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2495: Australia in general is a now
a sad place for the stone game. Over the last 4-5 years major changes
have occurred here and more is going to happen. Most of the "big" players
have gone - sold out or gone broke. As an example, there are now over
220 little players in Sydney alone. Most with just a workshop, a saw and
a couple of guys with angle grinders. They buy their slab requirements
from a local slab wholesaler. Because they don't have much in the way
of overheads they always under-quote an established firm who does quality
work, guarantees the work and has good after sales service. But the established
firms rarely get the work these days. Most of the jobs are money-driven.
When problems arise, it is the quality guys who come in, but at a premium
- which also doesn't really help the industry. These established guys
are extremely worried by this developing trend because they know that
the writing is on the wall. I don't know how it works in other countries.
R2: It is symptomatic of what's happening all over. I am now starting to import foreign materials, process them here in China, and ship them back out to Europe and the US. Some of my European clients are very happy with this, but most aren't. Those that are happy have a very clear view of what markets they are serving and the specialities they bring to these marketsR3: Stone masonry in Australia is here for the long term and the market is strong. It is great to see discussion and comments emerging about the Australian stone industry. Our experience in this field is vastly different to that commented on in Q2495, August 21st.
The east coast of Australia has seen rapid growth in the use of granites, sandstone and marble and the 'big players' of worth have continued to grow and expand. We quote this from experience as our Queensland based company is one of the largest in Australia and has been in operation for 106 years.
The fact that so many smaller workshops are operating successfully is testiment to the fact that the work is around ~ maybe not always on large scale projects, but definately at a large overall scale. As a large supplier it is important to work with the one and two man operations, it isn't possible to provide every aspect of every job yourself.
The comments about lower overheads for the smaller workshop is definately correct, however it is overcome by diversification and education. When the client understands more about the product, the price isn't always the winning factor. Ability to deliver can be the best economic tool. To achieve this ourselves we stock over 50 granite colours in block and slabs, granite tiles, monumental products and of course Helidon sandstone for any project. These include a large range of Australian granites, including all of the colours that came from North Queensland - we still process all of these materials from block.
The demise of the North-Queensland granite supplier referred to, and some of the more recent collapses of companies, is unfortunate but not usually caused by a downturn in stone projects. The biggest cause of business failure has been a combination of too many managers, not enough workers and lack of ability to control each project through to completion.
Our industry can be stronger and the way to achieve this is to be progressive. We hope you also find the opportunities and that the growth of Australia's stone industry holds for ourselves.
Established 1896 - fourth generation family company
R4: We are one of the successful stone quarriers and Processors operating in Australia, After reading the article on Australia in general is a sad place for the stone game, I felt compelled to send you a message. We quarry and saw mainly Bluestone (basalt) but have a granite plant also,, I agree with the comment re the Government regulations, which is stifling ALL industry in Australia, not just the stone industry, But I must make the comment we are still extremely busy. As an example of some of our projects is one of the famous Casino in Melbourne. The project covered 26000M2 of Granite and Bluestone paving, plus water features and Walls, Would like to subscribe to your page, Regards Don Bartlett.R5: I am a stone masonary teacher in Queensland responsible for training and assessing stonemasonry apprentices throughout Queensland including northern NSW and Darwin. I agree with e3654 - some smaller suppliers in Australia are limited in range of stock, because they only deal in the most popular lines. It is troublesome for a customer to source a greater variety of granite slab through larger suppliers and then have it installed by a local company. Local companies will push the granite they have in stock as their turnover depends on shifting this material- usually the material they have in stock is the material most in demand, hence the 'sameness' of benchtops. If greatest variety for the lowest price is the most important consideration, either approach a large distant company or get your local suppliers to source granite from them. There is endless variety of beautiful colours and patterns in durable Australian granites- the market is still relatively untapped. Simon
agree with Michael (R#4): Stonemasonry in Queensland and Australia is
strong and growing. Apprentice numbers in Qld have doubled over the last
two years as employers train their workers for the future. Despite increases
in numbers of skilled workers, there is still a labour shortage as the
My position is that as shown below.
Not exactly involved as are most of your respondents but rather interested in how I can pass on your words of advice to our members as Specifiers of your product.
You are obviously more interested in actual marketers.
With this thought in mind I have looked at our local “movers and shakers”. (Brisbane, Queensland) and referred this question to one of them.
Regards - Tom Goode, Assn Consulting Architects Qld
R8: It sounds like its written by someone poorly informed and not in touch with where the industry really is in Australia. Im sure the Government of South Australia would be disappointed having been strong supporters of the stone industry in that state for some time. Regards, Paul SkinnerR9: I agree with the writer about the "cowboys" that are spoiling the market.. Though we are not in the"supply and fix" game, but in the restoration and maintenance, we feel the trend especially from those who crash the price just to get cash money then claim their dole payments.... it is also the states governments regulations that over burden employers.. nevertheless, quality job is always appreciated and yes with many respondents, the market is healthy and quality will prevail. Greg
have about ten years' experience as both as an employee of small to medium-sized
companies and as a sole trader. I do not pretend to know the complete
current state nor the future direction of the stone industry in Australia.
Michael: Here we go again, "Keep it simple!" Well, you can't, end of story!
granite is much harder than marble and how you have all these different types of granite. Some are pink, some green and some black but they are all granites. Roger, U.K.
This answer is a follow
up to the reply posted by Roger, UK.
Although you are correct in saying that most people don't know one type of natural stone from another I believe it is important for people like yourself to know the difference.
You are able to get 50 different types of stones and I suppose you sell them to the general public? If so, you need to know the relative properties of each stone and color. You do this to make the proper recommendation to the consumer. Guess what? not many vendors do this. I also spend a great deal of time dealing with frustrated consumers and vendors on this website. It is imperative that, since natural stone is becoming more available and it is more desirable worldwide, all stone vendors classify it the same way.
To classify it all under a mercantile granite is wrong. Why? Well, many rocks are quite different from type to type. Including but not limited to: absorption rates for each stone, some stones sold as granite can etch, and some stones sold as granite are quite fragile.
Also, lets take mercantile marble. Many items sold as marble are truly limestone. Why are they called marble? Because they are able to take a shine. Since this has been the classification requirement I have noticed many consumers move away from marble all together because it is too troublesome to own. Now, if the dealers and vendors were able to differentiate and accurately specify the correct product for the correct environment based on how the consumer truly used it, and provide the correct maintenance requirements for that specific environment, the market demand for marble would probably be greater. Instead, you find look alike products made from porcelain or ceramic being touted as the viable alternative. I hope this note makes you want to research what I just said. Maybe you will adjust your position, maybe not. Regards, Steven (pragmatically), USA .
Hi! We have just installed two double vanity tops of Blue Pearl and remodelled
our kitchen with Black Galaxy after many months of searching, inspecting
and discussing. It is clear that there is a lot of ignorance and different
views among stone retailers when it comes to knowing the stone and whether
to seal or not to seal. I have been reading your site for some time now
which has helped me make up my mind about what to invest in. From
R6: Maurizio, I have noticed that in several of your comments, you infer that the "granite" people think they have in their homes is not granite at all. What might it be instead? Sincerely, Rebecca, USA.Dear Rebecca: I always put the word "granite" in between quotation marks, because, in fact, appproximately the 98% (no, it's not a typo) of the stone traded as granite are not granite. They can be gabbro, dolerite, larvikite, anorthiste, gneis, porphyry, granidorite, anidrite, etc., through a long list. That doesn't mean that they are not as good as true geological granite. As a matter of fact, some of them are better than granite; at the other end, unfortunately, there are "granites" that, in my opinion, should be banned altogether. But, hey, it's just me!
discussing friends, there are two senses of "granite". Granite in commercial
sense is hard polishable stone with grainy structure. Granite in scientific
sense is magmatic rock which was formed by crystalization from magma under
earth surface. It is composed of feldspars (hardness: 6) and quartz (hardness:
7), less micas.
We need to talk instead in terms of consumer needs.
In most markets, consumers are looking for pretty counters and easy maintenance. Or a look.
The merchant needs to translate those needs to:
-Is the stone selected too fragile for the kitchen design?
-Is the stone too absorptive for how the kitchen is used?
-Is the stone reactive to acids as many acids are used in the kitchen?
-Does the stone need an impregnator?
-Does the impregnator need to be applied more than once before delivery?
-Does the consumer need to learn how to impregnate the counter?
