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

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

Q 6919: After one week in our new (rented) home, the brownish granite countertop has what appears to be round stains from a pot and a cup. It has been there for 24 hours now. We think it is water. Is this possible? We plan on putting granite counters in our new home that is being built; but am now concerned about the wisdom of putting in granite. Should we oil it? re-seal it? Connie, July 31, Reply
R1: Dear Connie: Either your stone has not been sealed, or it was not sealed right. Just because a contractor didn't do his job right doesn't mean that you have to give up granite for your new home! I seldom make final statements about any one particular stone. There may be differences within the same stone (and I'm not talking about looks, here!) from one bundle of slabs and the next. The slabs may have also been either "doctored" (which is bad), or "resined" (which could be good) by the factory, which would make a big difference. Even more important, what's a good stone in the hands of some "Michelangelo"?! Remember, all the gripes that end-consumers of stone post daily in various Internet forums are all originated by the contractors, not the stone! me now. Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6918: I clean slate floors for tele comp and wanted to know if their is any special cleaner that i can use it is all new i use pine sol n dish liquid they dont want any harsh clener on it . thnk you, July 31, Reply
R1: Dear Dorothy: MB-1 marble, granite and more floor cleaner is "your man!" Bear in mind, however, that they are going to have serious maintenance issues with that stone to go way byond cleaning! Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6917: Can Travertine be used for shower walls? Is it too porous for that? How would you compare travertine to porcelein tiles with respect to durability and ease of maintenance? Raj, July 31, Reply
R1: Dear Raj: Contrary to popular and widespread misconception, travertine is not porous at all. If well installed and maintained is a very enjoyable material for a shower stall. Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6916: I recently re-did my bathroom using Man-made cultured marble for the countertop. I asked the salesperson about this choice and he assured me that this was an excellent choice for a bathroom. I am not using the bathroom yet since I am having it painted and I've noticed there a scratches all over the countertop that just won't disappear. I was assured that this was not supposed to happen. Is this type of material easily scratchable?? Please advise I'm in Dire Straits. Sharon, July 31, Reply
R1: Dear George: I literally hate it when I hear a fabricator telli that to a customer. I also sincerely hope they didn't apply any impregnator/sealer to your countertop beliveing that's granite. Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6915: Dear sir: I have a marble bust inherited from my parents who smoked for over 40 years. the bust is yellowed any suggestions on how to clean Ann C White, July 31, Reply
R1: Dear Ann:
50% Household bleach and 50% warm water;
A laundry brush;
Rubber gloves;
Patience and elbow-grease!
Do it outside if possible.
Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6914: I have been reading the findstone website and found that Question #4497 is exactly what I would like to know about. I, too, have the Shivakashi granite installed in my kitchen (since last Tuesday). I got a small amount of bacon grease on it and it made a dark stain. I thought the installer put some kind of sealer on it( he said we should seal it every two years and could buy the product at Home Depot). I would know what to keep around to get stains out (the stove is surrounded by the granite.
Also, the granite is on an island supported by cupboards but overhangs the cupboards on three sides - 8" on one end, 12" on the long side and 13" on the other end. We have no supports for these overhanging portions. We are concerned about setting anything on these area. The installer seems quite casual and somewhat unconcerned about these overhanging areas. I am worried that cracking could occur because of the stove cutout. What should we use to support these areas, if needed.Thank you for your help Lynda,
July 31, Reply
R1: Dear Lynda: It looks like “Michelangelo” struck again! Yeah, that’s exactly what he did: he wiped some sort of sealer on it and smiled all the way to the bank!! And then he told you that you have to seal it every two years yourself with some HD product. Amazing, ain’t it?! Let me guess, he also told you to use glass-cleaner or water and dish soap to clean your stone with, right? And about the over-hang issue: by industry standards (one of the precious few) the 12” and 13” must be supported with steel braces or wooden corbels. BTW, just out of curiosity, did he hone/polish the areas under the ever-hangs, or are they rough? Why did I know that?! :-) Take a look at one of my countertop kits: they are on special sale right now! Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6913: our installer used Hydrex when the stone was installed ...ours is Golden Persia granite... any suggestions for a sealer? Jim
R1: Dear Jim: The product used by your installer is a sealer already. The question is: did the installer do a good enough job at sealing your stone? Does water gets absorbed (darkens the stone temporarily) when let sit a few minutes on the stone? If so, the sealing job is not finished. (And if that’s the case I would highly recommend my outlandish MB-4!) If not, the stone is sealed. Now, remember, it’s never too early to think about the proper maintenance of your stone. It’s a subject that’s all too often neglected and, as you can tell by reading many of this site’s postings, you’re not likely to get good information about it from your dealer or installer. Don’t become another statistic! Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6913: I recently bought a white marble statue from Vietnam. I went to the factory and selected the statue and signed the base. It was shipped here in an open wooden crate and when it arrived there were five small round brown marks on the statue (average size just bigger than a quarter. The marks look like
rust stains. Unfortunately there is no-one at the factory that speaks much English.

The stain was not there when I saw the statue at the factory. I have tried calling marble restoration people, one even came out and tried to remove the stain but nothing happened.

I have tried the following products to try and remove the rust stains: toothpaste, white vinegar, Lime Away, a paste of Peroxide and Baking Soda (left on for 30 minutes and sealed with plastic). It has been suggested that I try Aluminum Oxide or Muriatic Acid but to be careful that they don't

I only just found your website so I have probably been doing everything wrong. Please let me know if there is anything that will remove this rust like stain and how can I buff the marble after the stain is removed. If you suggest a bona fide stone restoration contractor please let me know how I find one. I am in San Francisco. Your help will be very much appreciated. July 31, Reply

