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July 31, 2002

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Q 2322: We own a beachfront condo, and would like to install travertine on our outdoor patio. As it is a porous material, we were wondering if this is not such a good idea. The travertine would be waterproofed, etc., but would there still be problems?. Ravi, July 28,
R1: Dear Ravi: No, travertine is not, by and large, a porous material. It is in fact denser than most marbles and compact limestone. That said, It could be considered a good choice (VERY good, actually) only if it has a hone-finish. If it's polished it will lose its finish within a few months and become "honed" on its own. Sealing it wouldn't be necessary. After all the coliseum in Rome is made of travertine and -- although I wasn't there when they built it -- I highly doubt that the Ancient Romans ever sealed it, some 2,500 years ago! Maurizio, USA
A 2063: Is travertine and limestone one and the same? I am having travertine installed in my bathroom as we speak. I hope I have done the right thing. They are going to "seal" it. After all this, how do I care for the floor. Judy, June 14, Reply 
R1: Dear Judy: No, they are not the same. Travertine is it's own kind of stone, but if you want to make a comparison, it's similar to compact limestone -- which is what most marbles on the marketplace are. Mercantile limestone is typically softer, dull (it just won't polish), and quite absorbent. In a bathroom is a NO-NO in my book, while travertine is quite a good choice. contrary to popular misconception, in fact, travertine is quite dense and doesn't absorb much (it's a scientific fact, not a hearsay). If this were my bathroom I would insist with the installer not to have it sealed (not even with my own sealer!!). I don't believe in "Let's seal it regardless." The more you leave the stone in its natural state -- like Mother Nature intended -- the better it is for it. It's again a scientific fact, not this writer opinion.
Rather than a stupid (useless) sealer (again, including mine!!), I'd be more concerned about sensible maintenance guidelines for the everyday care of your stone. That's important, all right, and, I promise you, you wouldn't be getting those from somebody who's planning to seal travertine because they heard from some salesman that's so very porous!!
ciao and Maurizio, USA
A 2057: Even after reading your site I am more confused than ever as to what kind of stone to use on my master bath remodel. I want to use natural stone but what is best for a large shower floor & walls and the rest of the bathroom floor. I will probably want to use a light color as my main tile with a darker accent stile. 
These are the considerations I see that I need to look at (feel free to add more if needed) 
Durability in environment
Slippery when wet ..... Polished, honed ...?
cost (marble vs granite)
Ease and cost of installation
Sealers, impregnators, etc? John, June 13.
R1: Dear John: Slipperiness. When wet, whether the floor is polished stone, or hone-finished stone, or ceramic tile, etc., it can be slippery. The only material that's not slippery is carpet.
Polished marble is usually a good choice, providing that you understand its limitations and avoid the most common pitfalls and misconception. One of the, for instance, is the sealing (impregnating) thing. Unpolished and filled travertine is quite an enjoyable choice, too. I would stay away from limestone. Most of them won't give you any problem, but some will, and the dealer who will sell the stone to you will most likely be the last one to know.
Of course, "granite" is an excellent choice, too (for as long you choose the right one).
Maurizio, USA
A 1912: I found a 12 x 12 marble tile marked Agglo Simplex - Italy. Santa Margarita. Perlato Royal. Is it a crushed marble aggregated with a cement? can it be used on a bathroom floor? Linda, May 16,
R1: Dear Linda: Yes! Maurizio, USA
A 1902: We love the look of Travertine and I am up to the care and cleaning of same. Is Travertine a good choice for a shower? charlene, May 15,
R2: Dear charlene: If the installation is done properly (right type of sub-walls, proper 1/16" 
gap for grouting -- NO BUTT-JOINT INSTALLATION!!!, etc.), and if it's going to be maintained with the right specialty products, travertine is indeed a terrific material for a shower stall. contrary to popular misconception is quite a dense stone and doesn't absorb much (I wouldn't bother sealing it). Maurizio, USA
A 1897:Hello, I have just returned from a tile showroom and have a question. I told the salesperson that I liked to look of Jerusalem but that I had read (on this site of course) that they were not good for the bathroom. She suggested Tuscan Paver Scabos Giallo which she said was marble with some type of wax applied during the manufacturing process. She assured me that they would be wonderful for the floor and shower and would never need sealing. She also suggested Giallo Royal for the shower floor and said that would need to be sealed twice a year. Do any of you experts have any knowledge of this material? Needless to say, I would respect your opinions much more than some salesperson trying to sell me something. Thank you so very much. char, May 15. Reply
R1: Dear char: A marble with some kind of wax applied during the manufacturing process?! ... Mmmm ... That sales lady must know something that I don't! ... What's more, it must be some wax (!!), if it turns the marble into a virtually "bullet-proof" material!!
