Why Does White Marble Turn Yellow?

Yellowing of White Marble Floors & Surfaces

An elegant white, marble floor makes a sophisticated statement in any home or business. But what happens if your beautiful white marble begins to turn yellow?

Unfortunately, this problem is not uncommon, according to Fred Hueston, Chief Technical Director for SurpHaces, who says there are a number of causes for yellowing marble—and a number of possible cures.

Iron Oxidation

The most common culprit for white marble turning yellow is iron, which can be found in many natural stones. When exposed to water, acids or bleach, the iron in the stone will begin to oxidize and turn it yellow. In extreme circumstances, the marble can turn a brown color, akin to what happens to a piece of iron left out in the rain. To find out if your marble contains iron, you can have your stone tested by a lab.

Oxidation is accelerated when marble is saturated with water. If you’ve had a pipe burst or excessive water has been used on the marble floor, have your water tested for iron, especially if you’ll be cleaning with it. It’s also a good idea to test the marble for moisture if it has been soaked with water.

If oxidation is indeed your issue, preparing and applying a poultice solution may rid the yellowing from the marble in some cases. There are also some new products that are aimed at removing iron oxidation. Consult with your stone restoration contractor for poultice mixtures or other products that may work best for your situation.

Wear and Tear

Wear and tear can also cause yellowing of white marble. As the polished surface wears away, trapped dirt in the marble’s pores can give the stone a yellow appearance.

Improper Cleaning

Using dirty mops allows dirt to accumulate and remain even after cleaning, resulting in a dingy, yellow looking floor. This type of yellowing may possibly be removed with a professional cleaning with a heavy-duty stone cleaner.

Wax Build-up

When waxes are used on marble, the waxes themselves can build up and turn yellow, leaving your gorgeous white marble looking aged and yellowed. In this case, the floor will need to be stripped to attempt to remove the color.

Crystallization

Some stone floors are polished using the process of crystallization. If your marble contains any moisture when this type of polishing occurs, the stone will begin to yellow. This can sometimes be reversed with a powder marble polish and if not, the floor will need to be honed by your stone and tile care professional.

Lifeless Travertine?

Travertine Caring Tips

Lifeless Travertine?

Having Issues With Your Travertine? Don’t despair!

If the sight of your travertine floors or shower walls is giving you the blues, professional restoration services can brighten your day. Travertine can be cleaned, repaired and restored to like new, for much less than the cost of replacement.

Cleaning

If all the mopping in the world won’t clean your travertine floors or you scrub and scrub the shower and unsightly soap film won’t go away, it’s time for a professional cleaning. With deep cleaning processes, years of imbedded dirt, grime and film can be removed. You will be amazed how clean your travertine will look and feel.

Travertine Repairs

Travertine has pitted holes and troughs by nature. Floor tiles generally come with these holes filled, but sometimes the fillers pop out leaving the holes exposed that become dirt collectors. As a professional stone restoration service, we can fill these holes, leaving your floors with a smoother, cleaner finish. Cracks or chips? We can make most of them virtually invisible.

Travertine Honing & Polishing

Have your dull and lifeless travertine floors got you down? It could be due to etching and scratches. A professional honing and polishing will uncover the beauty of your stone that is lying there just beneath the damaged surface and have you smiling again in no time. The finish on your travertine can be changed from a glossy shine to a satin and matte finish, or vice versa.

Sealing and Color Enhancing Travertine

Sealing fills the pores of your travertine and the fillers to inhibit spills from penetrating and causing stains. But not all travertine needs sealing. Let us take a look. For certain types of travertine, we can apply an enhancing sealer to intensify the color and enrich its natural beauty. Download our free Stone and Tile Care Guide for great tips on caring for you travertine and other natural stone. Feel free to contact us with any questions, or to schedule a time to restore the beauty to your travertine.


Take a look at our Travertine Repair and Restoration video and see what professional services can do for you.


How To Remove Pink Shower Film

Have you ever noticed a slimy pink film form in bath and shower areas? This article explains what it is, how to get rid of it, and how to keep it from coming back.

