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Sketches on Etches

Tuesday, March 17th, 2015

And More Pains With Those Stains!

Calcium carbonate based natural stone like marble and limestone are going to get ‘etched’ and ‘stained’ – ALL OVER THE WORLD..!  Mild acids, severe acids and some of the more aggressive oils and mixtures with water and salt will eventually – perhaps very quickly sometimes – penetrate the Impregnating Sealers on the market and cause these “obsessive compulsive” reactionary spots. Its just the “nature of the beast”.

Some word games on cans and bottles confuse the issue by noting that they are “Stain Free” on one hand, and (in finer print) noting that “…if any stains or etches occur the only ‘warranty’ is that a service person will send you another can to use, or come out an ‘redo’ the sealing…(ha!)” – only to produce the same result?

My extensive communications and meetings, networking with the various Restoration Company Owners with the Marble Institute of America (MIA) finds that there is simply NO seal right now that will prevent “etching” and “staining” by even mild acids – but may only ” buy some time ” for one to blot up the liquids (by mild acids we are talking coke, tomato juice, coffee and the like, careful!!).

Topcoats can solve the etch and stain problem but they create another – the need to remove those topcoats, e.g. ” waxes”, urethanes, epoxies , etc…and also – those surfaces scratch, dull and get affected by certain liquids also – aside from yellowing over time.  There is NO “silver bullet”, no panacea that we know.  The best process we’ve found, and one that I use in my home, is that of “Super-Sealing”: the use of one seal (of a particular kind) first, allow that to dry and begin to cure, then two applications of another particular sealant intermittently, then buff to completion.  This “Super-Sealing” has given us the best results when done properly – although, again, NOT fool proof.  Still penetrable.

So, careful!  Read everything on those labels when shopping for marble seals as if you were going to DRINK them!  And, research at the Marble Institute website and Sungloss website to prepare yourself.

As a “freebie” please e-mail us at mike.sungloss@gmail.com for a booklet on the care and maintenance of marble, limestone and granite (BTW: granite is generally impervious to those “stains and etches” aggravating marble/limestone owners) but, beware-all granite is NOT created equal-and granite poses some other issues.  As beautiful as they are, marble, limestone and granite need tender loving care!

My best,

Mike Pavilon
20+ years of natural stone experience ….and counting!

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What Does Your Lobby Say About You?

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015

Benjamin Franklin said, “Time is money”. In the February issue of Northern Illinois Real Estate Magazine, Clark Johnson, Director of Marketing for Finishing Contractors Association of America related that phrase to empty unit space in both commercial and residential spaces.  Empty unit space is a loss in potential income. The first impression visitors and potential buyers get when they set foot in your lobby could be the selling, or breaking, point. Many times that impression is not even talked about, it’s an unconscious feeling and memory that can either “turn on” or “turn off”.

Hotel or condo lobbies should delight and welcome. One way to emanate that impression is keeping the marble, granite and limestone, usually at a high gloss polish, in tip-top shape. Hospital lobbies should comfort – usually at a low or satin luster, and bank lobbies should communicate strength and organization – usually a clean, honed luster.
A small budget can go a long way when trying to improve the “messy or unkempt” feeling visitors get, especially with restoration of marble, granite, terrazzo & limestone. It’s a cost effective and very important aspect of managing a building, and homes, alike.

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The 16th Century Narutis Hotel – as part of the Commerical/historic properties

Friday, February 13th, 2015

Historic properties are often ” regulated” or guided by various city, state or federal agencies for which certain standards and rules must apply, e.g. that the structure cannot be ” materially changed” without the approval of the government agency.  Or, that certain specified processes only must be used in the restoration.

Old Town , Vilnius, Lithuania Totally refurbished into a modern delightful hotel keeping most of the stone and original masonry . That’s 500 years of well kept ” wear and tear “!!!

Lobbies and facades are often a part of the restorations – with marble, limestone, granite, slate and other
natural stone being the most common, durable and beauty-enhancing parts to the entry areas – designed to ” knock your socks off” upon entering.

