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ADVICE WANTED!   October 18, 2002
www.findstone.com   info@findstone.com

Q 3040: I bought my home 4 years ago, and much of the appeal was due to the attractive stone exterior. I do not know the type of stone used - I 've always heard it called 'fieldstone.' I realized when I bought the house that there was some cracking of the mortar and that I would need to repoint sometime soon. On closer inspection, though, I find that several of the stone slabs themselves are soft and crumbling. They are not so much spalling or flaking as they seem to be rotted, like cardboard, at least on the surface. What do I need to do? The house was built in 1929, from what I presume to be natural stone from the area (Philadelphia, PA). The softest stones are a brownish color, and this seems to be the predominant color. Some of the larger blocks are darker (gray/black) and
they seem to be holding up fine. Any help is appreciated. Regards, Brook
, Oct 18. Reply

Q 3039: What is the best sealant for outdoor colored slate tiles from Vermont? I live in the Northeast where the winters can be harsh. Thank You, Nick, Oct 18. Reply

Q 3038: I am looking for an expert who is willing to examine a botticino conglomerate marble hearth and give an expert opinion in the county court.

The lady lives in Blackburn Lancashire. Any charges must be reasonable.

The hearth had a hairline crack when it was first delivered and fitted but she was told that this was a feature of the marble. The crack has now developed into something substantial. Can you help at all? Ansbro, Oct 18. Reply

Q 3037: Can you please tell me how to remove or camouflage an acid etched "stain" from my Verde Butterfly granite counter top? I'd greatly appreciate your help. Laurie, Oct 18. Reply

R1: Dear Laurie: There's no way, I repeat NO WAY that you have an acid etch on your Verde Butterfly (unless you spilled Hydrofluoric Acid on it, which I highly doubt you have in your household!). Was that countertop sealed? If the answer is yes, then that could just be the problem. If you want me to elaborate more on this particular subject gimme a holler at: info@findstone.com. You can get my free maintenance guidelines for residential stone installation by hitting the link at the bottom of this page's left side bar titled: "Maurizio's Dos and Don'ts". Treasure them; you'll be glad you did!
Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, USA, Expert Panelist

Q 3036: We have a black slate hearth and I was wondering if I could paint it a different color. Sharon, Oct 18. Reply

Q 3035: We are about to install ceramic tile floors thru our foyer and kitchen. I had always heard that when installing tile floors or even a tile countertop (be it granite tiles or ceramic) that Dura-roc should always be laid down below the tiles. My tile man who has been in the family business for over 30 years says no! He informed me that Dura-roc eventually crumbles and splits and he only glues and screws down (every 8 inches) ¾ inch plywood over top of my sub-flooring. Is this true – will I have problems if we don’t install Dura-roc or I think I’ve heard it also called greenboard? Thanks for your help. Jill, Oct 18. Reply

R1: Dear Jill: I never heard of such a thing as cement board crumbling eventually. Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, USA, Expert Panelist

R2: Jill, DoRock and Greenboard are two different things. Greenboard is drywall that has been treated to be somewhat moisture resistant. You absolutely DO NOT use that as a base for your floor application. DuRock is a cement board made specifically as a backing for tile applications and will not rot, crack or disintegrate. Another option for underlayment would be HardiBacker (my personal favorite) and not that much more than DuRock. You do not want to use mortat & tile directly on plywood - even if it is treated wood. It would be a waste of a good installation if you omit the backer board. Regards, Adriana

Q 3034: In an exterior commercial application, I have a solid concrete foundation wall that is three feet tall, four feet wide, and sixty feet long, that acts as a base for a couple of flagpoles. The concrete slab is wrapped on all sides and top with 1-1/4" thick polished buff/gray granite veneer panels. The top is set in mortar, and the sides are hung with stainless steel clips and Hilti anchors. There are 3/8" joints, sealed with a flexible sealant, and weeps at the base. The issue is, a brown, rust looking stain has appeared just after the joint sealant was installed, in the exact location of the anchoring clips. I've had people tell me that there is moisture in the concrete slab behind, and that as that moisture tries to exit, it pulls organics from the concrete, travels along the contact point (clip), and deposits the organics in the granite, leaving a brown rust like stain. I have also been told that the stains will go away in time. I have been monitoring them and notice no change for the past three months. The granite veneer itself, though, it does change in shade with moisture from rain, quickly returns to original dry color in a couple of hours. But the brown staining is always there! In your opinion, will the stain go away, or is it permanent? Is there anything that will remove the staining? Should there
have been a waterproofing sealant put on the concrete prior to granite installation?

Any help would be greatly appreciated! Nick Pagani, Oct 18. Reply

R1: Dear Nick: Will the stain go away? NO. Can it be removed? I doubt highly. Try to poultice it with hydrogen peroxide 30/40 valume and keep your fingers crossed! About your last question, I really don't know the answer. Maybe, just maybe. Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, USA, Expert Panelist

Q 3033: I am a consultant and i would like to know the different rates for both exporting and importing limestone to DUBAI, Renny, Oct 18. Reply

Q 3032: I am having the cemetery plot of my parents covered with pink and white Georgia marble. The monument and coping are of Colorado Marble. This plot is beneath Mable and Oak trees and catches a great variety of leaves, twigs, and nuts. After I have sealed the marble, what can I put on it during the year to protect it from staining and to keep the polished effect? Robert, Oct 18. Reply

R1: Dear Robert: Just about nothing, I'm afraid! If frequency is not a problem with you, you can try with a good-quality car wax once every couple of months or so. Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, USA, Expert Panelist

Q 3031: I'm interested in applying a stone and resin flooring to my existing basement and patios Can anyone offer assistance as to where I may purchase the necessary stone (granite, marble, etc.) aggregate (chips) for this application? In addition, can anyone offer any helpful advise. I've seen it installed many times and assisted with an installation, doesn't look difficult. Thanks! Steve, Oct 18. Reply

R1:  Dear Steve: Well, usually stone and agglomerate tiles are sold at ... stone retail outlets! Do you want to do it yourself? Buy some publication on the subject and keep your fingers crossed. You can get my free maintenance guidelines for residential stone installation by hitting the link at the bottom of this page's left side bar titled: "Maurizio's Dos and Don'ts". Treasure them; you'll be glad you did! Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, USA, Expert Panelist

Q 3030: Could you give me some more details on the biological cleaner you have for old stone. Size of containers, cost, shipping cost to Belton, Texas, etc. Thall, Oct 18. Reply

R1:  Dear Thall: Contact me directly at: info@findstone.com. Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, Expert Panelist

Q 3029: We're removing an existing tub only and replacing with a shower only. Will be completely done in Travertine. I, too, have been told it's high maintenance and to seal it, but after reading up on it, think maybe not. I have 3 other questions:
1. What is the best prep method - "Wonderboard" or "floating" the wall ??
2. I believe my tile guy mentioned 3/16" grout line - I see here looks like "should" be 1/16". Any problem with 3/16ths?
3. I get different opinions on sanded or un-sanded grout. Which should it be ? Also, the bathroom floor (not shower floor) will be done in a porcelean tile which looks like a Travertine - does it matter on that whether it's sanded or un-sanded grout? Thanks so much for your help and thanks a LOT for your web site !!! I've
been told so many conflicting things in trying to re-do this bathroom that
I'm AFRAID to move on to the rest of the house !!! Think I'd rather MOVE
than remodel !!! -Jay, Oct 18. Reply

R1:  Dear Jay: Floating is very good. Wonderboard is just as good an much more practical. 3/16" grout lines? Fire the guy without any further comment. I ain't kidding around, I do mean it. NEVER use sanded grout with natural stone, unless it comes tumble-finished. About the sealing thing, read my answer to the posting # 3019 below. You can get my free maintenance guidelines for residential stone installation by hitting the link at the bottom of this page's left side bar titled: "Maurizio's Dos and Don'ts". Treasure them; you'll be glad you did! Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, USA, Expert Panelist

Q 3028: I am looking for some type of industry standard for travertine floor tile. I am a developer and contractor buying 10,000 to 20,000 sf per year. I have recently purchased material that is out of square from 1/16 to 3/16 in 18". Is this considered workable? I have not noticed this difference in other travertine that I have purchased. I can not find an ASTM or any type of standard for grading or rating stone. Thanks in advance. This is a great site with much useful information. Oct 17. Reply

R1: Dear Looking for industry standards in the stone industry?! Dream on!! Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, USA, Expert Panelist

Q 3027: We are a small quarry and have over one million tons of granite available for sale at Wholesale prices. I would like to know how the granite is "graded" and where I may send samples to be graded., Oct 17. Reply

Q 3026: Hello, I am having a countertop built for a serpentine wine bar. It is being constructed out of a layer of 2cm absolute black granite with a 4" piece of 2cm granite laminated to the underside of the edge, then a full profile is cut into the edge on all (4) edges. The top is 14' long, so there is a seam at the 7' mark. My producer is telling me that the laminating of the edges, then cutting the profile in, is causing the granite to bow - this is causing a 1/16" difference in the heights of the 2 pieces at the seam.
Does this sound plausible (?) another local fabricator does not think the bowing should be happening? Or is it more possible that it is a case of one slab coming in 1/32" under and one slab coming in 1/32" over? The manufacturer wants to put a chamfer on the seam, but this will allow material to collect in the seam - not a good thing in a commercial situation. Any suggestions, or information would be greatly appreciated! Rosemary Clement,
Oct 17. Reply

R1: Dear Rosemary: Baloney! Laminating does not cause granite to bow, it actually helps avoiding that! The 1/16" difference in thickness is due to the fact that most of the time no two slab are exactly the same thickness. The denomination of 2 cm. or 3 cm. are only nominal. Do not accept the chamfer and have your fabricator rectify the situation at the shop. Had they rehearsed the installation at the shop (which is always the right thing to do, in order to avoid "surprises" at the job site), all this delivery of "creative theories" would have been avoided. You can get my free maintenance guidelines for residential stone installation by hitting the link at the bottom of this page's left side bar titled:
"Maurizio's Dos and Don'ts". Treasure them; you'll be glad you did! Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, USA, Expert Panelist

Q 3025: Would you please give me the straight story on using travertine limestone for floors. My builder seems to think its the neatest thing since apple pie. I have heard negative comments concerning durability and maintenance. Lynda, Oct 17. Reply

R1:   Dear Lynda: The maintenance of polished calcite-based stones (assuming that your travertine is polished) could be a charm, or it could be a nightmare. Maintenance of natural stone does NOT begin after the cutting of the ribbon. It rather starts (or should start) from the moment one begins to think about it! It depends from several factors:
1. In which room it's going to be installed, i.e.: you do NOT want polished marble or travertine in a kitchen.
2. How well it's going to be installed (poor installation always equal poor maintenance).
3. What kind of specific intelligence the homeowner is given about proper maintenance of natural stone. In my experience, I'd dare to say that the information made available to end-users of natural stone by dealers and contractors is dismaying to say the least. Most of the time every problem
"gets solved" with the application of a penetrating sealer/impregnator, which, in the particular case of polished travertine, will do absolutely nothing but increase the bank account of the manufacturer of the sealer, its dealer and the contractor who will apply it (it's a sealers' manufacturer talking here!)
4. How well the homeowner implements such information, when it's good and suitable. Many a time I gave my comprehensive guidelines to customers to find out, a year later or so, that they are doing not even the half of it! Who knows, maybe the problem is that, so far, I gave them away for free! ...
You can get my free (not for much longer) maintenance guidelines for residential stone installation by hitting the link at the bottom of this page's left side bar titled: "Maurizio's Dos and Don'ts". Treasure them; you'll be glad you did! Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, USA, Expert Panelist

Q 3024: I'd really appreciate your guidance. We just purchased a 40yr old home with a greenish slate entry way, it has quite a few stains...any suggestions? Robyn, Oct 17. Reply

R1: Dear Robyn: Yes: GET RID OF IT! Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, USA, Expert Panelist

Q 3023: Hello! We would like to put down tiles on the back porch floor. The porch is covered by the roof but it is open on three sides. What type of subfloor should we have? Also, what type of outdoor tiles should we install and how? Thank you! Mike, Oct 17. Reply

Q 3022: Hi, I have a terrazo shower pan which altho older, was in very good condition.

I recently had to have my tile shower replaced and the tile contractor and carpenter suggested keeping the pan as it was in good condition, stating they would keep it if it was theirs, as a new pan would be very costly. The tile contractor said he could buff it up a bit and make it look real good.

He put some kind of a white powder and rubbed it around the shower pan and then let it dry. This was in April 2002. By June 2002, it appeared streaked and with a bluish tone or a chaulky look to it. It is also very uneven, streaky looking and much worse than it ever was before.

I called the tile contractor out and he said he had never seen that before. Now I am at a loss as to what to do. It looks terrible! Is there some kind of a sealer or something I can do my self to try to improve the situation. Any help at all would be appreciated. Mary, Oct 17. Reply

R1: Dear Mary: I have no idea, either. To try to figure out what happened I should get to know exactly what your tile contractor did to that pan, including -- but not limited to -- the name of the powder he used. Forget about any sealer, they wouldn't do you any good. Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, USA, Expert Panelist

Q 3021: We just put a deposit on some Volga Blue granite. THEN we found your site. We did the lemon juice test on our sample and it flunked. Left a dull circle after only 2-3 minutes. Should we get out of the deal? Thanks, Kathleen, Oct 17. Reply

R1: Dear Katheleen: Yes, get out of the deal as fast as you can! That Volga Blue has clearly been "doctored" by the factory (in Ukraina) with application of some topical makeup to ... well, ... make up for the professional deficiency of the local operators. The lemon juice, damaged the makeup, NOT the stone. Under the circumstances you have the legal right to back up of the deal: you are shpping for bare stone, not for shoeshine! Give your fabricator another chance your fabricator by shopping around and find a different supplier with Volga Blue slab that are not "doctored". Volga Blue is one of the best materials that money can buy for a kitchen countertop, but it's extremely difficult to process, even with the sophisticated machinery available in the processing plants. If the slabs come from Italy, then it's going to be a joy to own, but if it comes directly from Ukraina ... well, you already know the story! ... Same machines, different operators! Now, think about this: how about if I hadn't made my little lemon juice test available to the readers of this site? ... :-) You can get my free maintenance guidelines for residential stone installation by hitting the link at the bottom of this page's left side bar titled: "Maurizio's Dos and Don'ts". Treasure them; you'll be glad you did! Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, USA, Expert Panelist

Q 3020: I have a Marble top bar, Is it possible to clean water stains from the marble? Josy, Oct 17. Reply

R1: Dear Josy: There's no such an animal like a "water stain". Water never stained marble, never will! For the time being, let's just say that polished marble for a bar top was a very poor choice. But it's too late for that, is it! Didn't your stone supplier or your interior decorator tell you that?! I mean, it's very old news! You can get my free maintenance guidelines for residential stone installation by hitting the link at the bottom of this page's left side bar titled: Maurizio's Dos and Don'ts". Treasure them; you'll be glad you did! Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, USA, Expert Panelist

Q 3019: "We are considering using travertine for the floors, walls and INSIDE shower walls (however not the floor) of our new bathroom. I've read everything you've got posted about the advantages/disadvantages of travertine, but I want to make sure I'm completely clear on this: is it correct that we do NOT need to fill or seal the travertine EVEN inside the shower itself? Also, in yours "do's and don'ts" article, does everything you wrote about cleaning and caring for marble apply to travertine as well? Many thanks, Brenda, Oct 17. Reply

R1: Dear Brenda: I am against sealing travertine when it's polished to a high gloss. When it has a hone-finish then I indicate as optional the sealing of it in critical areas such as a kitchen or a shower enclosure (staining is still not very probable, but possible). For indoor installations (unless it's the surrounding of an indoor swimming pool) I would NOT leave travertine unfilled, ESPECIALLY inside a shower stall! It would be highly unsanitary. Finally, the last time a checked, travertine is still a natural stone (!); therefore maintenance guidelines for natural stone installation apply to it, too! :-) Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, USA, Expert Panelist

 

Q 3017: Can you clarify whether this test should be performed on the polished surface or rough (bottom) side of the stone? We are considering using Golden Oak "granite" for our kitchen counter tops. The lemon juice does not do anything to the polished side of our sample but does appear to darken (i.e. create a wet spot) on the rough side. Would you recommend Golden Oak for kitchen counters? Is it necessary to seal this stone? Thanks, Randy, Oct 17. Reply

R1: Dear Randy: Very definetly on the polished surface. If the lemon juice didn't do anything on the polished side, then the material is quite appropriate. You can get my free maintenance guidelines for residential stone installation by hitting the link at the bottom of this page's left side bar titled: "Maurizio's Dos and Don'ts". Treasure them; you'll be glad you did! Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, USA, Expert Panelist

Q 3016: I've installed Blue Pearl granite countertops in my kitchen recently and I've been searching for an answer on the best "daily" cleaner for granite. I don't want to buy a commercialized granite cleaner for $25 or more....I'm looking for a simple solution. Perhaps Windex would be ok on a regular basis? Or maybe some water mixed with vinegar? Just looking for something to keep it clean and shiny. Any advice would be most appreciated. Thank you, Jessica , Oct 16. Reply