About Pink Shower Film

Often referred to as “pink mold” or “pink slime,” pink film is a bacterial substance called Serratia marcescens in the family Enterobacteriaceae. It may be pink, pink-orange, orange, or orange-red in color. This airborne bacteria prefers damp conditions, which is why it is commonly found growing in bathrooms on grout lines, in the corners of showers, and along toilet water lines and basins. This slimy film feeds on fatty, phosphorus materials found in soap and shampoo. If left unchecked, this substance can permanently stain natural stone, porous tile, and grout lines.

How to Get Rid of Pink Shower Film

Spray the affected area with a bleach-based disinfectant. Allow the solution to dwell for a few minutes, then use a brush to remove the film. Rinse thoroughly.

What You Should Know About Bleach and Natural Stone

Bleach is an alkaline, Sodium Hypochlorite, which means that it can deposit salts into natural stone, resulting in a dull appearance due to alkaline etching. Using bleach to clean stone every now and then is acceptable, but it is not something you would want to use on a regular basis. Another problem associated with using bleach on natural stone is iron oxidation, or rust, caused a chemical reaction between the bleach and the iron in the stone. Be sure to thoroughly rinse your stone after using any bleach-based cleaner.

Preventing Pink Shower Film

To prevent the return of pink shower film, use a stone-safe cleaner regularly. Take a few minutes to rinse, squeegee, and dry your shower surfaces after each use. Daily care removes the food source and makes the environment less hospitable, which can prevent the reestablishment of the bacterium.

If elimination or prevention proves to be unsuccessful, have your stone and tile professionally cleaned. Unlike regular cleaning methods, professional cleaning flushes contaminants out from deep within porous surfaces. Professional cleaning will leave your stone, tile, and grout lines sanitized and fresh. Preventative measures should prove successful after the pink film is eliminated.

Coronavirus Cleaning Information from CDC and EPA

New facts are continually becoming available regarding COVID-19. Consequently, this article will eventually become outdated. For the most up-to-date information, please refer to the Centers for Disease Control and the Environmental Protection Agency.


Coronavirus Cleaning Information from CDC and EPA

When it comes to cleaning of your carpets, rugs, and upholstery, the Centers for Disease Control’s Cleaning and Disinfection for Households recommends removing visible contamination and cleaning with appropriate cleaners indicated for use on such surfaces, as well as laundering and completely drying soft, porous smaller items using the warmest appropriate water setting according to manufacturer’s instructions. For specific product recommendations, the Environmental Protection Agency published List N: Disinfectants for Use Against SARS-CoV-2. If you are unable to find manufacturer-recommended products for use against SARS-CoV2 suitable for your porous surfaces on the list, look for product labels that confirm an EPA registration number and have human coronavirus listed as a target pathogen. Be sure to follow the label directions for use, including the proper amount of contact time.

Other Resources

For how to protect and prepare yourself or what to do if you think you are sick:

For advice, situation reports, media resources, research and development, statistics, and more, from the World Health Organization:
Coronavirus disease 2019

To get answers about disinfectants, drinking water, waste water and septic systems, and indoor air:
Frequent Questions about Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Our Commitment to You

We make a point to provide our clients with helpful tips and information for carpet and upholstery care, but especially so during the COVID-19 pandemic. To protect and maintain a healthy environment in your home or workplace, use soap and warm water to wash your hands, disinfect high-traffic surfaces, frequently use a vacuum with a HEPA filter, clean your porous surfaces, and book an appointment to have your carpets, rugs, and upholstery professionally cleaned as soon as social distancing restrictions are lifted. Feel free to contact us with any specific questions you may have about COVID-19 and our services during this difficult time.

Related article: Carpets, Upholstery, and the New Strain of Coronavirus

This article written by Fred Hueston, Chief Technical Director for SurpHaces.

The Coronavirus and Your Stone Countertops

New facts are continually becoming available regarding COVID-19. Consequently, this article will eventually become outdated. For the most up-to-date information, please refer to the Centers for Disease Control and the Environmental Protection Agency.