It sounds to good to be true, to me! ... But then again, what do I know?! 
Giallo Royal to be sealed twice a year? ... could you please, pretty please, get me the phone number of that sales lady? I make a sealer and I could sure use a marketer like her: Do you realize how much sealer she could sell for me?!!! Giallo Royal is rather porous (it's traded as a granite), but it can be controlled with a good-quality sealer. considering that's a shower stall, according with the make of the sealer, it should be sealed every 2 to 3 years (silicon-based sealers); 5 to 7 years (Silane-based sealers); 15 to 20 years (Ester-epoxy-based sealers, my very favorite). Fluorcarbon sealer (the latest generation of impregnators) promise to be tough, long-lasting cookies, but they are too new for solid statements about their frequency of application.
ciao and Maurizio, USA
Dear Maurizio, First, please let me apologize for not answering you sooner. We unexpectedly had to go away due to family problems. We have been home for a few days now and this is the first chance to get to the computer. I really appreciate your taking the time to answer me. I did try your lemon juice test on the Tuscan Paver and it immediately ate through the wax or whatever was on the stone. So much for that!! I was going to send you the piece but I guess with all the commotion here I must have thrown it out since I wasn't going to use it. She didn't want it back. To be truthful I looked again on the paper and she said to seal once a year. 
I'm not sure if you were serious but I am glad to give you her name. It is Jashin (I think) when I decide on what I am doing, I will surely have more questions, I will purchase my cleaners, etc., from you. Thank you again for your response. char USA
A 1668: 1) Is unpolished/filled travertine suitable for shower walls
2) Is marble or limestone better than travertine for a shower application?
3) can travertine be bull-nosed? If so, what do I do with all the resulting exposed holes? 
4) I read somewhere that was a "slip resistant" white granite, perfect for bathroom floors. If this is true, where can I find out more about it? Russell, April 8.
R2: Dear Russel: Travertine or marble are both suitable. Limestone ... I hate it! (go back in time and see my answers about this topic.) 
Slip-resistance on granite (white or otherwise) is only determined by the way it's finished in the factory. It should have a so-called "flamed" finish. But I don't think you want that in a residential installation! Polished stone has never been a real hazard as far as slipperiness goes. If you put a nice area rug right outside your shower stall, that's all you'll ever need.  Maurizio, USA
R1: Dear Russell, Fancy considering the use of unfilled travertine in a shower! Ever heard of cleaning? Even filled travertine is porous and not regarded as particularly suitable for showers. As for bullnosing - any rock can be bull-nosed. But think of the practicalities of having all those holes with sharp and brittle sides along an edge that you will rub along many times. Thank goodness crimplene is no longer fashionable. And as for a non-slip granite - any granite can be made non-slip. colour has nothing to do with it. (Dr. Hans), Australia 
A 1634: I am in the planning stages of a bathroom and looking to use granite or marble as a counter top on a vanity unit. I visited some suppliers with varying advice. Basically the advice from the guy who stocked mostly granite was that marble would be more likely to suffer at the hands of my 4 and 6 year old boys and that granite was essentially maintenance free, whereas marble would require vigilance to ensure that toothpaste, etc would not stain / scratch it.
My question is, can marble be suitably treated prior to installation to prevent such stains / problems occurring and if so, what is involved in terms of ongoing maintenance to ensure adequate protection? The "chief architect" (my wife) has specified that she wants a green stone finish and therefore has a leaning towards marble as the granite I have seen to date has green tonings that are fairly subtle. Purchase cost is not really the factor as we only require about 1 square meter (I guess that's about 9 square feet to you). Regards, Andrew, Australia. April 2.
R6: Dear Andrew: I personally like the answers given to you by Steven and Alex better. As far as the granite thing is concerned, first off it only happens seldom that it gets scratched in a residential installation, but, just in case, it can be re-finished.  
Maurizio, USA
R5: Alex is right on the money! I believe you can buy a product called Vermont Green, which I have installed in dozen of kitchen applications. Rob, USA.
R4: With so many green granites available, I would strongly recommend going with your fabricator's suggestion. I also strongly loathe marbles and such in bathrooms due to their high maintenance requirements. Garner, USA.
R2: Marble, and all calcium based stones, are acid soluble and will all etch with certain common products that may be used in households. Yet marble is the overall choice for color and beauty in bathrooms. Yes, it is delicate and requires some care. but it is not that delicate, it is after all hard stone. It is the finish that needs care. certain sealers, even carnuba wax can be used to give you time to clean up messes you may make on your stone. #1 advice: use that you want and have the reputable supplier help you with the maintenance advice, and don't be a slob, because it is possible to damage anything.
If you like green, consider serpentine, sometimes called 'green marble' (but verify with your reputable stone supplier), it is not reactive to acids and will provide a lifetime of superior service. Good serpentines are exterior cladding grade material. Alex, USA.
