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Q 2198: I'm redoing a bathroom in my house
and have chosen limestone for the bathroom walls (including tub/shower
area) and tumbled travertine on floor and top of vanity.
but ----- I'm in a sea of confusion -which should I use of the apparently
dozens of sealer/impregnators available on the market! I'm ready to begin
installation of the tile today (literally!) and would *very much* appreciate
your recommendation for pre-installation sealer/impregnator and post
installation sealer/impregnator. It would be really helpful to have
your recommendation for a cleaner, as well. , Jan, July 9,
R1: Dear Jan: That said,
the use of an impregnator / sealer is not recommendable only in relation
to the type of stone one's about to install, but also and above all, to
the environment in which the given stone is going to be set. Example:
granite (true geological granite, that is) needs to be sealed, if you
use it to make a kitchen countertop (where a lot of spills will occur),
but if you install the same stone on the walls of you studio, the application
of a sealer would only help to put the kids of the manufacturer and its
distributor through college! I mean, what could you possibly spill on
A 2038: We are the 2nd owners of 6-yr old
home with a granite island with a cook-top. Do we need to put a wax
or some other type of treatment onto the granite counter to maintain its
sheen, and if so, what kind and how often? Peter, June 10
That said, limestone would need to be sealed when installed in an environment
where staining is likely to occur, but a bathroom?? ... Are you going
to spill coffee and cooking oil in your bathroom, and let it sit there
for several minutes?
It's a proven scientific fact that the more you leave the stone alone
-- like Mother Nature intended -- the better it is for it, especially
when dealing with limestone, which some time may turn out to be as unpredictable
as the weather! Most of the times, limestone will turn out to be all right,
but I witnessed all too many problems related to limestone to advise the
use of it to begin with. What's even more disturbing and should give anybody
pause, is that all those problems, bar none, had no solution, and some
of them were stemming from the application of a penetrating sealer (impregnator).
So, please, if you still insist on sealing your limestone, do NOT use
my sealer. I prefer someone else who doesn't care so much to enjoy the
ride! and Maurizio, USA
R1: Dear Peter:
No, I don't consider it a necessary procedure. If your countertop were
REALLY cleaned, it should be shiny enough!
A 2004: I have blue Pearl granite counter
tops in my kitchen. I have been cleaning with Windex and now I find
out that was the wrong product to use. Is there any spray cleaner that
I could use on a daily basis. The tile store I went to suggested a
mixture of mostly water with a little white vinegar. I was just wondering
if there was any commercial spray or cleaner available, something that would
leave a very high shine. T. Leslie, June 3,
What I mean is that, in the vast majority of the instances, when a customer
inquires with me about the fact that their countertop is not so shiny
anymore, it turns out that it's some sort of film sitting onto its surface.
That happens when ones doesn't use the proper specialty cleaner, or when
they "clean" their "granite" surface with water and dish soap.Maurizio,
R1: Dear Leslie:
You should you go back to your dealer and tell them that they should suggest
their all too precious customers to also use sandpaper, when dealing with
stubborn soil. There's not much difference between that and water and
A 1996: I accidentally spilled grease on
my stone patio. Any ideas on how to clean? thanks! Carmen,
and Maurizio, USA
PS: It wouldn't hurt if your dealer would take some time to read them,
too. but, who knows, probably it would represent a too risky proposition
for them ... All that information in one single dose... It could be just
R1: Dear Carmen:
First line of attack (if you didn't do that already) is to wash it with
a concentrated solution of warm water and dish detergent, followed
by substantial rinsing with a garden hose. This will take care to
thoroughly clean the surface. If a stain remains due to the fact that
some of the grease has been absorbed by the stone, the you'll need ot
poultice it out with acetone and talc powder (baby powder). and Maurizio,
A 1895:I have questions about the care of
terrazzo and marble floors. I have looked into maintenance machines and
am confused as to the different between polishing and burnishing. I thought
a simple machine for about $800.00 275 RPM designated for "polishing" would
be fine ...then someone suggested 1500 RPM for "burnishing". I thought with
a newer floor, less than a year old simple care would keep it looking good
with a good polish. May 15
R1: To take care
of your floor yourself, my suggestion would be, do a two day course so
you won't make things worse purchase a 17 inch 175 rpm floor machine with
1.5 horse power 110 volt and a full faced Velcro drive pad to place your
3 or 4 inch diamonds too, This can all be done for $3000 or less. NO bURNISHERS.
