Care & Maintenance
Stone's durability has been tested throughout the ages—in homes, commercial buildings, cathedrals, and even pyramids. Use the following care tips to ensure that your stone will not only last, but will stay beautiful. Global Granite & Marble carries a full line of stone care products manufactured by Miracle Sealants. These are our general recommendations, and we invite you to call us regarding any specific stone care questions. Always test cleaners and sealers on a small, inconspicuous area in order to achieve desired results.
Sealing Natural Stone
Sealing natural stone is a simple process that prevents staining and maintains stone's beauty. We recommend an impregnating sealer which penetrates the stone’s surface to protect it against moisture, dirt, and stains. Before sealing, a thorough cleaning is recommended to avoid sealing dirt and grease into the stone.
The life of the sealer will depend upon the type and finish of the stone, the area of application, and its exposure to wear. A piece of stone which is sealed with an impregnating sealer and put in a closet will stay sealed indefinitely. Impregnating sealers are preferred to topical sealers because they increase both the longevity and quality of the protection. Although sealer makes the stone less susceptible to staining, applying when it is unnecessary just wastes time, effort, and money. A simple test to determine if your stone needs to be resealed is to sprinkle it with water. If the water beads up tightly, then the stone has maintained its seal. If the water soaks in or darkens the stone, then allow the water to evaporate and reseal. Granite sealers can last up to 15 years, depending porousity and type of granite. General recommendations for residential flooring is to seal once every 5-10 years.
Prior to sealing, clean your natural stone thoroughly with warm water and Mira Clean. Let the stone dry, and then begin working in sections. Apply the impregnating sealer using a clean towel, wiping on a thin coat on your stone evenly covering the entire surface with sealer. Allow the sealer to stand for approximately three to five minutes. Remove excess sealer by buffing with a clean dry towel. If the sealer actually dries on the surface, rewet with more sealer, and wipe dry with a clean terry cloth. Upon completion, wait 24 hours and repeat the water test. If the water beads up, you are finished sealing. If the water does not bead up, apply another coat of sealer.
The process of sealing stone is straightforward and can usually be handled by a homeowner as part of normal home maintenance. Sealing a kitchen countertop will take about 30 minutes, but a large area of flooring can take considerably more time. If you prefer, contractors and restoration companies can take care of cleaning and sealing for you.
The "Water test": Here you see unsealed granite on the left where the water is soaking in and darkening the stone. The stone on the left needs to be sealed. Compare this to the sealed granite on the right where the water droplets create beads which sit on top on the stone. The stone on the right is already sealed.
Cleaning Natural Stone
At Global Granite & Marble we recommend Miracle Counter Kleen for countertops and Miracle Mira Clean for regular cleaning. A pH neutral cleaner will work for any type of natural stone. Be careful not to use bleach or abrasive products on any natural stone installation to prevent damage to the stone. Many name brand household cleaners are highly acidic and can cause damage to calcareous stones like marble, limestone, travertine and onyx, as well as the sealers protecting them. We will be happy to help make more specific recommendations for your home, or help you to determine what type of cleaning regimen needs to be established for a commercial project.
For natural stone flooring installations, sweeping is an essential step in maintaining the beauty of natural stone. Sweeping will prevent dirt from settling into the stone and should be done using a dry dust mop or brush free vacuum. Rugs and mats should be placed at entrances in order to trap dirt that can act as an abrasive on a stone floor. These rugs & mats should be cleaned as frequently as the floor. Remember to clean underneath rugs and mats because underlying grit may act as an abrasive on the stone.
When mopping, do not use a mop that will flood the floor with dirty water. Also avoid using an oily or waxy polish and always use a pH neutral soap. Polished floors should be cleaned using diluted Mira Clean for a non-slip shine without buildup. Honed & Textured floors should be cleaned using Mira Soap to prevent floor coating buildup. Mira Soap should be used on slate, quartzite, travertine, limestone, unpolished granite, and marble.
For those applications which require a disinfectant, Miracle Sealants Company created Disinfecting Wipes and Disinfecting Spray that is specially formulated to kill viruses, fungi, bacteria, mold, and mildew. These disinfecting products are safe for use on any type of natural stone in any area of the home, including showers and baths.
Granite is a versatile natural stone product that can be used almost anywhere. It stands up well indoors and outdoors. Studies show that granite does not host bacteria due to its high density. Combined with the fact that it does not respond to acid, this makes granite among the most sanitary countertop materials available.
A penetrating sealer should be applied directly after installation to prevent staining. When your countertops are newly installed, perform the following test to determine if they need to be sealed: Sprinkle some water on your granite. If it beads up, it is sealed. If the water does not create round beads, follow these instructions, and repeat if necessary.
