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ADVICE WANTED!   May 31 , 2003
www.findstone.com   info@findstone.com

Q 5126: I am installing a countertop on my kitchen island and have been so attracted to the vein pattern of the Juparana colombo or Juparana yellow. We will be using the granite counter to knead the dough which may contain oils and butter. Looking at the published characteristics of the Juparana grades, we found that their water absorption is between 1.5 and 3.5. However, we could not find any statistics on Oil absorption to understand the potential staining on the granite. We have done the lemon test which left no stain on the granite.Do we need to use a sealer on the Juparana grades?. If yes, which sealer you would recommend to avoid the contamination of from the toxic of the chemicals used in the sealer. Regards, Ai Tram, May 30, Reply
R1: You're on the right track, spoken like an expert! Yes, you do need a sealer, and I would use one which is FDA approved for this type of application. Oil penetrates much easier than water. Take the time to seal a piece and test it. My best method is to saturate the stone until it stops absorbing and not by applying coats. When the client allows me the time I drench the surface with sealer and when I see that the stone stops "drinking", I remove the excess. The following day I repeat the same. Less sealer will be needed. However I have yet to find a sealer which guarantees to stop 100% oil absorption but clients found the results very satisfactory. "Stone"
R2: Dear Ai Tram: Juparanas are very absorbent stones. If your samples passed the lemon juice test, then chances are that the slabs have been resined. That is why I seldom comment about any one particular stone. There may be differences within the same stone (and I'm not talking about looks, here!) from one bundle of slabs and the next. The slabs may have also been either "doctored" (which is bad), or "resined" (which is good) by the factory, which would make a big difference. Maurizio, Expert Panelist
R3: Sealant or no selant this particular granite will absorb oil and water and i suggest you choose a more robust granite for your kitchen purposes. something like black, red, or green . the ideal granite would be a good black. for kitchen usage. Capt. M. Dilip
Q 5125: We are looking at replacing our countertops and the granite we have chosen is Jupanara Wave from Brazil. Can you provide any advise on our selection, May 30, Reply
R1: I can only say how I deal with my customers. I go see the slab in full from the fabricator, the veins can vary a lot so don't follow a small sample. Before they cut my counter I ask to see how they have disbursed my templates. Many fabricators will look at loss of material, when what my clients are concerned with is how the pieces will look fitted together. I only order book matched, which means where the pieces join the grains follow. I ask to have the underside polished as deep as it needs to be. Normally the underside is polished about an inch, after installation when you run your fingers under the edge, you feel the roughness of the underside. Ask them to polish it a few inches deep. Makes a real nice difference to the touch. Lastly you must seal the stone using a premium grade Impregnator. "Stone"
Q 5124: I am planning on installing 12"X 12" granite tiles of Baltic Brown in my kitchen - 70 sq ft which includes a 6ft curved semi-circle island. The tiles are at "Lowes", they are 1/4" inch thick and available for $8.00 per sq ft. I purchased one box of the run and have done the lemon and oil test on the tiles with great overnight results. I do have some good carpenter skills and would like to make my wife happy with granite countertops in her remodeled kitchen. Best of 3 quotes from granite slab shops here in Houston is $3,000.00 turnkey for the Baltic Brown she likes. With the purchase of the granite tiles at $560.00 - this leaves quite of chunck of remodeling change left for other "nice-ities" What should I know about installing tile, book referral, and/or what am I getting into? Wrong or right decision? Would it make any difference if I said we will be retired and selling this house in about 5 years? Please advise. Bart, May 30, Reply
R1: I think it's a great way if your a good craftsman and you'll be proud of the results. You need to know plenty and it will be step by step. Email me and i'll walk you through it. Will do it together and I will be looking forward to some before and after shots of your success, "Stone"
Q 5123: Our builder’s subcontractor was to install “spring green” granite in our kitchen, said its from India, however it does not look like what I saw in the showroom – it looks much darker with large what areas sporadically. Do you have a photo of what spring green granite from India (or another country) is supposed to look like? The overhang undersides appear to be polished just about 1” then it is rough – it that standard? There are some cut pieces on the wall splashboards, including the bar slab piece, that have lighter green and rose colors which look like what I selected. They tell me this is the same stone but I’m not convinced. Is there a way to discuss with the vendor to get across to them this is not what I selected? Should the color from one cut piece look so different in color particles then the countertops? Also, some of the edges on the splashboards appear like a black film is on them, but doesn’t feel like it – what could that be from? And, how do I know that it is sealed properly, Beacon, May 30, Reply
R1:You should chose the slabs-don't trust the sample. Yes, one inch underside polishing is standard, you have to ask to have it done deeper, so not to feel that roughness. That I agree with you and I demand it when I get my counters done! About you're black film, if it is a film, try using steel wool on the edge, see if it removes it. It could be attributed to production. To know if its sealed, place a wet scottowel on the counter and leave it there for 15 min, when you remove it, if you see darkened area, its not sealed properly. You should do the same with oil. "Stone"
Q 5122: A recent installation of Massangi Limestone as interior wall cladding has resulted in slight bleeding at numerous grout joints. In effect, the reddish grout seems to have bled into the stone and created a "halo" of banding 2-3 inches on either side of the joint, which is now slightly darker than the stone. Limestone being such a porous stone, I'm sure this is a common occurence. Is there any way to remove such moisture or staining? If not, is there reason to believe that this wouldn't be an acceptable installation (i.e. not a workmanship issue)? Thanks, Ben, May 30, Reply
R1: Ben, If it is moisture, give it time it will dry and I have seen it take months to do so. If its a discoloration type bleeding you will need an expert. Normally a washing using appropriate stone products would be the first thing to do, but I have worked on such cases that turned into nightmares. There are a few tests your stone expert can do to attack this problem appropriately, "Stone"
Q 5119: I am redoing my bath rooms and have been told a million different things on what stone to use. I would like to use a travertine, but have been told that they do not hold up well in bath rooms. The reason being is that it has holes in it and the holes were filled with a dust and paste mixture to fill them and then honed. Does travertine break down after 5-7 years if it is filled with this dust paste material to hold it together? Thanks Mitch, May 30, Reply
R1: Hey Mitch - Any Marble or Travertine can be affected by usage in a washroom. I always tell my customers, you install stone in your house, marry a guy like me for life. Every once in a while I have to be called in to restore the surface. I love travertine, the filler holds well and repairs well and I find it to be a great choice. I can send you hundreds of pictures where the stone has lasted. Dont forget thought the most important thing to remember is to maintain using quality products, "Stone"
Q 5118: I am looking at Opal Green polished onyx (a lovely pale turquoise/green marble). I am wondering if this is a safe choice for a bathroom floor. Will it stain? Will the polished finish disappear? Do I need any warnings about it?, Carla, May 30, Reply
R1: Follow marble care- they both act very similarly. Ciao, "Stone"
Q 5117: We installed giallo antico counters several months ago and the client is unhappy due to a recurring grit on the surface. Why is this happening and what can be done? Carmen, May 30, Reply
R1: Hi Carmen, what do you mean by reoccurring grit? Is this a honed finish? Are there grout lines on the surface or is it a slab installation. Send me more details? "Stone"
Q 5116: Hi, I clean homes for people. One of the homes has a granite floor. They want me to use vinegar and Hot water. everytime I clean the floor I get alot of streaks. Is there another household remedy I can use. I thought of using windex and hot water?? Please give me your opinion. thanks, Kay, May 30, Reply
