Sealers Can Help Protect Your Stone

[This article was originally published in October of 2018]

Kitchen countertops, bathroom vanity tops, bar tops, and the like can be prone to staining because they are exposed to oily or dye-containing substances on a daily, or sometimes, even an hourly basis. Consequently, a sealer should be applied to help prevent staining. Choosing the correct type of sealer can be very important for how the sealer performs. An experienced, professional stone restoration contractor will know which sealer is best, taking into consideration the characteristics of the particular type of stone to which it will be applied and the location where the stone is installed.

Impregnating Sealers

Impregnating sealers, also known as penetrating sealers, are the most commonly used sealers. They are applied to natural stone to inhibit staining. Impregnating sealers penetrate below the surface and protect the stone from within. They are formulated with water-repellent and oil-repellent substances. Topical sealers are available, but can be problematic, and are very seldom recommended.

Misconceptions About Sealers

There are many misconceptions about what a sealer does and doesn’t do. It is important to note that sealers do not prevent traffic patterns or etching. The surface of the stone is still vulnerable to acidic substances, scratches, dullness, and other damage. In addition, natural stone, even when it is properly sealed, is not stain proof, it is merely stain resistant. In other words, it buys some time so that spills can be cleaned before they penetrate into the stone and become stains. After natural stone is sealed, it still needs to be regularly cleaned with pH neutral stone care products and periodically refinished or resealed.

New High Performance Protective Treatments

There are new protective treatments that, unlike impregnating sealers, offer both etch and stain protection.

Ask us about how we can help protect your natural stone.

This article is one of a series of articles written and published on behalf of SurpHaces PRO Partners.

Cultured Marble vs Real Marble

Are cultured marble and real marble the same thing?

Cultured marble and real marble sound the same, but they are two completely different things. Each one is created differently. They are fabricated differently, and they are installed, cared for, and repaired differently. The only real similarity is that they both have marble in their name.

What is cultured marble?

Cultured marble is a man-made product that contains dyes, marble dust and resin. After it’s made, it gets coated with a high-shine, clear gel to protect it. Because of the way it’s made, cultured marble is more closely related to Corian or Hi-Macs solid surfaces. It is often called faux marble.

What is real marble?

Real marble is created by mother nature. Man has nothing to do with it. What man does is quarry it out of the earth, cut it, polish it, and install it in different projects.

How can I tell the difference between cultured and real marble?

  • Cultured marble projects have integrated sinks and backsplashes. (All one-piece design). Real marble projects have separate backsplash pieces and separate sinks.
  • Cultured marble can be manipulated to mimic real marble but will have a flat appearance that lacks depth. The protective gloss can even make it appear like plastic. Real marble will have depth to its look.
  • Cultured marble, made in a factory with a formula, has a consistent look, piece after piece. No two pieces of real marble are identical.
  • Cultured marble is considered more of a budget friendly product while real marble is considered more of a luxury item.
  • Cultured marble never needs sealing. Real marble does.
  • The protective coating on cultured marble gives it a high shine. Marble may have a high shine, but it can also have a dull, matte finish, giving it a softer look.

While cultured marble and real marble have vast differences, they can both be cleaned and maintained in basically the same way, with non-abrasive, pH-neutral cleaners. Look for cleaners that specifically state they are for cleaning cultured marble or real marble, depending on what you have. Both materials can be etched by harsh, abrasive chemicals and cleaning products. Both can also sustain chips, scratches, and cracks. Even though they can both be damaged in similar ways, the tools and processes used to fix them are different.

Can cultured marble be repaired?

Most damage on cultured marble can be repaired if the gel coat has not been penetrated or removed.

  • Light scratches can be addressed with automotive buffing compound.
  • Cracks and chips can be repaired with a retail repair kit specifically designed for cultured marble. It may be best, however, to let a professional stone restoration contractor handle such damage for the best possible results.
  • Since the gel coat on cultured marble is non-porous, deep stains don’t normally happen. Usually, stains can be dealt with by using a cultured marble cleaner or denatured alcohol and a non-abrasive pad.
  • Deep scratches or large chips and cracks may require a professional restoration technician or may require replacement altogether.
  • If the gel coat has been worn off, damaged or removed, it is also best to call a professional restoration contractor.

Can real marble be repaired?