The dealer then needs to give:
-Instructions on how to care for natural stone and what products to use in the care of stone.
I believe that consumers choose natural stone for one reason. Its unmatched beauty and longevity in service.
Correct stone for correct application = happy consumer.
Plus, well informed and well educated consumer by the stone vendor (distributor and/or fabricator) = more work and better sales in the future!!
Better educated and not offended dealer = happy chemical dealer.
Best regards, Steven (appreciatively)
Q 2491: Hello,
I just purchased a new Uba Tuba (granite)
countertop. When it was installed, one of the seams started
to droop. The installer came and inserted wooden shims to brace the portion
that was drooping at the seam. Unfortunately, after he did this, three
hairline, seemingly structural cracks appeared at three of the four corners
of my drop in stove. He came back and said the piece needed to be replaced.
The countertop has our new mirrored backsplash resting on it. While he
said it would be no problem to remove the piece without damaging the backsplash,
he seemed to get somewhat concerned when I told him the cost and that
i expected him to replace it if it was damaged.
R7: Ask about epoxies to seal the hairline cracks. I wouldn't mess with it- sounds like the nature of Ubatuba to me. Ubatuba has a somewhat crystalline makeup to it that would lend to this cracking. As you know, quartz is very easily fractured. What you get in beauty you sacrifice in strength. Best wishes. Steve, USA.R6: Hello Mary; We are granite counter top manufacturers, and my role is in our retail store. My personal opinion with your situation is the following. Have him fill your hair line cracks, clean things up, ask for a discount based on what it would of cost him to replace the piece of stone, manufacture and then install. Please do not jump on your new natural stone countertop, and I do not believe the hair line crack will get any larger. I am not an expert installer, in fact I feel for your installer, it happens to all good installers at least once, and if they say it doesn't, we would love to have them on our installation team! Sometimes as a fabrication shop, you have to take your first loss and move on. Trust me, it probably bothers him more then he you. Gayle, Canada.
R5: Where is the job located? Can you feel the cracks?, Dennis, USA.R4: Dear Mary, If you decide to change your countertop and interested in China stone you can buy directly from us. The price is very competitive. Anna, China.
R3: Hello! I am a geologist from Brazil, this granite came from Espirito Santo. Please think a Rock is a "natural" thing. If it broke, it broke. The End. If you want and have money enough, buy another Ubatuba - the correct name., Clovis, Brazil.R2: Well, if you get an original brand granite, I believe that it is an installation problem. The wooden shim would get swollen when environment is humid, just as in your kitchen. swelling brings out shape changing, while a very strong force exists, pushing and transferring into granite's structure. due to fierce movement between shim and granite, the part of corner which is more vulnerable would be cracked, at the first, you could see hairline. But don't worry too much, get shim out and replace it as epoxy glue, which is best way to solve this problem. if it is no ease to get shim out, cover glue on it, make seal sure. Under that circumstance, the crack will not continue to develop. Piness, China
R1: Mary, It is impossible to know from here whether or not it will get worse or not. Please recognize that from your description that your fabricator/installer made an error. It seems that the individual got nervous when you upped the ante about the backsplash. Though you are upset, probably justifiably so, the person has given you two reasonable options. If you don't want them back in your home then accept the settlement proffered and move on. If you worry that the color match and solution by anyone else may cause damage that you would have to pay for, then let them (the original goobers) take care of it. Stipulate in writing all the what ifs and then let it proceed. Who knows, they may show that they weren't a bunch of goobers after all is said and done. Best regards, Steven,FYI - The manager of the granite company and the Home Depot manager visited my house yesterday to get a glimpse of the "problem areas"... the home depot manager mandated a $1,000 refund check be issued; the seams leveled and redone by a "professional"; and a letter from the granite company stating that if any further problems are encountered with this counter top, that it will be COMPLETELY replaced at no cost to me... thank "you" so much for your assistance, i dont know what i would have done without you! Mary
Q 2490: We
are in the process of selecting a granite for our kitchen counter
top. We were almost sure we wanted Tropic Brown
- a highly polished surface. One thing wrong about this color and polish
is that the recess lights above reflect in it and are in my constant viewing
area when I am looking down at the counter and cooking or working at the
counter. This gives me a headache. SO we looked again and like the "Giallo
Veneziano" It looks beautiful on the counter and goes very well
with my rest of the color scheme. I got a sealed piece from the fabricator
( but now learned that I should have waited 24 hours but tested after
7 hours) and did the oil and lemon test by leaving it on there for 30
Q 2489:I am an importer of natural stone.
I started my business a year ago. I mostly import from Turkey to US market.
My family has been in the business for 10 years. However, I get questions
that we never get in Turkey... People, even installers in town insist
that Travertine is very porous and will absorb like sponge. I pour water
on my products to demonstrate but no one believes them. I believe I lose
quite a bit of customers because there is potential for absorption in
the shower, potential for staining in the kitchen, and potential for frost
on the exterior...
R2: Dear Gina , We have been selling travertine for about 30 years in Turkey and we have been using it for wall & floor covering .We both use filled or unfilled travertine both honed and polished . Travertine is a fashion . If a person likes natural look and wants to use natural stone that can be fit to every decoration should choose travertine . It has a very warm look because of its color and texture. Yes ,It will stain over time , it has its flaws but we have used for kitchen floor coverings , toilets wall coverings and in most villas for all floor coverings. NO NEED TO WORRY. Behiye GürselR3: Hello Gina, I am sorry to report that you have an uphill battle. Many North American consumers can not differentiate between the absorptive nature of limestone from the characteristics of all calcium carbonate products like travertine or marble. Namely, they all will etch and develop a patina. With use, their shine will subside to a high hone. These characteristics are highly desired in your native Turkey and all of Southern Europe but not here. People expect the floor not to change from the time it is installed.
What to do? Educate your consumers verbally and with literature prepared specifically about your product, set up displays of installed vignettes showing different levels of wear, set up maintenance programs for them, and finally always ensure the product is selected properly for the application and installed properly. Also adjust your perspective so that you can see that the travertine is not the right answer for every application in the home. Regards, Steven
R4: Travertine is very porous but once it has been sealed properly with an impregnating sealer and maintained with non-alkaline ph balanced cleaners and sealed on a regular maintenance program it is as easy to maintain as a beautiful granite or tile or laminate (plastic) countertop; actually I find it to be easier to care for.R5: Many people like the aged look including myself, but for those that want the material to stay as it was installed we recommend an impregnating sealer to be applied once a year. It is not cheap. A good impregnating sealer goes for about $150 / $200 per gallon but it does a good job. As long as it is re-applied yearly, it will maintain the stone to it’s best, best potential but travertine limestones and marbles never hold up as well as granite. On the other hand if you scratch marble or travertine it is fairly easy to repair While grantie scratches are virtually impossible to repair properly. Gino, USA
R6: Seeing is believing. Have you considered installing a few yards of the travertine in a high traffic area along with displaying large (24"x28") photographs of French travertine floors? Create a small area rich with old world ambience. The husbands won't have a chance! Good Luck! Barb, USA.R7: If you like travertine and your main fear is about the water absorption, please follow your wishes.
There is not such a danger ! As a matter of facts travertine is a quite close (structure wise) material and has in comparison with other marbles a limited water absorption. There is a vast literature on the matter and several buildings have been cladded with travertine even in very rainy and cold environments, not to talk about floorings. Just to mention one case the University in Trondam (Norway) as one of the recent projects which comes to my mind right now.
Of course in case of flooring you may have the problem of the micro holes becoming filled with dust and dirt and therefore looking darker after some time. A good filling during the preparation will solve this problem. Please note that filling must not be done with ordinary "cement" filling, being the cheapest, but with a good filling waterproof and possible resin based. This should avoid the darkening that occurs with cement filling after a period of time.
Anyhow , not to depend on single minds and opinions which may come from non professional advisors/consultants, please verify the technical data about the absorption coefficient of travertine and compare it with other marble types. Your fears will disappear like fog on a sunny day. Hope to have been of help. Roberto, Stone Consultant in Italy.