R1: Dear Anna: Don’t even think about using muriatic acid! Aluminum oxide has nothing to do with it. Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6912: Dear Maurizio, I had a great conversation with you today about marble in the kitchen and then I called the stone company where I'm holding some marble to ask them about fabrication. Now I have two questions left: what did you mean by "low honed" - just taking the shine down a little? Barely honing the marble?Also, is it necessary to put rods in throughout the countertops if the marble is 1 1/4 inch thick? Thank you so much for your time and patience. I truly appreciate it.Sincerely, Karen, July 31, Reply
R1: Dear Karen: “Low hone” means totally flat = no reflection whatsoever. No, it is not necessary to rod all throughout: only in the weak spots, i.e.: the narrow strips ikn front and back of the sink cot-out, etc. Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6911: You must be very busy since the Newsday article. I'd appreciate if you had a few minutes to ponder my issue. I had Baltic Brown counters installed December (2002). Recently noticed a great deal of pitting -one pit is as wide as a dime and One is long - like the length of a bobby pin. Mostly the whole surface is full of smaller "pits" all across. My husband used the "do it yourself" sealing, but that didn't get our smooth surface back. Is it beyond hope? Will it get worse? I started using a special counter cleaner sold by Home Depot that they say is especially for granite. Someone told me to use Pledge but I haven't yet. Can I get the surface repolished and smoothed out? Sorry, I know it's a lot of questions but I'm in a panic over my counter's future. Thank you so much. July 31, Reply
R1: Dear Anonymous: While Baltic Brown does present natural pitting more than other commercial granites, what you’re reporting sounds excessive indeed. It is probably a case of a poor grade slab. I’m wondering how come you never noticed those pitting before. Nothing can be done: no sealer, no cleaner, no grinding and polishing. If those pits were not visible before I’d like to know how they managed to mask them; but even if you could find that “magic formula,” as you can see the result would be short lived. You may have a case.Ciao and good luck, Maurizio Bertoli
R1: They get wet and there’s smell of Sodium Hypochlorite all over the place. Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6909: Dear Maurizio, What are your concerns about using absolute black granite for a kitchen countertop. Should it be sealed? John, July 31, Reply
R1: Dear John: BA used to be one of my very favorite. Recently there’s been an invasion of black granites coming from all over the place (all illegally labeled as Black Absolute) some of them processed poorly and waxed, some of then “doctored” and some other no-good altogether. As usual, the whole things boils down to the fabricator. Good fabricators only buy good stone and they know what they buy. Obviously, in an industry that’s virtually unregulated, how good and reputable is the fabricator who’s going to process it is far more important. That is why I seldom make final statements about any one particular stone. There may be differences within the same stone (and I’m not talking about looks, here!) from one bundle of slabs and the next. The slabs may have also been either “doctored” (which is bad), or “resined” (which could be good, but only to a certain extent) by the factory, which would make a big difference. Even more important, what’s a good stone in the hands of some “Michelangelo”?! Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6908: I purchased a second hand coffee table with a marble top. It was beautiful when I saw it at the sellers home. I had it delivered and paid for it COD. About 2 days later, I noticed it had a big crack on one corner, and a smaller crack on the other end, both of which were repaired by the seller and not a bad job either, the repairs looks like natural veins, except ... my question is, when looking at the table from a certain angle, i.e., sitting on the sofa, you can see the finish (shine) is off. What do you think I could do to put the finish back on, or shine it up to match the rest of the table top? I thank you and appreciate any advice. Ann Marie in New York July 31, Reply
R1: Dear Ann Marie: You can’t put the shine back on the marble. Marble is polished by abrasion and friction, like gemstone, not by applying some sort of finish onto it. You need the services of a bona fide stone refinishing contractor who will have to slightly re-grind (hone) and polish your top. Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6907: I’m considering various granite and commercial granite slabs, predominantly from Brazil. Could you suggest what might indicate to me upon contacting a slab yard that I had a knowledgeable salesperson? Should I expect the salesperson to be able to offer me imbibition coefficients or hardness Mohs for the stone they are showing me? Are there other ways to gauge their knowledge? Thank you- Kurt Graves USA , July 31, Reply
R1: Dear Kurt: No, you can’t expect any of that. Most likely I wouldn’t be able to answer those kind of questions myself. But, yes, there are ways to gauge their knowledge. Obviously, in an industry that’s virtually unregulated, how good and reputable is the fabricator who’s going to process it is far more important. That is why I seldom make final statements about any one particular stone. There may be differences within the same stone (and I’m not talking about looks, here!) from one bundle of slabs and the next. The slabs may have also been either “doctored” (which is bad), or “resined” (which could be good, but only to a certain extent) by the factory, which would make a big difference. Even more important, what’s a good stone in the hands of some “Michelangelo”?! Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6906: Hi, I really need some advice. Recently while trying to affix a military medallion to a family members headstone, some excess epoxy oozed out from under the medallion. We tried to remove the excess epoxy with nail polish remover - my problem is that the acetone "etched" the surface of the headstone! It has a white film now that i can't seem to clean off/remove with soap and water. Have I ruined the headstone? Is there anything I can do to repair/remove the white "etched" effect? It covers the entire surface of the stone - and believe me - the family members have pointed out the damage - please help! July 31, Reply
R1: Dear: The acetone did not etch the stone: it affected the natural patina the stone had built for itself over years of exposure to the weather. Unfortunately there’s nothing that can be done. Nobody can blame you for anything, either. I mean, all things considered, it should be considered as an accident. Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6906: We are going to redo our shower which has a bad leak from the drain pan. It has ceramic tile now and we want to replace the whole thing and update the look. What is the best route to take? We looked at Dal-tile tumbled stone. Would it be hard to maintain? It looks to be very porous. I know we have a lot of work to do repairing the drain pan before we get to that point. Thanks, Linda, July 31, Reply
R1: Dear Linda: If the tumbled stone is marble it is not really porous. If it is travertine, it is not porous, either, but I would have the holes filled, or else they will harbor bacteria (mold and mildew) in an environment such as a shower stall. If it is limestone, you just don’t want it. Tumbled marble is by far the best for the purpose and, once treated with my outlandish MB-6 stone color enhancer/impregnator/sealer you will be in terrific shape!! You will still need to care for your stone with good-quality specialty products, but that is what I am in business for!! :-) Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6905: I recently had Travertine installed in a remodel, shower, floor and rainscoat. The installer left a lot of areas unfilled when he grouted. Should I have him back before we use it and re-grout the shower? What is the best cleaning product for a travertine shower? Thanks, Scott Rooks Tulsa, OK, July 31, Reply
R1: Dear Scott: You’d better believe it that you have to call that guy back! Don’t even think about using your shower if it is not properly and thoroughly grouted! Considering that he left so many areas unfilled (which, if you ask me, speaks volume), you want to hover over that guy shoulder and make sure that he sped the time to push the grout (unsanded, kept slightly on the thick side and mixed with latex – even if it is latex modified already) deep in between the tiles. I sure hope that he did NOT butt-joint those tiles! Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6904: My questions concern the age and process of formation for the Bluestone quarried in north central Pa. What causes the difference in quality of the stone; ranging from blocks so dense they must be drilled and blasted out then recut at a mill into size, to medium quality that can be cut and quarried onsite, to lower quality which is sold in irregular size pieces for patios and walkways. Also what causes the "rind" of the medium quality stone that encircles the quarriable stone areas. Is ther any way to figure out where a good place to quarry would be by observing the "lay of the land". Thank you DanF, July 31, Reply
Q 6903: Dear Maurizio, We are redoing our kitchen and fell in love with something called Labradorite extra. Looks a lot like Labradorite blue astral but with tighter looking grain. We would use it only on the island. (sorry, Corian on the countertops). The fabricator put "client realized granite is more fissured and pitted than most" or something to that effect. What am I buying and will it stand up?! Only 4 X4 island and not heavy use, just 3 of us and no young children. Thanks Kay, July 23, Reply
R1: Dear Kay: For starters, Labradorite is the name of a mineral, nto of a stone. Second, I never heard of that particular stone.Thirs andvmost importantly, I
seldom make final statements about any one particular stone. There may be differences within the same stone (and I'm not talking about looks, here!)
from one bundle of slabs and the next. The slabs may have also been either "doctored" (which is bad), or "resined" (which could be good) by the
factory, which would make a big difference. Even more important, what's a good stone in the hands of some "Michelangelo"?! Why do you think thare are
so many inquirers posting their gripes on forums like this one? They are not complaining about the weather, trust me!! Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6902: I just had granite counter tops installed in my kitchen (uba tuba) it has only been a week and it looks as though it is developing little pocket holes is that normal with granite? what can i use to clean them on a daily basis and maintain the original shine? July 23, Reply
R1: Dear Louise: No, it is not normal for Ubatuba to develop pits. It must be a low-grade slab. Maurizio, Expert panelist
Q 6901: During a recent move, I cracked a larged piece of polyurethane coating off of a marble coffee table top. What would you suggest to remove the coating, and to resurface it? (What would it cost to have it professionally done?) thanks for your help- Jeff, July 23, Reply
R1: Dear Jeff: Yes, have it professionally resurfaced. How much? I don't know. Whatever the market bears, I guess! :-) Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6900: I am considering putting a slate floor in my galley kitchen. What are the pros and cons of a slate kitchen floor? I have found some variegated Indian and some italian slate that I like a lot. Any preference between the two? Thanks, JeriZ , July 23, Reply
R1: Dear JeriZ: The list of the cons is too long and, consequently, I can't give it to you for free. What I can give you at no charge, however, is the list of the pros: NONE! :-) Stay away from slate as flooring material, especially, but not limited to, in a kitchen! Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6899: I saw your website mentioned in an article in Newsday, July 15. I currently have a granite countertop called Sapphire Blue (or Brown Sapphire, depending on the supplier). It was sealed by the fabricator when installed. I would like to know the best way to clean it daily and if I should be re-sealing it myself. If so, how often should I re-seal? Thank you for your help- Dvora, July 23, Reply
R1: Dear Dvora: for the re-sealing, when you will see that water will bigin to be absorbed by the stone you will now that's time to do it! Yes you can do it yourself: it's quite easy. Providing that you use my outlandish MB-4, of course!! :-) Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6898: I have had my UbaTuba granite for about a year. It was sealed at the time of installation. I am disappointed at how it shows smears and watermarks. I am currently using Multi-surface Windex to constantly clean up the marks. It dries quickly and does not leave streaks. The installer recommended resealing at least once a year. Do you agree? What cleaning and/or shine products do you recommend and why? Thanks. Linda, July 23, Reply
R1: Dear Linda: No, I do not agree. Ubatuba should have never been sealed to begin with.
That is probably why you have all those smears and watermarks. I do not agree on the product you're using, either. If a product is not safe on marble (and it is not. In fact their label does not mention marble) it can't be considered safe on any stone. I know that the label indicates that's safe on granite, but Ubatuba is far from being granite! So, is that product safe on Charnockite? Why don't you ask the manufacturer? Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6897: I am getting ready to do my kitchen and have decided to go with granite kitchen countertops. I read your article about how some granite stains so I decided to test them. I left a drop of oil and lemon on both samples over night and they both stained. I really like both of these granites though. I was hoping you could tell me which granite is better when it comes to staining. One was called Juperana Golden Waves and the other was called Mocca Sabia/ Desert Sand, July 22, Reply
R1: Dear Eve: Both stones have the same degree of absorbency (give or take it). So it doesn't make much difference. What does make a difference is the fabricator!
I seldom make final statements about any one particular stone. There may be differences within the same stone (and I'm not talking about looks, here!)
from one bundle of slabs and the next. The slabs may have also been either "doctored" (which is bad), or "resined" (which could be good) by the factory, which would make a big difference. Even more important, what's a good stone in the hands of some "Michelangelo"?! Remember, all the gripes that end-consumers of stone post daily in various Internet forums are all originated by the contractors, not the stone! Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6896: After much debate, we decided to install Imperial Brown "granite" in our new home. Armed with the wealth of knowledge from the distiguished panelists (that means you, Maurizio!), I went to the fabricator before they cut my granite template. I asked for a sample of the stone, and they tried
to give me another 4x4 pre-cut sample. I demanded a piece from my "own" stone. Thinking I was one crazy lady, the fabricators complied. I then did the lemon/oliveoil/water test, and told them that I did NOT want my granite sealed. Now they knew I was crazy...So now I have my beautiful unsealed Imperial Brown countertops installed. When we move in (not for another 2-3 weeks!) , I will do another lemon juice test just to be sure, and then if necessary seal it myself. So I am ready to buy MB-5 and MB-13, and possibly MB4. My question now is, what if anything do I need to do to protect the granite while the subcontractors are completing the house.. I dont want to go in there after all this effort to find bottle etchings, water stains etc on my new countertop. Is there something else I will need to clean it with before I seal it? Thanks! Kristen,
July 22, Reply
R1: Dear Kristen: Why thank you for your nice words! :-) Cover it with an old bed linen and then put sheets of hardboard or luan plywood on top of that. That should do it! As for the cleaning before sealing (if the sealing will turn out to be necessary) I would wipe our countertop a couple pf times with acetone, discarding the paper towel often. Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6895: I used an impregnator seal and a water based surface sealer on green marble tiles but the sealer solutions have left marks (striations) all over the
tiles which can be clearly seen when the tiles are viewed at a certain angle. I need to remove the sealers and start all over again and this time I
need to a better a job of applying the sealers. ( I followed the instructions carefully: I used a sponge to apply the water based sealer as
advised but it did not go on smoothly...unlike paint or polyutherane the solution stays put and does not blend in). Any advise you can give me to
solve these problems--how remove the sealers and how to correctly apply sealer --- would be greatly appreciated. Susan Waters, July 22
, Reply
R1: Dear Susan: I have no idea what kind of water-based topical sealer you're talking about.
I didn't even know that there was such an animal. Besides, I don't even know why you felt the need to seal your stone so much. Why would anybody wanted to apply a topical sealer to polished marble? You sound to me like a victim (or follower) of the "sealing cult."
At any rate, Whatever the heck that sealer is, I'm sure that its manufacturer will know how to remove it. Ask them. BTW: I truly feel sorry for your poor marble with all that soffucation ... I mean, what on earth did it do to you to deserve that? :-) You're in direct contact with me now. Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6894: I, too read the Newsday article and performed your lemon juice and olive oil tests on a sample of the granite I intend to use in my remodeled kitchen. Happily, this sample did not absorb or stain. (Do I need to go for the red wine and tomato, too?)
Everyone seems to ask you about black galaxy and I would like to know the sealing requirements for jupurana viara. I have a very cooperative fabricator who seems happy to indulge his “picky” clients — I just need to know what to ask him. Will the stone be sealed pre-installation or on-site once it is installed? How frequently and how soon should it be resealed? I am sure he will do what I ask. I just need to know what to ask.
Also, I am using a relatively smooth, (natural, but not honed) slate from Brazil called “Montauk black slate” in tile form on my kitchen and utility room floor. I would like to preserve the dark grey color and not further darken the material. What type of sealant do you recommend and what is the sealing procedure (i.e. How many times pre-instalation and how often thereafter?) Many thanks. Maggie,
July 22, Reply
R1: Dear Maggie: If your Juparana did not stain at all (especially) with the oil. It may mean that the slab has been resined by the factory, because all Juparanas ar absorbent materials. In quire with your fabricator. If that's the case, then the slab does not need to be seald, ever. If not, it's a mighty unusual situation! A resined slab is not all too bad. Just be aware that you won't be able to put a hot pot from the stove onto the top (the resin would be badly damaged), and that a slow discolaration (darkening) may occur over tyme due to photosensitivity of the resin. Now, remembr, it’s never too early to think about the proper maintenance of your stone. It’s a subject that’s all too often neglected and, as you can tell by reading many of this site’s postings, you’re not likely to get good information about it from your dealer or installer. Don’t become another statistic! Maurizio Bertoli
Q 6893: HI! I just read an article in our local paper, Newsday, about the findstone web site. Hope you can help us... We recently installed a countertop called "Juperana Florenza". Is it in fact "true" granite and if so, does it need sealing or can it be sealed? Thank you... Michael & Christine Sostack, July 22, Reply
R1: Dear Christine & Michael: (ladies first!) :-) No, it not a true geological granite. It's Orthogneiss. Yes it does need to be sealed real bad with a good-quality impregnator/sealer, like my outlandish MB-4! :-) Unless the slab had been resined by the factory. Inquire with your fabricator about that. Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6892: Can you identify the countertop I recently had installed. The name was Giallo Veneziano. Any advice you may offer will be appreciated. Thanks, July 22, Reply
R1: Dear Jane: Giallo Veneziano is part of the gneiss group, probably orthogneiss. Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6891: Could you please give me some information on absolute black with a wire brush finish (Zimbabwe Black). I need to know if it will hold up well for a kitchen countertop and if it should be sealed, impregnated or what. Thank you, TX, USA, July 22, Reply
R1: Dear Elaine: Do NOT apply an impregnator/sealer. DO apply a good-quality stone color-ehancer, like my outlandish MB-6! :-) Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6890: We just installed what is called a Baseltina countertop in our kitchen at the recommendation of our architect, because we were told it is stronger than regular granite. We have it by our sink, oven and then a large slab on top of a kitchen island. However, the island counter top stained immediately, and we ultimately had the contractors take it away since it seems they did not apply any sort of sealer on the correct side (it felt like they put it on the underside by mistake, but that is another issue).
My question is this: Do you know about the stone called Baseltina and what kind of coating it requires?
July 22, Reply
R1: Dear Susan and Brian: Basaltina is ... well, basalt! It's as absorbent as asponge (as you already found out), and your architect is dead wrong: it is not stronger than any of the commercial granites on the market. Having said that, the only way to do (almost) get to enjoy that stone is to apply massif doses of a good-quality stone impregnator/sealer, like my outlandish MB-4 :-) Which begs the question: "Who's gonna seal it?"
Q 6889: Hello I am currently attending grad school at new york university and am taking an adavanced musical acoustics class. For my final project I have decided to design the blueprint of a guitar with a thin layer of granite on the face I predict that the acoustics of granite are far better then that of wood and the granite could also provide an electrical ground to the electric current in the electric guitar thus avoiding any nosie or 60 cycle hums here below is my short informal proposal that I am turning in and I am having problem locating facts on granite such as the acoustical properties of granite the benefits of granite over wood, and methods of laminating granite to wood if you know of any helpful sources that could help me please let me know. I have to turn in a 20-30 page research paper proving that the granitar is superior to a regular guitar Informal Proposal

