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ADVICE WANTED!   September 14 , 2002
www.findstone.com   info@findstone.com

Q 2729: I have an oak table with glass insets. I would like to replace it with marble. I have checked that the table is sturdy enough to take the weight of the marble but would like advice on the best way to install it, in terms of adhesive and grout. Do I need to seal both the marble and the grout to prevent staining? (There is a high probability that there will be drinks near the area.)
I would also like to install a splashback of rough (irregular surface - holes) crema marble tiles. I have seen that the grout is likely to cover in all the holes giving a more even surface to the tiles, but should I seal the tiles and grout as well? I've seen that advice on the website. But I have also seen that the website discounts the belief that marble is porous and states that sealant generally does not help with acidity issues. So why, if this is necessary, should I have a sealant? Alda, UK, Sept 14, Reply
R1: Dear Aida: If you scroll upward in this very page to the posting No. 2494 and, more specifically, to the R4, a graduate in petrography from your country states that retailers of stone are more knowledgeable in the UK than in the US. It may be true, but we receive all too many questions like yours from the UK to have a confirmation of such statement! No sealant on the planet will protect you from acidity issues. So then, why do you have to seal marble? Beats me! About your travertine in the backsplash, it's a good thing to seal it. Maurizio. USA
Q 2728: Thank you very much for your website. It's nice to read information on the subject from someone who isn't trying to sell me a product.
I would like to ask for some advice about caring for our marble. We have a holiday home with a bathroom tiled in polished Travertino marble - Noce on the floors and Classico on the walls. So far we have not bothered to seal it. In addition, we have marble topped (polished Napoleon Tigre) oak dining and side tables. Generally, I don't worry too much about marble as it's a natural product which has survived everything nature can throw at it. We have a little bit in our main home - polished Botticino in the doorway and tumbled travertine in the bathroom - and they have been pretty indestructible without any sealing.
But this holiday home is rented out to others when we are not there and maintained by a letting agent, so I cannot be certain that they will take care of the beautiful stone. I don't know what cleaning solutions they will use or whether people will be thoughtful enough to wipe up any wine or juice spills on the table. Would you recommend taking some measures to protect the marble in this instance? Or would it still be a waste of time? , Alda Song, Sept 14, Reply
R1: Dear Alda: An impregnator won't do the first thing to proterct the stone surface from wine or juice spills. Such type of spills will produce etching (they look like "water stains" or "rings") and, since they are not stains, they can;t be prevented by any stain stopper. Actually, no product on the market can prevent such surface damages. Maurizio, USA
Q 2727: My husband and I have purchased 18"x18" unfilled, honed travertine tiles (cream colored) to install on our kitchen counters and backsplash. We love the natural look of the stone and do plan to seal it after installation. Since this will be used on countertops, we would like to fill the voids but want a clear material so the stone will keep its natural appearance. Do you have a product recommendation? I have seen travertine filled with concrete or a white mortar substance, and I do not want to ruin the look of this stone by using that type filler. Thank you, Sammie Cockrell, Sept 14, Reply
R1: Dear Sammie: Did you ask your fabricator? The only material that will fit your bill is crystal clear epoxy glue, but it's way far from being a DIYer project. Se if your fabricator can handle that. To do the job right they would need to have a bed polisher, which is a piece of equipment not often found in fabrication facilities. Maurizio, USA
Q 2726: Do you know of a "How to install travertines" manual? I've never installed tiles before. Should I leave this one to the pros? Ben, Sept 14, Reply
R1: Dear Ben: Yes, that's exactly what you should do: leave it to the pros! Maurizio, USA
Q 2725: I wonder if you could provide me with some additional advice. I have chosen 'Nero Angola' as a 'granite' worktop (countertop) for my new kitchen because I love its appearance. I realise from your advice that this is not a true granite but an anorthosite or similar, but I haven't seen this particular variety mentioned. Can you tell me if this would be a suitable material for a kitchen worktop? Would it stain or scratch easily? My fabricators have advised sealing this when installed, but after reading your advice I am not so sure. Should I leave it unsealed? I look forward to hearing from you. Thanks and regards, Patrick, Sept 13, Reply
R1: Dear Patrick: Run the lemon juice test on a piece of scrap of the stone you've chosen, and you will know if it's suitable as a material for a kitchen countertop. Maurizio, USA
Q 2724: We selected polished crema marfil marble for our house. Do i have to seal it? Why can´t i use it on the kitchen floor? Can i use it on the bathroom floor? or do i have to switch from polished to honed in the kitchen and bathrooms. My contractor tells me that there is different grades or qualities (standard,standard select and select) , please advise. Adrian, Sept 13, Reply
R1: Dear Adrian: Why can't you use polished marble on a kitchen floor? ... There's been plenty enough! postings and answers about this subject already!! I think it's Hone-finish in the kitchen is a must. In the bathroom it's no problem having it polished. As far as the grading mentioned by your contractor I'm not aware of it. I do know that there's no official mandatory grading in the stone industry, about any stone. There are only voluntary grading offered by a few quarries. Cream Marfil is usually graded as residential (the quest quality) or commercial. But, maybe, another quarry of the same stone, grades it the way your contractor indicated to you. Maurizio
Q 2723: Okay, I admit it: I'm obsessed with stone. It started with an interest in lithic technologies, worked into building my own mortared walls, planters and walks, and now I'm ready to tackle some basic carving. My question concerns suggestions for a beginner's tool kit, and your advice on the right type of tools -- steel or carbide-tipped. And if you can suggest a reliable source of the tools, I'd appreciate it. It may help to mention that it looks as though the most workable local stone is granite since I live in a volcanic region of coastal British Columbia where sedimentary stone is not easy to come by. Many thanks for any advice you can offer. Mike, Sept 13, Reply
R1: Hi Mike. Got the dust in your veins, and finding it quite addictive it see. Same thing happened to me many years ago, and I haven't put the chisel down since. As for the tool kit, If you are insisting on beginning with hard stone, then carbide is what you need. ( and a real good respirator since the silicate dust that comes off of granite, basalt, etc will have long term, serious effects on your lungs.) Basic carving sets consist of a point for roughing in and removing waste stone quickly, claw or tooth chisels for refining the shape, and flat chisels for smoothing, and beginning to close the surface. Rasps and rifflers continue the process. I suggest that you try to get ahold of a softer stone to start with though, and develop your basic carving skills before tackling a granite sculpture. Limestone, or alabaster or a good steatite (soapstone) will not be as frustrating as the harder stones. I'd also recommend starting out with hand tools (hammer and chisels) before moving into pneumatics. There are many good sources for carving tools and carving stock, and a few good books out there dealing with carving fundamentals. Good luck, JVC,
Q 2722: I am interested in a granite countertop. saw that you did not like the dakota mahogany.i like that color or perhaps a little lighter rusty color. what would you personally recommend for the kitchen counter top. i like the warm rust to dark rusty colors., Rose, Sept 13, Reply
R1: Dear Rose: Who's the one who doesn't like Dakota Mahogany?? ... Not me! ... I love the stuff! Maurizio, USA