R1: Dear Jessica: You don't need to spend $25 or more, but, unfortunately, unless you listen to 34-year-experience-Tony-know-it-all (who swears that using water and vinegar is the best thing one can do to stone!? ... Wow!!), there's no answer to your quest. Specialty cleaning agents for natural stone didn't come about out of fancy; they came about ouf of necessity. You buy natural stone, you have to care for it accordingly! You can get my free maintenance guidelines for residential stone installation by hitting the link at the bottom of this page's left side bar titled: "Maurizio's Dos and Don'ts". Treasure them; you'll be glad you did! By the way, I hope you didn't have your Blue Pearl sealed. Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, USA, Expert Panelist

Q 3015: Could you please tell me if there is a way to make a marble countertop shiny? For instance, can you add a glaze to the surface? We have a sealer, but it will not change the natural look of the tile. When I wet it down, it looks shiny and the tile color comes thru very nicely. That is the look that I am trying to achieve. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated. Anne, Oct 16. Reply

R1: Dear Anne; Polishing stone is an art and never comes in a bottle. Stone is polished by abrasion and friction, not by applying something onto it and buffing it up. It takes a proven professional, because no two stones polish the same way. Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, USA, Expert Panelist

Q 3013: I am thinking of having 'Rocksolid Granite' kitchen benchtops installed. According to their brochure, the product is 'a unique form of granite which comprises approximately 95% natural stone combined with a specially formulated polymer'. The sales assistant advised that some of the benefits compared to pure granite are: .no sealing required .non-porous .cheaper I tested some samples, and they are certainly scratch-resistant. Their kitchen display showroom had the look and feel of solid granite (to me). As I don't know anyone who has used this product, I am wondering if you can enlighten me as to pros and cons. Kerry, Oct 16. Reply

R1: Dear Kerry: No, it's not granite. It's a so called engineered stone, made with quartz and epoxy resin (in the proportions you indicated). In my neck of the woods (NE USA) is not any cheaper than "granite". It's maintenance is indeed easy and it does not need to be sealed, but there are several "granites" that don't need to be sealed, either, and are just as easy to maintain as engineered stone. There are basically no cons about it, besides the fact that it does look ... well, manmade! Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, USA, Expert Panelist

Q 3012: Hi I was wondering if Dakota Mahogony Granite Tile would be good for a shower and bathroom floor? Polly,Oct 16. Reply

R1: Dear Polly: Absolutely! You can get my free maintenance guidelines for residential stone installation by hitting the link at the bottom of this page's left side bar titled: "Maurizio's Dos and Don'ts". Treasure them; you'll be glad you did!Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, USA, Expert Panelist

 

Q 3010: I am an architect working on a residential project using Leuders limestone in a bathroom. The stone slabs are installed in a shower room (10' x 10'). The stone contractor used thick slabs and surface ground them to drain. Presumably, he sealed it. Soon after my clients moved in the slabs began to spall and despite numerous attempts to "fix" it (with epoxy and whatever), the stone continues too spall. Can these slabs be properly sealed at this point to stop spalling? Did we use the wrong material in this installation? Do you know of any Leuders limestone used in similar projects? I will appreciate your reply. Lisa, Oct 16. Reply

R1: Hi Lisa, Seems that I've seen this question before. There are at least a dozen distinct stones being quarried from out of the Lueders formation. The limestone is in beds 8 to 20 inches thick interbedded with shale and clay. Some of the quarries have been in existence for a long time, some are relatively new. And, the stone from the different quarries, and the stones from different ledges within a quarry differ in color and character. Some are very compacted fine grained and consistent throughout the block. Others have all sorts of stuff in them due to their depositional history. So identifying a stone as lueders limestone doesn't really tell me much about your particular
stone. The ASTM absorption specification (C-97) for "Lueders" is 5.4%, not as high as some limestone, but still pretty darn high for a shower floor. I will say that I have used lueders for many architectural purposes from highly ornate carvings to fountain and pool coping without any spalling problems, so it might just be that your stone is one of the more variegated varieties with softer material filling fossil burrows and worm tubes, it may be a problem with the installation and sealing, or it may just be the way Lueders is going to react in this application. Sorry that I can't be of any more help without actually eyeballing the situation. Good luck, JVC, Expert Panelist

R2: Dear Lisa: You don't give up, huh! ... I do admire your persevarance, but, unfortunately, even in this site you won't find anybody with a "magic solution" to your problem. It's terminal, alas. Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, USA, Expert Panelist

Q 3009: I have a problem with my travertine tile installed in my entry way. After installation, grouting, and sealing, my tile has white smeared areas. My travertine is called "Saturnia". I thought it was part of the stone, but after reading this forum, I think it is damage. What do you think?
I want to replace my kitchen floor with well-honed travertine. Should I go to the show room and conduct the lemon test before I buy it for my floor?
Granite: The granite (Giallo Venencciano) in my kitchen has grout that is cracking. Is that bad installation? I had it installed a year ago. Also, the area where I do most of my kitchen prep work is darker than the area that I don't do prep work. I know that my Granite is porous because when I spill oil it gets really dark. How can I even it all out? Should I put oil all over my granite and let it absorb and then seal it again? Thank you, Maggie, Oct 16. Reply

R1: Dear Maggie: The lemon juice test is meant to be used on "granite" only, to determine its suitability as a material for a kitchen countertop or a kitchen floor. Saturnia (which is a fancy way to say crosscut travertine) is a calcite-based stone. The lemon juice test does NOT apply to it. Pefect factory hone-finish does not exist. The machines they use to produce the finish in the factory are the same they use to polish the stone surface. They were never engineered to do hone-finish. The factory operators simply take out the last two rows of grinding elements, and, voila', you have a hone-finish that, if you ask me, makes me feel like puking! In my opinion, with all its much detectable grinding swirl marks (that's what you probaly have in your foyer) it's not fit for sale, plain and simple. Customers who buy Saturnia stone, or any factory hone-finished stone, should budget the services of a good stone refinishing contractor to have their floor honed in place (once installed) with a good-quality honing powder to perfectly even the finish. Your "Giallo Veneziano" wasn't sealed at all, or was sealed very poorly after the installation. It's too late now to come up with a solid soltion. What you suggest is not feasable, because the application of oil all over the countertop is unsanitary to begin with, and, what's more, wouldn't allow any penetrating sealer applied afterwards to bond. You may want to consider using a solution 50/50 of mineral spirit and boiled linseed oil. Although I'm not crazy about organic sealers, among the species boiled linseed oil is the best. You can get my free maintenance guidelines for residential stone installation by hitting the link at the bottom of this page's left side bar titled: "Maurizio's Dos and Don'ts". Treasure them; you'll be glad you did! Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, USA, Expert Panelist

Q 3008: I am trying to locate information on the following stones, used in the construction/ornamentation of the city hall in Hull, East Yorkshire, U.K. Nigel, Oct 15. Reply

Q 3007: Please send maintenance information for Perlato Royal Agglomerate Marble Tiles. Gail, Oct 15. Reply

R1: Dear Gail: You can get my free maintenance guidelines for residential stone installation by hitting the link at the bottom of this page's left side bar titled: "Maurizio's Dos and Don'ts". Treasure them; you'll be glad you did! Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, USA, Expert Panelist

Q 3006: I am an architecture student in the process of my first stone carving project. What are my options with sealing limestone? I have seen a piece that was finished with a method using beeswax. Could you please describe this process to me as well as any other relevant sealing/finishing processes. Is there a book that you recommend? Thank you for your time Laura, Oct 15. Reply

R1: Dear Laura, There are all sorts of sealers on the market that will work. The thing you need to understand is that different sealers react with different stones in different ways, so it is vital that you test anything that you use on a scrap piece of stone or the bottom of your carving before applying it to the finished piece to see how the stone takes it. Bees wax is a traditional method, although I haven't used it myself. Personally I don't like the appearance of a piece that has been waxed. Some people warm the piece (low temp oven) before applying the wax, others do not. Laura Meilach has a good basic book out called "contemporary stone carving" that is full of the information you are looking , JVC, Expert Panelist

Q 3005: Should Travertine be sealed? If so, should a cleaner be used prior to sealing? Can you recommend a good product. Mary, Oct 15. Reply

R1: Dear Mary: How many other times do we have to tackle this subject? On this page side-bar you'll find a link to "Travertine Q/A" click on it and read everything about it. At the end of the side bar you can click on my guidelines for maintenance of residential stone installation titled: "Maurizio's Dos and Don'ts". You do want to treasure those! Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, USA, Expert Panelist

Q 3004: I am studying Interior Design and need all info I can get on natural material - Stone please. Thanx, Ria, Oct 15. Reply

Q 3003: I am wondering what is the common acceptance criteria for granite countertop. Our new Black Galaxy countertop came in as 3 pieces. The one at the back corner of the kitchen is much shinier than the other 2 pieces. Should I accept this as variation of the natural stone?
On one of the pieces, there is a 1/4 inch chip. What kind of repair should I expected? The granite surface, expecially along the bull nose, is not polished to mirror shine. The sale person said they will put some coating to bring out the shine. Is that acceptable? Chun Cheng
, Oct 15. Reply

R1: Dear Chung Cheng:Each and every one of the problems you listed are NOT acceptable. Two different degree of gloss is plain pathetic. Applying a coating over the surface of the stone will NOT polish it. The chip must be repaired with epoxy filler, then ground flush with the stone surface and then that area has to be re-polished to match the rest. I doubt very highly that the "Michelangelo"
who produced your "masterpiece" has even a clue about doing that, since they couldn't even polish the edges! Demand your money back and go somewhere else. Black Galaxy should be one of the best countertop material possible. For what you report you have a piece of crap! I can print this out if you want.
Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, Expert Panelist

Q 3002: I am trying to decide the flooring for my house in India. Marble and granite are going to be used. My architect keeps going on about "Dumri" marble in India and how he thinks it is the best choice for flooring as it is supposedly hardwearing and keeps it's polish longer than most.
However I can find very little/no information about this marble on the Net. Does anyway know what grade it falls in (A - D). It seems to be a heavily veined marble, normally off white in colour with black and grey veins. Could anyone suggest other hardwearing marble that keeps their polish which are native to India but have few veins and are available in white as the base colour ? Thanks, Jaidip, India, Oct 15. Reply

Q 3001: DOES GRANITE COUNTER TOP NEED TO BE TREATED/SEALED EVERY YEAR OR SO? HOW DOES SILESTINE COMPARE TO GRANITE? Litesout, Oct 15. Reply

R1: Dear Litesout: It all depends from the "granite" many a "granite" don't need to be sealed at all; many other do, and again many other are so porous that no sealer can do a perfect job at controlling their absorbency rate. The frequency of the re-sealing (assuming that a particular "granite" needs to be sealed) is determined by the type of sealer used. From once a year to every 20 years, and anything in between. You pick.  Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, Expert Panelist, USA

Q 3000: My 3 month old granite countertops have pits. The pits are growing in size and in number. I'm worried that my installer did not use a sealing product. Or, is this normal for granite? If it is, I was never informed and I am extremely disappointed. Please advise. Robin, Oct 15. Reply   

R1: Dear Robin: Whether your fabricator used a stone sealer or not it has absolutely nothing to do with pitting. Stone sealers are below-surface prtoducts that only clog the pores of the stone to reduce its absorbency rate, period. Granite does not pit the way you describe, but then again, what kind of "granite" do you have?... Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, Expert Panelist

Q 2999: Dear sir.... I wonder if you can advise me on the accepted standrds for lime stone in Flextral strength - tests C880 modified.. the tested lime stone is used for external building cladding. the results are 9.1 wet and 10.1 dry....N/mm2 please advise if the results are accepted..Tamer, Oct 15. Reply  

Q 2998: I am installing a new fireplace (fireplace installed already) with a granite surround. I am not using tiles but having 3 slabs seemed together (top and both side) to create one piece. Currently I have cut to fit and 1/8" shy of being flush with front of fireplace 1/2" plywood to cover the area until my granite is ready.(My stone will lap over 1 inch on top and both sides of the firplace so I figured on 1/8" for epoxy to flush the stone to fireplace)
1. I would like to know if it is recommended to use cement backer board or can I use the plywood that is in place?
2nd question:I have been told that green stone absorbs water so do not use a water base glue to hang it, I am installing Marinace Green and think epoxy is the best or am I wrong? Thanks, Robert,
Oct 15. Reply  

R1: Dear Robert: I never like plywood. Personally I prefer cement board (Hey, I'm Italian!). Epoxy is a good idea, but there's also a type of setting material available at the HD, called Stone Setting Adhesive, by the Custom Builder company. It's easier to handle than epoxy and you won't have problems with migration of moisture. At the end of this page side bar click on my guidelines for maintenance of residential stone installation titled: "Maurizio's Dos and Don'ts". You do want to treasure those! Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, Expert Panelist

Q 2997: Hi, we are in the process of choosing kitchen countertops. I would like your opinion positive/negative regarding the following four materials: Vermont Verde Antique, Blue Green Quartzite, Slate and Crows Foot Schist. We would use our kitchen quite often and have 3 children. Thanks for your help, Lisa, Oct 15. Reply

R1: Dear Lisa: Kinda fancy, huh! ... Verde Antique from Vermont is very good. I never heard about Blue Green, but typically quarzite is extremely porous. Slate is a big NO-NO in my opinion. The other one I never heard of it. Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, Expert Panelist, USA

Q 2996: I will be really thankful to you if u help me in finding a solution for my problem. We have got a bungalow to design in pallakad district of kerala. Can you suggest me which flooring would be suitable for such region like kerala keeping in mind the climate of kerala. Please mail me as soon as possible. Thanking you, Krupa,Interior design Student, Oct 15. Reply

Q 2995: Dear sir, we need some information on standards for marble stones re dimensions and quality, best regards, hamid, Oct 15. Reply

Q 2994: Hi...I have been reading your site, it is very informative. The builder is supplying the granite, and installing it. The colors I listed (giallo cabaca, and new Venetian gold) are strictly color preferences. (I thought I liked giallo venenziano, until I saw it in person, and big, it was too pink.) Anyway, the granite is for my kitchen countertops, and I want to know if those types of granite are a good choice due to pourousness and if they need to be sealed, (and how many times if so). I'm not sure on the dimensions of the counter and island, but money doesn't really matter. I do not need anyone to supply me the materials, I can order if from my builder. Your site seemed so knowledgeable in what granites were good for counters, so I wanted to make an informed decision prior to ordering. Thank you very much for your help. Katy, Oct 15. Reply

R1: Dear Kathy: The "granites" you mention are in the very porous side (not extremely, just "very"). However, if the slabs have been resined by the factory, then one application of a good-quality stone impregnator formulated thin (solvent-based) will do plenty. If not, it will have to be sealed by the fabricator how many times as it takes. There's no way of telling, because it all depends from the brand of the impregnator used. Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, USA

Q 2993: Recently while looking through internet found a material that is water & bacteria resistant for use in a shower... Can't find it again. ?? Any hints Appreciate your time C. Fessler, Oct 15. Reply

Q 2992: i am studying interior design with rhodec international and i am stuck on a subject!!! this is where i am asking for your companies help.
email me relevant information on natural stone, if possible request samples and technical information on the samples, how to maintain, prices, pros and cons. much appreciated. Lee
, Oct 15. Reply

Q 2991: I think www.findstone.com is tremendous site; easy to navigate.
You are awesome. I have been reading your comments on a website and you are tremendous resource. Your honesty is appreciated.
I saw this question asked numerous times but in different ways and it is basically mine also. The answers though did not solve my dilemma. We are placing limestone floors – “pillow topped, antiqued” throughout our home in “roman pattern” and are looking for a rustic –“Tuscany-like” farm house kitchen. There will be a wooden farm kitchen table as centerpiece to our kitchen. Could you recommend a reliable stone that could obtain that rustic look for the top to that above mention kitchen table? We would also like to use the same stone as a countertop. Most of the countertops that I have seen in the Italian books (you have an amazing heritage to be proud of) appear to be using a white marble. Do we take the attitude that if we use calcium silicate stone (trav, marble, limestone) that we are going to get marring – as you so eloquently explain in your answer about the baker’s kitchen or is their an ideal stone out there for our application? I like how you explained that no sealer will prevent the acid etching, because as you have learned from the repeated questions, we - lay people - had hope that such a product did exist.
Last question: what do you think about a cement “farm” sink instead of trying to get someone to fabricate us a stone sink – you obviously think soapstone is going to be to beto much of a hassle to maintain. We want low maintenance! Any response will be greatly appreciated.


