Knowing how to properly care for and protect natural stone is very important for preserving the beauty of the natural surface. It all starts with understanding the science of stone.
There are many different types of natural stone, just as there are many different types of wood. Each type has characteristics that determine its hardness, durability, chemical resistance, type of finish and even translucency.
Stone is created in the earth as a product of natural forces. Its origin and composition depends on constantly changing factors such as time and place, heat, pressure and chemistry. This is what makes each stone a unique work of art.
Consumers often assume that natural stone is “stain-proof;” however, all stone is permeable to some degree. Testing shows that all natural stone, including granite, is permeable, and that the lighter and more uniquely patterned natural stones — such as Kashmir White Granite — stain easily. A simple accident of spilling wine or oil on the surface can stain an unsealed countertop in minutes.
The best way to prevent staining on natural stone is to treat the surface with a protective sealer. It is important, however, to understand that the majority of sealers used to seal natural stone do not prevent etching of calcite or calcium carbonate based stone by acidic liquids. These stones include limestone, travertine, marble and onyx.
The hardness of a stone is no indication of its permeability to liquids. Stones such as granite, sandstone, slate, quartzite and schist are made up of silicate minerals. Silicates will have similar chemical resistance characteristics as glass.
Before choosing a sealer, all stone professionals should know that the sealant selected should be based on the permeability and type of stone or masonry to be sealed. This knowledge is essential to delivering the best possible results.
Once the natural stone is sealed and installed, it’s important to inform consumers how to clean it properly. Most consumers do not realize using an acid- or alkaline- based cleaner could damage the surface and negatively impact the performance of the sealer.
Specially formulated cleaners that are pH neutral have been developed to remove spills and other messes from natural stone. Most general-purpose cleaners, acidic and alkaline solutions, abrasives, ammonia and bleach can break down sealers and damage stone surfaces. When cleaning up messes on natural stone, it’s important to use specially formulated cleaners.
Marble, like any other surface, needs conditioning, cleaning, care and maintenance to preserve its beauty and prolong its life. Because it is absorbent, marble need special care – it can stain with spillages like liquids or oil, and is sensitive to acids like citrus juices, vinegar or household cleaning chemicals, which can damage its surface. When used externally, it is vulnerable to acid rain or pollutants in the atmosphere, which erode and discolor its surface. But, taking care of your marble as soon as you install it will go a long way to preserve it, and save restoration costs in the long run.
Ideally, granite is best as a kitchen countertop, because it is very hygienic and easy to clean.
Sweep using a soft brush for polished surfaces, and medium bristles for a textured surface. You can also vacuum, as long as the cleaner is in good condition – worn vacuum cleaners can scratch your marble, or dry mop every day, using a non treated cloth.
For best results, please do not use acid based household cleaners on your marble. Soapless cleaners and other neutral cleaners like specialized stone soaps are ideal, as they do not damage the surface. Mild phosphate-free, eco-friendly dishwashing liquids or powders or vegetable oil based soaps are also fine, as long as you rinse the soap off completely. Contact your stone dealer for more details.
Keep steps, paths, walkways, and garden ornaments free from dirt by sweeping and washing often.