Q 2719: I'm very new to granite countertop, just having it recently installed in my kitchen. I want to make sure that I'm taking the best care of it that I can. It was sealed by the installers, although I do not know with what, or how good a job they might have done. My daughter used the "fry daddy" over the weekend and got a few greasy spots on the counter. She didn't realize that it might set in, and now that seems to be what has happened. It's not very severe, but I notice it and would like to remove it if I can. Can you give me any tips on removing stains from granite? Also, I have some spray cleaner that says it was made specifically for granite, and I also purchased a sealer that offers a 20 year guarantee. How often (if at all now that I've read some information on your site!) should I use these products? Thanks! Kim, Sept 13, Reply
R1: Dear Kim: To remove the oil stain, follow my direction on stain removal that you'll find toward the end of this page's left side bar. If the sealer comes with a 20 years warranty, you should be using it again twenty years from now, but you may want to consider removing the sealer that was originally applied by your fabricator, before applying the new one. How often do you have to clean your countertop? Well, ... what do you expect me to say? ... Every time it needs to, I reckon! Maurizio,
Q 2718: Is it OK to use slate tiles as a backsplash behind a stove. I also bought sealer from the stone company to protect the slate (which they recommended be used every five years). I'm worried that even with sealing the stone, it will not be easy to clean the grease.etc. that will be deposited on the stone located behind the stove. My other choice is to use a panel of stainless steel behind the stove.Mary, Sept 13, Reply
R1: Dear Mary: No matter what you put as a backsplash behind your stove, it's never going to be easy to clean the splatters of grease from its surface, including stainless steel. I mean, it's not really difficult, but it's always going to be the heck of a chore! As far as the sealing of the slate is concerned, it depends. If its domestic (from New England) or Italian slate you do NOT want to seal it. If its Indian or Chinese, then you do. Keep in mind, however, that you may need way more than one application, if it's a very absorbent slate! Make a few tests with a spare tile. Also, once the sealer is cured, try on it the grease-remover cleaner that your retailer suggested you to use, and see if the stone gets damaged in any way by it. Slate can be quite unpredictable at times! Maurizio, USA
Q 2715: We have a Pennslyvania Bluestone hearth on our fireplace. The mason who installed the fireplace said we could use linseed oil on the bluestone for sheen and if we didn't care for the look it would absorb. It hasn't absorbed completely is there anyway to help clean it off the stone or restore it to a natural no sheen finish, Karen,Sept 12, Reply
R1: Dear Karen: Strip the linseed oil with a paint stripper based on Methylene Chloride. Maurizio, USA
Q 2714: I am stephen bouska, residing in sacramento california. I have been involved with stone fabrication for about a year now. My first question to you is what tool suppliers are available. Second is that you seem to be a very educated man. I was wondering what I need to do to become more like yourself about the stone world. Steve, Sept 12, Reply
R1: Dear Steven: There are approximately a million and half companies out there selling tools for the stone trade! I can't advertise them here, you understand! About the other part of your question, I'm a little confused ... Are you talking about me? If so, just a few more years of dedication, some studying (believe me, it does help!), lots of practice and experimentation, the firm refusal to take anything for granted (especially any blanket rule or any other attempt of standardization), solid business ethics and professional integrity, and, last but not least, the "feeling" of what you're doing. This last factor can't be
bought. Maurizio
Q 2712: My countertops, island,and desk are Santa Cecilia (2 years old.) The installer told me to "use a sealer" every 6 months, which I have yet to do because I can not figure out which product I should use! Now I am really confused because I read on this site that no stone needs to be sealed every 6 months. I bought Tilelab Surfaceguard sealer (the one sold at Home Depot) and I tried this on one area. It seems to have dulled the shine of the stone, although that area does seem to repel water nicely. Could you please tell me what sealer I should use on my stone? The installers wiped a sealer on it at installation, and I have no idea what they used. Thanks for your help. I have been using dish sop and water to clean my countertops. What should I be using instead? Sandra, Sept 12, Reply
R1: Dear Sandra: Every six months is an exaggeration. Once a year, maybe. It all depends on the sealer that was originally applied. Silicon-based sealers (least expensive) have to applied every year. Silane or siloxane-based sealers, every 3 to 5 years. Epoxy-ester based sealers every 15 to 20 years (most expensive and, therefore, they're not very popular with fabricators!). The rule of thumb is to keep using the same sealer that was originally applied all the time, because going with a different one may generate some "funny" chemical reaction due to incompatibility. It's a rare occurrence, but still a possibility. Get hold of your fabricator and ask him to supply you the sealer he originally applied in your stone. If you don't want to do that, to avoid possible surprises, you should first strip any residue of the original sealer with a paint stripper based on Methylene Chloride (anything else won't cut it. Follow all precautionary warnings printed on the container of the product). Then apply the sealer of your choice, and continue to use the same, according to manufacturer's directions. Using water with dish soap is wrong. Try to use water and dish soap on your hands, then put them under your faucet and see how long it will take to rinse off. To get the same rinsing result you should be using a garden hose on your counter!! And if you don't rinse it thoroughly, it will build up. Maurizio, USA
Q 2711: Just prior to installation, my wife and I noticed several defects in a Volga Blue granite kitchen countertop. The most obvious defect was a 3-inch crack running perpendicular to the bullnose on the top of the counter in front of the sink cutout. This crack has also been chipped in two or three places. The other piece for the countertop has several hairline cracks of up to eight inches long and at least one five inch crack that can be easily felt. We did not allow the granite to be installed but the granite company is now giving us the "nature isn't perfect" story and that this is typical of large-grained granite. They also say that it's not a real crack because it doesn't go all the way through the slab and that they will repair the chips and cracks so that no one will be able to tell the difference. We are supposed to inspect the "repaired" pieces Monday and are told that if we don't like the repairs then we will have to pay for another slab. My understanding is that true cracks are unacceptable and that even though the chips are small (1/8") that this defect is the result of sharp impact during fabrication or shipping. Should we have to accept "repaired" granite? A further complication is that the granite installer said he would try to do the job with just one slab but that he might need two. We assumed he would tell us before accepting the job whether he would need a second piece, not after he tried and failed. Furthermore, it seems that both pieces are unacceptable and that he would need two more slabs. Thank you for your time. John, Sept 12, Reply
R1: Dear John: It's a rather complicated issue. I can't actually see the defects and damages you're talking about, and I'm only hearing one side of the story. Giving you the benefit of the doubt that all you're saying is true (that we're looking at real cracks, that is), a quite concerning issue should be the crack by the sinkhole. Was that narrow and inherently weak strip of stone rodded properly underneath? If not, you can refuse the piece. If yes, then the repair of the crack is an option that you have to consider. If well executed you won't be able to tell, and that particular spot (thanks to the rods) will be just as
strong as the rest. About the other cracks, I would give the fabricator a chance to repair them in a satisfactoriy way but demand a written warranty that those cracks won't develop again within the next 6 months after installation. I can comment about the one or two slabs issue. When I give an estimate, I give an estimate based upon surface, edging and accessory work. Whether I will need one, two or twenty slabs to execute the job is not my customers' concern. Maurizio, USA
