The Key To A Good-Looking Stone

The Key To A Good-Looking Stone

Stone surfaces can appear dull and dirty with time, despite your best cleaning efforts, and sometimes perhaps because of them. Stone floors lose their high polish over time. Traffic areas develop at entrances and turn areas, where we see the highest concentration of feet, and the most pivoting. Table and counter tops show light scratches and dull areas across the surface, as keys are tossed or drinks spilled. This is inevitable with all stone. The good news is it can all be restored. When a ceramic or vinyl floor wears, it must be replaced or resurfaced. A stone floor that has lost its polished can be brought back to life with a little tlc.

Cleaning, and the topic of polish restoration seems to be often confused and misunderstood. The dilemma this presents is quite common. Let me give you an example. Your floor is 3 years old. There are some areas that have very little shine. The area at the front door is dull and scratched. You call three contractors in to give you an estimate of how much it will cost to make your floor look new again.

A knowledgeable craftsman, can provide a number of different services based on what you are seeking to achieve ranging from a factory finish to simply restoring a shine (but not removing scratches).

Your floor, began its life as a rock buried in a mountain or under the ocean. It is then quarried into blocks, cut into slabs, and eventually sliced into tiles. These tiles will still bear cutting marks of the saw which are often visible on the back of your tile before installed (or if you have extras). These marks are then ground out using a series of abrasives getting finer and finer until the surface has been ground, honed and polished to a mirror like finish, having flattened the surface so that light can bounce true off its surface, just like your mirror backing.

When a true craftsman arrives to assist you, he has a number of tools available to him, but which is the most appropriate to your need, will depend on what you seek to accomplish. A craftsman can regrind the floor to restore that factory finish if that is what you seek, or he can simply polish the surface to restore a shine, but leave any large scratches behind. If you want shine that may be fine, but if you want your floor restored and the scratches removed, it is going to take a couple more steps with a series of abrasives to work those scratches out. Have no fear though, in most cases one is talking about the depth of a human hair, and as such the floor can be restored without shortening the floor life, and while maintaining a level surface (assuming the craftsman knows what he is doing).

If offered a topical treatment to restore your shine, be sure to understand how long this surface can be expected to last, to resist the natural wear of foot traffic, and when it does wear, how is it maintained? In many cases a topical must be removed and re-applied, where as a craftsman can address a wear issue on a spot basis saving time and money.

One the finish you want has been achieved you still have some decisions to make which will impact the longevity of your surface. Will you reseal the surface? Unless this surface was a resonated (a practice that is becoming more and more common whereby a polyester resin is vaccummed through the pores of the stone in order to reduce its brittleness making it easier to ship around the world without risk of damage, but also provides a secondary benefit of sealing the stone), sealing is a necessary protection as it prevents spills from penetrating and staining your surface. While not an expensive or difficult process, ask anyone who has had their surface stained and they will tell you it is well worth it to avoid the loss of appearance or the time and money needed to remove a stain after the fact. Stone surface should be sealed every 2 to 3 years. Beware the LONG life promises of many sealer manufacturers, more often than not that claim comes with a series of asterisks on how the surface needs to be protected to achieve that long life, which is surprising when one considers this was supposed to be the protectant step.

Hardening is another offering. A hardener is recommended for use on softer stones such as limestone, marble, or travertine. It is designed to provide a thin protective hard surface to better reduce wear. As a final step it also serves to enhance the gloss appearance, however that is not its intended purpose, simply a requirement to be a lost step application. These material are often overused by janitorial companies in an effort to chase a shine. As with anything too much is not a good thing. But when used for the purpose they were intended to enhance the wear resistance of softer stonefloors, they are a valuable part of your floors protection. If you have a marble or limestone floor it is recommended to harden the floor. This should reduce the frequency for which your floor needs to be re-polished or restored. This may not be in the best interest of the craftsman, but the craftsman that is taking care of his clients best interests will make sure to cover this with you.

When reviewing your craftman’s proposal ask that each process be line itemed out, so you understand what he is proposing, and why it is being proposed. Every service is not right for every floor, but its important that every floor be provided the right service. A hotel floor can be expected to be treated very differently to a residential lobby, or an end table’s surface.

No matter which service you decide to go with, always remember to go with a company you can trust that has the size and ability to stand by their service guarantee. Typically, those that have survived and thrived to expand into multiple markets are able to do so as a result of the loyalty of their clients, which only comes through the consistent provision of quality honest service, and beautiful results.

Kitchen Renovations – Natural Stone and Granite Counter-tops

In today’s world, everyone wants their house to look as beautiful as what royals had in yester years. Many places in the house which had, till now, been ignored are getting the much needed attention they required. The Kitchen has received a major part of this attention, a number of natural stones and synthetic materials are being used for making a new kitchen.  In older houses, a portion of the money spent during Kitchen renovation is used by adding stone based countertops to give an immediate lift to the kitchen décor.

Natural stone like Marble and Granite are one of the most popular options explored by a property owner.   Both marble and granite have the following benefits when used while building a new kitchen or during kitchen renovation:-

1. Beauty.  The variation in colors, textures, patterns and designs are endless. You can choose just the right color and texture which suits your taste.

