The Ten Most common Stone Problems by Frederick M. Hueston
Marble, granite, limestone and other decorative stone are durable materials that will last a life time. However, if not installed correctly or properly cared for, will experience problems that will shorten its life. The following ten problems are the most common in dealing with stone.
1. Loss of shine
The loss of the high polish on certain marble and granite can be attributed to wear. This is especially true of marble, since it is much softer then granite. The bottoms of ones shoe acts like sandpaper on a stone floor surface and over time will wear the polish off. To prevent excessive wear it is important to keep the floor dust mopped, place walk off mats at all entrances. To repair a worn stone surface, it will be necessary to have a professional hone and polish it.
The dull spot created when liquids containing acids are spilled on marble is called etching. Marble and limestone etch very easily. Granite is more acid-resistance and will rarely etch. To prevent etching, avoid using cleaners and chemicals that contain acids. Bathroom cleaners, toilet bowl cleaners and lemon cleaners commonly contain acids. Certain drinks and foods contain acids and will also etch. Light etching can be removed with a little marble polishing powder. Deep etching will require resurfacing of the stone.
All stone surfaces can become stained very easily. Most foods, drinks, ink, oil and rust will stain marble. Once a stone becomes stained, it can be very difficult to remove. To prevent staining clean the spilled material as soon as possible. Blot the spill with a clean paper towel or cloth. If this does not remove the stain then a process called “poulticing” may be needed. To prevent staining, sealing the stone with a good quality penetrating Hereto find a proven sealers.
Efflorescence appears as a white powdery residue on the surface of the stone. It is a common condition on new stone installations or when the stone is exposed to a large quantity of water, such as flooding. This powder is a mineral salt from the setting bed. To remove efflorescence do not use water, buff the stone with a clean polishing or #0000 steel wool pad. The stone will continue to effloresce until it is completely dry. This drying process can take several days to as long as one year.
5.Spalling, Flaking & Pitting
If your stone is developing small pits or small pieces of stone are popping off the surface (spalling) then you have a problem. This condition is common on stone exposed to large amounts of water or when deicing salts are used for ice removal. Like efflorescence, mineral salts are the cause for spalling and pitting. Instead of the salts depositing on the surface (efflorescence) they deposit below the surface of the stone, causing pressure within the stone and therefore the stones palls, flakes or pits. Unfortunately once a stone begins to spall it is almost impossible to repair. It is recommended that the stone be replaced.
There are several reasons why a stone will turn yellow: Embedded dirt and grime can give the stone a yellow, dingy look. Waxes and other coatings can yellow with age. Certain stones will naturally yellow with age. This is caused by oxidation of iron within the stone and especially problematic with white marbles.
If the yellowing is caused by dirt or wax build up, clean the stone with an alkaline cleaner or wax stripper. If the yellowing is the result of aged stone or iron oxidation, live with it, it is not coming out.
7. Uneven Tile-Lippage
Lippage is the term given to tiles that are set unevenly. In other words the edge of one tile is higher then the next.
Lippage is the result of a poor installation. If the lippage is higher than the thickness of a nickel, it is considered excessive and the tile will have to be ground to flatten the floor. This will require the services of a professional stone refinishing contractor.
Cracks in stone tiles can be caused by settling, poor installation, excessive vibration, especially if you live in California, etc.
Cracks can sometimes be repaired by filling with a color matched polyester or epoxy. Before a crack is repaired, it is wise to find out how and why the cracked occurred in the first place otherwise it may crack again.
9. White stun Marks
Stun marks appear as white marks on the surface of the stone and are common in certain types of marble. These stuns are the result of tiny explosions inside the crystal of the stone. Pin point pressures placed on the marble cause these marks. Women’s high heels or blunt pointed instruments are common reasons for stun marks.
Stun marks can be difficult to remove. Grinding and/or honing can reduce the number of stuns, but some travel through the entire thickness of the stone.