Q 2707:   What makes a granite "monument grade quality material" as you say in your web site? Muller, Sept 11, Reply
Q 2705: Hey, My name is Toni and I'm doing a science assignment. I will explain to you the assignment first. We have to find 2 materials that are to be considered for specific purpose in a building project. And I have chosen for my building project, a Kitchen Bench and my 2 materials are Granite and Laminex. I Have to find some information on the following specifications :
*Chemical properties of Granite (including how the materials react with the environment)
* Any positive/negative environmental impact of making/using the materials. Well if I'm not asking for to much trouble, but thanks and please help me as much as you can.Thanks,Toni
, Sept 9, Reply
R1: Dear Tony: Well, you ARE asking for too much trouble!! :-) I will answer your second question first (there's not trouble there! ...). No negative environmental impact whatsoever. Now, about your fisrt question (and here is where the BIG troubloe is! ...) Which one "granite" would you like to have the chemical properties of? Out of any 100 given "granites" out there only 2 are granite. Another 4 or 5 are kin to it, all the rest only the gods know! Maurizio, USA
Q 2704: I installed a light (almost white) travertine floor, and want it to be the color it takes on when it's wet. What can I do to achieve this? I've tried stone dressing products, such as "Stone Brite" and "Stone Glamour", but these do very little. I also tried wax, but this didn't help much and I was afraid it would yellow with time. What can I use to give the stone a slightly deeper look (right now it looks chalky) like it looks when it is wet. Thanks. Keitha, Sept 9, Reply
R1: Dear Keitha: What you could try is a stone color enhancer. Mind you though, I said what you can try; which doesn't mean that it will work. You may have to do several applications. Maurizio, USA
Q 2703: We just had countertops installed (from Expo - the Home Depot co.) called "Bahia Gold". What's the deal with this stuff? Is it real granite? The lemon juice test seemed decent - it darkened but not immediately; maybe after 20 - 30 secs. Water does the same. But of course, not knowing about oil stains, we've got one and I've already read enough to know we need to apply a poultice. If and when we get the stain out, do we seal this "Bahia Gold"? I hope there's something we can do to make these countertops less worrisome; the whole point of spending so much money is to make life easier - not having to worry about spills, burns, immediate clean-up, etc. Sincerely, Karen, Sept 9, Reply
R1: Dear Karen: Your way of thinking is absolutely correct, but it doesn't seem to be shared by the stone industry operators. I don't know exactly what the "Bahia Gold" from brazil, but I do know for sure that it ain't granite! What I also know is that whoever sealed it (if they ever did) did a lousy job, according to your report. You do not want to accept it like that. Demand the EXPO to have the fabricator come out and do the job right, or you'r going to make a stink. Believe me, they WILL listen to you. That's the great advantage to deal with the Big Boxes. You pay a premium price, but you get unrivaled premium customer service. Maurizio, USA
Q 2702: I found your site and I am glad that you take the time to help someone out   I have installed a few tile jobs over the years and decided that i would try installing some 12" x 12" marble in the bathroom. I had tile in it before and have replaced the counter top in 3/4" plywood. My questions are:
1) can i lay the marble over the existing plywood floor (without any hardboard)? if not please explain why.
2) is regular thinset acceptable? (gray latcrete 253, my marble is charcoal)
3) is a 1/2" x 1/2" notch trowel acceptable?
4)should i put any spaces between the pieces? (i would rather not)
5)when i grout to fill in any cracks do i float it in just like tile? (i do not know if there is still a chance of a nonsanded grout scratching the surface)
, Bartley, Sept 9, Reply
Dear Bartley: I'll answer your questions in the same order they were posted:
1) No. NEVER set directly on plywood. You either use hardboard, or a wire lathe.
2) No. When installing stone, only white thinset is acceptable
3) If you use hardboard, 3/8" is better, in my opinion.
4) NEVER install a marble or granite tile floor "butt-joint". "Butt-joint" is acceptable only on walls, providing that they are NOT inside a shower enclosure. Use 1/16" gap.
5) Yes, you float the grout as if it were a ceramic tile floor. Only use wall-type grout (unsanded). Make sure that you push it as deep as possible in between the tiles. No, it won't scratch the stone surface. Do NOT let the grout film sit for too long a time on the surface of the stone. Maurizio, USA
Q 2701: What is the right cleaning for a new granite countertop? It has been sealed when installed. What shouldn't I use? OK, And while I'm at it, what about that new stanless sink? Can I avoid scratching it while cleaning? What should I use? Terri, Thanks, Sept 9, Reply
R1: Dear Terry: Both for your stainless steel sink and your countertop, NEVER use a green scouring pad. Use the silver ones, or just a plain sponge or wash-cloth. The clean your sink, use a sponge with some dish detergent in it, then rinse thorougly. Do NOT use dish soap for your countertop: you could never rinse it enough and it WILL accumulate an unsightly and unsanitary soap build-up. Maurizio, USA
Q 2700: I am going to be cleaning the home of a client on a weekly basis (it's a new home). The customer has three limestone tiled shower stalls. What product should I be using to keep them looking good? I've heard that most regular bathroom cleaners are not suitable to be using on limestome. Regards, Maggie, Sept 9, Reply
R1: Dear Maggie: What you've heard is absolutely right! see my Do,s & Don'ts. Maurizio, USA
Q 2697: I am thinking of installing granite or slate on existing brick fireplace wall. What is the proper procedure? Installer want to install wonderboard and over the brick and install thegranite or slate. I just read some of questions & answer and it is really interesting. Maya, Sept 9, Reply  
R1: Dear Maya: "Wonderboard" will do just fine. Maurizio, USA
Q 2696: I have a bathroom that is done l in a pinkish marble with a slight cream color. I think the marble has become etched in the shower area. It is no longer shiny, it is very dull and I now hate what was once my dream bathroom. How can the marble be brought back up to it's original shine? Best Regards, Joan, Sept 9, Reply  
R1: Dear Joan: Relax, it's only money! It is certainly NOT a DIY project, but a good stone restoration company can bring your marble back to its original shine, no problem. Maurizio, USA
Q 2695: I just purchased 2200 sq. feet of 24x24 honed Mexican travertine. It arrived yesterday and I was very disappointed. In addition to a lot of breakage, the travertine seems dull and lacks luster. The salesperson has assured me that once it is installed and a sealer is applied, all will be well. Do you agree with this or should it have received some sort of light polishing prior to it's being shipped. I'm wondering if we received what I thought we had ordered. We have a lot of tile and we need to remedy this situation sooner than later. Thanks --Michal, Sept 9, Reply
R1: Dear Michal: Is there any stone related problem that can't be solved with the application of a stupid sealer?! It's like duct tape: you can fix everything with it!! Sealers for stone (a.k.a. "Impregnators") are below surface sealers and do not affect in any shape or form, the original factory finish of the stone. A stone sealer only tackles the absorbency factor of the stone (that's why it's below surface), which, in the case of travertine (Mexican or what-have-you) is minimal to begin with -- despite a widespread general misconception about that. (Scroll upward from your posting and go check posting No. 2489 and
related answers.) Mexican travertine (Durango) could be polished, but I never saw it delivered polished. It always comes with a hone-finish, that could show more or less sheen (when looked at from a low angle) according the type. There are more than one, but the two predominat species are a tan colored stone, which is the best -- from a mechanical point of view -- and is the one that show some sheen the most (a satin finish). The other type, a whitish colored stone -- which is pure crap from a mechanical point of view (at least in my humble opinion) -- doesn't show much reflection, if any at all.