The Narutis Hotel – rated an 8.9 of best 10 on www.booking.com – is one of those restorations in historic and
beautiful Vilnius, Lithuania – long a ” lost gem” of the tourist marketplace, but recently being discovered.

Closer to home the Wrigley Bldg., the Somerset Apartments and the former Golblatt’s Store on Chicago’s South Side have all been part of some Sungloss Marble Company work in assisting making these historic structures retain and/or augment their beauty through safe and sound procedures of restoration.

When confronted with a historic building. or structure – research on the internet the various rules and regulations from the local, state and/or federal groups.

Tread lightly – as sometimes the bureaucracy can be overwhelming.

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Professional Caring for your Stone Floors in Winter Weather

Monday, January 19th, 2015

Sand, salt and dirt are big problems for your Marble, Limestone, Travertine, Terrazzo and Granite floors. Here are some things you should and should not do.

Good mats with a vinyl or rubber underside at entrances will help to minimize sand, salt and dirt from tracking on to stone floors. Asking a guest to remove their shoes and boots  before they enter your home is a definite do! (Don’t have to Buddhist to encourage that!)

Blot up water and spills with a paper towel or clean non treated towel or cloth and then go over again with a clean non treated rag or towel to make sure the stone is dry. Don’t wipe up water or spills. It can spread further on the stone.

Use a dry, clean non-oil treated mop to remove salt, sand and dirt from your Marble, Limestone, Travertine, Granite and Terrazzo.  Use a soft push broom to sweep.  Sand and salt are abrasive and can scratch your floors.  Mop frequently to rid your stone floors of sand, salt, water and dirt.  Use a pail of  warm water and a ph7 neutral soap to lift the dirt.  Don’t use the same pail of water for the entire floor.  Change your water a few times.  Would you shower with just water or would you use a good soap?  Same for all natural stone!

Stay warm this winter.  Keep your Marble, Limestone, Travertine, Terrazzo and Granite floors in good shape.

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Winter in the Midwest

Friday, January 16th, 2015

WINTER in the Midwest, the East and elsewhere plays havoc with the surfaces and even sometimes the virtual integrity of natural stone itself!  Freezing water, sand from spreaders, ” rock salts” from urban street plows that spread large granules of salt onto the streets and sidewalks – soon to be tracked from the shoes of millions of pedestrians onto natural stone floors.  Marble, Limestone, Granite, Terrazzo, and to a lesser degree Slate all eventually succumb to the perils of winter.  Sungloss Marble’s Leslie Olsen will very soon be compiling a list of do’s and don’ts and the logic of keeping freezing water, salts and sand off your lobby, entryway and reception area floors – even if you are on the 99th floor!!

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Replace or Restore – That is The Question

Tuesday, October 21st, 2014

Historic Terrazzo Lobby Floor

Historic Terrazzo Lobby Floor

Your “once- attractive, shiny, high-gloss polished,” terrazzo lobby floor has lost its life. The residents in your building are no longer impressed and you’re beginning to look at this dull, life-less floor with the hopes of getting rid of it. Possibly even considering having it covered with a brand-spanking new expensive carpet! But before you do, you should know that there is hope.

Sungloss Marble Co. specializes in “complete stone restoration” – the green, environmentally-friendly, care for natural stone. Refinishing, cleaning, polishing, and sealing are only a number of ways Sungloss Marble brings new life to both commercial buildings and residential properties alike. Meaning you no longer have to replace or cover that old flooring. With proper care, your stone should last a lifetime!

The basic tips for maintaining your stone in a tip-top shape are to: 1. Use mats or area rugs, especially at entry and exit areas, to help minimize the dirt, grit and salt from scratching the stone. 2. Blot spills immediately. Don’t wipe. 3. Dust mop floors frequently. 4. Seal those floors. Although this step doesn’t guarantee you won’t get a stain, but will make the stone more stain resistant.

Marble, granite, terrazzo and limestone can last for thousands of years. With a little TLC, you can ensure the stones longevity and preserve it for a lifetime giving you, the residents and their visitors a scene to admire for many, many years to come.

