Your new natural stone purchase is an investment in lasting beauty that will give you many years of enjoyment. This care guide gives you a few tips on how to properly care for your natural stone and help extend its life and beauty. Following some simple procedures, and using the correct cleaning methods and products, will insure you a lifetime of use from your natural stone.
SEALING OF YOUR STONE
Natural stone has been formed over millions of years but improper care can ruin nature’s beauty. Although we usually think of stone as “hard”, it is a porous material that can absorb spills and stains if left untreated. Sealing your stone is a vital part of the installation process.
At REINHARDT BROTHERS we apply a quality impregnating sealer to all the stone we install which will prevent most spills from damaging your investment. Once sealed properly, your stone is protected against everyday dirt and spills. Also proper cleaning methods are vital to help the sealer last longer and keep your stone protected without damaging your stone’s natural beauty.
CLEANING PROCEDURES & RECOMMENDATIONS
Using a neutral cleaner specially formulated for natural stone will help remove soils that normal dusting or damp cleaning leave behind. We recommend Revitalizer Cleaner with Protector. This cleaner is developed especially for natural stone and tile care. Its unique blend of neutral cleaning agents makes it gentle on your stone while leaving behind an impregnating protective shield every time you clean. Do not use general purpose cleaners or you may damage your stone or break down the sealer. Do not use products that contain lemon, vinegar or other acids as these may etch the stone surface and damage the polish. Do not use scouring powders or creams; these products contain abrasives that may scratch the surface. Acids Can Etch Into Your Stone If Not Properly Cleaned & Revitalized Use Revitalizer on a regular basis to remove residues from cooking oils and everyday food spills. Many common foods and drinks contain acids that may etch or dull the stone surface. In the bath area some common spills are hairspray, cosmetics, toiletries(e.g., perfume, toothpaste, mouthwash). These may contain acids and other ingredients that may damage the stone surface or degrade the sealer. In the shower and other wet areas, the use of Revitalizer will remove any soap scum or hard water deposits that may have formed. Also, using a squeegee after each use can minimize soap scum and hard water deposit buildup. Dust mop interior stone 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 potential damage from these particles. In addition, be careful when using a vacuum cleaner as the metal or plastic attachments or wheels may scratch the surface. Damp mop the stone floor with clear water as needed. For cleaning use a diluted solution of Revitalizer or CleanStone as directed on the label. Keep off floor until completely dry, as wet stone floors may be slippery.
WHAT TO DO WHEN A SPILL OCCURS
No matter how careful you are, spills are going to happen. A quick response and the right solutions can keep spills from damaging your stone or the sealer. We recommend that you only use the cleaning products recommended in this care guide.
Scoop up the food with a plastic spoon. Blot with dry, white cloth. Spray area with Revitalizer. Wipe dry with a clean cloth.
Blot away the excess with a clean, dry, white cloth; turning the cloth frequently. Spray area with Revitalizer. Wipe dry with a clean cloth.
If you identify the stain as having an oil base (from foods like salad and cooking oils, butter, or some cosmetics) you may be able to remove the stain using a poultice. We recommend EXTRACT OIL STAIN REMOVAL PASTE. This easy to use poultice is designed to slowly remove oily stains from natural stone surfaces. This product may be purchased from us. Follow the directions on the label.
Let the mud stain dry completely. Remove dried mud with a soft plastic or nylon brush. Spray affected area with Revitalizer. Wipe dry with a clean cloth. If the stain remains, contact a professional cleaner.
Substances that are highly acidic, such as orange juice, coffee, vinegar, wine, tomato products, mustard and many soft drinks, will “etch” some stones, such as ploished marble —even if they are sealed. Although sealing allows you time to wipe up a spill, it cannot stop the chemical reaction that may leave a dull area or etch mark in the stone, although we use the best sealer we can find to prevent this as best we can. In addition, cleaners are not specifically designed for natural stone are not recommended. These may etch away the polish, discolor the surface, scratch the stone or degrade the sealer. That’s why selecting the correct cleaning products is so important to the lifetime beauty of your natural stone. Professional refinishing is the best way to permanently remove etch marks and restore your natural stone’s finish.
The Do's & Don't of Stone Care
DO use coasters under glasses, especially if they contain alcohol or citrus juices.
DO use trivets or mats under hot dishes or cookware. DO use place mats under china, ceramics, silver or other objects that may scratch your stone’s surface.
