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ADVICE WANTED!   November 08 , 2003
www.findstone.com   info@findstone.com
Q 5715: I'm looking at Impala Black for a kitchen countertop. Is this one of the blacks you argue against? Which of your publications do you recommend I purchase? Thanks, Kathy, Nov 09, Reply
R1: Dear Kathy Wilson: Usually Impala Black is a very good choice. But usually doesn't mean all the time! That's why I seldom comment about any one particular stone. There may be differences within the same stone (and I'm not talking about looks, here!) from one bundle of slabs and the next. The slabs may have also been either "doctored" (which is bad), or "resined" (which is good) by the factory, which would make a big difference. Even more important, what's a good stone in the hands of some "Michelangelo"?! Maurizio, Expert panelist, USA,
Q 5714: I just had granite installed & am disappointed with the following:

1) fabricator refused to mount undermount sinks to granite. Who should do it? Plumber or fabricator? My plumber finally agreed.

2) I gave fabricator sink template & my double bowl sink when he came out & did his measuring – he took them with him back to his shop to cut the granite. The cutout appears to have granite overhang about ¼ to ½” inch hanging over sink corners. Also one side of sink has ½” granite hanging over the sink rim. Are either of these normal ? My fabricator says he always has ¼” granite hangover on left & right sides – he says more sanitary & gives him leeway in case granite chips when he’s cutting it. Does everyone do this? I haven’t seen anybody else’s sinks look like mine. Note that I have another undermount single bowl sink, which there doesn’t appear to be any hangover on left & right sides, and the corners also appear to be cut to match sink’s corners with no hangover. He says that is different because it is a “bar” sink (actually it is a “kitchen” sink) but even still I don’t see why it would be different for bar vs. double-bowl !

3) This double sink is not centered (no hangover on left side, but ½” on right side, as described above) because my plumber wasn’t able to center it since the fixture holes for my sprayer was in the left side corner & would hit the flange of the sink. He didn’t want to cut off some of the sink’s flange because he already did so on the right corner in order to fit in the fixture for the water filter. Plumber says the fixture holes were made too close to sink’s lip (flange). Granite guy doesn’t want to take responsibility & says he followed the standard of drilling holes 2” (from what? Sink rim or from the (excess) granite overhang? He didn’t say). Now I want sink re-centered & would need to pay plumber $125 to come back. Fabricator doesn’t feel he is at fault & doesn’t want to pay – says I shouldn’t have had the sprayer put at the end of the sink – should have had soap dispenser put there instead, as he thinks there’d be more room for sink to be centered without soap dispenser hitting the sink’s lip. I had all fixtures on sight when granite installer asked where I wanted the fixtures. I did NOT pinpoint the exact locations – only showed general positions (i.e. water filter on right, faucet in center, then soap dispenser to left of faucet, & sprayer to left of soap dispenser). The granite installer suggested the exact locations & he put them there. Who should be responsible to pay for this to be fixed? Should I demand that the slab of granite be removed & taken back to fab’s shop & sink hole cut out to match the template ? (he claims he did follow template, but I don’t see how with so much granite hangover in corners of sinks & also the excess ½”).

4) Found crack on a counter top. He claims this is normal for granite. Should I accept that? What should I do?

Am will to pay for FAST answer. He is coming out here Friday & wants to get paid the remaining balance. PLEASE CAN YOU HELP ME FAST ?

P.S. During my selection of granite, I was worried about staining & wanted to get sealer that didn’t need to be resealed every 6 months. I asked what brand he used. He told me “industrial strength” – I asked for the brand name, he said it is imported & didn’t remember the name – he was supposed to tell me when he got back to his office; he never did. I had hoped he was using your product or something similar. He said his only needs to be sealed once (which he does for $280) and then it never needs to be resealed again. I trusted him. When his workers came out & sealed the granite, they said before leaving that I need to reseal every 6 months – I say their product, it was 511 Impregnator – the stuff that everyone uses, not some special imported brand. Now I am stuck with not being able to easily apply a different sealer because I know you shouldn’t change sealers unless it is stripped.

Overall I am very unhappy. Please advice!, Judy, Nov 09, Reply

Dear Judy:I was finally able to come out for air!Here are your answers:

1) There are no precise standards about it, but I never heard of a fabricator refusing to install an under-mount sink. Considering the way it has to be connected to the stone (braces, epoxy and what not) the plumber is neither qualified, nor does he have the right materials and equipment to do the job right. All a plumber can do is to glue the sink to the slab with 100% silicone glue, with no support whatever. That's NOT good enough.

2) Yes he should come back! There's no reason that he HAD TO use plumber putty for the faucets. There are viable alternatives, including – but not limited to – the very silicon glue used to bond the sink to the slab.

3) The way you describe it, the sink cut-out is NOT acceptable. A little difference over the template is understandable, but what you're reporting is way too far from the template. All the excuses he brought forth are just that: excuses! The fabricator is supposed to find out the size of the flange of the sink before drilling the faucets holes. There are NO standards, and if he insists on the standard thing, tell him to show such standard to you instead of just talking about it! You do NOT have to accept the hole the way is improperly cut and I don't see any alternative to the replacement of the slab.

4) Yes it is "normal" for granite to crack. But it is so ONLY if the installation was done poorly!! If the slab cracks it only means that the installer didn't verify that there was full contact between the bottom of the slab and the top of the cabinets. Taking care of possible stress points is 100% the fabricator responsibility. You do NOT have to accept a cracked countertop, even if someone sat on it!! (Unless the crack is on an large over-hang.) I mean, what are people supposed to do? Spend thousands of dollars for the most expensive countertop on the market and then accept the idea that it could crack??!!

In conclusion you have the right to demand the full replacement of the countertop or your money back. Talk to your attorney and have he/she contact me if he/she deems it necessary.

About the sealing issue, I already answered that.BTW, what happened yesterday?Maurizio

Dear Maurizio,

Thank you for replying.

I did not mention 1 additional thing that was troublesome. I have just prepared a document to fax to the fabricator. I hope you can make sense of my question and advice. My fabricator requested that we have ¾” plywood substrate for our island, which we have a 12” overhang ledge on 2 sides for seating (the seating area is an L shape). The entire island’s seating area dimensions is 64” long side on the longer “L” side, by 48” long on the shorter “L” side. (P.S. he did not want to install the plywood – he said my cabinet people or GC should do it; the cabinet guy didn’t want to & I thought the fab would have the most knowledge about exactly what was required, so he agreed to do it; do most fab’s generally install the substrate or not?)
Below was my question for my fabricator:

“We have noticed that the plywood beneath the island:
A) on the long side, only rests on 2 ¾” of the top of the cabinets. Is this enough to support the weight of a 64” long X 12” counter ledge hangover ?
B) on the short side, 48” long X 12”, there is only a 33 ½” long X 9” piece of plywood placed under the ledge which does not rest at all on the top of the cabinets, it is completely glued just to the underside of the counter top ledge; its left side, right side, front side, and back side of this piece of plywood is completely unsupported. We do not see how this area of 33 ½” long X 12” counter top ledge would be supported by this piece of plywood. Can you please explain how it can support it?”


Maurizio, can you please comment on this?

In reply to what has happened – we took your advice & called a lawyer. He said to meet the fab & show him the problems, & not pay him until he fixes them all. We met with him & his hot-head brother that same day. I will try to be brief:

3) sink template doesn’t match double bowl sink, yet single bowl sink further down on same counter top, appears to be cut out correctly with no overhang. Showed him the template. His remark is that he did cut it out correctly, according to his standard of always leaving ¼” on left & right sides overhang. His response as to why the single bowl doesn’t have this, is that “the single sink is from a different manufacturer”. When I told him his worker said it was different was that the single bowl was a bar sink – he said don’t ask my workers questions – only me! When we insisted it is his mistake that the double bowl sink has ½” overhang on right side & none on left side (is not centered) is due to his mistake of drilling holes on BOTH corners to close to flange, so that 1 side of flange corner had to be cut by plumber, but plumber didn’t want to cut other side, is that “the plumber shouldn’t have glued the sink if it was not centered”. I told him ok - the plumber agreed to not charge to unmount the sink so you can drill the sprayer hole further out, but will charge to remount it, (this would have happened anyway if plumber called fab immediatlely, fab couldn’t possibly have flown over to our house – plumber would have charged for his wait time or for a return trip anyway), fab says “we are coming back out here to fix problems & aren’t charging you – plumber should do same” & we went around in circles with this discussion no matter how many times we said that it is your mistake & that he has to come back, etc.

4) as far as crack – he says “who picked out the slabs ?” I said we didn’t – we just saw the granite of that lot, said we will take 3 slabs from that lot & left. We didn’t ask granite w/h to move around the slabs – blue pearl is very consistent between slabs of the same lot, it is not like a Juparana. He said “I didn’t crack it, & didn’t see it”. I said “I didn’t say you cracked it, but no one at my house cracked it – it was only installed a few days earlier”. He later agreed to take off our balance some amount (he didn’t say how much) for it. He said if he replaces that counter top (which is only 30” wide by std 25” deep solo counter top – not attached to anything), there is a chance that the backsplash could crack. He said I should call the granite w/h to talk to them about the crack, even though my fab bought the granite from them (I could have saved $ if I bought the slabs myself, but spent extra to have the fab responsible for problems with the slabs, such as cracks). I called the granite w/h & of course they said they cannot be responsible for a crack that we find AFTER the fab cut the slab. They said the fab is supposed to inspect the slab at delivery & also before cutting it – if they find a problem, they should have called & could have exchanged the slab. They said this happens often where a fab needs to get a small piece of the material to replace a counter that has a crack in it, & that customers don’t pay until it is replaced. I am willing to have the fab deduct from my balance the cost for that entire counter top (30” X 25”) or replace it. We will see how much they give us off. (Note that back in early August I had given my fab a deposit for 50% of the job; the granite w/h person tells me the fab has only just paid him on Nov 3rd; they request payment after 30 days; he held on to my money which had covered the cost of the slabs & didn’t even pay for the slabs in a timely manner!) You should know that I had picked a different material in August – it was called Gold Carmel – I thought it was beautiful like waves of sand. Several days after the fab had received the slabs from the granite w/h, I brought my husband to the fab’s shop to have my husband see what I picked out. The fab was with us & noticed a HUGE crack right across one of the slabs! He said – “Oh look at that – they must have cracked it when they delivered it, because it wasn’t there when I (fab) picked it out.” He said “I (fab) wasn’t here when they were delivered, I am just seeing them now” He goes to ask his secretary, if she took the delivery & saw the crack – she says she didn’t; he wanted to ask his brother, but his brother wasn’t around. I point this out only because it was his responsibility to inspect the slabs & let the granite w/h know of problems within 3 days of delivery. He didn’t inspect them, & even after he saw it, he failed to let them know until a month later when I happened to call the granite w/h to ask if they were getting any more of that material in. They said, not for a while, so I had to pick out something else. If he was so negligent with my 1st material & no one had seen this huge crack, then I can assume that they were likely negligent to inspect the new material. However, the position of the crack looks like it happened when they were cutting it – it is on the counter near the edge, then curves down the edge.