Under most circumstances, real marble can be repaired to new or almost new condition.

  • Light scratches can be minimized by using a dry, soft buffing cloth in a circular motion after cleaning the area with warm, soapy water.
  • Cracks and chips can be repaired with a retail repair kit specifically designed for real marble or natural stone. It may be best, however, to let a professional stone restoration contractor handle such damage for the best possible results.
  • Stains can usually be drawn out with a poultice. Once you identify the stain, look at the Stain Care App on our website under the Resources tab to see what sort of poultice you need.
  • Deep scratches, set-in stains, etch marks or large chips and cracks may require a professional restoration technician.
  • If your marble needs to be resealed, it is best to call a professional.

While cultured marble and real marble are vastly different surfaces, they each have the potential to enhance the look of different projects in your home. The key is to realize which one you have so you can properly clean and maintain it, keeping it beautiful for years to come.

By Sharon Koehler. This article is one of a series of articles written and published on behalf of SurpHaces PRO Partners.

Natural Stone – Fissures vs Cracks

Fissures vs Cracks

Natural stone, granite, marble, quartzite, etc., is made by, well, nature. Man has nothing to do with it. We just quarry it, sell it, and put it where clients want it. Then we ooh and ahh and remark how pretty it looks. Yes, it is pretty and it does deserve our admiration, but it can have natural, unique occurrences in it called fissures. Fissures can give your stone project that one-of-a-kind look that people love. Natural stone can also have cracks. Cracks can be natural or unnatural occurrences. Fissures and cracks look remarkably similar, but they are not the same thing. Here we will explore the differences between them and help you know what to do about them.

What are fissures?

Fissures are defined as: A long, narrow crack or opening in the face of a rock. Fissures are often filled with minerals of a different type from those in the surrounding rock.

Basically, what this means, is that fissures are natural occurrences in the stone and normally they don’t affect the integrity of the stone itself. They are not considered to be flaws or defects. Fissures are not normally localized in stone slabs. They are usually spread out through the entire piece.

What are cracks?

Cracks are defined as: A line on the surface of granite, marble or another natural stone that has split without breaking into separate parts.

Cracks usually happen when the stone has stress or trauma applied to it, and they can run almost all the way through the depth of the stone. However, by the time the stone gets to the point of installation, cracks have generally been addressed, usually by the fabricator. As a general rule, cracks are mostly confined to one area of a slab.

How can you tell the difference between fissures and cracks?

One way is to rub your finger or fingernail over the area in question. If it is smooth, then it is a fissure. If your finger feels a bump or your fingernail gets caught or drags over the area because it’s not level, then it is a crack.

Another way to tell is to shine a light on the stone and look across the plane of the surface. A crack will have two points of reflection, one for each plane, but a fissure will only have one point of reflection as it is an even surface.

What can be done about fissures?

Nothing. They are a natural part of the stone and are not considered flaws or defects. You can just admire them for making your stone project unique.

What can be done about cracks?

If you see a crack while the stone is still at the distributor or wholesaler, think about staying away from it, no matter how much you love it. There is no guarantee that the stone will survive transport to the fabricator, and there is no guarantee that the fabricator will be able to cut around it.

If you discover a crack in the stone at the fabricator’s shop, find out if they can cut around it. If not, ask them if it is severe enough to compromise the integrity of the stone. If they say yes, then pick something else. If the fabricator says it’s minor, ask them how they intend to fix it. Then it is up to you whether you accept it or pick something else.

What if a crack forms after install?

If you notice a crack after install, you will want to have someone look at it right away. Left unattended, it could get worse. If your project was recently put in, you may want to give the business that installed it a call. They won’t warranty the stone itself, because Mother Nature made it, but a good company will warranty their own workmanship. If it has been a while or you know you did something to cause the crack, even accidently, you should contact your stone and tile restoration and repair technician. Your restoration or repair technician will know exactly what the issue is and how to repair it. They deal with these types of occurrences on a regular basis.

Natural stone is beautiful, and the projects created with it can take your breath away. In spite of its natural beauty and versatility, it is not a perfect product. We need to learn how to appreciate and work with its occasional imperfections and flaws. After all, those unique imperfections can help give your stone projects the “WOW” factor everyone loves.

By Sharon Koehler. This article is one of a series of articles written and published on behalf of SurpHaces PRO Partners.