Good luck. Randy, USA.
A 1868:I recently purchased a house and
was told the kitchen bench tops were granite. How can you tell if they
are the real thing or imitation. To clean the surface of granite, what
ingredients are required. I have been using a mixture of metholated spirits,
vinegar, disinfectant and water. Vicki, May 15
Dear Vicki: Only by looking at it it could be possible to tell what it is.
There are no
"secret tests" that can be run to find out. As far as your cleaning
solution is concerned, I give you two options:
1) You keep brewing your own concoction, but I would also add to the mix
the following ingredients: Hydrocloric acid, some liquified sand-paper (the
coarser the better), Methylene Chloride, Kerosene (available at your local
airport), Phosphoric acid, and - last but not least - a dash of TNT (if
you can't find that, some C-4, Plastic Explosive will do just fine). Trust
me, your stone will be cleaned and disinfected like nothing else on the
face of this earth, and she'll love it, too!!
2) You use specialty cleaning products for stone. and Maurizio, USA
You could ask a local stone fabricator to look at them. If you use the
solutions you describe and don't suffer any long term dulling then it
could be granite. Generally, stone can be cleaned with a neutral pH cleaner.
It is not naturally a good surface to culture bacteria so you don't have
to go to the length you are going to keep it clean. , Steven, USA
A 1850: I've just had travertine installed
in my bathroom--floor, shower, vanity top--and want to care for it in the
best way possible. I also want to clean the toilet, sink and mirror w/out
damaging the stone. I've been phoning cleaning supply companies to inquire
whether Formula 409, 7th Generation or Scrubbing bubbles are ok. So far
Clorox Clean-up and 7th Generation are the only cleaners that have been
recommended. but I'm weary of using either because Clorox Clean-up has bleach
in it (is bleach ok to use on travertine?) and 7th Generation--an environmentally
safe cleaner--has citrus, which I understand should not be used around marble.
So tell me about the products. And where might I purchase them in Seattle,
Rjrohde, May 14
R1: Dear Rjrohde:
Do NOT, I repeat DO NOT USE any of the cleaning products you've listed!!
and Maurizio, USA
A 1671: I have about 2000 square feet of
marble in my home. I live in Houston, Texas. I am trying to find the
correct products to use to care for it. I am also interested in learning
how to wax it. Can you help me. I am willing to go to school to take a
class. Linda, April8
R1: Dear Linda: Get
in touch with me directly through the link at the end of the question and
I'll be glad to assist you. and Maurizio, USA
A 1593: I'm installing a marble shower.
I'd like to know the pricing and how-to-order information on the German
soap product mentioned. Thanks. Tim, March 26
R1: Dear Tim: Pricing
it much depends on the geographical area where you reside, and on how good
is the contractor. For some mysterious reason, good contractors have the
nasty habit to charge more!!
Now, what are you seeking that German Soap for? To clean your shower stall
from soap deposit? ... Wow, some logic, huh!! Stone soap in general (German
or otherwise) is a (wrong) cleaner sold (thank goodness by a minority of
manufacturers) for polished marble floors. In fact -- like any other soap
-- it leaves fatty deposit on the floor, which, eventually, will have to
be stripped off with a soap scum remover (which, if ask me, it a product
that makes much more sense for your shower stall!)
No matter how good it is per se, no screw-driver will hever help you at
driving home a nail!
and Maurizio, USA
A 1408: Please tell where I could find
information about granite slabs maintaining to front of the building.
