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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
Q 2222: I have a cement patio that has some cracks in it. I was thinking of having slate installed over the concrete. I live in the Midwest (cold winters, hot summers). Would slate be a feasible solution to give my patio a new look? Thanks, Anita, July 15,
R1: Dear Anita: Yes, provided that the installation contractor is going to put a good-quality anti-fracture membrane over the concrete slab. Maurizio, USA
A 2151: Can Brazilian slate withstand the cold and snow in the north? Will it peel or crack in extremes of weather. I want to have a table made from Brazilian slate and do not know if it will peel from cold weather? Thank you, Eileen, July 2,
R1: Dear Eileen: You don't know and neither do I! What I do know is that I would never choose slate -- Brazilian or what-have-you -- for a table top if I ever intended to use it! Maurizio, USA
A 2081: I am considering using travertine as an exterior patio table top. Is this a suitable use? Should sealants be used? If so, what type? What type of maintenance routine should I expect? Any tips, pitfalls would be appreciated. Thanks, Cheryl, June 18, Reply 
R1: Dear Cheryl: For as long the stone has a low hone-finish (not polished!!) you can use travertine outdoors. To help prevent staining you can apply a good-quality impregnator / sealer (below surfaces, that is). Other than that, I advise you to get my free maintenance guidelines for residential stone installation by hitting the link at the bottom of this page's left side bar. Treasure them; you'll be glad you did! Maurizio, USA
A 1736: I am considering doing my bathroom with an Emparedor dark marble floor, vanity top and tub surround top and creme travertine walls and tub surround. I would appreciate your opinion of the durability and practicality of these two materials for these purposes. Also, knowing the greater durability of granite - are there similar colored granites that perhaps I could substitute for these items? Thank you. Noreen, April 20.  
R3: Stay away from marble on kitchen tops. The best material is still granite. Thomas, South Africa.
R2: Both of these materials are beautiful but, as you point out, are susceptible to damage. My personal experience is that a lot of beauty products will mar the polish of marble. As long as you are aware and can accept that the polish will diminish with time and constant use, you will have a beautiful bathroom. If you will not be happy with this long term, then you should definitely use granite. There are very few granites that have a veining pattern similar to marble so you will have a different look entirely. Your best bet is to go to your nearest stone distributor or contact a local fabricator for recommendations for available stocked slabs to view. Lynn, USA
R1: With marble in the bathroom, it is more the case of how to properly care and maintain them. Proper care and maintenance will make them last for decades and perhaps even longer. Regards, Steven
R1: The colors of the slate indigenous to your area are fine for temperature changes. As long as the material is properly installed and maintained, it will do quite well. Material and installation cost varies by region. As a rule of thumb, get three estimates and don't use the cheapest. Shop for quality. Regards, Steven, USA
A 1528: I am in the process of re-building our front porch. We live in the North East (US) steps from the ocean. I am interested in granite capping for our steps. I would like to know how this will hold up in hot summers, and icy, freezing winters. Can I expect cracking? What effect does salt (to melt ice) have on granite. Is granite practical or impractical? Dan, March 13.
R1: Dear Dan: Usually "granites" for outdoors are real granites or akim to it, so they are a good choice. Of course it has to come on a flamed finish. Just install it and enjoy! Ciao, Maurizio , USA