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ADVICE WANTED!   May 31 , 2004
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Q 6790: Hi, we have a black slate shower that we put impregnator sealer on because that is what the stone store people told us to do. Everything was fine for awhile but now when it dries (and even when it is wet in a few places) there are white, hazy , cloudy areas, mostly on the floor part. We have hard water so my husband thinks it might be calcium. What can we do? I asked the stone store people if it was okay to use black slate in a shower and they said yes. I know Maurizio is going to blast me for choosing it but we really didn't know any better than what we were told. Pleeeeese help. Sincerely, Tammy Cleaveland, May 31, Reply
R1: Dear Tammy: Well, if there was a solution to the problems related to slate I wouldn’t be so much against it, would I?! :-) However, I don’t believe in the hard-water theory. I’m afraid that you have water under those tiles and the whitish “deposit” you’re reporting about is nothing but efflorescence. If that’s the case, it is bad news. You will have to rip out that floor. The good news is that it would be the perfect excuse for you to get rid of slate in the shower! Hey, it’s only money!! :-) Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6789: You mentioned in one of your responses that your favorite sealer is the ester-epoxy based type. Is your own sealer that type? Or where would I find it? Which brands? Thanks! Daria, May 31, Reply
R1: Dear Daria: It must have been a very old response. Thing evolve all the time. Now the best impregnator/sealers on the market are based on Fluorocarbon Alphatic resins. It is not that such type of resins is so much better than Ester Epoxy, but they allow making the product water-based instead of solvent-based. Considering the new regulations about VOC, it’s a big plus. My MB-4 is now based on fluorocarbon alphatic resin. Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6788: Is it a "one-of-a-kind" color...what is the durability in bathroom vanity application 18" x 30" plus backsplash?Or, do the tones in the marble called "rojo" vary?Charlie, May 31, Reply
R1: Dear Charlie: If you follow sound maintenance guidelines, you would be getting many years of enjoyment out of your vanity top.Yes, of course, like in any other marble there the tones of the color may vary.Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6787: I have a marble top cafe table that I used outside for one summer. The marble lost all its glossy sheen. How can I clean and restore the marble? Also, I want to use the table outside again this summer. Will a felt lined plastic cover over the marble top protect the restored finish? If not, I will not use the table outside. Thank you! Linda, May 31, Reply
R1: Dear Linda: To restore your table top you need a bona fide stone refinisher. It is not a DIY project by a long shot. Once the table is restored, your idea of the felt-lined plastic cover will work. It’s the rain that kills the finish of the stone. It could also very well be the wrong cleaning product. You should be using my outlandish MB-5 in conjunction with MB-13 which are available in the Consumer Products section of my website listed below :-) Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6786: We just had our counters installed in Labrador Antique granite. Our builder charged us at least $40 s.f. for fabrication/installation. Although told the seam would be under the sink it was installed with a very noticeable seam about 16” from the undermount. It appears to be about about 1/8th of an inch wide and is very uneven. It is also in a highly seen/used area of the kitchen. I do not want to be picky, but do not want to be ripped off. Also the cutting measurements were off at least an inch on the end of the countertop that angles into the wall. That is not readily noticeable unless you run your hand under it. One last thing, the beveled edges are inconsistent in gloss level where some appear dull. It looks like a job done with inferior tools to me, but I’m far from an expert. Any advice will help!
May 31, Reply
R1: Dear Sandra: Going exclusively by your report, it looks like you either got “Michelangelo” himself, or his brother! Seaming by the sink is wrong (those areas should be rodded), but 1/8” gap is way too much. Poor edge finishing is not acceptable, either. Try to work things out with your fabricator. Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6785: I am in New Jersey. We just got two cracks on the thins area in front of the cooktop. Is there a way t find someone to repair it? Thank you. May 31, Reply
R1: Dear “in New Jersey”: It’s very “iffy.” It’s the fabricator responsibility. Those narrow areas should have been rodded. Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6784: We bought a house where the water has a lot of particulate matter in it and have a problem with the black granite on our kitchen counters. When we replaced the kitchen faucet we found a white stain and there seem to be some tiny pits around the area where the escutchen of the old faucet was. I've tried marble cleaner, ammonia, and some other cleaners and scraping it (suggested by a local granite installer) without success. Can you suggest a method for cleaning it? Thanks, Sandra, May 31, Reply
R1: Dear Sandra: The suggestion given to you to try to scrape it off by a local installer is a good one indeed. Did you use a razor blade? Did you press hard enough? It may not do the job 100%, but it should get you on the way. After that you will finish up with a little bit of “Lyme-a-way.” (Spelling?) It’s available at any supermarket. Use it sparingly and don’t make it into a regular cleaning procedure. Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6783: I am currently building a new home in Houston, Texas and I am very confused about granite countertops. I would like to put Tropical Brown Granite in the kitchen but I am very confused about it durability and maintenance. Does this need to be sealed and if so, how! How do I maintain it? Daily cleaners etc.? What about potential problems. I really don’t want to make a mistake. Any and all advice would be greatly appreciated. On another note, your name looks Italian. Are you Italian? My cousin in Italy has the same name and this is the first time I have heard your name here in the states!! Sincerely, Carla, May 31, Reply
R1: Dear Carla: Oh, I’m Italian all right! I moved to this wonderful country from my native Parma when I was 37 already, back in 1981. (At the time I didn’t speak a word of English, and neither did my wife and our two sons.) Having said that, and back to your query, generally speaking Baltic Brown is a good choice. But there could be variables involved, including the people who will be processing it! 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) 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
R2: Ciao Maurizio! Tropic Brown is a great choice too! :) Regards Adriana
Q 6782: I have a polished porcelain floor with 6 month old grout haze in several places. Is there anything that will remove the grout haze after that length of time? Thanks in advance for your advice. May 31, Reply
R1: Dear Catherine: If it is epoxy grout, then, yes it can be removed quite easily. You will need a paint stripper based on Methylene Chloride. Nasty stuff! Thoroughly follow every precautionary direction and warning printed on the container. Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6781: Ok, I am trying to figure out a problem and by process of elimination and if this is possible, I am down to putting the blame on the sealant that was used in our travertine shower. We have noticed that during hot showers that a burning sensation in our throats and eyes becomes so overwhelming that we cut our shower time down just to get out and ventilate the bathroom. I have thrown out body scrubbers, changed shaving creams, soaps and shampoos and cleaned and scrubbed the shower down well with plain water. Do you have any idea what could be causing this? The only other elements we have in our shower is a fixed glass block window, granite windowsill, and granite shelving and seat. The
rest of the bathroom is done with travertine flooring and granite tub deck for the jacuzzi. We have two shower heads and when both are being used creating more steam the worse the odor seems to get. This bathroom is brand new as of last year and this has been happening from the start.Your thoughts on this subject will be greatly appreciated. - Thank you - Paula, May 31, Reply
R1: Dear Paula: While I do consider the application of an impregnator/sealer on a travertine shower stall a futile exercise, I never heard of an impregnator/sealer that produces such a pungent odor after having properly cured. The resin contained in most impregnator/sealers for stone are totally inert and odorless once cured (48 hours, 72 tops). Having said that, I must admit that I am at a total loss on this one. I never heard of such a thing before. Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, Expert Panelist
R2: I would have my water supply tested or perhaps the hot water tank
Q 6780: I recently Tan Brown granite installed in my kitchen the retailer said to seal the installer said not to seal it. Who's right and why. Ron, May 31, Reply
R1: Ear Ron: Don’t trust anybody!! :-) Spill some water on your countertop and let it sit for a few minutes. Wipe it dry and see if the area on top of which the water has been sitting has become (temporarily) dark. If the answer is yes, then you will seal your countertop wit my outlandish MB-4. If the answer is no, then will not do it! Easy enough? :-) 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 6779: I have a slab of marble(39" X 49-1/2") that is supposedly over 100 years old which came off a building in Houston, Texas. It has been in our family and been used as a picnic table for at least 60 years. I am trying to find out how to polish and seal the surface. I would appreciate any help you can give me.Thank you, Debbie, May 31, Reply
R1: Dear Debbie: There is only one possible solution: get hold of a reputable stone restoration contractor in your area who will proceed to re-grind and re-polish your marble table top, Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6778: I just cleaned my brand new marble shower with bathroom cleaner. Now the marble has white streaks all over it and is very dull. Please tell me what I can do to fix it. May 31, Reply
R1: Dear Mary: You said it! There’s nothing that you can do about it. All you have to do is to hire a professional stone refinisher who will have to hone and polish your marble tiles. And, BTW, don’t forget to send a heartfelt thank-you note to the knowledgeable merchant who sold the marble to you without telling you how to take care of it.
Talking about which, once your shower stall is restored to its original condition, you’d better get some solid information about it’s maintenance requirements. Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6778: we are having a gas fireplace installed and we are building the raised platform, our question is if the fireplace can go directly on top of a laminate floating floor, or if this would damage the floor or make it buckle. We don't know if we have to remove the floor where the fireplace will sit. May 31, Reply
R1: Dear Jeff: If I had the faintest idea of what a “floating floor” is I may be able to answer your question … Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6777: I just had coste esmeralda granite countertops installed. I am greatly disappointed as the light green color never appears clean. It looks as if the surface is smeared and this smear is at surface level. I spoke to another installer who said he never installs this color in kitchens due to this problem. Is this true? Jim, May 31, Reply
R1: Dear Jim: Yes, it is true. But that is only one of the reasons, the other one being that it scratches easily. Costa Esmeralda is a weird stone from Iran of unknown geological classification – which makes it the perfect candidate to be labeled as “granite!” When they don’t know how to call a stone that doesn’t look like marble they call it granite, no matter what the heck it is! And the show goes on! (Hey, nobody is doing anything about it!... Consumers mumble a little when they realize that they were taken, but that’s the end of it. Besides, the invoice of the distributor does say it is granite!!!) Maurizio, Expert Panelist
R2: Remove the laminate floor where the fireplace is going. JVC
Q 6776: I have a 4ftx4ft coffee table that has a beige/peach, fine grained, granite top with too much of a peach overtone. Is it possible for me to purposely soak some taupe or mud colored stain into the top and finish it off by sealing the tint with a top sealer? I ask this question because the granite counters in my last house would, after a few hours, soak up the water at the bottom of a drinking and turn a little darker, only to evaporate and lighten up later. It seems I should be able to soak some taupe/mud colored stain on the coffee table top, correct? What type of stain (oil/water-based, or???) would you suggest? Any hints would be appreciated! Thanks, Richard, May 31, Reply
R1: Dear Rich: To the best of my knowledge, no, it can’t. I never heard of a stain for stone, and if you think that you can solve your problem with some Minwax sort of product, I highly doubt that it will work properly. If it won’t you will have ruined your stone for good. , Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6775: I had black galaxy granite 16X16 tiles installed in the entranceway of my gift shop almost 1 year ago. They have become dull and have lot their sheen. What is the proper way to clean these tiles and polish them to the beautiful shine they had when first installed? I appreciate any help you can give me.. Thank you so much, Cathy, May 31, Reply
R1: Dear Cathy: First the good news: if your black Galaxy tiles have become dull in less than one year it means that you run a very busy business! :-)
Now the bad news: the reason why they’re not shiny anymore is because your customers have the nasty habit of … walking on your floor. The dullness has nothing to do with cleaning or lack thereof. It’s rather the summation of billions of little tiny scratches generated by foot traffic, which actually ground the very surface of your stone. Natural stone is not polished by applying some sort of “special” sealer and then buffing it up, but by abrasion and friction – like gemstone. In other words, your floor needs to be re-ground, honed and polished.