R8: Dear Gina, I
think that you are encountering a cultural difference between the US and
R 10: Travertine is a very porous material. If you install travertine in wet area, you have to use a sealer on the surface of the material. TurkeyR 11: Dear Ms. Gina, I saw your problems with absorb natural stones. We are not a stone produce but we develop and produce “Stone CARE” solutions. We have fully penetrating and transparent sealants. They work for keeping stones from water absorption and other daily pollutants effects (like oil, coffee, tea, Coke etc). You can sell these products with your stone offers or as after sales care products. They are in 1 quart bottles and ready to use. We will be happy to provide detailed information if you want. Kind regards,
R 12: First of all,
I think you are honest because you are able to tell the truth to customers
that travertine's quality inside. But in fact, there is no like sponge
absorb coincide with travertine because no same structure occurred between
There, look at the answers No. 9 and No. 12. Those two answers are given by the "brainwashers", ie. the "salesmen" that have some bottle sell and they just do that, no matter what it takes. "Travertine is absorbent and needs to be sealed"
Never mind if it's a blatant lie that can be scientifically disporven in 2 seconds flat; never mind if their sealer will do absolutely nothing for that particular stone. They are there to sell, period.
Then you have the answers No. 4, 5, 10 and 11 which are those given by the "brainwashees", who take for granted the "education" dispensed by the "salesmen" "brainwashers", because A), they have not a clue about what the problems with calcite-based stone actually are, and B), that's the "easy answer": eveything's solved with a "miracle-in--a-bottle". No homework, no brain-straining (god forbid!!)
Now, not matter what you do to actually PROVE to them that travertine is quite dense and, therefore not among the absorbent stones, there are no hopes. The sealer dispensed by the skilled "salesmen" impregnated their brains and nothing can "stain" them anymore!!
It's sad (for luck of liberty to use a more "appropriate" word), but that's the way it is, and unless some serious sweeping reform will be imposed upon the "salesmen", nothing will ever change. I'm pissed off, all right! Maurizio, USA
R 14: well..........i guess it would have been nice to see the facts that "Maurizio the expert" talked about. This expert is not brainwashed by anyone. BikerR 15: Dear Biker: Since you claim not to be a "brainwashee", and since three out of four of those I defined as "brainwashees" were anonymous (what a surprise!), I must conclude that your original answer was either the No. 4, or 10, or 11. Now, wouldn't it be nice to know which one of those three stupid answers was yours? Since you define yourself like an expert, opposed to "Maurizio the expert", which are the facts that you would like me to make you see? Do you really need me to show you that if you spill some water or cooking oil on a polished travertine surface they will take a long, long, long, long, loooong time to be even if so slightly absorbed, if ever? Doesn't that tell you, beyond any possible hearsay, that the stone is dense and not absorbent? Or do you need to read a number (absorbency rate) printed in some brochure to believe what your very eyes are telling you, but that you can't see? So, now that you know (or should) that travertine is NOT a porous stone, are you still convinced that an impregnator sealer is necessary, say, in a foyer floor or a shower stall enclosure? And if so, WHY?! What kind of advantage would the consumers get by uslessly suffocating their stone? I mean, man, I make an impregnator sealer (and a darn good one at that! Hey, it retails for $178 a GL ... It must be good, according to one of the "brainwashees"!!), but I don't go around touting it as the "miracle-in-a-bottle" that solves all stone problems.
In all my professional life (a little over 40 years) I witnessed, maybe, a dozen of true stains on marble, not a single one on travertine. Oh yes, at the same time I witnessed thousands and thousands of "water stains" on marble and travertine, but since you call yourself an expert that nobody can brainwash, can you please tell me, for the love of goodness, what "water stains" have got to do with the porosity (absorbency) of the stone? They are chemical etches, no matter what they look like, and are only strictly related to the chemical makeup of the stone (Calcium Carbonate), not its absorbency; and no impregnator sealer in the whole solar system can do the first thing to prevent those surface damages. Why don't you read my paper about stains removal (on the side bar of this page) and learn a few things about absorbency and true stains?
I'm glad to see that you put "Maurizio the expert" in between quotation marks, whereas you defined yourself an expert without the quotation marks. That establishes a necessary and quite appropriate distance between the two of us. Thank you for noticing it and putting it on record. Maurizio, USA
R 16: Say whatever you would like but there must be a reason for the entire Getty Center in los angeles is made completely of travertine and is going to erode slowly over the years but travertine is meant to age and that’s the way it looks good, travel around Italy for a little while and youll see if its not white carrara its travertine, Good luck, sounds like you have some repressed anger against “ salesman” I don’t sell sealer or care if you buy it or not I’ve just been doing stone since I was 7 and I know that sealer helps. Chill out, GinoR 17: Dear discussers, travertine is A specific rock with macropores. Travertine is chemical limestone, which was created by calcite or aragonite crystalization from mineral springs. Pores are remnants after gas bubbles released from water and remnants after plants and algaes. If water gets to travertine tile, it will flow out quickly. If water is absorbed into e.g. limestone, it is released very slowly, as held water is by capillary and adhesive forces in micropores. Daniel, Slovakia,
R 18: This is my
comment to the answer #16 given by Gino Dear Gino: What are you, 10, now?
:-) Besides, let me tell you what I think about seniority by itself. When
I was 10 years old my parents took me to visit some farmer friend of ours
approximately half an hour outside the city where I lived (Parma, Italy).
During that visit I had the opportunity to see a baby donkey that was
born a few days earlier. Some 12 years later I happened to visit again
those friends of ours, and ... after 12 years, that donkey was still a
jackass! Much bigger, as a matter of fact! Tell me about Italy, Gino,
I was born there, I grew up there and I moved to this country when I was
37. The Coliseum is made of travertine. Do you think the ancient Romans
sealed it?! Besides, what on earth your comparison of outdoor installations
has got to do with indoor ones? All calcite-based stones are effected
by the weather (acid rain. Rain's always been acidic, even before pollution
was invented, namely 5.6 pH) and "deteriorate". But the deterioration
is only so if you compare it to the original factory finish (whatever
that was). In fact, the "deterioration" is nothing but the result of the
way the stone fights the elements of the weather by creating a "patina"
over its otherwise defenseless surface. That patina may not "look good",
but it's a blessing, and only an idiot would try to remove it to make
the travertine "look good" again. Now, are you perhaps suggesting that
if they had applied an expensive impregnator (like mine, for instance)
in the travertine of the Getty center in L.A., it would still be OK? Get
real, will you!
Customers should be told that travertine is not a 'tacky' looking ceramic, it is natural product, gifted us by mother earth
I have only reported for what purpose and where natural stone products have been used. I have two Masters Degree and I can talk for hours about the possible relation between 'perception - imagination - experience and how they manifest in motivating us!
