1. Knowledge is key
The three most appealing features of stone are natural beauty, life-long durability, and comparatively low maintenance. To fully appreciate the benefits of stone, it is helpful to understand the characteristics of stone and what makes it superior to man-made products.
Installed stone may not be exactly like the showroom sample. Each product has unique natural patterns, markings, veining, and darker or lighter spots. Most people view these characteristics as part of the stone's natural essence.
2. World sources
Thousands of stone types have been quarried through the centuries from quarries located around the world. The majority of natural stone comes from Italy, Spain, Turkey, the United States, Mexico, India, Greece, Canada, France, and Brazil.
3. Geology 101
Stone is a natural solid formation that may be comprised of one or many minerals. The stone's composite minerals come from the same liquid and gas minerals that formed the Earth. As the Earth developed with massive bodies of gas and liquid, minerals slowly cooled and condensed to a solid core. Extreme pressure then formed the Earth's crust.
Heavy minerals were trapped when they were forced down into the earth's core. As the crust thickened, it shifted the inner core creating intense pressure and heat from deep within the earth.
Over a one hundred million year period, the expansion and shift of the earth's crust produced extreme heat and pressure that pushed the solid minerals to the Earth's surface. Many of the colossal rock beds that were formed at the beginning of time are today's stone quarries.
4. Stone - care knowledge
Stone-care knowledge begins by recognizing the natural product is formed within the earth and is made from various minerals. The wrong cleaner may have chemicals that may react negatively and compromise the surface or colour. Improper cleaning agents may damage counter tops and other surfaces.
Always use coasters under glasses or cups, particularly those containing alcohol, citrus juices, or caffeine. Many foods and drinks contain acids that damage stone surfaces.
While granite and stone is resilient and durable, the surfaces may be scratched and damaged by sharp objects or abrasives if care is not taken.Due to the softness of most stone, it is imperative that grit (sand and dirt) be removed from all surfaces. Grit is the primary cause of scratches, especially on stone floors.
Do not place hot items directly on the stone surface. Use trivets or mats under hot dishes and place mats under china, ceramics, silver or other objects that may scratch the surface.
5. Stone sealant
Granite Perfection always applies a granite sealer to all tops after they have been installed. Sealant help the stone to reject liquids that can leave a stain, and allows you more time to clean up any spills. Sealing is a must for all kitchen and bathroom areas, including natural stone floors and backsplashes.
For home use, the sealant should be good for 3-5 years. Heavy-use or commercial applications (restaurants, high traffic offices) may require more frequent sealing.
6. Cleaning products
Standard household cleaners are not formulated to clean your natural stone. Do not use acidic tub and tile cleaners, acidic toilet bowl cleaners, ammonia, powered abrasive cleaners, soft paste cleaners, vinegar, alcohol, window cleaners or abrasive cleaning pads. Even water alone can cause damage.
Granite and stone surfaces can be cleaned with a few drops of PH balanced cleaner or stone soap available at most home supply stores. A mild liquid dishwashing detergent and warm water can also be used.
Use a soft cloth for best results, but be careful not to use too much cleaner or soap because it leaves a film and causes streaks. Do not use products that contain lemon, vinegar or other acids on marble or limestone. Do not use ammonia cleaners as they may dull the surface.
After washing, thoroughly rinse the surface with a soft cloth. Do not use powders or creams as they contain abrasives that may scratch the surface.