Why Caulk is so Important in Your Kitchen?

Countertop Caulking

One of the biggest investments in a home is the kitchen. The right flooring, along with the paint, cabinets, appliances, and countertops can result in a hefty price tag. And yet, one of the smallest and easiest things to fix can be the cause of costly damage to your investment. You need to fix those cracks and gaps in your kitchen caulk.

When your stone countertop was installed, several areas were caulked. The bottom of the backsplash where it meets the countertop. The top of the backsplash where it meets the wall or tile. The gap between the sink and countertop, and the seams where two pieces of countertop come together. If you don’t have a backsplash, then caulk was used to fill in the gap between the countertop and wall.

Why does my countertop need caulking?

  • It looks better than leaving a raw edge.
  • It looks better than having a noticeable gap.
  • It’s an extra step to help hold the parts and pieces still.
  • Filling the gaps helps to prevent water and other spills from running behind or through your countertops to your walls and cabinets.

What causes caulk to crack and gap?

  • If your home is new construction, settling may be the reason you are seeing cracks or gaps in your caulk lines.
  • Change of the seasons is another culprit, especially if your countertop rests on an outside wall. Cabinets and walls shrink and swell with seasonal changes, and heat and humidity.
  • Maybe your cabinets were not level, square, and plum when the countertops were installed so there is undue tension on the countertop causing it to minutely shift.
  • Overscrubbing can also be an issue, especially since latex caulk can get moldy.
  • Normal wear and tear can be a key factor in causing gaps and cracks, as well.

What kind of damage can happen?

No matter how it happened, once you see those cracks and gaps, you should have them taken care of promptly to prevent any type of cabinet or wall damage. Gaps in the seam between two pieces of stone countertop can allow water or other liquids to run into the cabinets below. The same is true of gaps in the caulking material that helps adhere your sink to your countertop. Leaking water can damage your cabinets. Gaps and cracks at the backsplash can allow water and other liquids to seep through and run down your walls, damaging the drywall over time.

If you decide to take care of this yourself, be aware that different joints require different material.

  • The gap between the sink and countertop requires 100% silicone.
  • The joint at the bottom of the backsplash also needs 100% silicone.
  • If the stone meets a tile backsplash, you should use either 100% silicone or sanded color caulk to match the grout as closely as possible.
  • The gap at the top of the backsplash where it meets the drywall should have either 100% silicone or paintable caulk.
  • If the issue is between two pieces of countertop, a two-part epoxy, custom tinted to match the countertop color is needed.

Caulk is a little thing that most people tend to ignore. However, caulk can play a key role in protecting one of your biggest home investments: your kitchen. Make sure your caulking is in good condition. If your caulking needs to be redone, don’t put off taking care of it. If you aren’t exactly sure what you need to do, then give us a call. It’s best to take care of the small things now so they don’t become big problems later.

By Sharon Koehler. This article is one of a series of articles written and published on behalf of SurpHaces PRO Partners.

Staining vs Etching

Staining vs Etching

Two very common discolorations that can happen to natural stone are staining and etching. While they may appear to be similar, they are really two completely different things. The restoration process for each one is different.

What is a stain?

A stain happens when a substance like spaghetti sauce, coffee or red wine is left on the stone long enough for it to soak into the stone pores and cause discoloration. A stain usually darkens the stone. When you rub your hand over it, you can’t feel it. (Just like when you spill something on your shirt and don’t treat it right away).

Can staining be prevented? Yes!

Staining can be prevented by:

  • Having your tops sealed at initial installation.
  • Cleaning up all spills right away.
  • Using a stone-safe cleaner to perform routine cleaning. Some stone-safe cleaners have a bit of stone sealer in them. (Never seal over a stain. That locks it in place and makes it much more difficult to remove).
  • Periodically having your stone deep cleaned and resealed.

What can I do if I get a stain on my stone?

Don’t panic. Most stains can be removed successfully. Here are some quick tips:

  • Figure out what kind of stain it is. Knowing what it is helps to decide the correct treatment.
  • Consult our Stain App under the Resources tab on this site.
  • If you are unsure or if the stain did not come out, please contact us.

What is etching?