Why is it such a bad news? First, because it won’t be easy to find someone who’s able to do it. Second, you’ve got to be ready to listen to numbers in the range of $15.00 per square foot, give or take it. :-( Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6774: I wanted to know about the hardness and porosity of Indian marble called Majoli (from RK Marble known as RK's wonder marble (Monsoon pearl)). I wish to know whether it can be laid in kitchen, whether staining will occur? Is it a hard marble compared to other India marble? What does this hardness actually refers to? Thanks, Nisha, May 31, Reply
Q 6773: My tile granite counter tops are sticky feeling. Do they need a good cleaning and with what and do they need to be sealed ? Jerry, May 31, Reply
R1: Dear Jerry: Well, I guess that they do need a good cleaning! I would start out with some of my fabulous MB-3 to get rid of whatever sticky gunk is sitting on your stone surface, followed by regular use of my universally renowned MB-5! As for the sealing issue, it all depends on the “granite.” Spill some water onto one of the tiles, let it sit there for a few minutes, wipe it dry and see if the area under which the water has been sitting has become any darker over the rest of the tile. If so, then you will impregnate your stone with my outlandish MB-4. If not, don’t bother! Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6772: I haveTravertine table finished in a gloss lacquer.We have removed stains from table and now find it needs re lacquering please advise on what to use Don, May 29, Reply
R1: Dear Don: I’m at a loss, here. If your travertine table was laquered, how come you’ve got stains? What kind of stains are you talking about? How did you remove the stains to the point of removing the laquer? Maurizio, Expert Panelist
R1: Dear Sandee: Nickels and dimes?… And you’re making all this trouble over some pocket change??!!! :-) Joking aside, I know exactly what your problem is and I have all the answers for you. There’s a little $25.00 consultation fee involved, but I’ll be glad to help. Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6770: My designer picked out a beautiful limestone for our kitchen floors. But I was just on your site and saw that you don't recommend it. I have two young children and am worried about maintenance and stains. I can cancel the order. Should I? What ceramic tiles have the look of limestone? Thanks, Adrienne, May 29, Reply
R1: Dear Adrienne: Well, you can keep the limestone, for as long as you get into an iron-clad written agreement with your interior decorator by which he or she will personally take care of all the problems that will arise with that material. That would be real nice: who knows, there would be a remote chance that he or she will stop playing with colors and start using some intelligence while specifying stuff they don’t know the first thing about for their customers.I don’t know about ceramic, but there are porcelain tiles that look lime limestone, sandstone … just incredible! Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6769: We have Impala Black granite kitchen countertops. Can you give me some info on Impala Black? Was this a good choice for kitchen countertops, does it need to be sealed, daily care, cleaners etc.? The countertops have dull spots or areas that have been there from the beginning. Is this normal? Is there a remedy? Thanks in advanced for any info you can give. May 29, Reply
R1: Dear Joel, Typically Impala Black does not need to be sealed, and it is a good choice for a granite countertop. About your dull spots, no, it’s not normal, but you have to be more descriptive to me about them. Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6768: I have just had installed "Artic Blue" granite from Norway - on kitchen countertops. The fabricator advised us to seal it once a year. Please tell me the do's and don'ts of daily maintainenance and care of this granite. Richard, May 29, Reply
R1: Dear Richard: You must understand one thing: most fabricators (not all of them, fortunately) have been put through a lengthy yet very effective process, by which massif doses of impregnator/sealers have been applied to their brains by various “salesmen”, not before having washed them (the brains) with the notion that they have to seal everything in sight that doesn’t move. And if it moves, wait ‘till it dies, and then seal that, too!! :-) You do NOT want to seal Baltic Blue. Not once, not ever. It’s not granite by a long shot: is anorthosite, for crying out loud!! Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6767: I had to buy a 13-foot by 6-foot, 5/4-inch slab of nero assoluto to fabricate a 7-foot-by 4-foot top for a kitchen island. I have a couple of large pieces left and am considering using it as part of my bathroom reno as a top for two vanities. I'd like to know the implications of having the surface honed. My experience with my island suggests black granite would do just fine in regards to not absorbing water or leaving ring marks. If I get it honed, will it lose those properties? Also, I have heard that honed granite scratches very easily. True? Also, please confirm that nero assoluto does not require sealing, May 29, Reply
R1: Dear Steven: About the honed black absolute issue, see the answer I gave to a previous inquirer a while back that I’m reporting to you below. Yes, Black Absolute does not require any sealing. However, there are lots of “bad” slabs of black granite out there lately (all labeled as “black absolute,” no matter where they come from. The real Black absolute comes from South Africa). I hope you ran my little lemon juice test to find out how good the slab you bought really is. Dear Inquirer: There are indeed different opinions on the issue of sealing black hone granite, but there is a unanimous consensus about the fact that it presents maintenance issues. The problem with honed black granite is that it is not ... well, black any more! Most black stones are but an optical illusion: they become black only when highly polished, or when wet. (See the back of your slab to see the REAL color of your stone!) As you take gloss off the stone surface (and honing does just that) you lose depth of color and the stone turns grey, but when you wet it ... here it is black again! As you spill oily liquids, or you simply touch the stone surface with your fingers (perspiration), you're going to have all sorts of dark surface stains that are a terrible eyesore. Please notice that I said: SURFACE stains, not imbedded stains. In fact, you can clean those stains off, while if they were imbedded you would have to poultice them out. If you apply an impregnator/sealer in the stone you will not solve your problem one bit: in fact the sealer will only prevent liquids from being absorbed by the stone (which in the case of black honed granite is an unlikely event to begin with), not the staining of its surface. Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6766: I need to have my stone floors sealed, but before I do this, I was hoping to have some repairs completed on two of my tiles that have cracked. I live in Long Beach, California. Is there a reputable repairer and sealing company that you know in my area? May 29, Reply
R1: Scrubbing bubbles works on all of that in my house, I do however recommend easy tricks to maintain material, (i.e. waxing with car polish). If your shower is mildewing that bad, I would change the enclosure/shower curtain. Dannille
R2: The problem you describe in all probability is mildew and is caused by the filler/extender used in the manufacture of your shower enclosure. The largest majority of such fillers are calcium carbonate based . Microbes, bacteria, and mildew feed on the calcium carbonate. This is especially true if the calcium carbonate was formed under the sea from coral deposits. Had calcium hydroxide been the filler used , the problem would not have occurred because the high ph of the filler would kill off the bacteria and microbes.
Your best solution appears to be scrubbing the areas clean (there are commercial cleaners out there designed especially for this purpose) and increasing ventillation to the subject areas and also using a mechanical dehumidifier to keep the relative humidity level to approximately 40%. Good luck.
R2: I believe that some types of marbles are actually polished(sort of) by using a weak (I say WEAK!) acid ) perhaps vinegar even...is the orange growth simply EXTREMELY hard water stains? Water from a drilled well? Read the book by the late great John Sinkankas called "Gemstone and Mineral Formulas".....
Q 6765: We recently had a new granite counter top installed. It looks like a variety of river rocks. We have a concern about the seam. It is definitely very visible and in fact seems to be getting larger. The two pieces of granite are separating at the seam. We feel that the two slabs were not correctly installed. Could you please let us know how seams are usually handled? What may be causing the slabs to separate? And, any suggestions as to how we can resolve this problem with our contractor? The gap between the two slabs is large enough that you can see the base under the granite and food, etc. is starting to accumulate within the seam. The color of the granite is fairly dark and I read that the seam in darker granite is usually not as visible as in the lighter colors. When we even glide our hands over the seam we feel jagged edges and roughness. A friend of our said that if it was correctly installed, your hand should glide right over the seam. May 27, Reply

R1: Dear Kathy: In a nutshell: your friend is absolutely right. Seaming is one of the issue where you separate the men from the boys. Have your fabricator come back and demand them to solve the issue. 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 6764: I have a new marble shower. What type of cleaner should I use? I have just been using Murphy’s Oil Soap and water. It was recommended on their website. Do you have any suggestions? We also have a marble counter top and floors (the builder went nuts). I love the look but am scared to death about cleaning it. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thank you. Terry, May 26, Reply
R1: Dear Terry: Murphy oil soap to clean a shower stall from soap film, huh! And “they” have it in “their” website?! Ain’t it amazing?! Is there a limit to human stupidity?! May I ask who “they” are?! About your marble countertop, I sincerely hope that you’re not talking about a kitchen countertop and – if that is the case – that at least it has a very low-hone finish!, Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6763: Hello, My contractor is installing a Travertine Floor in my Kitchen, Living Room, Hallway and Office, but is a bit at a loss as to how to properly finish it once it is down. There is quite a bit of cloudy residue left on the tiles. He tried HMK R55, but the tiles do not react consistently. Some of them clean up nicely with a shine, and others become even more cloudy. Any advise is GREATLY appreciated! Regards, Brian, Expert Panelist, May 26, Reply
R1: Dear Brian: Now, let’s see: the dealer who sold the stone to you made good money but can’t solve your problem. The tile setter who installed it in your house made good money out of the deal, but can’t solve your problem. HMK made some money out of the sale of their product, but they can’t solve your problem. (You did call their customer service, didn’t you?) So, basically, everybody made money, at least one party of that happy bunch created the problem, but nobody knows what they’re looking at. Isn’t it amazing?! Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6762: I was browsing through your questions and answers for a way to get off nail polish and a spot that looks like it always has finger prints on it the stone is kind of mauve. I am also installing granite counter tops and they are juprano millennium and noticed your site saying this is crappy granite or not granite at all can you help me before I purchase? thank you, krissy, May 26, Reply
R1: Dear Krissy: Well, Juparanas “granite” never made my ten top list, I can tell you that! If you’re lucky and get a high-grade slab and it’s properly impregnated with the proper impregnator/sealer (like my outlandish MB-4 J), then it could be a very enjoyable stone, but there are too many variables involved for me to consider it a good choice. Regardless, 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”?! , Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6761: I have butterfly granite, at least that is what I was told it was when I bought it 2 years ago. Today, I checked pictures of butterfly on other web sites and it sure looks like mine. You wrote in question 3037 that it should not be sealed. How do I know if it was sealed? Does it have a different shine or texture? Now, assuming it really is butterfly and it was not sealed, I am good, right?? So, my question is will your do's and don'ts book explain care to me? For example, it is spring and the ants are out. The little buggers love to invade one area of my kitchen. The granite is dark and I have to get down at eye level to see where they are or if they are gone. We put out ant traps, keep counters clean, and spray outside the house where they enter. One of my friends told me to wipe everything down with amonia because ants hate that. Is this safe to use on my counters? I feel like this is a whole new dimension for me, everything I have known about cleaning my whole life my not apply to granite. HELP? Thanks, Linda, May 26, Reply
R1: Dear Linda: Well, whether they sealed it or not, it really doesn’t matter now. Considering that you have it for two years already and had no problem, I wouldn’t concern myself about that. A sealer for stone – more properly called impregnator – does not affect in any way, shape or form the original factory finish of the slab, because is a below surface sealer, not a topical. In fact, the most important phase of the application of an impregnator is to make sure that every residue of the stuff is thoroughly removed off of the stone surface.