R1: God Kay, when I hear such things I cringe. I have to admit on granite, what your doing is not the end of the world but in rare cases you can do irreversible damages. Use a specialized stone cleaner, I do have some secrets I can share with you to make it easier. But I need more specifics. "Stone"
Q 5114: We have a marble wall which has been splattered with cement. How should we proceed to best remove the hardened cement without damaging the marble? Thanks. Castine, May 30, Reply
R1: Depends how large, color of marble and if the marble is polished or not. But no worried it will come off. "Stone"
Q 5100: Hi just found your site again and today our countertops were installed. I thought I read all I needed i.e....lemon juice test...and we chose Tropical Brown granite for our kitchen countertops. After the installation we noticed something we are not happy about. All over the entire top are small what appears to be scratches or nicks. Could this possibly be that the fabricator did not polish enough to get a smooth surface? Or is this typical of this particular granite..the installer did put an impregnator sealer on also ( with a paper towel that took 3 minutes) so I think we were rushed and we have not finished paying for the job....Help! Not feeling too good about this and I dont want to get stuck with a horror story...also they put the granite directly onto the cabinets without plywood base...am i in for trouble with that as well...any help would be appreciated. Thanks Michelle, May 30, Reply
R1: Michelle, dont pay them & no rough tops ,poor finish start over with someone else after those clowns refund your hard earned money, nuff said, "Rex"
Q 5093: Could you please tell me if you need to seal Volga Blue? I am thinking of using this in my kitchen and unfortunately the reality is that I am not a clean as you go person. I understand that the absorbancy rate is .1% - .3% which is a great variance. What rate do you feel becomes the cutoff for heavy, family kitchen use? Would Black Galaxy be a better choice for lower maintenance (love that blue though)? Thank you ever so much for your help. Donna, May 29, Reply
R1: Dear Donna: In my experience Volga Blue is one of the densest stone on the market, but, as you concluded by yourself, the mere information of the absorbency rate is not enough. That is why I seldom comment about any one particular stone. There may be differences within the same stone (and I’m not talking about looks, here!) from one bundle of slabs and the next. The slabs may have also been either “doctored” (which is bad), or “resined” (which is good) by the factory, which would make a big difference. 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, but wouldn’t you rather have me beside you while you’re out there?! Gimme a holler at: info@findstone.com. There’s a little fee involved (as you will be told), but you’ll be glad you did. What’s more, I will show you a way to get all of your money back! You can also ask me how to get my comprehensive maintenance guidelines for residential stone installations. Remember, when it comes to natural stone, maintenance is an all too important yet neglected subject that should begin before you even select it, as you can tell from several of this very site postings! Don’t become another statistic!Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 5086: I am considering using Black Galaxy granite for our kitchen countertop. Should I be concerned about stains? Should it be sealed? Things to look for in picking a slab? Thank you, Earensb, May 29, Reply
R1: I have a Black Galaxy countertop myself, in my extremely busy Italian-cooking kitchen for 7 years already. Never sealed, never had a problem! I always used proper maintenance products, though. But that does not mean that ALL Black Galaxy doesn't need to be sealed. That's why I seldom comment about any one particular stone. There may be differences within the same stone (and I'm not talking about looks, here!) from one bundle of slabs and the next. Maurizio, expert panleist
R2: I congratulate you on an excellent choice. black galaxy does not need any sealant. but i must warn you you are wasting a very costly material for the kitchen slab. it is better used in a open hall with lot of lighting to enhance the gold specks to glitter your hall into glory why dont you try a good black material for your kitchen...it needs no selant is absolutely stain and scratch free i have a dining table for the past ten years which we have used(abused) in all sorts of ways. but still retains its sheen . all the best, Capt Dilip
R3: Black granite has been a little problematic. I encountered stains on a black granite right after we installed it. When trying to remove it I found that I also removed a die which was on the stone. It left the stone spotted in appearance. After much testing I found that a polymer based sealer was better than a silicone based sealer for this surface and Yes it defiantly needs to be sealed. Contact me for more specific information and testing information. Now not all black granites are the same, and it can be tested. But with careful installation and once sealed black granite is great, "Stone"

Q 5085: I have a rough (not polished) black granite floor that always looks dusty and dirty. How can I make it look evenly black again? Thank you Chuck, May 29, Reply
R1: Dear Chuck: With a thorough machine-cleaning followed by the application of a good-quality stone color enhancer. Should you need additional technical assistance, gimme a holler at: info@findstone.com. There's a little fee involved (as you will be told), but it could turn out to be the cheapest way to get true help. Maurizio, expert panelist
Q 5084: Advise how (if possible) to remove a curling iron burn from a cultured marble counter top? Step-by-step instruction would be most appreciated...have tried all the standard efforts (borax, toothpaste, fabric softener) to no avail. Have read something about fine grit wet/dry sandpaper? Help! My husband is going to kill me if he moves the soap bar :) Thanks, Liza, May 29, Reply
R1: Dear Liza: You should be looking for a site in the internet that deals with plastic, not stone. Just because they use the world “marble” in their definition of that stuff, it doesn’t mean that’s stone.Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 5080: I am having the rest of my granite counter installed with Juperana Guyana. There is a crack in the center right in front of the gas stove top. We looked at another slab from the same lot and we can get a match. The installer is argueing that if he replaces it the same problem could happen again. Of course they don't want to replace it. They have installed a steel rod underneath and they are arguing that it will never get any worse. I want it replaced - they want to offer a $500 cash rebate. Who to believe. Do you think I should insist that they replace it. Thanks for your advise, Barb, May 29, Reply
R1: Dear Barb: What kind of advice are you looking for? There's no rule! If it were my countertop I would insist that they replace it; but, maybe, someone else could be content with the cash rebate … Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 5077: We are currently choosing the fittings for our new kitchen and would appreciate your help please. We have a granite benchtop in mind but have recently been told they are more trouble than they are worth. I thought there were some problems with marble benchtops but didn't think granite was an issue. It is hard to get honest advice as the people selling the granite tell me it's fantastic and very hard wearing, the people selling a competitive product tell me it's no good and I should buy a "stone look" product! I do a lot of cooking and, at the end of the day, really want a hard wearing surface that doesn't mind having ingredients splashed all over it! I would appreciate any help you can offer. Many thanks!! Lin, May 29, Reply
R1: Dear Lin: I can see that's pretty much the same story all over the world! (You're from the UK, aren't you?). "Granite" can be quite enjoyable, if selected intelligently. In fact, it's the easiest material to maintain that money can buy. But you need some basic intelligence, and you ain't gonna get it from the sources you've been contacting!! Now, please, don't ask me to give a list of good "granites"! Besides, I seldom comment about any one particular stone. 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
R2: If you are not mindful of the colour go for a good black top for your kitchen. and reply to me 10 years hence. i am sure you wont regret it. and if you want suggestions on where to get good black ask me i will guide you , Capt Dilip
Q 5076: I have a granite counter top and left a wet bowl on it for a day or two. I now have a large round stain on the top and would like to know if you know of any way to remove it. I am not sure if it is a water stain or an oil stain but I think it is one of then two. Thank you, Barry, May 29, Reply