Etching happens when something acidic, like vinegar, strong cleaning solutions, lemon juice, or strawberries, is left on the stone long enough for the acid to actually eat away some of the surface minerals of the stone. An etch will usually lighten the stone and will feel rougher to the touch than the rest of your stone surface. The etched area will also lose its shine and appear duller than the surrounding polished areas.

Can etching be prevented? YES!

Etching can be prevented by:

  • Cleaning up all spills immediately.
  • Using coasters under glasses.
  • Using pH-neutral or stone-safe cleaners.
  • Not relying on stone sealers. Sealing your tops will not prevent etching. Sealing only helps prevent stains.

What can I do if my stone gets etched?

Again, don’t panic. Here are some quick tips:

  • If the area is small or the etching is minimal, you may be able to use a stone polishing compound to remove the etch. Consult our Stain App for detailed instructions.
  • If the etching is severe, contact us. You don’t want to risk making it worse.
  • If there is a stain in the etch, treat the stain first and then the etch.

Natural stone is beautiful and very versatile, but sometimes damage will happen. The great thing about natural stone is that most stains and surface damage can be removed. With the proper natural stone restoration processes, your stone can look beautiful for years to come.

By Sharon Koehler. This article is one of a series of articles written and published on behalf of SurpHaces PRO Partners.


What gives granite its shine?

Granite is a composite of magma and different kinds of minerals such as quartz, feldspar, amphiboles, and mica. The mineral mica is found in a lot of granite, and it is one of the things that gives granite a shimmery shine in certain places. Whether you already have granite countertops or other granite surfaces or if you’re thinking about having granite installed, here are a few things you should know about mica.

Mica forms in sheets like a book.

What is mica?

Mica is a highly reflective natural substance that forms in sheets, like the pages of a book. It ranges in color from clear to black. If you have granite, then you more than likely have mica to some degree. Delicatus White, Volga Blue and Cosmos are examples of granites that have a bit more mica than most. A lot of mica can make a slab incredibly beautiful, but it can potentially cause some issues.

Potential Problems With Mica

The BIG issue is that mica is brittle. When we think about the granite, we think of durable, hard, rock. Due to mica’s brittleness, there may be some fabrication issues with granite that has a high mica content. When mica gets cut, it breaks, causing crumbling, pitting, and flaking. Fabricators may charge you extra to fabricate slabs with a lot of mica, because they know they will have to repair the slabs during the fabrication process.

If your granite countertop has a lot of mica, think about going with a simple edge like a pencil round or eased edge. A triple pencil or waterfall edge takes more fabrication and opens up more edge surface for mica to chip out, both before and after install.

What happens after the install?

Maybe nothing. Maybe some chipping. One day when you are doing your routine clean up, you may notice the sponge catches on a rough, flaky area that you never felt before. If this happens, don’t worry. Your granite countertop is not falling apart. More than likely, what has happened is that a piece of mica has chipped out.

If routine cleaning or normal wear and tear cause pieces of mica to flake out of your countertop, you can call your stone restoration technician to fix the spot. In most cases, there won’t be any problem with the repair, however, repair can be difficult or impossible for very large or awkwardly placed chips. Also, be aware that there is nothing any stone restoration contractor can do to prevent future chips.

What should you do about mica?

There is a myth that applying a sealer to granite will help prevent mica from chipping. This is simply not true, however, you can discuss other protection options with your stone restoration technician or fabricator. They can take into consideration your particular stone, the environment where it is or will be installed, your budget, and intended use and then make a recommendation for a protective treatment or film to help prevent chipping. This can be applied to a brand new installation or an existing one.

For new countertops, your fabricator will know if any shine on the granite is an abundance of mica or something else. If the shimmering beauty it creates is worth the possible occasional chip, then everything is okay. If not, you can always look at colors that contain a little less mica.

This article is one of a series of articles written and published on behalf of SurpHaces PRO Partners.

Are Natural Stone Floors Slippery?

Are Natural Stone Floors Slippery?

We’ve all seen “SLIPPERY WHEN WET” signs posted at entry ways of industrial, commercial, and retail properties. Falls are completely avoidable, yet incredibly common. Sadly, they are the second leading cause of unintentional injury-related death, according to the National Safety Council. If you have natural stone floors or are considering having natural stone floors installed, you may be wondering whether this surface material is slippery. This article clears away misconceptions about the slipperiness of natural stone and provides suggestions regarding both new and existing installations.