The application of ammonia occasionally (don’t make a habit out of it!) will not damage your stone. Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6760: We are planning to remodel our kitchen this year and am unsure about the best flooring choice for our kitchen. I like the look of natural stone but have read that travertine is not the best choice since it is very porous. I do not want to install ceramic tile since the floor will be laid in the dining room also and ceamic tile is more informal. Are there differences in types of travertine and would it be suitable for the kitchen? If not, what are my either options? Thanks, Lisa, May 26, Reply
R1: Dear Lisa: Yeah, that’s what lots of “professionals” keep saying: “Travertine is very porous!” Of course, it’s the opposite. In fact, travertine is the densest stone among the calcite-based ones. And that is not hearsay or my opinion: it is a scientific fact. Having said that, travertine is suitable as a material for a kitchen floor providing that’s not polished. Hone-finished or tumbled are quite all right. That is, providing that you can take good care of it. You’re not going to get any real intelligence on this all too important subject from the people who told you that travertine is very porous, I can promise you that! Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6759: Dear Sir, Could you tell me if you have the name of a lab preferably in the United States that will perform a ASTM C 217 Weather Resistance of Slate test? Your help would be greatly appreciated. Kevin, May 26, Reply
Q 6758: hello. can you please advise if vinegar and water would be a credible option to clean my terrazzo floors. thank you, carolyn, May 25, Reply
R1: Dear Carolyn: Credible option? Absolutely! In fact it will damage your terrazzo floor right after the first application and continue doing so time after time! And that is so very credible that you can take it to the bank!! Water and vinegar was one of the favorite home-brewed concoctions at the beginning of the “marble era” in this country. As a stone restoration contractor I made so much money out that “credible option” that I could comfortably retire out of it! Over the years, however, the word spread around and my … source of income virtually dried up. It is simply amazing noticing that after all this time there’s still some idiot who comes up with the vinegar thing!, Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6757: I am approaching the end of the first year in a new home. We have Absolute Black granite countertops in our kitchen. I am confused about whether or not to seal the countertop, can you help inform me? It’s difficult to find information about whether to seal or not because most websites and information is being offered by companies that sell sealers…you seem to be the only place to get informed and unbiased information. I’d appreciate your guidance. Thank you! Sarah, May 25, Reply
R1: Dear Sarah: My outlandish MB-4 – the impregnator/sealer that I make – is arguably among the best on the market. Having said that, no, you do NOT want to have any impregnator/sealer applied to black absolute “granite.” Concern yourself with every day specialty products for its proper care! Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6756: I am so grateful for having found a definitive and expert source for advice on stone countertops for kitchens!! I am now convinced that I should not put cararra marble countertops in my kitchen. The house is Victorian Italianate c1868 and it would be appropriate, I understand, but not at all reasonable. Honed black absolut granite and honed pietra cordosa have both been suggested as alternatives. What is pietra cordosa stone? I was told that it is the stone used for countertops in chemistry labs and is impervious to everything. Is this correct? I am down to the wire trying to make the right decision. Should a honed finish be sealed? Often? Also, I have seen bianco romano granite referred to several times as a good alternative to white marble. Help! Becky, May 25, Reply
R1: Dear Becky: No, Pietra Cardosa – a shist from Italy – is not used on chemistry labs; Soapstone is. You do NOT want honed black absolute. If you want to know more, you’re in direct contact with me now. I will be more than happy to answer all of your questions. This will also entitle you to two articles of my educational literature. Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6755: I've just had my kitchen countertops replaced with blue pearl granite.
It was "cleaned" with acetone by the installers & looks beautiful. I don't think that it is "sealed", but what should I do to keep it bright & shiny? Can I place hot pans on it? What about water/food stains? Is it acid resistant? I know that I should have done this research first, but I just "fell in love" with this georgeous granite! Thanks for your expert answers. Kay,
May 25, Reply
R1: Dear Kay: You’re lucky: your “granite” is one of my very favorite stones and one of the best that money can buy for the intents and purposes of a kitchen countertop! About the sealing issue, let’s just hope that your fabricator did not seal it, because Blue Pearl does not need to be sealed with an impregnator (that’s what a sealer for stone is called) – not even my outlandish MB-4! :-) Yes, you can place hot pans on it. No, you don’t have to worry about food stains: that stone is quite dense and doesn’t absorb much. Yes, it is very much acid resistant. Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6754: I replaced the window in my bathroom, and I scratched the marble sill and put some nicks in it. How do I repair these white spots ? Thanks, May 24, Reply
R1: Dear Robert: You can’t. Nobody can. :-( Those particular damages are called “stunned crystals.” Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6753: We are looking at various granites for our kitchen countertops and we both like a variety called Lapidus from Brazil as it is fairly light in color but has some interesting structure and colors but more fractured than some varieties. Is this a good material for kitchens? A second choice we looked at is Kinawa Bianco which is a gneiss and I think has a very low porosity. Our kitchen is a little on the dark side (not to mention the lack of sun here in Seattle) and we are trying to stick with lighter varieties. Gary, Seattle, May 24, Reply
R1: Dear Gary: Both stone you mentioned require some serious sealing with a good-quality stone impregnator (like my outlandish MB-4! :-)). But remember, the make of the impregnator/sealer is only half the equation, the second one being the operator! All in all, however, 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”?!
. Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6752: Hi, I’m about ready to tackle a granite countertop and I have a few questions. Using 12 x 12 tiles.
1) Do I leave grout spaces , I so how big, I have heard some people butt them tight, others say leave a 1/16 “ between.
2) What kind of glue for ¾ plywood covered by ¼ or ½ cement board??
3) What kind of grout, is it the same as ceramic wall tile??
4) My current back splash is 4 ¼ x 4 ¼ ceramic tile, can I lay granite 12 x 12 tile over that or do I have to remove the ceramic tile. Richard,
May 24, Reply
Q 6751: I am looking for some advice. I recently had my home re-floored with travertine. I got a 'great deal' at one of the 'big box' superstores. Now, just 4 months later my wife and I are finding pock marks, actually holes. Is this normal? They are in traffic spots often many to a tile, and range in size from sesame seed sized to 1/2inch and larger. After speaking with our installer, we believe it is a issue with the tile. The tile is from Turkey. The packaging says only 'Natural Travertine' , the packaging is 4 each 18x18 pcs. Was it a mistake to buy from a big box store?? Does travertine have a general scale of quality?? Any answers you can provide would be greatly appreciated? May 24, Reply
R1: It must have been a bad batch, in the sense that the filler used by the factory was not mixed well and gave in. It has nothing to do with the possible grading of the travertine itself, or the fact that was bought at one of the big boxes. You can have your tiles refilled by a stone restoration contractor. Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6750: Will a granite slab left outside for an extended period of time be affected by sunlight? Is it possible for the UV rays to darken a slab? May 24, Reply
R1: Dear Richard: Which “granite”? True geological granite does not get affected by the UV rays. Certain mercantile granites do. Maurizio, Expert Panelist
R2: UV rays often make the yellow flecks (gold striations) in the green stones more pronounced. Materials like Verde Butterfly, Peacock Gold, Ubatuba, Verde Jewel/Kerala Green - to name a few - are prone to change color somewhat if exposed to bright sunlight - i.e. being stored, uncovered, in an outside slab yard. These changes are sometimes very desirable, but can be worrisome if all the slabs in a kitchen did not get the exact same exposure to UV. UV radiation in a house would not be nearly as severe as outside, so the material should not - in theory - change color all that much once it is installed. Regards, Cassie
Q 6749: Hi, thanks a million for such a terrific amount of information. We have Moleanos (a kind of limestone) in several parts of our building (access corridors, dinning rooms and bathroom counters). I have no info on the product used in the sealing of these areas (some may have never been sealed). Do you have any general guidelines for the maintenance of this kind of stone. May 22, Reply
R1: Dear Lena: Just seal the areas that weren’t sealed with a good-quality stone impregnator, and then maintain your floors by damp mopping regularly with a pH neutral floor detergent. Make sure it is not a stone soap! Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6748: I put black midnight granite counter in my kitchen. I did not know about the lemon test until I used lemon and noticed stains and could not remove them. Is there any cleaner I could use for that. If I use a sealer will it protect it from the lemon. I am really worried that I spent all that money and I will get stains when I use lemon again or someone uses it in my kitchen, May 22, Reply
R1: Dear Filomena: There’s no cleaner out there that will solve your problem, and no sealer will protect your “granite” from acidic spills. But there’s hope! You’re in direct contact with me now. Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6747: I bought 200 "seconds" of marble tiles that have etching on them from being left outside. I am wondering if there is a way that I can hone or polish them myself? I am going to be using them for a tub surround and was told that honed marble is better for this purpose that polished because of the soap etching...is this true? Thanks, Shelley, May 22, Reply

R1: Dear Shelley: Polishing, no chance. Honing (which is better. Whoever told you that was right) is possible. If you need additional assistance, you’re in direct contact with me now. You could log in the “Educational Literature” I will be more than happy to answer all of your questions. This will also entitle you to two articles of my educational literature. Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, Expert Panelist

Q 6746: I'm planning on using China Lotus slate in the foyer and also on a deck that is half covered. I'm installing a spa on the deck as well. I live in Hawaii in an area that gets a lot of rain. I have two very large dogs that live in the house. The dogs bring in red dirt (clay based dirt that dyes everything red). I plan on sealing the slate. How will this particular slate hold up? How often would I have to reseal the slate floor? Would I be better off usinsg porcelain or cermaic tile? Thanks, Susan, May 21, Reply
R1: Dear Susan: “How will this particular slate hold up?” It won’t!! You do NOT want any slate – Chinese or otherwise, sealed or not sealed – period. Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6745: I had a granite countertop installed yesterday. It is beautiful but near the sink are 3 very, very small chips. How should I approach this with the countertop people? I paid so much and I guess I feel it should be perfect. Am I correct? May 21, Reply
R1: Dear Helen:Hmmm … you sound a little too “perfect” to me. I really don’t know what to say. Once a lady called me all excited because she had pits “developing” in her brand-new marble vanity top (a breccia-type stone: it does have natural pits). I went there and to show to me the pits she had to go with here nose ½” close to the top to see them!!
Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6744: We purchased a home that has Saturnia marble floors everywhere. I would like to know how to clean them. I was told only to use hot water and make sure I don't soak them. Also, the bathroom has a shower with marble floor and walls. I definitely have a hard water lime scale build-up. Every cleaner that will work on natural stone, will not cut it. Any scale remover that I have found is not for use on natural stone. Can you please help me with this problem. I will appreciate any advice. Thank you, L. Henning. May 21, Reply
R1: Dear L. Henning: If your Saturnia floors are in good shape all you need to do is clean them periodically with a solution of warm water and my MB-1. About the idea of non soaking them, I really don’t understand. First off, nobody soaks floors (although it would be a good thing to do!), and, second, I don’t see why not. Saturnia (a cross-cut travertine) is quite a dense stone and only absorbs traces of water that will quickly evaporate during the drying process. About your marble shower stall, to the best of my know ledge we are the only company to have two specific products: MB-3 soap film remover (it does remove mineral deposits, too), and MB-9 mildew stain remover, which are effective yet absolutely safe on marble. (We have them for 15 years!!) There is a problem, however: we have a corporate motto that goes: “Education before any sale!” I would like to know more about those hard lime scales of yours. It takes a whole lot of neglect to have a conspicuous build-up of lime deposit; therefore I am afraid that it could be something else much more serious and demanding a much more radical solution. Does your “lime scale build-up” appear to be like a hard scab, mostly concentrated in the grout lines and the stone natural fissures of the shower floor? Does it feel wet all the time when running a fingertip over it? Let me know and then we’ll take it from there. You’re in direct contact with me now. Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6743: I just had black galaxy granite installed on my island this week and Verde Fontain on my other kitchen cabinetry. My installer was a crook who knew nothing about installation or measuring and cannot be contacted and is out of the biz already. Having said that…We just noticed that the granite on the island has 2 large cracks running under and on top running almost the width of the island’s top. My question is…will the granite hold up? My fear is that it will break in half or become very deep and stain. I have no $ left to replace and at cannot go back on the fabricator. Thanks! May 21, Reply
R1: Dear Kelly: And what do you expect me to say, other then expressing my sympathy over you having stumbled on yet another “Michelangelo?”Foretell if your crack will break open? Well, I may be a few things, but a foreteller? … Not quite yet! Perhaps I should try that some times. I’ve heard that there’s good money in it!I’m truly sorry. Try to consult with a local stone restoration company and see if they can do something about it. Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6742: The vases on either side of my parents headstone have come unglued. What product can I buy to fix them myself, that will glue them and make them stay. Please respond before Mothers Day. Thanks Carolyn May 21, Reply
R1: Dear Carolyn: Here I am way before Mother’s Day! It goes on black and dries clear. It’s a tough cookie all right! Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6741: I would like to know about pots and plates, they have a smell to it when wet, it alters the flavor of food. Is there some kind of sealer that is not harmful? Thank you, Christina, May 20, Reply