2. Uniqueness.  Every single slab of granite and marble are unique. With differing shades and patterns these marvelous stones will surly add a sense of elegance to your kitchen.

3. Financial return.  Granite and marble add a lot of value to the kitchen and help raise the overall value of the property.

4. Durability.  Kitchens regularly face a lot of rough and tough usage like sharp knives, hot pans and pots, and stains. Granite and marble countertops can typically handle more of this damage than a synthetic material.

Choosing between granite and marble during kitchen remodeling is can be tricky. One needs to consider all factors very carefully as the cost of using natural stones in your kitchen is substantial. One must examine pros and cons of using either of the two stones carefully including the cost factor, look, durability and suitability.

In comparison to granite, marble countertops are not as popular, as they can be scratched easier than granite countertops. Also, acidic substances, like vinegars, ketchup,  etc.  affect the surface of marble more in comparison to a granite countertop. The glossy surface of a marble counter may be lost with time due to exposure to chemicals commonly used in the kitchen.   Although heat does not harm the actual marble core in any way, exposure to heat may cause the marble to discolor significantly.   Granite on the other hand is the second hardest stone available and is not as easily affected by chemicals, scratching, and typical kitchen heat. Chipping and scratching granite surfaces is rather tough in comparison to marble, which can be chipped.

Cleaning granite surface countertops is very easy and is limited to cleaning by cloth and a granite cleaner.  One area where marble scores over granite is the choice of colors, granite is limited by the colors found in nature. Thus when doing kitchen remodeling, you will have to consider the color scheme you require. You may have to go with marble instead of granite in case the granite colors do not match with your color scheme.

How to care for your stone floors

Marble floors are breathtaking, and can add a lot of value to a person’s home. However, marble floors can be difficult to maintain if one doesn’t fully understand the complexities of the stone. Marble floors are extremely durable and can be placed all throughout the house, yet most often they are found in kitchens and bathrooms. They are comprised of calcium carbonate and calcite and are susceptible to wear, scratches and liquid stains that can result in dulling of the surface over time. Marble restoration professionals can save your floor through restoration but at a much higher cost, than routine care and polishing.  The best way to keep marble floors clean and pristine is to polish them often. Daily cleanings and periodic polishing are the best way to keep your floors clean and looking their best.

The first step in marble cleaning is to sweep or vacuum the marble tile often; daily is best. Dirt and dust can damage marble and scratch its surface when ground underfoot. Next, marble floors should be washed with either industrial marble cleaner or with a mixture of hot water and dishwashing soap. Be sure that the cleaner is non-acidic, because acidic cleaners can break down the surface of marble. Once the marble has been cleaned with soap and water or preferably with a surfactant based cleaner capable of breaking water tension and allowing water to penetrate and flush pores, rinse off the cleaner and dry the flooring with a soft cloth. If the water is allowed to air dry, water spots may be left on the marble floor.  Finally, apply marble polish to the stone in order to leave the marble clean and shiny. Marble polishing is essential to keep marble floors looking great. The polish will protect the floors and keep them durable.

If cleaning and caring for marble floors seems like a big deal, then consider hiring a professional.  True professional stone floor cleaners can not only help you care for your marble floor, but can also help with marble repairs if needed.  A professional company can even set up meetings to visit your house on a weekly or monthly basis.  If you would like to clean your marble floors yourself, it wouldn’t hurt to set up a professional polishing once every year to six months.  Think of it like a dental check-up.  A thorough cleaning to remove build-up and tartar, a check to insure the floor is safe and sound, the ability to polish properly, and the ability to repair any chips, cracks or cavities.  The professional uses industrial cleaners and polishers to restore and repair your floor to its natural beauty.   To see if there is a marble cleaning service near you, a quick internet search or call the place where you bought the marble flooring.

If you don’t take care of your floors, then they can easily become scratched and begin to look dull. Repairing marble floors can become expensive, so take care of them and you won’t have to pay to repair or replace them anytime soon.  Take care of them, and they will give you a quality reflection mirroring the pride and care you take in your home for many years to come.

Tile & Grout Cleaner

 There are so many surfaces in your home that are touched, walked on and used every single day, and tiles are often the easiest to get dirty because they are used for just about everything. Where there are tiles, there is grout, however. For those tough to clean surfaces in your kitchen and bathroom, you need a tile and grout cleaner that works in minutes. There is no sense being on your hands and knees scrubbing all day when there is a cleaner designed to get the job done in a matter of minutes. There are cleaners that are useful for one job or the other, such as a tile cleaner for the bathroom or a grout cleaner designed for the kitchen floors, but there are also cleaners that are used for both. The faster that you get the job done, the more time that you will have to spend on more important things.

MARBLELIFE Tile & Grout Cleaner provides industrial strength cleaning so that you can put in a little less effort for the beauty of your home. Whether you are cleaning the kitchen or the bathroom, it requires nothing more than spraying the cleaner on the tile and grout and then wiping it off. For dirt that is stuck on or has had time to soak in, a five minute wait can do the trick and still save you plenty of time. On the rare occasion that you do need to use a little more elbow grease than expected, it still does not take long to have your kitchen and bath sparkling clean. There are plenty of cleaners that you can find in stores, but with industrial tile and grout cleaner you can get the job done in less time and with much less required work.