I am getting most of our stone from France – limestone We have local paver companies that will install retail for $3.50/sq ft, Mark, Oct 12. Reply

R1: Dear Mark: Man, can't you find somebody more expensive?! I wouldn't want no Mickey-Mouse-$3.50-a-foot contractor installing stone in my house for all the gold in the world!! I do mean it! A good contractor worth its salt gets at least $5:00 a square foot for ceramic tiles!! $10.00 per square foot for natural stone is the low-side of the norm nationwide. Enough of that. Well, I guess that with your mention of the white Italian marble in uncle Tony's backery you already answered you own question. If one wants the Mediterranean look but ... can't accept it, then I have no answers.
Soapstone for a sink is quite all right. I don't like soapstone for a countertop. Concrete is unsanitary. Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, Expert Panelist, USA

Q 2990: I want to replace my existing steps but i dunno what to put. is brick steps better than limestone? thanks, Gil, Oct 12. Reply

Q 2989: Do you have experience with countertops made of Verde Merinace "granite"? It seems so unlike other granites - are the green 'filler' parts softer than the stone inclusions? How well does it perform as a kitchen countertop material? Thank you, Teffy, Oct 12. Reply

R1: Dear Teffy: What did the stone dealer tell you about it that didn't convince you? You do want to treasure those! Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, Expert panelist

R2: The Verde Marinoche will make a fine counter. It does not require the application of an impregnator usually. Regards, Steven, Expert Panelist

Q 2988: Hello, We are garden design student with Greenwich University in UK, and we would like to know what machinery is used for the mining, production/manufacture of Limestone. Would you have any info/links? Many thanks and have a nice week-end Pierre Guichard, Oct 12. Reply

R1: Dear Pierre, There are many limestone quarries in the UK. Find one fairly close and arrainge a tour. JVC,Expert Panelist

Q 2987: I have a large light colored boulder composed of smaller stones, someone said it is called a conglomerate rock. It has been some rust marks on it that I would like to remove. Can you help me? Jerry, Oct 12. Reply

R1: Dear Jerry: Nope, sorry. Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, Expert Panelist, USA

Q 2986: I have a bronze headstone which sets on a granite base, the water the cemetary uses is very hard water. What would be good to clean the bronze part as it is not shiny as it was before they started watering? Thanks, Rosale, Oct 12. Reply

Q 2985: I'm looking at having eldorado stone vs natural stone layed on my home. Can you tell me the difference in average price per square foot on having them layed? Patricia, Oct 12. Reply

R1: Dear Patricia: "Eldorado stone"?? What on earth is that?! Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, Expert Panelist, USA

Q 2984: Could you recommend some granites which are most resistent to staining, absorption, scratching, without minerals that would rust, pit etc.? If they can be in any of the white gray blue black colors with veining is even better. They are to be used in for entry flooras well as the counter, bathroom floor, bath, shower and shower walls. Thank you, Michael, Oct 12. Reply

R1: Try Blue Pearl GT. Regards, Steven, Expert Panelist

Q 2983: Hi, I've read your response regarding grinding a floor flat, and that's what needs to be done in my new bathroom. I'm in New Mexico...as I'm as far from NJ as you'd want to get, I'm guessing I either have to do this by myself or find a competent contractor. Obviously the one who put the floor in was unfamiliar with that "level & flat" This is a gorgeous 800 sq ft bathroom, but the tiles are not level. The contractor ground them to "lip" them in a few places which basically succeeded in ruining the finish and calling attention to the areas. The floor is travertine, with a marble inlay of three 18" sq pieces of marble surrounded by a border made of 3" X 14" pieces of Abaco Listell (stone with a stone inlay of colored leaves that runs all the way through the peices).
Can I buy the grinder and do this myself, or should I prepare to import someone and their tools to the mountains of New Mexico. (nice place...wanna visit?)
If I can buy the grinder, do you sell them? And the grinding and polishing materials? Oct 12. Reply

R1: Yes, I do sell grinding machines and materials and all, but I wouldn't sell them to you if you'd be willing to pay me twice as much as my regular prices!! I love you and your stone too much to do that!! Personally I am up for sale and I LOVE traveling (I even did work in California a few years back! I consider Detroit and Chicago "around the corner" from me!). So, if you can't find anybody else in your neck of the wood that fit the bill, gimme a holler at: info@findstone.com. It won't cost you much more (if any) than buying the equipment, etc. and screw up your floor for good! Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, Expert Panelist, USA

Q 2982: We are planning to put in a pool. Our architect has recommended shellstone for the patio which is also to enter into the house. Can you give us an idea on how maintenance intensive this product is? And if it is a high maintenance product can you recommend a low maintenace one?We have heard this stone is porous. What does that mean? In terms of maintenance? Bryann, Oct 12. Reply

R1: Bryann, This stone is quite soft and absorptive. The problem is if that color is what you want very few stone would fit the bill that would not stain. Take a look at Cream of Marfil that has been brushed finished and honed. It looks good. Lower maintenance not no maintenance,Regards, Steven, Expert Panelist

R2: Dear Bryann: Most of the time, the idea of "maintenance" is only in people's mind. If you expect a material -- any material, whether natural stone or not -- to stay like new forever in an outdoor installation, then you're in for some serious sessions with your shrink. Shell stone, is absorbent. So what? So are a whole lot of other stones and different materials. Leave it alone, let it age the way Mother Nature intended, get to appreciate the "lived in" look that it will achieve over years of use and abuse, and by happy. Just clean it the same way you would clean a wood patio, or brick, or concrete, or what-have-you. If you can't accept that, thern stay away from stone altogether. You won't find any other material that will suit you, but at least you won't be blaming stone for anything. :-) Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, Expert Panelist

Q 2981: Our 80-year-old home has a beautiful brick patio. When we added a new garage, part of the patio was taken out and then relaid when the construction was complete. Initially everything looked great, but after a few months, the soil around the relaid bricks has eroded leaving gaps betwen the bricks and an increasingly uneven surface. We will be grateful for suggestions for correcting this and preventing it from reocurring. Thanks, Thomas,Oct 12. Reply

R1: Thomas, Unfortunately without a site review it is all conjecture. Probably the new area was not properly prepared for settling and moisture. It may need to be replaced. Regards, Steven, Expert Panelist

Q 2980: I'm looking for all information on Crema Marfil marble (geology, petrology, different types, kind of fossils,...) Thank you Frederic, Oct 11. Reply

Q 2979: I am interested in Verde Fire. They are selling it as a granite. Is it suitable for a kitchen? How difficult is it for the fabricator to work? thanks Mary, Oct 11. Reply

R1: Dear Mary: Never heard of it. Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, USA

R2: Dear Mary, I think it is neat. My people tell me it makes a great looking counter. It is being resined but I think more for pitting and veins than absorption. Moderately difficult to fabricate is how I would classify it. I think you will like it. Regards, Steven, Expert Panelist

Q 2978: For my kitchen countertops, I am considering Venetian Gold or Giallo Dorado to go with cherry cabinets. Are these true granites and good choices? Also, I have an island 5' X 10' with a cutout for drop-in cook top and sink. Can this be done in 1 piece or is there a chance it will break upon installation? Ena, Oct 11. Reply

R1: Ena, Well no they are not true geologic granites. They are mercantile granites. They both are factory resined and should with some occasional maintenance make nice counters. The New Venetian Gold is somewhat more stable. Regards, Steven, Expert Panelist

Q 2977: I wish to have some information on "INDIAN ONYX MARBLE". What are the properties and whether it is a good stone for using as a flooring material in my house? Compared to Makarana Marble, Abu green, Udaipur marble or Rajnagar marble etc where does it stand in terms of hardness, long life, and cost? Patwardhan. Oct 11. Reply

Q 2976: We are considering installing Verde Jewel in our kitchen. Will this work well as a countertop? Will it need to be sealed? What will I need to do to prevent problems with stains? Chris, Oct 11. Reply

R1: Dear Chris: Never heard of it. Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, USA

R2: Chris, I like Verde Jewel. It is an Indian stone that looks great, quite stable, and low absorption. It makes a great counter. Regards, Steven, Expert Panelist

Q 2975: First, I have a new Brazilian Multicolor slate tile floor in my kitchen, and I want to know what to seal it with, if I should seal it at all. Also, when the tile is grouted, if there is any haze on it, my local tile shop has recommended that I remove that haze with a citrus-based haze remover formulated for natural stone. They also recommend that I follow this haze-removal process by rinsing the tiles with water. I understand from other entries that a citrus-based cleaner could damage the tiles. If that's the case, I am curious about what type of damage could occur.

Second, against the arguments of some of the experts who post answers on this site, I have a black honed slate slab countertop, also new, in the kitchen. (I read about the opinions of the experts on this site AFTER having purchased and installed the countertop.) I am not concerned about scratches or imperfections that will invariably appear in the stone over time, and I would rather not seal the stone. I would instead prefer to use linseed oil or baby oil periodically to enhance the stone's patina. Is this the best route, or should I use a topical or impregnating sealer? If I do seal or impregnate, may I then use baby oil periodically as an additional measure?

Finally, and also regarding the countertop, I am under the impression that I could wipe it down as a daily cleaning process using a slightly damp rag. I assume that process would not cause the type of etching described on this site. Am I correct in this assumption? If not, what can I use on a daily basis for upkeep on this surface? Thank you very much for your help. Dana, Oct 10, Reply

R1: 34 years personal experience in the installation and service of natural marble granite and other stone products. 1.impregnate for lasting durability. 2.clean only with a solution of one cup of vinegar to one gallon of water period,this will remove any and all kitchen residues found in the average home with absolutely no harmful what-so-ever feel free to pick my brain on a vast knowledge on this subject. Tony

This is a comment to Tony's answer: 34 years of "experience" on the stone maintenance business and you still recommend water and vinegar!! ... I made so much money as a stone restoration contractor by fixing the damages made to polished marble by water and vinegar that I used to say that I was selling vinegar by the square foot, not by the gallon!! Fortunately, over the years, slowly but surely, most of the "geniuses" who used to recommend that, realized how ignorant and stupid they were. A few law suits here and there help them to understand that they should keep their mouth shut, too. But after 34 years you're still at that point! ... WOW, you're amazing, man!! If you ask me, there ought to be a law to put self-proclaimed "experts" like yourself in jail and have the keys thrown away! This is a site for experts, pal. You don't belong here. Get permanently lost. Nobody will miss you and your "vast knowledge" on the subject, I promise you. Ciao, Maurizio, USA, Expert Panelist

R2: Dear Dana: I don't know about this citrus-based product, but if at the store tell you that's formulated for stone, then it should be all right (I guess!). The Brazilian multicor slate does need to be sealed real bad! Don't use linseed oil (too messy and smelly). Unscented baby oil (mineral oil) is your best bet. Black slate won't take any impregnator sealer in. All in all, I feel deeply and sincerely sorry for the choices of stone you made for your kitchen. What to clean them with on a daily basis is the least of your concerns. Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, Expert Panelist, USA

R3: Dear Dana, Hmm, well lets see,
Don't worry about sealing the black slate as the damage won't be from absorption. If you must wipe it down with oil use mineral oil. It won't give you the same effect as soapstone will. The Brazillian multicolor on the floor -
The citrus cleaner to remove grout haze should not hurt the slate. It then should be cleaned thoroughly (preferably by a professional and have a topical sealer applied. You choose based on how glossy you want the floor to be.
Regards Steven, Expert Panelist

Q 2974: Hello, I currently completing the building of my pool in California. I used Bouquet Canyon Flagstone as my coping and on various raised walls and the dam wall. I was wondering what you would recommend as far sealing and polishing this surface. Note: my pool was plastered with French Gray and I do not want to apply something to the stone that will later run down the wall and stain the plaster. I do want protect the stone and the grote. What would suggest I use to polish and seal this stone to maintain it's life in the best possible way? Thank you. Sim, Oct 10, Reply

R1: Flagstone is a generic descriptive term that does not identify the stone lithology. If you can provide us with information pertaining to the actual kind of stone it is, (i.e. sandstone, limestone, slate, marble granite etc etc.), then possibly we can provide you with the information you seek. Not every stone can be polished, not every stone needs sealing. What category Bouquet Canyon Flagstone falls into is a mystery to me. JVC

Q 2973: I have an old Victorian house with an exterior doorway lintel upon which a white residue (fine powder) has been forming. I think this residue is forming as a result of many years of rain water running across it from a porch roof leak. Any ideas on what this residue is and how to remove it without harming the stone? I have repaired the roof leak. Betsy, Oct 10, Reply

Q 2972: I have read your comments on the results of the lemon test.
We are operating in a market that is hungry for French limestone,a number of customers have called regarding stain caused by "fruit juice", saying that the honed surface of the kitchen benchtop has eroded. Could you suggest remedial work,and would an impregnator sealer have prevented this happening. Regards,Phillip, Oct 10, Reply

R1: Dear Phillip. Any stone composed of calcium carbonate (the mineral calcite) will react to anything even slightly acidic, and "erode". It's classic high school chemistry -- baking soda and vinegar makes fizz. Since kitchens are full of acidic substances, limestone or marble counter tops and work surfaces are going to be constantly exposed to the chemical reaction, and thus constantly being marred, etched, and otherwise eroded. No sealer can protect the stone surface from this. I suppose you could cover the surface with a coating of acrylic or some such beast, but then what's the point of using natural stone in the first place? If your clients want to use French Limestone or any other calcitic stone in their kitchens they need to be told up front that this is going to happen, not after the fact. They need to decide if they can live with this "problem" before choosing the stone in the first place. JVC, Expert Panelist

R2: Dear Phillip: The only remedial work possible is to professionally re-hone the stone
surface to match -- as much as possible -- the factory finish. Nope, no impregnator/sealer for stone can do the first thing to prevent the kind of "stains" you're reporting (acid etching, that is), but I do have a good tip for you that could solve your problem permanently. Gimme a holler at: info@findstone.com. You can get my free maintenance guidelines for residential stone installation by hitting the link at the bottom of this page's left side bar titled: "Maurizio's Dos and Don'ts". Treasure them; you'll be glad you did! Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, Expert Panelist

Q 2971: I have an oil stain in a juperana granite (moderately fine grained stone - about 1/16" flecks of quartz and fedspar) I sealed the countertops twice with Porous Plus, and I thought that the sealer had "filled" the stone; but apparently I was wrong and my client was able to stain a small area with olive oil. I cannot seem to make anything penetrate the Porous Plus and pull out the stain. Any ideas? Gary, Oct 10, Reply

R1: Dear Gary: If the staining agent (oil, in this case) found it's way in, there's got to be a way to get it out. Did you try my guidelines on stain removal that you can find toward the end of this page's side bar? If the acetone poulticing won't work, then your best bet is to get hold of the Miracle Sealant Company people and ask them what to do (you'll find their phone number on the 511 bottle.) You can get my free maintenance guidelines for residential stone installation by hitting the link at the bottom of this page's left side bar titled: "Maurizio's Dos and Don'ts". Treasure them; you'll be glad you did! Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, Expert Panelist, USA

Q 2970: Hello, i hope you can help me i've looked so many places, and have not had any luck. my daughter's headstone was just placed on 07-06-02. i requested the darkest black granite possible, Now it has water spots that i have not been able to polish out. can you suggest what i should do to maintain the shinyness and still get rid of the water spots? any help is very much appreciated. thank you, barbara, Oct 10, Reply

R1: Dear Barbara: You have to find out from the people who sold the "granite" to you, what kind of "black granite" it was. You also want to know if they ever sealed it. Let me have their answers, then I may be able to help you (hoping that they won't lie to you about the real origin of the stone). Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, USA

Q 2969: Hi, I'm attaching 2 jpgs (sorry I'm not a great photographer) in hopes you can tell me what they are. I do know the black tear drop shape is some kind of fossil but that's all. Thanks so much for any help! Sincerely, Cynthia, Oct 10, Reply

Q 2968: I just found the findstone site yesterday. Have been looking at "granite" for 2 years. Am supposed to meet with kitchen designer tomorrow to finalize plans. After finding your site, called him and told him to hold off on countertop plans. I had four choices in mind. Ubatuba, Black Galaxy, Emerald Pearl, and Verde Fontaine. Like Ubatuba and Black Galaxy really well. They go with the stainless/natural look of my kitchen. That is truly not important to me though. I cook alot, everyday, and usually spend all day Sunday cooking and baking. I heard the usual-seal, no need to seal, stains, scratches, dirty, etc., and thought I had finally come to a decision. Could you please tell me which one you would recommend for someone who loves to cook, and lives in the kitchen-mine really gets a workout, and I want the least fussy, most durable thing I can get? Any help would be appreciated. You sound so professional and knowledgable when I read your comments and replies. Thank You, Crystal, Oct 10, Reply

R1:   Dear Crystal: My wife and I cook like maniacs and use our countertop as a food handling surface all the time! We have a Black Galaxy contertop for 6 years already. Never sealed it. Still brand new. We could have been just as happy with Ubatuba and Emeral Pearl. Verde Fontain is good, too, but not as excellent as the other three materials you listed. You can get my free maintenance guidelines for residential stone installation by hitting the link at the bottom of this page's left side bar titled: "Maurizio's Dos and Don'ts". Treasure them; you'll be glad you did! Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, Expert Panelist, USA

R2: Dear Crystal, I am not an expert, rather, I am a very recent purchaser - 2 weeks ago. We chose Ubatuba because of the look with the inclusions and the colours. We loved the look. We are seeing some very thin cracks in the surface and are concerned and have asked for advice. Look for yellowed pieces - advice offered to us is that this is granite that has been left out in the sun and been ultraviolet damaged (??). Also, we have a chip right in the middle of our bench, approx 10mm by 7 mm by about 2mm deep. It is almost as if it has flaked off. This seems to be an uncommon problem with Ubatuba. We cook a lot too. I cook meals, my wife cooks pastries and cakes etc.
We chose stainless steel cooktop, sink, range hood. Also, lemon 100mm square tiles laid on the diamond as a splashback, blackwood cabinets with leadlight doors. The effect is rather nice indeed. The main thing I would suggest you do is to check the workmanship of the company you select. Look especially closely at the quality of any joins. Ubatuba is (so they said to me, a novice) difficult to cut without chipping and if they are not very good you will end up with very "chippy" seams.
We had a 40mm edge made from two pieces laminated together. The seam is quite
good. A "full benchtop" join across an 800mm section does not look as good. Good luck. My feeling is that the company doing the work is a critical concern (sorry to state the obvious, we were unhapy with our supplier).