R1: Dear Christina: I thought that this was a site where people inquire about stone, not pots and plates! A sealer for pots and plates because they smell when wet?? … That’s a good one!! I’ve gotta admit it that for a minute you almost got me!! That was funny all right! Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6740: I put a really hot pot on my granite and it left a dull ring. What can I do. Alos when the tile installer put the backsplash in he scrathed the granite in two places. I'm thinking I have to have it polised, yes? Thanks, please respond! Michele G. May 20, Reply
R1: Dear Michele: What you’re reporting is a technical impossibility. Black Galaxy can not be damaged by a hot pot. Unless, of course, your fabricator applied an impregnator/sealer to it thinking that’s granite. Get their butt back on the scene and have them solve the problem they created. If you want to hear the solution from me you’re gonna have to pay my consultation fee. You’re in direct contact with me now. Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6739: I recently had sandstone (Pietra Etrusca) installed in my shower and bathroom. The installer put 3 coats of a silicone based sealant on the stone in the shower. Right away the stone would soak through and soon after, the stone began to granulate and large pits began to appear. The stone dealer came to look at it and told me it needed at least 6 coats of sealant for a shower installation. When I purchased the stone, the salesperson told us that the stone was fine to use in a shower as long as it was well sealed, but did not say it would require so many coats. They offered to give me a replacement case of the stone, but I am worried the problem is that this is not the right stone for a shower. The installer said he could apply a protective epoxy coating, but this would change the appearance of the stone and it would not match the rest of the stone in bathroom. Is this a problem with the stone selection or the installation? Thanks, Brad, May 20, Reply
R1: Dear Brad: I have no doubt that salesman is very good. At selling, that is. Knowing about stone??... Somehow I doubt it! He just joined the choir and sings the same stupid tune like everybody else, by which all problems are solved with the “miracle-in-a-bottle,” the all too heralded stone impregnator/sealer, which will turn a piece of crap like Pietra Etrusca into a magnificent, bullet-proof material! All it takes are more applications of the “good stuff” (I didn’t say coats, because sealers for stone are below surface products; therefore the term coat does not apply). Will an impregnator/sealer – even as good as my outlandish MB-4 – solidify a stone that naturally gets destroyed by water? Of course not! A sealer for stone was not formulated to do that! It was simply formulated to prevent staining. (Just in case you spill coffee or cooking oil in your shower … Hey, you never know!) Will coating the stone with epoxy solve the problem? Of course not! Then what? Not much, really: most sandstones don’t belong in a shower, and that is that. “Mankind should master Nature by understanding, not by force!” I believe in that. You want to fight Mother Nature? I’ve got news for you: you may be able to win a couple of rounds, but you will lose the fight! All the time. And you can take that to the bank; while you can take your good salesman to court on the grounds that he doesn’t know what he’s doing (he can sell it, though!), and sold you the wrong stone for the application. And the show goes on! Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6738: We purchased an old church house made in 1850 with sandstone and we kept the sand stone open in side the house for decorative purposes but it tends to through out what may be salt a crusty white material on some of the stone holding moisture and needs to be cleaned of know and then can we seal the stone to keep the appearance good. best wishes, Joe, May 20, Reply
R1: Dear Joe: One of my favorite quotes is: “Mankind should master Nature by understanding, not be force!” I you clean and seal your sandstone, what do you think is going to happen to it? Where do you think that the moisture is going to go? What do you think the trapped-in moisture is going to do to the stone? That migration of moisture has been going on for over a century and a half and the sandstone is still there! Let it “breath” and learn how to live with it, if you want to keep your stone! Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6737: I just had Travertine floors laid in 1500 sf of my home. It is in the kitchen, dinning room, and all bathrooms and high traffic areas. I love the natural glow of the stone and have not sealed the stone as of yet. It has been in for 30 days now and gets more beautiful every day. I am concerned because I hear a lot about the stone should be sealed. I have no children, we live in Las Vegas Nevada so no snow and little rain, no large dogs, 1 small dog, and there are 2 adults living in the house. We do entertain often but always with adults. I love the floor and the natural shine. I am afraid if I seal it the natural glow will be lost and I will be very unhappy about that. Is it imperative that the stone be sealed? I am using a neutral soap to clean the stone, although I think it best to use as little as possible and only when necessary. Please advise on the cleaning routine. Thank you for your feed back. I dearly love these floors!!! thanks, Chet Crouch Las Vegas NV, May 20, Reply
R1: Dear Chet: Sealers for stone are penetrating, below surface products; therefore they do not affect in a no way or shape the natural finish of the stone. In fact, none of the stuff is supposed to remain on the stone surface, since the most important phase of the application of an impregnator/sealer is the removal of every bit of residue. Having said that, the question is: do you really need to have your stone sealed? Travertine is quite a dense stone and absorb very little. Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6736: I have white carrera marble counters in my kitchen. I banged a crystal glass into the side of one of the counters and chipped the marble (the glass was fine!-amazing). What can i do to seal it before it gets fixed so it doesn't stain, and what can be done to fix the chip? thanks for any help.... victoria. May 20, Reply
R1: Dear Victoria: I won’t even bother commenting on the fact that you have white marble as a kitchen countertop. I only hope that those slabs were hone-finished, and very low at that! Are you afraid that you’re going to stain the marble where the chip came off?? And with what?? Besides, the application of a sealer could jeopardize the execution of the repair.
Get your fabricator back to your place and repair that chip for you. It’s certainly not a DIY project. Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6735: We have pink marble topped tables and there are scratches on them. I figue from the cats claws, you know jumping up on them and trying to stop on the slippery surface with their claws? Anyway, I need to find a way to remove these scratches. They are long, but not deep, as you can imagine. Richard, May 20, Reply
R1: Dear Richard: You have to wet-sand your table top using special resin-bond diamond pads, going through a few grits and using a special piece of equipment, and then when you’re done with that, you have to polish your marble back to its original finish by using a special polishing powder for marble with a little bit of water, using the same machine with special white nylon polishing pads. That’s all. Oh I almost forgot: you also have to know what you’re doing! My next class on stone refinishing is scheduled for July 29 through July 31, In Philadelphia, PA. The cost is $800.00 plus traveling, lodging and food. To that you will have to add approximately $500.00 for the equipment, diamond pads and polishing powder. The tap water is for free. Or you can spend less money and hire a proven stone restoration contractor in your neck of the woods. :-) Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6734: Please advise how I might fill the holes and pits in travertine tiles. Grout is too grainy. I would prefer something that will mimick the travertine as much as possible but would be satisfied with any solid filler. The filler must not shrink during drying thus requiring repeated fillings. Filler must also be able to withstand 385degree from a heat press for about 15 seconds. I'm printing on the tiles. I prefer to use travertine because it is absorbant. Hope you can help. This sight is awesome! Thanks very much. Linda, May 20, Reply
R1: Dear Linda: Filling travertine holes is not for amateurs. You could fill it with sand-less grout (wall type), but it takes a special technique. Regardless, if you chose travertine to do whatever it is that you do because is absorbent, you’re gonna be in for a surprise: travertine is the densest among the calcite-based stones! Do you need something absorbent, get limestone (most of them), sandstone, etc. Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6733: My husband is installing black slate to our kitchen countertop. Is this OK? How do we seal and care for it without poisoning family. We also put it around the fireplace, is there a certain seal we should use that is not flamable? Thanks, Melissa, May 18, Reply
R1: Dear Melissa: Black slate does not take any impregnator/sealer in to begin with. Regardless, it’s the worst material you could ever choose for a kitchen countertop. No “miracle-in-a-bottle” will ever do the first thing to overcome the nightmarish experiences you will have. The one around the fireplace is okay. It doesn’t need to be sealed. Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6732: I have had absolute black countertops for about two years now which were sealed at installation (with what I do not know). A friend of mine has the same countertops, and for about the same amount of time, and he did not get his sealed at installation or anytime thereafter. Now, given both of our scenarios, we are both finding small rings popping up all over the place (which sound like what the experts refer to as the acid rings). They are a very slight milky color on our absolute black counters. The only difference between my friend and my spots are that his are much more abundant (in discoloration and number of spots) and started almost immediately after installation. My spots did not start to appear until after about a year (maybe enough time for the sealer to wear off). My question is, what can myself and my friend do to have the rings removed (keeping in mind that I have hade my counters sealed and he has never)? Will steel wool work? Will a paste work? Also, is it ok to use windex to do daily cleanings on the countertops, say after cooking dinner? May 18, Reply
R1: Dear Mike: Let’s start by saying that when one mentions “Black Absolute Granite” one’s talking about a huge variety of stones coming a little bit from all over the planet, each and every one of them not a geological granite by a long shot, and each and every one of them with different characteristics. If that wasn’t confusing enough, each and every one of them are processed with even if so slightly methods – which again can make a difference.
There used to be three possibilities to explain the problems that both your friend and you are experiencing, which are here listed in order of probability (the first being the most probable):
The fabricator applied an impregnator/sealer to it believing that it’s granite. No impregnator/sealer will ever be absorbed by black granite, therefore it won’t do the first thing about doing what’s designed to do, which is prevent stains. (What you and your friend have are NOT stains, and no impregnator/sealer on the planet can prevent those.) Many a sealer turn out to be sensitive to acids; hence the “mysterious etching.” Not on the stone, rather on the sealer that had no business being there.
The slab had been “doctored” by the factory by applying some sort of black shoe shine in order to make it “blacker” and, therefore more “sellable.” After a while the “shoe shine” will begin etching as it gets eaten away by acidic spills. The true color of the stone is gray.
It is one of those as-rare-as-a-white-fly “mutt” stones with some calcite in it. In this case it is actually the stone that gets etched. In the last couple of years there’s been a change in the scenario above. Another possibility has entered the scene:
4. Certain manufacturers apply some sort of protective wax to the slabs. It is not actual “doctoring,” since there’s no alteration to the color of the stone, but the result is the same as if the slab had been “doctored” with the “shoe-shine.”
Finally, case 3 above is not as rare as it used to be anymore. At least a couple of “Black Absolute Granites” from India entered the scene recently and are terrible “mutt” stones. Since they are cheap (to the importers) they sell like crazy.
Having said all that, the remedy to the points 1, 2 and 4 is to remove whatever it is that’s sitting on the stone surface, by either stripping it chemically by soaking it with Methylene Chloride, or mechanically, by rubbing on the stone surface a polishing compound for marble (NOT for granite!) with a little bit of water.
Case 3 is terminal. All things considered, black granite – which should be considered among the most enjoyable materials as a kitchen countertop – has made it out my own list of recommended stones.
Until the industry will not straighten its act up by becoming serious about the classification of all the different “granites” on the marketplace and dictate strict rules and guidelines about their characteristics and implied guarantees to the consumers, my position is going to be it from now on. Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6732: Can anyone tell me anything about a granite called Autumn Leaf? It is a medium-size crystal with beige, brown, taupe and black. Is it a true granite? Where is it from? Is there another name for it? Thank you for your assistance. Rose, May 18, Reply
R1: Dear Rose: If you want to know about Autumn Leaf just for the heck of it I can’t help you. I’ve seen that stone (absolutely gorgeous), but I don’t know what it is (certainly NOT a true granite). If instead you wanted to know about it to find out how suitable it is as material for a kitchen countertop, then, 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”?! 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
What are you telling your customers about cleaning supplies for natural stone?
I have not seen any feedback on this website about what the consumers are using that is successful, especially for the difficult problem of soap scum in their showers. It would be wonderful to hear from people who actually use a product that works. I have spent a lot of money on products that are no better than water. Rose
R2: Dear Rose: Firstly, consumers who posts in this site are here to report problems, not solutions!
Second, do you want to know why I became a “chemist”? I was simply a contractor, going around refinishing marble floors, shower stalls, etc. Each and every one of my customers was inevitably asking me – since the time of the estimate – what they were supposed to do and use to take care of the stones that I was about to so expensively restore for them. I felt that it was my professional obligation to offer them precise answers and specific products that would work. So, I started looking around for specialty products to maintain stone, planning to become a distributor of one of the few companies that where on the market back then (circa 1988). Unfortunately for them, I am one of those guys who look at a fancy brochure from its back, not its flashy front, and I realized that there was really nothing out there for residential consumers, which could take care of every possible natural stone installation. All I found was a bunch of all too much heralded stone sealers, and some “marble cleaner” (whatever that means!) that turned out to be nothing but so-so floor cleaners! Could I sell that stuff to my customers? Of course I could: they trusted me! They would buy anything I told them to buy!
