THE AMAZINGLY BEAUTIFUL ASPECT OF NATURAL STONE IN YOUR HOME…AND HOW TO KEEP IT BEAUTIFUL
“The brick is another teacher. How sensible this small, handy shape, so useful for every purpose. What logic in its bonding, what liveliness in the play of patterns.” – Mies van der Rohe
“You employ stone, wood, and concrete, and with these materials you build houses and palaces. That is construction. Ingenuity is at work. But suddenly you touch my heart, you do me good, I am happy and I say: `This is beautiful.’ That is architecture. Art enters in.” – Le Corbusier
An Art Form
Well here at Santa Barbara Stone Masters one of our core philosophies, and it is a part of us by the way, is that the work we perform in restoring natural stone, cleaning, polishing, honing and sealing, is an art form, and that’s why I’ve opened up this blog with some architectural quotes inferring that the use of natural materials elicit emotional responses. That’s what art does, and that’s the end result of our artful stone restoration efforts, eliciting an emotional response. That’s what happens when you see natural rock formations out in nature, the totality of the visual experience is inspiring, like your marble floors or granite kitchen island, as I’ve shared some of my inspirational personal photo album favorites here today.
However the natural stone elements of your home found there ultimate resting places, as in a kitchen counter, or a natural stone entranceway, some marble, granite, travertine, or flagstone something located specifically for a reason, they too illicit an emotional response from you and those whom visit you. To me it’s like taking in that scenic vista in Yosemite while I was on a 10 mile hike…you stop and allow the amazement to set in.
They came from within the earth, the ground…
“These rocks… waiting to be split, ripped, pounded, reborn: waiting for the shape my hands will give them…” – H. Roark, in Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead
Or to look and to notice, the blocks of molten rock which formed Devils Tower National Monument in Wyoming, as I was standing there, still affixed and towering and those which had succumbed and thus tumbled, how in other parts of the world, in quarry’s all over the planet, blocks [of] would become a vanity top, a kitchen island, the office flooring where upon people do their work. They came from within the earth, the ground; to be ripped, cut and truly shaped by hands….
And then there are the natural striations and veins of color, the dimensionality of the sedimentary rock, as I witnessed here in the Badlands from a helicopter, amazing. And to wonder about the first person is history to have thought of cutting these rocks from within the earth to use within living structures…to have been there to see that thought materialize.
But the rocks and stone in their natural environment don’t require routine cleaning and or maintenance. They don’t need to be cleaned or honed or polished or sealed. That’s where you come in- and in more moderate instances of restorative work; Santa Barbara Stone Masters can help.
How to care for your stone at home
Based upon the most common stone used in our Santa Barbara and county area, please find the following cleaning guidelines for:
General cleaning and preventative maintenance:
General cleaners are not specifically formulated for stone and are never recommended. PH neutrality and non-acid composition are crucial. General cleaners, including those that contain lemon, vinegar, bleach or ammonia can etch away the polish, discolor the surface, weaken grout, or even scratch your stone.
Many cleaners have what is called a cleaning agent in them. This agent breaks down and dissolves minerals in hard water. Since all stone is made up of minerals, these types of cleaners will dissolve and cause streaks over prolonged use. If you have not employed a stone specific cleaner (too many to list) but we recommend Rejuvenata ACTIVE™ for floors and Rejuvenata™ daily cleaner for stone countertops.
Preserving the integrity of the stone is site specific. As an example, marble kitchen counters, or any stone in a kitchen environment, never cut on the stone, always use a cutting board or boards. Have absorptive matting available for acidic food prep such as strawberries or citrus as the fruit juice will certainly etch the surface or when cooking on the stove to cover the stone from hot oily substance splatter as that too will erode the surfaces in no time. Feel free to contact us for any help you require for other areas of your home you need some help with, such as bathrooms or outside pool areas, etc.
Limestone is similar to marble in that it is sensitive to acids and household cleaners containing cleaning agents. It varies in hardness and sometimes will have fossil imprints. For best results, have your limestone sealed and use a neutral stone cleaner such as Rejuvenata ACTIVE™ for floors and Rejuvenata™ daily cleaner for stone countertops.