Regards. Richard Holmes

Q 2967:  I think we have a big problem......... Our builder had the wrong faucet configuration (4 inch centerset) drilled into our cultured marble vanities. We have widespread faucets being delivered Tuesday. Is there any way to fix it without it looking tacky or are we gonna have to replace the entire vanity top? Builder swears we told him we were getting faucets that would use the standard 4 inch centerset drilling. Unfortunately, now it's a big debate. Any information you could provide would be appreciated. Thanks! Helen,Oklahoma, Oct 10, Reply

R1: I have a suggestion as to solve your dilemma. Have your marble manfct. make a nicely designed piece to be installed over top of where your sink and faucets will be installed. This will give you an added look of depth and design. Oh be sure to make the pieces about 3/8" thick. Tony

R2: Dear Helen: What has this got to do with the price of toothpaste in Nicaragua?! Cultured marble is plastic material. Go back to the people who sold it to you; they should be experts in plastic. We are not. Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, Expert Panelist, USA

R3: Helen, You have two choices: Keep the vanities and get new faucets or - Keep the faucets and replace the vanities. Pick whichever choice best suits your situation. There is no way you (or any professional, no matter how skilled or experienced) are going to "fix" drilled holes in natural stone so that you will not know they were there. Good luck, Adriana

Q 2966: Kindly advise availability of grinding stone for sandalwood for use in temples, Senthilnathan, Oct 10, Reply

Q 2964: I´d like to know american companies wich produce wet sand blasting equipmentes (5 to 120 psi. I'll use to restoration and grafitte removal on the granit. marbles and others stones as in industrial sandblasting. Thanks. Edmundo, Oct 10, Reply

Q 2963: I am a project engineer, working in Oman, I am supose to select a good type of cladding stone. So I want your advice for selecting the stone(sandstone & limestone), what are the tests required, and how to compere the good stone from the other. If you wish to guide me please to send me the stages of selecting, fixing, and maintening, with list of stone in the world and locations. Khalid, Oct 10, Reply

R1: Dear Khalid: Do you work for free? ... I dind't think so! Well, inasmuch as it may come as a shock to you, neither do I! :-) I do offer consultation services. Gimme a holler at: info@findstone.com. Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, Expert Panelist, USA

Q 2962: We have a sandstone fronted house where the blocks are rough cut(ie,not smooth and flat like bricks). A previous owner has cut some of the blocks to affix a piece of timber on which a pergola was erected. What can we do to repair the sandstone that has been cut, to return it to the original appearance. Is there a type of sandstone mortar that we can use to trowel on and shape the blocks to match the surrounding blocks? Jenny, AUSTRALIA Oct 10, Reply

Q 2961: Im working in one of the landscaping company here in the Philippines. Im trying to find a metholated spirit that we need to use in our project. We do GFRC.Can you give me the list of product that we can use in concrete under metholated? Arun, Oct 10, Reply

Q 2960: Can you tell me where to order Krud Cutter from. Do you think it would cut through kerosene smoke that has stained our kitchen walls? Jean, Oct 10, Reply

R1: Jean, Try at your local Home Depot (and lately I have been seeing it at Lowe's too) Regards, Adriana

Q 2959: We are remodeling our outdoor swimming pool and considering travertine for the coping. I love the look, but should I be concerned about how well travertine will hold up against the outdoor elements or brief exposures to pool chemicals? In this situation do you recommend using a sealant? John, Oct 10, Reply

Q 2958: email me relevant information about hand shaping marble & granite. Thanks Rd, Oct 10, Reply

Q 2957: We have just installed slate tile on our patio in Arizona, should some kind of sealer be applied. We plan to use it as a eating area., Salzach, Oct 10, Reply

R1: Dear Salzach: My answer to the posting 2952 below will fit your bill, too. Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, USA

Q 2956: I bought a piece of stone called Brazilian Jet, for carving. I am looking for any information on it. It is slightly harder than soapstone and pipestone. It is very black and not as shiny as coal. I would like to carve it, but cannot find any reference to the stone, Sam, Oct 10, Reply

Q 2955: I am seeking information on stone paving to be featured in an outdoor concrete footpath in a busy commercial area of central-west NSW, Australia. There are many natural colourful stones in this area, & consultant landscape architects have recommended either the local slate or local sandstone. Criteria for selection would include life-cycle cost, slip-resistance when wet, resistance to staining (from hewing gum, cafeterias, vandalism), durability, etc. Does anyone have experience in these stones, or suggest methods to compare & choose between them? Mal, Australia, Oct 10, Reply

Q 2954: We are currently trying to attempt to lay slate on our stair way inside our home. We have a split entry home and the landing is already slate so we would like to continue it on the stairs also. Currently there is plywood on the surface which comes in contact with oak end caps where the railings are. So we will be placing the slate on the plywood and our thought was to have oak molding to cover where the slate meets from the risers to the treads to cover the rough edges. Any tricks of the trade before we begin? We have never done this before and would like to try doing the installation. Please Help?, Nrpelet, Oct 10, Reply

Q 2953: My name is Derolan. I have a science assignment to do and it’s about the chemical and physical properties of ash, mud and lava at Mt Ruapehu, and the instruments used to measure those properties. I would be very thankful if you could help me. All I need to know are the chemical & physical properties of ash, mud and lava at Mt Ruapehu and what instruments are used to measure these properties. Thanks you kindly, Derolan, Oct 10, Reply

Q 2952: We have a cleft slate floor that was recently installed in the entry way of our home. We are looking for and effective sealant...and have been told that mineral or baby oil would suffice as a sealant. Is this true and what are the advantages or disadvantages of this method as compared to other sealants. We would appreciatre any suggestions or recommendations. Thank you, Clay, Oct 10, Reply  

R1: Dear Clay: First, what kind of staining agensts you're envisioning to spill on your floor to consider a sealing job? Second, if it's domestic (from New England) or Italian slate, it does not need to be sealed (it won't take any sealer in). Third, Baby oil (which is mineral oil with some fragrance) will evaporate and seal nothing. It will only temporarily darken the stone. An impregnator/sealer for stone will permanently seal the stone (if it can take any of it in) without altering its original color (with a few exceptions). If you want to darken your stone in a permanent way, then a good-quality stone color enhancer is "your man". You can get my free maintenance guidelines for residential stone installation by hitting the link at the bottom of this page's left side bar titled: "Maurizio's Dos and Don'ts". Treasure them; you'll be glad you did! Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, USA

Q 2951 a: Our new kitchen countertops are slabs of Esmerelda granite with a simple bullnosed edge. The stone has some hairline brownish veins in it. We just noticed that it has cracked along one of these veins. The crack is about nine inches long and carries through the edge of the slab, but it is very narrow--you could slip a piece of paper in there or the edge of your fingernail, but nothing much wider. We talked to the installer, and he said they would probably just fill it with epoxy. The problem is that I work at home and for health reasons, I cannot be around ANY chemical fumes right now, so having the countertop repaired would be extremely inconvenient. I am wondering (1) if a crack that narrow needs to be filled; (2) is it okay to wait (up to a year) to fill it; (3) is there anything non-toxic that we could use instead of epoxy, such as beeswax or one of the non-toxic super adhesives? My husband thinks that the crack may lengthen and we should let it finish moving before we attempt any repair. I also noticed that it appears one or two tiny chips of quartz may have come off as the crack opened, and I am wondering if the crack will release bits of stone or dust? Thanks very much. EGD, Oct 10, Reply  

R1: Have your installer fill and polish the crack with super glue. this procedure has been tried and trued over time by myself. Thirty four years exp. in this trade as a self imployed installer, fabrication, design and service. Tony

R2: Dear EDG: (1) Yes. (2) I don't know. It's chancy. (3) Nothing that I know of. You can get my free maintenance guidelines for residential stone installation by hitting the link at the bottom of this page's left side bar titled: "Maurizio's Dos and Don'ts". Treasure them; you'll be glad you did! Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, Expert Panelist, USA

Q 2951: I am a a land surveyor in central Pennsylvania. I frequently come across land to be developed that has stone houses, barns, outbuildings, etc. I am not a salesperson, but I know that there may be an interest in saving these type buildings, moving them to new locations for whatever reasons. I only want to act as a go-between (with a fee of course) between the land developers and the people interested in the buildings. Two years ago I worked for a client that had an old mill. The only thing left was the
foundation, but there was plenty of stone walls. They were mostly limestone which is predominant in our area. This is the type of stone that I and seeking buyers for. I do not have the time, money, or abilities to market the stone which you desire. Unfortunately, I am not a salesman. If I was, I would be in contact with you. Good luck on your ventures. If your clients inquire about such structures, I would like to meet with them.Thanks, Chuck Rush. Oct 10, Reply

Q 2950: We just purchased a house in France that was built in the early to mid 1800s. The stone was covered by a wispy looking concrete facade in the 1960s. Although the few glimpses of the stone underneath look promising, I don't feel that I have enough information
about the process to start. The builders are keen to rip it off, and I sure it will look lovely for a year or two, but I am buying the house for life not for a quick buck. Like many of the other people on the site, I have been hearing the words sand blasting, and sledge hammer all too often. Is this the only choice when removing the ugly concrete or are there other methods to be considered? Many thanks, Chad, Oct 10, Reply

R1:   Dear Chad: I'm generally very much against sand-blasting, especially when it comes to calcite-based stones (limestone, marble, travertine, etc.). Under the circumstances, however, it looks like it's your only option. If the stone turns out to be calcite-based, I would follow the procedure with a heavy honing, to minimize the chattering of the surface crystals, thus enabling the stone to produce its own natural patina again. Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, Expert Panelist ,USA

Q 2949: Where can I find a Market for industrial uses for Marble. Doug, Oct 10, Reply

Q 2948: Please forward me data on flurocarbon sealers -pricing-safety-etc.Thanks. Steve, Oct 10, Reply

Q 2947: First, this is an awesome site, wish I had found it BEFORE I listened to the folks at Home Depot! I’m in the middle of a project where I am putting slate on top of a cement porch. I have used sanded grout and it is ALL OVER the slate. I was told that I could “simply wipe the grout off” after waiting for ~20 minutes. This was DEFINITELY NOT the case! (and no, I didn’t seal the slate first) What can I use to get the grout off of the slate? In most places, the Slate has a haze. In addition, once I get the haze and excess grout off, what should I do for maintenance of the slate? Thanks, Denny, Oct 10, Reply

R1: Dear Denny: I really don't know. To clean grout residue the way you describe it, tile people use some sort of acid cleaner, but most slate don't agree with acids and get badly damaged by them. I'd suggest you to go back to the place where you bought the slate. They've got your money, they should be able to help. Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, Expert Panelist, USA

Q 2946: I a m looking for Oppdal qaurtize, I like his qualities, especially that you can break a panel in a very straigt way, is there any other stone with this quality with a darker and silverish grey color. Thank you in advance, Taina, Oct 10, Reply

Q 2945: Please help - last evening I dropped a bottle of hot sauce on my Italian ceramic tile (red) in my kitchen. Even though we cleaned it up immediately after dropping the bottle, it bleached the tile. Do you have any suggestions on how to restore my tile to its original color? Please let me know. Thank you. Deborah, Oct 10, Reply

R1: Dear Deborah: I'm a stone man and my familiarity with ceramic tiles leaves a lot to be desired! I believe, however, that the only way to fix your problem is too replace the damaged tiles. I hope I'm wrong! Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, Expert Panelist , USA

Q 2944: I scratched my cultured marble black and white table top with the scubby side of a sponge. Very stupid. I was trying to remove mysterious wax like spots that seem to self generate. Anyway, is there any way I can get the shine back in to the areas that I scratched?, Oct 10, Reply

R1: You should get back to the dealer who sold the plastic stuff (cultured marble) to you. This site is about stone. Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, Expert Panelist, USA

Q 2943: We are restoring a home that was built in 1820. The foundation and basement walls are huge sandstone blocks. The old limestone mix covering on the walls needs repaired/replaced. We want to keep the look “in period” and are not sure where to find the right stuff to clean and repair. We want to know if there is a product out there that is similar to the old limestone mix that they put on the sandstone walls in the 1800s or if there is something better. Oct 10, Reply

Q 2942: I am interested in puting up a feasibilty study for quarry site in Nigeria. I am in search of the basic requirements for setting up a quarry site as well as the different stages of work involved in the setting up of the quarry. In short an ABC of setting up of quarry in the basement complex region. Thanks. Floami, Oct 10, Reply

Q 2941: Is any hot exposure marble sealer? My client complain because the discolor in the tub. We know is due because high temperature about 90 , Oct 10, Reply

Q 2940: We want information on antique stones used inthe 17th and 18th adn 19th centuries in italy nad europe generally, Simon, Oct 10, Reply

Q 2939: I found your website very helpful to do some research about stone, especially marbles. I have been seriously considering representing an Indian company in the US market (as a sales agent or distributor). The company manufacturers marble sculptures & tiles in India and I wanted to see if there was any information available for the potential of this market in the US. Any advise you can give pertaining to some market reasearch and if this is something worthwhile getting into will be appreciated. Thanks, BJ, Oct 10, Reply

Q 2938: Dear sir, Please let me know :
1)the difference between kerosene cut granite
slabs/tiles and water-diamond cut granite slabs/tiles?
2)the demand for kerosene cut & water cut? Naidu, Oct 10, Reply

Q 2937: email me relevant information could you please inform me how to construct a soakaway in my garden i have only 6 inches of top soil the rest of the ground is chalk, so i wish to drain the excess water away. Rosson, Oct 10, Reply

Q 2936: My father collects, cuts and polishes rocks as a hobby. He has recently found a product called "Baked Sandstone" in New Mexico. While I am aware that this is a natural ocourance, aparently the dealer he bought it from fired the stone in an oven or kiln. How long would an 8-12 inch square sandstone need to be fired and at what temprature to sufficiently harden it? Also, after the firing process, what other stone would the hardness level be similar to? Any help you can give would be of great assistance. Thanks, Steven, Expert Panelist, Oct 10, Reply

Q 2935: I have found your website to be very informative and helpful (thank you!), but I can't find the answer to a question I have. I had factory honed and filled travertine in my last house (and loved it) and am putting travertine (about 1000 sq. ft.) in my new home, in the kitchen, baths, entry hall, etc. I am getting conflicting advice from different retailers. One says that I should get filled travertine, that the factory fill is much stronger. The other says I should purchase unfilled travertine, that the grout fill is much stronger, and it looks better because it matches better. What do you think I should do?, Leo, Oct 10, Reply

R1: Leo, Get a sample each of the filled and unfilled material. Take the unfilled material to the tile setter and ask him to fill it with grout. Put the pieces next to each other and decide on the look you prefer. Remember - you are going to be the one living in your house and you should be happy with what your floor will look like. As for which fill is better - in my humble opinion: it does not make a difference. A friendly piece of advice:- If your tile setter uses sanded grout with the travertine, get another one in a hurry. Regards, Adriana.

R2: Dear Leo: The factory filler is stronger. In fact, when I have to grind a travertine floor, after the first two cuts a refill the holes with factory filler (available at a few stone supplier places). You can get my free maintenance guidelines for residential stone installation by hitting the link at the bottom of this page's left side bar titled: "Maurizio's Dos and Don'ts". Treasure them; you'll be glad you did! Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, Expert Panelist, USA

Q 2934: Looking for information on garnite stone, where it could be found, age and details on production and sale of? Sarah, Oct 10, Reply

Q 2933:I have enough quartzite patio grade for about 200 sq ft. I live in a clay soil condition. What do I need to do to prepare the soil? What type of underlayment should I use? I would like to use mortar in the joints and make the surface as flush as possible. Is there a trick to laying down mortar in a patio type surface using quartzite, and what type of mortar and at what consistency? If I float this, will it crack? and if I don't will it crack? Jelza, Oct 10, Reply

Q 2932: We are just installing reclaimed terracotta tiles in a covered outdoor area. We would like them to look even more antique, in other words be darker and have a sheen, as though they had been waxed "forever", can you help? Also what do I use to cleaned Honed granite kitchen countertops ? Thanks ever so much., Miachel, Oct 10, Reply

Q 2931: I like to asked you a question on negro marquina . after polishing from 300 to finish with 1200 the crystalised finish is not there please consider my plight and if things were not bad enough I have failed desparately in restoring in Irish Limestone floor, very high in Calcite. Riz, Oct 10, Reply

Q 2930: Our 1820's farmhouse includes a slate fireplace (oringinally used for coal) in the dining room and 10 x 10 marble floor in the vestibule at the front door. The slate is currently covered with mutliple layers of paint. Any suggestions on the proper way to remove the paint? Any helpful hints on how to bring out the natural look? What should we stay away from using? On the vestibule, I will hire a contractor to refinish the floor, but should the grout be applied before or after the floor is refinshed? Thanks. Mike, Boston. Oct 10, Reply

Q 2929: After returning from a trip to Bali, I would like to tile my South Florida pool with the beautiful natural stone tiles commonly used there. I visited many resorts with beautiful tiled pools with a grey/green color range. Is this a slate, quartzite, ???? I was told it was a local stone.... any chance of finding a similar stone in the U.S.? Are they maintenance-free or a maintenance nightmare? Max, Oct 10, Reply

Q 2928: Craftsman of the marble, available to work wherever as free lancer. I offer my skill, twenty years experience, all the factory works, sculpture, polishing,cutting, restoration, laying, use of the rock drills, knowdledge of the drawing and the english language. I demand seriousness and good wage. Michele Mallegni, Oct 10, Reply

Q 2927: we have just acquired a painted slate fireplace, circa late 19th century - mantle and vertical pieces - it needs a clean and I wondered if you could tell me the best way to do this without removing any of the paint as we like the colours. many thanks, Vicki, Oct 10, Reply

Q 2926: I saw last two minutes of a broadcast this weekend on a feature from the International Hardware Show on a product called Short Wall or Small Wall. made of same material gas containers are made from - - it looks like rock is very sturdy. It came in sections that could be bent from an L or a straight line. I can not find them..... can you help? BILL, Oct 10, Reply

Q 2925: How to minimize quality problems when buying stone? How do good stone suppliers resolve quality issues? Rick Oct 9, Reply 

R1: To avoid problems, The customer should purchase enough samples to see the range and quality of the materials. Depending on the material and the customer the number of samples may vary.