R1: The material I would recommend to you is a serpentine. It is green and as long as it is not an ophicalcite it will be fine. The serpentine is more absorptive than marble so an impregnating sealer should be used. I do not imply that it can not be scratched. I imply that it is more durable than straight marble. Regards, Steven, USA
A 1603: Any thoughts on the suitability of polished marble for steam showers? Would hardness and pH of local water have a bearing on suitability? Greg, March 28.
R1: Dear Greg: If you use a steamer in a shower-stall lined with polished marble, you WILL lose shine. It will take time, of course, but it will happen (certain marbles will degrade earlier than others). The good news is that the loss of shine is very uniform and does not represent a real eyesore. The marble will just acquire a hone-finish. If it's a dark-colored marble, you will lose depth of color as well; but that can be rectified with the application of a good quality color enhancer. 
If you like shiny walls in your shower stall, then you have to go with either polished granite, or polished porcelain tiles (some of them imitate marble incredibly well!) , Maurizio,
, USA  
A 1510: I would like to ask you a question. I am considering using Kashmir Gold in my master bathroom in a new house. I have read that it is very porous and not suitable for a kitchen; however, how would it be for a bathroom counter top? Would I have to watch every second to be sure there was no water or after shave lotion, etc. sitting on it? Or would it be ok if sealed? I am a very neat person and don't allow stuff to sit around for long...but I'm still worried it will be a maintenance nightmare. carolyn. March 9.
R2: Dear carolyn: It looks that finally God came to earth in the person of Lkcmbr (whatever that is!). A vanity top is not susceptible to staining as a kitchen countertop. Most of the spills you'll have on it are either water or other colorless liquids. Have it sealed real good, then you should be OK. coming from me ... Maurizio, USA
R1: I do not see a problem with it......I have used it in kitchens and have had no problems. Lkcmbr, USA
Thanks very much. My mind is relieved. And I won't use it in the kitchen...that's going to have Verde Butterfly, which, in my opinion, is the most beautiful granite I've ever seen! It has garnets in it!!! carolyn.
A 1482: I have read your replies on limestone in kitchens for counters. I am wanting to use it in a first floor bathroom for a vanity counter, possibly for the shower floor and then in my laundry room. This would be only around the laundry tub and then on a sewing desk and folding counter. I see that people keep saying it depends on the limestone. What is the best limestone if I decided to go ahead and risk the cleaning and possible staining? The lady at the store has showed me Jerusalem Ramon honed limestone. Thanks for your help. Love the  website, it is very useful. Kimberly, USA, Feb 28.
R1: Dear Kimberly: It's impossible to list limestone in order of their "goodness" (if any!). Jerusalem is very definitely among the worst. I don't feel like recommending any. Why don't you go with honed marble? It's got the same look, but it's a much better stone. Maurizio, USA
A 1381: I'm confused about the differences between marble & travertine. I'd like to retile my bathroom in honed marble or travertine flooring and polished marble or travertine shower surround. I live in Seattle and my current ceramic tile bathroom has a mildew problem which we're hoping to solve by demolishing the shower walls & floor, fixing dry rot, replacing shower walls, retiling, etc.
Some dealers tell me travertine will hold up better in a bathroom and is easier to care for. Others say marble is better. (One said they're exactly the same stone.) Recommendations are all over the map in terms of which stone, which finish, which sealer, which grout. What, in your opinion would work best for each of these two areas--travertine or marble, honed or polished? Would an epoxy grout be advisable--or is there a better choice, such as latex-modified unsanded grout? What type of sealant?
(One dealer says StoneTech Bulletproof sealer will last 15 years. Another says to get Miraseal.)
Alternatively, would a porcelain tile be a better choice, given the mildew problem? And if porcelain, should I put polished porcelain on the shower walls? (Somewhere on your QA board, someone said polished porcelain is more absorbent than unpolished, which seems counter-intuitive!) Thanks for your input. Jan 28.
R3: It is not your specific ignorance that upset me. You have the right, as a consumer, to be specifically ignorant (out of my own fields I'm the stupidest guy on earth!!). What does upset me all the time is the specific ignorance of most trades people not to mention some self-appointed "stone experts". There's no justification for that in my book. and thanks for your Maurizio, USA,
R2: OK you need a lot of information. Travertine and marble, though different in some respects can be treated equally here for your purpose. 
First the mildew problem has nothing to do with the material selection. It is a moisture related issue. Please find a way to vent the space better than it currently is being done. In the mean time mix up bleach 1 part to water 5-8 parts and spray the mildew off the surface. 
Second if the travertine is filled well, it will do as well as the marble in the setting.