Regarding confronting him about the sealent, he says that he also sealed the counter tops at his shop, even though his worker who installed them at my house had told me they weren’t sealed at the shop, & that they won’t need to be resealed even though his worker who sealed them at my house said to reseal every 6 months. By the way, I had gotten a small sample of the slab prior to installation to test. Only oil *HAD* left a stain (wine didn’t), that is why I am concerned about the sealer. I chose to do the test after reading on your site about the 2 types of blue pearl – the darker one doesn’t stain, the lighter one does.

Another issue I have forgotten to mention was that I had originally requested a 6” backsplash. The fab had told me to do it to whatever height the window sill would come out to, otherwise it won’t look good. I agreed. When his worker was here & was measuring for backsplash & asked me how high I wanted the backsplash – I told him to do it up to window sill height, just as his boss had recommended to me. He said - “ok – the height of the backsplash underneath the window sill, plus ¾” for the window sill itself (which is also to be in granite) comes out to 6”, so you can have a 6” backsplash all around to meet the window sill height – I was happy. I was surprised to find after it was installed, that the backsplash all around is 6”, but the window sill is 5 ¼”. So the window sill top is ¾” lower than the height of the backsplash. This doesn’t look right. I didn’t make a big issue out of this, since I am a practical person, & am happy to have 6” protection, HOWEVER, the backsplash piece that runs underneath the window sill ledge does not sit directly on the counter top. This area is behind the double bowl sink & the little gap between backsplash & countertop keeps filling with water. They had already come back the week before to fix this by filling it with “clear” silicon(?) It was white – the worker said, “don’t worry, when it dries it will be clear’”. Of course, it keeps getting wet, & is therefore white. The white doesn’t concern me, it is the fact that water keeps seeping in this area. When we discussed this with the fab this past Friday, & we asked them to FIX it, he said he would put more silicon. I said – your worker did that last week & it didn’t help. Can’t you take the piece off & put it flat on the counter top? “Oh, trust me – the silicon will help” he says. But I insist it won’t (at my work we have the same problem & my boss keeps siliconing the area behind the sink & it is nevertheless moldy now). He says he can’t take the backsplash out because the faucets are in. I said “you put in the backsplash AFTER the sinks & faucets were put in, why can’t you take it while they are in? “ When I ask specifically why this one area only under the window sill is not on top of the counter, but all other backsplash all around seems to be flat on the counter top, he says that “sometimes it just comes that way from the quarry. Sometimes the granite is WARPED”. I said “WARPED ? I never heard of that!” (he tells this to me & my husband, both grown adults!) He says that the counter top is not smooth & level & that his backsplash was cut accurately using his professional, expensive, & accurate machines at his shop. Anyway, we agree that the plumber needs to take off fixtures in order to clean up the plumber putty (although my contractor has not said he agrees with this – he is trying to find out what product to use in place of the putty, & thinks that silicon used for the sink may not be good enough – he doesn’t know if it will pass building inspections), so when (if) the plumber removes the fixtures they can reglue that backsplash. Please note that after these people ranted & raved til they were red in the face at our house & left, I later figured out why the backsplash under window isn’t right. It is because the person who measured for the backsplash didn’t measure correctly – & probably made the backsplash at his shop 5 1/4”. When he tried to put it in, & saw he had made that piece too high, he went outside & used his manual cutting tools to lower its height (of course he wasn’t going to take all the backsplash back to his shop & cut them all ¾” shorter), and he didn’t cut it as evenly as it would have been back at his shop, & he might have even cut it too short, so he needed to glue it a little higher off the counter top so that the window sill could still sit flat on it. This makes even more sense, now as I write this, because the prior punch list we had, requested that they fix the window sill ledge because it was not sitting level – it was tilted upwards in the front of the ledge! So I am sure they messed up.

P.s. before they left our house, they asked for a “draw” off of the balance. Luckily my husband had the nerve to say no.

They currently are requesting to meet at my house with my plumber & take care of everything so they can get paid.

After reading your reply my husband however does not want to legally pursue this. In fact he is willing to left them fix things to the best of their ability (or willingness) & to accept that we pay the $125 for the plumber, & accept the crack. He is scared of them because of their bad temper, outright lies to our faces, and ways that they have bullied other people involved (the fab’s brother was yelling at my G.C., bullied the granite w/h people, etc.)I am SO sorry this ended up so long.Hope that you lasted through it!Thanks for you help!

