice that someone in the retail end of the business actually wants to learn something about the stone. You are absolutely right about there being all sorts of misleading and blatantly false information out there. All granites are not the same as the chemistry of the magma pool from which they were formed is not the same, and many stones marketed as granite are not even in the same geologic ball park. The same is true for marble, and maybe even to a larger extent. And most importantly, granite is
not marble, and marble is not granite, although many people do not know the difference, and think that any stone with a high polish is Granite, (or marble). Here in my area, a major granite quarry is located in a town called Marble Falls. Does that ever lead to a lot of confusion! It is important to realize that marble is a carbonate based stone and highly reactive to any thing acidic, and it is relatively soft since the hardness of the main mineral (Calcite) is only a 4 on the hardness scale. Granites are silicates, less reactive to acids, and much harder. A knife blade will always scratch a marble, but not a true granite. Maurizio's lemon juice test (described elsewhere on this site) will tell you a lot about the nature of a stone, and its appropriateness for certain applications. You could take a basic geology class at a local community college, or at least see what books are available through your library. This would give you some of the fundamentals, however it would take a major course of study in things like petrology and geochemistry to really understand the stone from a geologic view point. Find a mentor, an old timer who has been in the fabrication end of things for a long time, and learn from his experience, and most of all, listen and learn from your own experience as to what the end user has to say about maintenance, durability, staining, scratching etc. etc. etc.
Good luck, JVC, USA, Expert Panelist. Reply
R1: Dear Corie: I really wish that everybody were like you! You don't accept the "truth" as it is delivered to you in a pre-packaged, condensed version. You perceive that there's much more to it that meets the eye -- and not certainly glamorous -- and you want to know the facts. So far, nobody had either the knowledge, or the motivation, or the guts to publish what you're seeking, but if you get in touch directly with me I will be happy to help you at my best (no charge, relax!). Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, USA, Expert Panelist. Reply
A 1374: Are Giallo California and California Sunrise the same Brazilian granite? Bruce. Jan 25. Reply
R2: Dear Bruce, it seems to be the same stone after rock type (migmatite), its color and structure. Daniel, Slovakia, Expert panelist. Reply
R1: I have seen this particular stone called both. It is a very absorptive stone. Test it for your  application. Regards, Steven, USA, Expert Panelist, Reply
A 1373: Hello, I am looking for some information on how a particular portable unit to thermal top  granite during an install. I work for a construction supply company and I have a mason looking for a tool to do this job. I am told one was purchased in Minnesota. Please send me anything you have to help me out. thanks. Troy, Jan 25. Reply
A 1372: I am so confused on this granite issue. We are remodeling our kitchen and I was sure that we would use granite until our kitchen designer advised us against it because we have children. She said that if peanut butter, cheese, etc. was ever left on the granite it would have a permanent grease stain. Is this so? After reading some of the other questions it looked like stains could be taken out but it looked like it could be time consuming. Are there better colors to get or types of stone to get to avoid this maintenance or is granite not kid friendly. Rob. Jan 25. Reply
R2: Rob, I believe that the focus should be on a low absorption stone. Many of them are dark colors. These do not need impregnators. Please plan on buying stone specific cleaners. It is easier to clean a stone with this type of cleaner and, if you choose a stone that needs to be impregnated, these cleaners won't harm the impregnator. My personal experience is that I have small children and find it easier to clean because things don't stick to the shiny, slick surface as readily. Regards, Steven, USA, Expert Panelist. Reply 
R1: Dear Rob: You're absolutely right, the "granite" issue is totally confusing. And that is exclusively due to the fact that our beloved stone industry took every (wrong) step and made every (wrong) effort to keep it simple! 
When one labels a whole bunch of stones of different (and very much so) geological classification with one name only, "granite," for the sake of simplicity, one not only commits a full-fledged fraud, but one also creates great confusion. So much for keeping it simple. 
I believe that it would be much simpler saying, for instance, that an Anorthosite is a very good stone indeed for kitchen countertop, while a Gneiss is not. In fact, if one calls both stones "granite" in order not to complicate matters, the good reputation that "granite" will be getting by those who chose Anorthosite, will be ultimately eroded and put into doubt by the unfortunate ones who chose Gneiss trusting that it was a "granite" just like the other one, because of the common label. Tell me now if that is not confusing! 
What's more, such a confusion gives the competition solid arguments to badmouth granite. 
Don't give up, though, Rob! If you really like natural stone (and if you're like me you do!), there's easy help available! Beyond the "complicated" petrographic classifications, you can always rely on my little "lemon juice test". Have fun with it through your "granite" adventure, and become the proud owner of one of Mother Nature's finest! 
Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, USA, Expert Panelist. Reply
A 1371: We just built a house in Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands. The granite countertops were installed improperly which resulted in significant 1-2mm ridges wherever two pieces intersected. To rectify this problem the contractor used a grinder to grind the joints. This left us without the bumpy ridges, but also without the nice gloss that the rest of the countertop has. Very ugly. Unfortunately, there are no granite experts on the island so I'm hoping that we can find a solution on this page. Can the gloss be restored just by buffing it? High grit sandpaper? If special materials are required I can have them shipped to the island, but we will have to rely on non-skilled labor to do the work. thank you. Allan, Jan 25. Reply
R1: Sorry, just forget about it. Only few and far between professional stone refinishers know how to polish a granite surface. It is not just a question of technical means (diamond pads, polishing powder and the right machine), but, most importantly, how to use them. Call back the contractor and have him either re-polish the granite (that he obviously doesn't know how), or replace the whole thing. If not, have your lawyer handle it. You don't have to accept such an inferior workmanship. Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, USA, Expert Panelist, Reply
A 1370: I'm trying to find Terra cotta in color and sandstone in texture, I bought it bagged in 1" to 2" pieces and it was given the name, Pink Soap Stone. The quarries in Ontario, Canada are not offering this stone, so where else could I obtain it? Thank you. Roma. Jan 24. Reply
R1: We can arrange the supply of 1" or 2" sandstone. We are currently supervising a similar job. Photos of the same are enclosed. Regards Arun, India, Expert Panelist Reply  
Thank you for your reply. What I was looking for however, is in rough pieces. From what I can make of the picture, I believe this is the same stone but I am so used to seeing it in chunks. Would these pieces be leftovers from a project like the one you are doing? Roma, Reply
A 1369: What's the best way to install granite tiles over a cement slab (i.e. no joist underneath)? Dough  Jan 24. Reply
R4: The best way is to use an epoxy. Regards, Arun, India, Expert Panelist. Reply  
R3: You can use a thin-set method. 