Third many times I think people think marble means shiny and travertine & limestone means honed. Though few limestones shine, all travertine and marble can be honed. The shiny surface will etch if improper cleaning materials and careless spills of acidic material stands too long. Scratches can be noticed more in a polished finish as well. Most polished marble isn't absorptive. So an impregnator doesn't do any good. If you hone a piece of stone the surface is not as smooth. Therefore it will not hurt to impregnate honed products. The core difference is your personal risk comfort level, meaning if you feel that you can treat a polished marble as carefully as you need to then it is a great way to go. If you think you will scratch and etch the surface frequently then the honed and sealed way is for you. If all this thought of care and maintenance for the tiles themselves seems daunting to you then the porcelain is the way to go. Yes, whether it is counter intuitive or not, the polished porcelain has surface stain issues, but you can seal it with the impregnator to help it out. As for the grouting, I know a lot can be said for epoxy grouts. But, just like the stones, you have to pay attention to the details. Please make sure your grout and caulk don't develop cracks or disappear. If they do fix it before the next time you use it. If you keep the grout and caulk whole, Assess what material appeals to you at all levels, and make sure the person who installs it knows exactly what they are doing all of the materials will do well. In closing, The shower is not a build it and forget it space, no matter what you choose you will always have to monitor and maintain it. Regards, Steven, USA
R1: Marble and travertine are indeed different stones by the way they were formed, but are absolutely the same as far as maintenance is concerned. Geological marble (a minority) is a little bit more absorbent that other mercantile marbles (compact limestone, the majority). Travertine, as far as absorbency is concerned, is as dense as most marbles (compact limestone). In the environment of a bathroom, none of them need to be sealed (unless you're going to spill coffee or cooking oil in your bathroom, and without realizing it). A sealer for stone -- any brand, including my own (which, by the way, comes with a 20 year-warranty) -- do one thing and one thing only: prevent stains, period. No other protection than that. Etchings (wrongly referred to as "water stains", or "water rings") -- the most common problem with calcite-based stones -- will not be prevented. Not one bit. It is always best to leave the stone alone, like Mother Nature intended, rather than raping Her with chemicals that won't do the first thing for you. In all my traveling (about 40 years and counting) I never, I repeat NEVER saw one single true stain in a marble bathroom! I'm really sick and tired of all this "salesmanship" going on that, instead of trying to solve the problems by understanding them (but, hey, that would mean getting to actually know stone ... What are you kidding me?!), pretend to solve them with a "miracle-in-a-bottle". I'm really upset. Maurizio, USA  
Please don't be upset, Maurizio. You're educating me (and dozens of others). Thank you so much for answering my questions. I feel like I'm a smarter consumer now that I've discovered Findstone, (which was recommended by a salesman who also pushed a "miracle in a bottle".)
Steven. Very informative. I'm still in the info-gathering mode and appreciate your input. Your has raised further Qs. Is there a particular impregnator you recommend for polished porcelain? Should I use the same on matte? Would I be better advised to use matte porcelain on my shower walls.
I don't recommend impregnators one over the other. I just like to support individuals who contribute to a forum like this. Therefore use the products by Maurizio.
As for the porcelain, it's hard to recommend something to you without having ever met you. So, I propose you differentiate between the absorption issue of the polished porcelain and the surface dirt issue of the unpolished porcelain. One (the polished) can absorb more than the other can but the unpolished won't be as smooth. So it depends on you. Do you put off cleaning until another, then another, etc., day, or, are you the type that squeegees right after you are done and the tile never has a chance to get dirty or the chance to absorb anything. Take a couple of pieces home and test them for a while. Regards Steven, USA,
I haven't read your original question and Steven's answer to it (yet), but it seems to me that you're rising an issue about porcelain tiles absorbency. Allow me to intervene on this one (I'm sure Steven will forgive me), because I believe I know a thing or two about porcelain tiles. As a manufacturer of sealers, some 6 years ago I was approached by a manufacturer of porcelain tiles from South America who was looking for a specific sealer for such material. We formulated something specific and sent the sample to the guy. He got back to me reporting that the sealer was working fine, but that they decided not to pursue the issue, because, after all, it was not so important. And you know what? That guy was right! Anyway, technically speaking, porcelain tiles are slightly absorbent when polished, while totally liquid-proof when finished rough (opposite than stone). My point, however, is this: since you're talking about a shower enclosure, why is it that the (very limited) absorbency of the tiles concerns you so much? Are you perhaps afraid that you're going to stain your tile inside the shower stall with coffee or cooking oil?! 