I am not a "salesman"!. We excavate natural stoner blocks, manufacture them in the shape of stone tiles or ornaments, ship them, stock them, display them, market them and we satsify a perceived or actual need of our cutomers. Mustafa
R 20: Hi, Gina, I am a Turkish woman who produces and installes stones. I also love to use travertine like you. The easiest way to convince your customers is to apply water repellent onto the travertine after you fill it. So both the stone and the filling material become resistant against absorbing and stains. Since the water repellent is a translucent liquid the physical properties of the stone does not change. Good luck., IstanbulDear Maurizio: thank you for your answer on my question to travertine... but as you can see 2 people cannot agree on it, and how frustrating it is for me to educate customers who haven't been using natural stone. Memphis is in the middle of USA. people still widely use vinyl on their floor... and they know very little about natural stone. so our job is very hard with all the "wise man" throwing out ideas about travertine. probably I should just stick to the people who already know travertine, like designers and architects... you said you might have a solution for me... I am curious about it... gina
Thanks everyone for their answers... However, as you can see even in this panel many believe that travertine is actually "porous" and it needs to be sealed well, which I think will actually damage the product... I believe because people see holes on the stone, and it has a matte finish, they automatically think that it will absorb. We are now reinstalling stone in our showroom, and I will make sure that some of the stones will not be "sealed well"... then the customers will choose what they like... but as you can see from this panel, even with people in the industry there are 2 opposing sides, and whatever we say will not change the problem. And I think I will take Barb's advice and get the housewives with its looks :) GinaI have found your site very useful, with some good answers to some of the problems. I have spent hours on the phone trying to get information on limestone floors with very little success, however, 10 minutes on your site has proved very helpfull, especially the talk and acetone. Keep it going, as the retailers are very reluctnt to tell you about the problems with limestone. Cheers. Phillip, Sept 30
Q 2825: I have lived with travertine tile counterops for years and they are GORGEOUS!!! So much so, that five family members and friends installed them as well. They all adore them, even many years later and they still receive numerous compliments from everyone that sees them. Kids, parties and all. I can not see why they are a bad choice. They only become more beautiful year after year (and inexpensive to boot). Good Luck, Heather, Sept 30, ReplyR1: Dear Heather: Good for you! If everybody were looking at stone the way you do, I would eliminate completely all the reservations I have about using polished calcite-based stone in a kitchen environment, but you are, alas, the classical exception that confirms the rule. The vastly prevalent perception of stone here in the US is that it's supposed to stay like brand-new for ever and ever (that's why "granite" is so popular). I operate within such an environment which I can't ignore. Nor can I force consumers to see things the way you do, can I! Hence, my strong recommendation not to use polished calcite-based stones in a kitchen stands. Maurizio, USA
Q 2820: I am glad to find your website and would like to get some opinion as to how much it would costs me to set up a small factory just to cut polished slabs into tiles and the minimum number of workers invovled. Many thanks. Phi, Sept 30, ReplyR1: Dear Phi: There's an Italian saying that goes: "E' l'affare della Berta, che buttave giù i muri per vendere i mattoni!!" Basiucally, Berta was so "smart" that was knocking down (valuable) walls in order to sell (cheap) bricks! Same thing applies to you: tiles are always cheaper than slabs! Maurizio, USA
Q 2816: My wife has a coffee table which my wife just had shipped from Holland. Her friends father had it made many years ago from irregular shaped pieces of marble, with gray 'grout' between the pieces. The grout varies in width from millimeters to a half an inch. In transport, 3 of the corners were damaged. We must glue some of the corner pieces back together, regrout, and polish it. Do you have any suggestions for what to use for glue and for grout? Thanks Rick, Sept 30, ReplyR1: Dear Rick: Don't even think fooling around with epoxy glues and such: get hold of a professional stone refinisher. Maurizio, USA
Q 2814: I have a large entry that appears to be granite. The contractor that installed the floor made it unlevel. He then came in and ground it down and shot blasted the surface of the tiles. The tiles are now pitted and dull and extremely rough -- but now level. Contractor has walked away. Do you have any suggestions for restoring a shiny high gloss finish to these tiles? Are there any epoxy finishes that are utilized for this Tnx Rick. Sept 30, ReplyR1: Dear Rick: Granite (or whatever it is that you have) gets polished -- like any other stone -- by abrasion and friction, like gemstone, not by applying some sort of topical something on it. You need the services of a professional stone refinisher who knows how to handle granite (if it's what you have). The cost for the procedure will be very high. Legally the setter would be obliged to pay for it. Maurizio, USA
Q 2812: I want to buy the best lasting and looking black granite monument for my brother. I have been told that Chinese black stone is the same quality as an African black stone. The difference is the chinese black stone is cheaper as the labour, shipping and etc. of the stone is cheaper than the black african stone. Is this correct? Ken, Canada, Sept 27, ReplyR1: Yes, it probably is correct (I don't know much about the Chinese black granite, but I have no reason to belive that's not a good stone). Maurizio, USA
Q 2811: I recently purchased Bianco Select for a client's apartment. I explained to the showroom clerk, (at the DCOTA), the need for color uniformity and high quality with minimal fill. I was assured that this was the case with the Select grade I was purchasing. My business is located in the NorthEast and I hired a local designer to oversee the installation, by an installer he recommended. The material was reviewed at my request, at the warehouse jointly by the designer and installer. I authorized the purchase of 40 extra sq.ft of material to ensure that no pieces which were not uniform would be used. The material installed ranges so greatly in value, from almost white to dark brown, that a haphazard checkerboard look has been achieved. Daily calls from me to both of the parties did not alert me to any problems. A subsequent review by the material supplier confirms that incorrect grade of material was supplied. How could this not have been apparent to 2 professionals who have worked in this field for over 20 years??? Does not the term "Select" signify anything- (as apparently my instructions regarding the quality required were ignored)? I do know I could have purchased material for a lot less that did not have this designation. Obviously I have various liability issues to settle as my client requires the floor be replaced. Any info on industry standards regarding this designation would be appreciated. Thanks for your help!! Nastri, Sept 27, ReplyR1: Dear Nastri: Take it up with the recognized authorities of the stone industry. No, there are no standards -- as usual. The "grading", for whatever it's worth under the circumstances, it's only volunteered by either the quarry or the processing plant. Maurizio, USA
Q 2810: I am interested in installing a new granite kitchen countertop, but have a couple questions. I am looking at a color called "Blue Sapphire" but have seen no reference to it here. Is it granite or some other stone? Also, under the sink is a radiator, the only one in the kitchen. Since I live in New England the radiator gets used quite a bit in the winter. Will that be a problem for a granite couter and aluminum sink? (The counter and sink now are stainless steel.) Last, if we have a counter installed now and change the cabinet in a few years will there be a major problem in re-installing the granite counter? Bruce,Sept 27, ReplyR1: Dear Bruce: I'm sure that fabricators in your area (those that will be making money out of you) are more than qualified to answer your questions. If you still have some doubt about their professional knowledge, then you can always use my one on one consultation services, at very reasonable rates. Just send me an firstname.lastname@example.org. Maurizio, USA
Q 2808: I recently saw a China Black marble tiled shower with some hazy spotty marks under the surface. Some looked smudgy, some looked like droplets, and they were not near the grout lines (so grout haze ruled out). They did not seem like etches, more like chemical/grease/moisture soaked in under the surface (surface was still relatively smooth and high luster). Anyone out there ever encountered a similar problem with China Black, Belgian Black, or similar marble? Also, I am looking for a link to do more research on properties and characteristics of China Black.!,Sungloss, Sept 27, Reply
R1: Dear Sungloss, Haven't encountered that problem with black marbles but there is no reason why it should be restricted to the lighter-coloured varieties. Your problem might be sub-surface efflorescence(especially if sealed) or even Byne's disease. (Dr. Hans) AustraliaQ 2807: I am curious about the possibility of using Basalt Stone as an exterior cladding for a building. I am interested in Quarry locations within the States, and also the availability in general. Also what maximum sizes might this stone come in? What are the properties of Basalt Are there further classifications of Basalt What kinds of finishes might it come in? Does it make any sense at all to use this stone as a building material? What types of costs would be associated with using this stone? Would it require any special construction techniques or equipment? Evan, Sept 27, Reply
R1: Dear Evan, You have asked enough questions about basalt to fill an entire section of a book if properly answered. In short, basalt can be used as a cladding material or as a construction medium. Just look at the impressive cathedrals and other buildings built in Australia using basalt. I don't know of any producers in the US supplying basalt but there are certainly a few around in other parts of the world. As with the broad term "granites", the rock types sold as basalt are rarely basalt but include silica-undersaturated varieties and chemically intermediate ones such as andesites. Then, of course, you can always metamorphose a basalt to produce a different rock type. The Australian variety that is produced around Melbourne in large amounts is pretty close to a true basalt and generally quite vesicular. (Dr. Hans) ,Q 2806: I have installed referenced granite in my kitchen. Shame on me. I did not find your website until it was too late. I am sick about this very bad expensive decision. From what I have read I should have an expert remove sealant Yes they were sealed. Installed in April and already covered with water spots. I contacted the installer and they want to reseal. I have not let them yet. Why reseal when it appears this will always be a problem? Can you recommend someone in the Atlantic City, NJ area to work on the countertops. If not, any suggestions? To be honest, it is the color that should be in my house. If I didn't have this problem, it would be perfect. Lisa, Sept 27, Reply
R1: Dear Lisa: If you want me to do the job it will cost you $900 plus tax (I do cover the A.C. area and I do the work myself) and I will guarantee in writing that you won't have a problem anymore. Maurizio, USAQ 2805: I don't know how you keep up with the forums, but I certainly appreciate the sound advice. It sure is a murky world when marble is not marble and this is perfectly acceptable. If someone labeled peanuts as cashews, they would be thrown in jail!
My wife has selected Rainforest Green "marble" that may or may not be marble. That may or may not come from India. That may or may not need epoxy adhesive. You get the idea. The only thing that anyone seems to know is the price. This would be for a bathroom floor, so I am concerned that it is a serpentine that will give me headaches in the future. What do you know about this stone?
I thought I was home free when she "finally" decided upon Perlino Rosata for the floor and Violetta for the countertop (a stunning match), only to make yet another complete U turn. At this point, I don't care what goes down as long as I do not have problems due to the selection of an unsuitable material. Bob Thanks in advance. Sept 27, Reply
Bob: Since the retailer who will end up selling the "marble"
to you, and the installer who's going to set it in your house are not
able to answer your questions and address in a convincing manner your
rightful concerns , you may want to consider paying me a little consultation
fee for your peace of mind.