Q 5713: Where would I be able to buy MB-4 impregnator and MB-5 cleaner? Is MB-5 a disinfectant if not what should I use to rid the counter top of bacteria i.e.(Listeria,E-coli). What is the cost of MB-4and or MB-5? Thank You, carguy, Nov 08, Reply
R1: Dear Carguy: MB-5 is a surfactant/cleaner, not a disinfectant. If you're looking for a disinfectant/cleaner, then our MB-15 is <your man>!The prices for MB-5 is $ 9.95; MB-4 is $42.95; MB-15 is $14.95. All three products come in a 1 US QT. bottle and are available through findstone.com. See link: <Maurizio's Products> on the side bar menu of the EXPERT ADVICE section of the site.Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 5712: We had granite counter tops installed about two years ago. Unfortunately I cannot remember the specific
name, but it's black with flecks of silver (almost looks like embedded Mica). Our fabricator specifically did not seal it since he said it was not required. The problem is that the granite by the kitchen sink has "rings". This is where we keep our dish washing detergent and hand soap. Are these rings "etched" ? Before reading your website, I went to Home Depot and bought sulfamic acid cleaner and 511 stone impregnator. I cleaned the area with a very dilute solution and then applied the "511". I used this to test and see if the rings would go. They have not. After reading your website, I take it that you don't recommend sealing granite either ? Since we do cook food that contains turmeric at times, I am worry about turmeric stains. We were told by the "folks in Home Depot" that the sealant would prevent future water stains. Is this not true ? Thanks -Sanjay, Nov 08, Reply
R1: Dear Sanjay: Even if a certain "granite" doesn't need to be sealed it still has a (very limited) degree of absorbency. Liquid soap sitting on it for weeks on ends will find its way in even if the stone had been impregnated. (The impregnator wouldn't go in, due to the inherent density of the stone, plus no impregnator/sealer offers a 100% sealing performance when a liquid is sitting on it for such a long period of time.) Of course, the "treatment" you submitted your stone to could not - and if fact it did not - accomplish anything. The liquid soap has been absorbed by the stone and it needs to be poulticed out. It may turn out to be quite difficult now, after you applied the impregnator/sealer over it, though. I wouldn't worry about the possible turmeric stains: if the turmeric didn't stain your countertop in two years, it never will! About the statement of the folks of the HD that the application of an impregnator will prevent future water stains, I quite don't understand it. You don't have any water stain, do you? And besides, since when water ever stained anything? Maurizio, Expert panelist, USA.
Q 5709: A friend of mine recently remodeled his bathroom and in the process installed slate tile in the shower for the floors, ceilings and walls. He now has a problem with the slate blistering. It also seems to be bleeding color onto the floor which is a lighter tone. What is causing this and can it be fixed? He said they applied a sealer to it when it was installed.Thanks. Teresa, Nov 08, Reply
R1: Dear Teresa: Tell your friend not to worry about a thing: the knowledgeable people who sold the slate to him/her for that application will sure know what to do! If not, some slate people will chime in momentarily with a solution to that problem, no doubt. It's gonna be any day, now … aaany day … Maurizio, Expert panelist, USA.
Q 5707: I purchased a pre-fab bathroom vanity top in granite from Home Depot and recently our liquid soap dispenser cracked and leaked onto the countertop. Now their is a dark stain on the granite where the soap absorbed into the granite. What should we try to remove the stain? Ryan, Nov 08, Reply
R1: Dear Ryan: 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! Maurizio, Expert panelist, USA.
Q 5706: A couple of weeks ago we ordered our surfaces, they are called 'Verde eucalyptus', a wonderful green veined granite. Our fabricator didn't make a template, just measured? He then arrived and installed the main part of our kitchen which is appx 12' long, 9' straight and then a 3' 'L' shape. He installed this section using 4 separate pieces of granite and consequently there is no uniformity of pattern. We knew we were going to have a seam, but we have ended up with three, each is appx 3mm wide and is sealed with clear silicon. The end result we feel is a 'patchwork quilt' finish.Our fabricator states that it is fitted to 'industry standard'. Can you advise if we are being unreasonable with our fabricator, at this time we are insistent that our surfaces are fitted using as few pieces of granite as possible. Paul,Nov 08, Reply
R1: Dear Paul: Ah! … If you only had invested a small $12.00 on my article on how to shop for a granite countertop! Well … it's too late now! It looks like "Michelangelo" struck again! Ah, (again!) … Those famous "industry standards"! Why don't you ask your fabricator to show them to you instead of just talking about them? The real problem is that, unfortunately, there are no industry standards! Maurizio, Expert panelist, USA.
Q 5705:The tiles I got were Pocono Green (seaweed gren) and I did a "happy dance" when I saw that this was an actual granite on your list and not some sort of composite stone....so, with this information, I am assuming that I should definately seal this stone.....yes?
When should I apply the sealer? Should I do this prior to grouting or afterwards? I get conflicting stories and from reviewing your website, I would rather get some advise from someone who knows their business. So, your advise would be??????
Also, I would like a very thin grout line in between the tiles. Can I butt the tiles and just fill the bevel, or should I use spacers??? Obvioulsy putting in spacers would be the logical way, but since I "normally" don't dance on the countertops, is just filling the bevel acceptable....
Also, what is "the best" cleaning solution for everyday use in your opinion....I want this to look nice for a very long time and any other advise that you would have would be greatly appreciated....Thanks so much for your time, I am sure you are busy as a one-armed paperhanger trying to answer these questions. Jamie,
Nov 08, Reply
R1:Dear Jamie: You do NOT want to seal Pocono Green. (Not even with my own best-in-the-entire-universe-and-beyond impregnator/sealer MB-4!) Do NOT butt joint! 1/32" to 1/16" grout gap is "your man"! Grout is not meant to be just there "to be pretty". It's part of the overall installation and needs to have some root. Maurizio, Expert panelist, USA.
Q 5704: We are redoing our kitchen and are confused on which type of counter top to use. We have been told that granite can sctratch, be porous and stain. On the other hand we heard that silestone can be toxic. Is that true? Please advise, M & D, Nov 08, Reply
R1: Dear M & D: Everything - including diamond - can scratch! Most commercial granites are as scratch-resistant as any engineered stone (probably even more). About the possible toxicity of engineered stone, it's a myth. Finally, about the absorbency rate of the stone, it all depends on the "granite". Certain commercial granites are quite absorbent, and certain other absorb virtually nothing. That is why I seldom comment about any one particular stone. There may be differences within the same stone (and I'm not talking about looks, here!) from one bundle of slabs and the next. The slabs may have also been either "doctored" (which is bad), or "resined" (which is good) by the factory, which would make a big difference. Even more important, what's a good stone in the hands of some "Michelangelo"?! Maurizio, Expert panelist, USA
Q 5703: Would you mind counseling me on the risk of Jerusalem Limestone vs. Granite for a countertop. I favor a rustic, Tuscany new kitchen and love the feel of limestone but how does it stack up maintenance-wise. Laurie, Nov 08, Reply
R1: Dear Laurie: If you like the "Tuscany look", why are you considering a stone from Israel?! :-) Just kidding! Look, nobody can make any comment on how it will stuck-up compared to a granite countertop: it exclusively depends on how you "feel" about it, and how well you will accept the inevitable "change" that your limestone will go through over years of use and abuse. Certain people actually look forward to it (it's like an old pair of blue-jeans); certain others can't accept it. With granite you know that there won't be any surprises: take proper care of it and it will look like brand-spanky-new forever! Maurizio, Expert panelist, USA.
Q 5702: We have moved a granite Japanese Lantern to our new home. One of the legs broke during the move. This is a carved granite garden lantern made before 1900 in Kyoto, Japan. It is assembled in 5 sections. It's been in the family since 1940. The granite is unpolished. Can you suggest a way to reattach the leg? The lantern weighs about 900 pounds, so the repair will have to be sturdy.Thanks to you for some suggestions. Mickey, Nov 08, Reply
R1: Dear Mickey: By the way you describe it, that lantern must be really beautiful and I'm sorry to hear what happened to it. In consideration of the sheer weight of the lantern, there's no way I would encourage you to try doing something yourself! Make a round of telephone calls to your local fabrication facilities and see if someone can possibly help you out professionally. Maurizio, Expert panelist, USA.
Q 5701: We have bought an absolute black granite monument about 3 years ago… and it is found that the gold spots inside the granite begin to rust. Are there any methods to prevent and stop it from rusting? Are all granite products with metal spots rust over time…… Bob, Nov 08, Reply
R1: Dear Bob: I must admit that I am at a total loss, here: I have not the faintest idea of what kind of gold metal spots inside the granite you're talking about. Sorry. Maurizio, Expert panelist, USA.
Q 5700: My home has 4x9 Belgium Blocks (granite) used as trim along the entire walkway. I love the granite stones, but they are too white for the rest of the stonework on my home. The contrast is too stark. Can these granite stones be stained darker? If so, what product(s) can I use? Thanks. Susan, Nov 08, Reply
Q 5699: I have spent the afternoon reading the advice pages and feel slightly confused. We purchased what they called Absolute Black Honed granite, from India. We picked out the slabs ourselves and they were a beautiful consistent dark grey tone. Honed finish. We do not what a high polished look or feel in our kitchen and I don’t mind maintenance. We also don’t mind a slightly distressed look – not olive oil rings due to slackness of not wiping up - but normal use. Does this mean the fabricator will put a dye or something else on it. They told us that they were just going to ‘polish up the surface’ (not high gloss but a buffing effect). It seems that the advise on your site is mixed – ranging from ‘good solid countertop choice’ to ‘don’t bother it’s a waste of money’. After a very extensive searching period of look at everything we could find we decided we liked the look of the black honed granite best. So how do I take care of our new countertop being installed tomorrow and if I do need to put something on it please do recommend a product. (I would prefer things less toxic if possible). Thank you! Brinley, Nov 08, Reply
R1: Dear Brinley: I don't like toxic products myself, especially in a kitchen countertop! :-) Your best line of "defense" is to apply a good-quality color enhancer, like my MB-6. (Do NOT allow them to apply any impregnator/sealer: the color enhancer wouldn't work afterwards!) It will make your countertop turn black, but still with a matt finish. This is only possible way to minimize the nightmarish maintenance problem attached honed black absolute granite, which is surface staining (the oil rings that you used as an example render the idea perfectly!). Maurizio, Expert panelist, USA.
Q 5697: What kind of sealer (if any) would you use on Juparano Columbo kitchen counter? [Note: At this point it is fairly new. Has had one coat of sealer applied by installer. Seems to absorb any oily material fairly quickly which darkens the area.] Alexion,Thanks., Nov 08, Reply
R1: Dear Alexion: Needless to say, your fabricator didn't finish his job! Which one sealer to use? I'd love to recommend my own product (MB-4), which works great on very porous stones, but for professionalism's sake I can't do that: it's always best to keep using the one that your fabricator will be applying. Now, remember, it's never too early to think about the proper maintenance of your stone. Maurizio, Expert panelist, USA
Q 5696: Can a fabricated granite bullnose (12"w x 2"h x 1"d) be attached to a sealed granite countertop? The current front of my granite tile countertop was installed flush with the box of the cabinets...the drawer/door fronts are not covered at all by the countertop. My contractor suggests sticking a piece on the front to fix this. If it can be done, will it last? Thanks for your objective advice. Barbaranne, Nov 08, Reply
R1: Dear Barbaranne: If you slightly(but thoroughly) sand the edge of the tiles to be bonded and use the right glue (epoxy) you shouldn't have any problem. Now, rem ember, it's never too early to think about the proper maintenance of your stone. Maurizio, Expert panelist, USA
Q 5695: I was reading your forum and I am really impressed (and scared for my countertops that will be installed in my bathroom tomorrow). I am having Shivakashi vanity top with undermount sink and deck around jacuzzi installed. Is it very porous? What is the best way to seal the stone? The contractor will seal them, but what should I do before I start using them to prevent stains? Should I re-apply sealer right after installation? Which brand/product would you recommend? Thanks a lot, Julia, Nov 08,Reply
R1: Dear Julia: In its natural state Shivakashi is among the most absorbent "granites" on the marketplace. Unless the slab was "resined" by the factory it will need to be sealed certainly more than once! How many times? It all depends on the make of impregnator/sealer your fabricator will be using. I'd love to recommend my own product (MB-4), which works great on very porous stones, but for professionalism's sake I can't do that: it's always best to keep using the one that your fabricator will be applying. Now, remember, it's never too early to think about the proper maintenance of your stone. Maurizio, Expert panelist, USA
Q 5694: We are considering for our kitchen counter and a breakfast bar overhang a granite that is called either Palladio or Red Marinace -- is this an appropriate granite for that use or is it too brittle for an overhang? Thanks! Kim, Nov 08, Reply
R1: Dear Kim: If the overhang is within industry standards, or has proper support, you shouldn't have any problem. About other possible issues for that particular material, I seldom comment about any one particular stone. There may be differences within the same stone (and I'm not talking about looks, here!) from one bundle of slabs and the next. The slabs may have also been either "doctored" (which is bad), or "resined" (which is good) by the factory, which would make a big difference. Even more important, what's a good stone in the hands of some "Michelangelo"?! Maurizio, Expert panelist, USA
Q 5693: I am interested in kitchen sinks. I would like to know the pros and cons of a quartz composite sink. I have a dark brown/black granite countertop, and would like a black colored sink. A vendor I spoke to said he would not put a quartz composite sink in his kitchen because it "wears out". I'm not exactly sure what he meant by that. Also, what other materials/products are available in black (corian, quartz, granite, silestone, etc.) that could be used as a sink. David, Nov 06, Reply
R1: Dear David: I'm not exactly sure what he meant by that, either! Actually, I believe that he's not exactly sure himself!! Silestone is composite quartz (engineered stone). The best alternative, however, would be a sink made of the same granite as your countertop. Now, remember, it's never too early to think about the proper maintenance of your stone. Maurizio, Expert panelist, USA
Q 5692: I am planning on installing 12" granite tiles to kitchen countertop. Unfortunately, my cabinets are 24 1/4" deep. I am planning on laying a tile backsplash and bullnosing the front with 2 " skirt. As you can see, I'm coming up 3/4" short. Any suggestions other than an unsitely skinny piece of granite? Have you seen the field tile butt up against the back splash instead of it butting on top of the field tile? Can I bull nose the skirt and epoxy it level to the field tile without fear of it falling off? One last option I considered was to place 1/2" concrete board behind backsplash. Cut 45 degree edges on top of backsplash as well as a trim piece on top of backsplash. Haven't started laying tile yet, this seems to be my only "hitch" to process. Thanks for any good advice, Ross, Nov 06, Reply
R1: Dear Ross: The one that you define as "one last option" is the best, IMO. About the bullnosed skirt epoxied to the field tiles, there shouldn't be any problem if the glueing is done right (use true epoxy, not polyester). My suggestion would be to bullnose AFTER the skirt is glued and cured. Now, remember, it's never too early to think about the proper maintenance of your stone. Maurizio, Expert panelist, USA
Q 5690: We will be building a home in western NC soon. The kitchen is large for cooking and family gatherings. There is approximately 20 linear feet of counter top plus an island with sink of 7'x3'. Budget is a concern, but we also want something that is durable, safe (sanitation) and not subject to scratches, stains and can handle warm (not stove hot ) pots. Any suggestions?
I read the site and it seems the more I know the less I know to make a decision. I would love a brick red and black color if possible. I have heard that dark granites are a no no. Is that true. My cabinet maker says granite owners come back for replacement with Corian. Corian owners say they would get rid of it if they could. (it cracks) Anyone know the true scoop? Confused more and more each day. Paul, Nov 06, Reply
R1: Dear Paul: If budget is a concern, then you have a problem! The type of surface you're looking for spells only in one way: G-R-A-N-I-T-E!! Now, about the information you've gathered. Dark granites are a no-no?? … I'm wondering what's in the pipe of the "genius" who told you that?!! They are the best!! Most of them don't need any impregnating and are virtually bullet proof! Corian® and the likes are plastic and, as such, they have all the limitation of plastic. To keep your budget under control, you may want to consider a granite tile countertop, opposed to a solid slab. Maurizio, Expert panelist, USA.
Q 5689: I have recently purchased a 100 year old home and am in the restoration process. The exterior is constructed of an ornamental sandstone block. Over the years, the smooth surface on the block on the sides of the house have deteriorated. If you rub your hand over the surface, sand comes off. Under the porches where it is protected from the weather, the smooth finish is intact but the face is very dirty. I'm looking for a way to restore this but still keep the natural look. Can I power wash and them seal it somehow to stop the deterioration? What should I use to clean it? What can I use to seal it? Any help would be appreciated. Jay, Nov 06, Reply
R1: Dear Jay: Power-washing is a good solution. I have a product, namely MB-9 (Mildew Stain Remover) that's just terrific for that purpose! Keep the pressure at no more than 900 PSI and stay approximately 4 to 6 Ft. away for the stone surface with the nozzle. Spry and then let the product sit for at least half hour before rinsing with water. About the areas that are deteriorating, I would brush them with a wire brush to take out the damaged layer (that's before you do the washing). Other than that, there's not much that you can do. You never win when you try to fight Mother Nature! Maurizio, Expert panelist, USA.
Q 5688: I just got a granite countertop installed in my kitchen (emerald pearl) Upon wiping the dust off, I noticed knicks and scratches in the countertop. Is this normal? and can they be fixed? What is my course of action towards the installer and fabricator. Thanks, Maria, Nov 06, Reply