The Physics of Slips

Slips are based on two surfaces, the flooring material and the shoes one is wearing (or bare feet). Just a bit of wetness between the bottom of a shoe and certain types of flooring can pose a very real hazard. You may have seen cartoons where a character slips on a banana peel. In real life, wetness on floors has a banana peel affect, whether the wetness comes from a spill, a pet accident, foot traffic on a rainy day, or even moisture from condensation. There are things you can do to minimize the risks, such as placing heavy duty mats near entry ways, being hyper-aware and vigilant about wiping up damp spots, and placing warning signs in conditions where wetness is likely to occur.

Natural Stone, Terrazzo, and Concrete

When it comes to natural stone, terrazzo, and concrete, the more polished and glossy the surface is, the less coefficient of friction (CoF) there is, that is, the more slippery the surface is. Likewise, if the stone has a honed or textured finish, it will have a higher CoF, which can minimize the likelihood of a slip and fall accident. If your floors get slippery when wet, talk to your natural stone technician. There are solutions available.

Professional Solutions

If you are having new stone installed, and you have your heart set on a reflective finish, you may want to select a lightly polished or highly honed finish instead of a high polish. For existing stone, your stone restoration technician can apply a treatment or refinish the floor to reduce the slipperiness. The tricky part is minimizing slipperiness while also preserving the reflective appearance of the stone. The more reflective you want the finish to be, the more ongoing maintenance will be required. Your stone restoration technician can make recommendations on the frequency of maintenance, depending on the type of stone you have, how much traffic it gets, and how determined you are to keep a finish that is inherently slippery. The bottom line is the rougher the finish, the less slippery the floor tends to be.

No Guarantees

As previously mentioned, why someone might slip involves two surfaces, but many factors can contribute to why someone might slip. For example, is there something on the floor or the bottom of a shoe, such as grease or residue from a cleaning solution? How much grip does the bottom of the shoe have? Is the pedestrian paying attention and being mindful or haphazardly moving along? Are there distractions in the environment, such as noise or poor lighting? Has the floor been properly installed and maintained? Stone restoration technicians can improve the slip resistance of your floor, but there is no guarantee someone will not slip and fall.

This article is one of a series of articles written and published on behalf of SurpHaces PRO Partners.

Is my countertop quartzite or marble ?

In recent years, there have been complaints from consumers who thought they had purchased quartzite for their countertops because of their its unique durability. Quartzite will not etch (a dullness of the surface) or become easily scratched. Later, when their tops are etched and scratched, they learn the hard way that their tops are actually marble. Marble is a beautiful stone and in the right environment an ideal choice. But for kitchens and other places where the countertops are exposed to high use and acidic liquids, without being specially protected, marble will become damaged and will need to be professionally honed and polished to restore that brand new look. This article explains the difference between quartzite and marble and how to tell what countertop material you truly have.

About Marble

Marble is a metamorphic material that contains an abundance of the mineral calcium carbonate, which is soft and chemically reacts to acidic substances. This means marble is very susceptible to acid etch damage. Heat, pressure, and other geological forces destroy or modify the texture and structure of limestone or dolomite rock, resulting in a new form of rock known as marble. When the limestone or dolomite are very pure, the resulting marble is white. When the limestone or dolomite is mixed with clay, iron oxides, or other minerals, the resulting marble may have swirls, veins, or varieties in color.

About Quartzite

Quartzite is also a metamorphic rock but differs from marble in that it does not contain calcium carbonate. This means it is not susceptible to acid etch damage. Quartzite is formed when heat, pressure, and other geological forces destroy or modify the texture and structure of quartz sandstone. When the quartz sandstone is very pure, the resulting quartzite is white or gray. When the quartz is mixed with iron oxide or other minerals, the resulting quartzite may have streaks, lenses (transparent pieces), and varieties color.

Tests to Determine Stone Type: Marble or Quartzite

Marble and quartzite can be very similar in appearance. Fortunately, there are a couple of simple tests one can perform to tell the difference between them: the scratch test and the acid test. If you attempt to perform either of these potentially destructive tests, you should obtain a sample or use a piece of scrap countertop material to perform the tests. If neither are available to you, test in an inconspicuous spot knowing that the test may cause damage.

