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|| flagstone, creamic
tile, cultured marble, onyx, basalt, alabaster stone, terrazzo, mexican
|Q 2254: I would like
to know what should be used to seal flagstone.
We had used a product It looked great but yellowed over the years
and we just spent many hours trying to remove it
with a citrus stripper. What could we use on the floor to make it
look nice again? It is so dull without anything on it. It is in a
spa room and needs to be water repellent. Thank you. Larry, July 18,
Dear Larry: Use a paint stripper based on Methylene Chloride. Anything
else won't cut it. About what to use afterwards, sorry, I'm not
into that. , Maurizio, USA
|Q 2209: I have 3 problems.
The 1st one is I have a ceramic tile bathroom
floor, the tiles are 1" sq. I cleaned the grout with bleach,
it cleaned the grout well, but it seems to have lightened the color
of the tiles. The tile colors are: dark yellow, light yellow, &
white with dark gray flecks. How can I clean the grout without
discoloring the tiles? When I do clean the tiles, how can I seal
the grout to prevent future build-up of dirt?
The 2nd: I have a cut stone (non-functioning) fireplace.
I don't know what type of stone it is, I think it may be sandstone,
the color is gray and a few of the stones are a brown color, if this
helps "I.D." the stone. There are black marks on some of the stones;
my guess is it is dirt. What can I do to clean the black marks.
both the tile floor & the fireplace were done in 1966.
The 3rd and most serious: There is something forming on my basement
walls, I don't know how to describe it, but it looks like
a "bubbly" substance. It is dry to the touch. I think it
may have to do with rainwater seeping into the walls. Perhaps it is
some kind of chemical reaction between the rainwater and materials
that the walls are composed of. (They are cement with a coat of latex
paint on them.)
In another section of the basement there's old sandstone walls
(from 1927) with whitewash on them, Sometimes when it rains, water
seeps into the walls & I've noticed there's a deterioration of
these walls. What can I do to remedy the aforementioned problems?
Thanks, Vincolo, July 12, Reply
Dear Vincolo: 1. There's no way that bleach can discolor ceramic tiles,
NO WAY! Period, no debate, end of story!
What most likely happened is that the bleach cleaned the tile surface
(installed since 1966 ... it makes sense, all right!) along with the
grout. It's not a problem, you should be actually happy about it!
2. Try to poultice the stains with bleach (it will make the whole
stone become of a lighter color again! After so many years!!)
3. I'm no engineer, sorry. , Maurizio, USA
|A 1965: We
have an black onyx ashtray,
about l0 years, that seems to have accumulated stains, glass bottom
circle, etc and are trying to get it back to its original condition;
i.e, without all of the ugly stains. I have tried lacquer thinner,
acetone, toulol, soft-scrub and nothing seems to phase it. Irvine,
May 26. Reply
Dear Irvine: Those
ugly "stains" ain't no stains! They are chemical etches, which are
surface damages. Only a professional stone refinisher can restore
your piece of stone to its original condition. , Maurizio, USA
|A 1664: My wife used
Lime Away on our cultured marble vanity and it stained it
yellow. Can this be cleaned? Thanks, Jim. April 7. Reply
Dear Jim: Cultured marble is nothing but plastic, so I'm no expert
on that. I believe, however, that it can't be repaired. The best thing
you could do is to get hold of some dealer in your area (Yellow Pages:
Cultured Marble). , Maurizio, USA
|A 1592: What is the
easiest way to remove the patina on a basalt column? Grinding?
Sandblasting? Or something else? Does anyone have experience with
this? Thanks, Calvin. March 26 Reply
Dear Calvin: No, I don't have any experience at removing a natural
patina from a stone surface, nor do I care to achieve it. Actually
I am very proud not to have it!! , Maurizio, USA
|A 1512: Help! I live
in South Florida and have beautiful 65 yr old Cuban quarry
tile thru house and outside patio. After using an outdoor
fryer, we have oil spots on the tile. I have not been able
to remove it. I have used clorox & detergent, 409, Cinch, Krud
Cutter, Oops, De-Solv-It -- but nothing has helped. Please! Any advice
will be appreciated. Thanks! M Joy, March 11, Reply
Dear M Joy: Try to poultice them with acetone, providing that the
type of tile you have (and that you did not disclose) is not going
to be adversely effected by it. Maurizio, USA
There is nothing that will remove that stain - you could be doing
more damage by the products you are applying. Products of these types
should not be applied to any tile or stone surface, for fyi. Wish
I had a better answer for you. The only way to remove them is to replace
the tiles. Rebecca, USA
Lay tissue paper on the tile, Then a hot iron. Repeat the process.