R1: Dear Nate: If you read my statement you also read my "because". Sorry, but I'm not going to repeat myself over and over. The same thing goes about the setting material.Q 2803: We have a facility of block cutter, gangsaw of 80 blades, automatic polish line with 4 calibrators, 4 gougers oven line and 15 head polish machine and complete cutting and beveling line. working width of 125 cm. We use imported abrasives Our field force itself consist of 10 persons who selects best material.
Quality control has 3 persons. Our handicrafts force is more than 30 persons including carving experts.
As you see, we work on big scale so the quality is better than a lot of exporters of Pakistan.
Tiles and slabs capacity upto 30000 sq ft a month.
Naturally our prices are higher than the small companies as we can supply quality as well as quantity.
problem: Most of the time the buyers don't understand and compare our prices with other small companies with no in house facility and naturally no quality.
question: What shall we do to convince buyers? waiting for your help. Best Regards, Waqar, Sept 26, Reply
R1: It's a
topic which is very close to our heart at FindStone. We believe that it
is probably due to this very inability of suppliers to convey the meaning
of different qualities, that the stone industry is one where suppliers
are only as honest as they are forced to be. Our
experience with our open and accessible price list section and publicly
visible negotiations is that buyers understand that there is a small band
of prices for each quality type and take their decisions on the basis
of other parameters e.g. ease of purchase, delivery time, payment terms.
So how can you convey that
your quality / service is superior?
R1: Dear Sim: You hire a proven professional stone refinisher. Maurizio, USAQ 2801: I am preparing to put in a tumbled stone backsplash also. At what point do I seal the tile and is there any way in the process of grouting that you could keep some of the grout out of the holes? Sandy, Sept 26, Reply
R1: Dear Sandy: Are you talking about tumbled travertine? (You mention holes) If that's the case, you DO want those holes filled with grout in a backsplash! The sealing has to be done a couple of weeks after the installation is finished. Maurizio, USAQ 2800: Ccould you please advise me on how to clean crystalised marble? We had 8 crosses in a cemetry to clean. The oldest stone was 70yrs old marble We used a chemical that is enviromentaly safe for the stone as well as the area.This did not rid the black stuff on their. Sleef, Sept 26, Reply
R1: Dear Sleef: Is there a marble that's not crystallized? Use water and house hold bleach with a brush. Maurizio, USAQ 2799: I work at church and am currently trying to clean the marble altars. I was using Simple Green or I think cleaners classified as emulsifiers. Is this safe for the marble? If not, any recommendations?? The dirt has been on the marble for many, many, many yeras, Mxzie, Sept 26, Reply
R1: Dera Mxzie: "Simple green", huh ... You might as well use sandpaper! Use a solution of water, houselhold bleach and elbow-grease. Maurizio, USAQ 2798: Kashmire Gold, Will it stain? If so can I get it removed? Paul, Sept 26, Reply
R1: Dear Paul: Yes, it will and big time, too! Trust me, you do NOT want that stuff in your kitchen!! To remove stains see my stain Removal guidelines, Maurizio, USAQ 2797: What is suitability of using Black Galaxy granite for kitchen countertops? Would Uba Tuba be a better choice or Peacock Gold? Both of those are very dark greens. Angela, Sept 26, Reply
R1: Dear Angela: They all are excellent choices. Pick the one you like best. Maurizio, USAQ 2796: Cleaning solution to clean stone chimney before sealing? Thanks, Joe, Sept 26, Reply
R1: Dear Joe: Call a chimney cleaning company. Maurizio, USAQ 2795: I spill glue on my granite counter How do I clean it? Gisele, Sept 26, Reply
R1: Dear Gisele: Use acetone and a clean rag. Maurizio, USAQ 2794: I have a Sphera 2200 steam cleaning machine that heats up and wets a rag to very high temperatures, then the rag absorbs the stain or dirt from the surface being cleaned. Any problems with using this product on a granite countertop? Could I get by with using this on my porous granite rather than sealing it? Jim, Sept 26, Reply
R1: Dear Jim: You're kidding, right ... OK, you almost got me ... That was funny, all right! Maurizio, USAQ 2793: Your comments in findstone are very helpful. Now that I understand
them. I am interested in Santa Ceclia or Rita ...are these lighter stones good for kitchen use? Am open to different colors. Tracy, Sept 25, Reply
R1: Dear Tracy, There are a few good lighter-coloured granites around. to #2790 (Dr. Hans),R1: Dear Tracy: If that's not enough and you want specific information on one or more particular stone, I do offer consutaltion service at reasonable rates. Just contact me at: email@example.com. Maurizio, USA
Q 2792: How do I care for my new Butterfly Verde granite counter top? The finish is polished not matte. The installers recommended sealing it every 3 months but didn't recommend what type of sealer to use. Also, the 3 month deal seems like an overkill to me. They also recommended not using Windex or similar cleaners since they would remove the sealer. Water with dish soap, as they recommended, leaves a terrible haze. Any advice or warnings on granite care would be greatly appreciated. I thought granite was supposed to be easy to care for? Lewis, Sept 25, ReplyR1: Dear Lewis: Let's see ... They tell you to seal your Verde Butterfly (which doesn't need to be sealed, NOT EVEN ONCE! Did you run my lemon juice test on it?) every three months. Than they tell you not to use Windex and the likes, or dish soap (and they are right on both counts), but they "forgot" to tell you what to use instead! That's just great, don't you think? Maurizio, USA
Q 2791: 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, Sept 25, ReplyR1: Dear Sue: Your fabricator is going to make a nice piece of change out of this deal, but obviously you don't trust completely their expertise. What's in it for me for making sure that you're going to invest your money wisely? I do offer one on one consultation services at reasonable rates. Contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Maurizio, USA
Q 2790: I understand the value of the "lemon test" when selecting a granite for a kitchen countertop. I am not having much luck finding a "granite" that passes the test and satisfies our color palette. We are looking for something that might be categorized as Beige or Gold. We looked at Gibli (ghibli), Junapero Nepal, and something called Kashmir Ivory (which I have not been able to find anywhere else); we generally liked the colors of these but they did not do so well on the lemon test (no acid problems but absorption looks like a problem). From reading this web site, it looks like some acceptable "browns" might be: Baltic Brown, Dakota Mahogany and Uba Tuba, but they are all darker than we would like. I have seen some mention that Santa Cecilia is borderline for a kitchen counter and its color may be ok. Can you recommend any "granites" that are suitable for a kitchen countertop, but are in the beige or gold color groups. thanks, Rich, Sept 25, ReplyR1: Dear Rich, Keep in mind that brown colours in granites are not natural colours. They are the result of weathering and/or alteration - processes which can occur at any stage in the history of the rock after its formation and emplacement. Beige colours are part of this alteration and are usually due to small amounts of limonite (earthy hydrated iron oxide mixed with clay) replacing feldspar or occupying grain boundaries. Sometimes the brownish alteration products are well-concealed. Look for concentrated red spots or a softness around some of the minerals. This could make it unstable. If the granite still has black shiny minerals (mica) then it has not undergone too much alteration or weathering. The beige-coloured granites are usually quite siliceous and often tend to be moderately porous. So while they might not pass the lemon test they accommodate sealers quite well and generally perform without a lot of problems. One of the best beige-coloured granites that is uniform and performs well is Brisbane Beige from Australia (Dr. Hans),
Q 2789: We moved into a new home about 6 weeks ago that has Riviera slate floor tiles. We were told to do a vinegar wash to remove any leftover grout haze and then apply a sealant. So far all we've done is sweep and vacuum and wipe up spots as they happen. We could use a bit of your expert advice before tackling both acid washing and sealing. Sincerely, Mike & Irene Goodwin, Sept 25, ReplyR1: Dear Mike & Irene: Try to do the whole procedure on a spare tile, before you do the whole floor. There are a few gazillions different slates out there and they can be quite unpredictable! Maurizio, USA
Q 2788: I purchased a ceramic softsoap container. I filled it with soft soap, one of the bacterial ones.I placed it on the countertop in the bathroom, which is faux granite. Its not corian, but something like it, not formica either. It has a polished finish. Anywy, it left a cloud on the counter top. It happened so fast. I don't know what to do. It looks awful. The man at hardware the store said to rub it with 600 grit sand paper, then repolish. Please help. Kathi, Sept 25, ReplyR1: Dear Kati: Let's see ... It's not corian, it's not formica, it's "faux granite" (whatever the heck that is), and just because it's got the word "granite" in it, you inquire with a natural stone site ... Mmmm ... nteresting! Maurizio, USA
Q 2787: As it stands your site has had
no usefulness to me.
