Monthly Archives: June 2017

Should You Use Natural Stone in a Kid’s Bathroom?

Natural stone is beautiful, elegant, timeless, and always unique. Therefore, there are many homeowners that want to use it in as many places as possible around their homes. This sometimes includes areas where the material may not be in the best position for its use, such as children’s bathrooms. While ultimately, the type of care you give a material and the type of style you’re after will dictate the final material choice, there are several things to consider before putting marble, limestone, or travertine into a kid’s bath.

Chevy Chase Kids Bath traditional-bathroom

The first consideration should be to the finish of the stone and the age of the kids. Polished stones aren’t any stronger or weaker than their honed or tumbled counterparts, but they do show wear and etching more easily. If your kids are young enough to miss the toilet bowl or to drop toothpaste, these substances may leave a dull mark on polished stone, which can detract from the appearance of the room.

Older kids, who may like to experiment with bold hair colors, dying their hair purple in a show of team spirit may not be suited to life in a stone bathroom. Natural stone is porous, and things like purple hair dye may leave stains that are difficult to remove.

If you love the look of stone, and are confident that your kids can help you care for it properly, consider opting for some colorful, wild marbles or granites for use in their bathroom. The colors and veining are not only fun for a kids’ bath, they also help disguise things like stains and etch marks better than classic stones may.

There’s no hard and fast rules about using natural stone in a child’s bathroom. Just keep in mind that while stone is beautiful and durable, it does require slightly more care than some other materials, which may mean that it doesn’t always mix well with kids. Keep this in mind as you choose your bathroom material to ensure that if you do use stone, that it maintains its good looks for many years to come.

Types of Stone Sealer

Whether you have granite countertops or marble tiles installed in your home, it’s likely that at some point you heard about stone sealants and the benefits that they can give your new stone surfaces. There are many different types of sealants on the market, and not all of them are equal or made for every stone. Learn the different types of sealants so that you can make better choices for your stone.

Richards Drive 1 contemporary-kitchen

Impregnating Sealer

Impregnating sealers penetrate into your stone to seal up the many small holes and pores beneath its surface. They may be made of silicone or water, and may help increase the slip resistance of some stone floors. They can be used on any type of stone, as well as on any stone finish from tumbled to polished. They do not affect the color or the finish of the stone, but merely help impede staining and give you time to wipe up spills before they can penetrate the stone.

Porous Sealants

If you have a highly porous stone, like limestone or marble, you may want to invest in a sealer made specifically for porous stones. Usually made of silicone, these sealers fill the larger holes in very porous stones to help impede staining. They’re perfect for stones that are installed in high traffic areas, such as kitchens, and will not affect the color or finish of your stone.

Color Enhancers

A color enhancer is a topical sealant that sits on the surface of your stone. It does not penetrate like an impregnator, and should be used in conjunction with a penetrating sealer. Color enhancers help darken and bring out the colors in honed, matte, and tumbled stones. A good indication of how a color enhancer will look on your stone, is to get its surface wet; this is the color it will be once the sealer has been applied.

Shine Enhancers

If you have a polished stone that has received some minor etching or dulling of the finish, you may want to put a shine enhancer on its surface. Shine enhancers are topical sealants that leave a high gloss finish behind. They are meant to be used on already polished stones, not to bring a gloss to honed or tumbled stones.

Seal Your Stone

Most stones can benefit from repeated applications of stone sealants to help impede staining and bring out their beauty. Get the right sealer for your stone to help bring out the best in all your installations.

Removing a Wine Stain from a Marble Counter

White marble counters are all the rage for many areas of the home, including the kitchen. These countertops look beautiful, but come hand in hand with a lot of additional maintenance necessary to keep their good looks. Many of the liquids and foods found in the kitchen can easily penetrate the porous surface of the marble. And when that liquid is deep in color like many red wines, the resulting stain may leave a mark that’s difficult to conceal. While you may not be able to remove all traces of the wine from your counter, if a spill occurs, it may be possible to help reduce its impact.

Bronxville Shingle Style traditional-kitchen

Start by blotting up as much of the liquid as you can. If your marble has been sealed, this may help a lot of the wine to remain on the surface where it can be more easily wiped away. If the stone has not been sealed, it may absorb more of the liquid. Do not rub at the spill, as this may push the liquid deeper into the stone.

