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THE BASICS OF STONE CARE

Natural stone will provide you with a lifetime of beauty provided you care for it properly. Natural stone is unique and requires special care. We hope you find this information helpful on how to care for it properly.

basicsofstone

Natural Stone Origin

Natural stone is one of the unique creations of nature. Every piece is unique and matchless like so many natural formations. The history of particular places on this planet lies within each piece of stone. For instance, limestone flooring of today was once a mass of tiny sea creatures. Then it became an ancient seabed and after millions of years of uplift became a mountainside where limestone was discovered.

Mountainside natural stone were cut into giant 50,000 pound blocks of stone originally. These blocks were sliced into slabs, refined to bring out its natural colors and either given a smooth soft surface or left slightly rough to enhance its natural texture.

The stone’s mineral composition and origin are all indicated by its luster, hardness, colors and variations. It’s these unique blend of characteristics are what makes your natural stone one-of-a kind and beautiful, yet practical for surfaces in your home

Natural Stone is Absorbent

We tend to think of stone as “hard” yet it is a porous material. The varying degrees of porosity depend on the type of stone. If left unsealed, spills can easily penetrate the surface. The liquid will eventually evaporate, but the stain is left behind. Orange juice, coffee, wine and other highly acidic substances will etch acid sensitive stone and leave a dull mark. Granite, slate and sandstone are acid resistant stones and will not etch. Limestone and Marble will etch because they are not acid resistant.

Benefits of Protecting Stone

Having a professional apply a high quality protective sealer is the best way to prevent stains. The sealer fills in the pores and repels spills on the surface, giving you time to wipe it away. The most advanced technology available today is the Fluorochemical technology which provides the ultimate shield against oil-based and water stains. This micro-molecular formula bonds with the stone surface rather than just laying on top and provides unsurpassed wear resistance and durability. You no longer have to worry about the stones porosity because this type of sealer reacts with the stone. Antimicrobial sealers are also available which not only protect the surface from stains, but also resist the growth of mold and mildew.

Specialty Cleaners

Natural stone like any other surface in your home needs to be cleaned regularly to maintain its beauty. Natural stone however, requires cleaning products which are specifically designed for its unique mineral composition. Most general off-the-shelf

Cleaners remove the protective properties or degrade the sealer and will damage or etch the stone. Never use products containing, lemon, vinegar or other acids that will etch the stone and NEVER use scouring powders as these will scratch the surface.

Proper Cleaning

Using a pH-balanced neutral cleaner on a regular maintenance schedule will help remove soils that dusting or damp mopping leave behind. It helps keep your stone dust free and free of dry, sandy soil which minimizes the wear patterns on softer stones from everyday use. A high quality cleaner will contain protective properties which reinforce the sealer and prolong the stain resistance. Five Star Services uses only top of the line stone products. If you do purchase a stone cleaner make certain that you us a neutral pH of seven. High alkaline or mild acidic cleaners will dull and damage the finish, particularly “no streak” cleaners. Although they may be neutral pH seven some contain “Chelates” which dissolve or destroy calcium in the water and eliminate hard water deposits. Since marble and stone contain a large amount of calcium these cleaners attack the finish on stone floors.

Hint: You can test whether your cleaner is neutral by pouring a drop of the concentrated cleaner in an inconspicuous location and let it sit for 5-10 minutes then wipe up. If the spot is dull then the cleaner is not neutral and will etch your floor, but if no change is observed in the finish it should be fine.

Precautions

  • Use coasters under all glasses, particularly those containing alcohol or citrus juices. Many common foods and drinks contain acids that will etch or dull the stone surface
  • Do not place hot items directly on the stone surface. Use trivets or mats under hot dishes and placemats under china, ceramics, silver or other objects that can scratch the surface.

Floor Surfaces

Dust mop interior floors frequently using a clean non-treated dry dust mop. Sand, dirt and grit do the most damage to natural stone surfaces due to their abrasiveness. Mats or area rugs inside and outside an entrance will help to minimize the sand, dirt and grit that will scratch the stone floor. Be sure that the underside of the mat or rug is a non-slip surface. Normally, it will take a person about eight steps on a floor surface to remove sand or dirt from the bottom of their shoes. Do not use vacuum cleaners that are worn. The metal or plastic attachments or the wheels may scratch the surface.

Other Surfaces


Clean stone surfaces with a few drops of neutral cleaner, or a mild liquid dishwashing detergent and warm water. Use a clean rag mop on floors and a soft cloth for other surfaces for best results. Too much cleaner or soap may leave a film and cause streaks. Do not use products that contain lemon, vinegar or other acids on marble or limestone. Rinse the surface thoroughly after washing with the soap solution and dry with a soft cloth. Change the rinse water frequently.

Bath and Other Wet Areas


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 the stone.

Vanity Top Surfaces


Vanity tops need to have a penetrating sealer applied

Food Preparation Areas


In food preparation areas, the stone needs to have a penetrating sealer applied.

Outdoor Pool & Patio Areas


In outdoor pool, patio or hot tub areas, flush with clear water and use a mild bleach solution to remove algae or moss or have a professional use an antimicrobial sealer...

Do's and Don'ts

  • Do dust mop floors frequently
  • Do clean surfaces with “Revitalizer”
  • Do thoroughly rinse and dry the surface 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

We hope this helps your education about natural stone. If you have any questions please call us and we’ll be glad answer any questions you have!

 

 

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