Q 2786: Would appreciate comments on black polished granite for kitchen countertops. Is it hard to keep clean and looking good? Dee, Alabama, Sept 24, ReplyR1: Dear Dee: Polished black granite's got my vote big time! Maurizio, USA
Q 2785: We are considering Azul Bahia for our kitchen countertops. I am interested in your opinions of this stone, including maintenance, wear and tear, staining, etc. Thanks Dan Johnson, Sept 24, ReplyR1: Dear Dan Johnson, AZUL BAHIA is very beautiful and unusual stone - syenite with blue sodalite from Brazil, but this stone is less resistant to chemicals than other hard stones - granites in commercial sense. Daniel, Slovakia
Q 2784: We are looking for "crema marfil" marble flooring for our home. How do we select this type of stone. We found a price that seemed too good to be true at one supplier as compared to the others. How do we really know what is good quality marble? Jasmine, Sept 24, ReplyR1: Dear Jasmine: Rule of thumb No. 1: You can find an unscrupulous merchant who will try to sell you a $5 stone for $10. You will never find a merchant that will try to sell you a $10 stone for $5! Rule of thumb No. 2: When one doesn't know something and are about to invest a nice piece of change on this something, the wise man hires an expert! (While the wise guy tries to get free advice in the internet!) :-) I mean, what do you think one could ever tell you in writing? The only way I (or anybody else, for that matter) could help you is to come along with you and select the stone for you. Maurizio, USA
Q 2783: We are purchasing a home with flagstone as horizontal decorative brick around the front door and extending into a low planter, which has been painted bright yellow. We understand that the stone was mismatched in color. The entrance (floor) is also flagstone and quite dingy. Is sandblasting the best way to remove the paint? I understand we can rent a small unit ourselves. What about cleaning the floor area? I was told the flagstone could be dyed (or bleached?), using dyes designed for concrete, to even out the match. What do you think? The floor looks pinky. Pale yellow tones would be our first choice. (The house is painted yellow.) Finally, is there a faux painting technique that would work -- or do we need to plant lots of vines?! Cathy, Sept 24, ReplyR1: Dear Cathy: Which stone are you talking about? Flagstone is not the name of a stone, just its shape and the way it's been installed. Maurizio, USA
Q 2782: We have a beachfront condo and are considering saw-cut Saturnia travertine for our rooftop terrace. Should we be concerned about the surface being slippery and unsafe? The area is 1200 square feet and we are considering 18”x 18” tiles. If Travertine works do you recommend honed and filled for exterior surfaces? Any other recommendations? Tim, Sept 24, ReplyR1: Dear Tim: For all I know, "Saturnia" only comes honed and filled. Like just about with all smooth surfaces, you can expect some degree of slipperiness when wet. If the installation is done properly, there should not be any problem with travertine installed outdoors. After all, the Coliseum in Rome is made of the same stuff! Maurizio,
Q 2781: Hi Can you please tell me how to remove stains from Jerusalem Limestone and how I prevent stains from seeping into the surface. thx. Dini, Sept 24, ReplyR1: Dear Dini: see guidelines on stain removal. Click on it. To prevetn stain from seeping in you will need to have your stone sealed with a good-quality stone impregnator. The question is: "Are you sure that they are stains and not 'stains'?" (See my article about sealers ) Maurizio, USA
Q 2780: It would be nice to have a listing of names of granites and their best application (e.g., good for a kitchen counter, etc... Doris, Sept 23, ReplyR1: Dear Doris: Yes it would. The question is: "would you be willing to pay for it?" Maurizio, USA
Q 2779: www.findstone.com
has been useful in educating me on the benefits and pitfalls of various
types of stones. I received quite an education on "granites"
especially. The Q & A is also very beneficial in educating consumers.
I found the pictures of granites, separated by origin, to be very interesting
Q 2778: Greetings! I have a few questions before we decide on new countertops. We saw something called "green slate" available from Vermont - it looks beautiful, but I'm concerned with its performance as a countertop. If that wouldn't perform as well as granite, do you have any granite suggestions that resemble the green slate? I USE my kitchen and I need something that can stand up to serious cooking and not so immediate clean-up. My particular concern is how each would deal with tea stains. We use a lot of loose tea. What kind of sink would be best for a tea-drinking family? Thank you, Lisa, Sept 23, ReplyR1: Dear Lisa: What can I tell you?I wouldn't use slate as a kitchen countertop if they'd pay me to have it. That said, there's no "granite" tha looks like slate. There are several green "granites", however. Maurizio, USA
Q 2776: I have black galaxy on the kitchen island and use the TileLab product for cleaning and I have sealed it with the TileLab sealer (don't know if that was the right thing to do). All stains from cooking come out with the use of the cleaner except for hard water stains around the sink. Can I use the hydrogen peroxide poultice to remove the water stains? I did the acetone test to see if any black came out in my cloth and none did. On a bathroom vanity I have Tropical Brown, & the hard water stains can be removed with the cleaner but the area that gets the most abuse doesn't feel smooth like the rest of the vanity top. Do I use the hydrogen peroxide poultice in this case? Are your products available in Canada, all I can get a hold of in my area is the TileLab brand. Marsha, Sept 23, ReplyR1: Dear Marsha: You shouldn't have sealed your "Black Galaxy", especially with the sealer you mention. In fact, "Black Galaxy" is inherently very dense and did not allow any of that sealer (which is designed for vey porous stones) to go in. Just a total waste of time and money. As far as the mineral deposit is concerned, try to use a product called "Lymeaway" (not sure about the spelling), which here in the US is widely available at every supermarket. About your last question, where do you live in Canada Maurizio, USA Export Panelist
Q 2775: Can stone and /or marble be used in a swimming pool ? If chlorine is a problem, are there other alternatives? Repty, Sept 21, ReplyR1: Dear Repty: Some marble are quite good, some other are not. "Granite"? True geological
granite is a fantastic material. Most other "granites" are excellent, too. Some may not be so good. I don't think that there's any specific study about stones used as a swimming pool lining, with a list of which are good and which are not. If you wish I could help: among other activities I offer consultation services. Gimme a holler at email@example.com. Maurizio,
Q 2774: We have had Kashmir White granite installed this week and then the contractor honed it in our kichen (dust was incredible) ,because he fogot ,however apart from some surface looking scratches the look was great.The contractor left 2 days ago but we are shocked to see the amount of staining that has appeared . Ring marks and Small blotches of ketchup that We are unsure of our next move do we approach someone else to seal it, use a specialist cleaner or attenpt to sand the marks off ? any help would be appreciated. Thanks Mike, Sept 19, ReplyR1: Dear Mike: You're in a mess, all right! White Kashmire (NOT a granite by a loooong shot!) in a kitchen is a disaster waiting to happen even when it's polished. Honed? ... It's even worse! The stains you have will have to be removed by poulticing see my tips about stain removal). After that, your orthogneiss will have to be sealed to the bone, so that you will reduce (never eliminate) the possibility of future stains. Please, do NOT buy my sealer. No sealer on the market will ever do a perfect job with your stone. I prefer to let someone else "enjoy the ride"! One last piece of advice: get rid of your countertop right now! It'll be painful on your wallet, but it will preserve your sanity! Maurizio, USA
Q 2773: What is the safest and easiest way to clean hard water deposits and "soap scum" in a marble shower? Second question: Our dog vomited on the marble floor in the bathroom and nos the sheen is gone from that spot as though the stomach acid etched the marble. Anything that we can do? Thanks, Frank, Sept 19, ReplyR1: Dear Frank: You're right on the money on this one: your dog's vomit did etch the marble
surface. There's hope, though! See my stain removal guidelines,Maurizio, USA
Q 2772: I bought a 6 inch tall stone carving in S. Korea. I only paid 20 bucks for it. My question, it looks like soapstone, it is soft like soapstone but they insist it’s a volcanic stone and not soap stone, Thanks, Tuely, Sept 19, ReplyR1: Dear Tuely, I cannot identify your carving, because I have not seen it, but there are Korean carvings from volcanic tuff (rock formed from volcanic ash), that is soft. Daniel, Slovakia
Q 2770: We're doing a bathroom renovation and would like to install natural slate tiles in on the shower walls and floor. Do you recommend we use cement board before mortaring and impregnate the tiles/grout with the appropriate sealant afterwards? We want to make sure that the tiles are adequately sealed and the walls can carry the weight of the slate tiles.Thanks, Lisa, Sept 19, Reply
R1: Dear Lisa: Yes, cement board is "your man". Maurizio, USAQ 2769: We're putting Botticino marble in our ensuite bath in our new home. The tile that we picked when we were doing the color charts doesn't look anything like they've installed.