R1: Dear Maria: If the nicks are little tiny natural pits, they are typical of most commercial and geological granites. The scratches are not acceptable. Have you fabricator take care of those. Now, remember, it's never too early to think about the proper maintenance of your stone. Maurizio, Expert panelist, USA
Q 5687: I have read some of your column and was wondering about purchasing products to clean and seal granite countertops. I have an island that was sealed almost two years ago, but now the highly used areas seem to be darker than the center. I have only used water to clean it and wipe spills up immediately. Cathi, Nov 06, Reply
R1: Dear Cathi: About the darker areas you can try to put a white old towel soaked with Hydrogen Peroxide 30 / 40 volume, the CLEAR type, available at you beauty salon. The one available at the pharmacy is too weak (3.5 volume). Maurizio, Expert panelist, USA.
Q 5686: I am definitely willing to pay for expert advice. Since my husband is in the trade also, I am keenly aware of the pressure for "free" advice from potential clients most of whom would never consider giving a cent of their time/money nongratis within their profession, yet expect to recieve goods and services from others at below or no cost.
Which method to getting help/paying would you recommend considering my particular situation? I'm visiting one daughter right now. My husband has almost finished installing the travertine marble tiles bought from Home Depot. I want her to be able to clean and maintain her fl properly from the beginning as well as my being able to fix our once beautiful floor. Monica
, Nov 06, Reply
R1: Dear Monica: Thank you very much for your nice words. About your daughter's floor, all you need is to get my "Maintenance Guidelines for Residential Stone Installation." There's a specific mention about newly installed floors. About your older floor instead (I assume that it's made of marble or travertine), there's a specific article about selecting a REAL stone restoration professional. Maurizio, Expert panelist, USA.
Q 5680: I recently had Uba Tuba kitchen counters installed.Today, I noticed a small chip.. and started looking around elsewhere and saw several pits thoughout the counter. Can you tell me a) can/ how the chip be repaired? (its small on the surface of the counter, not on an edge) b) what's the deal with the pitting? What can I do to combat this? Thanks. L, Nov 05, Reply
R1: Dear L.: "Combat this"??! What do you want to combat? The natural pitting which is common to most commercial granites??! :-) About the chip, have you fabricator come back and fill it with epoxy compound. Maurizio, Expert panelist, USA.
Q 5679: I would like to use a honed green granite as a kitchen counter top. I am considering Tunas Green, Verde Esmeralda, Butterfly Green, and Olivia Green. First, am I crazy to consider honed granite for a kitchen countertop? Second, of my above choices would any one be better than another in regard to maintenance? Nov 05, Reply
R1: I don't know about this Olivia Green, but all the other stone you listed are quite all right. No, you're not crazy. Just make sure to have a good-quality stone color enhancer (like my MB-6) applied on your countertop, and follow good maintenance procedures. Maurizio, Expert panelist, USA.
Q 5678: I recently installed 12 x 12 granite for my kitchen countertop. Some areas were uneven so the installer sanded them down to make them even and now you can see the sander marks. Can these marks be buffed out?, Mont, Nov 05, Reply
R1: Dear Mont: And "Michelangelo" strikes again! No, you can't "buff" those marks out! Only a proven stone refinishing contractor could accomplish that (assuming that you can find one!), but the cost for the "buffing" (!) would far exceed the cost of the whole countertop. You don't have to accept such sloppy workmanship. Demand your installer to replace your countertop for you. Maurizio, Expert panelist, USA.
Q 5677: I recently purchased new granite vanity counter tops for our bathroom. Before installing the new faucet, I made the mistake of using plumber's putty to seal the bottom of the faucet. A day later I decided to move the faucet about an inch and noticed very dark stains where the plumber's putty came in contact with the granite. I assume that the oil from the putty seeped into the granite. Can someone please help? Nov 05, Reply
R1: 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! (In the case of plumber putty the chemical of choice is Methylene Chloride, available at any hardware or paint store.) Such impressive piece of literature will also tell you how to tell stains apart from "stains", and what to do about the latter! Maurizio, Expert panelist, USA.
Q 5676: How do I treat and maintain a granite headstone of a loved one that is fading and showing major wear from the weather and lawnmowers. It has a portrait etched in of my brothers face an it is fading really bad and I am afraid if I try something that is wrong It would fade more. Ron, Nov 05, Reply
R1: Dear Ron: Certain commercial granites do that. I'm sorry, but there's no final remedy. Of when you wet it it goes back to your original color, them the periodic application of a good-quality stone color enhancer (like my MB-6) will help. Maurizio, Expert panelist, USA.
Q 5675: My dishwasher has hinges to be attached to the granite top. At some point, the screws attaching the dishwasher have come out. I've learned recently that dishwashers should not be attached to granite tops. What are my alternatives? Thanks, Joe, Nov 05, Reply
R1: Dear Joe: Have it attached to the sides of the cabinets. Maurizio, Expert panelist, USA.
Q 5674: I want to commission high quality reproductions of English William IV style fireplaces (for a 1835 townhouse that has had most of its fireplaces ripped out) but at "reasonable cost". I have done some searching around various countries & the best response I have had is from an Indian firm that propose to use Andhi White marble. (1) Is this a good quality marble & suitable for this purpose ? (2) How would it compare with a high quality Italian marble such as Bianco Carrara ? (3) Is India likely to be a good choice for high quality work at reasonable cost ? (I appreciate it's difficult to generalise). Simon, Nov 05, Reply
R1: Dear Simon: The Man upstairs did not invent geography. Which means that the inherent quality of natural products like stone is not in relation to the country of origin. For all I know, Andhi White is a terrific stone! About craftsmanship, as you pointed out no generalization is possible, but the last time a checked the Taij-Mahal is in Agra, India. I was fortunate enough to visit it, and I can tell you that's not too shabby!! :-) Joke aside, the Indian craftsmanship on marble is right up there, among the best in the entire world. Maurizio, Expert panelist, USA.
R2: concerning quality compaireson ,difficult to compare ,I have 55 years experience in marble in order to help you I need idea on you fireplaces , size , color , how much sculpting there is on the fire place and the cost or offre you have received , need picture from the material proposed. I have out of Belgium where I am from done some nice old pieces , costing 25 years ago 250000 fr.b. A sugestion You could buy the material in ITALY and have the work done any where you feel confortable with . Or find a person you feel fine with to organize it for you ,if the job is important He should be able to safe you some thing. Hope this helps you. Best luck Guy Roza
R3: Good morning Simon, Quality of craftsmanship has it's price as has the marble.Bianco Carrara is the household name for marble sculpture.SO TAKE MY ADVICE STICK WITH TRADITION.GO TO CARRARA .JOE
Q 5673: I have a mark on our Indian Pine Green countertop from a Pina Colada that spilled underneath our super heavy granite cuttingboard. It has been there about a week and is about the size of a saucer. The area is discolored a lighter green. What should I do to try to remove it. Is Pine green granite? Thanks, Nov 05, Reply
R1: No, Pine Green is not a commercial granite. I'm not positive about it but I believe that's an ophicalcite, which would classify the stone as a commercial marble. What you have sounds like an etch mark (not a stain) to me. It's not gonna be easy to repair it: only a proven stone restoration contractor will be able to handle it. Maurizio, Expert panelist, USA.
Q 5672: I love the look of granite but am really bothered by the seams that will show in my kitchen countertops so have considered going with silestone to eliminate the seams. Is this a smart choice or what would you suggest? Thanks, Terri, Nov 05, Reply
R1: Dear Terri: "Is this a smart choice?" Not if you ask me it ain't! :-) They have to seam engineered stone, too! If you get the right fabricator the seams will not be a major issue. Maurizio, Expert panelist, USA
Q 5670: I need a chemical that can reduce the visibility of very small hair cracks in granite . (The hair cracks are due to open structure in the granite crystals), Nov 05, Reply
R1: you're talking about natural fissures in the stone, right? Learn how to live with them! Maurizio, Expert panelist, USA.
Q 5669: I have new countertops. Each material that I have tried leaves a film. A friend suggested a car polish. I tried this. It is easy to apply & makes the granite very shiny. I am only concerned as to whether this material can harm the granite. What substances harm granite? Thanks for your help. Janet, Nov 05, Reply
R1: Dear Janet: Just about any substance that has not been tested as safe on natural stone could damage it! There are better solutions: check out my MB-5 and MB-13 through the link "Maurizio's products" on the side bar menu of this very page. All my products come with a 100% money back guarantee if not completely satisfied! Maurizio, Expert panelist, USA.
Q 5668: Just purchased a home with Satillo tile on the floors throughout the lower level. I am planning to put granite on the kitchen island and counter tops. I would like to use a granite color that would tone down the pink color in the satillo. Any suggestions?? Belly Nov 05, Reply
R1: Dear Belly: Not from me: I'm 25% colorblind! :-) Regardless, in my opinion color should be your top consideration: some "granite" can be "pretty" but also "bad"! I seldom comment about any one particular stone. There may be differences within the same stone (and I'm not talking about looks, here!) from one bundle of slabs and the next. The slabs may have also been either "doctored" (which is bad), or "resined" (which is good) by the factory, which would make a big difference. Even more important, what's a good stone in the hands of some "Michelangelo"?! (See a couple of postings on this very page about some "masterpieces"!) Maurizio, Expert panelist, USA
Q 5664: I just had some folks install some flagstone on top of my concrete patio and I am considering sealing the stone. The type of flagstone used is called "Oklahoma Multicolor". Do you know what type of sealant: water or oil based is safe to use on the this type of stone? And also, how long do I have to wait before I can seal it? Thanks! Nov 05, Reply
R1: Wait for a week or so and then seal it with my impregnator for stone (MB-4) available through the link in the left-hand side of this very page: Maurizio's products. Considering that you will have to apply it twice (use an interval of 24 hours in between applications), you will need 1 Qt. every 200 square feet. Keep in mind that if the concrete slab is on grade and a water-proof barrier was not used before the setting of the stone, you may have problems if the water table rises, and no impregnator/sealer in the entire world could do the first thing to solve them! Maurizio, Expert panelist, USA.
Q 5663: We recently purchased a home that has Arandis Gold granite slab countertops in the kitchen. The granite looks beautiful, but I've noticed that it's starting to get some fissure cracks. Also, there are some small spots that aren't polished just as you see on polished rocks. I wasn't concerned about them at first, but it seems that more of them are appearing. Is that possible or is it my imagination? If there is something wrong, should I be contacting the fabricator or is it in the granite itself? Thank you! Laurie, Nov 05, Reply
R1: Dear Laurie: You're asking me to tell you if you're "seeing things" in a stone that I never heard of?! :-) Go back to your fabricator and check other slabs of the same material (whatever that is!) to see if they have the same "things" as yours. Maurizio, Expert panelist, USA.
Q 5662: Please help me in curing for salts coming out of terrazo floors in my house .The weather remains humid and hot from mid june to october but they also come out in winters as well.When they come out they desroy the cement and leave areas around small barble chips empty leaning pits tahnk you Regards asad, Nov 05, Reply
R1: Dear Asad: I'd love to tell you something like: "Take this tablet and call me in the morning!", but your case is terminal! But, hey, it's only money!! :-) Maurizio, Expert panelist, USA.
Q 5661: I recently had a giallo veneziano countertop installed. The plumber apparently used plumber's putty on 2 of the four faucet pieces. Now we have 2 brown rings around the sprayer & the soap dispenser. I disconnected these pieces and removed all the putty, but is there anything I can use to draw out the stain? You're help is greatly appreciated. Ellie, Nov 05, Reply
R1: Dear Ellie: Boy, this plumber putty business is getting really popular! 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! Just a little hint: in this case "your man" would be Methylene Chloride, but it will take several attempts: that putty plumber stuff is nasty! Maurizio, Expert panelist, USA.
Q 5660: My granite countertop installer did a lousy job in cutting and installing the seams. Some are 1/8 inch wide or more and often irregular in width. He sealed the seams with epoxy that does not match the color of the granite and it looks absolutely awful. Short of ripping out the granite and redoing the seams, is there any procedure or product that can better match and hide the existing seams? - Thank you - Rick, Nov 05, Reply
R1: Dear Rick: And "Michelangelo" strikes again! (Ah, if you had purchased my article on how to shop for a granite countertop!…) Have your fabricator solve the problem; after all they made good money out of the deal! The situation you have is NOT acceptable by any standard. Maurizio, Expert panelist, USA.
Q 5659: I have a granite countertop, that now has several spider cracks. Who or how do I get it repaired? Do you need more information that will help? Thanks, Ruth,Nov 05, Reply
R1: Dear Ruth: It's clearly an install failure and those spider cracks can't be repaired. They won't get any better, either! Have your fabricator solve the problem; after all they made good money out of the deal! The situation you have is NOT acceptable by any standard. Maurizio, Expert panelist, USA.
Q 5658: I recently had a granite kitchen countertop installed and due to the cost would like to keep it looking new as long as possible. I've read numerous articles on the web and the recommendations are confusing. Some say never reseal it again, and others say reseal as often as every three mos.Could you please refer me to some info. on granite care, with cleaning and polishing being mentioned. Thank you.Thomas, Nov 05, Reply
R1: Dear Thomas: About the sealing issue, the first thing to do is to find out if your "granite" needs to be sealed at all. If it doesn't, you do NOT want it sealed! About the rest, you are right to be concerned. Maurizio, Expert panelist, USA.
Q 5657: We are abvout to purchase and have installed a Caesarstone kitchen counter. It is apparently quartz based, and touted to have superior hardness and staining resistence than, say, Corean or Granite. Any comments from THE EXPERT? Thanks, Rich, Nov 05, Reply
R1: Dear Rich: Corian ®, yes. Granite? It depends on the "granites", but generally speaking, no. Maurizio, Expert panelist, USA.
Q 5656: we have a marbel countertop in our bathroom that soaked up a 6'' sized area of cinnamon oil. Any idea on how we can get it out? Nov 05, Reply
R1: Yes I do! 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! Maurizio, Expert panelist, USA.
Q 5655: I've just had granite countertops installed. There is just one seam about four inches from the sink. When the installer polished the seam, it left that area duller than the rest of the granite. They came back and put wax and polished it again but it is still duller than the surrounding area. What type of polisher should be used to give the surface the same high shine that it originally had? Thanks, Mara, Nov 05, Reply
R1: Dear Mara: And "Michelangelo" strikes again! The kind of polisher to be used is a professional polisher who knows what is doing!! :-) Have your fabricator solve the problem; after all they made good money out of the deal! The situation you have is NOT acceptable by any standard. Maurizio, Expert panelist, USA.
Q 5654: I've just had a granite installed on my kitchen counter top and island by my general contractor. I found that many spots (a size of a quarter or a dim) are not smooth/polished, but it's rough surface. It seems that it hasn't been polished or something. When we selected this granite from the granite yard. The guy told me that those spots will be scattered and polished. Those spots pattern is fine to me as a character of the natural stone, but the roughness. Would you please give me an opinion of this issue whether it is a bad piece of granite or bad polishing process? The installer and granite slab are different company. Thank you so much! Ken, Nov 05, Reply
R1: Dear Ken: And what kind of "granite" are we looking at? Without that information I can't venture any assessment. Maurizio, Expert panelist, USA.
Q 5653: Our home has a sandstone floor, which my husband laid about 7yrs ago. The floor is laid on crusher dust mixed with concrete – the same way external paving is laid. We are getting many patches where the sandstone is crumbling – well it’s more dusting away. The top turns to dust and is slowly eating it away. Most of the deterioration is occurring in the doorways and on the verandas but there are a couple of spots internal, beside the wall. My husband thinks it is a moisture problem but is not sure if it coming from underneath or from on top. Do you have any suggestions of how to stop further deterioration? Cheers, Liz, Nov 05, Reply
R1: Dear Liz: Nope! I just don't think that anything can be done. Maurizio, Expert panelist, USA.
Q 5652: I have to match a replacement alabaster bowl to a similar color of smaller bowls on an antique chandelier. What can I use to make the "white" alabaster a richer light brown? Thank you in advance for any advice you can give me. Jim, Nov 05, Reply
R1: Dear Jim: You can't. Maurizio, Expert panelist, USA.
Q 5650: We had a stonemason lay a Pennsylvania Blue Stone walkway and porch and he did a beautiful job. Not two weeks later, the firm who is to stain our cedar home cleaned the home first with a bleach solution which seems to have discolored the stone with splotches of white and has scratched the stone with equipment in some areas. Is it possible to save the appearance of the stone or will it have to be replaced? We're sick about this. Your advice is appreciated. Regards, Michele, Nov 03, Reply
R1: Dear Michele: Does the stone improve its look when wet? If so there's hope. Let me know. Maurizio, Expert panelist, USA.
Q 5649: We recently had a waterfall built made from sandstone. The rock already seems to be detiorating, breaking off, and channels being formed by the water. What can we do to prevent this? Should the waterfall have been built of something else? Thanks, Davina, Nov 03, Reply
R1: Dear Davina: You're absolutely right: it should have been built with something much harder. Maurizio, Expert panelist, USA.
R2: Dear Davina. It is entirely possible that the sandstone you used is not suitable in a water environment. Some sandstones are not very well cemented or the cementing agent may be calcareous rather than a silicate material. Such stones do not hold up in a wet environment, and your waterfall may just erode away in a matter of years. I do noot think there is much you can do about it after the fact. In my opinion, based on many years of observation and restoration work, sandstone is the most problematic of all the stones used for building purposes. At least in the part of the country I am from. Sorry, JVC