The main objective is to research and prove that unlike wood, granite is a far superior material to use in the construction of all stringed instruments. Granite is a denser material then wood. By applying a thin layer of granite to the face of a wooden guitar, when one plucks a string, the sound results are much crisper and cleaner. Additionally, because granite is so dense, when playing an electric guitar one would not hear any artifacts such as a 60 cycle hum, this is simply because the granite acts as an electrical ground for the guitar. It would also be beneficial to apply this concept to other stringed instruments such as a violin, double bass, or even a piano. Areas needing discussion that I foresee as playing an integral part to my research include: the acoustical properties of granite vs. that of wooden material, the weight factor of granite and how much granite would be needed for a guitar, as well as, suggestions on how the granite could best be laminated to the wooden surface of the guitar After considering the projects time restrictions and because I cannot afford to physically construct a granite guitar, I plan to provide a detailed guideline on how a granite guitar could be constructed based on research that will hopefully prove that granite is a superior material for constructing stringed instruments. Fortunately, I personally know the inventor of the granitar and will hopefully acquire an audio recording of both the electric guitar and the granitar so that the 2 sounds can be compared. The results of this project will be presented in a flash presentation. please let me know what you think, July 19, Reply

R1: In 1998 I had the opportunity of visiting the marble Association of Spain in Alicante. A man had been researching the use of granite as organ pipes. You may contact him through the above association and hopefully you will find the information you need.
Q 6888: Dear Sir - Let me start by saying I am a totally neurotic person not to mention a perfectionist. (I vaccum my house every night) With that being said, I am redoing my kitchen and I have been debating whether I should do Granite or Silestone. I love the look of granite but I didn't want to worry about sealing it and having to check it every night (I really didn't want another thing to do) I know I would lose the beauty with Silestone, but I thought it would be better for me since I would not panic every night. I was thinking of using "Blue Pearl" Granite for the counter tops - (not sure if this is a good choice ? but I love the colors) However, after reading the article I am feeling that I would be better off with Silestone now. What do you think ?? I have an infant and the last thing I want is more maintenance and another thing to do at night - check my counters ! I would welcome your opinion since right now I am not sure which way to go. July 19, Reply
R1: Dear Angela: I’m not sure I understand what you mean by having “to check the granite countertop at night,” but I can tell you that Blue Pearl (especially the darker version, GT) is as enjoyable and “bullet-proof” as engineered stone (Silestone, etc.). It does NOT need to be sealed.
With that being said – which takes care of the material – the way I see it, in an industry that’s virtually unregulated, how good and reputable is the fabricator who’s going to process it is far more important. That is why I seldom make final statements about any one particular stone. There may be differences within the same stone (and I’m not talking about looks, here!) from one bundle of slabs and the next. The slabs may have also been either “doctored” (which is bad), or “resined” (which could be good, but only to a certain extent) by the factory, which would make a big difference. Even more important, what’s a good stone in the hands of some “Michelangelo”?! Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6887: We had a marble floor installed last week in the foyer of our new home by installers contracted by a reputable company where we purchased the marble. However, we were disappointed by the look of the finished product in that several floor tiles were not level, grout seams were uneven and the black diamond shaped inserts (marble) when cut did not have the smooth factory look edge. The installer used quite a bit of putty under the tiles ( at least a 1/2 inch thickness) and stated that contracters could walk on it 18 hours later. We are already having problems. Any advise? Thanks, Jack, July 19, Reply
R1: Dear Jack: Yes, I do have a good piece of advice for you: get hold of your lawyer! You have a case as big as your house! “Michelangelo” worked in your dwelling! (Or was it his brother? … Same diff!) Maybe you should consider put a commemorative plate or somethin’ on the wall of the room where the historical event happened!! :-) You’re in direct contact with me now Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6886: what is the definition of veins on marble? what is the definition of fissures on marble? how big do veins need to be before they are considered a crack? Are there different kinds of veins on marble? if so what are they? i have a marble counter top that has a fine line seperation in the marble on the top that is glossed over and a parallel seperation line on the botton of the table. Do veins run this deep? or is it a crack? Please let me know. Thank you Sandta, July 19, Reply
Q 6885: My nephew is a contractor and is remodeling my home. He is scaring me. He ran into a problem after installing the 450 Sq ft. of Emser "Rojo Elecante" Marble 12"x12" tiles. He has just grouted the hallway today only, before he left he discovered that after drying from the sponge wiping process every tile ended up with something resembling hazed water marks and few trail like streaks. He tried rewiping and cleaning, even used the cleaner your supposed to use as a final cleaning in a (test area) and no matter what this cannot be removed.

He used Acculolor unsanded grout (a dark brown), I confirmed that the recommended steps were followed and double checked with Emser Tile and the groutwork was done right.

My question is what could have caused it? And what can we try?

So far the only plan mentioned is using a buffer machine with some kind of paste he mentioned. Thank you. Rafael July 19, Reply

R1: Dear Raphael: The last thing you want to do is to rent a buffing machine and try to polish that floor by yourself!! Your marble took enough beating already!
Perhaps your nephew used a tile cleaner or a solution of water an vinegar to sponge the grout. It that’s the case, the surface of the stone got etched and needs to be professionally refinished. Now, you’d better watch out! I consider stone refinishing as the very pinnacle of all the activities related to stone, from a professional point of view. Unfortunately, there are a lot of quacks on the loose out there!
How could you tell a champ from a chomp? Could you trust the recommendation of your local stone distributor, or contractor, or your interior decorator? Hardly!
I did write a very comprehensive article on how to select a bona fide stone restoration contractor, which will give you all the intelligence you need to make a competent choice
Should you have any other question, ask away: you're in direct contact with me now. Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6884: Please help ! We recently had our bathroom tiled in travertine, while not perfect, grout in holes,a few smears etc. I was delighted to see how gorgeous they looked when we treated them with the impregnator,every bit of their beauty showed up and all imperfections vanished,however my joy was short lived,as when they dried they looked just as before.We used a shine on them but it made no difference at all. Am I expecting the impossible, are they not meant to look shiny,with deep beautiful markings,or is it something we have done wrong. I am very dissapointed,our bathroom has lost its WOW !! factor Ilook forward to hearing from you love from Sue, July 19, Reply
R1: Dear Sue: (love from you?... Mmmm … don’t let my wife see this!! :-)) I’m afraid I have bad news for you. You should have used a stone color enhancer instead of a plain impregnator. It’s too late now, because if the impregnator is any good it will not allow the stone to absorb the color enhancer. Stripping the impregnator on a rough-finished stone is almost impossible. Sorry. :-( Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6883: Hi, I have Imperial white counter in my kitchen (I wish I had found this site before I decided on it). I used a poultice of baking soda and water on a greasy stain (a method I had tried before and was satisfied with). The stain was small but visible. I left that poultice on (I did not cover it)
for 24 hrs. When I removed the dried poultice, the stain looked like a gigantic water stain, which I know disappears. Well, this did not disappear, and now I have a 6 inch in diameter stain right in the middle of my counter. What do I do? Did I do wrong? I didn't think baking soda stained, since I used that method before and was successful. Please help me1 Thanks, Maria,
July 19, Reply
R1: Dear Maria, The following are the comments received from my Installer/fabricator on this problem.

“The usage of sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) is not exactly the proper method but it helps. Anyway, you should always cover the poultice fully to ensure vacumn so that the poultice do not suck the atmospheric humidity and its other impurities (oil, smog etc. which comes from heavy cooking) and pass it to the stone. With a vacumn seal (plastic cover over the poultice) the only sucking pressure is directed at the stone to draw out the impurities from the stone into the poultice (the poultice acts like a vacumn cleaner). Furthermore, water is not the right medium to create vacumn effect. I do not know why it worked the first time and not now. But I think if you should try it again with a plastic cover creating a vacumn, it should help tremendously.” Maria, Hope that its helpful to u. Best Regards, Sameer Biala