And even if they do absorb a little bit of water (which they won't), why is it that such a possibility bothers you so much? Marble absorbs more than porcelain, yet, I never witnessed any problem cause by a (very limited, if any) absorption of water. If any of the water will ever get absorbed (which, again, it won't), it will dry out in a matter of a few minutes, period. Think for a minute: to have a chance to be absorbed by geological marble water needs to sit on it for at least 5 minutes. To be absorbed by porcelain, it will need at least 15 minutes. And I do mean, SIT ON IT, that is on a totally leveled surface. Where do you have such a leveled surface in your shower? You have wall that are vertical, therefore no liquid will ever sit on them, and your floor must have a pitch toward the drain. 
So, besides the fact that your shower will never have a chance to get stained with anything, what is all this fuss about sealing it? Save your time (and money). Maurizio, USA,
A 1376: Decisions, decisions!! I've spent hours reading over your advice QA board, browsing the library as well as many other pages of Findstone. I'm trying to decide on whether to go with marble, travertine, ceramic or porcelain tile for my bathroom. 
I love the look of natural stone, but the more research I do, the more I feel discouraged about using it in my master bath. Am I correct in my impression that marble or travertine can be a major maintenance headache in comparison to ceramic or porcelain tile? What would you recommend, in order of long term ease of care? I'm worried about inevitable spills, cleaning solution mishaps and such. I see contradictory advice about sealing the stone (Pini says "use an impregnator and clean it with Windex," Maurizio says "you need a sealer as much as you need a hole in your head") which makes me even more leery of stone. I do love the way it looks but wonder how good it'll look in 10 years. Thank you for a thoughtful, richly informative website. I appreciate it that you're not commercially-driven as so many stone websites are. Jan 28.
R2: You have said it. The stone is great and in ten years it will look better than the porcelain or ceramic. Some comments I make are applicable to both stone and ceramic.
For instance, ignoring the grout and caulk joints can cause a disaster in both.
With stone you have different types that have different needs. Maurizio is right in that stone doesn't absorb. However some feel that with a polished marble that a topical coating (wax) makes it easier to care for. Do not Windex marble or limestone due to the composition of both. With granite, Windex would destroy impregnators. So don't use Windex. It seems to me that the right answer depends on what you are willing to do as a consumer, as a specifier and quasi design source, I recommend stone more often than tile. I just spend a great deal of time teaching people about their purchase. Regards, Steven, USA
R1: Dear Decisions, decisions: You've got actually to love stone if you want to have it in your home. It is not just another commodity that you buy. It's rather something that you adopt. 
Natural stone, with its unmatchable beauty, should give you feelings. If you don't feel anything particular at looking at a piece of stone and think that not one single piece is the same, and that it took Mother Nature hundreds of thousands of years to make, then stone doesn't belong in your household. You just like the look of it. 
Stone does need some TLc, especially calcite based stones such as marble, travertine and the likes. And this TLc can't be overcome by a "miracle-in-a-bottle", such as a sealer (besides, marble and travertine don't really need to be sealed. It's a technical fact, not the opinion of a salesman. I do make a darn good sealer, and I do know what a sealer can or can't do for you). 
If your utmost concern is about easy maintenance, then the good news is that there are porcelain tiles that reproduce (and pretty darn well at that) the look of both marble and travertine, but give you the peace of mind that only a "bullet-proof" material such as porcelain can offer. 
Of course, I am a stone man and I would encourage you to buy natural stone, providing that you learn to accept its inherent physical and chemical limitations, and that you consequently learn how to take good care of it (there are ways, of course, but they are not as simple as a sealer plus Windex!!). In fact, I'd rather have stone stay where it is now, that see it getting in a place where it would not be appreciated for what it is, and cared for accordingly. Maurizio, USA
A 1365: Hello!!! We are in the process of building a new home and we're interested in doing our master bath in limestone (shower, vanity, floor). Would you consider this risky in terms of maintenance and regular wear or is this common application for a bathroom? Your response is greatly appreciated. Thank you. colleen, Jan 23,
R4: Dear colleen, Limestone used in a bathroom requires a good cleaning and housekeeping
procedure. Despite best sealers available Limestone does pose a problem because of
its high porosity. A recent development of using impregnating epoxy sealers for
limestone has made them very versatile and can be freely used in almost all areas BUT the use of these impregnating epoxy sealers deepens the color of lime stone. If you like the "wet look" on limestone, go ahead, seal the stones and use them. We supply epoxy sealers. Regards Arun, India,
R3: colleen, As a person who works with limestone almost exclusively, I would recommend against limestone in this application. That is not to say that I haven't provided limestone vanities and carved limestone sinks for quite a few jobs on designer or architectural specifications, and as far as I know, those clients are happy with the product.  I even asked one of the architects how they went about sealing the sink basins and vanity tops to prevent water soaking , mold growth, staining etc etc, and the was that he didn't, and felt that the eventual grunge added to the aesthetics.  Go figure!!  If you are the kind of person who wants things in the home to stay clean , neat, and pristine, look at granite for this application.  If on the other hand, you find the limestone attractive for the reasons people find limestone attractive, and don't mind staining, scratching, chipped edges. etc. then by all means go for the limestone.   JVc, USA,
R2: Well limestone is used in the construction of buildings so I think it would be OK in this area. Where pitfalls occur is as follows. Limestone is a soft calcium carbonate material and caustic cleaning agents can harm it. Therefore learn about stone specific cleaners and ways to impregnate or seal (topical waxes) the area. 