Apply thin-set to uniform thickness. 
Position tile over bed:
Push or twist tile into place to achieve desired elevation:
Check for levelness of entire floor:
Check for lippage from tile to tile (no more than 1/32"):
Grout floor and work grout into joints:
Pull grout float over tile surface to remove grout off tile:
Use sponge and clean water-clean residue from face, edges, & corners of
I would go one extra step and put down an isolation/water proof membrane the day before. Installation method courtesy of the MIA, Good Luck, Steven, USA, Expert Panelist,
R2: Please see the attached details that depict several options for granite and stone installations. Hope the info helps. Art, USA, Expert Panelist, Reply
R1: Dear Dough: Level the cement slab using a self-leveling hydraulic cement, apply an anti-crack membrane, then set the tile on white thinset. Don't forget to take good care of your granite floor, once installed. Contact me, I can help you with that. Ciao, Maurizio, USA, Expert Panelist, Reply
A 1368: I am interested in finding a picture of Caledonia. Do you recognize the name and is it called by another name? Also, where does it come from and is it in your FindStone display? I had a sample from 2 years ago, and it currently is about 3 shades lighter than the old sample at our area quarries. We get our granite from the Tulsa/Dallas area. Do you know of anyone who has granite from 2 years ago? I am just an individual remodeling a bathroom. Thanks. Karen, Jan 24, Reply
R1: Dear Karen, CALEDONIA is granite from Canada, Quebec. In FindStone there is very similar NARA BROWN from the same locality. Other names of the locality: CALEDONIA NARA or NARA. Daniel, Slovakia, Expert Panelist Reply
A 1367: I'm having material problems! I paid for "tumbled beige travertine" (from West Coast Carpet & Tile, Temecula CA) When the stone arrived - the edges of the travertine have a beveled-look. Most were chipped badly and ALL had bad grinder wheel scratches that were quite obvious & deep. Edges look sloped. I strongly dislike grout, and am under the impression that this type stone is installed with a "butted-edge", so shouldn't it have sharper edges? This is my 2nd shipment (so they say) that I have refused. (They said they went through and picked out the best ones, but there is no way that's the truth
unless they were blind)!
1.) I need to know what the edges (12x12 tiles) should look like. They should not be dramatically "filed-off" or beveled looking, should they??? The sample from which I made my choice and purchase was not all cracked, grinder-scratched nor chipped.
2.) I want the placement as tight as possible, eliminating as much grout as possible. If it's beveled off, won't it look wavy and dipped? Help! The installer said they weren't "tumbled out". I ordered this Dec. 21, 2001... So, I'm feeling a sense of desperation- yet, I don't want to settle for shoddy materials. Trish Jan 24, Reply
R1: Dear Trish: What can I say, without seeing the sample first, and the tiles that were delivered to you, it is impossible for any expert to make a sure assessment. I would be just plain guess-work, and I believe that you expect a little bit more than that. The only thing that I can tell you is that tumbled travertine does not have (because of the tumbling process) straight edges, therefore it is not the right tile for a tight installation (1/16"). As far as the indication given to you by your contractor that those tiles were "tumbled out", I have no idea what he's talking about. I never heard such an expression, nor do I understand the meaning of it. Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, USA, Expert Panelist, Reply
A 1366: Could you please explain a little more about the color enhancer and marble wax for granite tile edges? We had not heard that was a viable alternative and are not in an area where there are any granite specialists. We have a lot of granite for use in our mountain home and have resisted installing it if we could not make the edging look good. Thank you very much in advance for your assistance. Margaret, Jan 23, Reply
R3: Hello Margaret, If you are going to install granite, in your home, it could be both good and bad. The good part is that it's a hard stone, and durable. The bad part, is that it's very expensive to prefabricate. You asked about how to make your edges look good, well your edges should be bull-nosed or rounded and diamond polished and then final polished, prior to the installation. Marble wax is just a temporary fix. If you wish to know more about how to care for your stone properly or how it should be polished back, send me a self stamped envelope and I will send you proper care and handling information. (i.e. do's and don'ts of stone care). Thank you. F. D., USA, Expert Panelist, Reply 
R2: A color enhancer or a wax are both high molecular weight complex polymers which have a very long evaporation time. Application of these on the edges give them a wet  look and they appear polished. Regards Arun, India, Expert Panelist, Reply 
R1: Dear Margaret: I don't think there's a whole lot of explaining to do. A good-quality stone color enhancer applied to the edges of a stone tile (granite or otherwise) will make the edge permanently as dark as the polished surface of such tile. If, after proper curing (48 hours) you will apply a wax onto it and buff it, it will give you some sort of sheen. Ciao, Maurizio, USA, Expert Panelist, Reply 
Thank you. We will try it on a couple tiles and report back on the result. Might have a snazzy mountain house after all! Margaret, Reply
A 1365: Hello!!! We are in the process of building a new home and we're interested in doing our master bath in limestone (shower, vanity, floor). Would you consider this risky in terms of maintenance and regular wear or is this common application for a bathroom? Your response is greatly appreciated. Thank you. Colleen, Jan 23, Reply
R4: Dear Colleen, Limestone used in a bathroom requires a good cleaning and housekeeping
procedure. Despite best sealers available Limestone does pose a problem because of
its high porosity. A recent development of using impregnating epoxy sealers for
limestone has made them very versatile and can be freely used in almost all areas BUT the use of these impregnating epoxy sealers deepens the color of lime stone. If you like the "wet look" on limestone, go ahead, seal the stones and use them. We supply epoxy sealers. Regards Arun, India, Expert Panelist, Reply
R3: Colleen, As a person who works with limestone almost exclusively, I would recommend against limestone in this application. That is not to say that I haven't provided limestone vanities and carved limestone sinks for quite a few jobs on designer or architectural specifications, and as far as I know, those clients are happy with the product.  I even asked one of the architects how they went about sealing the sink basins and vanity tops to prevent water soaking , mold growth, staining etc etc, and the reply was that he didn't, and felt that the eventual grunge added to the aesthetics.  Go figure!!  If you are the kind of person who wants things in the home to stay clean , neat, and pristine, look at granite for this application.  If on the other hand, you find the limestone attractive for the reasons people find limestone attractive, and don't mind staining, scratching, chipped edges. etc. then by all means go for the limestone. good luck,  JVC, USA, Expert Panelist, Reply
R2: Well limestone is used in the construction of buildings so I think it would be OK in this area. Where pitfalls occur is as follows. Limestone is a soft calcium carbonate material and caustic cleaning agents can harm it. Therefore learn about stone specific cleaners and ways to impregnate or seal (topical waxes) the area. 
