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THE STONE CARE CYCLE

With a clear understanding of the stone care cycle natural stone surfaces will sustain their inherent beauty and durability for decades. However, it must be made clear that if a stone care program is not put into practice not only can the aesthetics of the stone and the design be lost, but an investment can be wasted and become an expensive liability.  

The old adage "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" can not be more truer regarding the stone care cycle.

Natural stone bears natures many complexities and shows large variations in its... absorption, density and hardness. These and environmental conditions have an important impact on what needs to be done to ensure that the stone will endure and maintain its essential and distinctive characteristics, its resistance to decay, strength and appearance.

The stone care cycle can be divided into three categories: Preservation, Maintenance and Restoration.

PRESERVATION
All stone is porous and absorbent. Modifying these characteristics by treating the stone with the proper treatment product will greatly minimize the deteriorating effects associated with the weathering process and will vastly improve maintenance procedures.

There are a number of factors that need to be considered in order to select the proper treatment for the stone:

  • Pore / Capillary Structure - small or lager
  • Density / Hardnest
  • Environmental conditions -Interior, exterior, wet areas (showers, pool/spa) 
  • Climate conditions, general purpose areas, areas where foods or oils will be present, etc.
  • The finish of the stone-textured, honed or polished
  • A solvent or water-based product
  • An impregnator (penetrating or subsurface sealer) or acoating (sacrificial surface)
  • Service life of the treatment (time between retreating)

STONE TREATMENTS
Surface preparation and method of application are two other vital elements that will ensure that the treatment will perform accordingly to its intended purpose and service life.

MAINTENANCE
The care of stone is generally approached by using cleansers and standard methods used by the cleaning industry. Taking this approach has shown (as you may have already experienced) not to solve the most common problems relating to stone care.

In fact, many of these methods and cleaners are the contributing causes to an unsuccessful stone maintenance program.

Also, unfortunately all to often, stone is sold as a "no maintenance" product and this has caused unrealistic expectations.

A successful maintenance program begins with:

  • Proper stone identification.
  • A survey of the installation and condition of the stone.
  • The environmental conditions the stone is subjected too.
  • Present or previous maintenance history
  • Proper stone identification...This will provide the needed information about the stones physical properties;density, hardness, absorption and weathering characteristics.
  • A survey of the installation and condition of the stone... Does the installation contain "lippage", that is when one or more edges of a tile is higher than the tile adjoining it. A easy way to determine this is by using a dime and placing it next to the raised edge of a tile and if the tile is higher than the dime this can be considered

"lippage". Are the gout joints wide, narrow or deep? Does the installation have any cracks, pitting, scratches, sever ware, etc.?

What type of finish does the stone have:

  • Polished brilliant glass like finish. (factory finish)
  • Honed anywhere from a smooth no light reflective finish to a satiny sheen.
  • Textured a rough surface natural cleft (split-faced, like slate or sandstone), flamed, bush hammered, or sandblasted to name just a few.

The environmental conditions the stone is subjected too.  This refers to both interior and exterior installations. Areas where foods will be present kitchens, banquet areas, patios (BBQ), etc. Wet area bathrooms,showers, pool / spa areas  irrigated landscape areas and fountains, etc. What type of pedestrian traffic are various areas subjected to?

Present or previous maintenance history; Are coatings, waxes, polishes etc. being used or have they been used in the past? What types of cleaners have been used to clean with? What type equipment - pads, brushes or other method have
been used?

RESTORATION
Because of the every day wear and other circumstances periodically stone will need to be restored.

The restoration process involves a careful evaluation of the stone, and the circumstances that where or are involved in the process resulting in the need for restoration. It is important to address these causes and not just the symptoms as well.

This may involve:

Restorative Cleaning:  Which involves using specifically formulated cleaning products that will not damage the stone or masonry surface and will remove the specific soiling agents  involved.

Consolidating / Densification Treatments;  These are used for stabilizing and preserving deteriorating stone and masonry surfaces. Related to the environmental conditions, especially in wet/dry situations, the natural mineral binders that hold the stone together can over time be removed weakening the stone of masonry materials.

Repairs: Fixing or replacing broken and damaged stone, replacing missing grout, etc.

Resurfacing: This involves the use of a series of abrasives and special equipment and machinery designed to remove the effects of years of wear, scratches, etching and weathering.

Polishing: There are different compounds that are formulated for deferent types and varieties of stones. These are used after the resurfacing process if a high reflective finish is to be achieved or to restore the luster to a worn and dull surface. These polishing compounds are similar to those used by the factories to produce those brilliant high shine finishes.

These restoration processes require special skills, great care, and work; it is highly recommended to consult with a professional stone care company before engaging in any kind of a restoration project.

 

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Dragan Tzankov bulvd. 31A,
1113 Sofia, BULGARIEN

 

tel: +359 2 960 8184
fax: +359 2 960 8180