R1: Dear Barry: It must be oil: water would have been evaporated by now.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 5075: We are thinking about getting Sapphire Brown for a counter top for the kitchen appox 50 sq ft. 3/4 inch thick with 1 1/2 inch thick bull nose. Is this a great granite to use for a counter top?????/ Thanks, Sal, May 29, Reply
R1: yes it is ok to use it in kitchen it is some what robust and does not sponge up water and oil stains. but to be sure i would advise you use a good black or red granite for your kitchen these are safe and last a long long time, Capt Dilip
Q 5074: I have 2 pieces of granite glued together in a double bullnose. Can the glue be destroyed and the pieces separated by heating with a torch? Thanks, John, May 29, Reply
R1: Dear John: If they used the right glue, I doubt it. Maurizio
Q 5073: Do you have an opinion on tumbled marble in a bathroom? I seem to keep reading that marble is porous and should not be used in wet areas - yet the dealer is trying to sell us on tumbled marble. What do you think? Thank you! Susan, May 29, Reply
R1: Dear Susan: I think that's a terrific material, and as easy to maintain as they come! Yeah, I know, you keep reading that marble is porous … But it ain't! And no matter how many stone "gurus" say the contrary, 1,000 wrong don't make a right!Go for it. Just make sure that you get proper intelligence about its (easy yet specific) maintenance. You can get my maintenance guidelines for residential stone installations. Maurizio, Expert Panelist
R2: Dont use marble on the bathroom. its life is 2 years and you will regret it afterwards
tell me if you are in a coastal area,,,, means the atmospe\heric humidity is more and marble just absorbs all the wetness in the air and keeps chaning colour go for a good granite. ask me and i will advise you what to go for, Capt Dilip
Q 5071: I am going to be getting a new kitchen, gutting my old one out. I need help deciding what kind of countertops are the best. I'm not a big fan of Corian or Silestone. I love the look of granite, but it's so expensive. What do you think of Caesarstone? What hickness is good? Thanks, Judi, May 29, Reply
R1: Dear Judy: Ceasarstone is exactly the same as Silestone and, to the best of my knowledge, it selsl in the same price range. (Like the saying goes: "same … you know what, different name!) I do not understand your statement about the affordability of granite. Solid plastic (oops, sorry, solid-surface - whatever that means!...) material and engineered stones are not much cheaper than the real thing! Go with granite! But, please, don't ask me which ones I consider best.I seldom comment about any one particular stone. There may be differences within the same stone (and I'm not talking about looks, here!) from one bundle of slabs and the next. The slabs may have also been either "doctored" (which is bad), or "resined" (which is good) by the factory, which would make a big difference. Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 5066: Please tell me the pros and cons or a good place to get the true scoop on granite tile vs granite slab kitchen countertops. If budget allows for tiles will we be disappointed over time? Why? Bart, May 29, Reply
R1: : Dear Bart: Besides the looks of the final product (tiles vs. solid slab) there's no technical difference. It all depend on the stone you choose and how well fabricated and/or installed it gets. Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 5064: We are installing a new granite counter top. I would like some information on the quality of juparana dream from brazil. Also, I have questions on preparing the surface for installation. Does it need some kind of sealing? How best to keep it looking beautiful. Mainly, how to take care of it. I realize there is a fee. I'm going to get the questions from my husband on preparing the surface after I find out about your fee. Thank you Edna, May 29, Reply
R1: Dear Edna:There we go! Juaparna Dream, huh! … I was a little concerned: it was a couple of days already that I didn't hear of yet another Juparana (whatever that means!) :) I'm wondering if even Dr, Daniel has any idea as to what kind of stone it is?! Anyway, I seldom comment about any one particular stone. Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 5058: I have access to granite remnants from a counter-top installer and am planning on using them for an outdoor patio 'polished side' up with mortar joints. The pieces will be randomly placed and vary in size (some up to 18"x24"). Joints will vary but be 1-2" wide. I am concerned that this will be a dangerously slippery surface when wet. What equipment do I need to flame the surface or would sand-blasting be better? I live on the NC coast, May 29, Reply
R1: Besides the fact that equipment to flame finish granite is totally out of reach, it's impossible to flame a polished surface. Once can only flame a rough granite surface. So, I reckon that sandblasting is your only option. Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 5057: Will you use travertine to make a washbasin? If yes, what are their pros and cons? Is there any precautionary measure to be taken? I understand that it is highly porous and water absorbent. Please advise, Sheila, May 29, Reply
R1: Dear Sheila: No you understand it wrong. Travertine is probably the densest calcite-based stone available and absorbs very little - if anything. Of course, the material used to fill the holes, which is cementitious, is porous, but in the overall picture it represents a small percentage of the total surface of the stone. What's more, once a good-quality stone impregnator sealer is applied in it, you won't have any problem at all. Should you need additional technical assistance, gimme a holler. Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 5056: My husband and I recently bought a pre-constructed townhome out-of-state. As we were only able to make a couple of trips to their design center, we opted to select a white on white marble countertop - settling any issues with color matching. However, once installed, the countertops had a definite "pink" sheen to them. We have been told that this particular manufacturer includes titanium in their product, which brings out this color difference. Is this true? We are very unhappy with the look, Sharon, May 29, Reply
R1: Dear Sharon:The reason why I would never want to die is because I hear something new (and "intriguing" - to say the least) every single day. Oh, I will miss that immensly!So, now we have this "Titanium" thing that the manufacturer includes in their products?! … Which manufacturer? The quarry, the slab manufacturer, or the fabricator? And how in the heck can they ever accomplish to push a metal like titanium inside marble?? … What a crock of … you know what! :-) Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 5055: We have just bought a house. Under the Mexican saltillo tile, which we have gladly removed is this dull, slightly stained, but possibly beautiful white terrazo floor. What is the next step to bringing this floor to it's wonderful shine that we know is probable. Do we grind it or polish it? How many steps and what are those steps to finishing terrazo. We would like to do the work. Where do we rent the machines? Best Regards, Ramon, May 29, Reply
R1: Dear Ramon: Stop dreaming! Grinding and repolishing stone (and terrazzo) is not, by and far, a DIYer project! So much so that you can't even find a place that will rent you the proper equipment. Gave up the idea if you can't afford the services of a stone restoration contractor. Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 5054: Our granite guy is at the house installing our BLACK PEARL countertops today. Do we seal or not? I could not find anything specific about this color in the forum, other than it is "probably in the grabbo group". Any help is greatly appreciated. Steve, Kerrville, Texas, May 29, Reply
R1: Dear Steve: Most likely it will not need to be sealed. But I seldom comment about any one particular stone. There may be differences within the same stone (and I'm not talking about looks, here!) from one bundle of slabs and the next. The slabs may have also been either "doctored" (which is bad), or "resined" (which is good) by the factory, which would make a big difference. Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 5053: HI, I am thinking of installing travertine floors throughout the new house I have just purchased. It is a small beach house, about 1,000 sq feet. I am trying to find out as much information as neccessary about the quality and characteristics of travertine, maintainence, and also installation and durability. Basically, I want to know alot about it. I would also like to install it myself, as I am not in any hurry, and I enjoy working with my hands. thanx, george, May 29, Reply
R1: Dear George:Oh, I'm sure that you can do it! There's a lot to be learned about travertine tiles installation! But I see that you already realized that! Should you need additional technical assistance, gimme a holler. Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 5052: We have recently bought a Travertine Dining Table from a UK retailer.