If it is in the shower a good installation is needed. Is the person installing the product aware of all the pitfalls of when water gets behind stone? You need to acquaint yourself with grout and caulk. These items seal the joints of the stone to keep water in the shower. Wear- there are a lot of different limestone, some better and some worse
than others, ask for samples and information. Try to abrade them to see what wear does to them, spill things that are in a bathroom on them to see what happens.
Find a limestone that is pretty compact and without a lot of fill for easier maintenance.
I like limestone and would use it in a bathroom. Steven, USA,
R1: Dear colleen: I'm not particularly fond of limestone. In my professional life I've seen too many problems (most of which with no solution) deriving from residential (and commercial, too) limestone installations. For starters, the types of limestone available is so vast, that by just saying "limestone" one doesn't really say much. So, we don't even know which one limestone you're considering. Anyway, back to the problems, whether it's fault of the limestone itself, or the setting material, or the water, or the grout, or the sealer, or only the Gods know, it's from a long time that, as a restoration contractor, I've been declining any call involving limestone. Make of it what you want. If it was up to my and liked the look of limestone, I would get marble of the same color and have it ground to a low-hone finish. Same look, better material. Maurizio, USA,
A 1340: Any differences in upkeep between honed or polished marble in a bathroom (countertops, tub surround & shower)? Shower floor will be either ceramic or honed mosaic. Marble choice is Botticino classico. Thanks. Suzanne, Jan 16, Reply
R3: Yes, there is a great difference betokened the honed finish and polished finish. A honed surface will be smooth but not glossy and will be slip resistant with a coefficient of friction more than 0.5. It is ideal for floor etc. in the bathrooms. The only disadvantage is that the pores of the stone are open and will allow dirt and grime to go in. Water will also permeate and may leave water marks. Polishing of the stone will remove the problems of dirt and grime and to a lot the level of water ingression, BUT the surface will become slippery. I suggest, keep the stone honed and seal the surface. We can provide you the necessary sealer with application method. It is a DIY sealer. Regards Arun, India
R2: Dear Suzanne: No, not really. It will turn out to be a little easier, but the products to use are going to be the same. Maurizio, USA
R1: The shiny marble will be very acid reactive and can lose the shine through improper maintenance. The honed variety is not as shiny but the pores of the stone are more open. This allows surface dirt to accumulate more easily and needs an impregnator or sealer. As with all natural stones the proper installation with correct maintenance procedures will make having the product more enjoyable. Spend your time researching who will install the material and how to properly care for it once the installation is complete. Regards Steven, USA
A 1127: Hi! Thanks for all your help. I like to know if I install marble tiles for the bathroom walls and floor what kind of sealers to use, what kind of maintenance for its upkeep and  What kind for granite also,  pros and cons of both tiles. Any particular type of marble or granite would be helpful ?  A to z info please. I love your site its very good and helpful. Shahida, USA, Oct 6,
R5: Dear Shahida, granites are the best for bathroom, but there are giant amount of granite types in various colors, structure and grain sizes. Daniel, Slovakia
R4: The best way to help is for you to define what you like and then I can say what to do about it. Marble is not very absorptive so sealing it is not the issue. It is a calcite based product that is soft and very acid reactive.Meaning its shine can disappear. So cleaning it is more the concern and also how you use it. Granites have so many different qualities that you need to find one you like first and then ask about it. Regards, Steven, USA,
R3: Granite is typically more resistant to chemicals and abrasion. Marble is typically more exotic looking. Marble would generally be more suitable for vertical surfaces. Granites for floors and countertops, and shower stalls. If both are polished the maintenance is basically the same for both. Stones can be maintained by using appropriate impregnators / sealer / stain removers. Bob, USA,
R2: Dear Shahida: Unless there's the likelyhood that you're going to spill coffee or cooking oil (without realizing it) on the marble tiles of your bathroom floor and walls, you need the application of a sealer just as much as you need a hole in your head! There's one old and very sound rule that I religiously follow all the time: 
"THE MORE YOU LEAVE THE STONE ALONE, THE BETTER IT IS!". And note, please, that I make a stone sealer, therefore -- according to business logic -- I should be pushing it. I don't know where you get your information, but it seems to me that if it is the same source from which you've got your intelligence about mildew and
other stuff, it's safe to say that you'd be better off asking your questions to the first idiot who walks by your house. Same chance to get the same ignorance. Every marble would be pretty good for your bathroom (green would be best). Remember, though, it does require TLc! Now about "granite". Big question : "Which one?"