If it is in the shower a good installation is needed. Is the person installing the product aware of all the pitfalls of when water gets behind stone? You need to acquaint yourself with grout and caulk. These items seal the joints of the stone to keep water in the shower. Wear- there are a lot of different limestone, some better and some worse
than others, ask for samples and information. Try to abrade them to see what wear does to them, spill things that are in a bathroom on them to see what happens.
Find a limestone that is pretty compact and without a lot of fill for easier maintenance.
I like limestone and would use it in a bathroom. Good luck, Steven, USA, Expert Panelist, Reply
R1: Dear Colleen: I'm not particularly fond of limestone. In my professional life I've seen too many problems (most of which with no solution) deriving from residential (and commercial, too) limestone installations. For starters, the types of limestone available is so vast, that by just saying "limestone" one doesn't really say much. So, we don't even know which one limestone you're considering. Anyway, back to the problems, whether it's fault of the limestone itself, or the setting material, or the water, or the grout, or the sealer, or only the Gods know, it's from a long time that, as a restoration contractor, I've been declining any call involving limestone. Make of it what you want. If it was up to my and liked the look of limestone, I would get marble of the same color and have it ground to a low-hone finish. Same look, better material. Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, USA, Expert Panelist, Reply
A 1364: I am looking for a place in Mexico where I can take my family and do some stone carving near a source of good quality stone. if anyone knows of such an area please let me know. Tom, Jan 23. Reply
A 1363: I have just found your website, and am very impressed. We had granite countertops installed in our new home (Uba Tuba, I believe was the name), and over the 1st year in the house, it has become dull. I called the granite company, and they told me to wash it with clear soap and water, which I had been doing, so they recommended two products: Marbamist to clean it, and HMK S34 Silicone Impregnator to seal it. After reading some of your letters, it seemed to me that you do not recommend sealing it. My daughter, who had granite installed in another town was told by her granite company to use a product called Dirtex, and just spray it on and wipe off. It leaves her counters looking shiny and great. I am confused. Could you help me. (I cannot do the lemon test, because I do not have a scrap piece of the granite). Thank you. Nadeen. Jan 23, Reply
R3: Dear Nadeen, It is very difficult to bring back the original shine in granite. granite being very hard cannot be repolished using any of the normal cleaners or sealers. Wax emulsions are the best for instant shining and that is what your daughter is using. The gloss in Granite is because of the light being reflected back from the surface. Scratches, dirt etc inhibit the reflection of light. Best is to use a good quality wax emulsion. We provide DIY kits for marble and granite. Arun, India, Expert Panelist, Reply
R2: I would test the actual countertop in your kitchen with the lemon slice to see if it needs to be sealed at all. Sometimes Ubatuba does need it most of the time it doesn't. You may have a residue build up from the soap and water or the original fabrication facility may have impregnated it (the countertop) the impregnator may be what is dulling. If this is the case then the impregnator needs to be stripped off the countertop. Depending on what I saw, if I was there, I would first get a razor blade and scrape across the granite and see if anything comes off, or, whether it looks like I am moving an oily substance around.
If it is oily try washing the countertop with acetone a few times( please be careful as acetone will harm other finishes and it stinks) You will see a haze develop a few times (that is OK) and then use your neutral stone specific cleaner to wash it back to the original shine.
If something crusty came off when you scraped the countertop then use the razor blade with acetone to remove the crusty coating. Then use your neutral stone specific cleaner.
Regards Steven, USA, Expert Panelist. Reply
R1: Dear Nadeen: UbaTuba doesn't need to be sealed. The reason why it was dull looking was solely due to the fact that you've been cleaning all this time with water and soap. The soap is very hard to rinse off completely, and it will leave a film sitting on the surface of the stone. The more it accumulates, the more it detracts from its natural shine. I will not comment about the products you've mentioned (after all, I never advertise my own line in this forum), but if you get in touch with me directly I will be glad to E-mail you, free of charge, our guidelines about proper maintenance of residential stone installations. Ciao, Maurizio, USA, Expert Panelist. Reply
A 1362: Hi, I have fallen in love with Walnut Cobblestone!!! I have several questions for you. First, what classification of stone is cobblestone...during my research to find info about this stone, I have noticed that the usual categories for stone are granite, marble, travertine, sandstone, slate, etc. I am not having much luck finding ANY info about this stone - please help me understand the origin and make up of this beautiful stone!!! Secondly, I REALLY want to use it for my kitchen countertop. I have been given many
different opinions - pretty split down the middle about doing it (or not). I am a cleaner as I go and understand it will not be a smooth surface. If sealed properly, I have been told that it should perform beautifully. I know I will have to seal it periodically to prevent absorption of stains. Please give me the pros and cons about using it for this application. Thank you so much...your site is very insightful!! Stefanie, Jan 23, Reply
R2: Dear Stafanie, Cobblestone is not a type of stone. It is the stone used for paving of
pathways and roads. You can still see them in some old cities in Europe, specially in
Italy. Cobblestones are hand dressed (shaped) blocks of naturally occurring stone which may be marble/granite/slate/sandstone or any other stone which is locally available. There is a similar type of paving called flagstone. These are large flat slabs of stone randomly fixed to form a path Regards, Arun, India, Expert Panelist, Reply
R1: Cobblestone generally refers to a rounded stone used for paving. Walnut is a color associated many times with a travertine. If this is the case (I am not saying it is) then you do not want it for a kitchen countertop. I don't think the definition I supplied would come in slabs. Travertine does not make a good countertop. It is soft and acid reactive but not overly absorptive. Regards Steven, USA, Expert Panelist, Reply
A 1361: I am an architect with a project for a marble and granite mausoleum and I would like some advice concerning stone sealers. The building is 1000sf and has a reinforced concrete structure. The granite (Sierra White) is 1 1/8" thick and the marble is in the form of large solid non-structural columns. I need to seal all the stone in this project but can't seem to find the right solution. Should I be afraid of solvent based penetrating sealers? Have you heard of "Brightstone Universal Stone Sealer"? Should I be wary of vendors that want to apply their product on the marble columns by bathing them in their water-based product for 30 days? Can you provide brand name recommendations or is that beyond the scope of this web site? Thank you, Stu, Jan 23, Reply
R3: Dear Sir, We would recommend a silicon polyester blend of sealant. We manufacture
these. Regards Arun, India, Expert Panelist, Reply
R2: Stu, The first concern I would have is what objective are you trying to achieve by impregnating the stone. Please get a sample of the stone and subject it to the trials you think will take place. If you are looking for the stone to do something that by its nature it can't do then impregnators are a waste of $$.