I had an accident with tomato ketchup on the table and this has left a dull patch. The UK retailer recommended using pure alcohol to see if the mark could be removed. This has helped a little, but not solved the problem. They also suggested using a colourless wax (like that you would use on a car). I can't bring myself to use a car wax on my dining table! There is a label on the underside of the table that recommends the use of Jonson's Past Wax. This does not seem to be available in the UK. Can I use a plain furniture beeswax? Please could you advise me what to do? Many thanks, Wendy, May 29, Reply
R1: Dear Wendy: Even Johnson's Paste Wax - or any other wax for that matter - will never solve your problem. All tomato-based product (including plain tomato) are acidic, and the dull spot that you have is an etch mark. A mark of corrosion, that is, that was generated on contact and just about immediately. In other words, it is not a stain, but rather a surface damage, and, as such, needs to be repaired. That particular spot of your table top has to be re-polished. Now, natural stone is not polished by applying some sort of wax onto it and then buffing it up: it's polished by abrasion and friction, like gemstone, using special polishing powders or compounds for stone. Should you need additional technical assistance, gimme a holler. Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 5051 : What is the best way to clean cement residue from grouting a flagstone
patio made with Arizona sandstone? Michael, May 29, Reply
R1: Use weak acid and stiff nylon brush to remove residue, start in incospicuous area to test first, acid can be diluted or purchased from supplier. Rex
R2: Use a pressure washer and a wire brush. Robert
Q 5050: You replied to a question about different granite types, shown below. You said that Santa Cecilia is “borderline” and that its absorbancy rate is twice that of true granite. In your table, absorbancy for Bianco Sardo, a true granite, is listed as 0.25 to 0.45 but Santa Cecilia is listed as 0.25 to 0.35. Also, you say the others are even better than granite, though Verde Ubatuba is listed as 0.2 – 0.45. Can you explain the discrepancy, please? Sounds like the bottom line is for the novice shopper to just use the lemon test, and not the numbers in the table? Thanks. Dave , May 29, Reply
R1: Values in GRANITE TABLE are got from many sources. They are average. The most ofter water absorption for true granite is 0.15-0.3%. BIANCO SARDO is granite with relatively high water absorption among true granites. Gneisses like SANTA CECILIA have water absorption 0.25-0.35%, so higher than true granites. VERDE UBATUBA is very ofter mistaked with VERDE BAHIA, VERDE LABRADOR and VERDE BUTTERFLY with better water absorption (approximately 0.1-0.2%). I hope you will be satisfied with my answer. Succesful day Daniel Pivko, Expert Panelist
R2: My dear friend Dr. Daniel himself already answered your question. What I want to add is that even among the same "granite" there may be differences between a bundle of slabs and the next. While the educational value of Dr. Daniel's document is unscathed, nothing can match the reliability of the results obtained by testing! Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 5049: I have been a builder of luxury homes in New Jersey for fifteen years. My question relates to a marble 12 x 12 floor cracking problem in a second floor 110 sf master bathroom. The floor is constructed with 3/4 inch tongue and groove plywood over 16 inch spaced 12 inch I beams as designed. I installed 1/4 inch electric radiant heating cable directly over the plywood prior to the finished floor installation. My client's marble and tile contractor insisted that no vapor barrier (tar paper) or diamond mesh was necessary on top of the plywood as he was using a "leveler" directly over the plywood. This was contradictory to my experience but I agreed. He poured two independent 3/8 inch lifts of a self leveling compound for a total of 3/4 of an inch of base over which he installed the 12 x 12 marble over latex modified thinset. Within a couple of months we noticed a network of hairline cracking throughout the floor, cracks seeming to run parallel to the plywood seams in both directions. The contractor posted an early defense suggesting that an inordinate amount of movement must have occurred underneath. We consulted the construction plans and agreed that based on general conditions of beam deflection, shrinkage etc. that at least a minimal amount of movement was likely. I obtained a bag of similar leveler and noted that the instructions recommended an additional layer of underlayment installed with glue and screws lapping the lower seams.

I am obviously curious about comments regarding interpretation of the cause but more importantly in the quest for a solution. The contractor suggests anti cracking membrane over the existing cracked floor then a new floor on top (we both hope that the framing conditions may have stabilized to some degree). This would certainly be much easier but based on all described but I'm wondering how much of a guarantee of success versus the alternative. The alternative I suppose is to rip everything up and start from scratch with wire, cement and maybe a membrane as well. Obviously the only thing worse than having to deal with tis problem would be dealing with it again later on. I would so much appreciate some expert opinion on all this. Thanks! Lori, May 29, Reply
R1: Dear Lori: In NJ, huh … Maybe we can do some work together! Well, there's not much that I can add to the conclusions that you were able to draw on your own. The method of installation used by your contractor was plain wrong and the facts confirm that! What one wouldn't do to avoid a good ol' mud job!! I personally consider it a MUST, especially - but not limited to - in the case of new constructions. Not to mention -- when it comes to marble or limestone floors -- an unrivaled, good ol' "grind-in-place" installation! It's more expensive of course, but your customers are no welfare mothers, either! :-) Anyway, trying to answer your question as whether or not an installation of new marble tiles over the cracked ones - with a membrane in between - would work is, I believe, anybody's guess! I honestly don't know, and even if I'd lean toward the possibility that it could work, I'd never officially endorse anything like that. Gimme a holler, will ya! Maurizio, Expert Panelist
R3: I am not an expert or a mason....You know what you have to do to avoid future problems....(and loss of client confidence). My dad would have told me to take it apart and do it properly. elle
R4: In regard to your problem, I have run a tiling business in Darwin Australia for 12yrs. and have used the system that you talk about, because of the extreme temperatures in the tropics and the high humidity, whenever we installed ceramic tiles or natural stone in elevated houses we installed on top of 30mm marine ply screwed at 300mm centres. The joints between the sheets were covered with two ribbons of 200mm x 2mm thick of fibreglass, this was trowelled over flat with a flexible adhesive, then the underlay was applied at a nominal depth of about 15mm unless grading to a waste, Then a flexible adhesive was used to trowel the floor during normal tiling procedures, When dry, a flexible grout was applied, and where possible , a silicon movement joint was installed as close as possible to where the joints in the sheets would be. These silicons are now available in various colors and are incorporated instead of the grout. Also, we installed a perimeter silicon joint against all internal walls allowing for even more movement of the floor, and I can boast that we hav`nt had a comeback yet. Unfortunately, as in all good jobs nobody see`s the prep. but if that`s done right the job`ll be right, all the best . Clarky
R5: Marble you said ,,that you installed on the floor,,what if the the marble defected...and not recomended the regular thick material over the heater cable on the floor. tel me about the name of the marble ... than i can answer you more detailed. erkan
R6: Suggest double layer hardie backer board if you re-do project, keep seams offset to avoid same probs, screw and glue to keep movement to a min. reduce heating wattage to compromise temp slightly and use an approved mastic for flooring since the thin set with add. is still to inflexible for that Rex
R7: For your substrate you needed two layers of 3/4" EGP plywood or 1 layer EGP plywood and a 1/2" cement board. Your explanantion does not allow me to see if your design meets the L/720 requirement for natural stone. I think you are not there though. This would cause the cracking. The SLC is not really the right way to go. Electric radiant heat should be under the tile embedded in the thinset. My thoughts are an improper substrate. You and your tile setter should share the repair costs. Best Steven
R8: I would start from scratch, felt paper over plywood, mesh, mortar bed ,let the mortar bed dry apply a anti cracking membrane and finally lay marble tiles with a super flex thin set mortar from TEC
Q 5048: How can I repair the finish on a marble table? What happened is: Flower arrangement was on the table and when it was time to discard, yellow particles had fallen on the table top. Sprayed Windex thinking to clean it, instead the yellow spread. Quickly tried to remove using vinegar and/or bleach. Now the yellow is gone but so is the finish? Please help!!! Thanks, Sheila, May 28, Reply
R1: Dear Sheila: There's only one answer for you: hire a professional stone refinisher!. The combination of vinegar and bleach corroded the surface of the stone, hence the shine is gone. To restore it, it has to be done mechanically, by abrasion and friction, like it was originally done at the factory. Maurizio, Expert Panelist  
R2: Sheila, I am sorry about your table. Next time don't worry about the pollen. It can be cleaned with plain water. Yo should always use a neutral ph cleaner formulated for stone. Your marble was etched by the acid in the vinegar or even something in the windex. You should contact a natural stone refinisher or a marble and granite fabrication facility. They can repolish the table for you. Steven , Expert Panelist
R3: You will need to have the surface repolished by an expert using diamond technology. You can try using a stone cream to enhance the finish, but usually it has little affect and is mostly used to keep a new surface looking great as it gives a fine sacrificial protective coating. By the way, using VINEGAR on MARBLE never, ever, ever! Stone
R5: Hi Sheila, Even if you glue a 2 inch piece of granite slab on a surface a plywood or subfloor, if the subfloor separates the granite will follow. When you fuse a floor together what is going to happen underneath, will transfer on the surface.