We would like to know how much color variance can we expect in each tiles. I was wondering if you would kindly inform me about this subject. Sincerely, Yolanda, Sept 19, Reply
R1: Dear Yolanda:
For starters, there are three types of Botticino:
R1: Dear Vandana: You could try "Blue Pearl" (the light colored one). It usually doesn't need to be sealed, but it's always best to run the lemon juice test on any stone you are going to consider. Maurizio, USAQ 2767: I am in the process of planning a remodeled kitchen. I have chosen natural cherry cabinets, and want to go with granite counter tops. I am trying to decide between Dakota Mahogany and American Mahogany, also known as Deer Brown. The red in the Dakota Mahogany would add a more dramatic flair, but the brown in the American Mahogany is warmer. Any suggestions? What color tile back splash would go with each of them? I am so confused and would appreciate any advice. Thank you. Sandra, Sept 18, Reply
R1: Dear Sandra: Like I said in many other occasions, I'm no interior decorator! The only thing I can tell you is that both choices you mention are very good indeed, from a mechanic point of view. Maurizio, USAQ 2766: We are the third biggest exporter of granite from Brazil and are having an unusual problem with some stone in our yard and with some of the slabs which háve been already exported to the US. The material is known as Gialo Veneziano and the slabs here as well as the US were exposed for 3-4 months to rain and sun. The slabs were imoregnated with a medium viscosity resin (probably didn’t do anything) and then polished but were not sealed with any wax or other resin.
What happened was the following: after being some time exposed to the elements, the first slab in a stacked group became pockmarked and small, about ¼” crystals which remained dull after the slabs were polished, turned into powder leaving behind a white residue at the base of the slab. The other slabs in the group and the slabs stored in the werehouse were not affected. What I think happened, but I want to be sure and this is where your knowledge and years of experience can help me out, is the following: The duller crystals are possibly clays and will absorb water and/or be attacked by acids in the rain swelling and decomposing.
The epoxy resin did not penetrate into the pores and offered little or no protection. Besides, epoxy does become yellow and brittle after prolonged exposure to the sun and even if the stone was impermeable initially, it lost this property after time.
Here’s what I plan to do: 1. Use a lower viscosity resin with a lower interfacial energy between the granite and epoxy permitting superior penetration and protection against water. 2. Appy a resin sealer, preferably acrylic which supplies some UV protection for stone exposed to the sun. 3. Advise clients how to maintain and treat this type of material and as well as were it should be used. 4. Identify other stones with this potential problem before hand as well as classify and understand how the stone we sell should be maintain.
5. Perform a controlled experience to be sure we have identified the problem and that we know how to control it.
Have I identified the problem correctly? Where I can find books that will enable me to classify better our stone and identify where it should be used and how it should be maintained? I appreciate any advise you can give me. Many thanks.Victor, Sept 18, Reply
R1: Dear Victor, Giallo Veneziano is gneiss with granite composition. It contains feldspars, quartz, garnet and micas. I think unfortunately some feldspar crystals were originally alternated during metamorphism. In their crystals microscopic clay mineral lamellas were created (dull appearance after polishing). The first slab was exposed to intensive chemical weathering because of warm rains and sun radiation (high temperature together with water). The alternated feldspars were easy disintegrated to white powder (clay minerals and disintegrated feldspar). I am not expert for sealers and similar thinks. I think you must save slabs against combination of water saturation and sun exposure. Daniel, Slovakia, Expert Panelist.Q 2765: I have had Uqualla Brown granite in my kitchen for over a year and a half now and I am starting to get ring around my sink faucet and sprayer. It looks like some sort of calcium deposit that may have built up. Also, the counter area between my sink and the back splash has kind of a dull/hazy appearance as well. Can you recommend anything to remove the deposits around the kitchen faucet as well as something that will remove the hazy look around the back of the counter between the sink and the backsplash? Thank you, Jesse, Sept 18, Reply
R1: Dear Jesse: You can use a product called "Lymeaway" (I'm not sure about the spelling), that's available pretty much at any supermarket. Don't overuse it. Maurizio, USAQ 2764: I think this site is wonderful. I hear a lot about sealants for granite countertops but I am not too happy about using any kind of chemicals in an area that will be in close contact with food. What are these sealants made of and how safe are they? Thanks Vandana, Sept 18, Reply
R1: Dear Vandana:
If you like this site so much, then you will also know that -- at least
as far as I am concerned -- am not a fan(atic) of sealers (although I
manufacture one!). There are many a "granite" that don't need
to be sealed. Keep in mind, however, that a sealer for stone (a.k.a. "impregnator")
is a below-surface product. What's more, to the best of my knowledge,
all the resins used to make a sealer, are -- once properly cured -- totally
inert materials that will not contaminate anything. Maurizio,
R1: Dear Catherine: The maintenance requirements for your stone are not much different than those for any other calcite-based natural stone. There are two issues that you have to address: 1. Although the stone is inherently quite dense, being honed and in a kitchen environment, I'd encourage you to have it professionally sealed with a good-quality stone impregnator. 2. You indicate that your have wide grout lines. As you know, Grout is quite absorbent and does need to be sealed (the same sealer for the stone should take care of the grout, too). This will only prevent deep staining, however. In fact, your grout will get dirtly (surface soil) real quick in a kitchen, considering that's sanded grout, therefore rough. Periodically you will have to have someone go down on hands and knees and, with an old toothbrush, a solution of water and bleach and a lot of elbow-grease, clean the gout lines of your floor. Other than that, Maurizio, USA
Q 2761: My son dyed his hair red and rinsed it onto our Sun Valley marble counter tops. He is using clorox at full strength to remove it. Any better ways? Thanks, Brooks, Sept 17, ReplyR1: Dear Brooks: No problem with the bleach. Don't expect any result, though! You may want to try to poultice it with Hydrogen Peroxide salon-strength (30-40 volume, clear). See my stain removal guidelines. If thst won't work, then you should look for a stone restoration contractor. , Maurizio, USA
Q 2760: I work at a church that 15 years ago moved the chape to a marbled wall enterance for safety reasons We now want to clean these wall and restore them ? It looks like someone fail to rinse the walls after cleaning them. Kramer, NY,Sept 17, Reply
R1: Dear Kramer: For what I can understand, whoever attempted to clean those marble walls used the wrong cleaner that has damaged the stone surface (you have running streaks, right?). You will need a professional stone restoration contractor to repair the damage done by the chemicals in the cleaning agent that was used. Maurizio, USAQ 2759: My company cast in place concrete countertops. I have tried many different types of sealers, some good some not so good. I feel like a fly. Do you have any suggestions on concrete sealers? Kay, Sept 17, Reply
R1: Dear Kay: No, I don't. But if you already found "some good" ones, why do you keep searching? Stick to those. Maurizio, USAQ 2757: I recently had a person stop at my shop asking about various stones for countertops. She had a picture of something called "New England Landstone". Does anyone know what this is and where to find more information about it? Granacher, Sept 17, Reply
R1: Dear Granacher, I have not ever heard of the stone. It is probably a local name. Daniel, Slovakia, .Q 2756: Been having trouble polishing Black Galaxy I have cut for trim. Cut an ogee into my trim and trying to polish. Started with a 30, 50, 100, 300, 500 to 1000. When I let the Ogee dry the surface is smooth but the finish is very dull. When water is added the surface in the ogee is very shiny. Am I doing something wrong? Also when do you know the polishing wheel or disc you are using is done with its grit size to polish completely? I have a Flex polisher and know that is not the problem, Operator error more likely. need to know because I have spent much time on these guys with very little results. Thanks for the help, Mike, Sept 17, Reply
R1: Dear Mike: You must be doing something not right, as you already guessed, since Black Galaxy is one of the easiest black "granite" to polish. 1000 grit sounds a little low to me. You should be finishing with at least a 3500, but with 1000 you should have some remarkable shine already, although without the depth of color you're after to blend in with the rest. You're reporting that after 1000 the surface is smooth but dull. Something is wrong. Are you using enough water? Are the RPM in you Flex machine high enough? Or, quite possibly, you may be using the wrong set of diamond pads. Not all diamond pads are created equal! Maurizio, USAQ 2755: Your web site is truly outstanding. I've recently moved into a house with a slate mantel. The prior owner painted a white faux finish which I would like to remove.