In stone business, variation is the norm, as we mention in our correspondence. They can not reject the material based on color variation. Depending on the material, the variation is different. The following are the terms and conditions when we sell in USA. Please read these, it will give you some ideas.

Returns, Conditions, Disclaimers & Policy:
We assume no responsibility and extend no guarantee for: the freight, delivery, lost, and damages to the material. When receiving, accept the freight, if the crates look damaged and time is required to estimate the damages, we recommend you to note this on the freight bill and add: " damaged material, concealed damages" and ask for a claim form to file the damage claim.

Our terms and conditions are, including but not limited to the following:

-Return of stock material requires "Return Authorization." Only unopened boxes are accepted.
-No returns are accepted for Onyx slab material. These materials are fragile, therefore sensitive for transporting and handling. Purchasers are coming to inspect the materials before shipment.
-Absolutely no returns are accepted for damaged and / or installed material.
-No returns are accepted for: opened boxes, and opened crates containing large tiles.
-Absolutely no returns are accepted on special orders.
-No returns are accepted after seven (7) days from the shipment (bill-of-lading) date.
-All returns are subject to re-stocking charges of 15% for tiles and 25% for slabs.
-All material to be returned, must be packed & shipped in perfect condition and freight prepaid.
-Purchasers should inspect all material upon delivery. Damages must be noted on the bill-of-lading at the time of the delivery. Damage claims should be filed by the purchaser through the freight company.
-Natural stone is a product of nature. Variations in color, pattern, texture and strength are inherent characteristics of the species. Samples are approximately indicative of any material and are a unique specimen. Variation is the rule, not an exception.
-There will be a minimum charge of $5.00 per package for UPS, Fed-Ex. and other carriers.

We accept written purchase orders and will fax an order "confirmation" of your order. We will not accept responsibility for any omissions, mistakes and errors inherent in verbal communications, even between you and me. We only hold material for five days, We will not be responsible after this time. A none-refundable deposit may be paid to hold a material for a longer (not more than 60 days) period.

As for the terms:

We normally use prepaid for the people they do not have an account. In some cases: we do 20% deposit & the balance due Cash Against documents, or Letters of Credt at site.

If a complaint happens: We would follow up on it. We are very good at that. If the material is bad quality, which means sub-standard fabrication, we will replace the material with proper material. If the customer wishes to inspect the material before shipment, that could also be arranged and is preferable with us as therefore no problems will occur.

The main problem to watch for is: some clients do not understand natural stone products. What they have to know that these are natural products and no two pieces are the same.
Best, Adam

Q 2923: I have a red granite coffee table. The problem is it is pitting. How can it be repaired or can it. Is there some kind of filler I can use? I also have a black one that has a large dull spot that is not smooth around the edge of the spot? Can you please give me some ideas on how to repair them. They were given to me and I have no ideal what caused these things to happen. How do I care for them? Thank you for all advice. Judy, Oct 9, Reply

R1: Have a quality painter come in and apply several coats of lacquer on the tops this will restore the original polished look and can be easily polished afterwards with furniture polish to maintain the gloss, Tony

R2: Dear Judy: In most cases the pitting on "granite" can't be rectified. You have to consult with a professional stone refinisher to find out whether or not your particular case is doable. About the black, the way you describe the dull spot, it can't be "granite". The same stone restoration contractor will be able to help you with that. You can get my free maintenance guidelines for residential stone installation by hitting the link at the bottom of this page's left side bar titled: "Maurizio's Dos and Don'ts". Treasure them; you'll be glad you did! Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, Expert Panelist

Q 2922: We just got our whole house installed with Travertine 18x18 Travertine floors. The seller said it is "Turkey Select" variety. Is there any thing like that? Seller showed us one tile which was very even and light beige. But when installed, it looks brown and uneven, with lot of dark and light patches. It looks dirty. Some tiles even have dirty marks (dirt). It looks very ugly. Also it leaves scratch marks even a water bucket when mopping. How can be get the even color or it is too late? How can be clean it? it is really frustrating. Please help. Thanks martha, Oct 9, Reply

R1: Dear Martha: "'Turkey select', is there such a thing?" you ask. Well, There's plenty of Turkish travertine, that's for sure, and -- like any other travertine I just love it -- but the definition of "select" is not official. There are no official standards about grading stone. It seems to me that your problem is mainly that you saw a sample in a certain way, and got something different. If the retailer who sold the stone to you is unwilling to work things out with you, nobody else can do anything for you. You can get my free maintenance guidelines for residential stone installation by hitting the link at the bottom of this page's left side bar titled: "Maurizio's Dos and Don'ts". Treasure them; you'll be glad you did! Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, USA

Q 2920: I am interested in getting 24x24 travertine tile for my covered patio leading to a swimming pool. The home is a Mediterranean style and I am trying to maintain ld World look. At the moment I am confused with the finishes offered. What is the difference between a Patinato finish and a tumbled finish? Does one finish offer more beauty or movement over the other? And finally is it recommended to have them filled--since they are on a porch where food and drink is served, etc.? I would appreciate your advice. FM, Oct 9, Reply

R1: Dear FM: Maintenance-wise there's no difference in between the two finishes you mention. As far as beauty is concerned, I'm no interior decorator! Personally, if it were my patio, I wouldn't fill it. You can always power-wash it (at no more than 900 PSI) with the right chemical once a year or so. You can get my free maintenance guidelines for residential stone installation by hitting the link at the bottom of this page's left side bar titled: "Maurizio's Dos and Don'ts". Treasure them; you'll be glad you did! Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, USA

Q 2919: Your website is very informative but I couldn't find my exact issue answered. We are just starting the renovation of a small guest house on our property. The plan for the bathroom is to have a pedestal sink and toilet and then tile the floor, walls and ceiling with the drain in the middle of the floor so the entire bathroom can act as a shower stall. I have seen many pictures of slate tiling and love the look. However, my husband has concerns about using slate because he feels it is too porous for a bathroom shower application, concerns about staining and flaking and that it is not a low maintenance solution. What tips or suggestions (even of other tile/stones) could you offer to help us make the right decision?
Please pick the
statement you are more comfortable with.
1. Slate is very good (almost ideal) for bathroom shower installations.
2. Slate is a marginal material for bathroom shower installations.
3. I hesitate to recommend slate for shower installations.
Thanks .Rebecca, John, Oct 8, Reply

R1: Rebecca, It must be understood that there are many different types of slate sold. Many of them would be unsuitable in a complete wet area or a steam shower area. That said, you can have many of the slates if you are willing to maintain them. This means the application of a topical sealer, watching all the grout and corner joints to make sure they stay full of grout, cleaning with appropriate cleaners and reapplying the sealers as necessary. Another factor is what surface texture you select. A tumbled finish could work In conclusion I hover between 2 & 3. Regards Steven, Expert Panelist .

R2: Dear Rebecca: 4. Run away from it fast enough to leave skid marks on the ground! Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, Expert Panelist

R3: The natural stone has the most long term resistance to the effects of water exposure. PERIOD!!!!!!!!!!!
when installed correctly it will perform and out last any other product being used to create bathrooms in the average home today, Tony

Q 2918: I am considering a bathroom with natural stone floors and shower walls. What would you sugest?
The reason for my inquiry is I wanted an unbiased second opinion on weather limestone was a good choice or if I was going to wind up with a lot of maintenance headaches. If limestone is a bad choice is there a better natural stone or should I look at ceramic tile?

I found the site very informative and the question/answers prompted me to stop and ask you questions regarding the stone selections. I have one suggestion, which is more photo ideas of bathrooms, floors, and kitchens with standard and elaborate stone installations, with a drawing that is downloadable for a fee. Other than that I found your site very useful and easy to navigate. The other sites I visited didn’t supply the amount of info you do
. Thank you John,Oct 8, Reply

R1: John, If you like the look of limestone, consider brushed finished marble. Regars, Steven, Expert Panelist

Q 2917: We are a stone restoration and metal refinishing company located in Baltimore, MD. I have been trying to locate a supplier of the following paste wax used for marble walls: Santa Margherita, PW50, a paste wax made in Italy. If you are aware of different websites or of a supplier, I would really appreciate the input. Lindia, Oct 8, Reply

Q 2916: Hello, I was looking at your website and noticed several people have asked you about scrathes on the surface of their granite. As a professional stone finisher I would have to say that most times light scrathes are very easily fixed. I know that most shops charge a lot to do this kind of repair and that is because surface polishing is very difficult. However, many times it is unnecessary. Colored permanant marker (black is the best) applied after the sealer. Or a colored sealer (you can color your sealer with almost any type of a dye or grout color).

Do not take this letter as a critisim on your knowledge, you must understand that I do this every single day of my life and I am very good at my job. I found most of your responces very informative. Keep up the good work. Marchello, Oct 8, Reply

R1: Marchello, Thank you for your input. We tend to not suggest solutions to mask the problem first. It is possible to buff many metal marks from the top or even repolish all scratches. My continued contribution to this website is because I want the consumer to expect the very best, and I want the fabricator, installer, restoration professional to provide the very best. Again thank you for the easy DIY solution, I know it will be helpful to many people. Regards, Steven, Expert Panelist

Dear Marchello: Excellent tip. I've been using it in several occasions for years already, but just forgot to post it the way you did. Thank you. I'd like to correspond with you. Gimme a holler at: info@findstone.com Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, Expert Panelist

Q 2915: The builder/developer of our house used a Saturnia marble on the floors. The Saturnia had many holes and was “filled”. New holes keep appearing and the filler used in the older holes wears away and exposes the old holes. What can I use to fill these holes and where would I purchase such a substance? Thank you in advance for your reply. Cherise, Oct 8, Reply

R1: Cherise, I think the easiest solution is to use cementious grouts. Use a dremmel type tool to remove as much of the filler as possible then apply the grout so that it "mounds" up over the tile. When cured use some silica carbide sand paper and sand even with the tile. You can buy grout at tile distributors or home improvement stores. Regards, Steven, Expert Panelist

R2: Dear Cherise: You don't. What you do instead you call a professional stone restoration contractor.
Ciao and good luck, Maurizio,USA, Expert Panelist

Q 2914: We just built a 3,000 sq ft house in Arizona and except for the three smaller bedrooms, we are having 18" X 18" travertine tile laid throughout the entire house, including the master bedroom, living room, family room, dining room, kitchen, hallways, and all 3 bathrooms. It is close to 2,600 sq ft of tile. We are having the tiles laid very close to each other with only 1/8" of grout. It should be completed in the next few days. I've read through some of your comments on the website regarding sealing travertine, and I see that in general you are against it. I have two young children (both under 4), so the chances of things being spilled on the tile is high. In my situation, would you recommend sealing the tile or not, or maybe just in the kitchen? If I don't seal the travertine, do I need to worry about the grout? Thanks in advance for your help. Jim, Oct 8, Reply

R1: Jim, Go ahead and have an impregnating sealer applied to the floor. Then you need to learn how to care for the floor. There are maintenance tips located on this website. Regards, Steven, Expert Panelist

R2: Dear Jim: If the travertine is polished (you do not indicate the finish) it does not need to be sealed, but you want to seriously rethink the idea of having it installed in the kitchen. If it has a hone-finish, then I would seal it in the kitchen only. Same applies with the grout (but while you seal the tiles the grout will be sealed as well). I hope you're using wall-type (sandless, that is) grout.
If you want my free guidelines on maintenance of residential stone installations, hit the link "Do's and Dont's", again toward the end of this page's side bar. Hurry up! You'll be glad you did! Ciao and good luck, Maurizio,USA, Expert Panelist

Q 2913: I would like to know if you can email me some information on how the production of granite tiles or just granite effects the environment? Basicly I need to know that when granite is produced into tiles what effect does it have on the environment? If you have this information can you please send it to me ASAP. Chelsey, Oct 8, Reply

Q 2912: I have a slate water fountain - which has turned colors during my move - I love the relaxing sound but currently hate the discoloration - If you could point me in the right direction or give me some pointers I would be grateful. Christina, Oct 8, Reply

Q 2911: Was wondering if you also accommodate opportunity for positions in the Dimensional Stone Trade. I am a Quarry Master with 17 Years and several Quarry Sites in Canada. Curd, Oct 8, Reply

Q 2910: Could you please send us some details (chemical properties) and more about: 
1. Morwar marble
2. Vikas marble 
3. Pista marble
Shariq, India, Oct 8, Reply

Q 2909: I have been in the Floor covering trade for more than 30 years now, having close contacts with the main Architects / Designers / Hoteliers / Specifiers in India. I intend branching out into the natural Stone trade, for which I know a substantial demand exists. I would be thankful if you could furnish me with some basic start-up knowledge / info as to what all is involved in the natural Stone / Slate line and all that I need to know about  this. Many thanks, Puneet, Oct 8, Reply

Q 2908: What is the difference between bluestone and fieldstone and/or flagstone? Phyllis, Oct 8, Reply

Q 2907: I have a smooth surface sandstone fireplace that is very discolored and dirty. How do I clean it? Also - is there a way to clean it uniformly without streaks? It's not horribly dirty - just mostly age dirt - but some creosote around the hearth opening. Cathy, Oct 8, Reply

R1: A solution of 50-50 vinegar and water. Saturate let stand 15 to 30 mins. and scrub with a nylon brush and then rinse well with pure water and a sponge. works great on your bath tile and kitchen as well. Tony 34 years of in field service.