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Sungloss Marble – Complete Stone Restoration

Monday, September 29th, 2014

Sungloss Marble Company is the ” complete stone restoration”
company, in that, we are able, willing and set to work on just
about any natural stone: marble, granite, quartzite, quartz,
limestone, slate, gneiss, Belgian Black stone, terrazzo – both
cement base and epoxy ….and even some situations of concrete..

Look for that COMPLETE stone restoration process with the
skills and quality attitude of Sungloss Marble Company…

Active with the Marble institute of America ( MIA )….
at www.marble-institute.com – we will use the resources of
the Institute and our long standing membership to solve
just about any problem with natural stone with our
complete stone restoration processes.

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Granite Refinishing & Restoration

Monday, September 8th, 2014

Granite material used as a floor or countertop continues to hold a top place for desirability due to its durability, beauty, and low maintenance. Its hardness and scuff and scratch resistance make this genre of material easy to take care of – and it is generally quite resistance to dulling.

 

What happens when you find your granite appearing lackluster or dull? Showing what looks like acid etching?   Your restoration professionals, such as the Sungloss Marble Co. team, are here to help.

 

After 5 or more years, even the most hardy granite material will start to show its wear and age. Professional polishing of your granite will get it back to its original luster. It’s the responsibility of stone care professionals to provide the correct advice on frequency of sealing, etc.  (See also www.marble-institute.com)

 

Here are some general rules to determine how frequent your granite may need professional maintenance and restoration:

 

White Granite (like Kashmir) may show oil or water staining early on – we suggest sealing these types regularly.

 

Black Granites vary wildly in durability – true Black Absolute is generally quite low maintenance, but due to the dark even tone should be cleaned and sealed at least every 2 years in most settings to maintain uniformity. Popularity of the black color has led to a wide range of black material, including many black granite sold as “black” that have been enhanced with black dyes or pigments. These tend to show their “true color” by etching, and having ring marks, splotches, and spills show up on the material. Some natural black granite can also etch due to a varied natural range of composition.

 

Speckled Brown/Yellow/Tan/Gray/Salt and Pepper colors tend to be the easiest to upkeep and don’t show wear much. Seal or polish this granite professionally once every 2-5 years.

 

Don’t wax your granite.

 

Location of your granite may also dictate maintenance. Wet areas, such as showers, countertops, bathroom floors tend to show wear sooner than dry areas.

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My First Year at Natural Stone Restoration

Wednesday, August 13th, 2014

I started in this industry knowing that granite is great for counter tops and marble looked lovely in my bathroom. Unfortunately like most of you I was an uneducated consumer when it came to the care of my stone. I had no idea you could use a few drops of simple dish soap like Dawn or Palmolive to a liberal amount of water will clean your marble floors/vanities and counter tops. A simple everyday household product sitting on your sink. It cuts through grease yet it’s mild and rinses and will not harm stone.

There is reason granite not only looks good for counter tops, it’s also a very durable stone. Marble, limestone and travertine are beautiful stones, but they’re very sensitive. Water, fruit juices, alcohol and soda can etch these surfaces. This is why you need to immediately blot up these types of spills with an unbleached cotton rag or paper towel. Sealing your stone annually helps give your stone some added protection, but not complete protection.

There are different types of stone finishes. A honed finish has little to no shine or a matte look has no shine what so ever. A medium to high gloss luster is shinny. A honed look is very easy to maintain and doesn’t show etches the way a glossy finish does. A honed finish is great for a floor or stairs that get a lot of foot traffic and is better from a safety stand point as well.

I have a travertine shower that I squeegee the walls and floor of water after I take a shower. I leave the shower door open and run the overhead fan for ventilation. This keeps mildew from getting in between my caulk and keeps my shower looking fresh, especially in marble showers. You don’t want cracks or “fissure growth” which is disintegration to the stone.

Here is a trick to tell if your floors and counters have been sealed. Take some cool water and see if it beads up on the surface. If the water does it’s an indicator that these areas have a sealer.

