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Cleaning Granite Stone Countertops

Homeowners who are seeking to increase value to their homes enjoy the durability and easy maintenance when upgrading to granite countertops. Granite is the most durable of all stones, second only to diamonds. Granite, being created from molten rock, can withstand the heat from a hot pot without a trivet. The hardness of the surface is excellent for handling dough and confectionery. While durable and low maintenance, however, they are not impervious to damage.

Properly installed granite countertops should last a lifetime,one justification for the higher costs associated with the material and installation. The granite suppler should provide personalized instructions for care with each slab, since all granite is made up of many different minerals. Even if two different stone slabs come from the same part of the world, there will be variances in the granite that require different kinds of attention.

Proper care ensures the longevity and beauty expected from this premium product. In addition to the polished finish, it's possible to get a “honed" or flat finish. Although a honed finish can be very attractive, it is not recommended for kitchen use. Over time, everyday use will tend to lend a polish to some areas, and the additional necessary sealers will distract from the beauty of the surface. A polished finish is easiest to maintain with regular care that includes proper cleaning and the use of sealers to prevent staining.

Care for a polished finish begins with daily attention to what is placed on the surface. Granite countertops are hard and can withstand a falling can of soup, but the polished surface is a bit more delicate. Never use the granite as a cutting surface, always use a cutting board. Avoid allowing acidic foods such as lemon juice, vinegar and soft drinks to be left on the surface for any amount of time, as they can etch the surface. Another thing that removes the polished shine are harsh cleaning products or abrasive cleansers (liquid or powder). To clean the surface without leaving streaks, use only a small amount of warm water with a ph balanced dishwashing liquid.

Although granite is extremely hard, some of the minerals in it may be very soft. The existence of different minerals is what makes the granite easy to scratch, be chipped or break along the grain. In order to protect the surface, it is recommended to avoid dragging pots, pans or appliances across the stone. Scooting something across the countertop that has even a grain of sugar under it will scratch the polished surface. Scratches allow stains to mar an otherwise beautiful surface.

Once a year, a penetrating sealant should be applied. Regular polishing will keep the finish gleaming. Use a penetrating sealant recommended by the supplier or the home builder. Avoid using a stone sealer that will not penetrate the stone, as it will create a cloudy surface that will have to be removed by stripping the entire countertop, using harsh solvents. Remember, the glossy shine isn't caused by a coating on the surface, but by expert polishing using diamond polishing tools.

If there is minor damage to a granite countertop, it can be resolved by the homeowner. If a pot or pan leaves a grey or black mark on the surface, it can be polished out using fine steel wool. If a glue-like substance is stuck on the countertop, it is possible to scrape it off with a credit card or single sided razor blade. Small marks made during the removal can be polished out with a fine steel wool. If the granite is chipped or cracked, a professional should be called in to perform invisible repairs.

In addition to its strength, granite is a very beautiful stone that adds color and warmth to any kitchen. With just a little care to protect their beauty and utility, granite countertops will last a lifetime.

Article By: Jason Gluckman

2:Stone Maintenance: A brief look at the do's and don't of certain stone finishes.

This report is a short summary and general guide of maintenance recommendations and processes which have proved practical for many stone surfaces over the years. It should not be assumed that any particular process description or recommendation is suitable for any particular project or situation without qualification. There are many variables which must be considered when designing a maintenance program including: physical properties of the stone, abrasion risk, hostile factors in the environment, the maintenance budget and the skill of the maintenance personnel. It is highly recommended that a maintenance professional be consulted if there is any doubt about whether or not a specific method or product is safe and effective.

Marble

Composition: Calcite, Calcium Carbonate
Hardness: Soft
Absorption: Oil, Water
Limitations: Absorbs oils and other liquids, easily scratched, acid sensitive
Sealer: Penetrating type siloxane or fluoropolymer
Cleaner: Natural Soap or Neutral pH detergent
Finish: Polished - liquid Paste wax ; others: none

Notes: Polished marble is ideal for vertical application but requires a high level of maintenance when used as flooring especially in high traffic situations. Non-reflective finishes perform well as flooring with minimal maintenance once treated with recommended sealers. Kitchen use should be carefully evaluated due to oil absorption.