Marble is softer and more porous than most stone; it not only scratches easily, but also etches easily. Marble is sensitive to acids in many different food items (including citrus products, sodas, etc.) and the chemical agents in household cleaners. We recommend Rejuvenata ACTIVE™ for floors and Rejuvenata™ daily cleaner for marble countertops.
Travertine is limestone that has been formed by hot springs. Water movement caused erosion of the stone creating numerous holes of varying sizes. Travertine is similar to marble in that it can be polished, and is sensitive to acids and household cleaners with chemical agents. We recommend Rejuvenata ACTIVE™ for floors and Rejuvenata™ daily cleaner for travertine countertops.
Slate is a fine-grained metamorphic stone usually black, gray or green. Slate is not acid sensitive but prolonged use of household cleaners with chelating agents can cause streaking and dullness. We recommend Rejuvenata ACTIVE™ for floors and Rejuvenata™ daily cleaner for countertops.
Granite is an extremely hard stone and is not as porous as other natural stones. Though not as acid sensitive due to its density and composition, prolonged use of household cleaners with chelating agents will cause streaking and can be a homeowner’s nightmare. We recommend Rejuvenata ACTIVE™ for floors and Rejuvenata™ daily cleaner.
A note about sealers
As per the aforementioned pertaining to cleaning, if any of the surfaces are not properly sealed; cleaning may become more problematic. Furthermore, non-sealed stone surfaces especially in a water environment are simply susceptible to a host of issues from staining, substraight degradation over time, to water absorption and retention leading to the possibility of mold and mildew; to name a few. Proper sealing is a critical component to ensuring the viability and integrity of stone within a building use application.
We only recommend and use Dry -Treat sealing products because Dry-Treat is the world leader in the production of sealers for porous surfaces, including stone, tile, paving, concrete and grout and specifically because of the chemistry of Dry-Treat’s impregnating sealers being unique, giving superior penetration and permanence, for unsurpassed protection. Predominant characteristics and benefits are:
- Invisible – maintains the look and slip resistance of your surface; protect it from staining, water and salt damage, freeze-thaw damage and graffiti.
- Ultra breathable – allows moisture to evaporate, instead of gathering inside the material which allows for the long term structural integrity of the substraight.
- Suitable – indoors and outdoors, residential and commercial environments, kitchens, bathrooms and entertaining areas.
- Make cleaning easier – no special cleaners required; stands up to household cleaning chemicals and even commercial cleaning techniques, such as high pressure hosing (if in an outside environment).
- Premium water and oil repellence for superior stain protection: Tested in accordance with ISO 10545-14 Determination of resistance to stains Class 5 (highest class).
- Deep penetrating, permanent bonding technology for long lasting protection. 15 year written performance warranty can be provided if applied by a Dry-Treat Accredited Applicator*
- Provides protection against efflorescence, freeze-thaw and salt spalling damage. (NOTE: Softer materials, including limestone, sandstone and travertine in a freeze-thaw or salt water environment need extra protection – use DRY-TREAT 40SK™ consolidating sealer.)
- Retains natural surface color and finish.
- *A 15-YEAR PERFORMANCE WARRANTY is offered when product is applied by an Accredited Applicator following written instructions and surface is maintained regularly using written maintenance system, as outlined in the warranty document. Spills should still be cleaned up immediately to minimize absorption. *Santa Barbara Stone Masters holds a class 2 and 3 Dry Treat sealer applicator accreditation.
For information specific to re-polishing and re-honing of any stone surface requiring some restorative work due to damage or natural wear please see some of our other blog posts and give us a call to evaluate. Stone in Yosemite, or Wyoming or the Badlands are breathtaking as are the many types of stone you have in your home. It moves you as it should and unlike the rock formations in nature, stone in a home or commercial application require a little different approach to keep it as it was intended during its initial installation. That’s why we’re here and that’s why we’re uniquely prepared to take care of it for you.