But the real question was: will they be pleased with the performance of those products?... You fill the blanks! It was back then that I decided to do something about it, which eventually turned out to become my main business. I have a soap scum remover and a mildew stain remover that work great and are safe on marble for 15 years already! Amazingly enough, I found out the hard way that the worst enemy of end users of stone are the same dealers who sell it to them! They just don’t want to bother offering intelligence and products to their own customers. “Buy the stuff from me, pay me and then get lost!” This seems to be the predominant philosophy in the stone industry. Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6731: I bought a 58"x42" slab of granite to install on a 24"X31" base cabinet as a table /counter top to coordinate with the rest of my kitchen which also has granite counters. The cabinet will be set up against the wall and the granite overhang will be 18" on the front and 14" on each side of the cabinet. My question to you is will the weight of the granite be able to be supported by the base cabinet(plywood contruction sides only) and what is the best way to intall the granite on top of the base cabinet. May 18, Reply
R1: Dear Mary: You’re giving me more credit that I deserve! :-) Without actually seeing your cabinets I couldn’t tell. However, if you can’t trust your fabricator on that issue, then you have a problem! :-( Now, remember, it’s never too early to think about the proper maintenance of your stone. Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6730: The marble in my foyer is 40 years old, it is dirty and has no shine; what do I need to do to clean it--brand names-- and how do I seal it: the marble tracks up the stairs as it is very dirty, May 18, Reply
R1: The only thing you can do is to get hold of a bona fide stone restoration contractor, who will have to re-grind and re-polish (not seal) your stone. Nothing else will work.
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! Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6729: I am about to install a new granite countertop of "Labrador Angola." The installer says that he seals all granite and I have read in your column that some "black" granites do not need sealing. Labrador Angola is a black with charcoal and greyish silver veins. Any suggestions? Thanks for your great resource. Mary Ann, May 18, Reply
R1: Dear Mary Ann: No, I don’t have any suggestion, since I never heard of that particular stone. Just run my little lemon juice (and oil) test and then take it from there. 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 6728: I recently purchased sierra gray fabricated counters. I have cut, installed them and seamed them. Now to the sealing part. I tested a piece of granite with lemon juice - let it sit for 25 minutes, didn't phase it. Should I still apply a sealer? It seems when I wipe the counter with a wet cloth, it darkens, and when the water evaporates it returns to it's natural tone. Is this a sign of absorption, or is this normal? Thanks! May 18, Reply
R1: Dear Matthias: Of course it needs to be sealed with a good quality impregnator/sealer (and remember, my outlandish MB-4 is the best of them all, of course!!). The lemon juice did not phase the stone, but it did darken it on a temporary basis (like your water), didn’t it?
Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6727: I have just had black granite kitchen countertops installed and i know they sealed them, now i can see swirl marks and lighter areas in spots on my island. Since researching your site (which i wished i had done before installation) i am seeing that black granite should not be sealed. Is this what's causing the swirl, sanding marks and lighter areas? what can be done to fix this problem? can the sealer be removed? May 18, Reply
R1: Dear: It’s impossible for me to make a precise assessment without actually seeing your countertop. It could be the impregnator/sealer that was not removed off of the stone surface properly, but it could also be some factory flaw. Either way, you don’t have to accept it. Call your fabricator back and ask them to rectify the problem. If it was the sealer they should know how to remove it. If it’s a factory flaw, either they have a proven stone restoration professional take care of it, or they take care of it themselves, or they replace the slab. Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6726: We are looking into bluestone for our kitchen countertops. Is this a practical choice? I don't know if it scratches, stains, etc. Also, how does it compare in cost to granites? Should it be sealed? Please reply. May 17, Reply
R1: Dear Damato: My gut feeling tells me to stay away from it, but I could be wrong. Honestly, I’m not really familiar with that material as a kitchen countertop. Try my little lemon juice (and oil) test to find out. Also try to scratch it to see how “soft” it is. Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6725: I came across a granite called "Butterfly Gold" Although I love it, I cannot seem to find to many yards that stock this granite. I have been told it is from Brazil. Do you have any information regarding this stone? Is it good or should I seek after a different granite. Thank you in advance. Eagerly awaiting your reply. Donna, May 17, Reply
R1: Dear Donna: It is probably a variation of the Verde Butterfly, but I can't say that I am familar with it. If that's the case, it should be an excellent choice, but 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”?! Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6724: My house was built about a year ago and we have the Nero Impala Granite installed as a countertop in our kitchen. We had a party one day and after the party we noticed that there was a grease stain on the counter top. We tried to clean it off that night with just water and soap and it wouldn’t come off. However, after a couple of days went by, we noticed that the stain suddenly gone. We also have some water stain near the kitchen sink and it doesn’t seem to go away. My questions are, is this a typical behavior of the Nero Impala Granite? What I can do to get rid of the water stain? and what should I do to maintain my granite countertop? Your help is much appreciated. May 17, Reply
R1: Dear Thang: Since the oil stains went away by itself (it happens sometimes), it isn’t worth talking about it. As for your reported “water stains” you’ve got to be more precise about it in their description. You’re in direct contact with me now. Or you can go directly into the Consumer Products section and order some MB-5 and, optionally, some MB-13. Should you do that, I will send you my maintenance guidelines for free, just for the asking! Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6723: Do you have article on how to install the Granite? I know you need certified installer, but I want to have knowledge so that they don't cheat me! Also, i have means of getting the finished product, and I just need to know how much should I pay for the installation. can you please help me and also, how I can buy the article on the different topics on Granite! Also, If you can preovide with with phone#, I would appreciate it highly. Thank you! Kavin, May 17, Reply
R1: Dear Kavin: Yep! My article is all about giving you the insight of the secret world of stone fabrication! You will find all the answers to your questions and more! Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6722: We have a polished red marble installed on a concrete slab in our entryway. The veins of the marble seem to be crystallizing and disintegrating. The floor has been sealed, but the problem continues. What can we do to fix this problem and then to prevent it from happing. Thanks, Jean, May 17, Reply
R1: Dear Jean: Okay, here it is: the floor was installed on a concrete slab on grade without the provision for a water-proof membrane. As the water table under the house raises, there's a migration of moisture through the slab, and from there through the core of the marble tiles. Hence, the spalling. Having applied an impregnqator/sealer to the tiles not only has it been a total waste of time and money (polished mable, especially in a foyer, does not need ot be sealed), but it made matter worse by trapping the migrating moisture inside the stone. This was the diagnosis. Here comes the prognosis: rip out the whole thing and start anew. :-( This time, however, you do not want to forget the water-proof membrane. You do want to forget, however, the stupid sealer (including my outlandish MB-4)! Hey, it's only money! Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6721: I was wondering if you could tell me which cities in Italy are known for marble production. I am going to be traveling there early this year and would love to go see some of the areas that produce the stone. Thanks. Expert PAnelist, May 17, Reply
R1: Dear Joseph: Carrara and Verona. There are more, but those two are the most important. Ciao and good luck, Maurizio Bertoli
R1: Dear Irritated Fabricator: (not even the guts to expose your name and company, uh!) You may be irritated, but you’re a tad confused, too! (Actually: a lot confused!).
So you say that it’s not your job to know if a stone is going to be prone to staining more than another one, and that, basically, you couldn’t care less if your customers will have any problems. You also go on by saying that it should be your customers responsibility to investigate if a particular stone that you sell to them as granite is going to be problem-laden or not. In other words, people should study some petrography or somethin’ before going out and shop for a granite countertop, because you are totally ignorant about it and you’re happy to stay that way. You know nothing, you don’t care about nothing: you only care to cut and shape and install, and you don’t have a clue - nor you care to – about what kind of stone you’re dealing with. You sell multi-thousand dollars products, which many folks have to save up for, but you couldn’t care less about telling them what to do with their purchase or advise them one direction or another. WOW!! Is there a limit to human stupidity? Let me tell you something, my dear “Michelangelo”: not only should they take you to court, but they should send you to install granite countertop in jail and throw the keys out!
Now we know why there are so many problems with the stone industry. With morons like that, what can one expect?! Please, get permanently lost. Nobody will ever miss you, I promise! Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, Expert PAnelist
Q 6719: We just installed Uba Tuba countertops in our kitchen. My wife has noticed little pitch marks in the stone that are rough. Is this normal for the stone or should it be smooth all over? John, May 15, Reply
R1: Dear John: Stone is a product of nature, and therefore perfection can't be expected.
Having said that, I've seen many slabs of Ubatuba just about "perefect" and some other ones (a lower grade, of course), not so "perfect," though within standards of acceptance. At this point it all boils down to what your own standards are! ;) 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 6718: Do you have article on how to install the Granite? I know you need certified installer, but I want to have knowledge so that they don't cheat me! Also, i have means of getting the finished product, and I just need to know how much should I pay for the installation. can you please help me and also, how I can buy the article on the different topics on Granite! Also, If you can preovide with with phone#, I would appreciate it highly.Thank you! Kavin, May 15, Reply
Q 6717: Please suggest the approximate hardness of the marble Ambaji White of Indian Origin.Is it tue that the Taj Mahal is made up of this marble stone?with regards,ranjeet, May 15, Reply
Q 6716: I have just bought a home in Houston, TX, that was built in 1938. They used an Austin White Lime Veneer that is 4" thick according to the original drawings. The surface is dark now and there are many botanicals around the house which have turned it green in many places. I think soot from the fireplace has turned the chimney black. I would like to have someone take a look at the condition. I have attached a couple pics (pic 1 & pic 2)of the stone and would like some advise and consulting service. Please advise who or what company would be helpful. Thanks, David, May 15, Reply
R1: Hi , Willy is my name from Belgium . I could not open and see your pict. but anough experience . I doute to have good news , but can give you a advise , sand blasthing ,dont have any idea if you can find in Houston a company , size of the sand IMPORTANT , test need to be done ,no idea how big you house is ,Muriatic acide can do it aswell BUT delicat to do. Best .Willy
R2: Dear Stained Stones, There is a simple low cost solution to your problem... you can rent a medium size pressure washer (1200 to 1600psi) and clean it yourself in a single weekend. There will be no chemicals to worry about and the hedges and shrubs will be safe, as only water and pressure used here. You can blast it so white in fact it can be brought to quarry original color. You can hire this done by local pressure washer folks, or rent (purchase) a machine yourself and keep it for future use. I see some mold on the chimney as well that can be cleaned by same method. Do be careful to get the blast too close near trim and caulk, as it can blast it away as well. There is a great little washer by Karcher available on one of the TV network stores (not sure if it is QVC or who), but I saw it last week for 130 dollars. I have one and it cleans my limestone great. Good Luck, Larry, Temple,
R3: I am willing to help in this project. Please let me know how can I contact you. Looking forward to be able to help, Sandra
R4: David, I would try power washing it before i would try any chemical cleaners. You may be surprised at the results. I do not know what the E.P.A laws are in texas, but here in Pa. we have to use biodegradable products that are safe for the environment. You could use tri sodium phosphate mixed with the water in the power washer.If this doe`s not work for you ,then contact a company called Gran Quartz,they are a vendor we buy stone equipment from. They sell a large selection of cleaners and sealers,and they will tell you what to use. Good luck Sincerely Mr. Joseph F. Mushinsky, Joseph
R5: David, The stone you have is a three unit pitched face ashlar in Cordova Creme (Austin) limestone. You can use regular old household bleach to lighten the dark and green areas. Personally, I would spray it on with a pump up type garden sprayer as the use of a high pressure wash can and will damage this stone. If you do decide to use a pressure washer, please do not exceed 200 to 300 psi, and do not use any cleaners that contain acid of any sort. The black on your walls and chimney is a natural weathering phenomone and is nature's way of protecting the stone with a case hardened surface coat. The chimney is so much darker since it is more exposed to the elements that the stone below the eves of the house. The bleach will lighten the stone back up. I have material around my shop that is literally bleck from being under trees in the weather, and a couple of bleach applications brings its natural unweathered color and appearence right back. Good luck, JVC
Q 6715: On holiday in Portugal we visited the marble town of vila vicosa.In the museum we were told that in the marble quarries a very hard sandstone is sometimes found that has to be dug or blasted out because it resists cutting even with a diamond cutter. Our guide named the substance in Portuguese but did not know the english word.What is this sandstone and why is it so hard? May 14, Reply
R1: Hi, I'm not familiar with this particular situation, but thinking about it in geologic terms, it does make sense. Marble is what limestone becomes when subjected to the heat and pressure of metamorphic processes. Many times in a sedimentary section that is predominately limestone and shale, there will be layers of sandstone also. If this entire section under goes metamorphism, the sandstone will also be altered into a material called quartzite. Quartzite is not only very hard as the mineral content is moh's hardness 7 =, but extremely abrasive. My experience with trying to cut quartzite with a diamond saw blade has been to watch the matrix that holds the diamonds turn bright red, and then sling off the blade leaving behind nothing but a steel disk. There are blades made for soft stone (marble) and blades made for hard stone(granite). In a marble quarry, the saw blades would not be effective when a much harder stone is encountered. Just my take on the subject, JVC
Q 6714: I would like to use a nice looking stone for my kitchen counter tops. My wife and I were considering limestone, but after reading all the horror stories about scratches, stains, absorptions, etcâ?¦ I think it is NOT for us. Could you please suggest a stone category having the highest durability, stain resistance, and least absorbent. Thank you, Dean, May 14, Reply
R1: Dear Dean: There are many commercial granites that would fit your bill. However, 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"?! 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 6713: We just moved to a house where the bathroom is all marble and wondered what products can be used to clean it. Also, we have a problem with mildew in the grout between the marble tile in the shower area. what can we use to clean the grout without hurting the marble? HELP! I'm tired of looking at this gross shower!! May 14, Reply
R1: Dear Meghan: If the mildew is only due to poor housekeeping, then my MB-9 will do the job without hurting the marble. However, all too many times (and I sincerely hope that I'm wrong on this one) the presence of heavy mildew is the
forebearer of really bad news. :-( Keep in mind that if it turns out to be the case, you do have a ... case. You can hold the house inspector responsible for not deteching the problem. Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6712: My husband and I just purchase some Botticino Semi Classico polished marble tiles. We got a great deal on them and thought we would put them in our kitchen. We haven't had them installed yet. The salesman said the tiles would work well in the kitchen, but several
of our friends have said that that is incorrect. We have been told that they crack and stain easy. I also looked into sealants for the marble to prevent stains, but I read that marble absorbs the sealant and can be ruined. Can you please give me some advice on this subject. Thank you, Audrey
, May 14, Reply
R1: Dear Audrey: I seldom find so much misinformation concentrated in such a short message!! :-) The salesman is a moron ma dyou friends are right. You do not want polished marble in a kitchen! It will NOT stain, but it will etch like crazy ("water
stains", "warer rings", etc.) and no impegnator/sealer under the sun will ever do the first thing to prevent that! The possible cracking could only be linked to poor installation, and it has nothing to do with the fact that's marble.Finally, not only wil the marble NOT absorbe any impregnator/sealer (Botticino does not absorb anything), but even if it did it wouldn't be damaged by it, that's for sure! Bottom line, stay away from it!! Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6711: Last summer we installed what was represented to be Black Indian Granite as our kitchen countertops. We are very disappointed that it stains very easily. Substances such as lemon, lime and tomato juice seem to be the worst, but they are not alone. Pots, pans, glasses and dishes sometimes leave rings if they are wet or sweat.