DO dust countertops, islands, vanities and floors frequently. DO blot up spills immediately to minimize permanent damage to the stone. DO clean surfaces by wiping with clean water or spraying Revitalizer cleaner, then wiping with a clean cloth.
DON’T use vinegar, bleach, ammonia or other general-purpose cleaners.
DON’T use cleaners that contain acid such as bathroom cleaners, grout cleaners or tub and tile cleaners.
DON’T use abrasive cleaners such as dry cleansers or soft cleansers.
DON’T use alkaline cleaners not specifically formulated for natural stone.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What does “honed” granite mean?
Answer: Honed granite has not been polished to a shine. It is a smooth, matte finish. Honed granite is lighter color than its polished counterpart; however the color can be deepened with a color enhancing sealer. It should be noted that while honing a stone produces a look that appeals to many, honed stones are more susceptible to surface stains and will show things such as glass rings and fingerprints much more than polished stones do.
Q: Can you use marble in the kitchen?
Answer: The short answer is yes, you can use marble in a kitchen. However, because marble is susceptible to staining, scratching and etching, the use of marble in a kitchen requires careful consideration.
Q: Can you cut on granite or do you use a cutting board?
Answer: Yes you can cut directly on granite. However, routinely cutting on a granite surface will dull your cutlery.
Q: What is “tumbled” marble?
Answer: Tumbled marble is quite literally, marble that has been loaded into a tumbler and knocked against each other in order to achieve rough worn edges and surfaces. Some materials that are referred to as ''tumbled marble'' are actually tumbled limestone or travertine, but the process is the same and aesthetically they are difficult to tell apart.
Q: What is a patina?
Answer: A patina refers to the smooth sheen that is produced by the aging and use of natural stone over time.
Q: Is polished marble too slippery to be used on a bathroom floor?
Answer: Any polished surface is slippery when wet. As with any other hard surface used in a bathroom, caution should be taken when exiting the shower & tub areas, as well as any other area that is wet.
Q: I am building a house, when should I select my stone?
Answer: Because natural stone has variation, it is not a good idea to select stone too early. Colorations can vary and the veining from shipment to another can be quite different. Once the cabinets are 3-4 weeks away from being installed, it is a good idea to finalize your selection based on current inventory.
Q: How often do you have to seal granite?
Answer: Traditionally, homeowners have been told to seal their granite annually. However, with the advancements that have been made in sealing products, some sealers only need to be reapplied every 3-5 years. Check the information on the back of the sealer and follow the recommendations.
Q: Does a professional have to come in and seal natural stone?
Answer: No, sealing natural stone is something a homeowner can easily do. The product is a liquid that is applied to a clean, dry countertop with a soft cloth. After the sealer is generously applied to the surface, the excess is removed with a dry cloth, and the countertops should be allowed to dry. Check the back of the sealer to determine when the countertops will be ready for normal use. Drying times can vary between 24-72 hours.
Q: Will bacteria grow on granite?
Answer: Bacteria, like any other living organism, needs something to eat in order to live. Bacteria cannot eat granite. Unclean, unkempt countertops can harbor bacteria regardless of what countertop material is used. Granite has performed extremely well in testing; performing second only to stainless steel in its ability to resist bacterial growth. Q: Is granite a natural product or is it manmade? Answer: Granite is a natural product. Granite is quarried in its natural form directly from the earth and is cut and processed by machine. Because of its extreme hardness and mineral content, granite can be polished to a mirror-like finish using the proper machinery.
Q: Which type of sink is best for granite Under mount or drop-in?
Answer: This is a matter of personal preference. If installed properly, both types of sinks are sanitary and safe. The ability to wipe off the counters directly into the sink and the aesthetic appeal make under mounted sinks the most popular. Typically an under mount sink installation would be an additional expense (though minimal) due to the finishing process of the edges around the sink.
Q: Will granite weigh too much for my cabinetry? Do I need additional cabinet supports?
Answer: 3cm (1 1/4") granite weighs approximately 19 lbs per square foot. Typical cabinet construction is more than adequate for most installations. However, large, self-standing or furniture-style islands may require additional corner bracing. It is advisable to let your cabinet installer know that you are using granite to ensure proper support.
Q: Will my sample match my actual slab?
Answer: Because of the movement and veining in natural stone, it is difficult to accurately represent stone with a small sample. Also, stone varies from shipment to shipment, so if you have a sample from a previous shipment, it may not match the current supply. It is advisable to view the actual slabs at the Marble Works showroom prior to fabrication.