|A 1470: We
recently bought a house that needs work. One of the projects is to
remove thick polyurethane from the flagstone floors that run
through the entire home except the bedrooms. What is a good product
that will remove the polyurethane but not harm the floor? We are then
planning to reseal with something that will leave the stone more natural.
Thank you. Camille, USA, Feb 24, Reply
is very difficult to do. You will have to sand the polyurethane without
changing the texture of the stone. I would advise you to call a stone
finishing professional to do this task for you. Regards, Steven, USA
I would very much appreciate if someone could offer a little of advice
on flagstone. I recently
saw a beautiful home (new) in Las Vegas that had approx. $200,000
worth flagstone in the front & back yard. I was perplexed with
what I saw: the stone looked as if someone had spilled a lot of acid everywhere
and it ate through the stone leaving hundreds of dark stains.
When I asked about it, I was told that that was a part of its natural
beauty and what I was looking at was simply an oxidation. I've seen
a lot of flagstone before, but none with such stains that, to me,
ruined what was a fine yard. Alicja Feb 12. Reply
Alija, I am familiar with Las Vegas sandstone. If it is from the Las
Vegas area, then it should not have that stain (or whatever it is).
If a realtor showed you the house, ask to see another one with this
color of sandstone, because obviously, you like a house with sandstone.
Obviously, you don't like this one.....Good luck RJ, USA,
Dear Alicja, The first thing you need to find out is the rock type.
There are many stone varieties that can be used as flagstone. One
common variety is sandstone and it is possible that what you are looking
at is a sandstone that contains clay balls. because these balls are
softer than the sandstone they weather and fret preferentially leaving
a small depression. However, because they are not as porous as the
sandstone, any water sits around for longer and promotes algal growth
which can be black, especially if the sandstone contains some iron.
but there are many other ways of causing such black spots so have
the rock identified first and then the black spots Dr. Hans, Australia.
The flagstones will probably been under intensive heat in the past
to make the surface spelch. Which will give the affect you describe.
Without viewing the installation, it would be unwise to give a diagnosis.
Please contact the company responsible for the installation . I believe
that there could be a moisture issue. Regards, Steven, USA.
|A 1423: Maurizio:
In the care of alabaster, you recommended beeswax.
We were told that we should coat the alabaster with olive oil. Is
this a recommended procedure? We have a wall sconce and a hanging
bowl type fixture in the formal dining room that are made of alabaster.
If beeswax is the only recommended protective substance, then could
you tell me a good source to obtain it in Houston, Texas. Thanks Johnston,
Feb 10, Reply
Dear Johnston: beeswax is an old sound treatment, but not the only
one (by the way, how can you expect me to know where to get beeswax
in Houston, TX?!). Among other recommended treatments, the olive oil
rubbing thing is conspicously absent! Forget about it. You could use
paraffin wax (please, don't ask me where you can find it in Houston,
TX!), or a good-quality carnauba-based car wax (you do have Pep-boys
in Houston, don't you!), Maurizio,
There are plenty of local honey producers in the Houston area. You
should be able to get your beeswax from any of them. JVC, USA
|A 1228: I have
a customer who is interested in achieving a gloss finish on their
exterior Crab orchard natural stone
patio. I have applied a matt stone enhancer which
has brought out some of the color; however, the owner is looking for
a "wet" look. Is this possible for an exterior application and if
so what type of product and manufacturer makes it. belinda, Nov 29.
|R3: Stone correctly sealed with a vapor sealer (meaning it
will allow moisture to pass through but will not allow moisture and
staining materials to enter the surface and correctly maintained on
a regular basis will not deteriorate!!!) The biggest enemy of exterior
natural stone and masonry besides not being sealed and maintained
on a consistent basis is a person who hoses the surfaces down with
hard water, leaving deposits which will destroy the natural finish
of the stone/ masonry just like the finish of glass or the clear coat
finish of an automobile. Reverse osmosis and or Dc/ionization water
filter tank systems offer an affordable way to occasionally wash an
exterior stone installation on a as needed basis, Also a formulation
is available to aid in cleaning and speeding up the natural drying
of the water left on the surface to a spotless finish. Kim, USA
|R2: There are topical coatings that give a high gloss finish.