We cannot get rid of these stains ourselves. We've had it stripped, cleaned and resealed several times but to no avail. So we are now to the point that because of our beautiful countertops, we cannot use our kitchen in its normal intended fashion.
Is this normal for granite? Is black granite different? Does Indian granite have any unique characteristics? Any suggestions? Dave,
May 14,Reply
R1: Dear Dave: Black Jet Indian granite is one of the best that money can buy. It’s virtually bullet-proof and nothing can etch it, unless … some “Michelangelo” applied some impregnator/sealer on it thinking that it was granite! I am afraid, however,, that your case is different and worse than that. It reached my attention the recently another type of Indian Black granite entered the market and it turned out to be a “mutt” stone. Which means that it contains a certain percentage of Calcium Carbonate. If that’s your case, then it’s hopeless, but you do have a case. In fact, you’re not supposed to have those sorts of problems, and you can easily take your fabricator to court on the grounds that black “granite” is not supposed to behave like that. Maurizio, Expert Panelist
R2: Hey Dave,While you wait for your lawsuit to recoup your losses, try some Oxalic Acid. It may clean it up. Jim
Q 6710: We are having problems with staining of our kitchen counter. The invoice description is "Volcano Black Granite" and we were told it is from India.
It stains vey badly with lemon, lime and tomato juices and other substances. Pots, pans, dishes and glasses sometimes leave rings if they are wet. The installer has stripped, polished and resealed a few times, but to no avail. Frequently, the old stains reappear after a few days and new stains continue to occur. We are beginnin to wonder if we have marble or some stone other than granite.

We had black granite counters in an apartment for six years (and it was six years old when we moved in). In the six years we lived there, we never stripped, polished or resealed and we never had a stain of any sort whatsoever. And we used that counter in the same way we are useing this one. HELP PLEASE! Dave, May 13, Reply

R1: Maybe you could use black Slate, it is very resistent, you could use any kind of acid to clean slate. Rogerio
R2: try funisher oil on your countertop,it will darkin them a little ,but will seal and should cover all the stains. it might take a few coats. try it first in a small hidden area. it has saved me many times with slate. Fred
Q 6709: I appreciate the input regarding our flagstone. We were told to seal the flagstone with a penetrating sealer to keep it from breaking down over the years, and to help bring out the color. The stone has many plant fossils, with beautiful purples and light terra cotta colors that look like ripples of water. I don't know if the stone was damp when the sealer was applied, but it was when the strippers were applied (muriatic acid and some other commercial stripper 'Mirstrip'). As far as being immersed in salt water, I'm pretty sure that didn't happen. Re: water with sulfates...who knows?
So, you think the only salvation is to turn it over? Of course, we spent days going over it picking the most interesting/beautiful side. There's no remedy you know of to bring it back? Thanks for your help! Carrie,
May 11, Reply
R1: Well Carrie, I sure hope that your "flagstone" was not a limestone, or a calcitic sandstone. Flagstone is a descriptive term, that is used for stones of many different compositions.If it contains any calcite, than those acid based "strippers" (what were you stripping anyway) have damaged your stone. It's a shame that some stone installers don't know squat about the stone they work with. Good luck, JVC
Q 6708: We have a marble top table were we eat our meals and their are numerous water marks on it from glasses. What can we do to restore the table with out these marks and bring back its luster? I did use turtle wax to buff it out, and it did improve somewhat, however it is as if it requires something a bit more coarse to remove the stains, and after that is accomplished, can I put a seal on it to protect it? May 11, Reply
R1: Dear Richard: You can take a look at my marble repair kit. It may not work on all your “water stains” (BTW, they are acid etches), but it will give you a nice improvement. As for the “miracle sealer” to avoid those sorts of “stains”, there’s no such animal. At least not yet! Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6707: We're new to the granite world and just had our first countertops installed. Granite was suggested by our cousin's boyfriend who,supposedly, has been installing granite in multi-million dollar homes for 30 years. We aren't from those neighborhoods so he suggestedgetting pre-fab slabs and he would do the fabrication and installation at a "discount."

Unfortunately, our education (mostly from your site, findstone.com) is coming after we started having problems, including the installeravoiding our calls. The questionable granite is almond-mauve, which we've learned is more absorbent than other granites.

What happened: About 2 hours after the installer left we started noticing darkening circles on the surface...right about where he hadput gobs of Liquid Nails adhesive to fix it to the plywood. It's been 3 weeks now and the stains aren't going away. We've tried anacetone/paper towel poultice for about 4 hours and that didn't have any impact. Any suggestions? I did put down a fluropolymer sealer on secondday...should I remove that and try the poultice again? Help! Steve, May 11, Reply

R1: Dear Steve: How do you want it, sugar coated, or right in between your eyes? That guy’s been installing granite countertop in multi-million dollar homes and he recommends pre-fab?? WOW!!! And the he uses Liquid Nail to bond the stone to the plywood?? Triple WOW!!! That “Michelangelo” is amazing all right! I’m wondering if they install granite countertops in jail. He could make a career there where he belongs!! Bottom line: it’s terminal. Those stains will never come out. Silver lining: Hey, it’s only money! :-( :-) Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, Expert Panelist
R1: Steve, I work for a fabricator near Houston, and Maurizio is absolutely correct. No custom fabricator with any resemblance of ethics would recommend pre-fab granite. It is an alarming trend, and I firmly believe it will damage the industry unless the general public is educated soon. Secondly, on top of the "Michaelangelo" as Maurizio put it, Almond Mauve is a terrible choice of stone. If I were you, I would find the installer, literally hunt him down, and make him do right be the installation, by whatever means necessary. Liquid nails, or any type of "oil-based" adhesive should ever be used with granite installation. So sorry for your situation. Alisha
Q 6706: We have a slate fire place and wish to enhance the color to the "wet look" using a sealer. Can you recommend a sealer for this purpose. Dick Drew, May 11, Reply

R1: Dear Dick: My outlandish MB-6 stone color enhancer is “your man!” It will give you the same depth of color as when the slate is wet. Maurizio, Expert Panelist

Q 6705: We are building a home and would like to put Brazilian or Indian natural slate in the kitchen, dining, foyer, and mudroom areas. We have infloor heat with a concrete pour. Is this slate a good choice? Are there special precautions I should know about when treating and installing. Are some areas more suited for this type of slate than others? Any information would be very helpful. Thanks, Amanda, May 11, Reply
R1: Dear Amanda: In a nutshell: STAY AWAY FROM SLATE, PERIOD! And don’t forget to thank me! Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, Expert panelist
Q 6704: Can you tell me how to maintain my granite countertops. Also is granite easily chipped or damaged? Also is the granite completely sealed by the seller and should it be sealed by the installer as well? Thank you, Helen, May 11, Reply
R1: Dear Helen: Unless the slab get resined by the factory, no “granite” comes sealed by the seller. Is the fabricator who’s supposed to seal it with a good-quality stone impregnator as part of the job, IF the particular “granite” at hand needs to be sealed at all. About the shipping, some “granite” is more prone to chipping than others. Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6703: Please help!! I have a 2 year old bathroom countertop that is granite and was never sealed. I never knew you had to seal granite and now there are lots of water spots on it. How can I properly remove these water spots so I may seal the countertop?? Please help. I’ve tried cleaners, vinegar and distilled water, rubbing alcohol, Michelle, May 11, Reply
R1: Dear Michelle: You obviously have a marble countertop. Granite does not get “water stains.” “Water stains” do not exist: they are surface damages (etches) occurring on contact between the surface of calcite-based stones (marble, travertine, etc.) and pH active liquids (acids and certain bases). Vinegar for instance is an acid (acetic) and further damaged your stone. No sealer is available to prevent that. At this point in time you need too see a professional stone refinisher who will asses the real nature of your stone first, and then suggest a course of action that will most likely imply the restoration of your vanity top by honing and re-polishing it. Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6702: I want to put durango limestone on my countertops in my kitchen. What must i know about the upkeep and care of the stone. any advice is greatly welcomed, May 11, Reply
R1: Dear : What you want to know about Durango is the following: It is not a limestone: it’s rather a travertine. (Which is better than limestone.) You do not want it as material for a kitchen countertop. Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6701: I’m having Baltic brown granite installed in my kitchen next week. Any advise on sealing, cleaning etc. I’ve read a lot on your information and have heard some of the old wives tales. Windex, not windex, no 409 etc. Should I do the lemon juice test first and then go from there. I have 3 kids and I need something I can use daily to clean up the counters. HELP Thanks, Bridget, May 11, Reply
R1: Dear Bridget: Baltic brown is a very good choice if you get a top-grade slab. It typically does not need to be sealed with an impregnator, but it’s one of those stone that could presents variation of absorbency between a bundle of slabs and the next. Therefore the application of a good-quality stone impregnator/sealer like my outlandish MB-4 could be a good bet. To find out, you can run a little test with some water and some cooking oil (don’t bother with the lemon juice: Baltic Brown will NOT etch). Let the two liquids sit on the surface of a piece of scrap (possibly from the same slab) for ten minutes or so, and then wipe it dry. If under either one of the two liquids you will notice a slight darkening of the stone, then you will apply an impregnator/sealer. Maurizio, Expert Panelist
R2: This gentleman does not have a granite counter top in his current digs. The previous experience was proper for granite which is impervious to acidic fruit juices. It sounds as though his vendor supplied a carbonate based rock, such as a black marble (probably dyed) or a dolomite (also dyed). Silica based rock will not stain as he describes. His vendor's tail is the crack! Bob
Q 6700: We have some chipped travertine that we just installed...what can we use to fix this problem? May 11, Reply
R1: Dear Kiersten: There’s only one thing that I suggest you to do: make a telephone call and have your installer come back and fix the problem. Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6699: We have purchased a home that has four ornate marble columns supporting a small marble porch. The overall effect is beautiful, and the installation appears to have been performed well. However, the marble is very pink and has grey veins (I don't know the specific variety, but it was imported from China). We are curious as to whether it would be possible to apply some kind of glaze or other semi-opaque coating to tone down the color of the marble, while still being able to see some of the underlying features of the stone. If so, are there any products you would recommend? If glazing is not possible, is it practical to paint marble? The surface of the marble is somewhat rough, and does not appear to have been sealed. Any advice would be appreciated. M.R. May 11, Reply
R1: Dear Martin: Just forget about the whole painting and glazing thing. Just learn how to appreciate the real color of the stone. Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6698: My husband and I are considering installing granite slab counters in our home. The actual installation (from what we have seen/read) does not appear to be the tricky part, more in the handling of the slabs. Is it as brittle as I am gathering? How risky would it be to lift a 3x8 slab if carried by 4-5 men? We are worried about breaking the slabs during handling, although we are prepared to treat them as if they were glass. I understand the main concern is the slabs must be supported properly. My husband is quite skilled in carpentry & masonry, but has just never done slab counters before. paying the $40/sq.ft. for installation seems ridiculous to us. Any thoughts/idea/input is appreciated. Thanks. May 11, Reply
R1: Dear Roslyn: And what do you expect me to do? Give you detailed guidelines on how to carry a granite slab inside the house and pose it on top of your cabinets??