Q: Will the polish on my countertops wear off over time?
Answer: That depends on whether you have granite or marble. Granite, with normal wear and tear, no. That doesn't mean that if you attack your granite with a belt sander it won't dull the finish. The only things that could scratch granite are typically not found in the kitchen. Marble, on the other hand, is a calcite which will react with acidic liquids, etching the polish. Proper sealing and maintenance is more crucial with marble countertops.
Q: Is it okay to mix different colors of stone?
Answer: Absolutely. Mixing colors and types of stone within a room adds interest and beauty. It is, however, a good idea to consider which material would be the most practical for the space. We recommend granites for high-use areas such as around cooktops & sinks, while marbles and limestones are ok to use in areas of less use.
Q: Should I approve my slabs before they are fabricated?
Answer: It is always a good idea to approve the slabs prior to fabrication. This will help to prevent any surprises or disappointments once the material is installed. Slabs could be viewed at the Marble Works showroom.
Q: Will my countertops have seams?
Answer: Not necessarily. A typical slab size is somewhere between 7 and 10 feet. Therefore, your countertops may not require a seam. Many people do not have a problem with seams, but if you are concerned about them you should discuss this with your fabricator prior to fabrication. How and where it is seamed should also be discussed with the fabricator. Often the seams are so tight they are difficult to notice, however communication with the fabricator is essential in order to avoid confusion or disappointment regarding seams.
Q: Will the sealer wipe off when cleaned, or scratch off with wear?
Answer: No. The sealer is not a coating on top of the stone, it is an impregnator, which is absorbed by the stone and fills the pores in order to repel food and liquid. Over time, cleaners do reduce the effectiveness of the sealer, requiring re-sealing of the stone. Re-sealing could be necessary every 1-5 years, depending on the material and sealer used. In order to increase the life of your sealer, use cleaners that are intended for natural stone.
Q: Will Granite stain?
Answer: No. However, granite porosities vary. Some granite if not properly sealed can absorb liquid into the pores. This may appear at first to be a stain; however in many instances a dark area on the countertop will dry and disappear over time. If discoloration occurs, there are products on the market to remove them. Consult your stone professional or retail store specializing in stone.
Q: Is granite more expensive than man made materials?
Answer: It depends on the granite. Availability, color, and country of origin are major factors that affect the price of granite. If the supply of a particular stone is short and demand for it is high, the price will reflect that. Given that stone is a natural product imported from all over the world, the price spectrum is wide. However, many granite colors are offered at the same price or sometimes less than man made products.
Reinhardt Brothers carries a wide variety of stone care products. All the products below are from the StoneTech Professional stone care line. We are also carring a product called Miracle Sealant to provide a variety of protection for your stone. For more information on this product, please visit their websites www.miraclesealants.com and www2.dupont.com
Stone & Tile Cleaner and Protector
A safe and effective neutral pH concentrated daily cleaner with protector for most natural stone, ceramic tile and grout.
* Easy to Use
* Safe and Biodegradable
* Neutral pH
* Cuts Grease
* Great for Countertops
* Cleans and Protects
* Fresh Citrus Scent
* Interior and Exterior Use
* Available in Sprayer or Concentrate
Stone & Tile Cleaner
Streak-free all purpose cleaner with a clean, fresh scent. It's safe for all natural stone such as granite, marble, limestone, travertine, porcelain & ceramic tile, and grout.
* Specially formulated to wipe away everyday soils and spills
* Neutral pH formula is safe for all types of natural stone, tile and grout
* No rinsing required
* Available in ready-to-use spray, wipes and concentrate
Formally Known as "Cleanstone"
For Use On
Natural Stone Spray Polish
An easy-to-use spray polish designed to give natural stone a brilliant shine without leaving a greasy film.
* Easy to use
* Fast Drying
* Fresh Scent
* Leaves a Brilliant Shine
* Safe for Food Contact Surfaces
* Great for Kitchens and Vanities
Formally Known as "Mirror Image"
Oil Stain Remover
For Natural Stone & Grout
A superior, citrus solvent-based poultice especially formulated for removing stubborn oil-based stains.
* Easy to Use
* No Residues
* Effective Stain Remover
* Will Not Discolor Natural Stone
* VOC Compliant
* Natural Citrus Solvent
* Safe on Food Contact Surfaces
* Removes Deep, Stubborn Stains
Formally Known as "Extract"