The Scratch Test

In order to understand how the scratch test works, we need to provide a little more science. The hardness of minerals can be determined by what is called the Mohs scale of mineral hardness. This scale rates minerals from the softest mineral, being a 1, to the hardest mineral, being a 10. Calcium has a Mohs hardness of 3. Quartz has a hardness of 7. A standard kitchen knife has a hardness of about 6.

Use a knife to scratch the surface of a countertop. The outcome indicates the hardness of the mineral. If the knife leaves a scratch, the stone is likely marble. If there are no scratches, the stone is likely a much harder stone like quartzite or granite.

The Acid Test

Calcium reacts to acids, causing etch damage. The etch may or may not have texture, depending on the severity of etch damage. Common acids will not affect quartz. Vinegar or a lemon wedge can be used for the test. Place the lemon wedge or a drop or two of vinegar on the stone and allow several minutes dwell time. Wipe up the excess. If it leaves a dull spot, that a positive indication for the presences of calcium, which indicates the countertop is marble and not quartzite.

What You Need to Know If You Have Marble

If you discovered you have marble, not quartzite, by way of these tests or because you already have countertops installed that have etch marks or scratches, rest assured that you are not doomed to live with unsightly damage or replace your countertops. Professional stone restoration contractors can hone and polish your countertops, virtually erasing damage and leaving your tops with a beautiful, pristine finish. Your contractor can also offer solutions for protection appropriate for your countertop material.

This article is one of a series of articles written and published on behalf of SurpHaces PRO Partners.

Will the Sun Fade My Stone Countertops?

As the seasons change, so does the amount of sun beaming through your windows and bringing its UV rays into your home and onto your countertops. Unfortunately, prolonged direct sunlight can cause damage, manifesting as fading or darkening on some granite countertops.

“Natural stone treated with resins are vulnerable to damage from direct sunlight,” says Fred Hueston, Chief Technical Director of Stone and Tile PROS. Applying resin to natural stone is now becoming commonplace because it strengthens the slab, allowing companies to eliminate waste from breakage during manufacturing and shipping.

Keep in mind that engineered stone, or quartz surfaces, as they are often called, are bonded with resins, making them susceptible to this same sort of sun damage as well.


Your natural stone countertops are an investment and you want to keep them looking beautiful for years to come. You can always check with your fabricator to see if your stone has been treated with resins, but it’s always a good idea to play it safe. Taking some simple precautions to minimize the time your countertops will be exposed to direct sunlight will go a long way. Simply closing the blinds during peak sunlight hours can be enough to prevent the damage.

For outdoor kitchens, consider a cover for your countertops when they are not in use. There are also some new innovative products on the market that can be applied to stone that act as a sunscreen to block UV rays.


The good news is that natural stone that has faded by sunlight can be repaired. Stone that is not resined can be honed and repolished by a professional restoration company to bring it back to life. If it is resined, there are chemical dyes that can be applied to return the stone’s color.

If you have questions or concerns about your natural stone fading or darkening, contact us today.

This article is one of a series of articles written and published on behalf of SurpHaces PRO Partners.

Refinishing Stone

The Appearance of Stone Can (and Can’t) Be Altered

Natural stone, a restorable surface material, is complex in comparison to restorable man-made materials, such as engineered stone, solid surfaces, and concrete. Unique as a snowflake or a fingerprint, natural stone requires customized restoration methods. It all depends on the composition of the stone, where it is installed, and how it is used. When homeowners want their stone restoration technician to change the appearance of their stone in some way, the task may or may not be possible to accomplish, and in some circumstances, it may be inadvisable. Let’s look at the various ways the appearance of stone can be altered.

But First… About DIY vs Professional Services

The appearance of stone can be altered subtly or in sweeping, dramatic ways. Subtle alterations can sometimes be successfully accomplished with DIY methods. For example, one might use a marble polishing compound to easily remove a minor etch mark on marble with a polished finish. More extensive changes should always be entrusted to your professional stone restoration technician.

Changing the Level of Shine or Finish

Professional stone refinishing entails using various methods to alter the reflectivity and texture of the surface of stone. If your stone is polished, but you would prefer that it have a soft, honed finish, or if your stone has a satin finish, but you would prefer a glossy, reflective surface, in most cases your professional stone restoration technician can make it happen.

