Top tips to protecting natural stone
With more and more homeowners, interior designers, architects and builders choosing to install natural stone, the challenge is how to educate people on the best way to protect it.
“From expensive sealers and labour costs to lost revenue, maintaining natural stone materials like marble, onyx, limestone and sandstone can be an expensive, time consuming exercise,” says Uwe Backes, CEO of Clearstone Coating.
“When you have spent thousands of dollars on exquisite Carrara Marble from Italy, the last thing you want to see are stains caused by a slice of lemon left on the kitchen countertop, or a beauty product accidentally spilled on the bathroom vanity.
Many stone surfaces are either incorrectly sealed or not sealed at all, while a lot of home owners and commercial cleaning operators are causing unnecessary damage by using the wrong cleaning products.
“The only way to truly preserve natural stone is to clean, maintain, and repair it properly,” Shari says.
Having worked with Hollywood’s famed Beverly Hills Hotel and the Langham in New York, we asked Shari to share her top tips for natural stone care for your home.
Cleaning natural stone
- Avoid using generic or abrasive cleaning products, such as glass cleaner, unless the instructions clearly specify that they are safe to use on natural marble. Instead, use a clean damp rag, neutral cleaner, or specialty stone cleaning solution. Also, look for cleaners that are pH balanced for stone and formulated for “food-grade” applications
- Kitchen surfaces should be cleaned periodically to remove dirt and oil that regular cleaning cannot remove
- To remove stains and acid etching (also called etching) on marble, limestone, travertine or onyx surfaces, avoid using vinegar, lemon juice, or bathroom tub and tile cleaners containing acids
Maintaining natural stone
- Keep plants elevated off stone surfaces. It is not enough simply to put coasters beneath plants as the minerals in plant food and potting soil can easily etch and stain even the most resistant stone surfaces
- Use coasters for your liquid soap dispensers, make-up, perfumes and colognes as these are the main causes of etching on marble vanities. If an accumulation of soap film does appear on your bathroom vanity (it looks and feels waxy), use a soap film remover that removes possible hard water mineral deposits, without damaging the stone surface
- High traffic surfaces, such as kitchen countertops and bathroom vanities, should be sealed periodically to prevent long-term staining
Repairing natural stone
- Never use a “professional poulticing kit” for stain removal. They are usually very expensive and produce limited results
- Avoid sealing the surface yourself as there are too many variables and there will be no warranty period to protect you
- If an area of the stone is beyond repair and needs to be honed, re-sealed, polished or cleaned, a professional stone care company will save you considerable time and money by using the right products, tools, and equipment. This will also ensure further damage isn’t caused, which can quickly and irreparably de-value your investment
“Properly protecting natural stone surfaces means that homeowners who love to cook and entertain can do so without worrying that a slice of lemon, drop of cola, or red wine spill on their natural stone benchtop won’t ruin their precious stone features,” says Shari.
Permanent stone protection
Developed in Australia by Innovative Composites, Clearstone is a specially formulated, clear resin-based coating system that prevent acid etching and fills imperfections in the surface of the stone that potentially harbour bacteria. It is considered the only long-term, maintenance free solution that permanently protects marble, onyx, limestone, sandstone and other valuable natural stone materials – and offers a 10-year manufacturer’s warranty against staining and acid-etching.
Images courtesy Clearstone Coating