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ADVICE WANTED!   July 31, 2002
www.findstone.com   info@findstone.com

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To Seal or Not

Q 2335: We have been doing a total kitchen remodel and just had Giallo Napoleone granite installed on our kitchen counters and island. The fabricator/installer sealed the granite after installation and told us to seal it again in about a week. I'm not sure what type of sealer they used, they just said to get it from them. They also told us the standard advice: to use a cutting board, not to spill oil or acid products on the counters, etc. I'm feeling a bit nervous about spilling anything on them now. I've been reading your advice about cleaning tips and poultices for stains, so plan to have those tips handy in case I need them. How long does it take for oil or acid products to penetrate, leave marks or will they etch the granite? I'm usually good about wiping up as I go when cooking, so hope this won't be a big problem. I'm just hoping we made the right choice in countertops. We had tile before, and I was sick of yucky grout after many years. I wanted something that would require a little less maintenance. 
Also, I always thought that granite was the "perfect" surface for rolling out pie crusts. Now I'm hearing that the oil in the pie dough isn't good for the granite. Am I being paranoid or is that true? Any other things I need to know about this granite? Thanks for a very informative site. Carolyn, July 29,
R1: Dear Carolyn: I encourage you to read the answer I gave to Debbie below (posting # 2318). It should fit your situation like a glove! Debbie, if you read this, can you see once again what I mean by "borderline"? For as long as we have "Michelangelos" like Carolyn's fabricator on the loose, who don't know how to seal (or don't care to ... same difference), "borderline" is quite an optimistic definition!
Sorry about your problem, Carolyn, but if you don't have enough leverage to have your fabricator come back and do the job right like they are supposed to do in my book, you're going to have to do it yourself. Yes, you're better off using the same sealer that they started using. You may need three or four applications (until you see that the stone doesn't absorb the sealer anymore). Maurizio, USA
2174: I have just acquired a large piece of Pennsylvania Bluestone that I want to use for a dining room table top. I guess the material is a kind of sandstone, they call it a slate down there. What should I seal it with, so that it will be practical and will not show stains? Lauren, July 8.
R1: Dear Lauren: If they call it slate they are right on the money. Bluestone is quite a dense 
stone and won't take any impregnator/sealer for stone. Even if it did, that would not prevent surface staining. Penna Bluestone is a very durable and enjoyable material, but it shows every type of surface soiling. I would consider the application of a color enhancer. That should minimize the problem. Maurizio, USA
A 2039: Hello, My granite countertops (which I love, thank you!) were sealed when installed 4+ years ago. They look great and remain clean and shiny. Recently, someone told me that it is necessary to re-seal them every 6 months to prevent them from drying and cracking. Is this accurate? How do I do it?, David, June 10.
R1: Dear David: Many people talk just because they have a piece of thong in their mouth and feel that they need to use it.
First off you have to find out if your "granite" needed to be sealed at all to begin with (see the "lemon juice test" on the left side bar on this page). Second, assuming that it turns out that it does need sealing, it all depends on the sealer that was originally applied. Some need to be reapplied every year (never heard of every 6 months), some every 3 to 5 years, and some others every 15 to 20 years. You won't be able to know that unless you get hold of the bottle of the sealer that was originally applied (besides, it's never a good idea to change brand of sealer, unless you provide to strip all the existing sealer.) Maurizio, USA
A 1901: What is the least complicated and relatively inexpensive way to keep our new polished granite flooring both looking great, and staying unharmed by cleaning materials? The tile has been sealed. Will it need to be resealed, and if so; how often -- and with what products? Bernie, May 15.
R1: Dear Bernie: How often should you seal your "granite"? Who knows? Maybe it didn't even need to be sealed in the first place! Furthermore, assuming that it did need to be sealed, it all depends from the sealer that has been originally applied. Read the recommendation of the manufacturer on the back label. Maurizio, USA
A 1869:I have a 100+ year old white carrera marble bathroom sink top with china basin insert ready for an historica home installation. The marble is unpolished and appears to have always been so, which is fine with me. I would like to know if the marble should be sealed or left as is. I have heard that sealing might cause it to crack in the future - apparently not allowing it to "breath", however we are concerned about stains and mildew damage. Is sealing called for? Would "not" sealing the bottom allow for proper "breathing" ? What is the proper treatment called for here. I am not necessarily looking for "gloss" -- just stain protection without harming this old treasure. Sara, May 15.
R2: Dear Sara: For starters, your marble is some 100,000 years old, not 100. 
Second, mankind have been having a love affair with stone since the stone age, and counting. 