10. Water Rings/Spots
Water rings and spots are very common on marble table tops. These spots are hard water minerals such as calcium and magnesium. These minerals are left behind when the water evaporates leaving a ring or a spot. To remove these spots use a marble polishing powder. Deep spots may require honing. To prevent spots on counters and table tops, frequently apply a good stone paste wax.
Other Stone Problems
Many problems can occur with stone surfaces. The above ten are the most common. The following is a quick problem solving technique that will help identify other stone problems that might be encountered.
1. Identify the problem- Is it discolored, etched, cracked or what?
2. Cause of the problem- What happened to cause the problem? Identifying the cause will often lead to the solution.
3. Stone Type- Identify the stone type. Is it marble, granite, limestone, slate, etc.?
4. Installation- check the installation, is it installed properly?
5. Age- How long has the problem existed? Old problems are difficult to impossible to cure.
6. Maintenance Procedures- How is the stone being maintained? Could the maintenance or lack of, caused the problem?
7. Test the Solution- Perform a small test in an inconspicuous area to decide if your proposed cure will work effectively.
From MB Stone- How to take care of your stone
GENERAL - The chemical make-up of rocks can be unpredictable. NEVER use home-brewed concoctions (such as water and dish soap, or water and vinegar) to clean your natural stone installations. NEVER use generic cleaning products (such as glass cleaner, etc.), unless their label specifies that are safe on natural marble (“cultured marble” is man-made plastic material and is NOT marble). NEVER listen to the advice of friends and relatives: they do not know stone! And, amazingly, neither do all too many trade people involved with stone, such as fabricators, contractors, dealers, etc. ALWAYS use cleaning agents that are specifically formulated to deal with the unforeseeable makeup of natural stone. IF your stone needs to be sealed, consider a quality product like our MB-4, Impregnator for Stone. It comes with a 10-year limited warranty! (No sealing every year!). To enhance the color of tumbled marble and such (wet look), consider out MB-6, Stone Color Enhancer.
FLOORS- Vacuum or dust-mop daily, and damp-mop when deemed necessary with a solution of water and a pH neutral detergent (NOT a Stone Soap), such as our MB-1, Marble, Granite and More Floor Cleaner.
For the preservation of that high-gloss factory-finish, consider using our MB-7, Polished Stone Floor Preserver in conjunction with a residential floor buffing machine, available at fine small appliance stores.
KITCHEN COUNTERTOPS- Clean daily using a specialty product for stone, such as our MB-5, Marble, Granite and More Spray Cleaner. Use it full strength on the cooking and eating areas. Use it diluted in a proportion of 1:1 with water in lighter duty areas. For disinfecting purposes (after handling raw poultry, vegetable, etc.), use our MB-15, Stone Cleaner/Disinfectant. Use it responsibly and thoroughly follow the directions on the bottle. To occasionally “brighten-up” your shiny countertop, use a fine stone polish such as our MB-13, Polished Stone Brightener. All its components are rated “food-grade”.
Mounting evidence of the consequences of the misuse of disinfectant/cleaners prompted us to make the (financially painful) decision to discontinue the bottling of our MB-15 Disinfectant/Cleaner effective January 1, 2007. If you have concerns about disinfecting matters in relation to any of your natural stone installations, please see our free article The Unbiased Truth About Disinfectants/Cleaners
VANITY TOPS- Clean when necessary using a specialty product for stone, such as our MB-5, Marble, Granite and More Spray Cleaner. Diluted in a proportion of 1:2 with water is usually enough. Clean your mirrors with that product, too: you don’t want to take chances by over-spraying on your stone a regular glass cleaner! For some extra-shine, use a fine stone polish such as our MB-13, Polished Stone Brightener. It will brighten-up your top and provide it with some extra protection!
SHOWER STALLS- Clean daily using a scrubbing tool like the one used at gas stations to clean your windshield in conjunction with a specialty product for stone, such as our MB-5, Marble, Granite and More Spray Cleaner, full strength. For extra protection and shine, treat your shower walls with a stone polish like our MB-13, Polished Stone Brightener.
