Monthly Archives: February 2017

Does Your Stone Need Polishing?

Natural stone counters and floors are more popular today than ever before. Stone has a beauty and durability that is unmatched by other materials on the market, which may be why so many homeowners choose to install it in their homes. Stone comes in several different finishes, but by far the most popular is the polished finish. Polishing creates a mirror-smooth finish on the top surface of the stone, allowing it to reflect light, while deepening its color. There are times when stone can lose its polish, however, if it comes in contact with acids or abrasives. There may be other times when the stone may not have been installed correctly, and grinding and polishing can fix some problems. Not all stones will benefit from being polished, however, so before you schedule a polisher or purchase a DIY kit, it helps to determine if your stone does need to be polished.

Sonya Kinkade Design traditional-kitchen

First, determine what type of stone it is. Granites and marbles hold polishes well, but some limestones, travertines, and slates do not. It may be that you are attempting to polish a stone that can only hold a high hone or light sheen at best, rather than a high gloss finish.

Next, look at all areas of the stone. Does it have a polish anywhere? In corners, closets, edges, or anywhere not in common use. If not, it may be that the stone was never polished and is meant to have a honed or matte finish. If this stone is a granite or marble, it can be polished, but likely the look of the stone will be dramatically changed, which may not always be advisable for the style you’re after. If the stone is matte in some places, but polished in others, then having the floor ground down and repolished makes sense.

Finally, take a look at the stone from different angles. If you have tiles that are sticking up at the corners, then grinding and polishing may help correct this. If the stone has numerous pits and fissures, polishing may help to hide them.

Finally, some sealers have a shine enhancing quality to them. You may want to test out a topical sealer that can temporarily polish your stone to see how it looks before you go through the process of having your stone refinished. While stone can be ground down and polished several times, you are essentially wearing away at its top layer, so it’s a good idea to take a long-term approach to its finish.

Make sure your stone needs polishing before you go through with it to get the best possible results for your floor or counter.

 

Is Green Marble Really Marble?

In the world of commercial stone, it’s common to group large numbers of stones with similar characteristics together under a single label. For example, gabbros and dolomites are frequently labeled as granites, because they share a lot of common minerals and patterns with true granite. This can get a little confusing if you’re looking for a specific stone that will hold up well in particular circumstances. One such confusion surrounds the group of stones known as “green marble”.

Green marble and fluted glass eclectic-kitchen

While there are a few types of calcium based marble that are also green – Cippolino and Verde Antigua – the vast majority of green stones that are called marbles, are actually serpentine. Serpentine is a group of minerals made of mostly magnesium silicate. Serpentines are usually green, but may vary in tone from nearly black to yellow, and may have some amount of white veining throughout their surface. Some studies carried out on green marbles used in architecture discovered that most of stones labeled as marble, but green in color contained 75 to 90% serpentine, with little or no calcite at all.

The benefit of using a serpentine is the fact that’s actually more durable than true marble. Serpentine is not reactive to acids, for example, which means that you can use one as a kitchen counter and not have to worry about etching.

On the other hand, however, serpentine does not react well in wet environments. The stone gets its name from the scaly pattern that often emerges on the surface of the stone. This is known as spalling, and can get worse when the stone absorbs moisture. Therefore, green marbles should always be installed using an epoxy-based setting material, and should either be sealed well or kept out of extremely wet area, such as steam showers, all together.

While most green marbles out there aren’t truly marble, they are still beautiful, durable stones that can enhance any area you install them in. Take care to install and care for them properly to help them last as long as possible.

Polishing or Honing Your Stone

There are many finishes available for stone tiles and countertops. Depending on the stone you’ve chosen, it may be available in a polished finished, a honed finish, or a high-hone finish with a light sheen. Some people may have some misconceptions about these finishes, however, and may therefore hesitate to use one or the other or may choose a finish that doesn’t complement their home the way they thought.

Understated Traditional Kitchen traditional-kitchen

In terms of maintaining your stone, there is no difference between polished and honed finishes. Some people may mistakenly believe that a polished stone is more durable, or that it may require less sealing or resist scratches more. Some polished stones may reflect light better than others, which can hide or disguise scratches better than a honed stone will, which is what may lead to this confusion, but both types of finishes will require the same care.

For some softer stones, such as marble, which can etch or dull when it comes in contact with an acid, honing may help to disguise this better than polishing. For example, a Carrara marble counter may look better longer when honed, because etch marks may fade into the overall finish more easily, while the same counter when polished may have more obvious etch marks.

Stones that have a very granular surface or that have a lot of mica in their surface may not hone as well as stones with a more regular surface texture. This is because polishing reflects light off of surface irregularities, such as pits and natural fissures, while honing may expose them. So, stones such as Labrador Antique may look better polished than they will honed.

If your stone doesn’t have these issues, then polishing or honing may be a more personal choice. Honed stones have a softer, more natural appearance to them, which makes them a good fit for some Country and Farmhouse style kitchens, while polished stones look better in more traditional and formal spaces. Either way, your stone counter or tile is sure to give you many years of beauty and use anywhere you install it within your home.