The 15 m high wall is from blocks that are made from flamed air filled
clay pieces, concrete, sand and water. Granite slabs are about 30kg ,30x120x3cm.What
is the possible facing procedure? Mitstar. Feb 6,
A 1339: My kitchen and bath countertops are
granite. No problem cleaning with soap and water. but how
do I clean my granite shower on a daily basis? The cleaner I was given is
a lot of hard work, includes cleaning and polishing. betty, Jan 16.
R2: Dear betty, Cleaning shower stall
on a regular basis is a painful job. We have a impregnating sealer which
would provide an impervious surface and a simple wipe and clean with a
terry towel or a mop would do the job. , Arun, India
R1: Dear betty: I don't agree about the
soap and water to clean your granite countertop. Unless you rinse it thoroughly,
and more than once, with plenty of water EVERY TIME you clean it, you're
going to have an accumulation of hard to remove soap film that will make
your countertop look dull. Now, if you want to give any value to your time,
it will turn out that a good stone spray cleaner -- although more expensive
than water ond soap to buy -- will do the job right and in a fraction of
the time. As far as the cleaners for your shower stall, I would like to
encourage you to contact me. , Maurizio, USA
Thank you for your . I would be interested
in information about a good stone spray cleaner and a cleaner for the
shower. If you have the names of good brands and where I can purchase
such cleaners, I would really appreciate the information. Again thank
you. Your web site is great. I found it very educational and enjoyed reading
all the questions and answers. betty, Jan 23.
A 1258: We are looking
for a product that fills in the small pits to apply to natural
stone countertops after we install them. Can you help? Dec 12,
R2: Use either clear acrylic glue or a shellac
stick. best Steven, USA
R1: Yes I can; It's penetrating epoxy glue.
Now a couple of pieces of advice: 1. Don't bother with it. 2. If you
still insist, call a pro to do it for you. by and large it is not a DIY
project. and Maurizio, USA
A 1192: Can you recommend a comprehensive
book or publication on cleaning and maintenance of natural stone products?
Kind , David, Australia, Nov 17
R1: Dear David, As far as I know there is no such thing
(that is published) on the subject of cleaning and maintenance covering
the range of natural stone products. A few books touch on the subject
superficially and some of this information is gleaned from other sources
and is not always reliable. On larger projects that utilize a variety
of stones or use stone in a variety of applications I am occasionally asked
to prepare a comprehensive guide of the sort that you are after. (Dr.) Hans,
A 1027: Care: I have been told of a marble
cleaner, "Natural" is the label and I am unable to locate the product
here in the Seattle area. Do you know who makes it and I will contact
the Company or do you know of a distribution point out this way and I
will call and order it. Sultan, USA. June 29
R1: Now let's understand the definition of "marble cleaner".
We're all brainwashed! We see a label on a cleaning product that says
"glass cleaner" and we assume that such product is designed to clean glass.
Wrong. A cleaner -- any cleaner -- is formulated to interact with a certain
type(s) of soil, no matter on which surface it (they) are sitting. A glass
cleaner is designed to clean light soil such as finger-prints, dried-on
dust and water-spots. Needless to say, if you have such type of soil on,
say, a "Formica" surface, the glass cleaner will perform just fine. It
is not that the "glass cleaner" has a brain and goes: "Hey, that ain't
glass, it's Formica ... Whadda ya think I'm stupid?! I ain't cleaning
it!..." On the other hand, if you have, say, soap film and hard mineral
deposit on your glass shower stall door, or if you have baked-in food
on the glass of your oven, you can try using a "glass cleaner" until you
drop, but you're never going to be able to clean that stuff off your glass
Do you follow
me so far? OK, then, what's a "marble cleaner"? Something that cleans
marble surfaces no matter what kind of soil you have sitting on it? Not
by a long shot. For starters, you'll never get away with ONE "marble cleaner".
In fact, there's no way that you can clean, say, your marble shower stall
from soap film, hard-mineral deposits and mildew, with the "marble cleaner"
you use to clean your marble floor, or your vanity top. They are totally
different types of soil.