When eventually an accumulation of soap film will appear (waxy look and feeling), especially in the lower part of your stall, use a specialty product like our MB-3, Soap Film Remover. It also removes possible hard water mineral deposits, without damaging the stone surface! Make sure that it has chelates in its formula and that’s rated “for natural stone”.
If you have an occasional growth of mildew in your grout lines, use a specialty product like our MB-9, Mildew Stain Remover. It will not affect the delicate surface of polished marble and other delicate stones!
STAINS AND “WATER MARKS” (ETCHING, THAT IS)- For stain removal NEVER use so called “professional poulticing kits” that no true professional ever uses! They are usually very expensive and produce limited results. Follow our guidelines on stain removal available in the “Pay-per-download” part of the Educational Literature section. The information is much cheaper than a “professional kit” and implies the use of products that are much more effective, are easy to find (you probably have them in your house already!) and inexpensive!
For “Water marks” or “rings” (acid etching, that is), you may want to consider our product MB-11, Marble and More Polishing Powder. It’s a professional-grade product, yet is user-friendly enough to be used by everybody!
WHY USE A PROFESSIONAL?
Stone restoration is such a delicate and specialized process that only a professional stone technician can ensure that it is done properly. While basic maintenance and general care of your natural stone walls, floors, and countertops is something that may be done by a traditional janitorial company, stone restoration requires not only knowledge and experience, but essential equipment is needed as well.
Natural stone has a mirror like finish and reflects light all on its own. No wax or crystallizing topical coating is required to achieve a stunning and sparkling finish. Even the most well intentioned janitorial company would try to achieve this natural looking finish through only topical or chemical means, often causing more harm than good.
In order to properly polish natural stone and remove scratches, a skilled stone craftsman must use varying grades of diamond grits to make the stones surface completely smooth and even. This process not only requires experience and specialized machinery, but also an attention to detail, as the restoration involves large amounts of water.
Stone Makeover’s expert staff makes sure to protect all of the surrounding surfaces from damage.
After Stone makeover properly cleans and polishes your natural stone, we coat the surface with a protective sealer, that is not only green and environmentally friendly, but it guards against future damage without compromising the integrity of the stone in any way.
Stone Makeover is a family owned business based in New Jersey. Our staff is comprised of highly skilled professionals whose service are second to none. We service commercial, residential and post-construction sites in the New York and New Jersey area. We at Stone Makeover are experts in granite, marble, limestone, terrazzo polishing, cleaning, refinishing, restoration and repair. We restore and repair cracks, seams and dullness in your granite, marble and travertine stone. With years of installation and repair for granite, marble, tavertine and other natural stone restoration, you can be sure that your stone is safe in our hands.
We specialize in natural stone cleaning and also offer several different marble, granite, travertine and other natural stone restoration options. Stone Makeover works with a variety of natural stones including limestone, travertine and terrazo. We remove all the dirt, oils, etches, scratches and stains that accumulate in/on the stone over the years safely and return your stone to that “honed” or “polished” look depending on the customer’s preference.
We offer marble and granite restoration and cleaning through out the New York and New Jersey area. We also offer granite fabrication services throughout the tri-state area. This includes marble and granite slabs, countertops and tile in the bathroom, kitchen, living room or any other place in your home or office that needs any type of repair, restoration or honing.
We also seal stone floors. Now, what that implies is that we apply a protective coating over the stone so that when spills and other accidents occur it doesn’t soak into the marble or granite stone and stain or etch it. Although, it may seem as if it isn’t necessary, sealing your marble or granite stone is one of the most important processes.
Stone Makeover will restore, repair and polish the stone surface of floors, bathrooms, lobbies, foyers, table tops and counter tops for residential, commercial and post-construction sites.
Our expert teams of stone restoration and repair technicians handle your valued floors, countertops and tiles with the highest degree of care, and attention to detail. They take the time out to make sure the job is done correctly and protect areas surrounding the immediate work site to assure that none of your furniture is damaged.