Caring for Natural Stone
Lichen, algae, mold and tannins from trees that stain headstones are considered biological contaminants. Lichens roots secrete acid that will dissolve the calcium in marble and limestone. Algae, mold and lichen grow because the stone pores absorb water. Moisture in the stone during the winter months will freeze and thaw causing spalling (surface loosening of minerals and cracking).
Tannins stains are caused from leaves, nuts and bark that have fallen from trees. Headstones can be cleaned with common household ingredients that most of us have (ammonia, liquid dish soap and bleach used separately)……. Note: That this is not what natural stone restoration professionals would use, but, the cost of “not” hiring them may lead to further damage, so this home remedy will help your monument to a love one’s life, live for future generations to come.
Step #1 Soak the stone with clean water with pump sprayer, keeping stone moist for 10-20 min.
Most of acne creams on the market today contain Benzol Peroxide which is a bleaching agent.
Acne creams which contain dyes can cause staining. These dyes are usually flesh to brown in color.
1. Thoroughly clean the area with water and a soap (a mild detergent).
2. Once the area has dried, take some acetone on a clean white rag and rub the stained area.
3. If the acetone doesn't work poultice the area with a poultice powder and 30-50% hydrogen Peroxide.
Tape residue, cellophane, band-aids, stickers, etc.
Sticky residue on surface of stone. Some tape residues, especially duct tape can penetrate below the surface of the stone and can be very difficult to remove.
1. Peel off any remaining tape, use a very sharp razor blade and be careful not to scratch the surface of the stone.
2. The remaining sticky residue can usually be removed with a rag and acetone. Pour the acetone on a clean white rag and rub the area until all of the sticky residue is gone.
3. If the adhesive has left a stain than prepare a poultice of diatomaceous earth or similar powder with one of the following solvents:
1) The most common mistake made when cleaning marble, limestone and travertine is using the wrong cleaning products. Acidic cleaners intended for ceramic tile and grout will have a violent reaction with these stones containing calcium. Many window cleaners contain vinegar, which is also acidic. These cleaners will etch or burn the stones surface.
Having neutral PH cleaners labeled for natural stone in the areas where someone may find cleaning supplies will lessen the chance of the wrong cleaning product being used that could cause damage to the natural stone.
2) High alkaline stone cleaners may be used with caution to clean oils, grease and soap residue from a stones surface only by testing in an obscure area first.
High alkaline cleaners may degrade or remove some topical sealers and impregnating sealers from natural stone if previously applied.
It is possible to damage a polished stones surface by strong high alkaline cleaning. It is also advisable to contact a Natural Stone Restoration Specialist to do this type of work.
Polished marble is a great natural stone for kitchens as long as you know the correct way to maintain your investment. While granite would be more durable in a kitchen setting there are some choices in fabrication of marble.
You see kitchen design magazines that show beautiful polished marble on counter tops and floors.
Some customers will insist to the builder, remodeler, or natural stone fabricator this is what they want because they have seen this elsewhere and or it came recommended for the look they want.
Many people get marble because they are looking for a white stone. There are several white granites that can be used as an alternative. Bianco Romano, Cashmere White, African Ivory, Luna Pearl, Viscont White, and several others.
Polished marble, travertine and limestone can dull from foods and beverages that are acidic. There are many of our foods and beverages that contain acids which will etch or burn the stone’s finish, requiring periodic restoration if precautions are not taken.