If you want the granite to repel oil and water for a while then OK. Now impregnators go in by either a solvent medium or a water medium and bind to the stone. You need to wait 24 hours before applying another coat so that the first coat of solvent or water dries and the impregnator can bond to the stone. If you don't let the 1st coat cure long enough then the second coat doesn't bond to stone but instead to the first coat of impregnator. This is a weaker bond of impregnator to impregnator rather than impregnator to stone. Therefore, I would want to set up a periodic review composed of cleaning and resealing granite after it had been installed and specify that it needs to continue for the rest of its existence. Now for the marble columns I would ask the same question. What is the goal
of the impregnator. The marble is not absorptive that oil and water would penetrate. Marble being either metamorphic calcium carbonate or dolomite is acid reactive and the shine can disappear. Impregnators won't help that. Only due care and careful placement out of the elements would help that. If the marble is going to be left outside then get sample and subject it to the installed condition and judge whether or not you approve how it will age. Regards Steven, USA, Expert Panelist, Reply
R1: Dear Stuart: You will get, no doubt, a whole bunch of answers recommending one sealer over another, etc. 
I make a sealer (and very good at that), but I won't join the bunch. 
Let me ask you a question: "what is the picture that you have in your mind about what a sealer can do for your project?" In other words, "What do you expect a sealer to do for the stone you're specifying?" 
If your answer is a generic: "protection", then I'm sorry to be the one who's going to burst the bubble for you. 
Unless there is a chance that somebody is going to spill coffee or cooking oil in your mausoleum, and let it sit on the surface of the stone for half an hour or so (especially on the marble columns!...), the real need for a sealer is just about nil. An impregnator -- any impregnator -- including the one you mentioned -- which, by the way, could be good for the "granite" (yeah, right!) you've mentioned, but no good for the marble (marble is not very absorbent, contrary to popular believe, and that particular sealer would be too thick) -- does one thing and one thing only: it clogs the pores of the stone (which, if you ask me, it's a practice bad enough per se) so that alien discoloring agents will not be absorbed by it. End of story. All the rest is only noise, just plain marketing hype. 
Sealers are around for no more than 15 years (if that long). Stone has been around for ever, and had no problem, other than those deriving from being specified for the wrong applications. All of a sudden, since several idiotic specifications kept going on, and the stone industry establishment wouldn't drive itself to get educated about what they've been selling, it decided that the solution of all the problems deriving from (specific) ignorance would reside inside a bottle. And the salesmen were unleashed into the field to seal everything under the sun that doesn't move, including the brains of specifiers like yourself and stone operators (may the Gods forbid that some intelligence has a chance to sink in!!). 
Obviously, the problems were not solved by a long shot, because, no matter how one can try to fight the concept, there's no substitute for true professionalism, but a lot of money has been made by selling what in my opinion is the most overrated, over promoted and over applied product in the history of mankind. 
If at this point you're wondering why I make a sealer myself, the answer is very simple: 1. sealers do help if used for what they are designed to do (prevent stains), always providing that the stone specification was not the wrong one. 2. Everybody was making so much money by selling sealers that I decided to jump into the bandwagon myself and claim my slice of the pie. After all, if I don't provide to feed my retirement fund myself, nobody else will! But when it's early in the morning and my marketing guy is not around to hit me with a baseball bat, I say it like it is. 
Make of it whatever you want (and read my article on the subject in the Rocking the Boat column in this site). PS: If you're curious to know whom you're dealing with, contact me.
Ciao, Maurizio, USA, Expert Panelist, Reply
A 1360: We had a limestone floor installed 2 weeks ago. The installer put the thinset on in the middle and around the edges of the tile. The tile has remained dark where the thinset was and where he did not put the thinset there is a lighter ring. It's on all the tiles. Because the stone is dark gray, the installer used a dark thinset. We've since been told by others that this was a mistake, that white thinset should be used with limestone. Short of redoing the floor, do you have any solutions? Mira & Tim, Jan 22, Reply 
R2: I don't know if the the thinset is completely dry. How much time has elapsed since the limestone was installed? If it is less than a few weeks, you may take the do nothing approach for a few more weeks. Maybe it will continue to dry. I fortunately, have not had much experience with remedying this type problem. Regards, Steven, USA, Expert Panelist. Reply
R1: Dear Mira & Tim: Nope. Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, USA, Expert Panelist. Reply
A 1359: In the 2001 fall issue of House Beautiful the kitchen cover story displayed this amazing kitchen countertop made of Pietra Grigio stone (similar to granite). I am interested in locating it and or finding out more about it. Jeri, Jan 22. Reply
R1: Dear Jeri: Trust me, you are NOT interested in locating Piera Cardosa for your kitchen countertop. Magazines have the tendency to publish anything that looks "different" to keep stirring interest in their publication, but they don't know the first thing about many of the things they report about, especially when it comes to stone. Look how popular honed black granite for kitchen countertops has become, just because pictures of it were published by several magazines. The trail of tears left behind from the owner of such a maintenance nightmare could solve the drought problem of the Sahara desert!! 
