Stone Care And Cleaning Tips for Natural Stone

The first thing to know is what type of stone you are dealing with.

Natural stone is classified into two general categories according to its composition, which is siliceous stone or calcareous stone. Knowing the difference is vital when selecting the right cleaning products and techniques.

Siliceous stone is made up from mainly of silica or quartz-like particles. It is likely to be very strong and relatively easy to clean with mild acidic cleaning agents. The different types of siliceous stone include granite, slate, sandstone, quartzite, brownstone and bluestone.

Calcareous stone is consists mainly of calcium carbonate. It is not suitable to the use of acidic cleaning agents and regularly needs different cleaning methods than siliceous cousin. Different kinds of calcareous stone include marble, travertine, limestone and onyx. If a product works on siliceous stone that does not mean it is suitable for calcareous surfaces.

How can you tell the difference between the 2

An easy acid sensitivity test can be done to separate whether a particular stone is calcareous or siliceous. What is needed is about 4 oz. of a 10% solution of muriatic acid and an eye-dropper. You can also use household vinegar and an eyedropper. Because this test may permanently damage the stone, select an area which is not often seen or used like a corner under a closet and are reasonable length away from the mortar joint. Apply a couple of drops of the solution to the stone surface on an area about an inch in diameter. If the stone is calcareous, the solution will begin to bubble and / or fizz vigorously. If there is little or no reaction, the stone is most likely siliceous. Clean the area completely with clean water and wipe dry. This test however may not be effective if stone sealers or polishes have been used. If you know that a sealer has been used, chip a small piece of stone away and apply the solution to the broken surface. Proper head and body protection is necessary when acid is used.

A polished stone has a glossy surface that reflects the light and emphasizes the color and markings of the material. This type of finish is often used on walls, furniture tops and well as floor tiles.

A honed finish is a smooth surface with very little light reflection. A honed finish is used for locations where heavy traffic will wear off the polished finish in areas like floors and thresholds. A honed finish may also be used on furniture and other surfaces.

A flamed finish is recognized as a rough textured surface often used on granite floor tiles.

If a stain is found on any stone surface blot it don’t wipe as this will spread the stain. Flush the area with a mild detergent and water and then dry it completely with a soft cloth. If the stain remains check what type of stain it is, oil based, organic, metal like rust, biological like fungi, Ink, paint, water spots, fire, heat or smoke, etch marks or scratches and nicks and use an appropriate cleaning method .

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