The Coronavirus and Your Stone Countertops

The entire world is in a panic over the new coronavirus, and as a stone expert, my phone is ringing off the hook with questions. Can the coronavirus survive on my stone countertop? If so, for how long? What do I use on my stone to properly kill the virus?

As of this writing, there are many unknown facts about the coronavirus. However, there are several studies that have looked at these questions in the past. One such study was recently published in The Journal of Hospital Infections, entitled Persistence of Coronaviruses on Inanimate Surfaces and their Inactivation with Biocidal Agents.

Following is a brief summary of this research.

How long can the coronavirus survive on stone surfaces?

The short answer is, we don’t know. However similar viruses, such as SARS and MERS, can survive for up to 9 days. The common flu virus can last up to 48 hours on a stone surface. Additional studies have shown that the virus can last for over a week but seems to have a shorter lifespan at temperatures over 86 degrees F. Of course, stone surfaces would rarely reach those high temperatures in an average kitchen environment.

Can you get the coronavirus by touching a contaminated stone countertop?

Again, there is not enough information or studies that confirm that the coronavirus acts similar to other viruses. However, some studies are showing that the virus can be killed with standard household disinfectants. One study showed that disinfectants with 62-71% ethanol, 0.5% hydrogen peroxide or 0.1% sodium hypochlorite (bleach) can inactivate the coronavirus within a minute. Although the study shows that the coronavirus is similar to SARS, it is not yet clear if the coronavirus will act the same as SARS. So, can you get the virus by touching a contaminated stone surface? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), touching a surface is not believed to be the main way the virus is transferred. The most likely way it is spread is from person to person from coughs and sneezing.

How do you properly disinfect your stone surface to kill the coronavirus?

Currently, it is believed that most household disinfectants can kill the virus. However, I have discovered that many people do not know how to properly use these sanitizing solutions. Many people will spray and immediately wipe a disinfectant. This method will not kill the virus. The disinfectant should be allowed to dwell on the countertop for 3-5 minutes to be effective. You can also make your own disinfectant by mixing one half rubbing alcohol with one half water. Spray the disinfectant on the countertop and thoroughly wet the surface. Allow the solution to sit for 3-5 minutes. Rinse with clean water and then dry with a microfiber cloth.

The best advice is to keep your stone countertop clean by following these simple steps.

To keep your granite in tip-top condition, a few simple maintenance procedures are necessary. For best results, they should be followed very closely.

  1. Clean the countertop daily with a soft white cloth and a neutral cleaner or stone soap. These products are available at most stone and tile care suppliers.
  2. It may be necessary to buff the countertop with a clean white terry cloth towel if streaking occurs.
  3. Once a week, clean with a disinfectant.
  4. All granite countertops should be sealed.
  5. If the countertop becomes stained, immediately blot the spill with a clean paper towel.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the best way to avoid the coronavirus is to:

  1. Wash your hands frequently. Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water.
  2. Maintain social distancing. Maintain at least 1 meter (3 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
  3. Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth. Hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth. From there, the virus can enter your body and can make you sick.
  4. Practice respiratory hygiene. Make sure you and the people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately.
  5. If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early. Stay home if you feel unwell. If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention and call in advance. Follow the directions of your local health authority.

A Final Word

As the coronavirus spreads, there is sure to be misinformation on how it spreads. The best way to know the truth is to keep an eye on the CDC and WHO websites, as well as your local health department.

References

  1. The Journal of Hospital Infection; Persistence of coronaviruses on inanimate surfaces and their inactivation with biocidal agents; G. Kampfa,∗,Correspondence information about the author G. Kampf; D. Todtb; S. Pfaenderb; E. Steinmannb https://www.journalofhospitalinfection.com/article/S0195-6701(20)30046-3/fulltext
  2. World Health Organization-https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public
  3. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention- https://www.cdc.gov/

Carpets, Upholstery, and the New Strain of Coronavirus

This article was published March 11, 2020. New facts are continually becoming available regarding COVID-19. Consequently, this article will eventually become outdated. For the most up-to-date information, please refer to the Center for Disease Control , the World Health Organization and the Environmental Protection Agency.