Pietra Cardosa has a rate of absorbency which is much higher than granite, and hardly controllable with an impregnator-type penetrating sealer, to begin with (no matter what some salesman will try to say to you). On top of that it's chemically unstable and sensible to acidic spills almost as much as marble. Leave it on the pages of the magazine, and consider yourself lucky to have inquired about it in this forum. Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, USA, Expert Panelist. Reply
A 1358: We have found some beautiful slate pieces for use as a fireplace surround with a vent free log system and as a backsplash for a range. Is this an appropriate material for these applications? Are there precautions we should take in installing or maintaining slate for these tasks? Fred, Jan 22. Reply 
R1: The slate for both areas should be fine. If you are going to install the slate in an area where it will get food and oil on it frequently, you may want to impregnate it or color enhance and impregnate it. Regards Steven, USA, Expert Panelist. Reply
A 1357: Hi folks!. Where does Marinachi Green Granite come from? I have heard both from Australia and from Brazil. What region and does anyone know how it was formed? Also source for purchase of a slab. Thanks so much! Bob, Jan 21. Reply
R1: Dear Bob, Marinace is by its appearance very peculiar rock. It is metaconglomerate of Precambrian age from Brazil, state of Bahia composed of quartz / feldspathic pebbles. Daniel, Slovakia, Expert Panelist, Reply 
A 1356: I have a travertine dining room table for about 15 years. The crack is now running (lightly) across the width, topside only. What can I do to stop it from enlarging? Will it eventually run through and crack the marble? Jan 21. Reply
R1: You can start with trying to see how the stone flexed enough to cause a surface crack. You can call a fabrication facility and have them reinforce the table top with steel and try and epoxy impregnate the crack. The crack will always be visible but this may stop it from continuing. Fair warning though, no one will want to pick it up without having you tell them it is not their responsibility if it breaks while they work on it. Regards, Steven, USA, Expert Panelist, Reply
A 1355: I was in China and saw a stone called serpentine or false jade.  I am looking for a source for highly polished thin pieces to make into tops for wooden boxes.  I have been on the web for two days and found next to nothing. Can you give me a little direction for a source in China or anywhere else? Wayne, Jan 21. Reply
R2: There is a product that is called empress dark green which is classified as serpentine. 
Gene, USA, Reply 
R1: Dear Wayne, one of false jade is new jade or serpentine jade or Korean (Suzhou) jade. It is from bowenite - one type of serpentine mineral. It comes from Korea, Afganistan, China, USA - Rhode Island, New Zealand. Daniel, Slovakia, Expert Panelist. Reply
A 1354: Each sales person selling granite for counter tops in our area (central Florida) has given us a different answer concern the viability of granite (care, drawbacks, etc) over other materials for the countertops in our new kitchen. Faye, Jan 21. Reply
R1: Dear Faye (is it still you, from Central Florida?): 
Try my Lemon Juice Test. Take a piece of the scrap "granite" you want to test and spill a few drops of lemon juice onto it. If you see that under the drops of lemon it develops very quickly dark spots, it means that it's a very absorbent stone and I would advise you (and anybody else, for that matter) against it. If it takes, say, a minute or so to be absorbed, then you're dealing with a degree of absorbency that's easily manageable with the application of a good-quality impregnator-type sealer. If it doesn't absorb at all, then you have a winner right there! Go for it, and don't bother sealing it.
But hold your horses for an extra minute!
Now, why lemon juice and not simply water?
Because lemon juice is highly acidic, and, if for any chance, the "granite" you're considering is a mixed stone (with some calcite in it), it would etch. That is, it would have a permanent dull spot where the lemon was sitting, after you clean it up. If that's the case, you do NOT want that stone in your kitchen.
Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, USA, Expert Panelist,
A 1353: I have seen several pictures of new kitchens where Pietra Cardosa has been used. I like the look but it seems you do not think that stone is suitable for kitchen countertops? Could you please elaborate on it? Thank you for your time, Claire, Jan 21. Reply
R3: Claire, Here is the counterpoint. I challenge any of the other panelists as to their practical, hands-on experience with Pietra de Cardoso. We are perhaps the largest importer of Cardoso in the U.S. (usually 2-3 containers per year when we can get our hands on it - it can be very difficult to acquire sometimes). Through the years we have furnished, fabricated and installed scores of kitchen countertops, custom kitchen sinks (both made from slab material and ones machined from a solid block of Cardoso with drainboards, etc.), fireplaces, etc. It is a wonderful material if you are looking for an alternative to a highly polished stone. It has a true "old world" look and feel to it. It is harder than Soapstone, softer than granite (comparable in hardness to Corian). It is more porous than most granites, less than some. We recommend using either a good quality impregnator or color enhancer (if you wish to darken it). Not only is it good enough for my customers but I have it in my own kitchen and abuse it daily (I have the resources to acquire nearly any stone I wish but I chose Cardoso for my own kitchen!) Maurizio is correct about honed black granite - we refuse to fab it any longer. It is nothing but problems because of it being near impossible to get a uniform finish. But he is wrong about Cardoso. No, it will not perform like Blue Pearl, but not everyone wants
that look. Joe, USA, Reply
R2: Hello, I happen to like Pietra Cardosa as well. I believe I have been told the product is a schist which means that it is OK. However a honed surface is difficult to live with. What I mean is this if you run your hand over a piece of polished granite it is typically smooth and your hand glides across it. If you run your hand over a honed surface you fell your hand dragging across it. This means the surface will also catch items and make it more difficult to clean than a polished surface. So you have to decide where you fit in the following scale. Do I clean things as they happen or do I wait? If you wait score 1 for a polished low absorption stone. 2. Do I buy things and expect them to stay the way I purchased them without maintaining them? If your expectations are an unchanging and relatively impervious surface score another 1 for a polished low absorption stone. I hope this helps. As with anything the answer will depend on subjective variables which include your attitude as well as the stone. Generally, Ask for a sample of the material, try to scratch it with a knife and spill things on it to see what it does. Good luck, Steven, USA, Expert Panelist, Reply
R1: Dear Claire: Pietra Cardosa is just as absorbent as some "bad" "granites", plus it etches, too! That's more than plenty, believe you me!! Ciao, Maurizio, USA, Expert Panelist, Reply
A 1352: Yesterday we had some stone countertops installed in our kitchen. The stone is called Kashmire White. You indicated in one of your responses that this stone is not granite. I'm curious about what stone it is, but more importantly, I would like to have your recommendations for how to seal the stone. Our installer said that the surface was sealed already, but I noticed that a wet cup left a ring on the surface after sitting for about 5 minutes. The dark ring disappeared as the water was absorbed into or evaporated from the stone. I am not concerned about temporary discolorations from water, but I am concerned about coffee spills and splattered oil from cooking. Stephen, Jan 21. Reply
R3: Dear Stephen, The stone you have used can be slate. There is a variety available in
India by this name which is slate. Proper sealing is important and I would recommend resealing the stone to protect it from damage in future. Regards Arun, India, Expert Panelist, Reply
R2: Kashmir White is one of those stones that we dread people purchasing. The impregnators can not stay ahead its absorptive nature. Therefore, I advise you to clean as you go, take care not spill oils, and eat out frequently. As a counter top it will need all this to look good. Regards, Steven, USA, Expert Panelist, Reply
R1: Dear Stephen: You had better be concerned!! 