Third, up until approximately 10 years ago the stone trade was run by ... surprise, surprise, trades people! Now the salesmen have taken over and, all of a sudden, everybody  desperately seems to need something, namely an impregnator for stone, that nobody ever felt like needing for the past 65,000 years. (Keep in mind that I make impregnators for stone). You draw now your own conclusions. Maurizio, USA, 
R1: Marble is not an absorptive surface. Most "stains" are really where the surface has been etched. This happens when acidic substances remain on the surface. I believe, if the sink has been around this long, you shouldn't do a thing. Clean with neutral pH cleaners and do so after each use. Steven, USA
A 1849:What is the "natural" recipe for sealing a slate floor? I remember linseed oil, but what is the other ingredient? Turpentine? Frieda, May 14.
R2: Dear Frieda: Boiled linseed oil could be your man (raw linseed oil will take forever to  dry!). Turpentine is a solvent (not a sealer) that you may want to consider using to thin the linseed oil, although I personally prefer mineral spirit. In consideration that slate - if it's the domestic type - is quite a dense stone, I'd dilute the linseed oil with mineral spirit in a proportion of 1:3 (1 linseed oil, 3 mineral spirit). You may have to apply it twice, but you'd 
have a better guarantee of penetration. If the slate is from India or China (they are typically extremely porous), then it's a totally different ball-game. You will have to run a few test to 
determine the rate of dilution, if any. Finally, remember that linseed oil is a natural product and, as such, of an organic nature (opposed to inorganic or synthetic); therefore some 
"yellowing" over time is to be expected. Maurizio, USA
R1: We use one part linseed oil to three parts turpentine. We then wait until the stuff is completely dry before we wax the floor. Steven, USA
A 1848:I want to seal my manufactured stone that I placed around my fireplace and remove extra motor on the surface of the stone. 1) How do I remove the motor from the front surface of the stone 2) What sealer can I use that has a low shine but be resistant to temperatures up to 350 degrees F and not degrade. I want to seal so that it brings out the color of the stone, Like it was damp, Tramp, May 14.
R2: Dear Tramp: For all I know, to remove a motor from whatever you have to un-bolt it with a wrench or something! Why do you have a motor on your fireplace to begin with? 
Does it have moving parts? Second, I never heard of "Manufactured" stone, so I don't quite understand what we're dealing with, here. Third, color enhancer type sealer have no finish whatsoever, because they are supposed to be absorbed by the stone, not to sit on top of it. Maurizio, USA
R1: No such animal. Sorry, Steven, USA
A 1835: I understand that marble and acid don't mix. I was wondering about some of the new water based polyurethane coatings on the market. I want to coat tumbled Italian marble tiles, and was wondering if these clear polyurethane coatings will a) adhere to the rough tumbled marble b) if they contain acids that will harm the marble, and c) if a marble sealant is needed on top of the polyurethane, or whether the polyurethane coating itself will act as a sealant. Rick, Nova Scotia, Canada, May 14.
R2: Dear Rick: If I were you I would coat your tumbled marble with the polyhurethane you have in mind (at least 4 coats), then I would find a way to coat it with liquid glass (at least another 4 coats). After that I would put an armor 1/2" thick of tempered steel over it. I would then complete the job, by sealing the whole ting with an impregnator, at least three times. I would then proceed to seal the room with a air tight door (like those in the submarines) and windows; have them welded at the seams, and apply at least three coats of stone impregnator over it, which you will then reapply religiously every year or so. Maurizio, USA
R1: I don't recommend using urethanes on stone. Use the color enhancer, impregnators, and cleaners formulated for stone. Read the labels and follow the directions. Steven, USA
A 1806: Purchased the granite flooring from a Home Depot about 100 miles away and tried to ask THEM the care and cleaning of granite floor tile; but their are useless for this type of thing. Appears to simply be a retail site. Our floor installer; thus far, has no answer to my question. He's inquiring also -- but still no answer. Can you help me PRONTO? Thanx, M. Medley, May 14.
R1: Hello, Here is an excerpt from Maurizio's advice. I liked his better than what I handed out so I give people his information.
The means: A cleaning chore Ė any cleaning chore Ė is seldom a matter of a cleaning product only. Other factors are involved, such as a cleaning rag, a sheet of paper towel, a scrubbing pad, a squeegee, and so on. Without this additional means, the cleaner alone wonít do much good! Whatís more, many a time the type and quality of the means is just as important as the quality of the cleaning product. If one uses some sub-par means, the cleaning product will not work at its best. This fact is never been truer than in the case of a glossy floor. I often noticed households using what I define as pathetic mops, many a time not so clean, either, teamed with tiny buckets on which to prepare the solution! A good-quality mop and the proper mopping bucket are key to obtaining the best results at mopping your highly polished stone or porcelain floor. In all my experience I reached the conclusion that sponge mops are not the best types of mop for a highly polished floor. My very favorites are good sized, closed-loop cotton string mops. Itís always best to buy at least a couple of mop-heads, so that, when one is dirty, all you have to do is throw it into the washing machine and use another one in the meantime. The mop bucket is very important too. Small buckets only hold little water (which, of course, will get dirty real quick), plus they donít have any provisional means to wring the mop properly. Professional-type mop buckets with a wringer, that hold a good 4 GL of cleaning solution are highly recommended. Excellent mop handles and heads, as well as a terrific bucket with wringer on wheels (by "Rubbermaid") are available in the cleaning isle of The Home Depot. They are relatively inexpensive, too. Itís a well worth investment if you have a lot of hard floors in your house!