Q 5648: We recently had a black honed granite tile countertop installed. My contractor put a coat of mineral oil over it to seal it and suggested I do this several times until it does not leave marks from oils, etc. Is this the proper way to seal honed granite and will this preserve it? What do you suggest I do to seal and maintain this? Before he put the mineral oil on it showed any grease mark even after wiping with soap and water. Michael, Nov 03, Reply
R1: Dear Michael: No it is not! Mineral oil will never cure and will require frequent applications. What's more it will never seal the stone, either. Maurizio, Expert panelist, USA.
Q 5645: I love my Juparana Colombo granite counter tops, but have many problems with its darkening in spots. not sure if it is water stains, oil stains or coffee. It certainly doesn't look as bright and light as when it was installed. The granite has been sealed, but still persists in staining and darkening. Please advise as to how to clean, Bird, Nov 03, Reply
R1: Dear Bird: The stone was sealed?? So why does it stain so much?? Let's say that your fabricator made believe it sealed (they probably applied their impregnator only once: hey, time is money!). Have them come back and finish the job. Depending from the make of impregnator/sealer used, several applications may be necessary (with an interval of at least 24 hours in between.) Maurizio, Expert panelist, USA.
Q 5644: I tried your lemon juice test on a piece of Kashmir Gold granite. Though it did not seem to absorb it, the spot seemed darker after I wiped it off. What does this mean? This granite would be in a bathroom--slab for the tub and double sink vanity and tile for the shower. I haven't tried the wine, oil and butter test yet. I'd love your expert opinion on this Kashmir Gold granite. If it is not good for our bathroom, can you recommend a granite with the same colors and feeling that would be appropriate. Thanks. Also, does this granite need to be sealed? Are there any similar light ones that don't? Thanks. Chris, Nov 03, Reply
R1: Dear Chris: If the lemon juice left a darker spot it means that it was absorbed by the stone. Kashmir Gold is a very absorbent Orthogneiss type of stone, but it's absorbency rate con be controlled fairly well by applying a good quality stone impregnator, like my MB-4 . Maurizio, Expert panelist, USA.
Q 5642: I followed your recommendations listed in How to Shop for Granite Kitchen Counters. I have taken home several granite samples. I have done the lemon juice test as well as leaving red wine and oil on the sample over night. If a granite sample has no damage from either the lemon juice or the wine left over night (no stains at all), but yet the oil stained the stone within minutes, would you recommend this type of stone be used for the kitchen countertops ? If sealing would eliminate the problem of oil stains on this type of stone, and the fabricator seals them when installed, ok, but I do not want to have to seal them again, at least not for a couple of years. P.S. the stone is Golden Oak “granite”. Please advice. Thanks, Judy Stern, Nov 03, Reply
R1: Dear Judy: If you seal your countertop with a good-quality stone impregnator (like my MB-4) the possible oil staining will be totally eliminated. It comes with a 10-year warranty, so you won't have to worry about sealing your stone every 2 years or so. Maurizio, Expert panelist, USA.
Q 5641: I read through the posts and couldn't find the answer to my specific question (although I learned a LOT about other projects I would like to undertake). We are remodeling and I found some 2.54 cm granite countertops for a great deal. I read that 2cm needs something to support it and 3cm doesn't (for installation over standard cabinets). Where does 2.54 cm fall in that? Is it strong enough to lay right on top of the cabinets or do we need a plywood base? There will be no bullnose overhang, just a polished front, so you will be able to see the actual thickness of the granite. We are having an undermount sink. Should there be a seam at the sink or should we seam it somewhere else? If everything is cut at the fabricators to exact specifications, is this a DIY job or should we get someone to install the countertops for us? The longest piece would be 7'. Grazie, Sim, Nov 03, Reply
R1: Dear Sim: 2.54 cm. is strong enough not to require any support. You do NOT want to seam at the sink. The two narrow spots in front and in the back of the sink MUST be rodded. Personally U don't like DIYers fooling around with installation of that type. Maurizio, Expert panelist, USA.
Q 5640: Your site has such a wealth of information that I am hoping that you can help me as well... We are having Uba Tuba installed in our newly remodeled kitchen. We bought our cabinets (Kraft Maid/Cross Creek) through a national home improvement warehouse and chose to include the granite and installation with that purchase.
Is there any reason that we could not use a cast iron undermount sink with a granite countertop? We chose a Kohler cast iron sink and were told by the fabricator/installer that it could not be used with granite. Now we're in a bind about what type of sink to use. Please help.Thank you. ~ Wendy
, Nov 03, Reply
R1: Dear Wendy: Technically there's nothing wrong with a cast-iron sink. The issue raised by your contractor is probably motivated by the significant weight of such type of sink, and I can't say that I blame him, considering that's an undermount installation. Maurizio, Expert panelist, USA.
Q 5639: I have just finished my kitchen and wanted some info on caring for my Granite counter tops. I stumbled onto you web site while looking for info. Please don't burst my bubble! I am very happy with my choice, as uninformed as it may be, but I would like some specific care info on my type of granite,Giallo Veneziano. The only thing I am noticing is that the granite does darken when it is wet then returns to normal once it dries. I ask the installer if I needed to seal or do anything with it and he said no. There was a language difficulty unfortunately I am not bilingual.My questions- Are water spots normal, do I seal it and how often with what, do's and don'ts of granite ie cutting on it, pouring -what is real bad for it and what is no big deal? I want all the info you got! Thank you Nancy H, Nov 03, Reply
R1: Dear Nancy: If your stone darkens when wet, it does need to be sealed with a good-quality impregnator sealer (like my MB-4, which comes with a 10 year limited warranty)! About possible "don'ts" the only thing I recommend not to do is not to use your granite countertop as a cutting board. Maurizio, Expert panelist, USA.
Q 5638: We recently had our concrete patio covered with flagstone, it looks really good except that we have these hairline cracks in the grout, right where the grout meets the stone, can these cracks be repaired or does the grout need to be removed? Thanks, Sarah, Nov 03, Reply
R1: Dear Sarah, It is common to have a slight amount of shrinkage as the grout drys, leaving hairline separation between the stone and grout. This can be caused by too wet of a grout mix, a very absorbant stone such as sandstone that wasn't dampened before grouting, or the grout joint being struck prior to the grout reaching the proper temper (firmness). If the grout is not loose between the stones, and they really are hair line, don't worry about it -- just enjoy your patio. JVC
Q 5636: My contractor just installed my granite counter tops in my kitchen and I have since found water stains around the faucet. My contractor insisted that the granite had in fact been sealed. Does this sound right to you? My husband suggested that our water may have high levels of residue. I say if it was sealed properly to begin with water stains should not occur. Help! Nov 03, Reply
R1: Dear Help: First off: did your "granite" need to be sealed at all (see my answer to the post 5634 below)? Second, if what you have is a mineral deposit, what has an impregnator/sealer got to do with preventing minerals to be deposited on the surface of the stone? Maurizio, Expert panelist, USA.
Q 5635: I replaced my steps outside my house about August, 2001. Know the steps are turning green. I am not sure if it's from the leaves or water. What can I use to keep the other steps from doing the same Thanks, Maria, Nov 03, Reply
R1: Hi Maria. You don't mention what type of stone your steps are made from. However, you can try bleaching the green out. What it probably is is mold and alga, and the bleach will kill it, and bring back the origional stone color. Good luck, JVC
Q 5634: I have just had ABSOLUTE BLACK installed in my Kitchen 4 days ago. It looks great but I am noticing slight water stains that will not polish out. I had the floors done about a month ago and it is really hard to clean to a great shine. Is this something I need to accept about choosing black? What do you recommend for the water stains? I have been reading and you mention that I should not have had to seal absolute black. I should also not use ANY cleaners. Nov 03, Reply
R1: Dear rim: That's right: Black Absolute is not supposed to be sealed with an impregnator. The problem you have is strictly related to the presence of the impregnator/sealer. Have you fabricator remove the stupid thing and live happily ever after! If they don't know how to do it, let them know that I am available teach them - for a small fee. Finally, about the cleaning agents to use on your stone, Maurizio, Expert panelist, USA.
Q 5632: I just recently removed a rug from my living room only to find a beautiful hard wood floor. In front of my fire place there was a row of ceramic tile that was cracking. I pulled up the ceramic tile and underneath that was some pretty decorative stone. The stone is now filled with the glue from the ceramic tiles. The stone is also really dirty and has lost any luster it may have had. Is there anyway I can bring this stone back to life? Thank you so much for your help. Jade, Nov 03, Reply
R1: Dear Jade: The only piece of advice I can give you is to get hold a bona fide stone restoration contractor. Maurizio, Expert panelist, USA.
Q 5631: We just moved in to a home with granite tiled kitchen counters. Vary nice condition with a nice shine. Unfortunately my pen holding container had an unseen crack and one of our ballpoint pens decided to spring a leak. We now have a round cirlce of ink stain on the counter. Help! is there anything to be done to fix this? The granitr tile is the dark grey type sold, by thr box, at thr hole improvment stores. Is this a decent grsde of granite, or not. Mainly though, can this stain be removed? Thank you. Oira, Nov 03, Reply
R1: Dear Oira: When it comes to stain removal, either you buy one of those expensive "Professional kits" (that no true professional ever uses!) at a stone retailer near you, or you can spend less money and get my comprehensive guidelines on how to remove stains by using inexpensive and far more effective means that you may already have in your household! Maurizio, Expert panelist, USA.
Q 5630: I wanted to put ceramic tile on my kitchen floor. Now I have some concerns. Some people say it is very slick. My older father lives with me and has difficulty walking I wouldn't want him to fall.I also was told that porcelian tile was better than ceramic tile, true or not?Today I saw a laminate type tile that actually has crushed up stone in it. It is supposed to be guaranteed for a lifetime. Is it any good? In summary what is the best kitchen floor. Also are purchased cabinets from a lumber company better or is it better to have them custom built ? Is granite a good counter top. I saw a beautiful dark green, with white and some red in it that I just loved. Thanks for your help Karen, Nov 03, Reply
R1: Dear Karen: Porcelain is indeed better than ceramic. About the particular tile you're making reference to, I don't know: there are way too many manmade conglomerate tiles to come up with a standard answer: some are indeed tough cookies, some other are far from that! About your granite countertop, I seldom comment about any one particular stone. There may be differences within the same stone (and I'm not talking about looks, here!) from one bundle of slabs and the next. The slabs may have also been either "doctored" (which is bad), or "resined" (which is good) by the factory, which would make a big difference. Even more important, what's a good stone in the hands of some "Michelangelo"?! Maurizio, Expert panelist, USA
Q 5628: Been all over the internet trying to find a nice compiled list of the relative value of various granite choices. I have had no luck except to stumble upon your website. So, I am hoping that I can get some help in getting a list or ranking of the top 20 granite choices based on price, uniqueness and rarity. This would be useful in trying to discuss with various stone and granite dealers.... as they all seem to point to different stones. So, assuming a level quality of slab and size, what would the top 20 list include... (maybe include a reason for its position in the list.) For example... is "Blue Eyes" rare, unique and expensive as the "dealer" thinks it is? Thanks! Chris, Nov 03, Reply
R1: Dear Chris: Now, I don't mean to be rude, but you well know that you won't be able to get that kind of information from the people (granite dealers) you will eventually give your money to, right? The question is: how much are you willing to pay for such a particular and in-depth report? Or is anybody supposed to write it up for you at no charge? Just curious!...I seldom comment about any one particular stone. There may be differences within the same stone (and I'm not talking about looks, here!) from one bundle of slabs and the next. The slabs may have also been either "doctored" (which is bad), or "resined" (which is good) by the factory, which would make a big difference. Even more important, what's a good stone in the hands of some "Michelangelo"?! Maurizio, Expert panelist, USA
Q 5627: We are building a new house and love the look of natural stone. We were considering a granite slab for kitchen counters, but one salesman told us we could save a lot of money by using half inch granite tiles instead. they were bevel-edged and so would have virtually no mortar visible between. He would seem 2 tiles together at the edges of the counters so it would look thicker. Is this a practical idea? Thanks,Lori, Nov 03, Reply
R1: Dear Lori: Yes, it will save you money, but the "butt-jointing" theory of the tiles is a big NO-NO!! 1/16" gap for proper grouting is recommended. If can afford it, go with a slab. Talking about which, I seldom comment about any one particular stone. There may be differences within the same stone (and I'm not talking about looks, here!) from one bundle of slabs and the next. The slabs may have also been either "doctored" (which is bad), or "resined" (which is good) by the factory, which would make a big difference. Even more important, what's a good stone in the hands of some "Michelangelo"?! Maurizio, Expert panelist, USA
Q 5626: We purchased Giallo Veneziano countertops earlier this year and unfortunately there is a hazy area on an inside corner exactly where the sunlight catches it and it is therefore very visible. We asked the installers to try to correct it. They put some type of black-colored wax (in a pink can with Italian writing so we do not know the brand) on the area and then used an electrical polisher or sander on it. This did no good. Now the spot has a waxy feeling and it just as visible if not more so. I have tried 0000 steel wool and maybe helped it slightly, but not much. Do you know a way to improve the hazy area and do you know a way to eliminate the wax they put on the area? Also, how do you recommend cleaning the countertops? Thank you for any help you can offer. Lib, Nov 03, Reply
R1: Dear Lib: It looks like "Michelangelo" struck again! You can remove the wax with avetone (it may take several applications), but polishing the dull areas? Not a chance! It's up to your fabricator to finish the job professionally. About routine maintenance of your countertop, Maurizio, Expert panelist, USA.
Q 5624: Have cleaned my smooth surface sandstone fireplace per your instructions of 3 parts warm water to one part bleach. While it was wet it was quite pretty - the rose tones of the stone came through. But now that it is thoroughly dry it has a mottled look to it - almost pasty looking. Is there a way to achieve the look that it had while wet??? I know you don't like sealers - but is there something "natural" I can use to get the "wet look" back? Thank you for the help with cleaning it. Cathy, Nov 03, Reply
R1: Dear Cathy: I love sealers! I just don't like they way they are over-promoted and over-applied! In your case the application of a good-quality color enhancer, like my MB-6 will do the trick for you. Maurizio, Expert panelist, USA.
Q 5621: Seeking information on granite for kitchen counter: Finally found a light colored one in 12x12 inch tiles. Today, I turned it to backside, and decided I prefer rougher side to polished side. Can this side be installed as counter top? Any procedures on sealing, either before or after installation? And what about maintenance afterward? Would appreciate any information you can send. Thank you, Nov 03, Reply
R1: The last time a checked there was no law against installing granite tiles upside down! :-) Of course you will need to seal them real good, or optionally, color enhanced. My MB-4 or MB-6 could fit your bill. Considering the high absorbency of the back of the tiles, sealing before installation could be a good bet. Maurizio, Expert panelist, USA
Q 5620: I have a 5 year old flagstone patio, about 20ftx20ft and well drained. The heavy rains this spring in the East have covered the stone with a persistent grime that sweeping will not take care of. Should I pressure blast it? And once I succeed in cleaning it back to its original colors, is there a way to seal it? Thanks, OGM, Nov 03, Reply
R1: Dear OGM: It all depends on the type of stone you have. The definition of flagstone does not indicate a type of stone: it only makes reference to the (loose) shape of the cuts of stone. At any rate, pressure blasting, if done correctly may work. About the sealing issue, sealers for stone (assuming that they could be absorbed by your particular stone to begin with) seldom work outdoors. Maurizio, Expert panelist, USA.
Q 5619: I am thinking of making a pathway and patio area (outside of my house) using broken pieces of different coloured granite and arranging them together like a mosaic and then using grout or concrete to fill the gaps.Can you tell me if you know of any problems pertaining to this and do you know of somebody else who may have already tried this? Iam thinking of using broken irregular shaped granite not neat squarely cut granite tiles. I would really appreciate if you could help me. Will you email me back or do I have to go back to your website and check for an answer? Matt, Nov 03, Reply
R1: Dear Matt: It's been done already and there shouldn't me any major problem. Maurizio, Expert panelist, USA.
Q 5617: I have recently installed granite tile countertops in my kitchen and would like to take the shine off the tile for a more natural look. How do I do this? DO I use acid? Nov 03, Reply
R1: The only acid that can etch granite is Hydrofluoric Acid. Trust me: YOU DO NOT WANT TO HANDLE THAT STUFF! Have a professional stone refinisher come out and hone your tiles for you. Maurizio, Expert panelist, USA.
Q 5616: I recently had countertops installed in the Kitchen. We chose Ghibli Beige.I noticed right away that water did not bead up and oil will stain it(not good in a kitchen where you cook a lot!). The installer came out and put a paste on the stain which we left on overnight, but now there is a shadow the size of the application that was put on. We let it go a few days to see if it would dry up. But it is still there. Is it possible to remove the mark left by the stain remover? Is there something else I can use that is not so drastic to try to get a different small spot out?
They also sent sealer out, but I had to pay for it. From reading the Q&A'slisted here, it appears I need to get them out here to seal it until it isright - at their cost! Thank you, Sue Tans, Nov 03,