Q 2906: We have a textured slate floor that receives heavy traffic every day. It is light in color but gets a thin black film of oil and grease that does not completely clean even after daily scrubbing. The only places that appear very clean are where the rubber tires of the floor scrubber spin. We are curious if there are any rubber nubbed brushes available for Noble floor scrubbers or Clark scrubbers. We have tried many types of degreaser products but none seem to do the trick. Thank you. Doug, Oct 8, Reply

R1: 50-50 water and vinegar soak; scrub, rinse , problem gone. Tony

Q 2905: I recently purchased a hand carved alabaster lamp (antique - approx 100 years old). It has many small holes and is dirty in several places. The antique dealer  recommended that I clean the lamp with dishwashing liquid and a toothbrush. So far, this has not worked very well. The lamp has a bit of a darker stain (it appears) in places. Do you have any suggestions or recommendations on what I can use to clean the lamp? I didn't know if there is some product I could buy that would be safe? Any suggestions you have would be greatly appreciated. Regards, Lisa, Oct 8, Reply

R1: Dear Lisa: Try with water and bleach (and the hold toothbrush). Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, Expert Panelist

Q 2904:I have a rock fireplace that must have been coated with some kind of sealer, and there's a few spots that have chipped off, exposing a white chalky look as if you are now seeing the inside of a rock. I'm not sure how to restore it. Also I need to clean the entire fireplace, it has black smoke stains . I don't know what kind of rock it is but it looks very natural flagstone like. Tami, Oct 8, Reply

Q 2903: I am attaching an image of a stone flooring. it's a French lime stone and most likely the name is "Alt-Portou". This stone is processed to give a antique look. The edges are given a pillow finish and the surface has a soft glow to it although it is natural surface.
How is this finish given to the stone? My basic interest to know if it possible to give a soft shine to natural surface of Kota Stone. Regards, Subodh, India,  Oct 8, Reply

Q 2902: I have cleaned some of my own family monuments and I am looking to get into this area as a source of income. The primary problem I face in the area I am in is hard water lime buildup on monuments from cemetery sprinkler systems in town and city cemeteries - stones in country cemeteries with no watering other than natural rainfall don't really need any cleaning other than the biologicals that attach themselves to marble. This buildup is not a natural patina but a result of the necessity of creating a green carpet in cemeteries in a low rainfall area of the western U.S. - the encrustation on granite can get fairly thick, in many cases giving the monument an overall whitish-gray appearance and leaving it almost unreadable. This was the case with my Grandfather's stone. Once cleaned after 77 years of getting sprayed with hard water it was a nice polished rose granite. The main question is this, which I can't seem to find a straight answer - is there any other solution to this problem other than acidics and abrasives? Basically I have been using CLR and steel wool and lots of elbow grease, then neutralizing with non-ionic soap and baking soda for polished granite which doesn't appear to harm the surface. On another family stone there was a heavy lime deposit on a large rough sandblasted part of the stone which I removed with CLR and pumice stone, but you go through pumice stone pretty quickly on granite, is there a harder cleaning stone available which wouldn't harm rough granite but do the job more economically? And overall, is this course of treatment safe long-term for modern monuments or can anyone recommend better, faster and more economical products available, and where and from what company? Rich, Oct 8, Reply

Q 2901: We have just installed a 18" x 18" shell stone throughout our entire house. It appears some slight occasional edging has popped up here and there. The installer is going to put a light sander to it (with a diamond point?) to flatten the edges out. He claims the uneveness is unavoidable and a direct result from the inconsistency in the way the stone is cut. 
#1. Does the installer know what he is talking about or is he correcting a problem he caused?
#2. Is it o.k. to grind them down?
#3. What is the best way to seal the shellstone tiles? We bought a water based sealer made for natural stone and terrazo? How about waxing?
#4. How about keeping them clean?
#5. In our bathroom we are putting a natural stone called Rustica (12" x 12") on the walls, including inside the shower stall. The wall is dry wall which has been painted. What is the best way to insure they are installed properly? Adam, Oct 8, Reply

R1: Dear Adama:
#1. Yes, he does.
#2. Yes.
#3. I don't know. I don't know. Ask the people who sold the stone to you.
#4. Kinda a tough proposition, but with a lot of labor and the right product you may be able to manage.
#5. I should be able to actually see the whole picture to give suggestions about the installation. Consult with more than a setter if you don't fully trust yours.
If you want my free guidelines on maintenance of residential stone installations, hit the link "Do's and Dont's", again toward the end of this page's side bar. Hurry up! You'll be glad you did! Ciao and good luck, Maurizio,USA, Expert Panelist

Q 2900: Where do the stone types PEN GREEN and RISING SUN come from. Are these common names or are there other names known. Thanks in advance. Nevil, Netherlands, 
Oct 8, Reply

Q 2899: I live in Las Vegas, where the air is dry and temperatures can reach over 110 degrees Fahrenheit throughout the summer months. We are tiling our patio and were thinking of going with slate. A salesman told us that slate is an inferior product to porcelain and he would only recommend porcelain for our outdoor use. I prefer the look of slate to the porcelain tiles I have seen. But can the slate survive the Las Vegas summers? And is there so much maintenance on it that we will regret tiling a large area with it?
-- SBS, Oct 8, Reply

R1: Dear SBS: I agree with your salesman. Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, Expert Panelist

Q 2898: We would like to put a type of slate on our kitchen floor. Do you know if it is possible to buy lighter weight slate for use over floorboards. Any advice would be much appreciated. Regards, Susan, Oct 8, Reply

Q 2897: I have a room that has tongue and groove cedar on the ceiling and I'm thinking that I would like to put rock on the wall, either the full wall or half way up. What is the best stone/rock to use for that, where do I get the information needed to install and does there need to be anything special on the cement foundation that is already been poured. I am starting from scratch, the walls are just studs right now. Thanks for any help. Ringer,Oct 8, Reply

Q 2896: We recently put down marble floor in our kitchen. We left the sealer on for about four hours. The marble seems to have a dull haze on it.We later but the same marble in our laundry room. I didn't leave the sealer on too long and now the laundry room looks a lot better than the kitchen. I have buffed and put a polish on but it still doesn't look as good as the laundry room. What should I do? Sherry, Oct 8, Reply

R1: Sherry: First, you get rid of the sealer by stripping it out with a potent paint stripper based on Methylene Chloride (anything else won't cut it). A sealer for stone is supposed to be applied inside the stone, not on top of it (read the direction on the bottle). Second, you get rid of the marble, because you do NOT want marble in a kitchen. An impregnator/sealer, even if properly applied, won't do the first thing for the problems inherently related to calcite-based stones installed in an environment like a kitchen. This subject has been discussed countless times in this very site and others.
Toward the end of this page's side bar. Hurry up! You'll be glad you did! Ciao and good luck, Maurizio,USA, Expert Panelist

Q 2895: I have to grout 4x8 quarry tile with a buffer because the joints have to be completely full. Any advice on technique? Reifler, Oct 8, Reply

Q 2894: Hi, I'm fumbling through trying to improve my home. I am crazy about stone, would like to buy well and with confidence. Could you help me with some basic knowledge about what I am trying to select? I have received bids on installing a granite kitchen counter. This area is in the shape of an asymetric, square cornered "U". (one side is shorter than the other) I calculate high at 37 sqft flat surface, 10.5 linear ft. of bullnose, 16.5' linear of backsplash (4") and 9' of 3" sill inserts. The contractor calls this 61 sq ft total. I take into consideration various waste but think that this might not require as much stone if it was cut more precisely. What are the prohibitions associated with cutting 4" and 3" slabs from the same square foot piece? I have received an answer from the installer but would like to hear another opinion.
Also, can you tell me where this stone (giallo veneziano) comes from as I cannot find it in the stone album? What price does this type of granite normally sell at? What differentiates quality and pricing? Please advise me about things to ask bout and things to be on the look out for with the "Michelangelos" of stonework in order to insure that I receive the best product and workmanship possible for my money. Thanks in advance for your help. I cant believe that there is someone like you out here. After finding and reading thru your site, I feel less scared.
By the way I chose this particular stone because the original kitchen project installed a granite cook island of Juperana Giallo with lots of sweeping movement. The installation was done 3 years ago and budget prohibited me from doing all the counters at the same time. Now, different part of the mountain, different color intensity, different patterns. This new selection seemed to be the closest in overall color combinations with a small "speck" pattern to compliment the original piece. I also thought it might "seam" easier because the pattern is small and busy therfore requiring less stone. Very Best Regards,Cindy, Oct 8, Reply

R1: Dear Cindy: Giallo Veneziano is a gneiss stone that comes from Brazil.
About the rest of the intelligence you'll need to safely sail through your stone adventre, Ciao and good luck, Maurizio,USA, Expert Panelist

Q 2893: Which is the better sealant for granite (countertop) and travertine (backsplash) and why? Thanks, Monica, Oct 8, Reply

R1: Dear Monica: Mine is, of course!! Just kidding!
There's no answer to your question. Travertine requires a low density sealer, due the inherent density of the stone. Your "granite"? ... Well it all depend from the "granite". There are certain sealers that are better for very porous "granites", other ones that are best for medium density "granites" and -- the best of them all -- those that you don't have to apply because the "granite" is so naturally dense that won't take any sealer in! Ciao and good luck, Maurizio,USA, Expert Panelist

Q 2892: I am designing and planning to install a fireplace surround using 1.25 inch thick travertine marble. I would like to use very large pieces, the largest being roughly 3ft x 7ft but am unsure of the proper technique to bond the material to the wall. I had planned to use ˝ inch cement backer board attached to heavy framing. My main concern is breakage due to thermal movement of the large pieces. Can you offer any advice? In addition, what are the best sources for the marble? I would supply drawings of the individual pieces. Frank, Oct 8, Reply

Q 2891: I own a home with a walk-out basement, so the sides of my lot are quite sloped. I want a good way to move my lawnmower etc. down the side of my house. I am thinking of setting flagstones down in the rock that is already on that side of the house and making a walkway. Am I going to be wasting my time or do you think this is a wise solution? The grade is moderately steep. Do you think the stones will stay in the 1 1/2" rock that is already there. Please help.Chad, Oct 8, Reply

Q 2890: Hello, What is Quartzite as classified in a type of construction material ? Is it Sedimentary stone? What are the possible colours? What is the related STONE MAINTENANCE info.? I'm glad that you've integrated, easier to understand Info. at your site, Thank you,TT, Oct 8, Reply

Q 2889: I am building a patio with a stream down the middle. I was able to do the water feature with liner and thin stone. Now I want to build a small stacked stone wall around my oval reservoir with stone that are 3 - 4 inches thick and assorted lengths and I am not sure how to cut the curves and top cap block. Any ideas? I am also pouring cement around 3 very large slabs of stone (around a ton each) one of the stones has settled and is now 3/4 of an inch lower than the other two. Any ideas on how to raise the stone or lower the other two stones to make them level? Thanks Roger, Oct 8, Reply

Q 2888:  I am renovating an old (200 yr.) stone farmhouse. The bathroom is of stone walls. I would like to have the shower walls be the exposed stone built in the (corner) walls. How do I do this? Waterproofing is key!!! What is the appropriate floor base? Any info appreciated!!! Ken, Oct 8, Reply

Q 2887: Hello. What a great site! I live in south Mississippi and am looking for 12"x12" or 16"x16" slate pavers (Jade green or natural grey guaged one side or two). Also, do you recommend any sealant on pavers used outdoors (if so, which one/type) or is it preferable to allow them to weather naturally? David, Oct 8, Reply

Q 2886: I hope you can help us. We own an 1856 home with slate fireplaces that have been painted white! We have used a paint remover to remove the white paint and of course, realize that these mantles were probably faux painted with black paint to look like marble...We see some indication that this is the case. The slate is a beautiful green/black color. Now, however, we need to know how to make (and keep) our mantles looking their best once the paint is completely removed. Some have suggested mineral oil with a small amount of black or dark black/green paint. Could you tell us if you agree with this suggestion? Many thanks...Dian, Oct 8, Reply

Q 2885: We have a bit of a problem... My school has a wonderful brass compass embedded in the floor tiles of the main entrance hall. We were able to clean the brass compass with vinegar. We noticed the surrounding slate tiles are now lighter. They were gray, blue and some deep red. The red slate seems about the same color, the gray and blue and very light now. They had 60+ years of build up, and we thought the old wax was coming off. What do you think, and what should we do to make them all look alike again? Thanks for you time, Eager in the East, Oct 8, Reply

R1: Dear Eager in the East: First, you try to strip all the lod build-up of the wax, and see how the slate looks like. If the venegar only damaged the wax, then you're in good shape. If the vinegar found its way through the wax and damaged the slate, then you're out of luck. You may want to consider the services of a local stone refinishing contractor, but I doubt that they'll be able to do something for you. Ciao and good luck, Maurizio,USA, Expert Panelist

Q 2884: I have sandstone block foundation on my 101 year-old home, here in Lakewood, OH a suburb of Cleveland. 
I wish to make my basement as dry as possible and am taking the steps to parge the outside and provide necessary draintile and stone. The inside however, has been painted by previous owners.In Some areas the paint seems to have a very good hold on the wall while other areas the paint flakes right off.
I would like to remove as much paint as possible, then coat the entire wall with ___________(?) to seal it the best way possible.
Note: I have no problems with interior moisture. Pipes are insulated and have recently poured a new insulated slab with interior draintile, gravel, visqueen, etc. Hope to eventually furr out the interior foundation walls for a new family room. 
Your recommendations of the extent of paint removal, wall prep, and then coatings are appreciated and so are any tips of caution when I furr out the walls. Jeffery, Oct 8, Reply

Q 2883: I am the manager of a stone processing company, in Romania. In my area, there are some resources of shellstone, alike the Mexican one. I intend to open a quarry, but I need more information to establish what the market potential for this stone is. Any advice or help about this matter will be greatly appreciated. Sincerely, Daniel, Romania, Oct 8, Reply

Q 2882: Hi, I’m from Bali, Indonesia, and am currently re-finishing a pool that was badly made. I was wondering if you could tell me, what type of sealer I should use for the Palimanan (White limestone) and if the sealer will stop the palimanan from turning  yellow / cream when water is in contact with it. Regards, SAM, Oct 8, Reply

Q 2881: PLEASE SEND US THE DETAILED TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS OF SLATES FROM NORTH INDIA & SOUTH INDIA. ITS PHYSICAL APPEARANCE & MINERAL COMPOSITION. ARUN, UAE, Oct 8, Reply

Q 2880: I am looking for some software that can be used to categorize marble.
For example, scan or take a picture of a piece of marble, save as jpeg. Get the software to analyze and categorize it. We have many different shades of red marble and have difficulty sorting it by eye. Do you have any suggestions? Thank you, Dave. Oct 8, Reply

Q 2879: We have moved into a home with an interior court yard. The deck in the court yard is slate. How do we properly clean and maintain this slate. Thanks. Hugh, Diamondhead, MS,  Oct 8, Reply

Q 2878: What is Kerb stone Can you give me some details? Gajendra, Udaipur, India. Oct 8, Reply

Q 2877: I need more information about inlay table tops, such as how you make delivery, how much delivery costs, insurance, how they are packaged, installation recommendations, thickness, can they be used on walls and floors? James, Oct 8, Reply

Q 2876: Please explain what is Abrasive index of materials and how it is expressed. Sometimes we come across where it is expressed as Abrasive index for Granite-0.55 and some times it is expressed in percentage. Somen, Oct 8, Reply

Q 2875: I have over 100 acres of quarry rock & field stone. I need to know the best ways to market it. Janet, Oct 8, Reply

Q 2874: I am civil engineer from Makrana, Rajasthan, India. In my city, marble is quarried and processed but we are suffering from a slurry problem. Are there any projects based on marble slurry? Help me in this field. Thanks, Vishal. Oct 8, Reply  

Q 2873: Email me relevant information on cleaning and polishing a rock and mortar fireplace hearth that is in desperate need of a cleaning and a polish. Thank you! Debra, Oct 8, Reply  

R1:   Dear Debra: What kind of rock? Should it be re-polished (was it originally polished)? My best piece of advice is for you to get hold of a proven stone restoration professional. Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, USA, Expert Panelist

Q 2872: What is the so - called Los Angeles test for rock- specification and selection.I understand it is a way to test quality. Please provide me expert info, Thanks. Porat.Oct 8, Reply   

Q 2871: I am buying a classic marble column (solid marble, 10" x 8) and a number of vendors came to me with different prices. How can I decide? Is there a regulation in this market? Does a vendor need to have a permit, or something similar in the US? How can one determine its quality? What are the criteria to determine the quality of columns. What are the most important factors I have to consider? Can I buy such columns from foreign vendors from India or China? Do I really need to CEMENT? People say there is Proprietary epoxy-resin glue from Japan that can do the job. But I can not find it in the US/Canada market. What are the BRAND names? and which is the best? (I just want to glue marble or granite in a more effective way) Warren, Oct 8, Reply 

Q 2870: Hi, I was hoping that you might be able to help me. I recently purchased an antique chandelier. The Chandelier is made of brass and alabaster, and does need a good cleaning. Is there something that you could recommend to remove the dirt on the alabaster? Thanks Diane, Oct 8, Reply

R1: Dear Diane: Go to a local retailer of tile and marble and get a bottle of cleaner for stone. Do NOT use generic cleaning products Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, Expert Panelist

Q 2869: I am one of the Granite Quarry Contractor, Iwant to work in foriegn countries, Saudi Arabia, European Countries, Japan, Canada Or United States Of America. Therefore I request you to guide me in this field. Mir, Oct 8, Reply 

Q 2868: HELP! We have granite countertops in our kitchen and a box of strawberries was left on the counter. First, the granite stained a red color and now it has whitened. It almost appears as if the color has come right out of the granite. What's happening and can it be fixed? Thanks for any help out there. Kathryn.   Oct 8, Reply

R1:   Dear Kathryn: If you don't tell us the type of stone you have (saying granite means absolutely nothing: we need to know WHICH one "granite") we can't be of any help. Another important information we need to have is whether or not your contertop was sealed by the fabricator. Until then, Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, USA, Expert Panelist

Q 2867: I am a structural engineer in Boston, MA, USA and my firm is currently working on roadway modifications in the area. In one particular area, we have a reinforced concrete retaining wall with a 4" thick sawed granite facade. Many of the panels of granite have cracked and spalled over the past 50 years of service. The anchorage of the facade is not accessable so replacement may not be possible without damaging more panels or the concrete retaining wall. I welcome any advice or products you can recommend to repair the panels. If I can get a paticular repair procedure approved with the owner, I can specify the product in the project specifications. FRANK, Oct 8, Reply 

Q 2866: Hello, We are a small metal manufacturing company in Ontario, mainly serving the concrete pumping industry by manufacturing supplies like hoses, reducers, hammer valves, etc. We were approached by a manufacturer of abrasives. Have you heard of a pressure cleaner for grind stones before? The stones are used for hones, segments, dressings sticks, rubbing bricks. We were presented with an idea for this machine I'd like to know if it would be some sort of a unique idea. If there is such machine available, can you please give me some information on it? Appreciate your help. Best regards: Szilvia, Oct 8, Reply

Q 2865: We installed a black slate harth. The installers dripped sweat on it. we wiped it down before sealing with tung oil now we notice several white rings that we think are salt deposits leaching up. Is there any way to remove these and what should we reseal it with? Heather, Oct 8, Reply

Q 2864: I have a patio made of slate tile that is coming loose in certain areas from frost and water damage. theses tiles also surround my in ground pool. I did not realize that the tile should be glazed every few years and there is obvious neglect. My question is what can I use to reattach the slate tiles? The base under the tiles is cement. There is a grout between the tiles that looks like cement.Thanks, Robert, Oct 8, Reply