Most people know by now, with all the media attention given to a new strain of coronavirus, that coronavirus and similar viruses are distributed through coughing, sneezing, talking, and physical contact. Our clients want to know whether they should be concerned about coronavirus on carpets and upholstery. It’s not as if you can douse your furniture and carpets with hand sanitizer or haphazardly use any disinfectant. This article offers some answers, as well as some valuable information on how to sanitize your home against any cold or flu virus.

How long can coronavirus survive on carpet and upholstery?

The infectious lifespan of viruses in general depends on temperature, humidity, and the porosity of the surface where the virus is found. We have flu “season,” because cold, dry environments allow viruses to remain infectious longer.

In a 2011 study called Survival of Influenza A(H1N1) on Materials Found in Households: Implications for Infection Control by Dr. Jane Greatorex at Public Health England, findings showed the virus remained infectious about twice as long on non-porous surfaces, such as plastic and metal, as porous surfaces, like clothing, wood, and the like. Your carpet and upholstery is porous, which means it is less hospitable to viruses than non-porous surfaces. However, your carpet and upholstery is still cool and dry.

According to a study recently published in The Journal of Hospital Infections entitled Persistence of coronaviruses on inanimate surfaces and their inactivation with biocidal agents, the new strain of coronavirus, like similar viruses, such as SARS and MERS, can survive for anywhere from 2 hours to 9 days on a surface. Although there are proven methods for preventing the spread of known coronaviruses, these methods have never been tested against this specific virus. So, until more information is available, our recommendations for dealing with the new strain of coronavirus on carpet and upholstery can only be based on what coronaviruses in general, and we cannot offer any guarantees that these measures and professional carpet cleaning will eliminate the new strain of coronaviruses.

Keeping Surfaces Clean

It is always a good idea to protect your family by keeping all of your surfaces clean, especially during flu season.

  • Wash your hands often with sanitizing liquid soap and warm water.
  • Disinfect surfaces that see a lot of hand-traffic, such as doorknobs, and light switches, as well as countertops, walls, and floors.
  • Use a HEPA filter in your vacuum so that small particles are trapped instead of being blown back into the air. Vacuum often.
  • Schedule professional cleaning services for your carpets, rugs, and upholstery as soon as social distancing requirements are lifted and you feel safe to do so.
  • Check this list for products that can help prevent the spread of viruses. Be sure to check the label and verify they are specifically marked as safe to use on carpet and upholstery.

Why Upholstery and Carpet Cleaning Matters

As you step up your normal cleaning routine and sanitize your home, don’t forget about your fine surfaces, such as upholstery, carpet, and rugs. These surfaces are often overlooked. The couch is a cozy, comforting place to rest when one has a virus.

Vacuuming regularly can help keep your carpeting and interior textiles clean and fresh. Use high quality vacuum bags in order to prevent particles from escaping your vacuum, returning into the indoor air, and settling back onto carpets and upholstery, do not allow bags to become overly full, and never reuse bags.

For more good, sound care information, including how to maintain your vacuum cleaner, read our free, downloadable Carpet and Interior Textiles Care Guide. Chances are you will find the answers to any questions you may have about caring for your carpet, upholstery, or other interior textiles in this valuable resource, and of course, you can always feel free to contact us with specific questions.

Although we cannot claim to completely eliminate the possibility of preventing the spread of the new strain of coronavirus, or any virus for that matter, we can tell you that the conditions created by professional carpet cleaning are not hospitable to the infectious lifespan of viruses. Proper professional carpet and upholstery cleaning involves both heat and moisture, so having your carpets and upholstery cleaned can help ease your mind. If the new strain of coronavirus proves to be like those already tested in the past, professional cleaning will decrease the chances of coronavirus surviving on your interior textiles. Once social distancing measures are lifted and you feel safe to do so, schedule professional cleaning services.

Pressure Washing Caution

The Dangers of Pressure Washing Stone and Masonry Surfaces

Are you a property owner or manager looking for a cleaning solution for dirty concrete and sidewalks, oily driveways, and other sullied surfaces? You may have considered pressure washing, which is a fast and easy way to clean such surfaces, but be warned, when it comes to stone and masonry, pressure washing can cause damage. Anyone can purchase a pressure washer and claim to be qualified to clean exterior stone and masonry. One should always opt to consult with a professional stone restoration contractor for safe, lasting results.