Unfortunately I have some bad news from you. What Kashmire stone actually is I don't know for sure, but I do know that it is not granite. In fact it does not look like granite and, most importantly, it does not perform like granite. I do believe that's a gneiss, but, again, I'm not for sure. Maybe our friend Daniel, or Dr. Hans can be more specific on that. The bad news is that your situation is pretty much hopeless. You may find sealers that work for a few days, or a few weeks at best, but that's how far as you will ever go with that stuff. Sorry. Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, USA, Expert Panelist,
A 1351: We recently purchased a 1965 home that has slate flooring in the foyer. The previous owners had applied several coats of floor wax to the slate which has now yellowed. What is the best method of removing the wax from the slate floor? Thanks! Pat, Jan 21. Reply
R2: Dear Pat, Old wax deposits are difficult to remove. There are commercial variety of wax removing chemicals called strippers. You should use one of them . As the house is old, wax may have penetrated deep in the pores and it may be very difficult to remove the entire wax. Regards Arun, India, Expert Panelist. Reply
R1: Dear Pat: Get hold of a janitorial company that does stripping and waxing and hire them to strip your floor. Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, USA, Expert Panelist, Reply
A 1350: I have recently had travertine put in my house. It looks dirty and has what appears to be sealer markings (left over puddles). How do I get this off? Joan, Jan 21. Reply
R2: Joan, Call the people who did this and tell them to clean this up for you. Regards, Steven, USA, Expert Panelist, Reply
R1: Dear Joan: Was a sealer actually applied to your stone? If it wasn't, I don't have an answer to your question. If it was, it could be that the residue was not removed properly. It's hard to say what to do to remove the excess when it's dry and cured. It depends form the make of the sealer (they can be quite different from one another), but with many of them the following tricks works fairly well: Sprinkle a few drops of the same sealer on the area from which you have to remove the residue, then rub, rub, and rub with a clean white rag until everything is nice and clean. If that won't work, then I'd suggest you to get hold of the manufacturer of the product and ask them. Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, USA, Expert Panelist, Reply
A 1349: We are an established builders who are branching into marble and granite import and we are requesting information regarding the above, I urgently require prices per linear metre. We need to know (in marble and granite) the prices for:
Granite tiles polished, calibrated and bevelled 305x 305 x 10mm and 610 x 305 x 10mm
Floors mm 20, Kitchen tops mm600 x 30. Are there any charges on top of the price for cutting the materials to size and finishing? If so, please detail the charges. 
I would very much appreciate an early response, if possible as my boss needs the figures as early as possible.! Yours sincerely, Robert, Jan 19, Reply
A 1348: We will be remodeling our kitchen on the coast in Florida. We have been receiving conflicting information from three different sources (three separate opinions). I need a definitive answer: CAN YOU PUT A HOT POT ONTO A GRANITE COUNTER TOP.... I am very frustrated. A company that specializes in granite counter tops (and marble) told me that it requires more care than the synthetic tops like Wilsonart and Corian (?). I talked to the designer at Lowes and he told me that it didn't take as much care and that you COULD put hot pots off the stove.
Would you please tell me the strait scoop on granite counter tops? Even on the internet I got two different opinions from two vendors.
1. Will granite stain like Wilsonart?
2. Will it crack from heat (example: pots from stove)?
3. Will it scratch easily?
4. What is the average cost per square foot, installed in the south eastern states?
Any help you can give would be most appreciated. 
Thank you Faye, Jan 18. Reply
R3: Dear Faye: If it can be of any consolation, the good news is that lack of professionalism is not limited to central Florida, but all over the country and beyond! 
What to do? 
Well, not much for the time being. For starters, it seems to me that the recognized authorities of the stone industry have, as their main goal, to promote the use of stone (to sell more and more of it, that is), but don't care much about business ethics and intelligence. In an environment where there's no official guidance and precise definitions and guidelines, it's hard to expect salespeople to become experts on their own!! 
To have educated people you need good certified teachers. In this industry any quack with something to sell can go on stage, grab the microphone, and say that he or she knows everything about stone, and then some!! What else can I say? It's sad, but that's the way it is. Ciao, I'm upset, Maurizio, USA, Expert Panelist,
R2: Hello Faye, All the answers you have received are confusing. 
Starting from the bottom budget about 75-80 USD per a square foot for allowance.
With regards to heat it is always prudent to test things. Granite started its existence in a flowing state then cooled. The temperatures to melt granite are so much higher than any man made product it doesn't really bear discussion. 
I have taken hot pots and put them on my countertop without incident.
I think that if you get a low absorption stone ( use the lemon slice test devised my Maurizio - a good expert on this site) and test each piece of stone your self. All the sales people are telling you things that are correct in specific contexts. The contexts are the following--
1) Many stones get called granite that are not. The swirly juparanos and many of the really light stones are not granite. If you put them (light & swirly) in the kitchen you will have to be very diligent about wiping things up as they occur and use trivets for hot things. Many people do not clean as they go and they forget the trivets. This will lead to problems.
2) Many people are attracted to stones with veins or fractures. Veins and fractures typically are the weakest point in a stone. So back to the stone versus the hot pot question. If you ever touch a piece of stone you will find that it is quite cool. So if you take something really hot and place it on something cool you will have a rapid thermal change in both items. Rapid thermal change causes stress. If the rapid thermal change is near a fracture then it can cause it to crack. So, if there are not any fractures near the point you put the hot pot you should be fine. 
3) On the Mohs scale most kitchen knives fall between a 4 and a 5 for hardness. The granites are usually a 6 or a 7. Therefore you should expect the knfe to dull rather than the stone to cut. But don't trust a sales person, ask for a sample of stone you like. Put hot stuff on it to see if the shine is harmed and the stone is affected, try and scratch it with a knife, put a slice of lemon on it for a minute then take it off. See how fast the stone gets wet. If it greater than two minutes you are in good shape.