I read that Maurizo has suggested a methlene chloride paint stripper should be use. Should that be used with a fine gauge steel wool, a rag, a sponge? After removing the paint, will it be necessary to rehone with a R angle grinder/buffer and metal sandpaper? Mike, Sept 17, Reply
R1: Dear Mike: Yes on all counts. Finish up with an application or two of mineral oil (baby oil will do just fine) to bring back the deep color of slate. Maurizio, USAQ 2754: Any advice on whether soapstone would make a good countertop. Initial research shows some positives, but I worry about the softness of the soapstone and what this means for wear factor. My customer is looking for something to achieve an old look in a modern kitchen and she was asking about soapstone. Granacher, Sept 17, Reply
R1: Dear Granacher: If your client are heavily into take-outs and reservations (restaurant reservations, that is!), then there are no problems. Furthermore, if they have a Mediterranean culture, then again it could be a good material (Mediterranean communities love it when a stone changes over years of use and becomes -- to their saying -- "what a stone should look like"). But if your customers are American through and through, then you want to steer them away from it. As an additional comment, although as a Mediterranean myself I love the look of "used" stone, I have one particular reservation against soapstone as a material for a kitchen countertop. All distributors and fabricators encourage end-users to use mineral oil as a maintenance tool to "eliminate" all the scratches that will appear on the surface of the stone -- due to its inherent softness, and to restore the original color (it does fade over time). Mineral oil works indeed, but since both my wife an I like to use our countertop as a food handling surface, for some reason we are not excited at the idea that our food is going to end up tasting like Pennsylvania crude! Maurizio, USAQ 2753: The other day my puppy soiled on the travertine and I used vinegar on my
travertine floor. The result was a bleached spot. It appears to have taken
the sealer and the shine right off. How can I fix this? It is not too bad, but in certain lights I can see it. Help! Diana, Sept 16, Reply
R1: Dear Diana: You used an acid (vinegar, acetic acid) to clean your puppy poo-poo and, of course, you've damaged your travertine surface. If you were trying to use a disinfectant, you should have used a solution of water and bleach; it does not damage calcite-based stones. The sealer -- if for some mysterious reason, was ever applied -- did not come off. It just goes to show how "useful" is has been to seal your travertine! The shine did come out, because the vinager made a mark of corrosion (etch) IN the stone (notice, I said IN, not ON). No cleaner or marble polish on the planet can repair that surface damage. Either you call a professional stone restoration contractor, or you try to do it yourself by using some user-friendly marble polishing compound. Maurizio, USAQ 2752: What type of cleaning products do you have available to keep the granite looking shiny. After I wipe it down it dries to a haze Thank you, Bel, Sept 16, Reply
R1: Dear Bel: Either you're using the wrong cleaning solution (water and dish soap, maybe; or a regular household glass cleaner), or the slab was never polished properly in the first place, or it's just a "granite" that doesn't take a high polish (was it shiny when it was first installed?) Maurizio, USAQ 2749: I was wondering about the use of Piracema White in a kitchen application I have purchased a new house and this is the type of slab counter top that was installed. I know from your stone album that it is listed as a granite from Brazil but is it a true granite or what type of stone is it and what maintenance measures should I take to keep it looking good. Thanks Scott, Sept 16, Reply
R1: Dear Scott: No it's technically not a granite, and it does need massif doses of a good-quality impregnator, which should have been applied by the fabricator.see my Do's $ Don't, Maurizio, USAQ 2748: We just moved into a home that has "Granite" countertops. The name of the granite is Giallo Antico Brown. It is very attractive and we love it, however; it has a lower gloss than we would like. We were told to clean it with household glass cleaner that does not contain ammonia. My questions are
1) Is Giallo Antico really granite and does it normally need to be sealed?
2) Is there a way we can increase its gloss? Lewis., Sept 16, Reply
R1: Dear Lewis: Giallo Antico Brown? ... Is it giallo (Yellow) or brown? No, Giallo Antico (if it's the one I know) is not a granite and, yes, it does need to be sealed real good. As far as the shine is concerned, there are topical waxes that you can get to increase the gloss (only temporarily, though). I personally don't like the idea, but my preference is only based upon the way my wife and I use our kitchen countertop, that ie. as a food handling surface. For some reasons we don't like the taste of wax! ... On the other hand, if one is heavily into take-outs and reservations, then I guess it's OK waxing your countertop. Maurizio, USAQ 2747: We are about to order a granite countertop for our new kitchen. We had planned to use honed Impala Black granite for the counter tops. I saw a sample of the honed granite about two months ago, and liked the more casual, "old" look...now I've seen another sample and am questioning using honed granite. Is it going to always look splotchy and water marked? Our kitchen guy tells me that it won't because I'll be oiling it weekly for a while. Are we wasting our money with honed? thanks...HA, Sept 16, Reply
R1: Dear HA:
He'll be oiling it for a week?! ... Wow ... That guy must know something
that I don't know!
R1: Dear Jim: When a stain is coming from the bottom of the slab to the surface it can not be removed. Sorry. About your other question you can use a urethane-type finish, but that it doesn't scratch? ... Try liquid diamond!! :-) Maurizio, USAQ 2743: I recently had UBA TUBA installed on my bathroom vanity. I noticed there is a black residue on it from where it was cut by the stone cutter. How can I get this off? Also, what is the best cleaner to use on this surface on a daily basis to ensure surface shine? Thanks, Robin, Sept 16, Reply
R1: Dear Robin: I have not the slightest idea about the nature of your "black residue" (I never even heard of such a thing! ... A residue left from the cutting? ...); therefore I can't tell you what you can cleat it off with. If I were you I'd call the fabricator back and demand them to clean that mysterious black residue off your stone. About routine cleaning, see my Do's & Don'ts, Maurizio, USAQ 2742: One of my customers purchased some absolute black granite(polished) from me. After it was installed, a haze developed on the surface of the tiles. The contractor used a grout haze clean up solution, but it did not work. We have sold a lot of this material and this is the first time this has come up. Thanks Fred, Sept 15, Reply
R1: Dear Fred: What you're reporting it's a technical impossibility, if those tiles are indeed Black Absolute, and not just some other black "granite" traded as black absolute. Give me a holler at: firstname.lastname@example.org. I may be able to help you out if you give to me directly with the information I need. Maurizio, USAQ 2741: I would like to start engraving addresses for home owners and other related items on limestone for starters. I have looked all over and can't seem to find any courses/video instructions on what to buy and how to start. Sure would like some help. North of our city, we have access to limestone cut posts and other stones. Many of the post out in front of people's houses also have the college insignia and are painted with the appropriate colors, but I wouldn't know what type of paint to use. Thank you Bruce, Sept 15, Reply
R1: Bruce. This kind of work can be done the traditional way with hammer and chisel, or (gasp) by sand blasting. If you are interested in traditional carving, look for a book called "carving letters in stone and wood" by Michael Harvey. If you want to go the sandblasting route, look up a local monument (head stone) company, and see what information they can offer you. They should also be able to source the paint for you. Good Luck, JVC,Q 2740: My husband and I are interested in using Marbrasa Butterfly granite on our kitchen counter top. I have read recently that Butterfly is sometimes subject to fissures and erratic crystal sizes. I've also read that using an undermount sink is not recommended because the product has a tendency to crack in this situation. Pl advise, tBonnie, Sept 15, Reply
Bonnie: The particular kind of stone you're mentioning is just about magnificent,
and an excellent choice as a material for a kitchen countertop (it does
NOT need to be sealed). Yes, there may be a few natural fissures here
and there, but that does not constitute a reason why it could easily crack
if you have an under-mount sink installed. The weakest spots of the whole
structure are indeed the two narrow strips in front and behind the sink,
but if they're properly rodded, nothing should ever happen to them. Some
fabricator "solve" the problem by making a seam in the middle
of the those two strips, but,
You do not indicate where in the world you are located, but rest assured,
marble is a fairly common stone no matter where you are. Here in the states,
good sculptural marble comes from Colorado (Yule marble) , Vermont ( Danby
marble), Georgia, and Tennessee amongst other sources.