Once you’ve removed the excess liquid, soak a cloth in hydrogen peroxide and place it on the stain. Cover this with plastic wrap and set a heavy book on top. Leave it for a few hours to give the peroxide time to lift the stain. Wipe away the excess with clean water.

If the stain remains after the peroxide treatment, you may need to use a poultice to bring up the rest. Purchase a poultice made specifically for marble, and if possible, use one that is intended for organic stains like wine. Spread the poultice paste onto the stain and cover with fresh plastic wrap. Leave the poultice overnight, then rinse with clean water. Two or more applications may be necessary to finish lightening the stain. Poultices work by pulling the stains up to the surface of the stone where they can be wiped away; stains that were left to sit too long may have penetrated too deeply for the poultice to reach.

Always do your best to wipe up spills as soon as you notice them to help prevent deep staining. Protect your marble with regular sealings, and try not to worry about ordinary spills in the kitchen.

Oiling or Waxing Your Soapstone

Soapstone counters enjoy a lot of popularity amongst homeowners that like a matte, dark counter that still has some veining and personality to it. Soapstone gets its name from the soft, almost soapy texture that the stone has when finished, it does well as a countertop, resisting most scratches and stains and requiring no sealants. However, many people do choose to either oil or wax their soapstone, which gives the counter a deeper, richer color and helps make the veins pop against it.

Interior Paint Projects contemporary-kitchen

Oiling and waxing are not requirements of owning a soapstone counter. However, the stone will darken on its own over time regardless of whether or not you oil it. This patina is natural and an integral part of the stone, but it can develop unevenly, darkening areas around the stove or sink more quickly than other sections. Therefore, many people who don’t necessarily wish to oil in the beginning, ultimately do so to help even out the color of the stone.

When deciding between oil and wax for your soapstone, you may want to consider both the ultimate hue you wish to achieve, and how much effort you wish to invest. Some people enjoy oiling their stone, for example, while others may find it tedious.

Oil may eventually lighten up again, especially if the stone is touched or used frequently, which means that it does need to be reapplied often. Wax does not lighten or wear off quite as quickly, so you can go longer between applications.

Both oiling and waxing your soapstone take only a few minutes of buffing the enhancing substance into the surface, waiting for 30 minutes, then buffing again with a clean cloth. Whether you choose to oil, wax, or leave the stone alone is up to you; enhancing the stone only affects its color, not how well it will perform for you over the years.

Consider enhancing the color of your soapstone, to see your counter in all its beauty

Choosing the Right Tile for Your Bathroom

When it comes to the bathroom design, you have several different options for the type of tile that you use. Ceramic, glass, and natural stone are all viable options that can create a beautiful design. Deciding between them can sometimes be difficult, as each has several attributes that can help you make the most of the room. Learning more about each one, however, may help you decide which may be right for you.

CH+D mag's Fall 2012 Best Of Photos contemporary-bathroom

Ceramic tile is a manmade product. A clay based tile that is covered with a glaze and fired to high temperatures. They come in a range of colors, sizes, and textures and may be suitable for walls, floors, or both. Ceramic tile typically requires little care, unless the glaze has a crackled or crazed finish, in which case it will require sealing to prevent stains. Ceramic tile is fairly uniform in color, and even those with variation will still not deviate too far from one another in color or design.

Glass tile is a popular material for bathrooms, as it’s colorful, light reflecting, and easy to clean. Glass is used primarily for walls, but some tiles can be used on the floor as well. It has unique needs for setting material to help preserve its color and clarity. It can be difficult and expensive to install properly as well. Glass mixes well with other materials such as ceramic or stone, making a beautiful accent in small amounts.

Natural stone is one of the most popular materials for bathrooms, as it comes in such a wide range of colors, textures, and types. You can achieve classic styles using Bianco Carrara or get something more contemporary using a mixture of honed Absolute Black and glass tiles. Stone may need to be sealed in wet areas, but most types are well suited to the bath. Because no two pieces of stone are every exactly the same, using this material in your bathroom will give it a richness and depth that can’t be duplicated with ceramic tile. Stone also has a nearly universal appeal, making it a good choice for resale as well.

No matter what type of tile you choose for your bathroom, make sure that you consider all your options first, to find the right material for the job.