Sorry to be longwinded, Regards, Steven, USA, Expert Panelist,
R1: Dear Faye: 1. I don't know how Wilsonart stains. I do know that "granite" will stain if you select the wrong "granite". Go with my "lemon juice test" - it's very dependable. 
2. Most likely it won't crack from heat (I do that all the time on my own top!), but, if it's a "granite" that need sealing, the heat will damage the sealer. You don't want that! 
3. No, granite doesn't scratch easy at all, but "granite" might (never so easy, anyway). While doing the "lemon juice test" on pieces of scraps try to scratch them with the tip of a knife and be the judge. 
4. I live in NJ, I don't know. Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, USA, Expert Panelist,
A 1347: I am looking for information on Lannon Sussex stone for wall veneer and boulder application in a private park, do you have anything on this subject. Ed, Jan 18. Reply
A 1346: We're getting ready to install a tumbled marble backsplash w/ 1/4" sanded grout joints. My question relates to use of color enhancer, specifically when to apply? Some comments I've seen indicate at least one coating prior to installation, making grout cleanup from textured areas much easier. Other comments suggest waiting until installation & grouting are complete to avoid interference w/grout adhesion. The enhancer manufacturer suggests it can be done either way - just make sure not to spray enhancer on tile sides where grout will be. Also, should color enhancer be applied to grout after installation in lieu of silicone for purpose of sealing the grout? Thanks Steve, Jan 18. Reply
R2: The correct answer is already contained in your question. All the information is correct. If you understand everything you wrote then you will be fine. As to the enhancer acting like a sealer the answer is no. A color enhancer has oil in it that make it somewhat hydrophobic but it should not be construed as a sealer. I don't recommend silicone coatings that stay on top of the grout. Go ahead and impregnate your grout after it properly hydrates. This means that starting couple days after you install the tile, wash the area with clean warm water frequently for about a month. Then you can impregnate the grout. Remember to change your water the moment it is not clear. If you get told that you can impregnate within 2 weeks that is O.K. also. It is just the lower acceptable threshold. Good luck, Steven, USA, Expert Panelist, Reply
R1: Dear Steve: I am a manufacturer of a color enhancer, and I recommend to apply the product after installation. It's difficult to make sure not to apply it on the sides of the tiles, if you do it before. No, it won't do any sealing to your grout. Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, USA, Expert Panelist, Reply
A 1345: We have a problem with the absorbency of a white sandstone from Indonesia called Palimanan. This is typical in the Aman Resorts in Indonesia. The issue we are faced with is our client use this on bath room floor as well as pool deck. Despite our advice against the use of this, they insisted as it is in fad in the Philippines at the moment. Can you recommend a stone impregnator that can prevent staining from, say: redwine, soya sauce or coffee with out changing the matt surface finish? The sandstone is very soft sort of line Podini from Bulgaria, softer than Indian Sandstone for sure. Could your recommend a sealer for this and the advice on the application and possible brands available? David, Jan 18. Reply
R3: Dear David, There was a similar problem at one of the best hotels in the world, it is the Rajvilas, a Oberio group hotel . They have extensively used sandstone in the bathrooms and shower stalls. The bathroom were sealed using a special formulation sealer and today after more then three years they are perfect. Arun, India, Expert Panelist, Reply
R2: Every untreated sandstone in the world will absorb or stain with red wine, or coffee etc. Regards, John, England, Reply
R1: I do not think so. For all the reasons you were against the product are all the same reasons that an impregnator will not stay ahead of the curve. I would start researching coatings for the material. Many of them would require a steady and professional application. Maurizio who contributes to this site has formulated a few. Regards, Steven, USA, Expert Panelist, Reply
A 1344: I have a Green Stone counter top that was just installed. Before I could seal it my dog got on the counter and urinated on it. Can you tell me what kind of poultice to use to extract the stain. Thank you, Robert, Jan 17. Reply
R2: Dear Robert: It's shouldn't be much of a problem. Poultice with CLEAR Hydrogen Peroxide 30/40 volume, available at a beauty salon near you. I like baby powder as the absorbent agent. Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, USA, Expert Panelist, Reply
R1: What kind of green stone is it? Generally, clean with 12% hydrogen peroxide and a few drops of ammonia. Test a scrap piece for color fastness before proceeding. Regards Steven, USA, Expert Panelist, Reply
A 1343: I am representing a Mining Co. in Turkey, and we would like to set a company base and a ware house to import Granite (from all over the world but processed in Turkey) and Limestone, marble from Turkey in polished slabs. Therefore we need to see the if there is a space in the market in UK, as this will be a heavy investment. I need Granite, Marble, Limestone Industry and I need statistics of import and export figures and any other figures such as prices etc. related to this subject. Can you please advise me where I can such information about whole industry. Best regards Kemal. Jan 17. Reply 
A 1342: I've been told by the manufacturer of a hard surface product that granite is easily stained and not appropriate for use in a kitchen, especially on a work counter. She said it stains easily and the stains cannot be removed. She also suggested that bacteria remains on the granite even when it's washed and is probably responsible for passing on diseases. I thought sealers eliminated the staining problem, but she claimed that once the surface is "violated", the granite's porous quality invites permanent stains, which is obviously not desirable. My husband is set to go with her recommendation, but I've had my heart set on granite for ever! Help. Deanna, Jan 17. Reply 
R2: Dear Deanna: Is there any limit to what one would say and do to sell his or her product over the competition, especially when this competition is so far superior?! 
"Granite" is a product of nature, and, as such, does have its limitations, but, please, let's not compare it to a piece of plastic!! 
What's more, if properly selected, the limitations of "granite" are, by all intent and purposes of a kitchen countertop, totally immaterial. 
The greatly exaggerated venom spit out by that saleslady is not totally groundless, however. With a precious few exceptions, no rumor stems from absolutely nothing! 
The fact is that the mercantile classification of "granite" includes a variety of (natural) stones (mostly 100% siliceous) the vast majority of which have little to do (if anything at all!) with geological granite. For the intent and purposes of a kitchen countertop, many of these different stones are just as good, or even better than true granite. Many others, alas, are -- in my opinion -- an embarrassment (to say the least) to the stone industry, and, ultimately, the responsible of the rumor so colorfully spread by the plastic saleslady. 