R2: Maria, Try, Prosoco’s 1260 Limestone and Marble Poultice or Prosoco’s Oil and grease stain remover.
R3: You have etched the stone. You must realize imperial is a soft and porous stone the baking soda and water created a some what alkali solution, acid or alkalines will etched stone, acid working quicker. I would suggest that you contact your local stone store and get some polishing compound and buff the etch out. Use a hand held polisher such as a Makita 9227 with a hogs hair pad on it and place water with the polishing powder ( something like 5x or Stardust) keeping the suface wet polish for about two minutes then whipe the counter with water and dry it off, now polish the counter with a white polishing pad totallly dry under the hand held polisher. I would suggest using white chaulk dust net time or buy a rready made poultice that is neutral in Ph.Don
R4: Maria, I am a sculptor and I discovered that K2R (the spot lifter) works for most stains except rust. Try it, ya got nothing to lose. JH
R5: 1. not generally unless it is contaminated
2. no
3. yes, clean stain. Remove it before resealing
4. No. sounds like it is not working, use PROSOCO’S SLX-100 SEALER AND STAND OFF STAIN REMOVER.
R6: hi, i suggest that you reseal your kitchen bench top by using maxseal product. regards, william
R7: Maria,Chances are the spot on your counter is still shiny because of the sanding, not the sealer. I would suggest you wait for it to completely dry before resealing.
R8: May I suggest it is not etched, as I assume you realize, if an acid has dissolved the surface you would have the result of lessening of a shine not a constant. Also keep in mind sealers are good but limited in their protection, they impregnate below the surface and reduce the stain and liquid absorption but do not protect the actual surface from acids. Good luck, Gary Davis
Q 6882: I have Saturnia marble on my floors and have small holes appearing in it where I have heavy foot traffic. How do I close them so that they do not catch dirt? Thanks Leya, July 16, Reply
R1: Dear Leya: For small repair like that, nothing beat some color-matching caulking material!. Fill, the holes by “mounding” them and them shave the stuff flush with the stone surface with a razor blade. Wait 24 hours before walking on that area. Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6881: we recently moved into a brand new home with 12x12 granite tile countertops. I believe after looking at pictures that it would be called Black Galaxy. Unfortunately the builder did not provide us with the exact info. Anyway, it appears to have been sealed as it is fairly shiny. Howevery in some spots it is rather hazy. We have lived there a couple months so I imagine I did something to make it hazy. I was never given any advice on how to care for the countertops. I used 409 a few times. Probably a bad thing..however just water does not seem to get it clean. Is there a product I can use to clean it better? Also, can I make the hazy part go away? Lastly, how often and what product should the countertops be resealed? Also, is it safe to put hot items on the granite? Thank you for your time :-) Lara Mukilteo, WA, July 16, Reply
R1: Hi back, Lara: Granite (like any other stone) is polished by abrasion and friction, not by applying a sealer onto it. The nice shine you have now was made by the factory and a sealer for stone does not alter in any way, shape or form the original factory finish. Or does it?...
A sealer for stone (impregnator) is supposed to be absorbed by the stone and none of the stuff is to be left sitting on it. Certain “granites” like Black Galaxy don’t absorb anything – including the sealer. In fact, you do NOT want to apply an impregnator/sealer to Black Galaxy! I suspect that the haze you have is related to the presence of some residue of the stupid sealer that had no business being there in the first place. The sealer that’s been damaged by your formula 409 or other improper generic cleaners. You may have to have the impregnator/sealer that was applied to your stone removed by the “genius” who applied it thinking that BG is granite! Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6880: Go to a local monument company. They will know the rules of the cemetery to help you select a stone that complies with the size and type they allow. They will also do the installation. The monument company will personally assist you in selecting the right memorial & design. Sometimes its a good idea to look in the cemeteries for ideas as well. I own a monument company located in central Pennsylvania. July 16, Reply
Q 6879: I have recently heard of contractors making concrete counter tops. do you or any of your readers have any knowledge of this type of counter top? i would be interested in knowing if they are resilient and after reading the article in New York's "Newsday" paper whether they stain. i would be interested in using this application both in the kitchen and bathroom. any information you or your readers have would be greatful. July 16, Reply
R1: Dear Andrea: Yeah, concrete countertops are quite trendy nowadays. They spell: T-R-O-U-B-L-E to me, however. The absorbency issue is easily controlled with the application of a good quality stone impregnator/sealer. The etching issue (sensitivity to acids – like marble) can not be controlled. Stay away from it. Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6878: I had a PANIC ATTACK this morning while reading the Newsday article dated 7/15 - One Woman's Hard Times With Her Granite Countertop. My new kitchen is being installed 7/19. I grabbed my sample of GIALLO VENEZIANO DARK and tested it with bottled lemon juice, cooking oil, red wine, tomato sauce, fresh tomatoes and blueberries. Thankfully, nothing was absorbed for about 15 minutes. However, I am still nervous. Please tell me anything you know about my granite. IS IT A TRUE GRANITE OR IS IT REALLY ANOTHER STONE? DOES IT HAVE TO BE SEALED? I feel that I cannot trust the granite yard after this article. I would greatly appreciate any information as soon as possible. Also, I am very interested in your products to clean and seal if necessary. Do I use your product to clean daily? How often do I have to seal?
Finally, are there any special cleaning and maintenance instructions for a porcelain floor tile. The store recommended latex to mix into the grout. What do you think? Tile man said no! Store said that installers find it hard to work with the latex in the grout, but the latex makes the grout stronger. I am confused. Thanking you in advance. Marilyn, July 16
, Reply
R1: Dear Marilyn: Some classify Giallo Veneziano as granite. I am not convinced (it look like garnet to me!). At any rate, if your stone doesn’t absorb a thing, it was either properly sealed by the fabricator (GV does need to be sealed real bad), or it had been resined by the factory. At any rate, it sounds like you’re in good shape in the “sealing department!” For daily cleaning (which is far more important that the sealing thing) I recommend my MB-5 and MB-13 team (be stingy with the latter!).
Finally about the grout issue: the store is right, the setter is wrong. Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6877: Does the lemon juice test work for marble as well as granite? I am putting crema marfil select tiles on my kitchen floor. Will a sealant help to keep it from staining? I am putting Tan/Brown countertops in the kitchen. Are there any obvious problems using this granite? I did not see any references to it on the website. I have installed Breccia Oniciata tiles on the shower walls, floors and a matching slab on the vanity top of my master bath. Is sealing required on all the tiles and vanity top? Finally I am putting blue pearl tiles on the floor, halfway up the walls, tub surround and a matching slab on the vanity of my kids bath. Is there anything I need to worry about there? I would be happy to pay for a consult, . Rosemarie, July 16, Reply
R1: Dear Rosemarie: I already answered your query. You do NOT want Crema Marfil (or any other polished marble for that matter) on a kitchen floor!! Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6876: We are trying to decide on a durable and maintenance-free (or low maintenance) countertop for our new home (we cook a lot). The stone on the floor is a Summer Wheat slate and the cabinetry is a light cherry. I know that granite is very durable, but we really hate the speckled and glossy look. We want something modern and uniform, that does not have much movement (veining, spots, variation, etc.) in it. The options that we are considering are the following:
Soapstone (our first choice)
Absolute black honed granite (although after reading your response, I think we'll pass on this one)
Black Zimbabwe (honed)
Pietra Serena (honed)
Pietra Bedonia (honed)
Pietra Griglia (honed)
We are also open to using a honed slate, but do not have any idea about which one to use.
Any and all suggestions would be greatly appreciated! Thanks, -Matt, July 16
, Reply
R1: Dear Matt: Soapstone. About possibly choosing honed slate, I feel sorry already for the slate you have on your floor!! :-( Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6875: Hi, I looked up the water absorption on Black Galaxy ( 0.5 - .15% ) , but I don't know what the numbers mean. Is this granite easily stained? Of course I plan to seal it. Please advise. Thanks, July 16, Reply
R1: Dear Andrea: I don’t know, either!! :-) I have Black Galaxy in my very busy kitchen for over 8 years now. I plan to seal it, too. It’s a good thing, however, that I kept the “sealing cult” at planning level and never got around to doing it!! That is probably why I never had any problem or any stain!! :-)
Regardless of those numbers, Black Galaxy does not absorb a darn thing in real life terms, not even the impregnator/sealer! Do NOT – I repeat: do NOT – apply any impregnator/sealer to it! Now, remember, it’s never too early to think about the proper maintenance of your stone. It’s a subject that’s all too often neglected and, as you can tell by reading many of this site’s postings, you’re not likely to get good information about it from your dealer or installer. Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6874: Can you tell me what type of stone Giallo Santo is. I bought it believing it to be granite, However, after reading you web site info, I'm no longer sure. It passed the lemon juice test with no absorption. But it has a grease spot from mayonnaise. I read your suggestion of using a poultice. Would nail polish remover work for the acetone? Thanks, Mary, July 16, Reply
R1: Dear Mary: Never heard of it. Never heard that a “Giallo” is a true geological granite, either! About removing the oil stain I wouldn’t use nail polish remover: many of them have only traces of acetone and also have different other chemicals – including oils. Get acetone at your local hardware store. After that, apply a good-quality stone impregnator/sealer, like my outlandish MB-4 (!!).Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6873: We have had black galaxy in our kitchen for about 2 years and are very happy with it. I believe I read on your site that it need not be sealed and I wanted to confirm that. Additionally, is there anything we should do treatment wise? Thanks-Matt, July 16, Reply
R1: Hi back, Matt: You’re right, BG doesn’t need to be sealed, ever. That doesn’t mean that it doesn’t like to be pampered, though! I do that to mine all the time by using my MB-5 and MB-13! :-) (Be stingy with the latter: a thin coat no more than once a week. It’s simply amazing!) Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6872: I read with interest the article in Newsday about your expertise. I am in the midst of having my bathroom done and have chosen a green marble (Quetzel Green) for my vanity and seat in the shower.
I would like to know two things:
1. Does this marble have to be sealed ... and how many times?
2. The fabricator is holding two slabs for me ... one has more white veining in it, which I find more appealing. Am I better off selecting the one with less white in it?
I'd appreciate an answer from you since I have to go to select it next week. Thank you very much. Sincerely, Joan,
July 16, Reply
R1: Dear Mrs. Schwartz: I never heard of that particular marble. At least not under that name! Typically green marble does need to be sealed (two application of my MB-4 will do).
Maurizio, Expert Panelist,
Q 6871: My tile installer is having difficulty installing white Thassos marble mosaic (5/8" X 5/8") tile, which is on sheets of 1 square foot each. There are eighteen mosaic tiles down each side of the sheet, thus there are 324 individual mosaic tiles on 1 square foot sheet.
I asked him to install the tile on a diagonal on my bathroom floor. He has difficulty with the tile because it is flimsy; (1) he cannot cut it, (2) he cannot lay it properly and keep the lines straight.
My tile installer has difficulty cutting the tiny pieces with the wet saw because the mesh backing is so flimsy, and the tiles move considerably when he tries to cut them. Does he have to cut each mosaic tile individually, or is there a better way to cut mosaic tiles? It is a very large bathroom and that would take a very long time. Secondly, when he lays the tile down, the lines don't match up. He says the flimsy background pulls the tiles unevenly.
The mesh backing on these mosaic tiles IS extremely thin and flimsy compared to other mosaic tile. When I questioned the seller, I was told that all mosaic tile "now" (as of about one month ago) has this new thin mesh backing, but this should in no way affect the installation.
Do you know of this "new" thinner mesh backing for mosaic tile?
Is there a way to keep the lines straight when he installs the tile on the floor?
This tile installer is otherwise very competent and I am happy with his work. Thank you. Pamela, July 12
, Reply
R1: If you purchase mosaic tile then installation is going to be much more. If this was me I would have told the seller what our were for the installation. I would have had the mosaic section made for the pattern you wanted to be on the wall. Mosaic separates the expert installers form the rest of the group, almost anyone can lay it on a horizontal surface but a wall is another thing.

He could mount the tile and grout it on a backer board then cut and install the entire unit and regrout. This is an amateur way of doing it, a real pro would be able to set the tiles individually solving your problem. Don
R2: I just want to comment on tile mesh subject.Your tile setter is very capable this is not the issue.The quality is poor and I have found this cutting of corners beginning to become a common place.The mesh should hve been of a greater stiffness to allow a durable cut.You get what you pay for.Let this be a lesson,know your supplier before your a buyer. Brayan
R3: Dear Pamela, He shouldn’t have difficulty sawing when he puts something rigid under the tile ( and above, if necessary) If he lays the tiles along a thread keeping straight must be easier. SR
R4: Your installer does not sound like he is very experienced in this mosaic field. Yes, all the mosaics need to be individually cut. He should not be trying to cut an entire sheet on a wet machine. Each mesh sheet usually needs to be fully spread apart and aligned carefully with the other sheets. The can be openned up slightly with a sheetrock knife when necessary.

When working in areas that will not accept a full sheet, the sheets that need to be cut should be precut with a sheet rock knife and then laid on the floor. All the extra individual cut pieces must be done one at a time to fill in any excess area. White thasos needs to be sealed and he needs to work extremely carefully not to stain the material. Be especially careful when grouting. In my opinion, Use only white grout. Mark

R5: Dear Pamela, Perhaps you could suggest to your installer to make the mosaic tiles rigid by applying either white cement on the back or epoxy.
He could lay the tiles upside down on a flat material. He could get some scrap marble or granite pieces from a local marble shop. They usually throw away smaller pieces like this.
A flat surface like this would allow the mosaics to sit perfectly flat and while in the upside down position, he could line up the joints by shifting the mosiacs. Perhaps draw a square on the granite slab with a white out marker. They sell them at Staples.
Once he is satified that the pieces are straight and square, he can make them rigid applying epoxy from the back.
Even a hot glue gun can be useful to tack some of the pieces together from moving. He could do a combination of hot glue and then epoxy using a small trowel.
The epoxy will normally get hard in about 5 to 10 minutes.
I don't know the quantity but the resulting tiles will essentially be 1 foot square rigid tiles and will be very easy to cut and install even on vertical surfaces.
Our company manufactures mosaics with rigid backing using a special cement formulation and moulding the stones this way. I hope this might be useful to you. Tony Stewart
R6: Hi Pamela, What your installer should do about the half tiles that are neither here or there is remove them from the sheet and then seperately 'chop' them in half or thirds as required (any smaller denomination is a waste of time since it will not be noticed). Lay the sheets leaving the 'gaps'. Then these pieces can then be added individually.
The best way to chop the stone cubes is to use a 'hammer and hardy' used for centuries by mosaic artists.(see link for example) Also some tile nippers can be used. We are mosiac artists and often work with such mosaic cubes. Occasionaly we are asked to assist tile installers when they are confronted with such tasks. Good luck with the installation Alex
R7: This issue is very common with mosaic sheets. To make these cuts, I cut a1/2" thick piece of plywood the size of the mosaic sheet or a bit larger and I place this on top of the sliding tray on my tile saw, then adjust the cutting height so tile blade cuts into plywood 1/16". I then use a thin piece of wood 1/4" x2" x 12"-16" to hold down the mosaic tiles right next to the cut line and slowly feed tray into the saw to make cut. This helps make straight cuts. As for laying them straight. Many mosaics when they get wet (from cutting)come loose, or get mis-aligned. I lay out these cut sheets on a dry towel to dry out (or in the sun)before setting them. Also, once set in place, minor adjustments are always necessary to align with adjacent tiles.
This does take more time on the part of the tile setter, and more $ should have been figured into the bid. Consider discussing this issue with your tile setter, perhaps he is rushing because he did not figure this extra effort into the bid. Good luck, contact me if you have further questions. Tad
R8: I w'd prefer to write to you in frensh but l'll try in english and i hope you will understand my idea. I advice you installer to make 10 metal frames 3 mm thiker and same size of the tiles, then he puts a sheet in each frame, buck words position, then add wet wet cement and plaster to make the level with the frame. In this case the sheeets will be more stable. To cut the sheets in diagonal the installer can make a triangle form, about 5 cm thik which he fixes on the machine,that will give him the possibility to cut 5 suporposed sheet at the same time. I hope that will help you. best regards. hassine
Q 6870: I just move in to a house that has “granite” counter tops, I went to a store and it seems that I have either “Labrador Green” or Uba tuba, they really look very similar. Are they the same stone? Well around the faucet there is a ring of build up which I clean with Lime Away and it took the build up out but still the counter top is not shiny and is a little whitish around the faucet. Can I restore this part to its original look? Do I need to treat the area with a poultice and then seal it? I am not sure if this stone needs a sealer. Daniel Diebra, Houston, Texas, July 07, Reply
R1: Dear Daniel: The fact that your countertop is not as shiny as it used to be is probably due to improper maintenance from the previous owner, i.e. if they used dish soap and water to clean their countertop with. I encourage to use my MB-3 soap film remover to thoroughly strip whatever gunk is sitting on you countertop (that should also take care of the whitish deposit around the faucets), and then take it from there with my MB-5 + MB-13 team!
No, that stone doesn’t need to be sealed at all. And if it was originally sealed, then it could also be a contributing factor of the lack of shine. If tha’t;s the case, MB-3 won’t do much, but you would still have an improvement. Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6869: I have two questions:
1) Is gneiss available/appropriate for kitchen countertops with kids and active family?
2) Does Juperana Classico Dark go by another name?
Thanks, Dee Altman,
July 07, Reply
R1: Dear Dee: IF the gneiss is sealed properly with the right impregnator/sealer and by the right operator, then you shouldn’t have any problem. But it’s a big “IF!” And to tell you the truth, I’m more concerned with the operator than the quality of the sealer! All too many contractors don’t take their time to do the job right. To properly seal a Juparana you will need to do at least two applications of a good-quality impregnator/sealer (like my outlandish MB-4) – three applications would be even better – at an interval of 24 hours between each applications. Very precious few contractors are going to do that!! That is why I’d rather have the homeowner do the sealing! It’s very easy! Maurizio, Expert
Q 6868: We recently had Golden Leaf 12x12 tile installed in our kitchen. The tile turned very dark and is now discolored, but slowly some places are turning back to the original color. The manufacturer says the tile turned because of oil used in the installation and that is will work itself out and turn back in a few weeks. Our home is new construction and I don't want the counters ripped up one month after we move in. Should I insist it be replaced now? Everywhere I read it says oil stains granite. I have to make a decision ASAP before they move forward. Thanks for your help July 07, Reply

