Get to Know Your Stone
The first step in proper stone care and maintenance is to understand your stone's geological classification and composition. this information will help you to identify what cleaning products to use and how best to care for your natural stone.
Natural stone is categorized into three basic geological classifications by their respective formation processes: Sedimentary, Metamorphic and Igneous. Additionally, stones in each category can be either Calcareous or Siliceous.
Calcareous stone is composed mainly of calcium carbonate, a chemical compound commonly found in natural stone, shells and pearls. Calcium Carbonate is sensitive to acidic solutions so mild, non-acidic cleaners are recommended.
Siliceous stone, as the term implies, is one composed primarily of silicates, such as quartz, feldspar, mica, etc. as such, a siliceous stone is generally resistant to most acids found in kitchen settings, although acidic cleaners are still not recommended, as these stones may contain trace levels of minerals that are acid sensitive. The following chart will be a helpful guide:
There are three primary stone finishes:
— A polished finish has a glossy surface that reflects light and emphasizes the color and markings of the material.
— A honed finish is a satin smooth surface with relatively little reflection of light. Generally, a honed finish is preferred for floors, stair treads, thresholds, and other locations where heavy traffic will wear off the polished finish. A honed finish may also be used on furniture tops and other surfaces.
— A flamed finish is a rough textured surface used frequently on granite floor tiles. Many other finishes (Leathered, Antiqued, Brushed, etc) are also available and used throughout the world. Consult with a stone professional if your finish does not match any of these primary types
easy care tips
To get the longest life and preserve the beauty of your natural stone, follow these simple tips:
Coasters: Use coasters under all glasses, particularly those containing alcohol or citrus juices.
Trivets: While many stones can withstand heat, the use of trivets or mats is recommended.
Dust Mopping: Dust mop interior floors frequently using a clean non-treated dry dust mop. Sand, dirt and grit are abrasive and can damage natural stone.
Mats/rugs: Mats or area rugs inside and outside an entrance will help to minimize the sand, dirt and grit that may scratch the stone floor. Be sure that the underside of the mat or rug is a slip resistant surface.
Vacuum cleaners: If used, be sure the metal or plastic attachments or the wheels are not worn as they can scratch the surface of some stones.
Spills: Blot the spill with a paper towel immediately. Don't wipe the area, it will spread the spill. Flush the area with water and mild soap and rinse several times. Dry the area thoroughly with a soft cloth. Repeat as necessary.
Cleaning Do’s and Don’ts
These are some of the recommended do’s and don’ts that should always be followed:
Do dust mop floors frequently.
Do clean surfaces with mild detergent or stone soap.
Do thoroughly rinse and dry the surface with clean, clear water after washing.
Do blot up spills immediately.
Do protect floor surfaces with non-slip mats or area rugs and countertop surfaces with coasters, trivets, or placemats.
Don’t use vinegar, lemon juice, or other cleaners containing acids on marble, limestone, travertine, or onyx surfaces.
Don’t use cleaners that contain acid such as bathroom cleaners, grout cleaners, or tub & tile cleaners.
Don’t use abrasive cleaners such as dry cleansers or soft cleansers.
Don’t mix bleach and ammonia; this combination creates a toxic and lethal gas.
Don’t ever mix chemicals together unless directions specifically instruct you to do so.
Don’t use vacuum cleaners that are worn. The metal or plastic attachments or the wheels may scratch the stone’s surface
— Clean stone surfaces with a neutral cleaner, stone soap, or a mild liquid dishwashing detergent and warm water.
— Similar to any item cleaned in your home, an excessive concentration of cleaner or soap may leave a film and cause streaks. Follow manufacturer recommendations.
— Use a clean rag mop on floors and a soft cloth for other surfaces for best results.
— Rinse the surface thoroughly after washing with the soap solution and dry with a soft cloth.
— Change the rinse water frequently.
— In the 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). Frequent or over-use of an ammonia solution may eventually dull the surface of some stone types.
— In outdoor pool, patio or hot tub areas, flush with clear water and use mild bleach solution to remove algae or moss.
— Many suppliers offer products used for stone cleaning.
— Products containing lemon, vinegar or other acids may dull or etch calcareous stones.
— Scouring powders or creams often contain abrasives that may scratch certain stones.
— Many commercially available rust removers (laundry rust stain removers, toilet bowl cleaners) contain trace levels of hydrofluoric acid (HF). This acid attacks silicate in addition to other minerals. All stones, including granite and quartzite, will be attacked if exposed to HF.
— Do not mix ammonia and bleach. This combination creates a toxic and lethal gas.
Sealing is a common step taken on some stones as an extra precaution against staining. In fact, the sealing products used in the stone industry are "impregnators" which do not actually seal the stone, but more correctly act as a repellent rather than a sealer. Sealing does not make the stone stain proof, rather it makes the stone more stain resistant. When consulting with your stone supplier, you may find that many stones do not require sealing. However, applying an impregnating sealer is a common practice.
When considering sealing, remember that sealing the stone does not make the stone stain proof, it makes it more resistant to staining.
If a sealer is applied in a food preparation area, be sure that it is non-toxic and safe for use.
Consult with your supplier or sealing manufacturer specifics for the type of sealer and frequency of the application of it.
If you have decided to treat your stone yourself, please make sure you do understand the differences between the types of sealers available on the market:
• Topical Sealers are coatings (film formers) designed to protect the surface of the stone against water, oil, and other contaminants. They are formulated from natural wax, acrylic, and other plastic compounds. When a topical sealer is applied, the maintenance program often shifts from a program focused on stone care to a program focused on the maintenance of the sealer (for example: stripping and reapplication).
• Impregnators are water- or solvent-based solutions that penetrate below the surface and become repellents. They are generally hydrophobic (water-repelling), but are also oliophobic (oil-repelling). Impregnators keep contaminants out, but do not stop the interior moisture from escaping. These products are considered “breathable,” meaning they have vapor transmission.
Natural Stone is Easy to Clean and Maintain!
Use basic soap and water, or a gentle cleaning solution for daily cleaning of your granite countertop. Remember to wipe up spills immediately, and rub with a soft cloth or synthetic sponge.
“Always call your professional stone supplier, installer or a restoration specialist for problems that appear too difficult for you to handle.”Visit us for all of your stone needs