The care:
NEWLY INSTALLED FLOORS. The best thing to have done to a brand-new polished stone floor is a detailing job by a properly trained janitor, or a professional stone refinisher. Detailing means deep-cleaning the floor virtually square inch by square inch, removing all possible grout residue or film and adhesive, taking care of possible small damages left behind by workers, or a possible few factory flaws, and open the pores of the stone by using some special cleaning agent, so that the stone can "breathe" and dry properly.  
Steven, USA
A 1797:We are considering replacing our formica countertops in the kitchen with either granite or quartz. We are concerned with water sealing and staining. The contractor who would do the granite mention impregnating it with a fluorocarbon (new?) vs silicon sealing. Can you provide information on the sealing/impregnation of granite? Also thoughts on granite v/s quartz? (We have heard the quartz does not have the water/staing issues associated with granite.) Thanks. Nickie, May 14.
R2: Lets agree to call the generic category natural stone versus quartz based products. With the light end of the spectrum the natural stone will need to be impregnated or resined. The quartz won't. With the many dark stones you don't need to impregnate them either.
The development of impregnators has been going on for 15 years or so. It is true that flourocarbons have hit the market and they are good. It is not established whether they will stay on the market or not. Therefore use siloxane based products. When done properly they will last 2-3 years between application. Steven, USA
R1: Dear Nickie: Flurocarbon-based impregnator/sealers are better than silicon, but you still do NOT want to seal a stone that doesn't need to be sealed (read my answer to the posting below yours). Maurizio, USA
A 1781: We just had Black Impala countertops installed and the contractor put HMK S34 sealant on them. I then installed a marble backsplash. While I was in buying a sealant for the marble they asked me if the counter tops had a grease inhibitor in the sealant. The sold me "Lithofin SIM Silicon Impregnator w/ Color Enhancement" for a first coat on the marble and "Lithofin PSI Premium Silicon Impregnator" as a second coat/ grease inhibitor. My question is can I put the Lithofin PSI over the HMK S34 as an add grease inhibitor? What would be the results? Russ, May 11.  
R2: I would ask the fabricator to remove the impregnator from the Impala Black. It does not need it. Steven, USA
R1: Dear Russ: A big mess!!! First off, your black impala is a "granite", not a marble. Second, and most importantly, that particular stone needs to be sealed just as much as you need a hole in your head! It's too darn dense (that's why is such an excellent stone to be used as a kitchen countertop) and no sealer will ever be able to go in (which is what a sealer is supposed to do to work).
If this can be of any consolation, all the products you bought did some good, however: They helped their makers and distributors to put their kids through college! I'm sorry you didn't buy my own sealer. It wouldn't have done your stone any good, but I could have made me some little money!! Maurizio, USA
Maurizio, Thank you for your response Is there something that I should do to remove the HMK S34 sealer that the contractor applied after installation or should I just leave it alone at this point? If I need to remove the sealer, could you please let me know the process and where can I find proper care instructions for Black Impala Granite? Also, do you sell a cleaner that is appropriate for use on my countertop? Thanks for your help. Russ, June 2,
A 1770: I have never had a home with stone countertops. I am building a home in Texas and will have relatively dark granite countertops. If you had the world to choose from (they supposedly have not been sealed, although I suspect the they might have some sort of basic protective coating) and fresh new counters. What line of products would you use to protect them? I have founds dozens of brands on the internet that all say they have the best formula. I know know nothing and the Home Depot guys seem to know less that me. Do I seal and then put some protecting chemical on regularly? Water or solvent based? What is best for family kitchen countertops? I have lots of kids so there will be lots of spills!
Blake. April 30.
A 1733: I am building a new house and will have travertine installed in the kitchen floor and the master bathroom floor. The kitchen will be installed on concrete. What should the product be sealed with and when during the installation should it be sealed. What about sealing the grout? Chuck, April 20,
R2: Chuck, Travertine should indeed be sealed no matter what room you are using it in. Miracle sealant 511 or porous plus will not change the color or surface appearance of your stone. One coat prior to grouting, and one final coat after installation is complete. Follow the directions carefully, and after the stone has been sealed remember to keep the typical house hold cleaners off from it. They were not designed to be compatible with your sealer. Try a little simple green and warm water, it wont damage your Travertine, or your sealer.