R1: Dear Sue: It looks to me like you've got a raw deal! Typically it's the task of the fabricator to make sure that the stone they sell are properly sealed; but then again, it's not written in stone (no pun intended!). About the removal of the stain, it appears to me like they don't know much what they're doing … Ah, if you had bought my guidelines on how to shop for a granite countertop!! :-) At any rate, it's too late now. When it comes to stain removal, either you buy one of those expensive "Professional kits" (that no true professional ever uses!) at a stone retailer near you, or you can spend less money and get my comprehensive guidelines on how to remove stains by using inexpensive and far more effective means that you may already have in your household! Such impressive piece of literature will also tell you how to tell stains apart from "stains", and what to do about the latter! Furthermore, it's never too early to think about the proper maintenance of your stone. It's a subject that's all too often neglected and, as you can tell by reading many of this site postings, you're not likely to get good information about it from your dealer or installer (when end-users tell me that they were advised to use water and dish soap, or regular glass-cleaner, my Italian blood reaches the boiling point at the speed of light!). Maurizio, Expert panelist, USA.
Q 5615: Now I think I may be on the brink of making a big mistake! Reading your website as scared the heck out of me - have lived with good ol' formica for 27 years with no problems. Seems like granite has lots of pitfalls, particularly since I cook alot and butter, olive oil, tomato based sauces and wine are staples in our hourse.
We have sent a deposit for our Dakota Mahogany granite countertop in WV. They have been very helpful and seem quite professional. Have not set a date for the making of the template, but should be very soon. They needed to find another piece because did not have one 121 inches long in stock. I read that if this piece is not from the same quarry then we could be in trouble. I will call tomorrow to see if it matches. I do want to order the cleaner you recommend for daily maintenace. Could you tell me the cost. Also, could you tell me what questions I should ask them about the sealer they use?, Carolyn, Nov 03,
R1: Dear Carolyn: Relax, you're not making a mistake! Dakota Mahogany is an eccellent choice! Just make sure that you discuss the issue of natural pits (typical of most granites but that can be rather extensive in D.M.) with your fabricator. Make sure that they are not too many and that they won't bother you once your countertop is installed. I hope they will be able to find a matching slab! Usually D.M. does NOT need to be sealed. Run my little lemon juice (and oil) test to verify on a piece of scrap. If it passes the test with flying colors (and it most likely will), then INSIST that they do NOT apply any impregnator/sealer in your stone (not even mine!! :-)) More than half of all the impregnator/sealers out there could give you trouble when they're not properly absorbed by the stone; and if the lemon juice test will tell you that nothing gets absorbed, it means that not even the impregnator will go in. The SEAL-IT-ANYWAY-JUST-IN-CASE theory is just plain no good! Remember, impregnator/sealers for stone are not some sort of wax or something that you put on top of your countertop. Maurizio, Expert Panelist
Q 5614: I really need to know the best product to enhance and seal the honed Baltic brown. It is used primarily on the shower floor and as highlights in some other dry area's Your recommendation as to the best product would be gratefully appreciated. Alvin, Nov 01, Reply
R1: Dear Alvin: Well, what do you expect me to say? My MB-6 is the best color enhancer/sealer in the entire Universe and beyond! Maurizio, Expert panelist, USA.
Q 5613: I am looking to install stone over concrete outside. The concrete patio is in good condition, with no cracks. What are the best choices for materials, and what is the best way to apply them? Thank you, Bill, Nov 01, Reply
R1: Dear Bill: is the concrete is nice and leveled, all you have to do is apply a good-quality water-proof membrane (assuming that the concrete slab is on grade), and then set your stone tiles using white thin-set and a ¾" notch trowel. Don't forget about your grout gap! Maurizio, Expert panelist, USA.
Q 5612: I have been researching to find out what the top of a lab table I recently acquired from a 1950's era high school may be made out of. In question 4054 and replies, I read about soapstone, and I plan to conduct this test. I would like to know if there is any way to test whether the top is a synthetic stone. It is cold to the touch and "knocks" like stone, but it has some fairly deep scratches in it. The surface is black (fairly glossy), but the deep scratches reveal more of a brownish color. As I restore this into a lowered coffee table for a grad student apartment, I would like to make the top more attractive. Does anyone have any suggestions for identifying what I have and covering/filling the deep scratches (could even be called gouges)? Candy, Nov 01, Reply