However, since the application is outdoors, none would last very long.
I always tell my clients not to put any finishes on the stone as it
will eventually deteriorate. Enjoy the material as it is meant to
be. best regards, Steven, USA.
|R1: Hi, A wet look topical for outdoor is not possible. They
all get yellow. Pini, USA.
|A 1207: Hello,
I have a new apartment which is flooring
with terrazo. The problem occured when the craftman polished
the terrazo. A rusty color mark appeared on the edge of every piece
of terrazo. According the craftsman, the mark is caused by the
construction worker mixing with some kind of dirt sand during installation.
Cheong. Nov 20. Reply
|R3: It depends. Has the rust penetrated into the terrazo matrix
or is it on the surface? Let me know, Steven, USA
|R2: Dear Mr. Cheong: I'm afraid I know what happened to your
terrazzo, and I don't think that you're going to like my diagnosis
(although, without actually seeing your floor and without having all
the facts, it's only a guess, at this point). It is possible that
your craftsman used a procedure -- to polish your terrazzo floor --
that's dubbed "Crystallization", or "Vetrification" (actually, the
procedure managed to accumulate such a bad reputation over the years,
that whoever still implements it, won't call it anything!). It's a
chemical approach to stone surface refinishing that implies the use
of a strong acid to create a dubious chemical reaction with the calcium
carbonate of marble (terrazzo is made mostly of marble chips). It
turns out that it's not an actual polishing, but a high-tech and,
very definitely high-risk, sort of waxing. In the case of a terrazzo
floor -- although, I must admit, I witnessed several terrazzo floor
"crystallized" successfully -- what could have
happened is that the acid of the concoction got combined with the
water with which the floor was still saturated due to the honing process
-- especially along the edges of the sections, where you have the
metal strips -- and further reacted with the metal that, ultimately
oxidized giving you those, alas permanent rust stains. I hope I'm
wrong, but what the guy told you as an explanation of what happened,
makes no sense whatsoever -- at least in the way I could understand
it. , Maurizio, USA
|R1: Hi, If the polish man did it with crystallization
it might happened. It need to be grinded ASAP and polished right this
time. Look in www.findstone.com/articles.htm
. Pini, USA
1118: We have a false fireplace surround
in our 120 year old Victorian House. We didn't know what was
underneath the 3-4 layers of old enamel paint that was on it. I say
false fireplace surround in that there is no firebox, although it
did have a grate and vent system to an old hot air system that must
have been closed up years ago. I only make that point because
it apparently was never subjected to the heat of a fireplace (I don't
even know it that matters...I just thought I should mention it.)
Anyway...after removing the paint, the mantle and the surround
were a uniform black. I started hand sanding the mantle with
150 grit paper. I uncovered a lovely green stone,
across the entire mantle top.
I then started sanding the surround (the vertical surfaces) by hand,
then with an orbital sander with 60 grit paper. It remained
black but small spots (maybe 1/4 inch across) of green similar to
the mantle began to
appear. I switched to 36 grit paper and more "spots" appeared. Finally
I switched to a belt sander with 36 grit paper. The spots are
getting larger and in some areas there are patches where the black
is getting lighter and
with a strong light, I can see a green tint appearing.
So, unlike the mantle, which turns green very quickly after sanding
with fine paper, the surround is requiring mush more aggressive grit
with power equipment and a lot more time and effort. Climbing
into the false fireplace
and looking at it from the back, large sections of the surround are
green on the back, but as I said, not on the front. My questions....
Do you think it's soapstone?