There’s no such a thing, but if I had to summarize it, my guidelines would be: “Do it very carefully!” It shouldn’t be too difficult, but as a professional I can’t advise you to do it yourself. Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6697: The marble flooring in my house seems to have lots of brown patches now. What is the best way to maitain marble flooring? It would be helpful if you could inform what should regularly be used for cleaning the marble flooring and what to be avoided. Also pointing to any web site where more information is available on this would be ver helpful.Thanks, Manjula, May 11, Reply
Dear Manjula Rao, First of all , what are the brown patches of ?
There are two distinct posibilities:
(a) These are rust stains. These have developed over the years because of rusting (oxidation) of the iron particles in the stone because of regular wet mopping or due to atmospheric oxidation.
(b) These brown patches may be just accumulation of dirt over the polished stone. This is more likely to happen if you had wax polished your stone at the time of laying.
Both the possibilities can be treated but removal or Iron stains is a very time consuming and lengthy process and is never realy followed. Only in cases of stones of historical value etc. the process is employed. In case of dust deposit the same can be treated by washing with a (1) stripper, (2) Dirt cleaner & (3) treatment with a stoneguard (penetreating sealer).
If you are interested the same can be arranged from a dealer from your area or you can buy it directly from the manufacturer. Regards, Arun
Q 6696: I am considering putting slate in my bathroom floor and walls, including the walls in the tub area. I am really concerned that the maintenance will be too much. Is it true that it will need to be sealed every year at least once? Is this a very involved process or do you just need to spray it with some stuff? thanks, Judy, May 11, Reply
R1: Dear Judy: Forget about the sealing thing. You wouldn’t be solving a thing with that. You do NOT want slate anywhere on your house but the roof, period!Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6695: Do you have any parameters in inspecting rough granite blocks,or is the usual method of pouring water over the surface and observing with the naked eye for any fractures or patches?any instruments which can agument the procedure? Naven, May 10, Reply
R1: Dear Naven, What are you looking for in those rough blocks? Are they just ordinary commercial blocks or are they really "rough" blocks. Why would you want to buy "rough" blocks? Is it because they are really cheap and you are not sure what you are getting for a low price? Assuming you meant commercial blocks there are many things that can be done. However, the more certainty you want the more sophisticated the techniques and the more expensive they will be. If there are several hundred "suspect" blocks that you are trying to buy for a good price then it is worth getting a pulse velocity generator to measure the speed through the stone. Fractures will greatly reduce the speed from one side to the other so at least you know if there is a fracture in the block. If you are trying to inspect for colour or texture uniformity you can polish the ends of the blocks but this is a lot of trouble to go to. If you are looking for mineralogical consistency then you might want to take small samples and do petrographic analyses. Apart from that a pressure hosing is a good first approximation. (Dr. Hans)
Q 6694: I can't thank you enough for your site. We recently purchased black galaxy countertops. After the installation I noticed that the island had surface scratches. The installer returned attempted to buff the counter and ended up taking it back for polishing. I initially insisted on a new counter, but of course a match from the same slab was not available. He "polished" the counter I inspected it and it was reinstalled. However, under direct light the center of the island has lost its sheen. I am ready to hire somone else. Is there anything I can do. Thanks, Ty in NJ, May 10, Reply
R1: Dear Ty in NJ: No, there’s nothing that you can do. Do not accept that island and hire someone else. Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6693: We just recently have granite countertops (black pearl) installed in our kitchen. When the installers were placing the pieces, my wife noticed fissures in two areas. One of them runs all the way to the edge of the stone and measure 8 inches in length - you can easily feel it by just running your fingers on it. The other one is on a separate piece, about 7-8 inches in length and somewhere in the middle of the 2 foot long width of the stone - you have to run your fingernails on it to feel it. When we pointed them out to the granite guys, they said, the first one that runs all the way to the edge was their fault, as it is deeper and runs to the edge. For the other one, their reaction was different, they said it is really very minor and could show up in granites from time to time. So their suggestion is to buff it up and see if we like it - plus give us a life-time warranty in case something happens due to the fissure. In summary, they are going to replace the first piece and will buff up the 2nd one.
My question is, should we accept the 2nd piece in its fixed condition if the fissure is invisible w/ the written life-time warranty or should we ask them to replace the whole thing? Thanks in advance for your response. Regards, Celal,
May 10, Reply
R1: Dear Celal: I am impressed!! Yours is a fabricator who takes responsibility for their mistakes! The first one is a crack; the second one is natural fissure in the stone. Go along with what your fabricator said and consider yourself fortunate and be glad that you’re dealing with such responsible outfit! 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 6692: I have a black and grey swirl granite floor throughout my foyer, kitchen and dining room. I have had it for 7 years. I am having trouble maintaining it. I usually clean it with ammonia and hot water. There is a cloudy haze that I cannot get rid of. What should I do? I asked a granite cleaning specialist and he suggested that I diamond crystalize the floor and then buff it. He wanted to charge me $500.00. The area is 500 square feet. Does that seem right? Please let me know. Thanks, May 10, Reply
R1: Dear: That “granite cleaning specialist” is a total quack! If your floor needs to be restored (refinished) you would be looking at something like $7,500.00 (I’m NOT kidding). For $500.00 tat “professional” going to screw up your floor, I promise! The word “crystallize” alone speaks volume about that guy! Get rid of him! Now the question is: does your floor need to be refinished? In the kitchen, maybe; in the other areas probably not. Do you have this “haze” all over, or only in the kitchen? Using water and ammonia is not a good thing to do, but, hopefully the stone did not get permanently damaged. You’re in direct contact with me now. Answer my question above and then we’ll take it from there. Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6691: We have installed alot of 3 rivers flagstone throughout our yard. As an experiment, my landscaper put a sealer/polish on a portion of it, and it looks beautiful. He then (at the advice of the stone yard) put a different sealer on the rest of the yard. When he put the polish on, a white sediment came up on most of the stones. He was told to strip it, then put the polish on again. The white is much worse. He has now stripped the stone multiple times with stone stripper, at the last using straight muriatic acid. At this point, the stone is almost solid white and does not resemble anything like the original bold colored stone we put in. Is there anything we can do to get rid of this sediment?? Thanks so much to anyone who can help!! Carrie, in California, May 10, Reply
R1: Hello Carrie, There is a lot of information missing and I've encountered a few different strippers but I don't know what a stone stripper is. It sounds to me as though the river flagstones could have been damp. After the sealer was applied there is a likelihood that you are witnessing efflorescence being deposited on the surface which is emanating from the stone. It could even be silicate bloom. Is there a possibility that the flagstone was immersed in salt-water or in water containing sulphates? Why on Earth would you want to seal flagstone?? Turn it over, split it in half, or whatever, but don't seal it! (Dr. Hans), Expert Panelist
Q 6690: Want giallo Veneziano counter installation, includes back splash and under-mounted sink, approximately 140 square foot price. Also, will wall paper have to be removed from back splash area before installation? Susan, May 07, Reply
R1: Dear Susan: Besides the wallpaper issue (yes, it’s best to have it removed) what’s the question? My first comment would be that at that price they’d better be darn good!!
Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6689: I am about to buy and install honed travertine floors in my home. I wanted to know if you have any opinion regarding the quality of 18"x18" Selendi Beige travertine tiles (first grade) from Turkey. Also, I read conflicting advice regarding the spacing on these tiles. I want to install them butt-joint rather than using a 1/16" spacing. When butt-joining, can't I apply sealant at the joints to prevent water filtration. Thanks, Julio, May 07, Reply
R1: Dear Julio: It’s a good stone.No, you do NOT want to butt-joint. 1/16 gap is your man! No, a sealer wouldn’t stop the water from going in between tiles.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 6688: I beleive the stone is rrefered to as Verde Marnoce.It has large rocks in it of various sizes shapes and colors.The body is mainly green.It seems to have alot of heavy quartz crystals in some of the rocks.The problem I'm having is the installer is having a hard time with the slabs cracking, even though the stone has a mesh/epoxy backing.He laid the first slab today and there are 2 definite cracks in the slabs.(more by the sink area, in front and behind) Is this normal to have that many cracks in the stone??I went back to the yard already once to pick out another slab,(one of ours was cracked in half) and ALL the slabs (green marnce)were cracked pretty much 1/3 of the way down. Any advice in this matter would be greatly appreciated..Thanks...Ron, May 07, Reply
R1: Dear Ron: Jeez, man! With all the beautiful and worry-free greens that there are out there you must insist in that crap??! You do NOT want to accept those cracks by the sink (those areas should have been rodded by your fabricator), but it looks to me that insisting on that stone you’re really looking for trouble. In the hands of the “right guy” you could get away with it and live happily ever after, but it doesn’t seem to be the case here.Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6687: I have read on your Website's discussion list that it is bad to switch granite sealers. But I have not seen an explanation for this warning. My granite company originally sealed my granite (Blanco Romano) with a StoneCare penetrating sealer product (Stoneguard) which is solvent based. I am thinking about two switches. First, I would like to use a water based penetrating sealer. Second, I am thinking about using a product manufacturer other than StoneCare. What exactly is the risk to my granite if I do either (or both) of these things? Thanks. Mike, May 07, Reply
R1: Dear Michael: There are a few cases scenario.
1.Solvent-carried + solvent-carried. In many instances nothing happens, but the performance of the second impregnator could be limited. In certain other instances there may be incompatibility between the two products in the form of blotchy, unsightly stains.
2.Solvent-carried + water carried. The possibility of non-compatibility does not exist. However there’s no guarantee that the second impregnator will work at its best.
3.Water carried + solvent carried. Se point 1. above.
4.Water- carried + water carried. See point 2. above.
That said, in the majority of the instances, applying a water-carried product after a solvent-carried product, presents no risk and it will work just fine. But if the second sealer will not perform at its best it can’t be fairly judged on its merit. Any other questions? You’re in direct contact with me now.Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6686: My partner has white Kashmir granite in his apartment (kitchen/ bathroom). The week before last, we went on a short holiday and forgot to empty our fruit bowl (wire type bowl) before we left. Whilst we were away, the banana's in the bowl went "off" and opened up and seeped beneath the bowl and onto the granite. It left quite a large stain. I tried a product called "Oil-Ex" which has been effective for oil stains, however, after 3 tries (upon advice from a granite provider in our home town) the stain is still there, and in fact has gone bigger as the product I applied was slightly larger than the stain and it seems that this has now stained it also.