Mikki, USA 
R1: The travertine in the bath does not require a sealer. In the kitchen I would try a surface coating system. Try contacting Maurizio for the correct product he manufactures. Steven, USA
A 1730: I am an architect in Alabama and we are using a Sandstone (a type known as crab orchard) for an interior floor finish on a residence we are doing. I know that there is a type of finish (often used for brick flooring) that uses linseed oil as sealer and then a finish coat of wax. I am searching for the proper procedure for doing this since the flooring installer on the job is unfamiliar with the process. Kent, April 19.
R1: The best thing to do is have a professional do it. Now that I have said that, here is what I would do: 
Buy turpentine or mineral spirits, boiled linseed oil, tinted or clear favorite paste wax .
Thoroughly clean the crab orchard first. Mix the linseed oil to turpentine 1 linseed to 3 turpentine (don't smoke if this is your habit). Apply the mixture with a clean rag or brush. Dispose of everything properly once you are through. Make sure you ventilate the area well while you work. Protect the area from everyone while it dries. After you think it is dry tape plastic down over an area for 24 hrs.
If dry you are ready to wax. Vacuum floor and damp mop. Let this dry. Apply a thin coat of wax. Follow instructions on the label. You may want to buff it after it has dried with a white buffing pad and a buffer. Repeat until you have the look you want. Within the first year you may wax 2-3 times after that only when you want to. Steven, USA
A 1638: Do you know where I can learn more about the methods and equipment needed to polish and seal marble and granite floors? Are there any training programs that you know of? Norm, April 3.
R1: Dear Norm: Get in touch directly with me and I'll be glad to assist you. Maurizio, USA
A 1637: Maurizio - Let me begin by saying how much I appreciate the information you so 
willingly share with the consumers. Education is never a bad thing. I am currently looking for advice as to the best sealer to apply to a
honed calcite or statuary surface. What would you recommend? Laura, April 3.
R1: Dear Laura: Your question is vague. What do you mean by "sealer"? Sealer for stone are penetrating, below surface sealers. They're referred to as "Impregnators". If this is what you have in mind, such types of product offer one protection and one protection only: they help prevent staining by clogging the pores of the stone, period. Now, how could you possibly actually stain a statue? 
Other than that, the topical sealers that are available offer very little protection (if any. Just as much as a good-quality car wax. In fact most of them are nothing but, just re-labeled!) unless, of course, we're talking about topical sealers for high-traffic stone floors, which is not your case. No matter what, all topical sealers must be buffed, and are shiny. So, their application to a dull surface (hone finish), would end up altering the original look of the installation. Maurizio, USA
A 1583: A customer came in and told me that he had granite counter tops installed into his home. The installer told him that he would never have to seal his counter top. I have never heard of this, of a type of polish that can be placed on the counter so that no sealing would be needed. Was this guy telling the truth? Can you give me any information concerning this "polish" surface. Corie, March 24.
R1: Dear Corie: There are "granites" that need to be sealed, then there are other "granites" that don't. There's no topical "polish" on polished stone (granite or otherwise). It all depends on the natural density of the stone.  Maurizio, USA
A 1523: I am interested in info on sealants for honed Granite. David, March 12.
R1: Dear David: What kind of info are you looking for? Good penetrating sealers for stone are good on granite, no matter what the finish. Usually, however, impregnators only won't effect the original color of the installation. There are also sealers, called Color Enhancers that will permanently darken the stone (without adding any shine) up to the same shade of color as if it were polished. It's highly recommended for honed black granite, to help reduce the nightmarish maintenance requirements attached to the particular finish. Maurizio, USA,
A 1519: Is St. Cecilia granite? Should I seal this? Also, I have a new tumbled marble floor. What is the care for this? Kay, March 12.
R2: Kay: A granite like St. Cecilia would benefit from being sealed because it being "light" it will, over time, darken a bit from the oils in your hands, etc. This can be a charming aspect of the ageing of the granite though just as marble ages and acquires a certain patina. Lynn, USA 
R1: Dear Kay: As far as whether you have to seal or not the "granite" you mention, just rely on my little "lemon juice test" (see side bar.) Maurizio, USA 
A 1383: Hello, Maurizio I saw some comments you made recently on findstone.com. I'm interested in knowing if there is a way to seal or even varnish a limestone floor to limit the chances of it being damaged by careless neglect (I may have to rent out my house for a number of years, and I'm terrified about renters screwing up my recently-installed floor). Please let me know if your company can provide any assistance. I'm located in West Hollywood. Paul. Jan 28.
R1: All you can do is to have your floor professionally sealed with a good-quality impregnator (I wouldn't mind if you'd consider using mine! It does come with a 20 year limited warranty). Other than that, I can't thing of anything else. Varnishing is totally out of the question!! 