Nobody can polish your Durango tiles before being installed. Once they are installed, you have to get hold of a good stone restoration company and consult with them about the kind of finish you'd like to have. Sealer? If you opt for a highly polished finish, none whatsoever (not even my own!). If you opt for a hone-finish, only in the kitchen and the shower stall. Maurizio, USA
Q 2694:   I am having a piece of granite water-cut special for a wall-top to my front entrance. The piece will be milled 4" thick of typical New England gray granite. The manufacturer will be doing something to the side cut surfaces to make it look rough like it was split, but says it won't have the same look to the top. The top will show most. I have several pieces nearby that are very old and have a split like (not wire cut) surface to the flat. I've heard that applying a great deal of heat, like a acetylene torch will possible flake off the rock to rough it up, is this correct? If not, what can be done to a sawn or water-jet cut surface that will make it look like it was split (obviously without the drill marks)? Thanks, Brian, Sept 9, Reply
R1: Dear Brian: I'm not quite sure I understand completely your question. I will limit my answer by telling you that the flaming process is meant to melt the crystals on the surface of the granite (the New England gray IS a true geological granite) so that they won't flake off the rock. It seems to me like the information you received indicates the opposite! Maurizio, USA
Q 2693: Hi, I am looking to put down a granite floor in my kitchen. I have been reading through this site and have found it very informative. Initially I was looking at marble, but now I have a better idea why to choose granite. I am also aware that different granites offer up different hardnesses and stain resistance. I am now looking at buying some Cape Brown Granite(hope that is particular enough). Please let me know what I might expect from this stone and how consistant I can expect it to be from a sample to what shows up at my door. Thanks, -Al, Sept 9, Reply
R1: Dear Al: Never heard of that particular stone -- at least under that name, therefore I can't give you a direct answer to your question. However ... Maurizio, USA
Q 2691: why is granite much harder than limestone? Gray, Sept 9, Reply
R2: Dear Gray. The simple answer is that they are entirely different stones. Limestone is a sedimentary rock, (deposited under water), and is composed primarily of calcium carbonate, with all sorts of other goodies occasionally included. Calcium carbonate is the mineral calcite which has a mohs hardness of 3. Granite on the other hand is an igneous rock ( a hardened chemical soup known as magma ), and the predominant minerals are all silicates with mohs hardnesses ranging from 6 to 8. A knife blade will easily scratch a hardness 3 or even 5 mineral, but it won't leave a scratch on quartz which is a 7 on the scale. Hope this answers your question. JVC,
R1: Dear Gray: I don't have the answer to that, but if you dial 1(800) THE GODS, they'll be able to tell you for sure! Your call will be answered in the same order it was received. Waiting time is currently estimated at ... how old are you? :-) Maurizio, USA
Q 2688: My wife and I are in the process of evaluating and choosing new countertops for our kitchen. We currently have a formica top and want to go with a natural stone (granite) or possibly a quartz solid surface such as Silestone. We have a limited budget so the highest quality granite stone is not an option. We have about 50 sq feet of counter space that we are looking at replacing. My wife cooks in the kitchen about 6 times/week, not including preparing light lunches (sandwiches, frozen foods, etc.). With that said, here are my questions:
1: Are there any granite options that work well with kitchen counter tops that run about $100/sq foot installed?
2: I noticed that Home Depot has granite selections and installers that cost on the high end at $85/sq foot. What is the quality of their stone and installers?
3: The one kitchen remodeling company I visited here gave me a ball park estimate of $225/sq foot installed for granite. Is that unreasonably high?
4: I've noticed that the Silestone samples I've seen do not have the same high gloss look of granite. Can Silestone be prepared to have that high of a gloss?
5: Since Silestone does not have to be sealed, is this a better option for medium-high use kitchens? Thanks so much for your time! Rick, in Colorado, Sept 9, Reply
R1: Dear Rick: I'm afraid that either A) you live in an area of the country (Colorado) that's awfully high-priced, when it comes to granite countertop, or B) so far you've stumbled upon a pile of bad luck.
1. I wish I could charge $100 per square foot, even for expensive "granites" such as Blue Pearl GT (And believe me, NJ is NOT a cheap state!) You should be able to get several choices within the $60 to $70 range.
2. The Home Depot is high-priced everywhere, but they have an unrivaled customer service. You will NEVER get the run-around if something goes wrong. About the quality of their work, you have to understand that the HD does not make and install countertops. They sublet (mostly) local fabrication facilities (that's why their price is higher than average), so you never know, but all in all, I never heard anything REAL bad with the HD. The pages of this site further confirm that big time.
3. The kitchen remodeling company you contacted does not make stone countertop; they farm the job out, too. The only difference is that while the HD markup is anywhere between 20% and 30%, they obviously markup some 200% or something. Stay away from them!
4. Silestone is an OK material (I mean, I just don't like the look of it, at the same price than "granite"), but before you make any decision ... Maurizio, USA
Q 2685: I am also looking for information about monument fabrication. We are attempting to sandblast on stone (limestone, granite, etc.) using a stencil which we generate using a plotter.. We haven't found the right adhesive. The glue on back of stencil material doesn't hold even for a minute when sandblasting so we are attempting to supplement that with another glue. Do you have any suggestions? I am also wondering about smoothing the rock before applying stencil, and maybe also polishing. I guess I would just like to have instructions from the beginning to the end from someone who has done this type of work. The results we are getting are very nice but it's taking a long time as we have to reglue. We would like to get into more "formal" memorial stone sandblasting, but are dealing primarily with "natural" looking stone for now. Any ideas appreciated. Donald, Sept 7, Reply  
R1: Donald. Are you using sandblast resist or some other material for your stencils? JVC,
Q 2683: I live in Malta where the houses are traditionally made from limestone blocks. My house is over 300 years old and some of the internal walls are painted in a white water based paint and some are left bare. The trouble is that the paint flakes off in patches after a month or so and when I scrape it, parts of the stone always comes away too. Should I seal the wall before painting & should I be using a different kind of paint? Also, what should I treat the bare internal walls with to prevent flaking? Sally, Sept 7, Reply
R1: Dear Sally: I'll give another option: Get rid of the paint, have your walls re-ground by a local professional stone refinisher, and enjoy your limestone for what it is! If you keep suffocating it with paint, sealers and all sorts of garbage, it'll fight you back relentlessy and eventually win. Mother Nature always does that!
"Mankind should master Nature by understanding, not by force!"