R1: It is not uncommon for lab benches from this era to contain asbestos. I would highly recommend you test for the presence of asbestos before you grind, sand or otherwise generate dust. Good Luck. Wale

R2: Dear Candy: By the way you're describing it, it's soapstone all right! The only decent way to fill those gouges is to use an epoxy compound, and then, when it's cured, sand it down to get flush with the stone surface. After that, you will proceed at fine sanding the whole thing. Soapstone is quite soft and easy to sand. Maurizio, Expert panelist, USA.
R3: This is almost certainly a synthetic product that, as Wale suggested, may have asbestos in it. That being said, more than 80% of the asbestos used in products is rather innocuous (no worse than any other dust), only some asbestos is significantly linked to lung cancer. I don't believe that you can test the lab top for asbestos (or any other component) without making a thin section and having a trained geologist look at it for you. Good luck. Phil
Q 5611: I recently acquired a 2-drawer table with a black granite top. The table had been dropped in moving and the granite broke off in two pieces. I glued them back on the table surface and although the cracked edges matched perfectly, there is a visible crack showing and some tiny spaces where the granite chipped off. I would very much like to know how to fill the crack so it would be virtually invisible to the eye and to the touch. Can you advise me as to how to repair this? CEV, Nov 01, Reply
R1: Dear CEV: It is not a DIY project by a long shot! You need to get hold of a PROVEN stone restoration contractor to do the job right. Maurizio, Expert panelist, USA.
Q 5610: I think I have white mineral depostis forming around my kitchen faucet on my granite countertops. Help! How do I get rid of this white mess? Nov 01, Reply
R1: Dear ?: Remove the worst with a razor blade, and then finish the job with a little bit of "Lyme-a-way" (spelling?). Do NOT over use the product!! Maurizio, Expert panelist, USA.
Q 5609: I request your information on maintaining a granite tile kitchen countertop. The countertop has been installed and grouted but not sealed yet. The guy who installed it did a good job of building the counter and laying the tile, and I don't see any problems based on the information I've seen on findstone. But he doesn't know anything about taking care of it. The tile are 12"x12" and were called Sonoma Monte Cruz, although that may just be the tile store's name for this. I'm told it is from China. The tile has a mottling of black, white and a slightly rosy beige color in it. The tile does darken with water. The edges of the tile are beveled, and they were laid with 1/16" grout lines. There is matching "sinkrail" tile that bullnoses the edge. The grout is unsanded. The tile store sold HMK S-34 impregnator. I can also pick up MiraSeal 511 impregnator in town. Salespeople here know nothing. I went looking on the internet to learn more about this topic. I have learned that there are silicone, siloxane and silane impregnator products, as well as esther/epoxy products, and others sure. I haven't figured out for sure yet if the S-34 and 511 are silicone or siloxane- they say they are "silicone based". It seems that siloxane is better than silicone and silane. I don't think I will mind applying an impregnator every year or so. I also want to know how to clean this counter- normal washing as well as getting grease splatters cleaned off, etc. I have read and learned bits and pieces and varied viewpoints on the internet until I'm nauseous. I don't mind paying a little for your advice on the current state of impregnators and for stone maintenance guidelines. I know you sell your own line of products but would appreciate it if you could comment on these two that I have here in town. Relatives are coming in a little over a week and my very patient wife (really she is) would appreciate it if the counter was ready for use. This is my first venture into stone and I might be hooked. Thank you for being a passionate voice about stone! Don, Nov 01, Reply
R1: Dear Don: The two specific products you mentioned are indeed silicon based, which, in my opinion its pretty much obsolete, in consideration of the newest generations of impregnator/sealers. Silane or siloxane are only slightly better. About Ester Epoxy products, they are indeed quite good (my own MB-4 used to be based on such resin, before I switched to fluorocarbon) but just about impossible to find anymore. I believe that there's only one company left that uses such resin. Like I just mentioned, a little over a year ago I switched to a formulation based on fluorocarbon resin (Teflon® like), which, besides being a very tough cookie has the advantage to be water-carried instead of solvent carried, like most other impregnators are. It comes with a 10-year limited warranty, which means that you won't have to apply it every year or so! My maintenance guidelines for residential stone installation are available for a small fee on the side bar menu of this very page. Maurizio, Expert panelist, USA.
Q 5608: I'm concerned about some "white" marks that I noticed on a sample of ubatuba granite. The marks seem to have been made by a sharp object--another hard stone, for example. I was able to reproduce this by hitting one stone with another. When I tried this on tan brown, for instance, it didn't leave the "white" marks. I understand that ubatuba is supposed to be a great choice for a kitchen counter. What can you tell me about these white marks? I have 4 slabs of ubatuba on hold and want to move quickly on it. I've enjoyed your column and will rely on your advice. Thanks, Frances, Nov 01, Reply
R1: Dear Frances: It sound to me like a case of stunned crystals, a very rare occurrence with Ubatuba. You have to hit it really hard to have that kind of damage. Personally, I never witnessed any in all my year of traveling! Which means that I'm still convinced that Ubatube is terrific choice for a kitchen countertop. The question is: how good is the fabricator? Maurizio, Expert panelist, USA
Q 5607: We just had Paradiso Classico installed for our kitchen countertops. Immediately after the installation, there were large darkened spots, above the locations where the adhesive was applied. We were told this would dry out in a few days. It did, but only slightly. Finally, after about three weeks, they are gone from most of the surfaces. We were told not to seal the granite until the marks were gone. However, we were only told not to use the counters for 72 hours. So we've been using them unsealed. As a consequence (I now realize from all the info here!) there are new spots from oil, tomato sauce etc, that will not come out. These are mostly fairly small, but a couple are unpleasantly large. We don't know specifically which spots are from what things. Which poultice of the different ones referenced here would be the best one to try on unknown stains? As a follow on, when we do get it cleaned up and ready to be sealed, it sounds as if it should have 4 or 5 coats of sealer, as it seems quite porous. Even water doesn't bead up, but stains until it dries. We had Misty Mauve installed in our bathrooms and it is much more satisfactory. Even before sealing, liquids beaded up and didn't spot. Comparatively, the Paradiso which was much more expensive, has been a real disappointment. Very much appreciate any advice you can give. Thanks, Mary, Nov 01, Reply
R1: Dear Mary: About the fact that Paradiso Classico is more expensive you have to complain with Mr. And Mrs. Demand & Supply! Pirce of commercial granites has nothing to do with their inherent quality. Misty Mauve usually doesn't need to be sealed. About the sealing of your P.C., if you use my MB-4, 2 to 3 applications will do plenty. (You've got to wait 24 hours or better in between applications, and make sure to remove all the sealer that's left sitting on the stone!) Finally, about the removal of the stains, there's no way around it: if you don't know the nature of the stains you can only guess what to use. When it comes to stain removal, either you buy one of those expensive "Professional kits" (that no true professional ever uses!) at a stone retailer near you, or you can spend less money and get my comprehensive guidelines on how to remove stains by using inexpensive and far more effective means that you may already have in your household! Maurizio, Expert panelist, USA.
Q 5606: We just put granite countertop, (I don't know the name, we were told it's a new kind), it is light brown. We have some problems. First of all, when plumber installed the faucet, he used plumber's patty, and it stained the granite. We called him, he removed the patty, reinstalled the faucet, but the oily stain is still there. Granite has not been sealed yet. Is there any way to remove the oily stain? We were advised to use alcohol, but we are not sure. Second, what is the best sealer? Third, how should we take care of the granite, after it will be sealed? Your help will be highly appreciated. thanks Ella, Nov 01, Reply
R1: Dear Elsa: To remove the plumber putty stain you will have to try poulticing it with Methylene Chloride (available at any hardware store). And don't forget to keep you fingers crossed! Your question on which one is the best impregnator/sealer has only one answer: my MB-4, which just so happen the best in the entire Universe and beyond!! :-) No, seriously, there's no a VERY BEST product. My MB-4 is excellent and comes with a 10-year warranty, which means that you won't have to apply it once a year or so. Maurizio, Expert panelist, USA.
Q 5604: We have a granite counter top; if you are familiar with granite it is called Paradiso. Light in color with reds, grays, whites, and some blacks waves. Unfortunately, a mistake was made and the entire counter was cleaned with Pinesol for several weeks, and this caused the entire counter to darken severely. Also unfortunate is that the person who did this is a family member who did not know any better and was only trying to help. (Mother-in-law, visiting while wife in hospital) Now she is extremely upset, and to be honest I did not even notice it until it was very dark. Almost no whites, and grays. Now we could leave the counter dark, however, the areas that were under canisters, microwave, mixer, and other items where not wiped down, so they are as light as when it was first installed. We tried a poultice from a company called Brightstone, and even after two applications, it only lighted the stain slightly. I did some reading on another website and tried one of their suggestions. It was to use Chlorine Bleach. I bought cleaning gel product that contained Clorox bleach and used it on the counter. I did the same thing as I did with a poultice. I put some of the gel on the counter and covered with plastic wrap. I waited 12 hours and then removed plastic wrap and wipe off the gel.