Limestone

Composition: Calcite, Calcium Carbonate
Hardness : Soft
Absorption : Oil, Water
Limitations : Absorbs oils and other liquids, easily scratched, acid sensitive, polished-interior use only
Sealer : Penetrating type siloxane/fluoropolymer
Cleaner: Natural Soap or Neutral pH detergent
Finish: Polished - liquid Paste wax ; others: none

Notes: Most true limestone types are porous and absorbent. Some limestone is semi-metamorphic and will have physical properties similar to metamorphic marble. If the limestone is metamorphic it is "Marble". For our purposes here, LIMESTONE is the chalky porous type typical of most French and Spanish limestone. Non-reflective finishes are practical as flooring but require sealing to minimize stains. Dense, low absorbent varieties of limestone can be suitable in shower areas but beware of using too soft a limestone in high stress areas. Sealing is normally recommended for both interior and exterior locations.

Granite

Composition: Quartz, Feldspar (varies)
Hardness : Hard
Absorption : Varies - Oil, Water
Limitations : Absorbs oils and other liquids, brittle
Sealer : Sub-surface repellents - oil repellent type recommended
Cleaner: Neutral pH detergent or pure soap
Finish: None Normally - Wax OK

Notes: Granite is typical for kitchen counter use. Sealing is recommended for most stones. Granite is the hardest of the polished stones commercially available and is used in high stress situations. Polished granite usually is more absorbent to liquids than many people suppose. Flamed granite surfaces are very absorbent due to the stress fractures in the stone caused by the flaming process and should be sealed if it is desired to maintain the original colour and appearance of the stone over time.

Slate

Composition: Muscovite Chlorite (wide variation in composition)
Hardness : Soft - easily scratched
Absorption : Low - medium oil, water other liquids
Limitations : Absorbs oils/ liquids, cleft planes can spall
Sealer : Sub-surface repellents oil repellent type recommended
Cleaner: Neutral pH detergent or pure soap
Finish: Acrylic OK - wax OK

Notes: Cleft slate is very durable in most situations but quality varies. Slate is typically rustic in appearance but some milled or smooth products are available in some varieties. Wear is typically taken on the peaks or high spots of the textured surface. Acrylics are used when a highly reflective finish is desired. Excellent exterior paving stone. Higher absorbency varieties may not be suitable for exterior areas in freezing climates.

Slate characteristics vary with source. Domestic is typically black, green or mottled and is relatively dense. Many imported slates are available today with wide ranging physical characteristics and overall suitability. Evaluate your stone for density, tensile strength, absorbency and abrasion resistance. Make sure your slate characteristics are compatible with the intended function.

3、Fireplace Cleaning Method

A working stone fireplace may be a rarity nowadays but believe it or not they are meant to be used and not just to decorate a hole in the wall. If you are using yours you will be aware of the smoke and soot damage that can occur. WE do perform the cleaning services but I thought I would help you out with some information for a DIY fix.

Smoke and soot may be removed from stone fireplaces by the T-S-P method. Smoke and moreover soot is a carbon deposit so it will be extremely greasy and needs a high Alkaline for removal.

Be sure to wear rubber gloves to protect hands from strong alkalis I would always recommend a dust mask as well. A solvent mask is the best for the job but a 3m dust mask will suffice.

Make sure you mask the area properly and cover any flooring either carpet, wood or stone.

Dissolve 8 teaspoons (1/2 cup) Trisodium Phosphate (TSP) in 1 gallon of hot water. With stiff scrub brush, scrub stone surface. Rinse with plenty of warm water.

Repeat if soot or greasy stain not removed. More Trisodium Phosphate may be added but this really shouldn't be necessary, up to 1 cup per gallon. This is a very strong solution; avoid getting on skin, carpet, or fabrics as mentioned.

Allow a few hours for this task and plenty of dexterity. You need to take your time with this. I find it quite therapeutic.

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