R1: Dear Johnette: They use oil in the installation??! If that’s the case, then you’d better start having those things ripped out right now!! It sounds weird, however: why should anybody use oil to install “granite” tiles? You’d better make sure of the cause of the discoloration. If it’s only water (setting material) it will go away, but if it’s oil, forget about it! Now, remember, it’s never too early to think about the proper maintenance of your stone. Maurizio, Expert Panelist

Q 6868: can you help me make an informed decision between volga blue granite and emerald pearl granite for countertops? Thank you, Debbie, July 07, Reply
R1: Dear Debbie: They are both excellent stones, providing that the slabs are a good grade and were processed right. There’s always more than one factor involved. That’s is why I seldom make final statements about any one particular stone. There may be differences within the same stone (and I’m not talking about looks, here!) from one bundle of slabs and the next. The slabs may have also been either “doctored” (which is bad), or “resined” (which could be good, but only to a certain extent) by the factory, which would make a big difference. Even more important, what’s a good stone in the hands of some “Michelangelo”?!
I did write a very comprehensive article on How to Shop for a Granite Kitchen Countertop that will give you all the intelligence you need to venture yourself with confidence in the stone industry jungle! It does carry a small price tag, and you can order it by logging on the Educational Literature of my It's available in pay-per-download format and I consider it a tiny insurance premium to pay when there are thousands of $ involved! Should you have any other question, ask away: you're in direct contact with me now. Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6867: I have a 3 ½ year old granite kitchen countertop in Ital Green. I love it, it is green with a black grain and some brown in it to match the cabinets. I tried to get a spot off it and was unsuccessful until I started doing some research on the internet and found your site. I am very grateful for all the information you have posted on there. The acetone took the spot out. I have some other dark spotting with darker lines in the stone and also small round white marks which I don’t think were there before. The countertop where the spots are is on either side of the sink and on either side of the stove. Also, where two pieces of stone have been butted together to form an angle, the stone is dark black for about a quarter of an inch on either side. This does not really bother me but I think it is an indication that something was not done correctly. The kitchen store where I purchased my countertops and cabinets gave me the number of the gentleman who installed the countertop. The installer gave me a couple of solutions to get the spot out but none worked until I used the acetone. The installer also told me that I could reseal the countertop myself with some sealer from any home store. I paid a lot of money for this counter and I really like it. I have never sealed a countertop and don’t want to take the chance of doing it myself. I am not afraid to use the acetone to get the rest of the dark stains out but I have not tried it on the white spots.yet. I have several concerns – can you tell me anything about the white spots, and will the acetone take care of these? How often should a granite top be re-sealed if at all? Do you think I have any redress with the installer? I did everything on the countertop from cutting vegetables to making pie crust. Now I’m afraid to do anything on it. Thank you, Karen Graves, July 07, Reply
R1: Dear Karen: About the dark spotting with darker lines, they could be stains, but then again they could just be natural veining in the stone. Poulticing them with acetone or salon-grade hydrogen peroxide won’t hurt. Worse gets to worst, they just won’t come out. As for the whitish pots, there’s no such an animal. I’m not implying that you’re seeing thing, mind you; I’m just saying that stains are always darker than the stone, never lighter. So, I really don’t know what you have there.
On the subject of the darker lines along the seam, the fabricator obviously used a bonding material that was not 100% solid (epoxy and such). Consequently the die of the coloring agent of the glue has been absorbed by the sides of the slab. There’s nothing that you can do about that. Do you have a case against the fabricator? To a certain extent, yes, you do. But what do you expect them to do? The only solution is to replace the countertop!
As for the sealing issue, I have reached the conclusion that I’d rather have the homeowner do it. I witnessed all too many instances in which the contractor didn’t take his time to do the job right! What’s a good impregnator/sealer, if you don’t apply it right? Applying an impregnator is very easy indeed: you just have to take your time. Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6866: My husband and I chose Black Galaxy for our kitchen counters (mainly due to its beauty) and were pleasantly surprised how much the findstone site, and you all in particular, like it as a countertop product. I understand from you that BG does not need to be sealed and you personally have had it that way for 8 years at home with no problems..... Good enough for us! So tell me about the MOLD conspiracy theory I got today?!
Okay, so right now (as I write), they are installing the BG. I have told them I do NOT want it sealed. Being prepared for an argument I came armed with a letter to say I did not want my BG sealed and that I authorized these workers to skip that part. There was minor concern/confusion and then the regroup about 30 minutes later. You see, according to the men doing the install, if I don't seal the Black Galaxy 'granite' then "as a porous stone, liquid will soak thru it, pool under in the plywood and then you will grow mold." That's a direct quote. Now I think that's a bit far fetched but I turn to you for two reasons:
1) Looking for support on my no seal decision (must stay strong!)
2) Is the mold issue a crock of poop?! Please enlighten me cuz even though my brain laughs at the idea, I really HATE mold....
Thanks in advance for your input and I'm holding firm- still no authorization for sealant- but we are only half way done today....Sarah, Reply, July 07
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R1: Dear Sarah: Don’t worry about paying my consultation fee: your report made me laugh so hard that I should be paying you for the entertainment!! It’s a crock of poop all right, and big time, too!! One the biggest whoppers I ever heard in my life!! BG (a gabbro) is among the densest stone on the market!! Just for the heck of it, why don’t you ask your “Michelangelo” what stone BG is? Do you really think they know?? Tell’em to go seal the Black Galaxy of their sister!! And, most importantly … don’t forget to pamper your newly installed countertop with my MB-5 and MB-13. It deserves them both!! :-) Maurizio, Expert Panelist
R2: If your countertop material is truly granite all you were told is fiction. Igneous stone is not absorbent nor does it leak fluids. We have lots of Deer Isle granite tops and several of our neighbors have other granites from around the world. All have had superb experience with these tops. Granite is NOT porous unless of course it is some ersatz stuff about which who knows what can happen. Sealing will be extra bucks for their pockets so of course it is in their interest, but not the stone's. Run through to the plywood underneath? What plywood? These top are installed directly over the cabinet uprights. Pretty fancy story! Bob
R3: Hi Sarah, Sounds like a bit of misinformation floating about! No, your benchtop does not require sealing, but it wouldn't hurt anyway! The stuff about the mold is ridiculous, and it's embarrassing to me as a tradesman to know that there are idiots that carry on like this.

Even if mold developed under your countertop (highly unlikely) how would anyone know? It would more likely be caused by water leaking from a tap and dripping down behind the splashback, then seeping under the countertop.

What is the real reason for your installer's objection to your refusal? Maybe it's their company policy to seal every product surface without understanding why, and they are afraid that you will call them back in the future. I suggest you let them seal the Black Galaxy so they can sign off their work and leave you in peace. Simon