Now, let's understand
marble. It's a calcite-based rock that has a very delicate and somewhat
unstable chemistry. Calcite (Calcium Carbonate) reacts in "strange" ways
to harsh chemicals, especially of an acidic nature. If something acidic
hits a marble surface, the Calcium Carbonate will immediately go to work
to neutralize (kill) the acid (that's way most heartburn remedies are
made mostly of Calcium Carbonate). What happens is that the Calcite
gives itself up in order to neutralize the acid. In other words they kill
each other. If the marble surface happens to be polished to a high gloss
(by the way, the gloss on a marble surface is produced mechanically, by
abrasion and friction, like gemstone, not by applying some sort of finish
onto it), then the damage will appear like a dull spot that looks like
a "water spot", but that is actually an etch mark, that is a surface damage,
not a stain (no matter what it looks like).
of most household cleaning products available off the shelves of the supermarket
is typically too harsh for marble, therefore those products will no doubt
clean whatever soil they were designed to remove from the marble surface,
but they will clean off some of the marble, as well, by corroding it.
Therefore, a "marble cleaner" (in its different formulations, accordingly
with the soil it has to deal with) it's a cleaner that will remove the
soil off the marble surface, while leaving the marble alone. Needless
to say, it will also work fine on any other surface it's applied on. Typically,
"marble cleaner" are either neutral (pH 7, also referred to as pH balanced),
or alkaline (but with specific chemical characteristics).
All that said,
as you can easily understand, there's nothing "miraculous" about "marble
cleaners" (although there's a company out there calling itself Miracle...),
so, if I were you I wouldn't get too much worked up about finding
such "Natural" brand. If you have no problem, so far, with your marble,
any good "marble cleaner" will do just fine. If you do have a problem
instead, chances are that you'll never going to be able to solve it with
a cleaner. If you do have a problem, feel free to tell me about it. best
of luck! Maurizio, USA
I read your
note with interest and appreciate the work and effort you went to in explaining
your thoughts. Sincerely, Sultan.
A 1015: Care:
We just purchased a home with limestone floors. We don't
know how to take care of them or anything about limestone. Rhonda,
USA. June 21
R1: Limestone floors
usually have a relatively high water absorption (compared to granite)
and are light coloured, therefore they are susceptible to staining.
To avoid this they must be sealed and the sealant maintained. A
good way of telling if the surface needs resealing is to place a drop
of water in a high traffic area a another in a low traffic area and watch
them bead and soak in. A drop of water on a well sealed floor will
sit high on the floor and take a while to soak in. The drop will
soak in quicker a s the sealant deteriorates. For regular maintenance,
avoid wet mopping the floor, instead use a dry mop regularly and a damp
mop when necessary. A wet mop will tend to carry any dirt into the
tile even if it is sealed. Sealers only reduce the staining potential.
Jim Man, Australia
A 1014: Care:
I would like to
know if after installation the things that you need to know about the
upkeep of granite. Does it stain?
Does it crack? Is there ever a "bad batch" of granite? How
often does it need to be sealed, etc.? Dbrown, USA. June 20
R1: The quality of
granite varies, but in general it has a low water absorption, high abrasion
resistance and high strength. This means it has good stain resistance,
shouldn't show wear (some blacks may show tracking) and shouldn't crack
after laying if laid correctly. The most important maintenance issues
are maintaining the shine and minimising stains.
Maintain the shine by reducing the introduction of grit - use mats outside.
Clean the floor regularly with a dry or damp (not wet) mop. If necessary
use a neutral pH detergent to clean very grubby areas. Tracking on darker
monotone colours may be a problem. In a home this may be reduced
by periodically changing traffic paths eg. moving furniture where possible.
Granites are very dense with low porosity so they shouldn't need sealing.
