Professional Stone Care (and Feeding) of Black Marble and Limestone

Here at Sungloss Marble Restoration, for some reason we cannot explain why we’ve recently seen a ‘run’ on black marble and black limestone restoration. There are two issues in play: the specific qualities of the stones we have encountered recently, and the general expectations we have when consulting with our clients about black-colored stone.

Starting with the first issue: it can be pretty darn difficult to truly know what kind stone is underfoot sometimes when we assess commercial and residential stone restoration projects. There are hundreds of trade names for various stones, coming from clever marketers, and quarries all around the world. We have seen a lot—common low quality tiles given poofy, classy names, and stone deliberately called the wrong thing (i.e. ‘granite’ that is not real granite). Our Estimating Team and Account Reps rely on their experience as well as client-supplied information to ID stone and plan its’ restoration. However once in a while, our technicians discover interesting problems or unusual properties that affect our typical grinding or polishing procedures and force a little improvisation.

The most recent stuff we’ve been working with is black limestone sometimes called Inca Gray and/or Lava Stone. Whether is comes from Mexico or China, or if it is actually basalt is still undermined. All we know is we’ve worked with this stone on a few recent commercial and residential stone restoration projects. Right off the bat we noticed this stone was very sensitive to different kinds of installation and construction materials, and appears to be quite porous. Without professional treatment (correct materials, installation, cleaners, and sealers) from the very start, we fear we may see more issues with black limestone in the future.

The second issue involves black stone in general, especially high gloss polished surfaces. Although black polished stone (marble and limestone especially) can be utterly brilliant and beautiful, their inherent properties of light and color reflection make them the best candidates to highlight blemishes and poor sealing jobs. Any imperfection, etch, scratch, excess sealer, even a few drops of spilled Coke left unattended, might show up as a white ‘blip’ on the surface. This is precisely why highly polished black marble can be more expensive to maintain—it has to be kept up meticulously more often than almost any other stone. Black granite has a host of other issues and properties, a lot of which we have written about in other blog entries, and really needs its’ own article. The rule of thumb for any black polished stone is to expect the maintenance to be at a higher level than other types of stone colors and finishes.

At Sungloss Marble Restoration, our experience with commercial and residential marble, limestone, granite, terrazzo, and other stone cleaning, restoration and polishing, makes us approach the black marbles and limestones cautiously, but confidently. We have seen enough in our 20-plus years of working in banks, lobbies, condominiums, office buildings, and other commercial spaces, to know how to maintain these (sometimes) tricky black stone surfaces.