How to Clean Natural Stone

Natural stone surfaces are commonplace today, with many home owners choosing natural stone for their floors, counter tops, chimneys, or bathtubs.

Natural stone is often a luxury because of how expensive it is, and it also requires proper upkeep for durability and longevity. One question that always plagues homeowners is how to clean natural stone. The process for cleaning natural stone is different from other surfaces.

Although keeping stone surfaces clean might sound hard, but there are a number of home solutions available for efficient cleaning. Most of the times you won’t need to use any chemical cleaning agent.

But if there are tough stains, which is common because natural stone is porous, you might need to use a combination of several methods to achieve the best results.

Let’s classify natural stone cleaning agents according to the surface to clean:

Oils and fats: The kitchen counter, the barbecue counter, and also the bathtub can accumulate oils, wax, and fats, thanks to cooking, eating, and decorations like candles. Although wax from candles can be scraped away, they do not leave the surface clean.

For cleaning all kinds of oils and fats, talcum powder may be used. Simply apply some talcum powder on the spots to clean and leave them for a few days. Another solution is to mix sodium bicarbonate with a little water and leave it on the spots overnight.

Rust: When metal oxidizes in contact with the natural stone and leaves a mark, such spots can be cleaned at home with a mixture of lemon juice and salt. However, this is an acidic mixture that can rob porous stones like limestone of their shine, so it should be left only for a few hours.

Paint and ink: Paints and inks are particularly difficult to remove with home solutions, so methylene chloride or acetone is used. Methylene chloride is dangerous and can harm both the stone and others around it. Other paint removers may also be used.

Other substances: Coffee stains, lichens, and cosmetic stains can be removed with a few drops of ammonia mixed with water left overnight.

Generally tips on how to clean natural stone involves sweeping, mopping, scrubbing, and waxing. Never let water sit on the tiles because they will seep inside and create moisture.

Preventing stains is the best, but if they cannot be prevented, they must be cleaned with the appropriate cleaning solution that won’t damage the sealant.


5 Tips to Choose a Concrete Repair Service

Choosing a dependable, qualified, and honest concrete repair service is no easy task. Too often, homeowners end up hiring the first company they talk to without looking at other options.

Whether you need the service for a big repair work or to fix some minor cracks, choosing a concrete repair company must be done with the utmost care because the wrong choice can result in greater expenses.

Here are 5 professional tips for picking the right concrete repair service:

  • Portfolio

Your hunt should always begin with thoroughly researching companies. The portfolio of the concrete repair service should be one of the first things to check.

The best concrete repair contractors always have a gallery of their latest projects for potential customers to get a better idea of what to expect. If the company is any good, they will have a portfolio of their projects on their website for you to check.

  • Experience

As a rule of thumb, a concrete repair service should have a minimum of five years of experience in order to be considered consistent and reliable. Aside from expertise, contractors with true experience will also be able to provide advice, recommendations, and insight.

For instance, they will be able to advice you on the different types of concrete options and which one will be best for your project. If you want more experience, consider a repair service with 10 or more years of experience.

  • Insurance

You wouldn’t want to be held liable if a mishap occurred on the job. This is why you must ask the concrete contractor about their insurance policies, what they cover, and how they protect you from any mishaps or damages on the job.

Professional contractors will always need to be insured, with a general liability coverage in place. If you aren’t sure, you can always contact the insurance company itself to find out more about the coverage.

  • Pricing

This is one of the most important factors that customers consider. When discussing your project with the concrete repair service, request an estimate, including down payment, cost of the concrete, base material, reinforcements, coloring, and sealer. Compare the price with other contractors to find who offers the best deal.

  • Reputation

How is the professional image of the company? Are the friendly? Do they take the time to listen? Are they honest? The best place to check is online review sites.

Yelp, Houzz, Facebook, and Angie’s List are good places to start. When reading customer reviews, look out for the negative reviews, and check if the contractor handled the complaint professionally.

Solistone & Concrete Care is a leading natural stone and concrete restoration company based in California. Contact us for affordable and quality service for all your stone and concrete needs.