Over-saturation Can Cause Efflorescence

Pressure washing can remove the natural protective patina of stone and masonry surfaces. It will also remove any coating or sealers. This opens up the pores in the surface, allowing water to seep deep into the stone or masonry. The higher the pressure, the more water the stone or masonry will consume, and the more saturated it will become. Over-saturated stone or masonry can cause a condition known as efflorescence, a white powdery residue that accumulates on the surface. This powder consists of salts originating from the stone and the setting material. The salts are dissolved from the water and deposited on the surface. In many cases the salts will deposit into the pores without making their way all the way to the surface, causing pitting, flaking and delamination.

Scarring by zero tip pressure washer
Scarring by zero tip pressure washer

Scarring/Gouging

In order to get difficult soiling removed, many contractors will intentionally not place tips on their pressure washers. This can cause severe scarring of the surface. It is easy to recognize scarring by deep patterns carved into the surface of the stone or masonry.

Damage caused by chemical application
Damage caused by chemical application

Chemicals

In addition to pressure washing, unqualified contractors often use inappropriate chemicals in an attempt to help remove the soiling. These chemicals are applied before and during the pressure washing process. The chemicals can be driven deep into the stone with the high water pressure, causing etching and other damage. Common chemicals are acids, bleach, and high alkaline cleaners, which if not applied and neutralized properly, can cause irreversible damage.

Missing grout
Missing grout

Missing Grout and Point

Grout on interior surfaces and point on exterior surfaces can be removed by pressure washing. Grout and point can become soft, weak, and crack with age. Using a pressure washer accelerates this process through over-saturation.

The Proper Use of Pressure Washing

Not all pressure washing is damaging, and if done properly, it can be a good cleaning solution. If you intend to have anyone other than a professional stone and masonry restoration contractor use a pressure washer on your surfaces, you, or whoever performs the cleaning, needs to be aware of the following:

  • The surface to be cleaned should be inspected and evaluated to determine the softness of the material.
  • Grout and point should be examined carefully before washing.
  • Never use a pressure washer over 1000 PSI.
  • Never use a zero-point tip. Only fan tips should be used.
  • Do not use bleach, acids, or high-alkaline chemicals on stone or masonry surfaces.
  • The pressure washing tip should be at least 12 inches from the surface of the material being cleaned.

In order to avoid damage, it is best not to do your own pressure washing or to hire a pressure washing company to clean stone or masonry. Save yourself the trouble and consult with a professional stone and masonry restoration contractor.

Limiting and Eliminating Carpet Grease

Cooking grease is easily and invisibly tracked through the home from the kitchen and onto carpets by people and pets—and cannot be vacuumed away. Here are a few tips for limiting and eliminating grease.

Prevention: Modify Cooking Methods

Try increasing your use of alternatives to frying, such as boiling, broiling, crock pot, or other cooking methods. When you do fry, use a splatter guard or lid on your pan, lower your cooking temperature, and use high-temperature-friendly oils or fats.

Removing a Grease Spot on Carpet

If you have a grease spot from a spill, you may be able to clean it using DIY methods. First, remove any excess grease using paper towels, and if necessary, the flat edge of a dull knife. Sprinkle some baking soda on the grease and allow it to remain for an hour or longer. The baking soda will absorb excess grease. Vacuum the baking soda off the carpet. Mix mild, bleach-free, alkali-free detergent and warm water. Use two clean, absorbant, white rags, one to apply the detergent, and the other to absorb the detergent. Blot the spot, and do not rub it. Rubbing will only spread the grease to clean carpet fibers. Repeat this process until the spot is removed. For stubborn grease spots, use a dry cleaning solvent or a protein enzyme like laundry detergent or OxiClean.

