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!