How to Choose a Stone Cleaner

If you are new to natural stones, the first surprise you are likely to get is the effort needed to keep them clean. Unlike wood, ceramics, or concrete, natural stone is more delicate and easily gets stained and scratched.

Natural stone is made of minerals, and they readily absorb all kinds of liquids and salts because they are highly porous.

A major issue

Even less porous stones are absorbent to some extent. When natural stone surfaces keep absorbing substances, they not only get stained, but their mineral composition gets altered forever. Once the mineral composition gets altered, natural stones don’t remain as attractive or durable anymore.

This is why when you choose a stone cleaner, you must do so after thorough research about the stone type and condition.

Picking up an ordinary cleaner for your stone surfaces is a dangerous mistake that will ruin your beautiful natural stones very soon. If you are in doubt about the kind of stone cleaner you should get, always ask your fabricator or ask at any natural stone shop.

There are various types of stone cleaners available, but not all of them are the best. What works for sandstone may not work for marble, and what works for limestone may not work for granite. Therefore, the first step in choosing a stone cleaner is to know what works for your stone surfaces.

Again, consulting an expert is always the best. Once you know what works for your natural stone, you will find it easier to choose a stone cleaner.

Is the stone sealed?

Natural stone sealer is a substance that is applied to the stone to protect it against staining and damage. Sealers are either applied topically or absorbed into the stone.

Enhancing sealers get penetrated into the stone, providing protection and changing the color of the stone. Topical sealers provide only protection without any enhancement.

Sealed stones are easier to maintain but the wrong cleaner can damage the stone nevertheless. Certain cleaners damage the sealer, penetrate the stone, and ultimately lead to cracks and dents. This makes them more vulnerable to stains. The more you use the cleaner, the more the sealer breaks down and damages the stone.

That is why it is important to pick a cleaner that leaves the protective coating unharmed. You should also regularly polish the stone with a polish fortified with a sealer.

Cheap isn’t the best

When choosing a stone cleaner, don’t run after the cheapest product. Look for quality instead of cost, because that is what will keep your natural stone surfaces new even after many years have passed.


4 Steps to Natural Stone Care

Natural stone surfaces can make any place magnificent. Stone is synonymous with luxury and elegance, but they also require a lot of care and high maintenance.

Whether you have marble floors, sandstone worktop, or a granite staircase, all kinds of natural stone must be properly installed looked after well. If you take care of the natural stone surfaces in your house, they will last a lifetime. Here are four important steps to natural stone care.

  1. Leave it to the experts

Many people like do-it-yourself around the house, but there are some things best left to the experts. Installing natural stone surfaces is one such area that is best done by experts.

From sourcing to preparing to installing the material, no one does it better than the professionals. When you have professionals installing the stone tiles at your house, you can rest assured because the experts know exactly how to do the job so as to ensure a terrific fit and finish.

  1. Seal the stones

Natural stone sealers are applied either during installation or after. This is an essential part of natural stone care. The sealant is a substance that’s applied to the surface of the stone to ensure protection against stains and damage.

Sealing makes stones more durable and resistant to damage. Since topical sealers will wear off after some time, it is recommended that natural stone is sealed every two years. Although sealing can be done by anyone, it is best left to the experts.

  1. Get the right aftercare kit

Installing natural stone at home isn’t enough. Without the right care and maintenance, natural stone will degrade easily. Once the stone tiles are installed, you must get the right aftercare products for proper maintenance.

If you are spending on quality stone, you must also pay for quality aftercare products. In this regard, always take the advice of installers because different stones require different products and maintenance routines. Wherever possible, get natural stone care products from the installers because they know the best.

  1. Avoid chemicals

All chemicals are enemies of natural stone. From acids like lemon juice, bleach, or harsh cleaning products, they all have the potential to damage natural stone. Always be gentle when cleaning natural stone, and if there are stains, they must be removed with the right products that will not damage the stone or sealant.