Maurizio, USA
Q 2682: Dear Maurizio, I have just installed Crema De Marfil on the walls and floor of my bathroom - now I am up to the grout. Can you please recommend the brand of grout and any colours you would suggest that are a good complement. I have not had success as yet. I am based in Sydney, Australia. Further if you do recommend a sealer please advise, again details of name, manufacturer.As an aside although this is late, are all marble glues the same ie can one potentially have problems with them. The reason I ask is that I noticed that the tiler used two different brands of a glue. Are there any questions I should ask just to make sure all is ok.Regards Ilana, Sept 7, Reply
R1: Dear Ilana: How can I possibly answer your questions? I don't even know which brands of grout are available Down Under! Same goes with the sealers (besides, you wouldn't expect me to extoll the virtues of the competition, would you!). Besides, unless you have well water, your Crema Marfil does not need to be sealed in a bathroom. What bothers me quite a bit is the mention of the glue.
Unless in Australia they have some special "marble glue" that I don't know of, using glue to set marble is really a BAD idea. White thinset (whether regular or rapid setting) is "your man". At least here where I live! Maurizio, USA
Q 2681: We wish to purchase a tiled slate tabletop. The tiles are from South Africa, and the whole table top has supposedly been sealed. We would like to use the tabletop for daily use in a kitchen. How tough would the tabletop be against stains from juices, coffee, etc ? What are your recommendations for its use in the kitchen, and what type of maintenance would be recommended ... sealants, cleaning etc. Thank you. Gino, Sept 7, Reply
R1: Dear Gino: Heavy usage and slate don't go together. Staining (which is what the sealer that was applied will prevent to a certain extent) is going to be the least of your problems. No product in a bottle (sealer, cleaner or what-have-you) will help you with all the real problems you'll be facing. My maintenance guidelines -- that you can find at the end of this page side bar under the title: "Maurizio Dos and Don'ts" -- wouldn't do you any good, either. Of course, if you search hard enough, you'll eventually stumble upon some "salesman" who will tell you otherwise. Maurizio, USA
Q 2680: We have a liquid soap stain on our granite. Is there any way to get rid of it?, Lily Sept 7, Reply
R1:   Dear Lily: Check my guidelines to stain removal To remove soap you may need a special chemical that's not listed there. Gimme a holler at: info@findstone.com. Maurizio, USA
Q 2679: Hello, Can you PLEASE explain to me how to tell the difference between Alabaster stone and marble. I would like to be able to tell in a finished statue, lamp or furniture. My husband and I are having a major disagreement. Thanks for any and all help!!! Michele,Sept 7, Reply
R2:  Dear Michele, Often it is difficult for the untrained eye to distinguish between these two stones from their finished surfaces. They do have a different chemistry though, and if it is possible to collect a small amount of dust from the stone (use a knife and scratch a small line on the bottom or other inconspicuous place) you can use this difference to identify the stone. Marble is composed of calcium carbonate (calcite), and marble dust will fizz if a drop of vinegar is placed on it. Alabaster is composed of calcium sulfate (gypsum ) and won't react to the acid. Have fun!! JVC,
R1:  Dear Michele: Unfortunately, nobody can explain you with words how to tell, say, red oak apart from hard maple. Either you know by experience, or you don't. The same principle applies to stone. Check findstone.com's library: it may help. Maurizio, USA
Q 2678: I am interested in knowing exactly what tools I need to hand shape marble or granite. ( Bullnose ) Please advise. Ricc Dietzman, Sept 7, Reply
R1: Dear Ricc: No such animal. The least setup will set you back $4,000. If you want to get more sophisticated, then you go as high as 50 Gs. All this, of course, without counting the fact that if you knew what you're doing would help a great deal! Maurizio, USA
Q 2677:I am building a new home with a large kitchen island. We plan to use granite (slab) for the counter and are wondering what is the maximum size slab (no seams). As of now, the island measures 4 by 12 ft x 2 in. This is somewhat flexible (based on feedback) since it hasn't been built yet. Many thanks, Rachel, Sept 6, Reply
R2: Dear Rachel, The maximum size of your island depends on the maximum size of the slab that you select. Most of the granite slabs that I encounter as a fabricator are anywhere from 55-70 inches(4'7" - 5'10") tall by 108-120 inches(9'-10') wide.70x120 slabs are very large and uncommon.The size of the slab depends on the material and how easy it is to quarry., Sarah
R1: Dear Rachel: Nobody can answer your question. Some "granites" (quarried in countries with big roads and big trucks) come in large slabs; some others (quarried in countries with small roads and small trucks) come in small slabs. It will be a huge challange, however, to find such a large slab, no matter what kind of "granite" you settle with. Maurizio,
Q 2676: Having spent a long time reading this very informative column I have culled out two light colored granites that seem to be possible candidates for a kitchen counter. They are with an absorptivity index of 0.25 and Brisbane Beige (no index found but the inference was it was OK once sealed). Any input appreciated on the suitability of these stones for a kitchen counter and the difficulties I might encounter finding them to get samples? David, Sept 6, Reply
R1: Dear David: I seldom get involved on the specifics of one particular stone or another. I won't make an exception this time, either! :-) Maurizio,
Q 2675: I've been reading your columns and find your advice in selecting granite for kitchen countertops very helpful. We cook---a lot--with oils and staining spices. I originally fell in love with Juparana India Gold (also a Juparana Columbo) from India but got scared off by the maintenance they require. My question is: since practically all of the slabs at the local dealers have been treated with resin, does this mean that I will have LESS of a problem with staining assuming I seal it 4-5 times? Do you know what the resin composition is? Will it react with hot pots? I don't get much help from the staff at the granite places. I'm trying to steer myself toward the non-absorbent granites: absolute black or blue pearl, but before I buy anything I'd like to hear from you. Indira, California, USA Sept 6, Reply
R1: Dear Indira: The type of resin used to "resin" slabs is typically epoxy-ester. Quite a tough cookie, but there's no guarantee that it won't be damaged by hot pots left sitting on countert for a while. If the resining is done right, there may not be any need of any additional sealing (after all, my own sealer is based on the same resin!) My little lemon juice plus some cooking oil test will tell you. So far, I'm very much in favor of "resined" "granite". Maurizio USA
Q 2674: Getting ready to tile a new shower and would like to install marble shelves in the corners for soap, shampoo, etc. but not sure how to attach the marble. Neither my wife nor I like the typical ceramic insets. Someone told me to leave space between the time and then set the diagonally cut marble in thinset, grouting when set and that the thinset will hold the shelf. Another told me to use 2 part epoxy to attach the marble edge to the face of the tile, grouting when set.Thanks Carlo, NY, Sept 6, Reply
R1: Dear Carlo: There are a few ways to install a marble shelf in a shower stall. The first one you mention is OK. The second one its plain idiotic! The glue alone will not hold your shelf for a long time. In my opinion the best way to do a shelf is to use a 3/4" piece of marble with a matching support (like a T) which has to be set on the corner in a slot cut out of the tiles that meet there. Maurizio, USA
Q 2673: 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 chewing gum, cafeterias, vandalism), durability, etc. Does anyone have experience in these stones, or suggest methods to compare & choose between them? Mal, Australia, Sept 6, Reply
R1: Dear Mal, What you are asking is a straight-forward project for an experienced stone scientist/stone specialist, I am quite familiar with all the local and national stone varieties that could be used. I have also tested and/or examined many of them and would be able to provide you with the necessary advice. Check out the excellent paving of the Brisbane Mall. (Dr. Hans), Australia
Q 2672: Greetings Daniel, I recently came across a posting of yours on FindStone about Ubatuba. You wrote that it is a "charnockite from end of the Proterozoic (about 600 million years)." Do you have any additional information on this rock? For instance, where is it quarried? Do you know its geologic name? This information is for an article that I working on about building stone geology. Any help would be grand. Sincerely, David, Sept 5, Reply
R1: Dear David, I like to answer you, for we have similar work. I have written article of stones in Bratislava city, but unfortunately in Slovak. I have some information of Ubatuba: UBATUBA is charnockite - special magmatite with quartz and pyroxene. This charnockite is composed approximately of K-Na-feldspars, plagioclases, orthopyroxene and quartz what corresponds to quartz syenite. The stone was crystallized 550 million years ago and then mildly metamorphed 480 million years according to one Brazilian page. The charnockite is quarried in Ubatuba, Sao Paulo state. Yours Daniel, Slovakia, .