Any advice you would have would be GREATLY appreciated. The kitchen is centrepiece of the apartment and the stain is in a very obvious place.
Thanks in advance for your time and I hope to hear from you soon. Best regards, Natasha,
May 07, Reply
R1: Dear Natasha from Down-Under: How could you possible expect to remove an organic stain with an oil stain remover?? :-(
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! Such impressive piece of literature will also tell you how to tell stains apart from “stains”, and what to do about the latter! It does carry a small price tag, and you can order it through our EDUCATIONAL LITERATURE Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6685: We just had a Brazilian Santa Celia Granite installed 2 weeks ago. It is of medium shades of rust, brown, white, and black with speckles of cranberry. Today I noticed it absorbed water that was on the counter under a cutting board for about 3 hours. Where the water was, the granite darkened. It appears to be drying up and lightening at the moment. Is this normal? What if a beverage like soda or tea remained on top of the granite? Would it stain permanantly? Our granite is sealed. We were told it would never need to be resealed. Is that true as well? What do you recommend in order to maintain the shine? Thanks, D. Bas, May 07, Reply
R1: Dear D. Bas: Your granite is sealed?? So why did it absorb all that water?
It will never need to be re-sealed again?? I thought that offering a 10-year warranty on my MB-4 was a pretty darn good feature already! Besides, considering the results, who cares how long that “amazing sealer” will last?! :-)
Your concerns about the absorption of liquids other than water are legit.
Should you decide to purchase one, you will be entitled to ask for our maintenance guidelines at no charge, just for the asking! Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6684: I have a small stone patio and am finding because it is cheap we are getting a lot of dust of the slabs. Would a silicon based sealer sort this out and what do you recommend? Many thanks for your help and time in this matter. May 07, Reply
R1: Dear Ian: I usually never answer questions like that, but this one is … “Unique!” Because your slab is cheap the dust accumulates on it?? Are you perhaps implying that the dust in your neck of the woods is selective and deposits only on cheap stuff, while leaving the more expensive one clean?? Does you dust know about prices??!! You’re just kidding, aren’t ya! Let me tell ya, you almost got me!! :-) Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6683: My family wants marble in the bathrooms (walls, floor and countertop). We are looking for a fairly subdued beige color like crema marfil. Your website makes it clear that we should stay clear of limestones. But what about crema marfil which the website indicates is really a limestone? Are there any true marbles that look similar? Thank you. Joanne, May 07, Reply
R1: Dear Joanne: Crema Marfil is not just limestone: is compact limestone. In fact it’s denser than marble and just as good if not better for the use you intend to do.
Go for it, but keep in mind that you will have to be concerned about maintenance starting right now! There’s nothing difficult about it, but the lack of specific intelligence will lead to lots of troubles! I.e.: if the tiles inside the shower enclosure are not set in the right way, you will have an installation failure down the road! Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6682: My query is related to Limestone countertops and would like it directed to Stephen from Canada. I am building a new home this summer (Almonte, Ont. Canada Just outside of Ottawa) and would like to know your expert opinion on installing limestone countertops. I like the soft look of limestone but will it stand up in the kitchen?
Also, I was looking at installing limestone tiles and the entrances and in the bathrooms of the home. Again, your expert opinion is welcomed. Lastly, do you know of any retailers in and around the Ottawa area? Thanks, Kevin, May 07,
Q 6681: I just discovered your site and will refer customers to it from now forward. This will save me some time in of finding a diplomatic way to explain that inclusions, veining and irregularities are part of the beauty of natural stone, and shouldn't be considered defects. In reading many of the posted questions on your site, I heard echoes of what clients regularly ask me. They seem to expect that granite and other stones will be absolutely consistent in pattern, will perform forever without maintenance, and are the single answer to all their countertop desires. Thank you for your honest and frank responses. To my knowledge, there is no single material for countertops that is maintenance-free, heat-proof, unbreakable, free of inclusions and comes in a variety of styles and colors to please the American sensibilities. Many clients not only expect this level of performance, but they also want a lifetime guaranty and for a price comparable with laminated countertops. If you come across such a product, would you please let me know? May 04, Reply
Q 6680: What are the problems with using slate on the floor? Can they be avoided? Are they type specific (comparing China to Vermont, for example)? Is there any honed granite countertop that is relatively maintenance free (without turning it black with a color enhancer)? Does everyone think that the honed finish is a bad idea (I know Maurizio does)? What are the problems with onyx? When can and can't it be used and why? May 04 , Reply
R1: All the time. No. If they could they wouldn’t be problems any more. Not really. Nope. Same problems as with marble. The only difference is that it’s even more delicate. Mauizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6679: I have a brand new (3 weeks old) absolute black "granite" counter. I know the counter has been sealed. I am already getting "stains" which I suspect is the etching of the sealant rather than the stone itself. I do not know what sealant was used. One stain is from ginger ale and another from salad dressing. Now please realize that I am not a complete slob, but I don't hover over my counter with a damp rag either to mop up spills. I believe in order for a kitchen counter to be functional you need to have a little flexibility.

Having said all this, I have read through your website and have pretty much decided that the sealant is the problem and must be removed. I wish I had found this info before ordering my counter but ....My fabricator wants to have no part of that procedure so it is up to me to do it. I have seen advice ranging from right angle buffer with oxalic acid, to acetone and paint stripper. Please advise the best way for me to do this with minimum disruption as I actually use my kitchen. Thank you for your help. Sara, May 04 , Reply

R1: Dear Sara: Boy, you sure did your homework!! You’re darn straight: you should be able to use and abuse your granite countertop with no worries, and black absolute is ideal for doing just that. What really bugs me is to learn that your fabricator doesn’t want to have any part of that, considering that they were so stupid to create the problem. If I were you I would demand them to rectify their wrongdoing and I wouldn’t take no as an answer. Removing an impregnator/sealer is not easy for a homeowner. The handling of a right-angle buffer with oxalic acid is better left to a professional stone refinisher. If you really want to do it yourself, then use a paint stripper based on Methylene Chloride. Nasty stuff! Follow all precautionary directions and warnings printed on the can. After that, you WILL care for your countertop in the right way, won’t you?! :-) Maurizio, Expert Panelist
R2: If an impregnating sealer was used you can apply Stain-Proof (2 coats) an Australian product that will go into your stone through the other impregnating sealer and protect it against any oil based or water based stains. There would be no need to remove the previous sealer. Stain Proof is alcohol based so it's not carcinogenic and the "alcohol" smell dissipates quite rapidly. For an even better seal on black absolute one coat of Stain-Proof followed by one coat of Dry Treat's Porcelain sealer is even stronger. Bob
Q 6678: We are seriously considering using Bianco Romano tile in our showers in our new home because it is beautiful. It is white with burgundy spots. But I am very concerned about it's practicality. I do not find Bianco Romano in your list of World's Most Popular Granites". Are you familiar with this "granite" from Brazil? Can you give me any advice on it? Thank you for your response. Rose, May 04 , Reply
R1: Dear Rose: Bianco Romano is a wonderful stone. Very durable, too! It will require some serious sealing with my “best in the whole universe and beyond” MB-4 impregnator/sealer! Keep also in mind that the way those tiles will be installed is of paramount importance. I’ve seen all too many shower installation failures due to poor installation techniques. Read all about it in my maintenance guidelines for residential stone installations which are available on pay-per-download format on the EDUCATIONAL LITERATURE Maurizio, Expert Panelist
R2: Rose, also consider Stain-Proof. I will protect your stone from stains, make it easier to clean and prevent water from being absorbed by the stone and grout. It also protects against efflorescence - white calcium carbonate deposits caused when salts from the underlying substrata reach the surface and react with air. Bob
Q 6677: I found your web site while in search for some way to clean the black mildew (or something) from the face of the sandstones that are around my home. It was built around 1913 and needs to be cleaned.I have tried pressure washing (2850 psi @ 2.9 gpm) but that doesn't really get the worst of it. I suppose that I am looking for something magical, but, there may be a way. Thanks for any information you can provide or refer me to. Frank, May 04 , Reply
R1: Dear Elna: Power-washing should work. It all depends on the chemical you used to power-wash your sandstone with. You’re in direct contact with me now. Let me know what you used and then we’ll take it from there. Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, Expert Panelist
R2: Once you get the stone cleaned, if you apply Stain-Proof which prevents water and oil based stains from being absorbed into stone it will reduce future mildew infestation and make them easier to clean. This is because stone treated with Stain-Proof will repel water. Since the stone
can't absorb water the organism can only lightly adhere to the surface as there will be no water in the stone to nourish it. Future cleaning could be accomplished by a light bleach and water mixture. Bob
Q 6676: I have a question regarding a recent granite install. My tile installer laid a pattern of travertine and granite (combination of Black Galaxy and Emerald Pearl) in my front entrance. Although the granite tiles were clean and shiny in the box, some now have a "cloudy" or "hazed" appearance. He has only laid them down with thin set and has not grouted the area yet. I have tried scrubbing the floor with clean water, daily stone wash, a heavy duty cleaner by Tile Lab, as well as lots of elbow grease, but they still have that cloudy appearance. It looks horrible compared to some of the patterns (same stone) that are shiny and clear. Any suggestions on how to get them back to their natural state shy of polishing or removing them? Help!! May 04 , Reply
R1: Dear Laurie: First off I’m a little confused by your opening statement. You mention a combination of granite and travertine, but then you mention Black Galaxy and Emerald Pearl – which are both commercial granite. Where is the travertine? Was it just a typo? That said I really don’t know what to say about your reported problem. It’s hard to imagine that your setter could have use any chemical so damaging to ruin the finish of those two extremely tough stones. Could it be that they are factory flawed? After all it is my understanding that not all of the tiles are cloudy. I could even suggest that it could be some grout film, since the setter has still to grout … Without actually seeing those tiles I don’t think that anybody could ever come up with a solution. Sorry. Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6675: Is there a way to treat a so-called marble (Champlain Black) that's really a limestone so that it can withstand swimming-pool levels of chlorine pouring across it for 1400 hours per year? the pH is held at 7.5 - 8.2. This would be in an artificial outdoor stream. Champlain Black polishes well, so I assume it is a hard limestone. Its real name may be Crown Point Limestone. Thank you, Joan, May 04 , Reply
R1: Dear Joan: Being than the pH is going to be kept at a very light alkaline level I don’t foresee any major problem with Champlain Black (I am quite familiar with that particular stone) from a chemical reactivity point of view. Needless to say, you will have to consider some degree of erosion due to the mechanical activity of the water, however.Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6674: Would like to seek answer as to why marble based engineered stone in size 600x600x12mm standing alone leaning against the wall for several months warped slightly in the centre? Is it because of the characteristic structure of the resin used for engineered stone? May 04 , Reply
R1: Dear Steven: If the manufacturer of the product doesn’t know why it warps (and I’m sure they’re aware of the problem) how do you expect that anybody else has an answer to your question??! Whatever I could theorize about it would only be some mumbo-jumbo and totally useless to boot! Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 6673: Would like to seek answer as to why marble based engineered stone in size 600x600x12mm standing alone leaning against the wall for several months warped slightly in the centre? Is it because of the characteristic structure of the resin used for engineered stone? I'm planning to install travertine tile in my bathroom on the floor, walls, and shower (entire enclosure). Is this a good/bad choice, and what, if any, sealing do I need to apply after the installation? I appreciate your input. The website is awesome! George, May 03 , Reply
R1: Dear George: Travertine is indeed an excellent choice, because is quite a dense stone. If it’s hone-finished then you may want to consider applying an impregnator/sealer (like my outlandish MB-4) in the shower enclosure. If it’s polished, you won’t need to seal anywhere. But … especially is the shower enclosure the way the tiles are set is critical! All shower stall major problems comes from a poor installation! Learn all about it by getting my maintenance guidelines for residential stone installations! They are available on pay-per-download format on the EDUCATIONAL LITERATURE Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, Expert Panelist
R2: Also consider Stain-Proof. I will protect your stone from stains, make it easier to clean and prevent water from being absorbed by the stone and grout. It also protects against efflorescence - white calcium carbonate deposits caused when salts from the underlying substrata reach the surface and react with air. BOB
If only I would have found this website before installing a new kitchen! Kandis!