For natural stone care, contact Solistone & Concrete Care, a leading natural stone and concrete restoration company based in California, providing affordable and quality service for all your stone and concrete needs.

Selecting The Right Natural Stone Cleaner

Choosing the right natural stone cleaner can be quite a tedious task, given the vast array of cleaners available in the market. You have marble cleaners as also travertine or granite cleaners.

The selection, however, depends on the nature and porosity of the stone and how the natural stone cleaner will react with it.

It is, therefore, advisable to ask the advice of professionals and then doing it yourself. There are also a host of DIY natural stone cleaner solutions available on the Net, which yield good results.

Preparing to select the appropriate natural stone cleaner

The general tendency is to choose a natural stone cleaner which advertises itself as the strongest stone cleaning agent. It could claim to be real tough on stains but may not be.

However, what you wouldn’t know is that using this natural stone cleaner could lead to other problems later: it could alter your stone’s look and/or make it more susceptible to stains and dirt.

Your selection, therefore, should depend heavily upon the stone’s degree of porosity where the natural stone cleaner will act as a pore sealant to disallow dust and dirt from entering the stone’s pores to discolor it. If stone is not properly sealed, it absorbs such substances more easily than any stone that is sealed with a high quality and appropriate natural stone cleaner.

Tough cleaners tend to break down stone sealers and don’t generally work in tandem with your other stone maintenance and efforts. This is despite the fact that that they are the deepest cleaning or strongest for specific surfaces.

What if you select the right natural stone cleaner?

Selecting the right natural stone cleaner results in the following cycle. You seal the stone for its protection and subsequently, use a cleaner that doesn’t interfere with the protective seal.

You keep polishing the stone regularly to make it shine brilliantly with a sealer-fortified polish to enjoy a clean and glossy stone countertop. Remember, the best natural stone cleaner is one that works with you and not against you.

It is important to remember that all stones – granite, travertine, marble, limestone, onyx, and eve engineered stone – have their individual characteristics and need to be treated differently. The Net may cough up innumerable DIY recipes for stone cleaning but there’s simply no singular solution for all stones.

How To Clean Natural Stone: Ways & Methods

Highly polished and well maintained natural stone sure looks good in the form of counter or table tops in kitchens, drawing rooms, and bathrooms.

The question, however, is: How do you clean natural stone? Is a daily rub with a soft cloth enough? Or you need a light detergent and a soft brush to scrub it from time to time? The fact is how you clean natural stone depends solely on its natural characteristics and how it will react to your treatment.

Methods to clean natural stone

The best and most common way to clean natural stone, be it marble, granite, slate or sandstone, is to make a solution of water and soap that’s PH neutral, the type one uses in a dishwasher. Dip a soft cloth in it, squeeze excessive water out and gently rub the stone surface to get a shine. Even a solution of water and ammonia or a small quantity of bleach works well.

Ammonia, however, is a better choice because of its non-acidic nature and does not damage the stone. Never ever make the mistake of mixing both bleach and ammonia together as the mixture’s fumes are highly toxic when inhaled.

Tools to clean natural stone

To clean natural stone, you should ideally be using a soft cloth, sponge or a soft brush to prevent scratches on the stone surface.

Do the rubbing in circles, avoiding excessive pressure. Once the dirt has been removed, dry off the surface soon using a soft towel. Leaving it to dry by itself results in white spots sprouting all over. The shine, moreover, will be missing.

Stone floors of barbecue areas, which normally accumulate fat stains, are usually made of unpolished and rough stone, which may be highly porous.

Cleaning these with talcum powder surprisingly proves effective. Just sprinkle talcum powder generously over the stained areas and keep it covered for a while to allow the talcum to react chemically with the stone. Then take lukewarm water and a copper bristle hard brush to scrub the area. The process may be repeated if the dirt doesn’t disappear in one go.

You could also mix sodium bicarbonate with water to make a paste and smear it all over the area. Keep it covered for a while, allowing it to react and scrub off with hot water. Rust stains similarly, on natural stone may be tackled by using a concoction of salt and lemon juice.