Q 2670: My daughter has a small shower with a terrazo floor and it has developed leaks that make it unusable. Can you recommend an epoxy coating solution for refinishing the surface and sealing the leaks at the same time? Thanks, Ron, Sept 5, Reply
R1: Dear Ron: Tell your daughter to get rid of it. There's obviously water under that floor pan: you can't just seal it in. Maurizio, USA
Q 2669: I have looked extensively on the internet and I am not sure who to believe when it comes to design guidelines for granite countertops. We are planning to have a 2" x 4" kneewall 42" above the floor and act as the base for bar top. It will be cantilevered approx 12" and have a couple of supports. We are considering two different granite fabricators and one tells us we need to revise our design and the other says the design works as we have it. Any comments? Thank you very much for your offer, attached are two different versions of the design, one is a webpage (html), the second is a picture (jpg). I hope this works as I do not know how else to give the information to you. I look forward to the advice!!!!Thanks. Kathy, Sept 5, Reply
Q 2668: Is there only one type of lavastone that has that glowing glass type look to it? Is it only from France at 210 per sq ft? Can this stand heat and staining? IS there a way to find lower prices on this stuff? Id this the ultimate countertop that can pass all the tests? Heat, absorption, cracking?? Harrington, Sept 5, Reply
R1: Dear Harrington: I am familiar with that particular type of stone, but only as a collector (it's just plain beautiful!). I was not aware that they would make slabs out of it. As far as I know it is not found only in France; there's plenty of it in some areas of New England, too. But, maybe, France is the only place where they quarry it and make slabs out of it. How will swuch material hold up as a material for a kitchen countetop?
Probably quite well, but nobody can claim to have any specific experience about that stone used for that purpose. As far as price is concerned, as usual the forces of the market are the only factor that determine that. One thing is for sure: France is not know for being cheap!! Maurizio, USA  
Q 2666: How do we clean unsealed internal sandstone flooring after a party by our 15 year old son and friends, mainly water, soft drink, and food stains - is it warm water and detergent with a mop, or water and commercial strength hydrogen peroxide or another combination before a poultice. Yours is the only sensible website but some of the replies and responses are a bit confusing to me downunder! Thank you, Simon Australia, Sept 5, Reply
R1: Dear Simon from Down Under: Use a solution of water and industrial strength Hydrogen Peroxide (30 to 50 volume). That should take care of evrything without the need of poulticing. Next, get rid of your teenager! ... Well ... on a second thought, maybe if you have your floor professionally sealed with a good quality stone impregnator, you can keep him!! :-) Maurizio, USA
Q 2665: Please advise me on the quality of "Ambaji " marble Is it a hard marble? the type available here in cochin looks like Ambaji Panther. Is it good for the kitchen area also. regards alex, India, Sept 5, Reply
R1: Dear Alex, AMBAJI WHITE is true marble with good water absorption, but lower strength. Mohs hardness is 3 as at other calcite marbles. Daniel, Slovakia, .
R1: Dear Alex: I have not the slightest idea what kind of marble you're talking about, so I can't be specific with my answer. I don't even know if it's a true geological marble, or a compact limestone, or a dolomite, or an aragonite, or an ophicalcite, etc. As a rule of thumb, however, polished marble does not belong in a kitchen: it scratches easy and, most importantly, it etches like crazy every time something acidic is spilled onto it (and a kitchen is full of acids). This subject has been discussed approximately 1 million and a half times already! Scroll down this site and you'll find out. Maurizio, USA  
Q 2663: Is Muriatic acid hydrochloric acid? Solo, Sept 4, Reply
R1: Dear Solo: YEP! Maurizio, USA
Q 2662: Dear Maurizio, I wonder about the reason behind labeling Jerusalem Stone being the " worst" although it was and is still ,extensively,used in a variety of projects all over the world. Our experience with this material have shown that what makes you an expert is to be able to combine the character of the stone with the finish and the application. For example a brushed or antiqued Jerusalem gold is excellent for vanity tops and bathrooms . Also , the light color is much better than the dark for the same purposes since it has much less veins .. and so on. Samir , Nassar, West Bank, Sept 4, Reply
R1: Dear Samir Where you come from and where I come from, Jerusalem stone is a "good guy". But where I live and operate now -- which is a whole ocean apart from where I come -- it's a totally different story. The Middle Eastern and Southern European culture about stone is totally different from the Northern European and North American one. Over there the natural aging and wear and tear of the stone are considered a big plus (like the bleaching and tearing off of blue jeans!); over here a piece of stone has to stay brand new all the time! I dispense my advice mostly to USA and Canadian residents. So, either I call them all idiots and try to force them into liking something that's against their perception of natural stone, or I face reality and them all of a sudden, in this environment Jerusalem stone becomes a "bad guy"! Maurizio, USA  
Q 2661: Is there a way to fill in small chips (holes) on granite surfaces? Is this something we can do myself or do I need a professional to do this? Will these chips grow bigger with time? Thank You, sm, Sept 4, Reply
R1: Dear sm: NOPE! Maurizio, USA
Q 2659: I had a party and had lit several candles and they melted onto the brick pavers. How do I get rid of the wax that has melted?Terri Adler, Sept 4, Reply
R1: Dear Terry: You can try with a blow-torch followed by a heavy brushing with a solution of water and household bleach. There are also specific products to do the job (I saw one of them in a Church once, while we were refinishing their marble floor), but I wouldn't know where to get them. Maurizio, USA
Q 2657: Relevant information on repairing or patching granite steps. Please, Some minor cracks and some rather large areas. Jones, Sept 4, Reply
R1: Dear Jones: It's a quite complicated technique that can't be explained in the pages of this site. Get hold of a stone restoration professional. That's my best piece of advice. The Second best is to give me a holler at: info@findstone.com. I do offer consultation services. Maurizio Bertoli USA
Q 2656:I am currently a student of Interior Design and am researching different types of stone and would appreciate any information you can send me on this. Thanks.Susjc, Sept 4, Reply
R1: Dear Susjc, I can recommend you articles in www.findstone.com/articles.htm and a useful book for you: F.Bradley - Natural Stone. Guide to Selection. Daniel, Slovakia, .