And ongoing maintenance -- which is the most important issue -- would only be in the hands of your tenants. Maurizio, USA
A 1361: I am an architect with a project for a marble and granite mausoleum and I would like some advice concerning stone sealers. The building is 1000sf and has a reinforced concrete structure. The granite (Sierra White) is 1 1/8" thick and the marble is in the form of large solid non-structural columns. I need to seal all the stone in this project but can't seem to find the right solution. Should I be afraid of solvent based penetrating sealers? Should I be wary of vendors that want to apply their product on the marble columns by bathing them in their water-based product for 30 days? Can you provide brand name recommendations or is that beyond the scope of this web site? Thank you, Stu, Jan 23,
R3: We would recommend a silicon polyester blend of sealant. We manufacture
these. Regards Arun, India
R2: Stu, The first concern I would have is what objective are you trying to achieve by impregnating the stone. Please get a sample of the stone and subject it to the trials you think will take place. If you are looking for the stone to do something that by its nature it can't do then impregnators are a waste of $$.
If you want the granite to repel oil and water for a while, then OK. Now impregnators go in by either a solvent medium or a water medium and bind to the stone. You need to wait 24 hours before applying another coat so that the first coat of solvent or water dries and the impregnator can bond to the stone. If you don't let the 1st coat cure long enough then the second coat doesn't bond to stone but instead to the first coat of impregnator. This is a weaker bond of impregnator to impregnator rather than impregnator to stone. Therefore, I would want to set up a periodic review composed of cleaning and resealing granite after it had been installed and specify that it needs to continue for the rest of its existence. Now for the marble columns I would ask the same question. What is the goal
of the impregnator. The marble is not absorptive that oil and water would penetrate. Marble being either metamorphic calcium carbonate or dolomite is acid reactive and the shine can disappear. Impregnators won't help that. Only due care and careful placement out of the elements would help that. If the marble is going to be left outside then get sample and subject it to the installed condition and judge whether or not you approve how it will age. Regards Steven, USA
R1: Dear Stuart: You will get, no doubt, a whole bunch of answers recommending one sealer over another, etc. 
I make a sealer (and very good at that), but I won't join the bunch. 
Let me ask you a question: "what is the picture that you have in your mind about what a sealer can do for your project?" In other words, "What do you expect a sealer to do for the stone you're specifying?" 
If your answer is a generic: "protection", then I'm sorry to be the one who's going to burst the bubble for you. 
Unless there is a chance that somebody is going to spill coffee or cooking oil in your mausoleum, and let it sit on the surface of the stone for half an hour or so (especially on the marble columns!...), the real need for a sealer is just about nil. An impregnator -- any impregnator -- including the one you mentioned -- which, by the way, could be good for the "granite" (yeah, right!) you've mentioned, but no good for the marble (marble is not very absorbent, contrary to popular believe, and that particular sealer would be too thick) -- does one thing and one thing only: it clogs the pores of the stone (which, if you ask me, it's a practice bad enough per se) so that alien discoloring agents will not be absorbed by it. End of story. All the rest is only noise, just plain marketing hype. 
Sealers are around for no more than 15 years (if that long). Stone has been around for ever, and had no problem, other than those deriving from being specified for the wrong applications. All of a sudden, since several idiotic specifications kept going on, and the stone industry establishment wouldn't drive itself to get educated about what they've been selling, it decided that the solution of all the problems deriving from (specific) ignorance would reside inside a bottle. And the salesmen were unleashed into the field to seal everything under the sun that doesn't move, including the brains of specifiers like yourself and stone operators (may the Gods forbid that some intelligence has a chance to sink in!!). 
Obviously, the problems were not solved by a long shot, because, no matter how one can try to fight the concept, there's no substitute for true professionalism, but a lot of money has been made by selling what in my opinion is the most overrated, over promoted and over applied product in the history of mankind. 
If at this point you're wondering why I make a sealer myself, the answer is very simple: 1. sealers do help if used for what they are designed to do (prevent stains), always providing that the stone specification was not the wrong one. 2. Everybody was making so much money by selling sealers that I decided to jump into the bandwagon myself and claim my slice of the pie. After all, if I don't provide to feed my retirement fund myself, nobody else will! But when it's early in the morning and my marketing guy is not around to hit me with a baseball bat, I say it like it is.Maurizio, USA
A 1345: We have a problem with the absorbency of a white sandstone from Indonesia called Palimanan. This is typical in the Aman Resorts in Indonesia. The issue we are faced with is our client use this on bath room floor as well as pool deck. Despite our advice against the use of this, they insisted as it is in fad in the Philippines at the moment. Can you recommend a stone impregnator that can prevent staining from, say: redwine, soya sauce or coffee with out changing the matt surface finish? The sandstone is very soft sort of line Podini from Bulgaria, softer than Indian Sandstone for sure. Could your recommend a sealer for this and the advice on the application and possible brands available? David, Jan 18.