R4: Granite does have some porosity, but not enough to soak up liquids, and then grow mold. I have been in this business for 27 years, and have never heard of mold under countertops before. Tad
R5: The "Water Absorption by Weight" of "Black Galaxy" usually tests out at between 0.05 and 0.15%. (as in 5/100ths and 15/100ths of One Percent!) This is a test where a precisely weighed block of granite is immersed in water for 48 hours and then carefully re-weighed. These figures speak for themselves. Black Galaxy is one of a few types of granites that do not need to be sealed in a kitchen counter application.
Your installers probably deal with many different kinds of granite, (most of which would be problematic in kitchen counter applications if not sealed) so it is not surprising that they insist on sealing. They may even make sealing a condition of warranty. There are environmentally safe sealers available if that is the concern.
Water getting through to the underlayment via the joints between slabs, slab to splash joints, sink to slab joints is far more likely but very easy to mitigate.
Test it for yourself. Take a piece of the same granite (the sink cut-out for example), clean it well with a rag and acetone to remove any existing oils (or to reveal any artificial darkening stain) and lay down a tall bead of silicon caulk to form a dam. Set the granite on some blocks of wood tall enough so that the underside can be viewed. Carefully fill the dammed up area with some water and re-examine every 6 hours or so. (Add a few drops of dish soap to the water to eliminate any surface tension.) Make certain to keep the water level topped up to keep up with evaporation. A 1/4 inch of water is not a lot of hydraulic pressure on the rock, but it is more water then you would usually find on a kitchen counter for days on end. You could make another caulk dam at the same time and carefully fill it with piping hot peanut oil and let it stand for a day or two. It is another good test to see if oil will darken or change the shine of your particular piece of Black Galaxy. I seal every table I make except those made with highly polished Galaxy, Cambrian, or Impala Black. Glad to be of service, Doug
R6: Black Galaxy is a lava-like stone, not a granite , therefore open of structure due to gasses leaving the stone when cooling. The people installing Your kitchen top are technically right, allthough in practice the “holes” are minute; water will probably never reach the wood of the kitchen. In answer to Your “sealant” problem; the plates Black Galaxy are usually allready treated with sealant ( silicone or otherwise) in the quarry in India, to hide natural defects. The discussion therefore seems utterly useless
R7: If I were you, I would let the suppliers seal your Galaxy Granite. The pool effect you describe is highly unlikely to happen It would take an awful lot of water and an awfully long time for such a thing to happen, if it ever did happen at all! I would seal it because in a kitchen environment there is likely to be a lot of oily foods around and sealing the worktop will help prevent any slight penetration into your worktop. It would also make it easier to remove if you did have any problem, the chances of which happening are remote any way. Better safe than sorry! It certainly wont damage your stone to have it sealed, and should anything untoward happen, you will be in a stronger position than by refusing to let the installers seal the worktops. Either way, if you treat your worktops with a little respect, it shouldn’t make any difference. (just to let you know, our company seals all its kitchen worktops before they leave the factory and again directly after fitting. when the sealer has dried the residue is rubbed off using a cloth damped with sealer and then with wire wool) Sorry for the delay in sending you this reply to your querie
Q 6865: I am having installed marble slabs on the walls and floor of my bathroom. Much to my dismay the slabs were not "booked." Assuming that the slabs were purchased in sequence, can one expect that a fabricator would make sure that the slab panels matched from one to the next? Can one expect that a fabricator would talk to the client to learn what area of the walls, for instance, might feature the slabs with the most "drama or movement?" Can one expect where chipping occurs, that the installer would use salvage pieces to find a match for the chipped area, or that in the instance of a tiny chip that epoxy be used that matched the color of the chipped area? Is it reasonable to ask that the seams be repolished due to ragged edges? My installation is in the San Francisco Bay Area. Sue, July 07, Reply
R1: Dear Sue: Yes, all the things you listed can be expected. But what is your point? I always complain about the lack of industry self-regulation, but your points are beyond any possible regulation. You can’t expect that an industry puts out guidelines imposing an idiot to be a genius, can you?! Going solely by your description of the work delivered you’ve got a “Michelangelo.” Either you’re able to work things out wikth your fabricator, or you’re going to have to suck it up. And do your shopping better the next time. Now, it is certainly not your case if nothing else because the subject is different, but do you know how many times people ask me questions about, say selecting a granite kitchen countertop (and a good fabricator – but they never specifically ask about that) but won’t spend a mere 12 bucks to buy my piece of literature that teaches them everything about it? At the time of the shopping everybody is concerned about one thing and one thing only: the color of the stone! Never mind it’s a piece of crap; never mind the fabricator is a jack-ass! It looks like those are secondary issues!! And they “save” their 12 bucks … and then, later on, they post queries like yours … Like I said, your case is different, yet – I’m sorry to say it – part of the blame is on you: if all you’ve been reporting is true, there’s no way you can convince me that your fabricator has a good reputation. Now, remember, it’s never too early to think about the proper maintenance of your stone. It’s a subject that’s all too often neglected and, as you can tell by reading many of this site’s postings, you’re not likely to get good information about it from your dealer or installer. Maurizio, Expert Panelist
R2: Generally, quality fabricators will discuss how each client would like to view each slab. If there is a particularly dramatic section, we usually allow our clients to choose where to feature this section. Regarding "book matching", in years past, most marble slabs were "booked". However, this
requires an extra step at the quarry/fabrication plant before it is polished. Thus, if you want your slabs to be book matched, then they usually must be ordered that way (at extra expense). Rough, ragged edges are not acceptable (indicates poor equipment, and or, skill in the fabrication process. Ask your installer to correct these items before you make your final payment. If needed, call their competitors for a consult. Good luck. Tad
R3: The answer is yes to all your questions, however if you have negotiated hard on price and used one of the cheaper fabricators / installers, it would not supprise me at all that you have encounted such problems. In my experience, to achieve a high quality job I have often quoted double (or more) the amount that some of my competitors have. Rich
R4: A good fabricator will know how to match the slabs were there will be seams. As for the movement, you can always tell your fabricator how you want it to go, they should know if it is possible or not.
R5: Bookmatched slabs are something that you should special order and is not something you could just buy from any slab yard. Unless you specified that they should be bookmatched, I would not find it strange that your fabricator did not do it.
You should have enquired before hand and specified what you wanted. Regards, Adriana
R6: Sue, Afabricator normaly would number the pcs. with a diagram for instalation. The chips can be fixed with a polyester resin colored to match the stone. If the seams are not level grinding and polishing would be necessary. However if the installer used grout on the seams the can not be polished.
Q 6864: What is your review on Chinese "granites?" Are they bad quality? Some have told me yes and other ahve told me they are of the same quality. I am looking into buying a lot from China but I don't want to get burnt by buying bad materials than will break easy or look bad in a few months or year. What are the different types of granite qualities? Are there categories of quality? How can you tell if it is a good "granite" or a poor piece of "granite?" Curtis, July 07, Reply
R1: Dear Curtis: Questions like yours always amaze me! What a country’s got to do with the “quality” of their natural products?? I never read anywhere that the Man upstairs invented geography and political borders! Stone from China can be as good and as bad a stone from Italy, Brazil, Rwanda, The Faroe Islands, or what-have-you. About the quality of the fabrication of the slabs, that’s a totally different story. China has still a long way to go at learning that! Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6863: I was wondering if limestone flooring was a good choice for our newly renovated kitchen. I have a 2 ½ year old and a 2 month old and was concerned about stains and sealing the floor every couple of year. What is your view on this. Thanks, July 07, Reply
R1: Dear Annette: Only Jerusalem limestone (the darker version) is dense enough and acid resistant enough to withstand the traffic typical of a kitchen. All the rest is a big no-no. You could also consider honed and filled travertine. Now, remember, it’s never too early to think about the proper maintenance of your stone. It’s a subject that’s all too often neglected and, as you can tell by reading many of this site’s postings, you’re not likely to get good information about it from your dealer or installer. Don’t become another statistic!. Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6862: We'd like to ask your advise about choosing between granite and quartzite for kitchen countertops in our kitchen remodel. So far we haven't been able to find sufficient information to help us decide. We do love the look of granite, but yesterday saw a slab of quartzite that was beautiful. Can you help? The granite we like is called GIBLEE and I think it is from Brazil. The quartzite is named IMPERIAL BLUE LIGHT QUARTZITE also from Brazil. I've been assured that either stone we use will be sealed when it is installed, and have been advised it's best to reseal yearly. Our fabricator said the quartzite will be slightly more absorbent and should be sealed maybe twice a year. I question the advisability of using either for the kitchen, but just love the beauty of the stones. Can you tell me the advantages or disadvantages to the granite versus quartzite decision. We understand that Granite is better for the kitchen counter top than marble, but are stumped on the granite versus quartzite comparison. We do know the quartzite is more expensive but need to know about the functional comparisons. Thanks for your help. Pattie Cafaro July 2004, July 07, Reply
R1: Dear Pattie: The assessment given to you by your fabricator about the fact that quartzite is slightly more absorbent than Ghibli is correct. What I don’t agree with them is the idea of having to apply an impregnator/sealer every year of twice a year!! I really don’t know what kind of crappy products they plan to use, but I never heard of an impregnator/sealer that wouldn’t go at least two years. My outlandish MB-4 will go 10 years or better!
Furthermore, a product – any product – is as good as the operator who uses it. What I mean by that is the more often than necessary fabricators don’t do a good job at sealing, especially when it comes to stones as absorbent as those you indicated. Hopefully your fabricator will represent an exception. Although I have to consider the application of a sealer a professional task, I’d rather have the homeowners do it! At least they will spend the time necessary to apply it as many times as necessary to finish the job, and at the right interval of time (24 hours is always best, no matter what the directions on the product’s bottle say) between each applications.
Once either one of those stones will be properly sealed, it will be routine maintenance as usual, providing that you’ll use specialty stone products (or else you will be damaging the sealer in no time!) Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6861: I am starting a granite business and I need to know what books you would recommend on fabricating. I am a sub-contractor currently installing the grantie. But I want to be sure to get the quick easy methods about fabrication before i get to far. Thanks for your time, July 07, Reply
R1: Dear Hans: Allow me to be candid with you. They are “professionals” like you that really scare me. You want to learn how to fabricate “granite” countertops – which requires years of experience, not to mention the necessary dedication and wits – by learning the “quick easy method” out of a book!! I’m afraid that another “Michelangelo” is about to enter the stone industry stage! I’ll be here available to answer the gripes of your unfortunate future customers. And the show goes on! Ciao and good luck, Maurizio
Q 6860: I have Tropic brown in my kitchen. Can this stone become etched from using antibacterial cleaners such as 409? What spray antibacterial cleaner would you recommend if etching could be a problem. Thanks Anna, July 07, Reply
R1: Dear Anna: You don’t expect me to spend my time and resources testing all the disinfectant/cleaners on the market to find out if the will damage Tropical Brown in the long run, do you?! :-) I only spend my time and resources to test my own products to make sure that they deliver every bit of their advertised performance. And, because of that, I do know that my MB-15 is safe because we intensively tested it on all sorts of stones! Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6859: I am in the middle of a major house extension project and have been using your web-site to research which natural stones to but. We have just purchased some wonderful Indian sandstone for use as flooring in our new kitchen. Our architect has surprisingly just told us that we have made a mistake as sandstone is not suitable for kitchens. As you seem to very knowledeable I would welcome your views. Provided proper sealant is used will sandstone be ok. It looks fantastic and we want to keep it that way. Many thanks, Andrew, July 07, Reply
R1: Dear Andrew: Providing that you apply a good-quality stone impregnator/sealer (like my outlandish MB-4!) you will be all right … I hope! What I mean by that is that while most sandstones are quite hard and wear well, a few are quite soft instead. In that case, considering the kind of intense traffic typically going on in a kitchen … Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6858: I have just installed a new counter top which consist of three colors, red, almond and grey. However, over the past few days, I have noticed that the grey parts of the counter top have been rough or have a few chips “like pencil erases”. What can I do to fix this? Should I have my contractor replace the entire counter top or is there some other opitions? Please advice. Sherry, July 07, Reply
R1: Dear Sherry: No need to replace the countertop. Chips of that size can be filled successfully, but it’s no DIY project. Call your fabricator back to address the problem.
Now, remember, it’s never too early to think about the proper maintenance of your stone. It’s a subject that’s all too often neglected and, as you can tell by reading many of this site’s postings, you’re not likely to get good information about it from your dealer or installer. Don’t become another statistic! Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6857: Hi we just m,oved into a house with some sort of white rock set behind the fireplace. It as well as many of the walls in the room are blackened. Any suggestion how to clean the rock and is it the chimminey needing to be cleaned? Chris, July 07, Reply
R1: Dear Chris: About the chimney I wouldn’t know. About the white rocks: 1. Warm water and household bleach (2:1); 2. Open windows; 3. Masking all around; 4. Rubber gloves; 5. A laundry brush; 6. Lots of patience; 7. Lots of Elbow-grease! :-) Ciao and goiod luck, Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6856: I have had granite for 18 months...I should have resealed it...which I will. But before I do, there is a stain I want to remove. This week I had a small water leak from my kitchen faucet. We have hard water, and there is a white mineral deposit on the surface of the granite (a green black & butterfly-blue-flecked granite from Madacascar called Caeleacanth or Madacascar Blue) in a two inch area around the base of the faucet. How do I get it out? I am afraid to do anything until I know what I am doing or get advice from an expert like you. What kind of stain is this? It was not on your list. July 07, Reply
R1: Dear Linda: I’m not really familiar with that particular stone, but I saw it last year at a stone convention (BTW, it’s gorgeous), and if memory serves me right, I believe that it does not need to be sealed. Did you run my little lemon juice (and oil) test on a piece of scrap?
As for the stain you’re reporting, the reason why it is not reported in my guide about stain removal is because we’re dealing with a mineral build-up, not an inbedded stain. Remove the worse with a razor blade and finish the job with a tad of “Lyme-a-way” (spelling?). Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6855: I have granite counters in my kitchen. By the sink I had a stainless steel container holding liquid Dawn the blue one. Some of the Dawn and possibly water was left under the container overnight. I was told to leave it that it would come up by itself after a few weeks. By the way my granite is sealed . Some of it did, but not all. I used a commerical poultice with water, that helped a little. I want to try the poultice method that Maurizio recommends, but don't know which chemical I should use? Should I treat it as organic, inorganic , oily , or metal. I was told that Dawn has some dyes in it, but I was also told I should treat the stain as an oily stain.So I don't know which method of stain removal I should use. Help. Thanking you in advance, Brenda, July 07, Reply
R1: Dear Brenda: It’s liquid soap. Poultice it with just water several times. If you are in hurry, poultice it with my MB-3! Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6854: Hello, I had seen on one of those HGTV shows, the new styles of kitchen counter tops, the were actually slabs of sones, like malachite, lapis and other beautiful stone being fabricated somewhere. Do you have any information on this type of counter top? Your reply is greatly appreciated. D, July 07, Reply