Well, the counter was noticeably lighter, even lighter then two applications with the poultice I used. My questions are these; will the bleach harm the granite if I do the entire counter top with this method, if so, what else can I try??? And now that we know bleach will remove the stain, did something other than Pine sol stain the counter in the first place. I already know that I will have to seal the granite after I remove the stain, and I have purchased a product from TILELab, SurfaceGard, penetrating sealer. Thanks, Eric. Nov 01, Reply

R1: Dear Eric: You're doing just fine! No, bleach won't harm your stone. Which goes to prove the uselessness of expensive "professional stain removal kits"! Maurizio, Expert panelist, USA.
Q 5603: Can you please advise. Can gracks in Granite be reapired? I pruchased a home with granit counter tops, and there is crack at the front of the cooktop, unfurtunatly it was missed during the inspection, can you help? Sincerely; Geroge, Nov 01, Reply
R1: Dear George: No, unfortunately I can't help. But a good bona fide stone restoration contractor will! Now, remember, it's never too early to think about the proper maintenance of your stone. It's a subject that's all too often neglected and, as you can tell by reading many of this site postings, Maurizio, Expert panelist, USA
Q 5602: We recently installed "Honed Absolute Black" countertops in our kitchen. We used a sealer provided by the stoneyard to seal it with. Within 4 days of installation, I am already noticing stains from cups, spilt drinks, etc. that do not come out when scrubbed. What can we do to remove these stains and prevent them in the future? Geri, Nov 01, Reply
R1: Dear Geri: Allow me to welcome you to the club: "I wish I'd never gotten a honed black granite countertop!" On top of that, you applied an impregnator/sealer! The only thing you can try to do now is to strip the stupid sealer off (it's not a DIY project: you will need to hire a professional stone refinisher to do that for you by using a honing powder), and then apply a stone color-enhancer instead. This will minimize the problems inherent to honed black granite, which is surface staining. Oh, it almost slipped my mind: don't forget to send a heartfelt thank-you note to your fabricator for the valuable advice they gave you! :-) Maurizio, Expert panelist, USA.
Q 5601: Is Juperana Fantastico considered a true granite? Would you recommend it for a kitchen counter? Should we take any special precautions? Is there a downside to a honed finish? Thanks, Jeff, Nov 01, Reply
R1: Dear Jeff: I will answer your questions is the same order they're asked: 1) No. 2) and 3) Yes, providing that you have it impregnated real well. (With my own impregnator, MB-4, of course!! :-)) 4) None that I can think of. The only thing is that you may want to consider using an impregnator sealer which is a color enhancer as well, like my MB-6, instead of a plain impregnator. You will accomplish the result of having a deeper color (as if it were polished, but without the shine), which is a great help feature for routine maintenance purposes. Maurizio, Expert panelist, USA.
Q 5600: Can you give me info on fieldstone foundations? Should this discourage me from purchasing a house? Can it be sealed or cemented? Thanks for any help you can give, Jessica, Nov 01, Reply
Q 5599: Out patio has salmon color flagstone which has been stained. The stains appeared after one winter when we had a lot of rain. We use a pressure washer every year to remove the dirt and moss that builds-up on the stones once a year, and that works very well but does not remove the black spots. I hope there is a way to get rid of this spots because they completely take away from the beauty of the stone. Thanks for your help, Negin, Nov 01, Reply
R1: Dear Negin: What kind of chemical do you use to power-wash your stone? I have a product, namely MB-9 that does a terrific job used with a power washer. I don't know the nature of those black spots; therefore I can't honestly promise that it will work for sure, but it's a powerful cleaner and very stone-friendly to boot, of course! Maurizio, Expert panelist, USA.
Q 5596: I'm renovating my master bathroom. I'm planning to use blue pearl granite for the countertop...Having a difficult time finding the right material and colors to use for the floor tile, wall tile, backsplash and shower tile, and cabinetry. The bathroom will include a clawfoot tub which is white with a charcoal finish on the outside. I want to stay in the gray family of colors, but don't want the bathroom to be too dark. Also I want the tile to have that natural stone look, without the maintenance, and I don't want to use white tile. Does anyone have any ideas? Rani, Nov 01, Reply
R1: Dear Rani: Not me! … I make a lousy interior decorator! I'm just a mechanic and all I can offer to you are good advice for the proper care of your stone. Maurizio, Expert panelist, USA.
Q 5595: we did about 4000 sq ft in texas shellstone sealed it once with GE sealer we grouted just the joints of the stone with a darker grout and it turned the area around the joints dark any soloutions? please help, D B, Nov 01, Reply
R1: Dear DB: I've got some bad news for you: the coloring agent of the grout has been absorbed by the sides of the tiles. It's terminal: nothing can remove those stains, sorry. Maurizio, Expert panelist, USA.
R2: Hi D.B. Question-- did you seal the stone before grouting, or after? The moisture from the grout needs a way to escape the stone, and if it was sealed prior to the grouting, the only avenue of escape is through the joint itself, and the moisture that penetrated the stone is having a hard time escaping. Another problem may be in the use of a dark grout. Maytimes a dark grout can stain the stone causing a picture frame effect. Our proceedure in setting this stone is to use non staining white masonry cement for the grout joints. At this point in time, the only thing you can do is wait and see if it lightens up. If it is stained, a bit of bleach may help. Sorry, JVC
Q 5594: My builder is ordering the granite from Canada,which makes selection very difficult since they only have very small samples. They offer Atlantic Blue, Polychrome, Stanstead Grey, Caledonia, Uba Tuba, and Laurentian Green. Difficult as always, I am requesting Paradiso because I like the mist effect more then the chunky effect. Could you please forewarn me of any difficult stones in the above list? Also, which ones require sealing and how Paradiso relates in price to those listed above. Thanks, Sarah, Nov 01, Reply
R1: Dear Sarah: Some of the stones you mentioned I never even heard of, let alone talking about prices! Regardless, I seldom comment about any one particular stone. There may be differences within the same stone (and I'm not talking about looks, here!) from one bundle of slabs and the next. The slabs may have also been either "doctored" (which is bad), or "resined" (which is good) by the factory, which would make a big difference. Even more important, what's a good stone in the hands of some "Michelangelo"?! Maurizio, Expert panelist, USA