All the stones traded as "granite" (that are not granite ) are too different from one another to be able to make blanket statements. Follow the lemon juice test (see earlier questions). Once you have narrowed down your choice to a few  intelligently chosen stones, then maintenance is easier with "granite" than with marble.
Maurizio, USA,

R1: Hi, Thanks much, The sealers should be Impregnators, up kip Windex will do the trick, in marble every 6-12 month polish & Seal. Granite nothing for 10-15 years. Pini, USA,

A 1039: care: I am an interior designer working on a small project for a darling couple. She really wants a lovely, marble countertop for her sink surround in the master bath. So, I need to find a place that will cut the marble to my specs from a template and deliver it to the jobsite for a price that is low enough so that I can mark it up and make some kind of profit. The marble we are looking for is that green from Iran I believe.  It is a lovely, soft color, not that dark green. Many thanks, Sincerely, Jan, USA, July 17,
R2: I can't help you with your project because I don't have a fabrication facility. I can tell you, however, that your choice is a good one. Green marble in general is such a good material for countertops that can even be used in a kitchen. Why? The geological classification of marble is very restrict: "It's a metamorphic limestone, with a content of at least 60% of calcium carbonate (caco3). The metamorphosis (change of its physical structure) happened through high temperature and high pressure over a period of time spanning between 60 thousand and 200 thousand year (give or take a few thousands!)." Period. The mercantile definition, however, is much broader. In fact, many a compact limestone are traded as marble (i.e.: crema Marfil, Negro Marquina, Botticino, Rosa Italia, Perlato Sicilia, Rosso Verona, Perlino Rosato, etc. Through a very long list). They represent, in fact, the vast majority of mercantile marbles.
The difference between a compact limestone and geological marble is strictly physical (compact limestone did not go through a metamorphosis), while chemically they are identical. To recognize a geological marble from a compact limestone, the most popular rule of thumb (however with a few exceptions) is to hit the surface of the stone with a blunt object. If the crystals on the surface get "stunned", it's marble, if not, it's compact limestone. The mercantile definition of marble goes also on to include dolomitic stones (White Thassos, Palissandro, many Indian light colored marbles -- the Taj Mahal is made of a dolomitic white marble), as well as green marbles.

To the best of my knowledge, not a single green marble is a geological marble. Most of them are Serpentine, a few are Ophicalcite-type stone (such as the Verde Alpi). Green marble is different from marbles, not only by the way it was originated, but by its chemical make-up, as well. In fact, in most cases, there's no even an iota of calcium carbonate in them (with the exception of Ophicalcite stone, which does contain a small percentage of it). It is mostly Magnesium Silicate. Being a silicate rock, green marble is much more acid resistant than true marble and compact limestone, therefore, if one spills something acidic on it -- such as after-shave, perfume, a wrong cleaning solution, etc., it won't etch like marble and compact limestone do. Moreover, green marble is typically much harder than true marble (roughly twice as much), which makes it more scratch resistant. All in all, therefore, green marble is -- from a mechanic point of view, and from a maintenance point of view, a "better" stone than real marble.
What's the other side of the coin? Green marble is typically more absorbent than marble (and, definitely, much more absorbent than compact limestone), therefore it will stain easily (grease -- such as cosmetic creams, etc.). It is then best to have it sealed with a good penetrating sealer (impregnator), which is instead a waste of time and product in the case of compact limestone. One other possible negative characteristic of green marble is its ability to "bleed" efflorescence (some call it "growth").
Such phenomenon, however, is exclusively due to poor installation techniques, when tiles are set on floors or walls with regular thin-set material. The water in the thin set will migrate through the core of the stone and, by chemical reaction with its make-up, produce an inorganic salt that will bleed onto the surface of the stone in the form of a whitish deposit. It will stop once the thin-set is totally dry and can be easily cleaned off. It is not advisable to use regular thin-set, because another characteristic of some green marbles is to buckle when there is a migration of moisture through the core of the stone. Such damage is irreversible. In the case of your vanity top, however, such possibility does not exist. In fact, a countertop is never set on thin-set. As far as water being spilled onto it, and sitting on it until dry, it won't produce any efflorescence (growth) whatsoever, no matter what kind of quantity. Further, the impregnator will prevent water from being absorbed.