R1: Dear Dera: They are absolutely gorgeous! And they will stay gorgeous for ever … for as long as you will never use your countertop, that is!! Another stupid trend ill-advertised by the media that are always thirsty of something “different,” no matter what. I can assure you that they wouldn’t pass my little lemon juice (and oil) test!! Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6853: Our granite counter top fabricator/installer core drilled the holes for our commercial counter top 1/2" too large, causing the stainless steel support posts which are inserted into these holes not to properly align nor remain upright. We have attempted a variety of solutions to this matter to include the installation of plastic bushings to "fill the gap", however, these too have cracked and failed.
We are looking for a concrete/stone/granite "filler" that we could insert (liquid that would harden is preferred) into the hole to fill the gap. We would support the stainless post while the product cured and then fill the very top of the hole with colored seam sealer to hide the product below. Do you know of any such material/product? I thank you in advance for your assistance. Sincerely Roger, July 07
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R1: Dear Roger: My first instinct was to suggest you to mix marble or granite dust with epoxy glue, (not a DIY project to begin with) but then I re-read your posting and realized that the plastic bushing cracked and failed … So, I really don’t know. Sorry. Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6852: Hi, MGT out of Amarillo, Texas told me to contact you and see if you could help me. I have a blue granite countertop that I have had for 7 years. For some reason in the last several months I have noticed that when I used OrangeGlo Wood Floor Cleaner and Polish on my hardwood floors and I would set the bottle on my countertop it has been leaving a permanent raised, I guess I would call stain. It is a perfect replica of the bottom of the bottle so I know that is where it is coming from. (It took me a while to figure this out. I knew the spot was there and nothing would get it off, but I could not figure out where it was coming from.) I do not understand after all this time why the counter would stain and what can I do to get rid of it. The counter is finished and I have never had anything else not come out of it. Your suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Terry White Dalhart, July 07, Reply
R1: Dear Terry: It looks like the oil contained in that product was absorbed by your stone. Keep in mind that for those kinds of product they use very thin penetrating oils. You’re going to have to poultice the stain out. When it comes to stain removal, either you buy one of those expensive “Professional kits” (that no true professional ever uses!) at a stone retailer near you, or you can spend less money and get my comprehensive guidelines on how to remove stains by using inexpensive and far more effective means that you may already have in your household! Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6851: We have moved into a house with a black granite countertop. The previous owner has seemingly scrubbed a small patch about the size of a quarter with an abrasive cloth...like a brilo pad. There is therefore a small patch with no shine. Can I, and if so how would I restore it? Thanks Simon, July 07, Reply
R1: Dear Simon: If I have to take an overly optimistic guess I would say that, possibly, there are at best a couple of dozen professionals in the whole country who could do what it needs to be done to restore that little patch. Don’t take it personal. But I somehow doubt that you’re among those selected few!! :-)
If you don’t want to call a pro (assuming that you can find one), try to darken that patch with a good-quality stone color enhancer, like my MB-6. It won’t make it shiny, but it will make it black like when is wet. Maurizio, Expert panelist
Q 6850: Hi, I have a one-year-old home with extensive Rojo Alicante flooring. It was installed by a very skilled artisan, but was “sealed” by the general contractor in order to save time. The stone was originally very shiny and glossy, but now has dulled quite a bit. There are a couple of areas where it looks like something was dripped on the stone and (I fear) etched it, and these have been there since the day we moved in. In another spot the floor looks streaky, as if a wax was unevenly applied and smeared. My questions: Do I need a professional to refinish the etched spots? Do I have to do the entire floor (several hundred square feet)? Can I get the smeary wax off? What can I use to bring back the shine? What do I use for regular day-to-day cleaning? The stone shop sold me a product called “Mira-Clean #1” which doesn’t do squat. I have used every other readily available product that indicated it was safe for marble. PS Is it safe to use Tylex Fresh Shower Daily Shower Cleaner on my Rainforest Green? Stacy, July 07, Reply
R1: Dear Stacy & Spencer: For starters, polished Rojo Alicante - a compact limestone from Spain – should never be sealed. (Not even with my outlandish MB-4!)
Second, a sealer for stone is not a wax: it’s a penetrating, below surface sealer that clogs the pores of the stone so that it won’t get stained if some liquid is spilled and let sit onto it. In order to work, a sealer for stone (impregnator) has be absorbed by the stone, and none of the residue is supposed to be left on the surface. Since RA doesn’t absorb a darn thing (not even the sealer!) sealing it produces only one thing: make money to the manufacturer of the sealer, the dealer, and the idiot who applies it for not knowing any better! Benefit to your marble? None whatsoever!! Having said that, it is obvious that your GC applied the impregnator as if it were a wax and left the residue (the whole thing, in this case!) to dry on the surface of the poor marble. Can it be buffed? Hardly. It is not a wax! It has to be removed, but, according with the make of the impregnator, it may turn out not to be an easy thing. About the possible etching you’re reporting, it has to be addressed by a professional stone refinisher. The same stone refinisher should be able to strip all the stupid crap sitting on your marble, as well.
But … I must warn you: I believe that your marble has had enough stupid things done to it. It does not need some more idiocy, don’t you think? What I mean by that is that you’d better watch out! I consider stone refinishing as the very pinnacle of all the activities related to stone, from a professional point of view. Unfortunately, there are a lot of quacks on the loose out there!
How could you tell a champ from a chomp? Could you trust the recommendation of your local stone distributor, or contractor, or your interior decorator? Hardly! Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6849: Hi, I had tropic brown installed in my kitchen and love it, but am really concerned about how to clean it. I have shildren running in and out and the counter top is heavily used. I saw this on your web site below that it will never etch. The company that installed it is telling me I can use only special granite wipes "stone bright" or hot water to clean it and never use a spray cleaner like 409 telling me it will etch. I am really concerned with bacteria in the small crevices and really want to use an antibacterial cleaner. Especially with the high traffic in the kitchen. Can you advise me? Anna, In its own, "Tropic Brown" is an extremely tough cookie and will never etch. July 07, Reply
R1: Dear Anna: I have stone wipes (MB-17), a regular stone spray cleaner (MB-5), and a disinfectant/cleaner (MB-15) as well. Which one do you want? :-) Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6848: I have limestone counter tops in my kitchen and they keep getting stains. I have sanded and resealed with a variety of "sealers" with varying degrees of poor results. The problem comes mostly from acid based liquids such as orange juice or vinegar. What can/should I seal these with? Thank you for your time. Jim Heck, Fombell, PA, July 07, Reply
R1: Dear Jim: Would you like to meet a billionaire? Find the guy who can come up with a solution to that problem and you’ll have a billionaire right in front of you!! Chemistry couldn’t do the first thing. The only hope is alchemy!! (You know, turning lead into gold and stuff like that?!...) Now you know why you do NOT want limestone and marble in a kitchen. At least not in this country! Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6847: I tried the lemon test on a sample piece of granite of the type that I am purchasing for installation in the kitchen. It did not seem to absorb at all which per your guidelines is good. Do vendors usually seal samples? Also I was wondering if you have heard of a stone called Giallo Argento and if so what are its characteristics? Is it granite? I was told it is a relatively “new” find in the granite world. Per this test it seems to be a good choice for the kitchen. Thanks, Gary, July 07, Reply
R1: Dear Gary: No, they usually do not seal samples, but the slab where the sample comes from could have been “resined” by the factory. I never heard of that “new granite,” but then again, even it turns out to be a good stone, what’s a good stone in the hands of some “Michelangelo?” I did write a very comprehensive article on “How to Shop for a Granite Kitchen Countertop” that will give you all the intelligence you need to venture yourself with confidence in the stone industry jungle! Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6846: I am buying a new home that will be completed soon. For the kitchen, I really like the look of black granite countertops. I was hoping you might be able to give me some advice on that. The sample I was shown was marked "Zimbabwe" and was a deep black color. You have remarked in some of your answers that this or that granite is too porous, or that people should run away from honed black granite. I guess what I'm asking is-- what should I be asking? What should I be aware of before selecting black granite countertops? Appreciatively, Joe W, July 07, Reply
R1: Dear Joe: I’m a little confused here. You are talking about a deep-black color on Zimbabwe, but then you mention hone-finished black granite that’s certainly not black. So which one is it? If it’s polished, there are no problems, but … bear in mind that Black Zimbabwe is not really black, and the fact that you reported a “deep black” is mighty suspicious in my book. Zimbabwe is one the “black” granites which are “doctored” the most. And you don’t want that!! My little lemon juice (and oil) test is a must!! All in all, I seldom make final statements about any one particular stone. There may be differences within the same stone (and I’m not talking about looks, here!) from one bundle of slabs and the next. The slabs may have also been either “doctored” (which is bad), or “resined” (which could be good, but only to a certain extent) by the factory, which would make a big difference. Even more important, what’s a good stone in the hands of some “Michelangelo”?! Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6845: I have a marble dining table that has some sort of clear coat on it so it is shiny. However, it is scratched everywhere. I have tried everything and can't seem to make the table look nice. I called a marble guy in my area and he told me forget it there's really nothing you can do. Any ideas whould be appreciated. Thank you. Kathy, July 07, Reply
R1: Dear Kathy: It’s called: trading a problem with a solution for another one without one!! In the furniture industry many use to coat marble table tops with some sort of hard-shell coating (shellac, urethane?) to eliminate the most common problem attached to polished marble surfaces, which is: etching. (Marks of corrosions that acidic spills - such as drinks lemonade, orange juice, salad dressing, the wrong cleaning products, etc. – make on the marble surface on contact.) While the etchings could be easily repaired by a stone restoration contractor, or by the homeowners themselves by using “Marble Repair Kits” the topical coating applied to avoid that problem can’t be serviced. The only solution would be to strip that stuff with Methylene Chloride and then refinish the marble surface by honing and polishing. No amount of money would be enough to entice me at using that stuff!! Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6804: I've heard no discussion of any negative environmental impact or long-term-supply issues with the extensive use of granite for kitchen countertops. I'll use it for our new townhouse if I can be confident that we're not being irresponsible using all of this material from the earth for countertops when there are good alternatives. Perhaps, even such extensive use for countertops is neglibible compared to building facades and other large-scale uses, but I rather doubt that. I'd be interested in your point of view. You must have some concern about the long term impact of your industry and the supply for your great grand children. Ken Ford, June 8, Reply
R1: A question I am sometimes asked and quite easy to answer . Primary quarrying and transformation of natural stone for the dimensional stone market has one of the lowest environmental impacts of all quarrying activities . In relation to the extraction of stone for aggregate and cement production the scale is very low. The CO2 cost to produce a unit of material for a granite kitchen top is 10% of that to produce a unit of a cement based product . Carbon dioxide CO2 Long term impact of dimensional stone usage in both the west and east is negligible .In the European and North American markets there are strict environmental constraints relating to this OK well easiest to explain on the production of cement based products . Consider how much CO2 is released when quarrying a block of granite . Energy used mean CO2 released in fossil fuel usage. So energy used in the quarrying aspect , processing and finishing in the factory.
On cement production you have a similar energy cost ( thus similar CO2 impact) on quarrying Then you have the processing of the limebased product this releases CO2 then you have the processing of the product more C02 than the dimensional stone .
The final sting in the tail is disposal. Once a cement based product has ended it life it has CO2 implications on the environment. Hope this helps. Tony
R2: I would be surprised if the extraction of granite pollutes the atmoshpere as more modern, manufactured items may, and the work this provides, across continents, is very important, especially in the less developed countries. Real life includes compromise.
R3: Competitive construction materials e.g. cement, ceramic, metal, plastic, glass, are made using massive quantities of electricity and oil which, in turn, use up irreplenishable resources as well as create irreversible pollution in their making.
Granite lasts for centuries - so the overall requirement in the long term of different materials for construction gets greatly reduced.
Usage of wood results in loss of life-giving trees and in devastation of forest lands.
There is no waste in granite excavation. Blocks are used to make slabs and tiles. Smaller pieces are used to make foundations, pillars and walls in village houses which are thus low cost, more attractive and permanent. Smallest pieces are made into road metal by crushers. After excavation, the quarries are refilled and converted into agricultural lands.
R4: Ken, With all due respect, there must be a myriad of other things to worry about. The only health negative I am aware of is the silica in granite when it's released by drilling, dry grinding & polishing, which can cause silicosis. Most of the granite deposits (quarries) I've been in have billions of cubic feet of stone and can quarry for millennia. (providing real jobs, as opposed to sittting behind a computer) It is a magnificent resource; use it with gratitude.
R5: Funny could not thing that that any one could be serious in this matter would they rather we use resin based products bla bla bla they must be very bored Gary
R6: You have raised a very pertinent point, which is valid for all stone including granite, marble and limestone. We as a stone company are very aware of the mountains gradually being eroded. For this reason we have many alternative products which are sustainable and that use silica sand and aggregates which is a by-product of quarrying industry ( Capitalstone, Pietraviva, Cristallo). We also supply stone in reduced thickness (Stellar Stone) with fibre glass backing and aluminium honeycomb reinforcement. This reduces consumption by half and because of reduced weight saves on transport/fuel costs. Joanna
R7: Use as much granite as you like in your new house, without hurting your conscience. There is a super-abundance of this igneous rock on the planet. For example, all the quartz sand on all the sea shores is derived originally from the erosion or breakdown of granitic rocks. There are whole mountains all over the world made almost entirely of granite. I speak as a geology graduate. Andrew Hoare.
R8: I do agree with you on some points ,but need to ask you some questions first? you said that there are alternatives,well ! what are these alternatives, lets see together,wood,i dont think that usung wood and cutting trees is not harmful at all,another alternatiive could be resin and acrylics,pleae let me
ask you a quastion,do you have any idea how much resin and acrylic factories har the environment?
any way it all about a choice we should do,we are using earth resources in every domain,wehen we use all the metals,per example steel, i dont thing there is any tree in the world that produces steel is there? there are huge mines and huge idustries to produce this metal,if we choose not to use it well no problem at all,but no car no bridges no these things any more,and if you want my personal opinion,we can ride horses as 200 years ago but the system we live in does not accept it anymore... lets go for any construction material,bricks of clay or bricks of cement are all explored from mother earth,paintings need calcite in huge quatities,and still it is from earth,any ceramic we have is from earth,so either we do not make any constructions anymore,we can go to the tents again,me myself i have noproblem with this at all,but lets ask all the countries that are proud of their high rise buildings do they accept? human being is ruinig earth,yes he is,well we should pay the concequaces
R9: Dear Ken, This is in reply to your concerns about the use of natural stone as a resource - which is finite I may add.Alternatives do exist and the man made ones (resin composites) are not biodegradable and more to the point - for most third world countries - its a resource that creates employment and generate revenue. That should be of greater concern is the price being paid to the primary producer - as the retail margin bears no relation to cost.Yes - I know its all about supply and demand - but fair trade should play a part in all our business dealings. Trust me there is ample stone to supply your descendents to the end of time - we live on a rock. So don't lose any sleep - soothe your conscious and pay top dollar. Dipak
R10: In regards to granite countertops and the depletion of granite from the environment. When you consider the extensive contaminates released from the processing of man made products and their impact on our environment such as laminates and Corian like products the environmental impact of mining granite is very minimal.

