Twin Cities Countertops

Stone Care & Maintenance

Easy Care Tips

To get the longest life and preserve the beauty of your natural stone, follow these simple tips:
Coaster:  Use coasters under all glasses, particularly those containing alcohol or citrus juices.
Spills:    Do not wipe spills.  Blot them immediately with a paper towel, then flush the area with water    and mild soap and rinse several times.  Dry the area thoroughly with a soft cloth.  Repeat as necessary.

Cleaning:

  • For best results, use a clean, soft cloth.
  • Clean stone surfaces with a neutral cleaner, stone soap, or a mild liquid dishwashing detergent (like Ivory soap) and warm water. Similar to any item cleaned in your home, an excessive concentration of cleaner or soap may leave a film and cause streaks.  Follow manufacturer recommendations.
  • Do not use products containing lemon, vinegar or other acids as they may dull or etch calcareous stones.
  • Scouring powders or creams often contain abrasives that may scratch certain stones.

Sealing: 

Your countertops will be sealed with a 15 year sealer after installation. However, the natural porosity of these stones and their use in your home requires them to have more than an initial sealing. Some stones will only need sealing every few years depending on the stone’s porosity and your daily use of the countertops. To determine if your countertop needs resealing, perform a “water test”. Place some water onto your stone. If within 15-20 minutes the water begins to absorb into the stone, it is time to reseal. Wait for the water spot to evaporate before resealing.

See “Frequently Asked Questions:  How do you seal granite?” if you desire to reseal your countertop(s).

Stain Identification Tips

Identifying the type of stain on the stone surface is the key to removing it.  Stans can be oil based, organic, metallic, biological, ink based, paint based, or acid based.  If you don’t know what caused the stain consider likely staining agents that may have been present.  Here are some questions to consider:

Where is the Stain Located?

  • Is it near a plant, a food service area, or an area where cosmetics are used?
  • What color is it?
  • What is the shape or pattern?
  • What occurs in the area around the stain?

What Type of Stain is it?
The following sections describe the types of stains you may have to deal with and the appropriate household chemicals to use and how to prepare and apply a poultice to remove the stain.

Oil-based:
(Grease, plumbers’ putty, tar, cooking oil, milk, cosmetics)
An oil-based stain will darken the stone and normally must be chemically dissolved so the source of the stain can be flushed or rinsed away.  Clean gently with a soft, liquid cleanser with one of the following: household detergent, mineral spirits, or acetone.

Organic:
(coffee, tea, wine, fruit, tobacco, paper, food, urine, leaves, bark, bird droppings)
May cause a pinkish-brown stain and may disappear after the source of the stain has been removed.  Outdoors, with the sources removed, sun and rain will generally bleach out the stains.  Indoors, clean with a 12% hydrogen peroxide (hair bleaching strength) and a few drops of ammonia.

Metal
(iron, rust, copper, bronze)
Iron or rust stains are orange to brown in color and follow the shape of the staining object such as nails, bolts, crews, cans, flower pots, metal furniture.  Copper and bronze stains appear as green or muddy-brown and result from the action of moisture or nearby or embedded bronze, copper or brass items.  Metal stains must be removed with a poultice.  Consult a stone professional, or visit www.naturalstoneinstitues.org/consumers/poultices/.  Deep-seated, rusty stains are extremely difficult to remove and the stone may be permanently stained.

Biological
(algae, mildew, lichens, moss, fungi)
Clean with diluted cleaning solution.  Use a ½ cup of any of the following:  ammonia, bleach or hydrogen peroxide and a shallow glass of water.  Reminder:  do not mix bleach and ammonia.

Ink:
(magic marker, pen, ink)
On light colored stones, clean with bleach or hydrogen peroxide.  On dark colored stones, clean with lacquer thinner or acetone.

Paint
Small amounts can be removed with lacquer thinner or scrapped off carefully with a razor blade.  Heavy paint coverage should be removed only with a commercial “heavy liquid” paint stripper available from hardware stores and paint centers.  These strippers normally contain caustic soda or lye.  Do not use acids or flame tools to strip paint from stone.  Paint strippers can etch the surface of the stone; repolishing may be necessary.  Follow the manufacturer’s directions for use of these products, and flush the area thoroughly with clean water.  Protect yourself with rubber gloves and eye protection, and work in a well-ventilated area.  Use only wood or plastic scrapers for removing the sludge and curdled paint.  Normally, latex and acrylic paints will not cause staining.  Oil-based paints, linseed oil, putty, caulks and sealants may cause oily stains.  Refer to the section on oil-based stains.

Water Spots and Rings
(surface accumulation of hard water)
Buff with dry 0000 steel wool.

Fire and Smoke Damage
Older stone and smoke or fire-stained fireplaces may require a thorough cleaning.  When the smoke is removed, there may also be some etching (due to carbonic & othe acids in soke).  Commercially available “smoke removers” may save time and effort.

Etch Marks
(caused by acids left on the surface of the stone)
Some materials will etch the finish but not leave a stain.  Others will both etch and stain.  Contact your stone dealer or call a professional stone restorer for refinishing or repolishing etched areas.

Efflorescence
(a white powder that may appear on the surface of stone)
This is caused by the deposition of mineral salts carried by water from below the surface of the stone.  When the water evaporates, it leaves the powdery substance.  If the installation is new, dust off the powder.

You may have to do this several times as the stone dries out.  Do not use water to remove the powder; it will only temporarily disappear.  If the problem persists, contact Paramount Granite to help identify and remove the cause of the moisture.

Scratches and Nicks
Slight surface scratches may be buffed with dry 0000 steel wool.  Deeper scratches and nicks in the surface of the stone can be repaired and repolished by a professional.  Please know, however, that some stones naturally have divots on the surface and is simply a byproduct of the natural stone.

 

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