R3: Dear David, There was a similar problem at one of the best hotels in the world, it is the Rajvilas, a Oberio group hotel . They have extensively used sandstone in the bathrooms and shower stalls. The bathroom were sealed using a special formulation sealer and today after more then three years they are perfect. Arun, India
R2: Every untreated sandstone in the world will absorb or stain with red wine, or coffee etc. John, England,
R1: I do not think so. For all the reasons you were against the product are all the same reasons that an impregnator will not stay ahead of the curve. I would start researching coatings for the material. Many of them would require a steady and professional application. Maurizio who contributes to this site has formulated a few. Steven, USA
A 1317: When we purchased our house there was "Italian Tile" already installed on all the floors, and had been for several years. The grout has a beige/pinkish tint to it and began to look dirty. I was successful in cleaning the grout/tile using "Zap It". My question... Is there a sealant that I should use now after the tile has been cleaned in order to help it stay cleaner longer? Thank you. Mark, Jan 10,
R1: Yes - a grout sealer will help in long term maintenance and ease of clean-up. Try contacting a grout sealer manufacturer for additional information on this topic. Art, USA

A 1277: I just bought a granite countertop (referred to in some circles as Cappuccino or brown pearl-it has gray, black and mauve in it). My question is similar to one you got before. The granite installer told me there is NOTHING I must do to the granite, that it was sealed at the shop. Just clean it and forget it. Now my friend was saying that even though it was sealed at the factory and has a nice shine, I still should put an additional layer of sealer or even impregnator color enhancing sealer now and every 6-12 months? Is he correct or is my stone guy correct. Any help you can give would be appreciated. David, USA, DEC 21.
R2: Your stone guy has got it bang on. Polish and the like are only needed where there have been short cuts taken in the original polishing. Massari, UK.
R1: Dear David: They are both dead wrong.
1. Your stone guy has no clue on how to take care of your countertop, and solved the problem (answered you question, that is) not by telling you what you have to use to maintain it properly, mind you, but by just reporting to you that "they have sealed it" at the shop. So what?! First off, that particular type of stone (which is not a granite by long shot) needed a sealing job like you need a hole in your head (In fact, it's extremely dense). Second, the use of the proper intelligence and cleaning products are of the utmost importance. Needless to say, if the salesmen got to your "stone guy" to the point of sealing his brains, too, then you'll never get any real valuable information out of him.
2. Your friend talks just because he or she has a piece of tongue in his or her mouth and has to show that off. On the other hand, very possibly, he or she is reporting your what some other "stone guy" told him or her. Maybe, if you'd like to get in touch with me directly, you may get a chance to hear something more constructive than some idiotic blanket rule. Sorry, I'm upset. Maurizio, USA
A 1263: I have a Rosa Gerona marble in the master bath of my home. I have never had marble before and wonder as to what kind of upkeep there is. It is a new home. Do I need to reseal it every so many years? Must this be done professionally? Is just cleaning it with a marble cleaner going to keep it nice? Thank you. Cindy. Dec 15,
R2: To maintain the marble in your bath or other wet areas, soap scum can be minimized by using a squeegee after each use. To remove soap scum, use a non-acidic soap scum remover or a solution of ammonia and water (about 1/2 cup ammonia to a gallon of water). Be aware that frequent or overuse of an ammonia solution may eventually dull the surface of the stone. Vanity tops may need to have a penetrating sealer applied. Check with your local restoration company for recommendations. A good quality marble wax can be applied to minimize water spotting. Good luck in your project. Sincerely, Alicia, USA
R1: Dear Cindy: It's "Rosso Verona", I guess. Now, let's try to take some sealer out of our brains, so that some intelligence can sink in! 
FACT: Contrary to popular (and greatly misinformed) believe, marble, especially in its polished form, is not very porous.
FACT: Sealers for stone (which are BELOW surface, therefore invisible) do one thing, and one thing only: CLOG THE PORES OF THE STONE, SO THAT STAINING LIQUIDS WILL NOT BE ABSORBED BY IT. In other words, sealers for stone (impregnators) prevent staining, and nothing else.
FACT: The likelihood of staining in a bathroom is only theoretic. Ask to yourself: "What kind of chances do I have to spill, say, coffee, or Coca Cola, or Ocean Spray, or cooking oil in my bathroom WITHOUT REALIZING IT?
(That is, that you let the staining liquid sit on your marble for half an hour or so, before you blot it up). The answer to that, will tell you how much you needed a sealing job to begin with, and how much you need to have
it repeated.