If the height permits, you could glue directly over the existing floor. I would check this with the membrane supplier which membrane is best, but you could place a membrane over the actual stone and reinstall over it. Its almost like placing a carpet between the stone and actual floor. The membrane works simply, it attaches itself to the surfaces independently so if there is movement underneath, it doesn't affect the surface. Choose a company which guarantees their product and subsequent works if a problem does arise. During installation I only use such guaranteed products, on every job. And this allows me to guarantee all my work. I also have restored such a floor by diamond polishing, but the floor had settled, and marble was red with light brown veins, so I was able to camouflage the cracking affect enough to be visually appealing. But thats a longer explanation which you can always contact me and we could discuss in details, Stone
R6: Call a natural stone refinishing contractor to repolish your table. Someone should have warned you that marble is acid reactive. Vinegar would take the shine right off. Clean the counter with neutral stone cleaners in the future. Steven, Expert Panelist
Q 5047: I own a seven year old house with unfinished stone floors (limestone? Travertine?) throughout the first floor. I do not think the floors were sealed when installed by original owner. The holes in the floor are getting bigger and bigger and the high traffic areas look terrible. Some have told me that the floors are tumbled marble, others have said they are unfinished limestone. No matter what they are, I need to find out how to fill these holes and and clean it REALLY well, grout and all, and then seal it. is this possible? One contractor suggested sanding them down but my concern is that the holes are up to an inch deep. Someone else told me it would be over $8,000 to make it look “finished”. Could you at least tell me what I should be looking for in a contractor and if the outcome I want (a smooth, clean, sealed floor) is possible. Thank you so much, Kelly, May 24, Reply
R1: Dear Kelly: Well, you have a riddle in your hands! The problem is that reading your posting it's a riddle for me, too! :-) Knowing what kind of stone you have is vital in order to find a solution. For instance, if you have tumbled marble (which I doubt) there would be no solution, besides filling the holes., because tumbled marble can't be refinished. The way you're reporting your situation makes me lead toward travertine. If that's the case, I have good news and bad news for you. The good news is that IF you can find a good stone restoration contractor in your neck of the woods, he will be able to fill your holes and to refinish your floor to a satin finish (the most recommendable), or to a high gloss, accordingly to your personal taste. Your mention of sealing the floor as a final touch makes me understand that you mean the application of a topical sealer that will make your floor nice and shiny. Well, travertine (or limestone for that matter) is not polished by applying a sealer onto it and then buffing it up, but by abrasion and friction, like gemstone. And here comes the bad news: it is not, by and large, a DIYer project. You do need a proven professional, and it will cost you a pretty penny (consider anywhere between $4 and $6 per square foot). The most concerning factor in the whole picture is that it is not going to be easy to select a good professional. It's a "weird" trade that can hardly be approached in the usual ways you approach, say, a plumber or a tile setter. What I mean is that you'd better watch out! Stone refinishing is 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. It does carry a small price tag, but for the sake of your stone, you don't want to take chances without it! Gimme a holler at: info@findstone.com. You'll be glad you did! What's more, I will even show you a way to get all of your money back! Maurizio, Expert Panelsit
R2: Ciao Kelly: I would suspect you have a travertine floor by the large holes you described. A professional will be needed to do this work but simply said what he must do is the following.
- Grind down the stone, to obtain a fresh new surface. You only remove a 1/32 of an inch or so, just enough to remove the wear and tear.
- The stone will have to be filled a few times with a Travertine filler. This will fill the voids and holes - A waiting period is required for proper drying of filler.
- Floor is repolished to desired shine. Done properly all the holes will be filled and color matched close to existing fill or stone color. You can now seal the floor with a good quality impregnator. Through this the floor will return to its original splendor, Stone
Q 5046: What are the chemical and mechanical characteristics of Carrara Marble? I am particuarly interested in the tensile, flexual, compression and MOR properties. Thanks, Ron, May 22, Reply
R1: Dear Ron, Just which Carrara Marble do you have in mind? Do you realize that there are many varieties of marble produced from that area with a Carrara tag. Some are very white, some coloured. Some are very fine-grained, others substantially coarser. Some have a well-defined structure due to original sedimentary processes and subsequent metamorphic and structural processes. You have to be specific in what you want! You ask specifically about a number of geotechnical parameters. Have to tried doing your homework on the net? Why do you want these parameters? When you get these parameters do you know what they mean or are they just numbers that someone has asked you to obtain? If they are important to you for a specific engineering
application you must always do your own geotech testing - you should never rely on anybody else's numbers, especially from certain countries. You can't rely on the numbers for many reasons. You do not know anything about the type of marble that was tested, what condition it was in, what direction or orientation the samples were in relation to the stone in the quarry, and the quality of the testing. So often I have to examine test results that just aren't true! You also mentioned that you wanted to know some of the chemical characteristics of Carrara marble. Some basic research on marble
in even elementary books on the subject will tell you most of this information! (Dr. Hans)
Q 5045: We are looking for a forest green natural stone to be used as our counter top in the kitchen. We were concerned that the emerald pearl was too dark so we are interested in the verde lavras. Is this a good choice to be used in the kitchen? It appeared to hold up well with the lemon juice test. Should we seal this stone with an impregnator and how should we best maintain it? The samples we have came from a stone yard in the North East where they commented about having a new and old version with the new looking more muted. We like the brighter one and want to make sure that what we get is the brighter one. To complicate matters we are moving to Tennessee which is where we will have the counter top installed. Is there a good way to help direct our installer in Tennessee so that he orders the right thing? Any help and guidance that you can give is appreciated. Thank you, Gary Hess, ,May 22, Reply
R1: Dear Sir The Verde Lavras granite is perfect for the use in kitchens, how much to the tonality it varies as the quarry where was bought, quarry of different standard exists in place 4. Our material is one of clearest and shining. Any doubts, please in contacting them. Best Regads Helio Nelson
Q 5044: We manage a commercial/residential site where there is a covered passage way tiled with 600mm x 300mm Crema Marble tiles. We have been unsuccessful in removing marker pen based graffiti and I would be grateful for any suggestions you may have for us to try. Do date we have tried several liquid based commercial graffiti removal products along with a pressure washer but the ink appears to have seeped into the marble, presumably due to it's porosity. Thanking you in advance and I look forward to hearing from you. Regards Karen, May 12, Reply
R1: Please try a Pumice Stone or spray hydrogen peroxide sevaral times let dry. may help after several applications.Another possiblity could be stove top glass ploish sold at Sears.