A super seal is a water-based sealer and solvent based sealer. I recommend this to my customers who have light colored marbles. A super seal provides a bit more protection for stones such marble, limestone and travertine which are more acid sensitive. Unfortunately they etch from lemon, vinegar and oil.  Sealers can’t protect entirely from this, but you as homeowner can be conscience when using these items.  A color enhancing sealer can improve the look of your stone and is a great sealer for slate and dark colored granite or marbles.

A characteristic of a clefted stone is that it doesn’t have that smooth finish. Slate and field stone are good examples of clefted stone.  These types of stones have a natural or rough look

Cesarstone, silestone and quartz are all engineered stones that make beautiful counter tops and vanity tops. They look like stone.

If you experience lippage on your marble floor you have tiles that are not even with one another. When polishing the floor you won’t get an even uniformed look.

I’ve been lucky enough to watch some true restoration projects. The Wrigley building was one. When pulling up carpet marble was discovered beneath it. Mastic was stripped from the stone.  A wet hone process which does not produce any dust was used to try to restore the stone to what it originally looked like when it was laid. Yellowing especially in marble is caused primarily from moisture and lack of care over the years and from age. A poultice treatment, a clay like substance, is applied to the stain to try to remove it. It is then covered with plastic and must sit for at least 4-5 days (or maybe longer) until it dries. It will hopefully lighten and brighten the discolored area. I run across this mostly in older multi unit buildings around the city.

 

One of the nicest things about Sungloss is that every Friday afternoon there is a quality and safety meeting with everyone from the owner to our office manager, operations and sales.  We go over the scope of each job for the upcoming week so the details are understood and the men are provided with what they need. It’s a chance to brainstorm and troubleshoot together and prepare us for the next time we encounter this problem.

The Marble Institute of America (MIA) is one of my favorites and I’ve referred my clients to it as well. It has an area for consumers. The website is a great resource. It gives the do’s and don’ts of caring for your stone and helps you trouble shoot a problem you may encounter with your stone, before you have to invest in having a company like Sungloss come.  Go see www.marble-institute.com for some very helpful professional advice!

-Leslie

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The Scoop on Quartzite

Thursday, July 24th, 2014

Even tape is capable of etching Quartzite!

Sample being done on Quartzite – Etched by tape, moisture, heat & longevity.

The Look of Marble and the Hardness of Granite – but doesn’t mean NO Maintenance

Not to be confused with QUARTZ counter tops, which are engineered (man-made) stone materials using quartz and epoxy binders. QUARTZITE is a naturally-occurring stone straight out of Mother Earth’s color palette. It is emerging as a new favorite in the natural stone industry – quartzite blends together the look of marble material, available in whites, creams, and warm soft colors with flowing “vein” like ribbons of colors throughout with the hardness and durability of granite.

Are you spooked by the horror stories of maintaining marble – dull spotting, etches, ring marks that have to be professionally refinished? Consider quartzite – a metamorphasized sandstone that is fused by heat and pressure deep in the earth into a strong, granular rock formation – solid, low porosity generally, and very resistant to heat and acid etching.

On the Mohs scale of hardness (1-10 scale)
Granite is rated around 6-6.5
Quartzite measures in at approximately 7.
Marble’s hardness is 3-4

Although quartzite is marketed as granite-like in nature – particularly desirable that it does not suffer the etching/dullness you see in marble, it is not a fully maintenance-free material. In fact, many varieties of quartzites do have a tendency to etch from acid contact; can also get stains, oils spots, etc. Your stone professional may need to assist with occasional refinishing, etc. It is also recommended that you have your quartzite sealed to minimize penetration of stains. As the popularity of this beautiful, diverse material grows, some maintenance issues are starting to emerge as well.

Sungloss Marble Co. professionals can assist in any maintenance needs with your quartzite tops if you happen to select a variety that does have some vulnerability to acid contract. We welcome your calls to discuss any of your natural stone maintenance or restoration needs on all stones – your marble, limestone, travertine, granite.

See www.marble-institute.com for more information about the variety of material out there!

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