FACT: Marble is a calcite-based stone, therefore is sensitive to pH active substances, such as acids and salts (even alkaline, sometimes). What that means in layman terms, is if you spill something acidic on the surface of
your marble (a glass with a drink in it on your "Jacuzzi" platform), perfume, after-shave, many a formulation of glass cleaner (when you over-spray glass cleaner on your marble while cleaning your mirrors), and other wrong
cleaning solutions (toilet bowl cleaners are murder!), you will damage the surface of your stone on contact, virtually immediately, and permanently. The visual results are "water stains", "water rings", etc. The problem is that they are NOT stains at all (nor were they generated by water!), no matter what they look like, and are strictly related to the chemistry of the stone (it's makeup, that is), NOT its absorbency. NO SEALER EVEN ADVERTISES TO DO ANYTHING TO PREVENT SUCH DAMAGES. In fact, all cans of sealers for stone do disclaim that they are not meant to protect marble from "etching". Maybe the wording is different, but the substance is the same. HENCE: once more, it goes to prove that you need a sealer in your bathroom marble just as much as you need a hole in your head! (Keep in mind that I manufacture sealers and specialty cleaning products for stone, therefore, in a way, I'm shooting myself in the foot!). Now that I turned all the "education" imparted to you by the marble dealer who sold the stone to you (and who typically is just as intelligent about natural stone as you are), upside-down, and in the right direction for the first time, why don't you ask him or her to give you a definition of a "Marble Cleaner"? Do you really think that a so called "marble cleaner" (whatever that means!) sold to you by someone who doesn't have a clue about cleaning chores to begin with, and cleaning requirements of natural stone IN RELATION TO WHERE the stone has been installed is it going to solve your
bathroom problems? Dream on! If you want to know something intelligent that's really going to help you,
contact me directly. Maurizio, USA
A 1257: I just did my whole downstairs (about 1500 sq ft) in Honed Light Travertine. I am now in the process of sealing it. My question is "what is the best way to protect your travertine from scratches, stains, and dullness? I understand the sealing process and it purposes, but need more info on Expert cleaning and maintaining travertine floors. This is my first time experiencing a natural stone floors. I appreciate any suggestions. Thanks in advance. Holly, Dec 12,
R2: Well, sealing the floor with an impregnator would not help against scratches, stains and dullness. In order to do that you would need to put a coating on top of the surface. My friend Maurizio has these types of products plus (this is most important) the necessary expertise to tell you how to care for the floor. Generally speaking you will need to invest in a professional stone restoration company. Please have them provide references and other floors they successfully maintain. Best Steven, USA
R1: Dear Holly: Why don't you ask your question to the people who sold the stone to you? I'm sure they made good money out the deal, and I am also sure that they are absolutely concerned that you're going to be a happy camper with the stone they sold to you for years to come! I mean, if they sell it, they've got to know how to properly maintain it, right! Well ... maybe not. If that's the case, get my website address through the management of this site. A visit there should give you some insight. Ciao and good luck with the sealing (I'd call a pro to do it, if I were you), Maurizio, USA
A 1231: I have installed a new Travertine tile floor in my kitchen. The seller says I should seal it, the installer says I shouldn't, just wax it. What is the proper care for this stone? Thank You, Richard, Nov 30.  
R4: Hello Richard, Is the stone polished or honed? In both types of stone it's always good to seal. you should always seal. MFDA, USA
R3: Always watch the grout and caulk joints. You want them to stay solid. Damp mopping with a neutral pH cleaner is necessary. I prefer impregnators rather than topical sealers. The wax is a topical sealer. If you have a problem with the floor due to traffic or heavy duty stain problems then look into coatings. With wax I always feel that I am getting into a cycle of wax maintenance. Best regards Steven, USA
R2: Dear Richard: Do you want it sugar coated, or do you want it straight in between your eyes? Well, I'll pick.
Sealing would help a tiny bit, but wouldn't do you any REAL good. And so would waxing (whatever that means! That is, would you know what kind of specialty wax you should use to begin with, and what kind of equipment?
Who's gonna tell you, the same "genius" who went along with the choice of your stone?! But relax, like I said, even if you'd know, it wouldn't help you much). The bare truth is: POLISHED TRAVERTINE (LIKE ANY POLISHED CALCITE-BASED STONE, SUCH AS MARBLE, LIMESTONE, ETC.) DOES NOT BELONG IN A KITCHEN, PERIOD. No sealer or specialty wax can overcome that. Maurizo, USA
R1: Hi! You should not wax it. Seal it. Pini, USA
A 1199: I have just installed 2 colors of granite in my kitchen. The countertops are in Blue Carmel and the work island is made with Sapphire Black. We also have a tumbled marble backsplash. Our fabricator recommends using a penetrating sealer. She recommended the brand "Bullet Proof" which I have been unable to find. Do you  recommend this type of a sealer for my stone? I also have travertine floors in the living room, foyer, guest bath, and dining room. Should they be sealed as well? I appreciate your advice. We will be moving into our new home next week. Lynn, USA, Nov 21.