Q 2863: We are planning a kitchen renovation and are looking into granite as a countertop. I have found a company that sells and installs granite. If a seam is necessary in the countertop they use silicone instead of epoxy to butt joint seams together. Is this okay ? Their reason is that silicone allows for expansion and contraction while epoxy will fade and the seam could break if there is sufficient movement. They also say that an epoxy seam is not recommended for our climate. I live in Ottawa, Canada. Undermount sinks are also adhered with silicone. Finally should there be a plywood backing underneath the counterops ? Kam, Oct 8, Reply

R1: Dear Kam: Some fabricators do like yours hwne it comes to seams, some others (the majority, I suppose) use expoxy. The Ottawa climate has nothing to do with it, becaus I'm hard pressed consideriding huge differences in temperature inside your house. Ciao and good luck, Maurizio,USA, Expert Panelist

Q 2862: I am studying garden art design and I'm interested in the natural black stone found in Leeds and the surrounding areas. Also any advice on laying and cutting natural paving stone, oh and shaping for ornimental features.thankyou.....what is the black stone found in leeds called?? Niki, Oct 8, Reply

Q 2860: Hi - we have just signed a contract to have travertine tile installed in our home - foyer, hallway, kitchen, laudryroom - quite a bit of tile - reading the problems in this column has made me a bit unsure of this choice - will I be sorry? We chose it at the recommendation of the flooring expert - I liked the look of travertine - and because we have a lot of angles, we decided a random pattern, with the tile setter cutting the tiles himself would work best - - have I been schmoozed ? again ? Vansl, Oct 7, Reply

R1:  Dear Vansl,
I think that all the comments about travertine were good actually. It brought to light some basic misconceptions and material biases.
Let's assume the installation will be well done.
If you plan to have a honed or brushed finished filled travertine, I think you will just need to concentrate on how to maintain it.
For that you may want a penetrating sealer applied if the cavities have a lot of grout in them. The grout is absorptive. You will want know that the travertine will change after it is installed, this is known as the floor developing a patina. You will want to sweep the floor for a while after it is installed, then you may want to have a professional restoration/janitorial company clean the floor for you inch by inch. You then will want to keep the floor well swept or vacuumed and cleaned frequently with a neutral pH cleaner and a string mop.
Good choice, regards, Steven, Expert Panelist

R2: Dear Vansl: If the travertine tiles have a polished finish you WILL be sorry. If they are honed and filled, you won't.
If you want my free (not for too long) guidelines on maintenance of residential stone installations, hit the link "Do's and Dont's", again toward the end of this page's side bar. Hurry up! You'll be glad you did! Ciao and good luck, Maurizio,USA, Expert Panelist

Q 2859: I have a question. In the grout, I used 511 impregnator. When cleaning up the excess, it got on the stone. Now the edges, when wet, show exactly where I wiped up the excess sealer. Do you know how to remove it aside from sandblasting the stone? After this, I'll never seal grout again! Best, Melissa, Oct 7, Reply

R1: The answer will probably depend on the material. You can use acetone to and wipe the areas of the stone that the sealer hit. First you may want to take the same sealer and use it to wipe up the areas that are on the stone. You would wipe the new sealer over the old, and then with a dry cloth wipe the stone until dry. Regards, Steven, Expert Panelist

R2: Dear Melissa: The Miracle Sealant Company (the maker of 511) will be glad, no doubt, to tell you what to do. Their phone number should be on the bottle. Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, USA, Expert Panelist

Q 2858: Can you tell me what finish and type of bonding is required to achieve the effect of the look of marble used on top of a dresser? Thanks Laura, Oct 7, Reply

Q 2857: I have bought some granite 12x12 tiles that was called " Montecruz Sonoma" and was qurraryed in China. I can't fine that name and I am sure it is a store name. I have looked in the Images and it is hard to tell which stone it might be. The color is a motelled gray with a pink undertone. White and black small grain that has sizes in the 1 to 5 mm. The color is a bit like "cherry Flower" with a grain that is much more like "padang 308" I got the tile from Color Tile in Northern California, Williams, Oct 7, Reply

R1: Dear Williams, It is difficult to identify your granite according your description. There are large amount of Chinese granite of your colors, e.g. FUJIAN PINK, FUCHIN PINK, ROSE PINK, SEASHELL PINK, TSESHAN PINK, LU PINK, MOUNTAIN FLOWER, ... Daniel, Slovakia, Expert Panelist.

Q 2856:   We've installed some 3" thick sandstone veneer recently and, upon recommendation of the fabricator have used a 8:1 ratio of Dietrich cleaner. Perhaps some of the cleaner was left onto a few areas too long before washing off and we may have "burned" a few areas as they have turned yellow to lime green. We've tried to bleach the blotches out but now the areas are turning too white. The stone is beige and rose colored. We've also tried power washing and still no positive results. Please recommend any possible solutions before we are forced to dis-mantle! Granimar, Oct 7, Reply

R1: Dear Granimar: "Dietrich" cleaner?? ... Never heard of it. Since your fabricator made money out of the deal and seem to be so knowledgeable by having recommended you to use the stuff, have them solve your problem. Ciao and good luck, Maurizio , USA, Expert Panelist

Q 2855: Hi! We are installing granite tile around a whirlpool tub. How could I polish the exposed edges and avoid using bullnose? Any advice would greatly be appreciated. Lora, Oct 7, Reply

R1: Dear Lora, Take the tile to a stone fabrication facility in your area. Regards, Steven, Expert Panelist

R2: Dear Lora: Take your tiles to a local fabrication shop and have them do the job. It's Not a Diyer project. Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, USA, Expert Panelist

Q 2854: This past weekend we picked out a slab of "granite" called Juparana Rust. It is located 50 miles from our home so the lemon juice test I just read about this morning is not possible at this point. I know that there are many types of Juparana stones, but can you tell me anything about this type of stone, regarding how porous it is etc? I have read a large portion of your fantastic web site advice and am concerned about oil, etc. stains. In a conversation with our fabricator a while back he mentioned that they usually put 2 - 3 coats of sealer. I am wondering if this is sufficient or should we ask for more coats? The slab is being delivered to our fabricator today or tomorrow so I really appreciate your advice! Thanks! Sue, Oct 7, Reply

R1: Dear Sue, The number of coats applied will depend on how absorptive the stone is. Remind your fabricator to use 1 coat per day, and they can always apply more once the installation is done.
You will want to purchase some of the sealer they are using for use later on. Regards, Steven, Expert Panelist

R2: Dear Sue:
So, now we have the Juparana Rust! ... Another one to add to the endless list of the Juparanas!
I can't help with the name only. Usually Juparana "granites" are quite absorbent (the are eitherr gneiss, or orthogneiss: some sort of metamorphic sandstone), but the "Rust" one? ... I really don't know.
The theory of the application of 2 or 3 coats of sealr is totally immaterial. It all depends from the sealer. Some sealers my require up to 8 or more applications before sealing (almost) properly a Juparana (again, with the benefit of the doubt about the "Rust" one).
Don't take chances, take another trip!  Ciao and good luck, Maurizio,USA, Expert Panelist

Q 2853: I'm interested in applying a stone and resin flooring to my existing basement and patios Can anyone offer assistance as to where I may purchase the necessary stone (granite, marble, etc.) aggregate (chips) for this application? In addition, can anyone offer any helpful advise. I've seen it installed many times and assisted with an installation, doesn't look difficult. Thanks! Steve, Oct 7, Reply

R1: Dear Steve: The Hopme Depot sells a decent conglomerate tile. Thy also dispense advice on installation. Ciao and good luck, Maurizio,USA, Expert Panelist

Q 2852: I "scanned" your very infomative website but being visually impaired I probably missed anything about alabaster. How to clean??? This info is for another senior citizen. Thanks in advance for any advice you may have. Diane Porter,Oct 7, Reply

Q 2851: We were to have our granite slab countertops installed this AM. Material is 2cm Agate (told that it's related to Dakota Mahogany, it has similar color but with lots of crystals and color movement). Difficult layout, but got great match on each side of seam in the middle of the sink cutout. Today, fabricated pieces fit perfectly on the counter, ready to bond into place. (new) assistant shifted piece that included left side of sink cutout and broke off both narrow pieces front and back of sink (pop/pop - one piece is now three). All back to the shop.

Fabricator says that the breaks were clean, at crystals, with no loss of material, and that repair is possible. But repair or replace is going to be my call.

Several questions arise: Can a "simple" repair of this sort work cosmetically? Would a properly repaired break be more/less susceptible to staining? To shifting? What should I look for in the repair (A1140 seems to come close to this)? Should we just go to the reserve slab?
Usefulness of FindStone Site:
a. there was a Q/A vaguely related to my question.
b. lots of really good information about treating stone for the long run
c. most informative site I found on the subject of honing - we almost did honing but had decided against, your site bolstered my resolve in this plan.

Thanks in advance, JohnB
, Oct 7, Reply

R1: John, With this material I would recommend replacement. Why? Because it doesn't have a tight vein pattern to mask the breaks. Advise them to "rod" the cut out this next time.
If repaired properly it would not be susceptible to staining, shifting, or breaking again. Regards, Steven, Expert Panelist

R2: Dear John B: Clearly, the two narrow sections of the countertop were not rodded (as they should have). If they were, they would have not broken. Glueing the two pieces together does represents now an extremely weak spot (much weaker than before). I wouldn't go for it. I would insist on a new piece and make sure that this time is rodded properly. Ciao and good luck, Maurizio,USA, Expert Panelist

Q 2850: We recently put in granite (something Viara, I forgot the actual name) kitchen counter-tops. We love the way it looks but we keep having a recurring stain problem even though I have sealed the counters myself The fabricator (B Marble in LA) that was recommended to us told us before we purchased the granite that they do not seal the granite at the factory because of the type of adhesive they use to bond the granite to the sub-counter. They claimed that as the adhesive evaporates that it could leave a stain in the granite because of the sealer/impregnator. Instead, they gave us a kit which contained a sealer by Stone Care Inc. We applied the sealer a couple of weeks after installation. (I wish I had read your website before buying our granite counter!!!)
However, we found that the granite stained if we left any item with some water under it on the counter for around 15-30 minutes, or just about the time that it takes to eat dinner. Luckily, thus far it has only
involved water, and the stain has evaporated away in about 10-20 minutes. After a month of dealing with the stains, I decided to seal the counters once again, this time using 511 Impregnator. Same thing. No change. I'm pretty certain that I followed the directions correctly. I'm not sure what I should do... Should I try another sealer? Should I be worried about using different types of sealers? Or should I simply re-use the same sealer multiple times
Oh, by the way, I DID try Maurizio's Lemon Juice Test on an extra slab of (unsealed) stone, and the granite passed the test. It took several minutes before I noticed anything like a stain on the granite.Please advise...Thanks!-Kenan,Oct 7, Reply

R1: Kenan,

Vyara is absorptive. You will need to apply 5-6 coats of impregnator one per day.No do not change brands now, be patient as it will take time.

The absorption test is the lemon juice and I also advise spilling some oil on the stone as well.

I don't know about the reasons the fabricator gave you about not applying the impregnator themselves, their answer seems to play on fear and that strikes me as wrong. They should use adhesive that won't stain.

Good luck and again be patient with the sealer, Steven, Expert Panelist

R1: Dear Kenan: I'd love to tell you to try my own sealer, but It's never a good practice changing brands of sealers. As a rule of thumb, once you start with a particular brand, you're better off continuing with the same. Having used two brands already (one siloxane-based and the other one silicon-based) could represent a problem with no easy solution. Since your fabricator seems to be soooo knowledgeable (the theory of the stains from the glue showing up on the surface if the countertop is sealed is right up there at the top of my list of cacca baloney stories!!) and he made some good money out of you, you should have him solve the problem. Ciao and good luck, Maurizio,USA, Expert Panelist

Q 2849: I sincerely wish that I had discovered your website before I purchased our granite counter. Since purchasing our counter I have discovered that the advice found at Findstone.com is exceptional. Had I been aware of Findstone.com before my purchase, I'm certain that I could have avoided a lot of pain and suffering related to our granite countertops

- Checklist or process to plan, decide, select, find, buy, &/or install stone

My suggestion to future granite owners would be to interview your potential fabricators before trying to select the stone. Have the fabricator provide you with choices so that if there is a problem they will be fully responsible for fixing it. Make sure that the fabricator will seal and install the stone for you. Have them give you names of previous customers who would be willing to talk to you about their experiences with the fabricator.

We made the mistake of selecting the stone ourselves and our fabricator in San Fernando, CA would not seal the granite for us. Instead they gave us a kit to seal the stone ourselves. We had no idea which stone would be more porous and more absorbent. We simply chose the granite which we though would look the best with our kitchen. Well, it sure looks great, but it is highly absorbent.

Make sure that you also get the fabricator to warrantee the workmanship. B chipped a small section of the stone around the cutout for the sink. They fixed it up by gluing it back on. It actually looks OK, but I'm worried that the piece may fall out in the future, causing me more headaches.

- Break-up of costs paid for stone, installation, sealing &/or repairing

We have approximately 66 square feet of countertops. The material, fabrication and installation of the stone cost around $4800. But, I'm still trying to get the stone to seal properly. What's strange is that
the counter seems to pass the "Lemon Juice Test."

- Your experiences - good / bad - with stone or suppliers or installers

We were working with Jack's in Santa Barbara who recommended B Marble. B did a good job of cutting the granite. We only have one seam in our counter which is L shaped, but pretty long (9 feet and 7 feet). However, they did chip the granite around the sink area. In addition, when they arrived to install the counter they discovered that they had forgotten to leave a 1/4" gap around our island. As a result, they had to trim the inside edges of the slab for the counter. However, I do believe that the counter looks great, even with the chip. My only real problem is the fact that B did not seal the countertop. Jacks is apparently no longer working with B.Thanks!-Kenan, Oct 7, Reply

R1: Kenan, The chip if well done will be fine. Natural stone has a tendency to spall like this. Regards, Steven, Expert Panelist

Q 2848: I am having the same problem with my bathroom countertops that are travertine. They have blotchy spots and I'm not sure how to get them off. I'm not even sure what to clean it with on a weekly basis. Any ideas? Thanks, Susanne, Dallas, TX, Oct 4, Reply

R2: Hello Susanne, If you have a shiny surface then something acidic was left on the counter and literally etched the shine off. You probably need someone to repolish the areas. Either way it would be good for you to call the original fabrication facility for help. Then you will want to clean the counters with neutral pH spray cleaners. Regards, Steven, Expert Panelist, USA, Expert Panelist

R1: Dear Susanne: No matter what they look like, those blotchy spots are not spot. They're rather chemical etches made by some pH liquid (most likely acidic) that was spilled on the stone surface. They are actual surface damages and you need the services of a proven stone refinisher to bring your countertop surface back to factory finish. Ciao and good luck, Maurizio,USA, Expert Panelist

Q 2846: How can I remove rust stains from flagstone around a pool? Metal shavings fell on the flagstone and now there are rust spots on the flagstone. Thanks, Charlotte, Oct 4, Reply

R2: Michael, Most flagstones are relatively soft and absorptive. If you can get a poultice (specifically for the removal of iron stains) from your local stone fabrcation facility it might remove the stains if they weren't there very long. If they were I would ask for the stones to be ground or replaced. Regards, Steven, Expert Panelist, USA, Expert Panelist

R1: Dear Charlootte: If you hurry up, you can have my free stain removal guidelines by clicking on the link that you will find toward the end of this page's side bar. Keep in mind, however, that removing metal stains is always a chancy proposition. Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, Expert Panelist

Q 2845: We just had granite counter tops installed and upon close inspection the granite has micro cracks all over the surface. Is this a result of a poor polish job or endemic of the granite? Any suggestions as to a solution? You can feel these imperfections when you run your hand over the pieces. Richard, Oct 4, Reply  

R2: Richard, I take it you did not inspect the stone before it was installed. Many types of mercantile granite have this appearance. I would need to know what material it is to say for sure though. Call the people who provided and installed the counters for help. Regards, Steven, Expert Panelist, USA, Expert Panelist

R1: Dear Richard: It all depends from the stone you have. Granite is not like that. Most of the stones traded as granite, however, are related to true geological granite like a cat to a cow! ... So, if you want an intelligent and ubiased answer I'd need to know the name of your "granite" (hoping that's not a name made-up by the local distributor). After that, for a small fee, I will tell you the true story. Gimme a holler at: info@findstone.com Ciao and good luck, Maurizio,USA, Expert Panelist

Q 2844: Hello! We just had app. 85 ft2 of "Giallo Veneziano" purchased through a local store, who in turn used a local granite/marble manufacture for materials/installation. We had originally chose Corian but then decided we preferred the glossy finished look/color/pattern of granite (plus the price was better!). As in most consumer cases we made our decision based on the representative sample at the store and we advised to make an appointment to actually go see the slab choices at the shop and choose. The "showroom" at the shop also had this particular granite on display which reflected the high gloss/and differentiation of colors which we loved. Our countertops were installed and the installation is perfect as is the beautiful color and pattern). The problem is that the countertops are not uniformly glossy at any viewing angle. Independent of the stone variations it is completely speckled with dime sized to half dollar sized spots and rough and diveted in these areas.(that is the overwhelming feature at this point!). It looks like acid was dropped all over it. I've notified the store we made the purchase through, and the manufacturer who promptly sent a rep this morning to view this mess and was told that is the way it should look because "stone is imperfect". they actually went so far to tell me they don't do any polishing here that it was done in Italy. (where are my boots). After going directly and looking at this particular stone choice in gloss finish at three of this retail chains sister stores, two other indepent marble/granite stores, and numerous phone calls, I believe we do not have the finish we purchased. The rep tried to convince me first that we got what we got based upon this type of stone, regardless of the fact that of the beautiful gloss on their showroom sample/and the retail stores samples (incidentally, all three stores received their samples from three different granite places, hmmm...) We are very frustrated at this point. Can anyone offer further advice? Sharon, Oct 4, Reply