We were hoping it would turn out to be uniformly green, but I'm
that I'm sanding and sanding and that it'll turn out to be black (or
more brownish) stone with green highlights? I.e. I don't want
to ruin it. I've read that with soapstone, people used to "oil" it
which would darken it. Would that make "green" stone black? Might
we be lucky and once I get through this black layer, it's uniformly
If so, how deep might I have to go? And finally...is there anything
faster than sanding? I know this was lengthy, but I tried to be detailed...anything
advice you can provide would be highly appreciated!!! Thank You, Tom,
USA, Oct. 1, Reply
Dear Tom: I have no idea what kind of stone it could be. I can't
be sure, but I don't remember having ever seen any green soapstone.
Furthermore, I believe that only recently soapstone started being
and processed into slabs (but then again, I could be wrong: I really
don't know much about soapstone).
Nobody can tell you how deep you can keep grinding into the stone
until you get to a uniform green, but unless it's getting real thin,
you can keep going. Using 35 grit sandpaper with a power-tool sounds
to me like as fast as you can go. Using 30 grit grinding diamond pads
with a professional right-angle grinder could increase (marginally)
the speed, but the cost for the equipment and material would not justify
Finally, as far as the mineral oil treatment is concerned, try in
a small, incospicuous spot with some "baby oil" and see what happens
(baby oil will eventually evaporate). , Maurizio, USA
It is so hard to advise people on this question. Practices for
mantles and surrounds were quite varied on original installations.
Lets see. 1st all the sand paper you are using is quite aggressive.
This means that the coarse sandpaper itself can cause you not to see
a finished color. Try approaching this by focusing on removing
the paint. Try not to get to the green yet. When that is all
done call a local stone expert to come over & look at the surround.
Soapstone has been a dark gray green when oiled. On
another note do not try to convert this surround to a wood burning
fire unit as it has never been installed to serve that function. Good
luck, Steven, USA
Tom, without actually seeing what you have, any suggestions
or answers can only be guess work. First off, soapstone is a
really soft stone, and the dust from sanding will have a soapy, slippery
feel to it. The coarse grit papers you are using should be cutting
the stone away rather quickly if it is in fact soapstone. Have
you tried to go back up to the finer grit over an area that you have
coarse sanded? What is the resulting look if you do that
Go back to the 60, then 100, then 150, and see what the color is then.
Wetting a small area will give you an indication as to what you will
get. It is entirely possible that the surround is of a different
stone than the mantle top. Green soapstone can be more expensive to
buy, and the original owners may have been cutting cost. Might
be that is why it was painted in the first place. Or it might
be the same stone only sawed in a different direction. Soapstone
is a very dense stone, and not very porous, so the oiling would not
have penetrated very deep into the stone. Don't know what else to
suggest other than sanding, except to use wet/dry paper like they
use in body shops. be careful with the coarse grit on the belt
sander, those machines can take alot of stone away real fast, and
can do some unreparable damage before you realize it. And please
wear a good particle mask/ respirator as soapstone does contain
minerals that you don't want in your lungs. Good luck, JVC,
Q 1028: Care: I
have put ceramic tiles for the flooring.
In some places there are some stains which do not go by cleaning with ordinary
water. Some people suggests me to use acid solution / acid powder which
are available freely in the market. I am hesitant to do since it may spoil
the surface. Pls advise me the best way to remove the stains &
also for regular maintenance. Thanks. Hariprasad, India. July 4 reply
R1: Try using white vinegar.
Depending on the result you can use vinegar to remove stains.
Alternatively, you can also use Hydrogen Peroxide. Soak a
muslin cloth with Hydrogen Peroxide and dab it on the area where the tiles
are stained. but make sure to experiment in a sample area. bM,
A 947: I have over 5000 sq. ft. of Mexican
tile around my pool which is disintegrating rapidly.
it has been in place for 2 or 3yrs and very thin layers are coming off.
Is there any finish I can apply to it that will save it? Any information
would be appreciated. Regards, Wilson, USA, March 23. Reply
R1: Nope! Maurizio, USA.
|Comments? Complaints? Compliments?
The views expressed in this section are not of FindStone.
just spent about ten minutes looking at your site, but from what I
did see I am very impressed. It looks very helpful and user friendly
I will use your site for various things in the future, Thank you for
this resource. Randy, CLEANING CO. , FL, USA.