Attend to spills as soon as possible by blotting up liquids and using
minimal liquid to clean up drier stains (water can carry the stain into
the stone). If stains do occur, various methods can be used - a
web search under stone, stain and the staining agent will get you some
useful advice. , Jim Man, Australia
R2: You ask if the granite stains. Well, it
might. You see our beloved stone industry is, alas, pretty much totally
unregulated. When they find a stone in some corner of our blessed planet
that take a polish and doesn't look like marble, they label it as "granite",
no matter what the heck that stone is. As a consequance, the vast
majority of the stones traded as "granite" are in fact related to granite
like a cat to a cow. Granite (the real one, that is) is more porous than
marble (approx. twice as much). but then there are stones like labradorites,
basaltic, etc. that are much denser and virtually water-proof (therefore
they will not stain). At the other end of the spectrum, we have stones
(gneiss, anitrites, metamorphic sandstones, quarzites, etc.) that are
as absorbent as a sponge and will stain like crazy. So to give an answer
to your question, one must know what kind of "granite" you have.
As far as cracking is concerned, it's a possibility that's only connected
with poor installation, not the type of stone. Yes, of course, there can
be a bad batch, like with any other natural product. Unfortunately, however,
since there's not any official grading, you're at the mercy of the dealer's
ethics. Finally, the sealing is advisable only with "absorbent granites",
therefore the answer is consequent to the type of "granite" you have.
A 1010: Care: I am starting a cleaning business
and I am interested in cleaning public buildings. This of course
would include cleaning of sandstone, granite and marble. Could you please
send me some good reference texts. John, Australia. June 19
R1: All you will ever need to CLEAN natural stone floors
is a good professional-grade mop, some good pH neutral detergent, and
plenty of good ol' tap water. The funny thing is -- you will soon find
out -- that the persons in charge of maintenance of the buildings you'll
be servicing won't be much interested in that, however. They will expect
you to keep those floors as shiny as they were on the day of the cutting
of the ribbon! And at this point, cleaning has nothing to do with it.
That is stone surface refinishing and it represents the pinnacle of all
the stone related activities. From a professional knowledge point of view,
in fact, stone refinishing is much more demanding than setting or fabricating.
It makes sense: it doesn't take an expert to make the human body -- just
some passionate lovemaking! -- but it does take an expert (a doctor) to
take care of it! The reason why stone refinishing is so professionally
demanding is because Mother Nature made stone so different from one another.
Not one marble is the same of the next one, therefore, you can't treat
all marbles the same way. In other words, it is not a standard procedure.
If this is beginning
to sound scary (and it should), wait until you get into granite! Just
consider this: the vast majority of the stone traded as "granite" are
in fact related to granite like a cat to a cow! And this is not my opinion,
it's a geological fact. Of course, in your search for THE solution you
will meet with a whole army of salesmen touting their miraculous one-medicine-cure-all,
and so-easy-that-even-an-idiot-can-do-it! There are even a couple of companies
here in the US selling their franchise! (Franchising something that can't
be standard? ... Wow!). You may even go for one of them, but -- mark my
words now -- you will eventually find out that there's no substitute for
professionalism. Nobody can become a surgeon by just watching one while
operating for a couple of days! Of course, all that doesn't mean that
you should give up; it only means that if you're serious about it you
should consult with serious professionals and stay away from the quacks.
You're starting with the right approach: you're asking for reliable publications
on the subject. I don't know about anything else, but I think that the
technical papers that I've been publishing over the years could be helpful.
If nothing else, you will find out that the only things the salesmen ever
published are some fancy brochures! Maurizio, USA
A 1007: Care: I'm gathering information on
stone care maintenance and restoration. I need information with companies
providing this type service. Thank you.
Carlos, USA. June 13
R1: Look no more!
You can get in touch with me and perhaps we could talk business. Fair
enough? Maurizio, USA
|Comments? Complaints? Compliments?
The views expressed in this section are not of FindStone.
Maurizio, I have been reading your advice for quite some time and
have developed trust in your judgment and knowledge since the advice
regarding "granite" has been nebulous at best. Thanks for your time
and assistance. Rowena, USA.