R1: This type of stone does have this appearance. If you look at from an angle you can see a difference in the reflection. You can put away your boots because what you have been told so far is true. Depending on what spot in the quarry your slabs were quarried and how dark some of the areas in slab are, you will see different gloss levels. If this doesn't satisfy you, request for the fabrication facility to polish one of the worst spots, sometimes they can bring out a better shine when concentrating on one or two areas. Regards, Steven, Expert Panelist

Q 2843: I am a general remodeling contractor...I have done hundreds of ceramic tile installations but have never moved into the natural stone installations. I have installed a 4x4 travertine backsplash in my own home and have bneen very pleased with the results. I have a client that wants me to install a similar backsplash in her kitchen. She is being sold advice as well as tints, sealers, and God knows what all! I have been up front with my experience levels and the client is conforable with that. She has been told that a color enhancer is absolutely necessary and the tiles must be sealed "before" installation. I have asked other contractors and suppliers and have received contradictary advice. With tile I normally do not seal grouts in low trafic or "clean" applications. The ceramic tile in my home has been down for 10 years without sealer and it still looks great. Being a kithchen I recomended sealing the travertine but would like your opinion on the procedure to use. Before or after installation? Before and after grout? or just one application after all is complete? I have read through your "to seal or not to seal" question and answer section but am still a little confused. Thanks Mark, Oct 4, Reply

R3: Dear Mark: Here it goes: If the travertine has a polished finish it does not need to be sealed. Contrary to a widespread misconception travertine is naturally NOT very absorbent and the polishing process virtually seals it completely. When it's honed or tumbled, I recommend to seal it only in the area behind the stove, or inside a shower stall. A color enhancer whould be totally useless on polished travertine (or any other polished stone for that matter), and very close to useless when the travertine is either honed or tumbled, because it's one of the few stones that don't lose much depth of color when not polished. Only darker selections of travertine could benefit from the application of a color enhancer, IF the darkening of the stone is what the client wants. In other words, far from being a necessity, a color enhancer is only applied for cosmetic reasons. Finally, the sealing (if any) has to be done a couple of weeks after installation (to allow for proper drying and curing of the setting material) so that the grout gets sealed, too. Sealing the tiles before installation is completely meaningless.
If you want my free (not for much longer!) guidelines on maintenance of residential stone installations, hit the link "Do's and Dont's" toward the end of this page's side bar. Hurry up! You'll be glad you did! Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, USA, Expert Panelist

R2: Mark, Hmmm, how best to start? Well if the travertine looks good wet to client then you will probably need to color enhance it. If the travertine has holes in it that the client does not want filled, you will apply a couple of coats of impregnator to the stone before grouting. Since it is in the kitchen I would apply several 1 per day of impregnator after the install to make it easier to wipe down. Depending on the type of impregnator you use it may need to be reapplied every year or so.
PS stone installations are more time consuming, but when complete look the best of all.
Regards Steven, Expert Panelist, USA, Expert Panelist

R1: Mark, If you are using 4x4 tumbled marble or cobblestone I do recommend sealing. As far as the enhancer goes you dont have to if you like the natural look. That is for giving the stone a wet look and sealing at the same time. You must definitely DO NOT have to seal before installation. Wait a few days for the grout to dry then seal the whole thing. Jeff Leun

Q 2842: We are a paver company that has installed a few Turkish travertine paver jobs on pool decks. I love the profound color affect, washing travertine with muratic acid has. It deepens the color and almost looks like it seals up the pores. We rinse off the acid about one minute after putting it on. My question is, are there any long term problems that might come of this process? Alex, Oct 4, Reply

R2: Alex, Yep, You basically are eating the travertine away. In order neutralize the acid it sacrifices its outer layer of patina. Sometimes this will enlarge the macro cavities of the travertine. This could cause it to deteriorate. For the ones you already have done the damage does not always manifest until the stone is stressed, sometimes years later. Hoped I scared the acid out of you. Regards, Steven, Expert Panelist

R1: Dear Alex: Although travertine is naturally quite a dense stone (very low absorbency rate), the washing with muriatic acid does further tightens the pores of the stone. No you will not have long term problems, providing that you don't repeat the procedure. One acid wash on any calcite-stone's lifetime is about all it can take. Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, USA, Expert panelist

Q 2841: My husband just installed 12x12 granite tiles for a countertop in our kitchen. We used verde butterfly. It is a polished granite. The grout lines our about 1/4 of an inch with sanded grout. What type of sealer should we use for the grout also should we seal the granite. I cook a lot and do want to avoid staining. After what I've read on some of your question I hope I made the right decision for a countertop. Thank you for any information you can give me., Rod, Oct 4, Reply

R2: Rod, 1/4" grout joints? Well, what ever is done, is done. 1/16" joints are correct for this type of installation. Any type of impregnator should seal your grout. Your stone does not need an impregnator so be sure to keep it off the stone. Regards, Steven, Expert Panelist, USA, Expert Panelist

R1: Dear Rod: As far as the choice of the material you did make the right decision. It does NOT need to be sealed. 1/4" grout lines with sanded grout?! ... Mmmm! ...
Well, it's done now! The grout will need to be sealed rieal well. A good-quality stone impregnator/sealer will do the job just fine. If you want my free guidelines on maintenance of residential stone installations, hit the link "Do's and Dont's" toward the end of this page's side bar. Hurry up! You'll be glad you did! Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, USA, Expert Panelist

Q 2840: Hello. I wonder if you could recommend a cleaning product that I might use on marble headstones that are 19 years and 15 years old. Both headstones are in great need of cleaning....they have accumulated a lot of greenish algae/mould type of stuff over the years. They are inland and there are a number of trees in the cemetry, some nearby the headstones. Any help would be greatly appreciated as we have been quoted extremely high prices for this job to be done professionally and I have been informed that this will happen again if the work is not continued on a regular basis. Many thanks. Ronnie, Oct 4, Reply

R3: Dear Ronnie: Is not the cleaning product that's going to do the job, it's the person who uses it! Good professionals are expensive, but they represent your only option. Yes, it'll have to be repeated periodically, because, of course, it will happen again. Ciao and good luck, Maurizio,USA, Expert Paneist

R2: Ronnie, The stone has started a patina to protect itself. The truth is that it will have to be done regularly. Are you up to the consistancy required? If so, use a bleach solution (3 water 1 bleach), a scrub brush, and lots of elbow grease. Regards, Steven, Expert Panelist, USA, Expert Panelist

R1: Dear Ronnie, Bleach is what you are looking for. Brush or spray it on, let it do it's thing and rinse off. No access to a water hose for rinsing, then use a low pressure pump up sprayer instead. Good luck, JVC, Expert panelist

Q 2839: Hi, We are in the process of replacing our kitchen tile with Azul Bahia Extra. Can you tell me about this granite? After reading your postings on findstone.com, I'm not sure this is granite. I noticed that you did make a comment about it on Question 1049 so you seem to be familiar with this medium. Can you tell me if this is a good choice for kitchen countertops and backsplash. What we need to clean and maintain it I appreciate your help. This seems like one of the more expense granites when we were looking-we got quoted $137.00 a square foot so I want to make sure this is good stuff. This is a big undertaking for us since my husband is a teacher so I definitely want to do the research. Regards, Denise, Oct 3, Reply

R1: Dear Denise, AZUL BAHIA is granite in commercial sense from Brazil but scientifically it is not true granite, but rock from syenite group. It contains white feldspars and blue sodalite. As Steven, Expert Panelist mentioned, it is chemically less resistent than most of granites. Daniel, Slovakia, Expert Panelist.

R2: Hello Denise, Azul Bahia is a beautiful and exotic stone. Overall it is hard, however, it can be affected chemically by acids. Therefore purchase it with care. It will certainly be attractive. As this is not a very active quarry, be careful, and expect to review the slabs before the counters are made. Regards. Steven, Expert Panelist

R1: Dear Denise: It's quite far to being even remotely related to geological granite. The stone is as attractive and expensive just as much as it is absorbent. Ciao and good luck, Maurizio,USA, Expert Panelist

Q 2838:  We have used tennessee sandstone to top a patio walk. We want to seal, but need to clean first. What can we use?, Don, Oct 3, Reply

R1: Dear Don: Your best bet is to power-wahs it, at no more than 900 PSI, with a solution of water and a specialty cleaning solution for exterior stone. You can contact me at: info@findstone.com if further details are required. Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, USA, Expert Panelist

Q 2837: I have gone through your site and not sure you can help me on this question. We are purchasing a home that currently has a fireplace with approximately 16 foot ceilings. Above the fireplace is an indentation that goes all the way up. We are considering installing a rock wall all the way up to the ceiling and around the fireplace. Where would I find information on how to do this ourselves (I have done several tiling projects including floors, walls, and countertops, although I realize this would be quite different). Do you have suggestions on what type of rock? Basalt is abundant around here and I have seen it used in other homes, although river rock is easy to get here too. Is one type of rock easier than another to install? Any info you can provide would be helpful. Thanks. Debi, Oct 3, Reply

Q 2836: I would like to know where in New York City I can buy products (by name) that your experts recommend to maintain the three stone surfaces I have. They are granite, marble and travertine. Thank you. tonijackxmas, Oct 3, Reply

Q 2835: I live in near the coast in Southern California and have a large quantity of Palos Verdes Stone (at least that's what it's called around here - It's basically white, flattish, irregularly shaped, 2 to 3 inches thick and can be found all over the area). I want to use it to create a patio area (10x24). I have heard of an installation technique that involves excavating 4 inches below grade. Then adding a 2" layer of a mixture of sand and portland cement. You then lay the stones on top of this layer, and fill between the stones with more of the mixture. Finally, lightly spray the patio to "set" the stones. Is this a good technique? What are the advantages/disadvantages? Do I need to have a "base" layer? Thanks in advance, Rick, Oct 2, Reply

R1: Hello Rick. We have used a stabilized sand (sand and portland cement mix) as a substate for patio stone for many years now with no problems. The mix can be on the lean side, a 5 sand to 1 portland works well, and enough water needs to be added to the mix so you can ball up a handfull , and crumble the ball. Spread the mix, and tamp it in good, and LIGHTLY mist. Personally, I like to use a rake for my tamper as it leaves nice ridges to bond the stone to. After a night to cure, you are ready to put the stone down. The stone need to be mud set to the substrate. If you don't, you will have loose stone, and with the stone we use for this kind of work, we typically grout the joints with the same masonry mix we use as a setting mix, filling joints as we lay the stone. Makes for a real secure installation. Good luck, JVC, Expert Panelist

R2: Rick. What I refered to as mud set is a wet mix of masonry cement (not portland) and sand mixed at a 3 to 1 ratio. Make sure to use masons sand (sometimes refered to as brick sand). Use enough water to create a nice plastic mix but not runny. A masonry cement mix keeps its temper and workability better than a portland mix in my opinion. Yes we do use the same mix for the joints, filling them as we lay the stone, and completely bedding each stone. After the mix has set up a bit ( depending on the stone anywhere from a half hour to several hours) go back over the joints with a wire brush and / or wisk broom to dress them. Also we wet the back (bottom) of the stone to help insure good bonding. Good luck, JVC, Expert Panelist

Hello JVC, Wow, you answered every follow-up question I thought of after I asked the first question...Unbelievable :-)
There are a couple of things I would like to clarify...
When you say "The stone need to be mud set to the substrate." are you saying that I need to mix the sand and portland cement with water, and put a glop of that under each stone??? or are you saying something else??
One other question, when I fill the joints as I lay the stone, should that be with the dry mix that is then hosed down in order to set it??? or should the joints be filled with a wet mix??? Thanks again...This site is AMAZINGLY GOOD!!! Rick

Q 2834: My name is Ahmed Hiyari and i am a tenth grade student that needs ur help. There is a question that asks what is the benefits of using granite or sandstone INSTEAD of using limestone for buildings.I would like to thank u for this concern and i would be pleased if u send me the answer as soon as possible.Thanks you., Ahmed, Oct 2, Reply

R2: Dear Ahmed, there are problems with some sandstones that are with calcite cement between grains. They have low resistence to acid rains like limestones and marbles. Daniel, Slovakia, Expert Panelist.

R1: Dear Ahmed: Sandstone and granite are silicate rocks and, as such are much more resistent to the weather (the natural acidity of rain -- 5.6 pH) than calcite-based stone, which will deteriorate bladly. Ciao and good luck, Maurizio.USA, Expert Panelist

Q 2833: In June I laid a limestone stone floor on top of an electric under floor heating system. The tiles, all 33 square metres of them are laid on a single pack flexible adhesive, sealed with two coats of impregnator and then grouted with Bal Ivory wide joint grout mixed with Bal GT1elastomeric polymers. Three days after finishing, the grout started to lift from the tiles, and within two weeks a third of the floor needed re-grouting. I raked out what grout was left in the joints where it had failed and re-grouted using the same grout, but with the strongest recommended dilutions of the GT1, and hand pointed instead of using a grout gun. Again the grout has lifted from the joints, the manufacturers of the grout have taken samples of the grout to their lab for testing, and the results showed that there was nothing wrong with it. Here is the big problem- I have since found out that the heated floor consists of a 5mm foam underlay, a thin film containing the heating elements and then a 7mm bitumen based covering on top.In some areas, the grout has completely gone, and where this has happend, if you stand on these tiles you can feel and see movement from the tiles. I followed the heating installers recomendations to the letter and the adhesive and grout manufacturers instructions to the letter and still nothing works. With this much vissible movement am I wasting my time or is there a sensible solution to this very big and expensive problem. Philip,Oct 2, Reply

R2:   Philip, WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY FLEXIBLE ADHESIVE? THAT MIGHT BE YOU PROBLEM BECAUSE YOU MUST CERTAINLY HAV NOT BONDED TO THE SUBSTRATE. JEFF IEUN

R1: Dear Philip: Sorry, nope. If the tiles move -- even if so slightly -- no grout will ever stay in place. Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, USA, Expert Panelist

Q 2832: Hi,very helpful site.I have a slab of white carrera marble that I would like to use as a table top;I've had it smoothed and sealed but light orange scorch marks remain from when somebody used an angle grinder near it;this is a shame as i do not want to discard it.Is there any procedure and/or chemical that will' bleach' these marks out?Also,I would like to work with marble myself and need to know where I can get materials,sealer,advice(other than here!)I live about two hours south of London.Much obliged, Phil,Oct 2, Reply

R1: Dear Phil, I believe that the marks will not come out with any poultice. You can either have the stone rehoned again or accept the scortch mark as is. Regards, Steven, Expert Panelist

Q 2831: Do you have information on pietra grigio stone? Wrote this down some time ago, can't remember where I got the information - indistructible, honed finish, can put hot items on it, warmer feel than granite. Muller, Oct 2, Reply

R1: Dear Muller: Pietra Grigia is a sandstone from Italy. Like any other sandstone it's extremely absorbent and requires a very qualified sealing job to make it almost enjoyable. Insist to have a scrap sealed by the fabricator for you to test, before you make a final decision. If you want my free guidelines on maintenance of residential stone installations, hit the link "Do's and Dont's" toward the end of this page's side bar. Hurry up! You'll be glad you did! Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, USA, Expert Panelist

Q 2830: I am building a second story balcony with 1 1/8" thick T&G plywood supported on 16" centers. It is glued and nailed to the floor joists. There is a roof over the balcony, and an outdoor patio below, except a small portion of the balcony which is over the living room below. The floor is sloped at more than 1/4" per foot for drainage. waterproof membranes for use under the stone. I guess what I am looking for is a product with a detailed crossectional drawing of an installation over a plywood substrate. Or, better yet, advice on a system which really works.
I guess if I had to make up my own system with what I know now I'd do this:
Screw down the plywood.
Nail down valley flashing over the living room. Use roof cement at the laps.
Put a drip edge on the outside.
Cover the floor with 2 layers of 30# modified roofing underlayment. Use roof cement at the laps.
Screw down a tile backer board.
Mop the backer board with Jamo
Put the secondary wall flashing over the Jamo
-- I might be missing something here-- Set the stone in a mortar bed Put the primary flashing over the stone.
Advice would be appreciated. Thanks, Eric
, Oct 2, Reply

R1: Eric, Unless you have a lot of experience with this type of installation, I would defer and call a professional. That said, Schluter Systems makes a system specifically for this type of application. Email them or visit your local tile distributor for details. Regards, Steven, Expert Panelist

Q 2829: Need info on how to firmly hold a stencil on sandstone while sandblasting lettering? Thanks, Paul, Oct 2, Reply

R1: Paul, Try taping the stencil in place. Regards, Steven, Expert Panelist