Q 2655: We are considering installing autumn mist slate in our master bath(floor,shower walls and floor) Would you please give your opinion? victoria, Sept 4, Reply
R1: Dear Victoria: You do NOT want slate ("Autumn mist" of what-have-you) in your shover stall! Maurizio, USA
Q 2654: We are planning to put Carioca Gold granite (3cm) in our kitchen (countertops). What can you tell me about this stone? Thanks. Julie, Sept 3, Reply
R2: Dear Julie, CARIOCA GOLD or DOURADO CARIOCA is true granite from Brazil. I am convinced of its suitability for countertops. Daniel, Slovakia, .
R1: Dear Julie: What is that you want know about it? It's not granite (if that's is what you care about) but it's still an excellent stone and "drop dead" gorgeous! It's typically quite absorbent -- unless it was "resined" at the origin -- but such an absorbency can be controlled with the application of a good-quality stone impregnator sealer (you may need 4 to 5 applications). Maurizio, USA  
Q 2653: I work in a small granite brazilian company and i would like to know if it possible to produce granite tile or slabs with a gang saw diamond blade or not is diamond blade only for marble or travetine ?. Thank you Andre, Sept 3, Reply
R1: I'm under the impression that there are diamond blades for softer stone (marble, travertine, limestone) and diamond blades for harder stone ( Granite and it's kin) . Something to do with how the diamonds are attached (the matrix). Ask your blade supplier if you are using the right blade for the application. JVC,
Q 2652: I need to find someone in the Bradenton-Sarasota Florida area to help me with my fossil floors, I think the stone came from the Philippines. The dirt gets into the holes and grout and always looks dirty. Sam,Sept 3, Reply
R1: Sam, Those nasty old sea shells do collect a lot of dirt etc. However it wouldn't be fossil stone if they weren't there. He Have the same problem with slabs that sit out in the shop yard for any length of time. We just bleach it out, use a soft scrub brush if necessary, and rinse it off. Presto, another nice, clean shellstone table top. JVC,
Q 2650: I just had a beautiful granite countertop installed in my master bathroom yesterday...unfortunately one of the sink cut outs is off center of the cabinet doors by over two inches and is very noticeable. The installers completed the installation hoping I wouldn't notice I'm sure. Of course I held off making the final payment. What should I realistically expect them to do about it for me? (It was a decent size job, the countertop is 12 ft long with two sinks and a lowered vanity area). Kristen, Sept 3, Reply
R1: Dear Kristen: What do you expect anyone to tell you under the circumstances? Either you learn how to live with it, or you demand your fabricator to replace it. I'm hard pressed seeing any solution in between. Maurizio, USA
Q 2649: I am starting a bathroom remodel and we are going to use 12x12 granite tiles for the bath/shower surround and also the vanity counter top. For the vanity, I plan on using concrete wallboard as the base. Do I need to use it for the bath/shower surround as well, or can I use green wallboard? What would be the best adhesive to use for both locations? Paul, Sept 3, Reply
R1: Dear Paul: green wallboard for the bath/shower surround? DON'T EVEN THINK ABOUT IT! It's cement board all over, my friend! About setting material, either you use a good-quality white thinset, or -- my very favorite -- a product available at the HD, called Stone Setting Adhesive. Don't forget that vital 1/16" gap in between tiles for proper grouting! Maurizio, USA
Q 2648:  I am very impressed with your website. For you to take all that time to advise others is truly commendable. As an Italian/American, I enjoy marble and am planning to install an off white marble in my bathroom on the floor, shower surround and counter top. I plan to have the marble sealed. But in the past, I have had experience with marble staining. I have heard that many typical products used in bathrooms will stain marble and even penetrate the sealer. Is it wise to use marble in those bathroom applications? Would it be better to use some other material? What brand of sealer do you recommend? Fred, Sept 3, Reply

R1: Dear Fred: Let me guess: the stains on marble you experienced in the past looked like dull spots, sort of "water stains" Am I right? If so, those were not stains, they were rather "stains". ie, marks of corrosions (etches) that some pH active agent (mostly acidic) generated by simply coming in contact with the stone surface. Since such surface damages have no connection whatsoever with the absorbency rate of any given stone (which is the ONLY factor that a stone sealer tackles), but are strictly related to its chemical makeup (Calcium Carbonate), no stone sealer in the entire solar system (not even my own excellent one!) could do the first thing to prevent them. That said, just forget about all the sick pieces of advice you've been getting. For what you're reporting they would be funny, if they weren't just plain pathetic!
Polished marble can be quite an enjoyable material if you get to accept its physical and chemical limitations, follow a few easy golden rules, and, most importantly, just plain forget about all this sealing frenzy (including my own sealer!) which only helps to mislead the real expectations of an end user. Maurizio
, USA 
Q 2647: I have a sample tile of granite, that I am trying to match to a slab. It looks similiar to Dakota Mahogany, but has a tighter grain pattern and more brownish of tones instead of red. After visiting several granite shops, I saw a small picture of Edel Mahogany at one shop, that looked very close to my sample tile. Of course, pictures do not do justice, and unfortunately the salesman didn't know anything about Edel Mahogany and had none in stock. Do you know where it comes from or have any other geological information about it?-James, Sept 3, Reply
R1: Dear James, EDEL MAHOGANY comes probably from Sweden. Petrographically it is granite composed of K-feldspar, plagioclase, quartz and biotite. The granite was formed many hundreds of millions years ago. Daniel, Slovakia, .
Q 2646: After reading these questions and answers I am even more confused than before. I do recording for the Ross Bay Cemetery in Victoria BC and often end my day by cleaning headstones. I am literally at war with the marble monuments. I can scrub for a long time and little will come off. Can you use bleach on them? I've seen one after somebody did apply bleach and it looked much better. Will the bleach corrode or damaget he surface, , even if it is washed off after? What products would be safe to use? I know that some dirt/growth is basically impossible to get off, but I am determined to find away to make them as clean as I can. Thank-you, Lauren, Sept 3, Reply
R1: Dear Lauren: When exposed to the wheather, all calcite-based stone deteriorate due to the exposure to acid rain (rain's always been acidic, even before the invention of pollution) sunlight, and wind. The deterioration process is slowed down remarkably by a self-defense mechanism inherent in the stone that makes it produce a surface protection called patina. Such a patina is rather rough and collects air and water-born dirt. On the sides exposed to the North, there could also be the formation of mold and lichens. You do NOT want to remove the natural patina formed by the stone. Cleaning it with bleach is quite all right: Sodium Hypochlorite will not damage either the stone or the patina. Rinse it well when finished. Maurizio, USA
Q 2645: I have just finished remodeling my kitchen and had granite installed on all my counters island and also used as back splashes. The granite I used is called Paradiso and am now wondering if this is really granite and if I need to seal it before I start to use it. Jeanne, Sept 3, Reply
R2: Dear Jeanne, PARADISO from India is only granite in commercial sense but petrographically it is migmatite - type of gneiss. Daniel, Slovakia, .