R2: Hello Karen ! Stain should be already inside the marble. Apply poultice to the stain poultice with a solvent such as toluene or methylene chloride (paint stripper) Let the poultice work covered with plastic for about 48 hours You may have to repeat this process if you see results improving. Good luck ! Alex Coronel
R3: I have one effective way to solve this problem: wipe the ink or marker with a rag soaked by gas. That is very useful solutiona that we had experimented. piness
R4: There is an oil remover made by holland or germany that might do it for you, adi
Q 5043: My husband would like to put the following stones in our remodeled master bath:
1. Durango limestone (or marble???) - shower stall, tub deck and floor
2. Costa Esmerelda granite (???) - vanity top
I would like information on care and maintenance for each of these problems.
My stone guy assures me that the Durango would only need to be sealed once
every several years. However, I have tumbled Botticino marble (limestone) in my powder room that I seal twice a year. The Durango limestone seems to me to be very similar to the tumbled Botticino marble.
3. Also, what is the best stuff to clean Uba Tuba granite countertops? My stone guy says vinegar and water. Deidre, May 12, Reply
R1: Dear Deidre: 1. Durango is a travertine. There are two types: one which is a tan color and another one that's whitish. You do NOT want the whitish! It's a much younger stone that was formed under less pressure and it's very VERY brittle! The tan color is a good stone.2. Costa Esmeralda is a good stone. Run the lemon juice test on a piece of scrap to determine whether or not it needs to be sealed. 3. Your tile man is right about sealing the Durango every 5 or 6 years (even 10 or more with our sealer, MB-4!). I don't know who suggested you to seal botticino twice a year. First, there's not one single sealer on the market that needs to be applied twice a year. Second, Botticino is such a dense marble that doesn't need to be sealed (it's just as dense as travertine). Third, what kind of staining agents will you ever spill in a powder room?? (Which, even if you do, will NOT stain Botticino!). Stop wasting time and money doing something totally useless! Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 5042: I just had granite countertops installed last thursday. I noticed that there are dark spots in quite a few places. It looks like there are spots where the silicone was placed underneath to mount it. These spots seem to be lightening up. Will these spots go away? Secondly, the fabricator supposedly sealed it but water also makes dark spots. Does it need to be sealed again? The name of the color is Luna Pearl. Am I going to have problems like this forever? what do I need to do? I am scared that I am going to have to be careful with what I put on the countertop. I thought granite countertops were virtually indestructable. Please help me. April Rodriguez, May 12, Reply
R1: Granite is not indistructiable, did you look at the slabs before you bought them in the sunlight most of the time that helps if there is any water spots from or floods from 200,000 years ago if you know what I mean. the other if water beads up on the granite then it was sealed proper, if it doesn't then go to a Granite supplyer and ask for impregnator pro this the best product on the market I think and that I have used so far. As far as I know the silicon should not bleed up through slab but you could test that by getting a piece from the installer the sink cutout or the stove cutout and silicone that to a piece of plywood to see the reaction. I hopes this helps a little...Scott
R2: Yes , u r right, they are the spots where they would have put the glue or, silicon or liquid nails below to ensure securing of the top to the wooden deck below, but for sure it should go as it dries and Luna pearl being light ,these spots are visible. DO not worry about it but , the installer should have sealed your counter top free , this is one issue where the fabricator and installer tries to save money by not putting on the sealer and may put it on by charging some money, but these sealers are available as a stone impreganator and even you can do it your self and need not be done often, and as you say that even water leaves a mark , for sure the counter top has not been sealed. Shenoy
R3: Congratulations on your purchase of granite counter tops. Not to scare you, the granite that you chose has a tendency to "blister," particularly if the stone is not thoroughly sealed. In my former bosses home his floors were the same material as yours and from my understanding he did not properly seal the concrete underlayment on which the granite was set on. Just remember that stone can be resurfaced at least 10 times, something you can never do with ceramic. The wet spots that show where the adhesive is will eventually go away when the adheasive dries. Be sure to ask your installer if they can reseal on already sealed material; have them explain this process to you. All stone when wet will change color temporarily. Here's a concept in the appreciation of stone use. What you have is a "gift from God." It will never get ruined, not in your lifetime, your kid's lifetime and so on. Learn to appreciate the responses your stone gives you. That is the beauty of nature. Enjoy your Luna Pearl Granite counter top! Robin
R4: Dear April, The Luna Pearl is good counter top material. It does require the application of an impregnating sealer. Please have your fabricator complete this for you and demonstrate how you should do it later. The moisture from the silicone will take more time to disapate. Best Steven
R5: Dear April, The spots coming through – due to Silicone – will lighten up – but never really disappear. The spots would appear lighter – as the Granite – soaks up some permanently residual moisture – despite the water proofing.Luna Pearl, as I understand, is a very soft material. (I may be wrong – hence I am attaching a very small jpg of Luna Pearl, as I know it) If the water is leaving marks – the sealing may not be correct, and would have to be done again. Many good sealers are available in market As far as putting stuff on the counter top – avoid spilling wine (specially red), Vinegar and any citrus liquid. Rest, if the water sealant is good – should not really make a difference. Do remember to re-do the sealant, as per the manufacturers’ suggestions. Best of Luck, Sharad
R6: Dear Sir, With certainty the problem is in the used silicone, that is not possibly the correct one for use in granite, you must call a technical (fabricator for silicone) to see the correct specification of the silicone that must be not alkaline. Any doubts that still it will have consult me. Best Regards Helio Nelson
R7: Dear Madam, Yr problem concerns me. Granite, as you rightly put it, is indestructible, provided it is properly polished before installation. It is, after all, a natural stone. And anything natural is susceptible to changes when in contact with some substances if left in the natural state. Nothing to worry. A little effort that could have been avoided in the first place. But then, we all learn from our slight mistakes known or unknown. You don't know whether the installer gave you the piece without proper polishing knowingly or out of his own inadequate knowledge/gauging ability.