R2: Lynn, Try Maurizio's lemon slice test for absorption. Both stones are good but need a good impregnator. 
Go ahead and have your travertine sealed also. Some of the areas you describe may not need it but the vast majority do. Please check with the people who installed the products to find out what they did. Best Steven, USA
R1: Dear Lynn: "Bullet Proof", huh. Sounds impressive, don't it! Never heard of it, although I think I can say have heard of them all! Regardless, to determine whether your "granites" need sealing or not, have a little fun and perform my "lemon juice test". That will tell you. As far as the tumbled marble is concerned, yes, that does need to be sealed. You have two options: 1. the use of a regular good-quality penetrating sealer (Bullet Proof or not); it will seal the stone, but will leave the color as is now.  2. The use a good-quality sealer that's a color enhancer at the same time. Not only will this seal the stone, but it will make it look -- permanently -- darker. To see what I mean, try to wet the stone with some water. Once it's soaked, that's the color that a color enhancer will give you. Maurizio, USA
A 1159: Just had a granite countertop installed in my kitchen. What brand of sealer do you recommend? The granite is Verdi Butterfly. Thanks. Dave, USA, Oct 29.
R2: Dear Dave: I make a sealer (and a very good one, indeed!), but I won't push it to you. I feel it would be unethical to use this site to free-advertise products (unless they represent a breakthrough and are one-of-a-kind. It's certainly not the case with sealers for stone!!). What bugs me is: How come you don't feel like relying on your fabricator on this very important issue? Maurizio, USA
R1: Hi Dave, Not to parse words but what you want is an impregnator. Sealers are usually topically applied i.e. waxes and other plastics. Impregnators should be oleophobic and hydrophobic (repel oil & water). Our friend Maurizio has come up with a lemon slice test for consumers to use & I expect you to see his response on how often to check. (twice a year probably) I rarely endorse specific brands as I know people from most of the different companies that make them. I will say contact Maurizio because he has formulated some dynamite products. Steven, USA
A 1081: I would like information on how to clean and seal a slab of blue limestone which is to be used as a hearth in front of my fireplace. Jennifer, USA, August 30,

R1: Dear Jennifer: There are specific products such as impregnator-type sealers (below surface) that have the task to clog the pores of the stone to dramatically reduce its absorbency. Once properly applied, it will not be visible, nor will it change the color of the stone. If you want to make your stone look darker (like when it's wet), then there are other types of impregnator-sealers that are color enhancers, too. There are also topical finishes (Urethane-like) that are applied to give the stone a shiny or satin look. Unless you plan not to use your fireplace, my advice is against these latter types of product. They scratch easily and can't be spot restored. Every time you have to strip them completely, and that represents a nasty chemical chore that, in the long run, could even have unwelcome side effects on the stone itself. For routine cleaning there are products specifically designed to deal with the delicate chemistry of natural stone. Maurizio, USA  

A 1078: We are going to be putting honed black granite in our remodeled kitchen.  On your site you advised using a penetrating sealer that's a color enhancer.  Is there a brand or product name we should look for? Is this something that you reapply every year? Thanks for your help! Marks, USA, August 28,

R1: Dear Marks: This site has an educational purpose and it's not meant to advertise specific products. I'm sure that you can appreciate that. On the other hand, I can understand the need of consumers for more precise answers. It doesn't help much, does it, to read about a particular type of product without a precise indication of a recommended brand, and where to get it! Do contact me, and I will gladly help you. Maurizio, USA

A 1055: Care:  I am renovating a 1930 log cabin built on the pre-cambrian shield (Manitoba, Canada) It has a huge 10 foot fireplace constructed of local stone, much of which I believe is granite. The stones look great when wet, and I would like to enhance the colour of the stones...Any suggestions? Thank you in advance. J Micheal, Canada, July 24.
R1: There are lots of colors enhancing sealers in the market. Check with your local tile store or building supply to see what is available in your area. JVC, USA.

A 1008: I was wondering what your thoughts are on applying a protective clear coating to stone and brick exterior walls. I've read a lot of conflicting information. What types of preservative clear coatings are available and what are their pros and cons? Finally, is applying a preservative something I can do myself or do I need to hire someone? (What are the steps I should take in determining if I need to apply the coating or not, who to hire, etc?) USA. June 14
R1: First of all decide on why you want to coat the stone.  Is it for stain resistance, additional strength, graffiti resistance, increased durability. The product you choose will depend on your reason.  When applying a coating, stones especially must be allowed to breathe, that is, allow the transmission of water vapour. The application of a impermeable coating may result in irreparable damage by spalling of the surface caused by build up of pressure form water - especially in high frost areas.  Most of the chemicals used are hazardous, so if you do apply them protective equipment is essential. Jim Man, Australia