R1: Dear Jeanne: No, "Paradiso" is not a granite by a long shot. It's quite an absorbent stone and needs to be sealed real bad and several times over, unless it's been "resined" by the factory, or it's been sealed properly by your fabricator (did you ask them?). Try to spill a few drops of water on it. If the water sits on the surface without making a darker mark under the drops, than it's been either "resined" and sealed. If not, you're going to have it sealed. Maurizio, USA
Q 2642: We just had travertine installed as the floor in our bathroom. It is filled travertine. What cleaner should we use? Do we need to seal the floor? Thank you. Ellen,Sept 3, Reply
R1: Dear Ellen: If it's polished and in a bathroom floor, you don't need to seal it. As far as cleaning is concerned, see my Do's & Dont's Maurizio,USA
Q 2641: I am looking to find the originations of all granites. Do you know where I could find that? Teresa, Sept 3, Reply
R1: Dear Teresa: Do you have a whole lifetime andd then some to spend on your research? Maurizio, USA
Q 2637: We were looking for a "granite" countertop and were told that some of the lighter slabs are "baked with a resin" to help with the absorbency problem. One of the ones we are interested in is "Shivakashi". It was gray, peach and had maroon streaks. It was called "summer yellow". It was supposed to be the real Shivakasi as opposed to the Shivakasi pink which looked more peachy.What can you tell me about this resin process? Would it be an acceptable stone?. Would it still be advisable to seal it anyway as they recmomend? please reccomend something similar to shivakashi that is better. Also liked Golden Juperano but read here that it is also too absorbent. Is it so even with the so called resin? What are the drawbacks to "resin"? Thanks ,Sandy USA Sept 2, Reply
R1: Dear Sandy: Nobody can tell for sure how the resining process will hold up in the long run: it's too new of an application. However, considering the type of resin that's employed (ester-epoxy) and the way the resining process is implemented (applied really deep into the stone in a vacuum environment), I strongly lean toward believing that the process is indeed permanent. I personally like it, and we've been running rather intensive and severe testing on several stones treated like that. So far, we had no negative effect whatsoever. The only drawback is that it wouldn't be advisable to put a hot pot directly from the stone onto the countertop surface (one of the big pluses with a non-resined "granite" countertop!), because, after all, we're dealing with resin, and it's certainly not as heat resistent as the stone itself. As far as the "sealing it anyway" goes, I never believe in "anyway"! (And I am a manufacturer of sealers!). Over our testing, we found out that only a few "resined" stones needed to be sealed. And if you ever read my previous comments in this site you would know that I never encourage consumers and contractors alike to seal "anyway" a stone that doesn't need to be sealed. There could be problems, many of which are reported on this very site more often than necessary! Maurizio, USA
Q 2636: we have two stone fireplaces that have been painted black. i would like to remove the paint and restore the stone to its original state. Thanks Greg, Sept 2, Reply
R1: Dear Greg: A paint stripper based on Methylene Chloride (anything else won't cut it!). Maurizio, USA
Q 2635: Hi, I am planning to install (or have installed) Rosso Levanto-T on the floor around my fireplace, on a cement slab. In the tile laying book I have, under Laying Stone, they mention that some marbles are prone to warping if over exposed to water, and recommend epoxy based adhesives. Rosso Levanto is one they call out by name. In Home Depot they have a fast drying water based adhesive, suggested for these troublesome stones. My questions are: 1) Is the warping of Rosso Levanto a real 'threat'?
2) Presuming it is, will the fast drying water based adhesive be alright, or should I start searching for an epoxy? Thank-you. Nancy, Sept 2, Reply
R1: Dear Nancy: I can see that you can do your own homework, all right! You already have all the answers right in front of you! Rosso Levanto (an ophicalcite stone) does warp, and very much so, some times!
The fast drying water-based stone adhesive available at the HD will do just fine! And it's certainly not as messy as epoxy setting materials. I used that product many a time myself to install green marble, travertine and, yes, Rosso Levanto, too), and I just love it! I recommend it all the time, Maurizio,
Q 2634: I am installing a vintage soapstone sink in a house for a client. The sink has a crack in it. How can I repair it so it will hold water? Eric, Sept 2, Reply
R1: Dear Eric: Use epoxy (NOT polyester) glue. When it's cured, sand it flush with the surface of the sink where the crack is, then treat it with mineral oil. Maurizio,USA
Q 2631: My newly installed travertine shower was cleaned with a commercial tile cleaner with phosphoric and glycoxic acid. Some tiles have white run marks where the cleaner has possibly removed the impregnator or etched the stone? Repeated cleaning has helped. Any suggestions? are welcome. Joey, Sept 2, Reply
R1: Dear Joey: I have a big question for you: "How come that the person who told you to apply an impregnator/sealer (that you and your travertine needed like a hole in your head! See the posting No. 2489 and all the answers to it, that you can find by scrolling upward in this page) didn't tell you that you can't use cleaners off the shelves of your supermarket to clean natural stone, and did not offer you the alternative?" Makes you wonder, doesn't it!! ... The cleaner you used etched (corroded) the stone, period. No stone sealer (including my own!) could do the first thing to prevent that, period again. Now, you need the services of a good stone restoration contractor, period one more time! Welcome to the "well educated" and "professionally prepared" stone industry! , Maurizio, USA
Q 2630: I just had Baltic Brown installed on a two layer island in my kitchen. It is a new home, and we have not yet moved in. The problem is this: there are several round like chips in the stone. We know the stone has fissures and knew that before we decided. Yet, they are arguing with us regarding these round like "chips". They have suggested several things: sealing and or sanding out the chips. Should we insist on them replacing the entire top? They also mentioned that if they sealed it it would get yellow over time. One more concern. Why is my top not so shiny? Lisa, Sept 2, Reply
R1: Dear Lisa: First off, a sealer for stone wouldn't do squat to fill or hide the "chips" or fissures. It would not become yellow, either: you just wouldn't see it, because sealers for stone are designed to go inside the stone (below the surface), not onto it. That gives you a first measurement of the quality of the advice you've been getting from your contractor. Second, sanding them down would not work for two reasons:
1. If it's a natural "chip", it's probably through and through the entire thickness of the stone.
2. It the "chips" are the result of, say, a blunt object hitting the stone, in order to repair them you would need to find:
A) a proven (very much PROVEN!) professional stone refinisher that can refinish Baltic Brown.
B) If the stone refinishing company is really worth its salt, they will decline the grinding (sanding) idea, because the cure could be worse than the disease! Unsightly "dishes" instead of the "chips" could be created as the result of the grinding (sanding). On the other hand, a proven (very PROVEN!) stone refinishing company would tackle the job by (possibly) deepening those "chips" (whether natural or manmade) with a high-speed drill ("Dremmel" or such), fill the hole with color matching epoxy glue/filler, grinding it flush with the surface of the stone (without digging into it!), and re-polishing to blend with the rest of the surface finish. But ... You're also questioning the overall shine of your countertop! ... I have no answer for that without actually seeing your stone. All the more reason for you to get hold a stone restoration professional. Maurizio, USA