I'd suggest you persuade the installer to repolish the top with a hand grinder for which you may have to remove it from the wooden base/whatever and have it reinstalled. You may be able to get it done without any more expense. The trouble is inevitable, you see. Thanks for the opportunity. Regards: SSKambhatla
Q 5041: I have purchases Giallo Veneziano tiles for my bathroom and I plan on buying a matching counter top for the vanity. Also, the shower door is going to sit on 3/4 inch slabs of the Giallo Veneziano BUT, the stone IS NOT going on the floor of the shower or the walls... it is only being used for the top of the shower curb. This stone is very porous. Did I make a horrible mistake and should I get something else.. I cannot return the tiles so I would lose the money... or can this stone be properly sealed and maintained so it looks great for years to come? What kind of maintenance does it need? Plse recommend products if you can and they must be available in Toronto, Canada.Thank you. Gina , May 12, Reply
R1: I hope this reaches you in time. Have 16"x16" travertine unpolished installed on your shower walls. On a 45 degree angle have "cabashons" (about 4"x4" each cabashon) installed symetrically. Have the edge of the cabashon beveled and have the cabashon protrude out from the travertine wall about a 3/8th of an inch. Seal the stone with a professional grade sealer once a year (cost about $40 per quart) and wipe down your shower after every use. Don't forget to install a corner soap holder (in its simplest form cut a 12"x12" sqare piece of your travertine on a diaginal. Then have the installer put the corner of the 90 degree side into the corner of the shower walls and hieght of your liking. Robin
R2: Yes the stone can be used for the applications you described. After installation and before the shower door is installed the tiles and slab need to be thoroughly cleaned. Then 3-4 coats of an impregnating sealer needs to be applied. Please follow manufacturers instructions. Best Steven, Expert Panelist
Q 5040: email me relevant information We are just starting to get into making granite, marble and concrete countertops. Are there any books available to explain the process of working with granite and marble? Also are there other websites of interest with this type of information? Thank you! Dan Diehl, May 02, Reply
R1: Stone fabrication is not for people who want to begin after reading a book or gathering some information in the internet. There are already enough "Michelangelos" out there! I would urge you to attend special classes on the subject. If you're interested, gimme a holler. Ciao and good ,Maurizio
Q 5039: I have just installed a bluestone veneer on concrete. It looked good at first but then I cleaned it with muriatic acid. It now seems to have white film over it that looks pretty bad. How do I remove this? Could the white film be from not rinsing the acid enough (with water) and then it reacted with the blue stone? How does calcium chloride effect bluestone or does it? May 02, Reply
R1: The first thing that you have to do is accurately identify what type of stone your bluestone is. Bluestone has many meanings between countries and within countries. In Australia bluestone can be a fine-grained silicified slate, vesicular basalt, or a siliceous volcanic rock. Recently I had to investigate problems with a bluestone from Vietnam that was a marble, and therefore behaved quite differently to all the others. (Dr. Hans), Expert Panelist
Q 5038: We are currently in the process of choosing "granite" for our kitchen counters which will get considerable use, as we love to cook and entertain. We have initially selected Juparana Golden as the material of choice but now are having second thoughts after reading so much good info on your website. Can this material be sealed to a point that maintenance will be minimal? What are other options for a "granite" that has similar color and appearance to our first choice? Thanks for your advice. Bill. May 02, Reply
R1: I seldom comment about any one particular stone. There may be differences within the same stone (and I'm not talking about looks, here!) from one bundle of slabs and the next. The slabs may have also been either "doctored" (which is bad), or "resined" (which is good) by the factory, which would make a big difference. 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" Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 5037: I have a kitchen and Bath showroom in Delaware. Clients often ask questions about Granite maintenance whereby the answers I’ve given over the years have been from Fabricators word of mouth. A) Customers have questioned granite because of the porous nature of the stone. I was told that the best analogy is that on a microscopic level granite has a texture similar to a sponge. The sealant applied by the fabricators fill in the pours; but not completely. The proper upkeep with cleaners, polishes, and sealers over time will seal more and more of these pores making the porous properties of the stone no longer an issue. Is this analogy correct, or don’t I have the proper information? B) I’ve also been concerned on advising customers on the proper daily cleaning of their granite counters. I wanted to know if they should use the “Stone cleaning kits” available today as an everyday cleaning regimen. I scoured your column to find an answer, and the only products I’ve learned NOT to use are products with vinegar or the use of dish soaps. Can a customer use Windex with ammonia? Is a water dampened rag the only low tech process to use throughout the day as a practical matter? JP, May 02, Reply
R1: Dear JP, Isn't this a lovely industry - the blind leading the blind! You are in a difficult situation having to advise customers without knowing anything about the material yourself. And to expect advice from fabricators (who generally are equally as uninformed about the product as yourself) to be "correct" is rather optimistic. Fabricators fabricate - it doesn't matter what they use! They don't need to know anything about the material they fabricate! That said, there are some fabricators who take pride in their workmanship and often have an extended involvement in the industry. Clearly, experience makes up some of the leeway in understanding natural stone and some fabricators ask questions from the right people and get good advice. It is apparently not easy to find many such good fabricators and Maurizio has made this abundantly clear in his many answers on the subject.
As for your analogy regarding the granite resembling a sponge. Having literally looked at thousands of granites under the microscope in 35 years it is clear that you have again been misinformed. Incidentally, there is a big difference between pours and those little spaces in stone called pores.
Why no take a part-time course in geology at your local university and learn something about rocks if you intend staying in this industry. (Dr. Hans), Expert Panelist
R2: Dear JP: Sorry to bust your bubble, but your elaborated analogy is not correct! :-) First off, many mercantile granites don't even need to be sealed, due to the inherent density of the stone (gabbro, anorthosite, charnockite, dolerite, etc.) Certain others have a degree of absorbency that's easily a satisfactorily controlled with a good quality impregnator sealer (granite, ganidorite, porphyry, etc.); and certain other are indeed like sponges (Gneiss, orthogneiss, basalt, anidryte, etc.) and should be avoided, unless a proper testing with impregnators designed for very porous stones is conducted before hand. Typically, fabricators get married with one particular brand of sealer, they swear that's the bestest of the best, and that is that !About cleaners, specialty cleaning agents are in order. I'd like to help you. Gimme a holler at: info@findstone.com. There's a little fee involved (as you will be told), but I'll take care of that if you contact me. Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 5036: My mums cremation stone is a sloping brown marble stone,I have just had the gold leaf on the stone redone, the monument looks good now but is there anything I can now put on the stone to bring out the colours in the marble and also to protect the new gold leaf from the elements thanks martin, May 02, Reply
R1: Yes, you can put a color enhancer to bring out the colors and protect the stone. Something you should do periodically, as much as once a year. Simply wipe on, allow liquid to penetrate and then wipe off all excess leaving no residue. Montreal
Q 5035: I came across your web site while looking for the color of grount I want. I fell in love with the idea of ocean blue grout for my shower. however, I can't seem to find it in the form I need; smooth, unsanded. do you have any ideas of where I could find it, or if I can color white to a blue myself... thanks for any info kerry, May 02, Reply
R1: I had the same situation with a white mosaic tile I installed in a customers shower. I picked up some light gray and colored it with some blue powdered die I picked up at a local stone fabricator a grout supplier now makes unsanded blueberry color grout which you may also like. You should find it at your local tile suppliers. Montreal
Q 5033: I installed 16 X 16 travertine tiles throughout my downstairs, including the kitchen. I love the look. It's filled and has a slight polish to the surface. Does that mean honed? I have also had it sealed. Unfortunately, from day one around my kitchen table there are many, many large crushed holes in the travertine (some are as large as 1 1/2" X 2 1/4", created by the pressure of the chairs with the plastic wheels on the legs. Filling them with grout dosen't look good.
I thought (and was never told by any stone retailer during the last 4 years of looking) the stone was pretty solid since it was filled, so I am very disappointed that this is happening. I am upset with the Owner of the tile store for not letting me know that this could happen.
Also the owner, said to fill the holes with with epoxy. How do we repair the holes?
Also, I was never told of a stone cleaner. I was told by the installer to use the mild dishwashing soap. Where can I buy the stone cleaner? Also I have a grey with white vine marble entry floor. We installed it new 12 years ago. It looks pretty good but it needs to be repolished. What can I do to bring back the polished look? May 02, Reply
R1: You've got your hands full, all right! From the description it does sound like the travertine has a hone finish. No matter what, wheeled chairs should not make holes in the stone like those you're reporting. I'm wondering what kind of travertine it is. Filling the holes with epoxy could work, but it is not, by far, a DIYer's project. It take a proven stone restoration contractor to do that, because after the filling and proper curing, the epoxy has to be ground flush with the stone surface and then re-finished to factory specs (or as close to it as possible). The same restoration contractor will take care of your marble foyer, as well. And, about dishwashing soap, it's, well … for washing dishes! And for making me mad, too!! :-) Maurizo, Expert Panelist
Q 5032: I have just found your web stie here. firstfully thanks to you like this website. in my bathroom my contractor have used marble 14 mm thick and 400 X 400 mm size. he used semi-dry mortor .unfortunately some of them gives me sound hollow. does it mean that the stone will pop up in future.and does it crack. what is the reeason to get sound hollow. does stone itself makes a hollow sound. Shadan, May 02, Reply
R1: Sadan, In other words you want an arbitrary evaluation without a sight review? My answer is no. There is not any guarantee to be offered. A typical mudbed will either have a bond coat or an isolation membrane. Yours has neither. Steven
R2: I know your situation very well due to my previous job was construction engineer. Hollow sound is very normal inferior existing in construction performance of marble or granite paving, but it is prohibited by the period of quality checking. That is mean your marble paving performance is not qualified according to construction law related. Hollow sound ( usually get from knocking with a light iron hammer) means there is always bigger or smaller place which is not touched between marble back and mortar layer. Yes, it will bring damage when time goes by because hollow place will develope into larger part with mortar's shrinking gradually while water evaporating. The damage generally shows as cracks on surface, then will collapse when encounters heavy weight. So, please have your workers do it again for ensure quality.