I'm not very familiar with the Iran green (I've seen it, but never dealt with it), therefore I don't know much about it's physical and chemical characteristics, but it should be OK. Maurizio, USA contact

R1: We can do this for you if you are in the Inland Empire area.  Green marble is not the "best" for bathroom countertops....are you interested in anything else?  When it gets wet alot, it can "grow" ....as in "moss, mold, etc...and also bubble.  There are some green marbles that do not do this, but your inexpensive green marble will grow...If it is from Iran, then it is not true marble, it is "serpentine", which does look exactly like marble, but it is not!  Let me know if I can help...- Sherri, USA. contact

A 1034: I want to use granite tile on my bathroom floor and am looking for information on different finishes i.e. honed, semi-polished and flamed. My main concern is the slippery nature of the polished tile with my children. Should I be concerned? Thanks for your help. Bob, USA, July 14.
R2: Honed and semi-polished (same thing really) offer sufficient slip resistant properties for a bathroom.  I have tested many honed finishes and the vast majority complies with standard requirements.  To offer a bit more sip resistance, you could get the floor micro-etched with acid to roughen the surface.  Flamed is of course highly slip resistant but would be a real nuisance to keep clean in a bathroom.  It may be useful in a shower alcove where you can really slosh the water around when cleaning. Regards, Jim, Australia contact
R1: Dear Bob: Semi-polished and honed are the same thing. What I mean is that there are different degrees of honed finish, from completely flat, low hone (smooth, but with no reflection whatsoever), to a medium hone (sort of a satin finish), to a high hone, which could be also defined as semi-polished.
Flamed finish is a particular finish that is obtained by treating the rough surface of the granite, in an alternate motion, with a torch and a hose of running water. The high temperature generated by the torch partly melts the surface crystals of the granite and the cold water tempers them and "freezes" the shape obtained by the melting. The result is an extremely hard surface, rough enough, but not to the point of cutting (like a grater). Natural stone -- whether marble or granite -- is not slippery, not even in a highly polished form. Of course, it becomes slippery when very wet (like most other flooring materials, including hardwood). That is why one doesn't want to install smooth finished stone (polished or honed it doesn't matter), say, around a swimming pool. There, one does want a flamed finished surface! In an indoor bathroom, the finish shouldn't represent much of a consideration; usually a bathroom floor gets wet only with a few drops of water. In all my professional life, I never heard anybody complaining about the slipperiness of polished stone in a bathroom floor. Maurizio, USA contact

A 970: Would unpolished granite be a good choice for a shower? Would it have to be sealed? Easy to keep clean? Thank you! Kay, Mexico, April 27.
R1: Hi, Yes its ok just seal it. Pini, USA. contact
R2: Unpolished granite comes in different finishes: flamed, bush-hammered, honed. Only the last could be recommended in a shower-stall, because the first two are very rough and it will be more difficult to clean their surface from soap-film and hard-mineral deposit. Once this intuitive first choice is done, we have to understand that it should not represent the main question. The main question should be: What kind of "granites" are suitable for a shower stall -- regardless of their finish? We have to keep in mind that a shower-stall represents as ruthless an environment as a kitchen. Different problems, all right, but just as heavy-duty. Many so called "granites" (which are granite only in the invoice of the dealer) are extremely porous (most of them are, in fact, metamorphic sandstone), so much so that if you put a piece of slab under a leaky faucet, after a while you will see the water coming out from the other side (I'm not kidding). Now, you do NOT want any such "granite" either in your kitchen (floor and / or countertop), or in your shower-stall.
Oh! I know, I know ... I already hear a chorus of protests from stone dealer and manufacturers of stone "impregnators" from around the world. "All youhave to do is seal it properly, and live happily ever after!"  My answer to that is: GOOD LUcK!! Let's make one thing clear: my company manufactures a stone sealer (impregnator) and I can guarantee to you that it's a darn good one. What's more, business logic suggests that one must sell as much as possible of the stuff (and, of course, I try to do just that myself), but I will never extoll the virtues of my product as the "miracle solution" for problem-laden stones. I leave that to the salesmen! There is a limit to everything. Impregnator-type sealers are good problem-solvers, for as long as the problem
is not too big. When we get to certain extremes, then an impregnator -- no matter how good it is -- becomes only a fix. Good enough to make a sale, but not good enough to make customers happy in the long run. I ought to know: I deal with stone problems every single day (that's what I do for a living!) and, believe you me, I still have to see one single customer happy with, say, a Kashmir kitchen countertop after a year or so (unless, of course, they use the kitchen only a show-place!). The list, of course, is much longer and I do not intend to list all the "bad" granites (at least in my opinion).

The only suggestion I want to offer is to test a piece of slab for absorbency: sprinkle a few drops of water on it and, if you notice that it gets absorbed quickly, stay away from that stone for use in a kitchen or a shower stall, no matter what the dealer and / or your decorator tell you. As a rule of thumb (and, of course, there are exceptions to it) the lighter the color of the "granite", the more absorbent it is. Maurizio, USA contact