- Sealing: Polished granite should be sealed using Miracle 511 Impregnator. Honed or textured granite should be sealed using Miracle 511 Porous Plus.
- Daily Countertop Cleaning: We recommend Miracle Counter Kleen for daily cleaning of granite counters, vanities or table tops. This neutral cleaner can be used anytime and as frequently as you like.
- Stain Removal: Granite is very resistant to staining. However, if a stain does occur it may be removed using Miracle Sealant’s Poultice Plus powder or Liquid Poultice. These products can help draw the stain out. Follow product directions carefully. Once the stain is removed, clean the entire area and reseal as directed above.
- Polish: Miracle Stone Polish is a light wax that gives a nice finishing touch to your granite countertops. It washes off with several cleanings, so wax buildup is not a problem. Apply a thin coat, allow it to dry, and then wipe off.
- Granite Floors: Floors and countertops are handled in much the same way, but stone polish is not recommended on granite floors. To clean floors or any large expanse of natural stone, concentrates are the most economical. Use Mira Clean for polished stone and Mira Soap for honed and textured surfaces. Both are excellent heavy duty cleaners.
Marble, Travertine, Limestone, & Onyx
Marble, travertine, limestone and onyx are beautiful natural stones that offer unique patterns and colors found in no other materials. Because of their chemical composition, the basic care for these stones is the same.
Marble, travertine and limestone are practical for bathrooms, fireplaces and most flooring. Onyx is the jewel and the most fragile of these, and should therefore be used only in low traffic areas. It is important to use good judgment on where to use these calcium based stones because they are susceptible to acid etching. Etching occurs when acids microscopically eat away at the surface of the stone, and are characterized by dull spots in the surface of the material. This effect can be visually minimized by using a honed surface instead of a polished surface. Any spills that occur should be wiped up immediately. For centuries marble countertops have epitomized elegance and the patina that is created with time tells stories of meals enjoyed with family and friends.
- Sealing: The proper sealant for these materials is Miracle’s 511 Porous Plus. The stones should be sealed immediately after installation. See the sealing application for additional details.
- Daily Countertop Cleaning: Miracle’s Counter Kleen and Mira Clean are wonderful cleaners for all tops. Clean all spills quickly, especially acidic liquid, because they can etch into the stone’s surface. Place all hot cooking pans on trivets or placemats.
- Stain Removal: A well- sealed stone is very stain resistant. However, if a stain does occur, it may be removed using Miracle Sealant’s Poultice Plus powder or Liquid Poultice.
Slate & Quartzite
Slate has a unique look, and is an extraordinary and versatile material. Slate has very low porosity that makes it stain resistant and easy to maintain. However, the natural clefts of slate does make its care slightly different than a smooth surface. At Global Granite & Marble, we strongly encourage sealing naturally cleft slate both pre- and post-grouting to make removal of excess grout easier.
Quartzite can be clefted like slate, or can be smooth and more similar to marble and granite in appearance. The major difference between slate and quartzite is quartzite’s ability to withstand many freeze-thaw cycles. While quartzite that looks like slate is also cleaned like slate, polished quartzite that looks like marble or granite is cleaned and treated like granite.
Slate and Quartzite are sealed and cleaned in the same manner.
- Sealing: The proper sealant for these materials is Miracle’s 511 Porous Plus. The water test will determine if your stone needs to be sealed.
- Daily Countertop Cleaning: Miracle’s Counter Kleen is recommended for slate and quartzite tops.
- Cleaning of Floors and Walls: We recommend Mira Soap to clean slate and quartzite walls or floors.
Maintaining a soapstone countertop is simple. Oil your countertops to guarantee the stone will darken evenly. Traditionally, mineral oil is used because it is easily available and non-toxic. Because soapstone is non-porous, it does not need to be sealed. If you choose not to oil your soapstone, it will not harm the stone. However, you will soon notice darkened areas from use and spills. You cannot oil your soapstone too much or too little. Simply use a paper towel to remove the excess oil. It will require several coats of oil to bring your stone to its final color, and the countertop will hold each coat of oil longer than the previous coat. Regular soap and water is advisable for cleaning because harsher solvents may remove the mineral oil treatment.
Due to soapstone’s soft characteristics, it is prone to scratches. The advantage is that most scratches can be obscured. A light coat of mineral oil will hide a shallow mark, and a deeper cut can be sanded away. Using 120-grit sandpaper, sand in a circular motion until the scratch is nearly invisible. Then repeat the sanding process using 220-grit sandpaper, and incorporating water. Sanding will remove the mineral oil from the surface. Once the scratch is removed, reapply mineral oil in the sanded area to bring the color back to the desired shade.