Professional Carpet Cleaning Removes Grease

If you have a thin layer of grease over a wide area of carpet, or if your DIY spot removal methods failed, then it is time to contact your professional carpet cleaner. Professional carpet cleaning solutions and equipment achieve a deep level of clean not possible with regular vacuuming, spot removal methods, or using a rented carpet cleaning machine. If you do not have a professional carpet cleaner, contact us. We will safely and effectively get the grease out and leave your carpets clean and fresh.

Comparing Stone-Like Tiles and Actual Stone Tiles

The Difference Between Stone Tiles and Stone-Like Tiles

Stone-Like Tiles and Actual Stone Tiles

If you are planning on selecting tile for your floors, walls or kitchen backsplashes, bathroom showers, laundry rooms, and other spaces, you should know the difference between tiles that look like natural stone and actual natural stone tiles. Advances in technology have enabled tile manufacturers to produce tiles that look remarkably like natural stone. Although the word “tile” is used to describe both manmade and natural stone tiles, differences between the two types of tile can affect the cost and longevity of your installation.

Manufactured Tile

Porcelain and ceramic are made from clay and kiln fired. Glazed tiles are non-porous, and therefore easier to keep clean than unglazed tiles, however, unglazed tiles are less likely to show signs of wear, since the entire tile is the same color. Cement tiles may also mimic the look of natural stone, but are usually not as convincing. Unglazed, porous tiles, as well as porous grout lines, should be sealed to inhibit staining.

Natural Stone Tile

Natural stone tiles are a product of planet Earth. Granite and slate tiles are among the hardest and most durable of natural stone tiles. Marble, limestone, travertine, and other types of natural stone are also very durable, but more prone to scratching.

Natural stone tiles can be sensitive to acidic substances, such as wine, vinegar, or certain cleaners. Fortunately when surface damage or acid etching happens, the finish can be honed and polished to like-new again.

The porosity of natural stone determines its stain resistance. Some types of natural stone are more porous than others. A qualified stone fabricator or stone restoration contractor can determine whether your natural stone tiles ought to be sealed. Some highly polished stone tiles may not even absorb a sealer. Many stains can be removed from natural stone using DIY methods or by a stone restoration contractor.

Choosing Your Tile

For areas with low traffic and minimal use, ceramic tiles are a budget-friendly option. Glazed ceramic is low maintenance, stain resistant, and unaffected by harsh chemicals. Porcelain tiles are idea for exterior applications. Unglazed porcelain or natural stone treated for slip resistance are great choices for any areas where slip and fall accidents are a concern.

Natural stone is truly unique. There is zero chance that your installation will look exactly like someone else’s. Natural stone tiles are generally more expensive than man-made tiles, but with proper care and maintenance, natural stone tile installations can last for a lifetime.

If you have specific questions or concerns about your installation and would like some guidance in making the most appropriate material selection for your budget, design, and functional needs, feel free to contact us.

Shower Pan Moisture Buildup

Have you noticed that the stone around your shower drain is darker than the surrounding stone? This is a strong indication of moisture buildup due to improper drainage, possibly caused by clogged weep holes. Dealing with shower pan moisture buildup may be an easy DIY procedure or require a complete reinstall. Read on to learn more about what might be causing the problem and how to resolve it.

Clogged Weep Holes

When water makes its way through grout lines or joints under the shower floor, weep holes enable the water to work its way into the drainage system. The most common cause of moisture buildup in shower pans is clogged weep holes.

How To Unclog Weep Holes

Remove the drain cover. Clear away any large debris, such as soap buildup or hair. Locate the small holes around the main pipe. Use wire or pipe cleaner to clear away mineral buildup in the weep holes. Replace the drain cover.

Dry Out the Shower

Use another shower for a few days to allow the natural stone shower floor to completely dry. To speed the drying process, set up fans and a dehumidifier. If the darkened section of stone does not lighten and return to its natural color, you may be dealing with a drainage problem other than clogged weep holes.

Improper Installation

If a shower liner is not high enough or cut instead of folded, moisture can become trapped under the floor. Unfortunately, if your shower pan was improperly installed, it may need to be replaced, which also means that the stone floor over the pan will need to be replaced. Contact your stone professional for an evaluation and recommended plan of action.