How to Choose a Natural Stone Sealer

A natural stone sealer is required to protect natural stones, otherwise known for their hardness and durability. However, if they aren’t maintained properly, they tend to be susceptible to attracting grime and also staining.

A natural stone sealer basically acts as a sealing agent, which prolongs the stone’s life while also protecting its looks.

Natural stone sealer: Types & variants

Two types of natural stone sealers are available in the market. These are topical sealers or penetrating sealers. A topical natural stone sealer is a coating that sits on stone tile surfaces to protect them from water, contaminates, oil, lubricants as also other liquids.

These produce a high gloss polish on the stone’s surface but may also darken it, altering its natural look. If you decide to use a topical natural stone sealer on stone flooring, the gloss resulting from it could lead to lesser slip resistance. Therefore, a non-slip additive needs to be used to ensure safety, particularly in kitchens and bathrooms.

This sealant type tends to wear out quickly also. This is, therefore, unsuitable for heavy traffic areas that have stone flooring. If topical sealants are applied to stone kitchen countertops, it needs to be ensured that it is suitable for use in an area where food is prepared.

Penetrating natural stone sealer

A penetrating natural stone sealer is also called an impregnating sealant. These are capable of penetrating a natural stone’s surface and protect it from staining and liquids.

An additional advantage is that impregnating sealants don’t alter the beauty of natural stone, which a topical sealant can. These are, however, incapable of protecting stone tile surfaces from abrasions and scratches.

As a penetrating natural stone sealer works below the surface of natural stone, it doesn’t erode quickly and, therefore, requires less maintenance as compared to its topical counterpart. In some cases, special cleaners may be required to work in tandem with a penetrating natural stone sealer.

Making the right choice

In order to make the right choice, you need to know your stone first. The general thumb rule is to use a topical sealer to protect porous stones like limestone, slate, and travertine.

On the other hand, a penetrating sealer works well with marble and granite, which are less porous. Also, if you want to maintain the natural look, using a topical sealer could alter the color. The best thing to do, therefore, is to ask your stone supplier what sealant to use.

Why is a Concrete Repair Service Required?

Since concrete is the indispensable material for building anything from bridges to dams, a concrete repair service also becomes an inextricable part of concrete maintenance.

Moreover, there is a general complaint the world over that the quality of concrete used is gradually dropping, leading to faster wear and tear, which makes a concrete repair service all the more indispensable.

What does a concrete repair service do?

The principal responsibility of a concrete repair service is concrete restoration. Concrete, like any other material, is also subject to wear and tear over time.

This is particularly seen in garages, where the weight and vehicular movement couples with de-icing salts to put a huge amount of pressure on such structures, which start developing deep cracks with chunks of plaster falling off in patches.

This obviously calls for timely repairs to prevent further decay. A concrete repair service will also undertake restoration projects on floors, bridges, roadways, and any other concrete structure.

Role of a concrete repair service in concrete maintenance

The concrete repair service will first identify the cause of decay in the structure. This could be due to water seepage through failed joints or cracks, where chlorides and corrosive substances present in the water breaks down the concrete.

Another aspect that the concrete service repair team looks at is the ASR or alkali-silica reaction that causes concrete to erode in older structures. Once the cause and its intensity are ascertained, the team takes the appropriate measures for either repair or rebuilding.

Concrete repair service teams usually comprise trained and experienced civil and structural engineers who are experts in detecting other common problems like rebar corrosion, where the steel rebar that has been used to reinforce the concrete rusts and damages the latter; cracks, efflorescence, rust stains, delamination that sound hollow; concrete spalling; exposed aggregates, settlement, and discoloration.

The good news is that a trained and responsible concrete repair service will help you avoid a complete teardown of the existing structure. It will suggest an extensive repair operation with re-building of certain portions if required.

This will undoubtedly help you save substantially on costs with an assurance that further deterioration will be prevented, and the structure shall be given a new lease of life. This, of course, will ensure the safety of the structure, keeping it functional for years together in the future.