There are a variety of natural stone finishes possible, including:
    • Honed / Satin / Matte – soft, velvety shine
    • Polished – glossy, mirror-like shine
  • Brushed / Antiqued – looks textured, but is smooth to the touch
  • Texture / Hammered / Tooled / Leathered – varying degrees of roughness, depending on the finishing technique
  • Custom – a personalized combination of other finishes
  • Coatings / Enhancers / Etch Protection Treatments or Films – alter the shine or finish
You Can’t Always Get What You Want

Your stone restoration technician may recommend against certain types of finishes in certain circumstances. For example, natural stone needs to “breathe” and for some applications, coatings could cause spalling, pitting, flaking, or other damage to the stone. Here’s another example. For sanitary reasons, textured finishes are not suitable for food preparation areas, because the unevenness of the surface can make cleaning difficult. The bottom line is that most of the time, you can get the finish you want, but sometimes the finish you want may not be appropriate.

Changing the Color or Darkness / Lightness

Are you unhappy with the color of your stone? Perhaps exposure to UV rays have made the stone fade or caused the resins in the stone to become discolored. If your stone is stained or dyed, and some of the color is inadvertently removed, then the untreated stone will show through, giving the stone a splotchy appearance. Your stone restoration technician may be able to reapply stains or dyes. Another option might be to hone the stone to remove the stains or dyes, revealing the brand new stone underneath and then refinish the stone to the finish of your choice.

Enhancers do not actually change the color of the stone, but they do intensify the color of stone.

Sometimes there are properties inherent in the stone that affect its apparent color in different lighting scenarios. For example, if granite contains a mineral called hackmanite, then certain spots will change color from pink to gray or another light color, depending on how much light exposure it gets. With some types of stone, a slab viewed from one end of a room will appear to be a different color than when it is viewed from the other end of the room. In cases like these, stone restoration contractors can’t really do anything to resolve the problem. You may, however, try experimenting with light fixtures and controlling the level of natural light exposure.

Removing Stains, Spots, or Discolorations

When it comes to stains, spots, and discolorations, things can get really confusing. A stain is a discoloration, but a discoloration may not be a stain. The easiest way to sort things out is to remember that a stain on natural stone will always be darker than the stone itself. Most stains can be removed. If the discoloration is lighter than the stone, then this is an indication that the it is a mark is corrosion (etching) caused by an acidic substance, or a caustic mark (bleaching) caused by a strong base (alkali). Stain removal methods will be ineffective on such stone damage.

The good news is that whether your stone is stained or damaged, in most cases the problem can be resolved. Your stone restoration contractor can instruct you on cost-effective DIY methods for stain removal or attempt to remove the stain for you. If your stone is damaged, it can likely be repaired and restored.

As mentioned previously, some spots or discolorations are inherent in the stone itself. One must either learn to appreciate the beautiful imperfection of natural stone or have it replaced.

Repairing Chips, Cracks, Holes, and Other Damage

Natural stone damage can happen in many ways, from scratches caused by dragging furniture or cracks caused by dropping a heavy object to signs of wear created by normal foot traffic or use. Your fully trained and qualified stone restoration technician can restore the finish and repair the damage, in most cases. They may grind, hone, polish, use color matched polyester or epoxy to fill in missing areas, replace tiles, and other methods, depending on what problem needs to be resolved.

Sometimes small imperfections or naturally occurring features in stone are mistaken for damage, even though they have no effect on the structural integrity of the stone. These include fissures or veins that look like cracks, angular fragments of stone, inconsistent veining, holes, pits, irregular shapes or inconsistencies in thickness, mineral deposits, and other features.

Moving Seams, Altering Edges, and Other Major Changes

After natural stone countertops have been installed, major changes are either difficult or impossible for a stone restoration technician to accomplish. Fabricators, that is, the ones who size and install countertops, use very specific equipment to do their work. Restoration contractors are not equipped to rearrange or re-profile countertops, and although fabricators are equipped, their work would entail removing the countertops completely, moving them back to the shop, and then reinstalling them. This labor-intensive effort would cost more than simply having the countertops replaced and could result in irreparable damage to the stone.

Contact us to discuss the appearance of your stone. We can take into consideration the look you have in mind, the composition of the stone, where it is installed, and how it is used, and then make the best recommendations.

This article is one of a series of articles written and published on behalf of SurpHaces PRO Partners.