Granite can also be remanufactured and reused. It is rarely if ever thrown away due to its durable characteristics. All the byproducts that come from the manufacturing of granite is also utilized to make aggregate products or engineered granite like countertops such as Silestone, and Caesarstone. And
since the earth is mostly composed of granite there is little likelyhood that we will run out in our lifetime and with the environmental regulations in regards to mining we can be assured the uses of granite are being monitored. Fred

R11: When you consider that most ignitious stones are formed way below the surface, and they cool off and solidify at depths of 10 to 15 km below, and for periods of time from 3 billion to a few hundred million years work their way to the surface through erosion of maybe less than a mm per year, the supply is unending as this process is continuous. The supply won't stop till the sun cools. We still have a few billion years. Sven Rone
R12: There is not one countertop material harvested from this earth or created in a lab that does not impact the environment in some way.
After all, you need gasoline to freight the materials around.
Oil to pull them out of the earth.
OIl byproducts to manufacture artificial surfaces.
Then again, food requires gas and oil to get from hither to yonder.
But granite is fine. It depends on how clean the quarry and fabricator run their business, basically. Steve
R13: I have been selling granite for the counter tops including the solid sink out of granite. They start with a bock of 12" X 26" X 36" and cut out every thing for the sink leaving 2 cavities for the 2 bowl sink and then I have a built in drain board all out of the solid granite. This is a very good looking top. We do the same with the bathroom lavatory top yes it cost more then the plastic but it is more natural on looks and prestige of having something the other people do not have. I can compete with Corian tops as to price with a full 1 1/2" top as to a build up in the Corian there is even a less costly system of a 3/4" top with a glued on front edge making a 1 1/2" for the first 1 3/4" on the front. Bill Lowry
R14: If you are really concerned about "long term impact" you should take comfort in the knowledge that your countertops---and everything else we humans see as important will be recycled as new crust some millions of years from now. From a slightly more timely view you should realize that the sources of granite, batholiths and plutons, are measured in cubic kilometers, sometimes thousand of Km^3. Our puny human endeavors matter little. Enjoy your granite counter tops as we have. They are a piece of history, a renewable history! Bob Ritchie
R15: It used to be that granite countertops did have a negative impact on the environment. This was due the means of harvesting the granite and cutting the granite. The tools used put a lot of waste in the air. The technology has come along way. Now granite is “wet cut” with the use of chemical agents that assist in the cutting and polishing. These chemical agents to my knowledge largely have no impact. The latest technology of using high speed streams of water has almost no impact on the environment.
In terms of using up granite, the way we are using up oil, I seriously doubt that if every home on earth had granite countertops that we would be in danger of impacting the earth in any real manner. The actual greatest environmental impact from granite is in the use of sealers. The sealers used on granite are polymers that break down in the sun and release into the air. The sealers are necessary to protect the glossy look. I do not think these have any real measurable impact, but I am not certain. Hope this helps. Jonathan Folland
R16: Without a doubt, this is the single most ludicrous statement I have ever read. Has the writer ever considered what the alternative countertops are made of. Would you like to discuss environmental issues regarding them? One of the reasons I went to stone and granite was SPECIFICALLY because it had the LEAST environmental impact of the materials available, in spite of the energy requirements to fabricate and shape it. AND it has NO BUILT-IN OBSELENCE. Put that in your environmental hat. David
R17: Give me a break already, you must have something better to do with your time I have a question for you, What can mankind do that does not effect the earth? Steve Mead
R18: I'm not in the business, but do have a mining industry background and I'm well aware of the issues surrounding mining in general and granite in particular. Granite is plentiful (comprising a huge percentage of the earth's crust) and is both a wonderful building material and an environmentally friendly one. The typical granite quarry produces little in the way of pollution and does not use any toxic chemicals or produce any kind of toxic run off. They generally provide a good living wage for their workers and much needed economic activity in locations around the world. The down-side of granite quarrying is the scars on the landscape, which often go un-reclaimed when operations cease at any given site. In coutries like Canada and the U.S. reclamation bonds are generally required to ensure that this doesn't happen - other places are generallly more interested in jobs than the environment. When compared to wood or synthethics, I'll take granite every time, as the most durable, attractive and environmentally responsible choice. All the best; George
R19: My oppinion is that using granit saves trees and money, because the granite counter top last 30-plus years compare to 5 to 7 years of other materials. Daniel
R20: Take a look at the pyramids if you want to see the long term affects when using granite and other large volume quarried stone ... The environmental impact is @ the site of excavation and the polishing room .... these tasks create air and fluid affects which have environmental impact .... negligible at that though ... Stone is pretty basic and the mass of the earth is large enough to deal with our pittance of useage robert
R21: Do you feel irresponsible to mother earth when you fuel up your car with fossil fuels, or have you considered how your great grandchildren will propel their cars when the world's limited supply of fuel is depleted? The entire earth's crust is comprised of stone, what other options do you have for building materials, plastic? wood?resin based composites? Jon Mitnick
R22: Life is about choice, and choices are usually based on best-compromise in descending order. So, if you do want a counter-top, what are your choices : Korian ? Vinyl ? Stainless Steel ? Wood ? Marble ? Of course, there is another choice, and that choice is not to make any compromise at all, but then, that would mean squatting on the floor while cooking, which is not really acceptable to most people.
The first 3 products are horrible (or at least, "dry, flat, no fizz") from the aesthetic point of view (personal comment). And some of them are even more expensive than stone.
But if you review technically, from the manufacturing point of view, the manufacture of the first 3 products consumes much more resources that impact the environment in a negative way - power-intensive processes, chemicals which in turn are power-intensive and use more chemicals in turn, processes that produce poisonous effluents (or effluents whose treatment has spawned a whole new industry that produces products that treat these effluents, which in turn, means another industry producing the inputs that go into producing the products that are used to treat these effluents), etc.
When you use a stone counter-top, you have used :
a) a natural resource that is available in abundance all over the world
b)a material whose production consumes only electricity, steel blades and steel shot/grit for sawing, steel for blade-cores and diamond/ superabrasive media for cutting it to size, grinding abrasives and some wood for packing, or cardboard if you are using tiles (of course, we can now review how steel shot is made, how abrasives are made, and the analysis then becomes endless, because then we will have to review how those products that are used in making steel shot, abrasives, etc are made).
c)the production process produces no effluents whatsoever other than stone powder in slurry form. In the case of granite, this is usually a good material for a land-fill ; in the case of marble, the stone powder is a pretty good cheap fertilizer because of the high CaCO3 content. Of course, there are other inputs used in manufacture and distribution as well, such as diesel used in transportation, then the products used to make the trucks and ships and railway trains that do the transportation, rubber in the tyres, the brakes, and so on but which would be common to the manufacture and distribution of any product, so those are not being added to the analysis here.
The use of natural materials - such as stone, wood, etc - in my opinion - is a far superior choice (from the technical point of view, in terms of minimal impact of the resources consumed on the environment) because they involve minimum "transformation" ; the moment you talk about a "man-made" product, you can well imagine the technology that has gone into the ability to "transform" product "x" into product "y". The keyword here is "minimal transformation" which is why products made of natural materials minimally impact the environment relative to alternatives. And if this be true, then stone is an even better choice than wood, because wood uses a lot of chemicals in finishing, as well as preservation of that finish, whereas to finish stone, no chemicals are used (its only ground = "polished"), and the finish is usually life-long.
There is a moral (or an ego) issue here as well : prior to current perception (where people are becoming conscious about preserving the environment, and turning their backs on product which have abused the abundance in Mother Nature), fortunes have been made by the people who have developed (usually patented) processes that "transform" products from "x" to "y", and whose manufacture degrades the resources available in Mother Nature, as well as negatively impact the environment. Do you want to be a supporting-party to their continuing ability to buy more diamonds for their wives ? And don't forget : their profits enthuse them (and equip them) to search for more "transformation" processes for more and more new "patentable" products.
And there is a practical issue as well : stone is one of the most wearable materials. So, if you buy a stone counter-top now, you probably won't be replacing it after 5-10 years (if you have used it well).
In light of the above opinion, would you use granite - or marble - for a counter-top now ?
Incidentally, the use of counter-tops - as a percentage of total stone used (in square meters) - is negligible. The use-space of stone is mostly hogged by exterior facades flooring (almost equally), and interior cladding.
I look forward to your reply, and I thank you very much for your attention. Best regards. Deepak
R23: I think granite is a very viable resourse as it will have a much greater life span than plastics etc.granite can even concievably be reused even after a fire.also,how many different products go into the fabrication of modern products,and how much land was disturbed to retrieve those resources.Ibelieve nature provides everything we need.technology can be far worse.sincerley,jeff-Butterfield Stone
Many thanks to so many of you who took the time to reply to my inquiry about the envronmental impact of cutting my countertops out of the great rock. I appreciate the thoughthful replies, the good information. I have very helpful answers
To the few of you who thought it was a ludicrous question, I can only say that I'm betting I'm not the only potential consumer out here who is not well educated on granite extraction and processing methodology and how the energy use and enfironmental impact compares with manufacturing of alternative materials -- or the only one who cares. Hat's off to Vinay and such a useful web site. Ken Ford