My dear friend and colleague Fred Hueston had one of his latest articles published by the Stone magazine (you can -- and should -- read it by logging on: www.stonemag.com). It is a comparison between "granite" and the so-called solid surfaces. "Granite" comes out the sure winner. 
But, while I do agree with the final outcome of the "confrontation," I'm not as "politically correct" as Fred. (On the other hand, if one wants to have an article published by one of the industry's magazine, he or she must be so, or else they won't publish it. That's why my best editorials never saw the light of the day! But that's another story). 
Fred, in fact, totally neglected to expose the problems that end-users would find if they'd go out buying "granite" and stumble upon one of those numerous stones that are (falsely) marketed as granite, but, if you ask me, should be banned altogether from a kitchen environment. Of course, the salesmen from this side of the fence, will "prove" that those stones are granite by showing you the invoice of the distributor (!), and will assure you that every problem will be once and for all solved by the application of the totally overrated, over promoted and over applied "miracle-in-a-bottle," "you-don't-need-to-know-s#@t-about-stone" that go under the label of "Stone impregnator-sealers." (I do make one of them, and a darn good one at that, so you can't certainly say that I'm biased!). 
The fact is that there's no substitute for professionalism and (specific) education, and no salesman carrying around some bottle and some fancy brochure can overcome that. 
So than, what to do? Does one has to give up buying "granite" because of this possible and hardly detectable pitfall? 
No. Although the stone industry is totally and shamelessly unregulated, there are quite a few good guys out there, and it should not be so difficult to spot them. What's more, here comes my infamous "lemon juice test" to the rescue!! (www.ntc-stone.com, stone tips). Rely on it more than anything you can hear in your shopping adventure, and, I promise, you will be a very "happy camper," proud granite countertop owner! Ciao and good luck, 
Maurizio, USA, Expert Panelist. Reply
R1: I believe that she has given you a lot of misinformation. Stone isn't a medium that allows bacteria to grow. Any countertop including granite and stainless steel could allow bacteria to grow if poor hygiene is the norm. I tell my wife who has an imperial red granite countertop to do what ever helps her germ phobia. I do not seal my countertop however, the caustic cleaning chemicals would destroy the impregnator. The stone you choose is as absorptive it will always be therefore, spend your time finding a low absorption stone by using Maurizio's absorption test. 
There are cleaning agents formulated for natural stone. Soap and water isn't one of them. Ask Maurizio about his. I have tested them and find them to be quite good. He won't tell you himself that is why I do.
Tell your manufacturer to stop being so blatantly biased as to resort to telling lies about another surface in order to sell the surface she likes. It is a sign of poor business practice. Is the purported negative qualities of granite the only positive qualities of the material she sells? Regards, Steven, USA, Expert Panelist. Reply
Thank you so very much for your informative reply. I'm wondering how to contact Maurizio you mentioned. Also, is there a kit available for testing absorption on the various granites, or is that something I need to ask a local vendor? In addition, could you tell me why you chose not to use a sealer? Finally, another BIG THANK YOU for taking time to respond. I might get my granite countertop after all! Yeah! Deanna in Oregon, Jan 18. Reply 
Dear Deanna: Why would you want to buy a kit (which doesn't exist, at least so far) to run a test for which you only need a few drops of lemon? (Please, don't ask too loud for this kit: some salesman may hear you and put it into production right away! We have enough marketing gimmiks already on the marketplace!). To get in touch with me directly, ask findstone. Ciao, Maurizio, USA, Expert Panelist, Jan 20. Reply
Maurizio has already responded to you. The reason I didn't use an impregnator is #1 my wife likes to use bleach based products to clean up (I use my wonderful stone specific formulated products when I do it.) #2 The stone isn't very absorbtive.I followed my own advice and purchased a stone countertop that was low absorption with characteristics that I liked. Regards Steven, USA, Expert Panelist, Reply
A 1316: I am an Earth Science teacher working with a Consumer Science teacher to develop an instructional unit about using rocks and minerals in interior and exterior home design. We would greatly appreciate it if you could send any information about products featured on your website so we can get our students excited about stone! Thanks for your assistance in this area. Dr. Lee, USA. Jan 10. Reply
R1: Dear Dr. Lee, It is a great combination. I am crazy about stones. We deal in chemicals used for stone fixing and preservation. If you desire any information or presentation etc. on stone, please feel free to get in touch. Arun, India, Expert Panelist, Reply
A 1313: I would appreciate any info on the uses for, methods, etc. for reprocessing all the waste from fabrication shops. Is there any viable business in this area? McKendry. Jan 9. Reply
A 1308: I am a sculptor and am seeking relevant information concerning alabaster and tools for working the same. Llew, Jan 8. Reply
A 1304: We have formed a new company to excavate sand stone. Please send us any and all information from testing to marketing to equipment. Shawn, Jan 7. Reply
A 1295: I am looking to find a product called Dress Slate. I sealed my interior slate floor with it 18 years ago and it has lasted this long. I would like to do it again, as the slate is beginning to look dull, but I cannot find the product and am afraid to try anything else. Jan 2. Reply
R1: Dress Slate is no longer available. There are various sealers available which provide excellent protection .The choice of the sealer depends upon the finish you desire and the use of the area being treated. If you can provide us with more details, we can suggest you the sealer. Regards Arun, India, Expert Panelist, Reply 
The slate floor is in a front entry way.  The front door is rarely used however and no one ever wears shoes in my home.  I am the only one living in the house, so there is very little traffic on the floor.  I would like to achieve a satin gloss finish (as opposed to a high shiny gloss). Cynthia, Jan 12, Reply
 A 1290: I realize concrete wasn't in your list of materials but... I have acid stained exterior concrete that has water stains. (So CA hard water. Drainage is good but sprinkler system gets it wet every day). Pressure washing did nothing. Any thoughts on what I should wash it with. Thank you, Michael. Jan 1. Reply

Comments? Complaints? Compliments? info@findstone.com
The views expressed in this section are not of FindStone.
I've just spent about ten minutes looking at your site, but from what I did see I am very impressed. It looks very helpful and user friendly I will use your sight for various things in the future, Thank you for this resource. Randy, CLEANING CO. , FL, USA.