Also notify an important thing: If you check the hollow sound only on the day after performance of paving, I suggest that it would not work since the water within mortor will not quite dry, and you will find a similar hollow sound but that is hard to judge it is really hollow or not. The best way of checking is to do that one week after mortor layer performance completion. If you still get hollow sound, get workers to remove them, that is their responsibility. Piness
R3: we are speacilised in fixing of granite and marble. as per your problem there is absolutely no problem when there is hallow sound. regards ravi
Q 5030: I build spec. houses in the willamette valley of Oregon. I have been doing the tile in them myself for 35 years, and have it pretty much down. Now I would like to learn to install stone slab countertops. Are there any books on the subject. Short of going to work for an installer, there must be a way to educate myself. I am not sure who on your list of experts is most qualified to help me, so I will just submit this request and hope that someone will respond, James, May 02, Reply
R1: Dear James:Well, at least you don't jump into the trade without having a clue! The only advice I can give you is to attend a course on fabrication and installation of granite countertops. There are no books that I know of, and even if there were, I wouldn't rely on a book. If you want to know more, gimme a holler. Maurizio
Q 5029: An installer recently installed granite countertop without any build up. Build up was supposed to occur prior to installation as the granite countertop was not as thick as the Formica it replaced. There is now a significant gap (3/4"). We contracted for build up. The installer now wants to "uninstall" the granite countertop, build up the area, and then re-install the same granite countertop in an effort to reduce the gap. What, if any, problems are associated with this remedy? Steven, May 02, Reply
R1: Dear Steven: Once again I don’t mean to be rude, but I believe that the answer I gave to the posting No. 5028 below fits your situation like a glove.Ciao and good luck,Maurizio
Q 5028: I am working for a company that fabricates and installs granite counter tops.This is a brand new company and we are all learning the process the biggest problem we are having are the seams they are coming out chippy and sometimes they are un ven on the edges we have tried smothing the chips with 400 grit with flex sander and still getting complaints .we have been using clamps to level and pull the seams together.we are using akimi to join the seams please let me know if you have any ideas to help also is there any way to get surface scratches off the top we have tried everything and keep getting a foggy look these are scratches that were caused in shippment from brazil thanks, May 02, Reply
R1: Obviously your fabricating people don't know a lot about working with stone. You do need some expertise in handling this type of material. That is why there is so much shoddy workmanship out there. (Dr. Hans) Expert Panelist
R2: Well, my dear fellow trade person: I don't mean to be rude, but before starting an enterprise as complicated as fabricating granite countertops it would be wise to learn the how to do it right. That's only my humble opinion, of course. Seaming is one of the areas where you separate the man from the boys, and surface polishing is for those who really know their stuff. There are classes for both fabrication and surface polishing. They are pricey, but if you think that education is expensive - try ignorance! Maurizio
Q 5027: I recently acquired two vintage (probably 80 year old) bathroom sink counter
tops that need to be cleaned and polished up a bit. Both have some paint that needs to be removed around the edges that touched the wall. Any advice or suggestions or products you sell to help out, Mike, May 02, Reply
R1: Dear Mike: The only piece of advice that makes any sense is for you to get hold of a professional stone refinisher. The restoration of 80 years old vanity tops is way beyond the performance of any product in a bottle or the abilities of a DIYer. Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 5026: I was on your website today and thought I would ask about getting your info book on how to buy right and maintain granite. We are looking at Dakota Mahogany and found a place that claims to carry the best Bellini, in their words, and they put on a permenant sealant. Their numbers look good and claims to be praised for their installation. We will have one seam....any comments on that? Thanks, Jim Adams, May 02, Reply
R1: Dear Jim:The only reason why their sealer is permanent is because, in most instances, Baltic Brown does not require any sealer! But I seldom make definite 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 is good) by the factory, which would make a big difference. Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 5025: The fabricator is scheduled to install our ubatuba (called verde peacock). When we saw it in the sun, in the yard, we saw not scratches that our fingernails can actually catch in (meaning they ARE scratches). Ther are approx 20 4-6"scratches that the fabricator and the dealer are saying is the nature of granite. Should we go ahead and install today or insist that they try to correct the problem first or demand a new piece? Your expert advice is very appreciated. Thank you Sherry Ceccanesek RN, May 02, Reply
R1: Dear Sherry, Polished slabs of granite should not have scratches. The granite doesn't have natural scratches. These scratches have been put there by people. Insist on new material! (Dr. Hans) Expert Panelist
R2: Dear Sherry:Here we go again with the "natural fissure" thing! Refuse the slab and demand a new one. They will never be able to remove those scratches and re-polish the slab to factory specs. Maurizio
Q 5023: We installed Juperana Columbo (mainly light grey, with darker black and beige streaks and flecks) countertops in our kitchen about a year ago. It was sealed several times then, as I noticed oil was leaving stains. Over the past year, heavy use areas on the counter have darkened. I would like to re-seal it, but am wondering if there is a way to remove the dark areas. I have tried a poultice of baking soda and hydrogen peroxide, with little change. Any advice you have would be appreciated. Thank you! Diana, May 02, Reply
R1: Dear Diana: even if I doubt that's going to do much good, you can try to poultice with baby powder and acetone. It's a more proper chemical than HD. Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 5022: I chose verde marinache granite countertops for my kitchen. My "dilemma" (or should I say my installers') is that I have a large corian undermount sink and am determined to have the one seam that the countertop requires in the middle of the sink. The installer thinks this is crazy (is it really? Be honest I can take it!) because, according to him, that is the one place nobody would put a seam. I would hate to have a seam in the middle of my countertop :( Is there an easy way to seam in the middle of a sink that he might not know of? Thank you very much! Isabelle, May 02, Reply
R1: I 'll recomend you to go with the seam in the center of the sink, ,cause is smaller seam (3.50") at the front of the counter . same thing in the back of the sink instead of a 25.50" across the counter. Tony
R2: Dear Isabelle: I've seen seams in the middle of the sink many a time. Actually, all too many a time! I tend to agree with your fabricator. That particular spot is the weakest part of the whole countertop and should be properly rodded. Some fabricators make the split in that particular point because, either they don't know how to rod, or they don't want to bother; and if that area is not rodded there's the distinct possibility that it's going to break while moving the countertop in. You could try to discuss with your fabricator the possibility to make the split in that spot, seam the two parts at the shop and then rod across. The problem with that is that, besides the extra labor, it would become a huge piece to take inside the house, and, due to its sheer size, even if rodded there's a very good chance that it's going to break in that point. If that happens, who's going to take responsibility? Maurizio, Expert Panelist