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Is My Stone Really Stained?

Is My Stone Really Stained?

Sometimes when we get calls from customers regarding a stain on their stone, it is not uncommon to find that the stain is not a stain at all. Here are some examples of common stone problems that look like stains but are not actually stains and what can be done to resolve the issues.

Acid Etching

Almost all polished marble will become discolored and dull when it comes in contact with acids. Acids can be found in orange juice, lemons, soft drinks, foods, household and commercial cleaners, bathroom cleaners, and the list goes on and on. This dulling effect caused by acids coming in contact with the calcium in the stone is a condition known as etching. This can also occur on highly polished concrete and some tile surfaces.

To remove an etch from polished marble, re-polishing will be required. If the etching is minor and limited to a small area, you can use a quality marble polishing compound. If the etching is severe, it will need to be professionally honed and re-polished.

Moisture / Wet Stone on Countertops

Another common problem mistaken as staining is moisture that has absorbed into the stone. This occurs when a porous stone is not adequately sealed. When this happens, the stone will appear darker. (Think about what happens to a pair of jeans when they get wet. The material looks darker until it dries.)

If you suspect the problem is wet stone, give it time to completely dry or take a hair dryer to the suspected wet area and see if the area lightens. Caution: Do not apply too much heat, especially to granite, because it may cause the crystals in the stone to expand and spall, or the stone to crack.

When a stone absorbs moisture, this indicates that the stone needs to be sealed. Be sure to have the stone properly sealed.

Moisture / Wet Stone on Floors

Stone floors can also show moisture spots. This is especially true when stone floors are newly installed. The setting bed is usually very wet. The water migrates to the surface to escape and evaporates. This drying process can take a long time, depending on the temperature, humidity and air flow. Certain granites can take months to dry. Moisture can appear uniformly throughout the entire surface, or it can be blotchy.

Water Spots

Another common problem associated with staining is the deposits of water spots and water rings. These are the rings left behind from a glass that can appear on marble or other natural stone tables and countertops. Water spots are caused by slightly acidic liquids running down the sides of the glass and etching the marble.

Water spots can also be caused by chemicals in the liquid that deposit minerals on the stone. These are sometimes referred to as hard water spots. If the liquid contains calcium or other minerals, it will leave a spot on the surface in the shape of the bottom of the glass. The mineral deposits are the same type that appear in an automatic dishwasher or a glass shower door. These rings and spots are usually not stains and cannot be removed with stain-removing chemicals and poultices. Professional refinishing and re-polishing will probably be necessary.

Efflorescence

Efflorescence appears as a white powdery dust on the surface of the material. If you wipe your hand across a surface with efflorescence, you will pick up a light powdery residue. Efflorescence is simply a deposit of minerals on the surface. These minerals usually come from the setting bed or from the stone or concrete itself. When the material becomes wet during installation or afterward, the water dissolves some of the minerals in the setting bed and carries them to the surface. When the water evaporates, the minerals are left behind in the form of a powder.

If you are having issues with efflorescence, we can help.

These are the most common “stain” conditions that are not stains. Feel free to contact us with questions.

If you do have a true stain, please refer to our interactive Stain Removal Guide which shows you how to treat virtually any kind of true stain.

As always, let us know how we can help with any stone problem you are having.


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

Kids, Pets, and Your Carpet

Kids, Pets, and Your Carpet

Everyone knows that extra wear, spills, and accidents take a toll on carpet, and this is especially true in homes with kids and pets. Whether the culprit has two legs or four, here are some tips on what carpets material holds up best and how to keep carpets looking great.

Best Carpet Material for Kids and Pets

If you are contemplating getting new carpeting and you have kids and pets, there are carpets that are made to withstand the additional wear and possible staining that will occur when they are active in the house. One of the best materials is nylon fibers. A nylon fiber carpet is a good choice because it is affordable and durable. Stain resistance is the best feature of nylon, which is so important with kids and pets in your household.

Keeping Carpet Clean With Kids and Pets

Throw Rugs
Since pets have a habit of being territorial, they generally will only go to certain areas to relax. Once you have determined where your pet likes to sit, put a throw rug on that spot. In time, your pet will naturally go there, and the wear will take a toll on the rug instead of your carpet. The rug will also make it easier to vacuum up any shedding that may occur.

Vacuum Regularly
The best way to keep your carpet looking its best when you have children and pets at home is to vacuum regularly. Doing so will help remove fleas and dander from pets and any dirt or contaminants left behind by active children, prolonging the life of your carpet.

Remove toys and other things on the floor to ensure that you will maximize the area to be vacuumed. Move your couches and chairs enough to get the area behind them. It is also a good idea to change the furniture around a couple of times a year to get the areas beneath them vacuumed.

Good Habits
If you have very young children, clean them immediately if they get messy. If your children are older, encourage them to clean up after themselves. “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

Remove Shoes
Another way to keep children from tracking in dirt is to have them take off their shoes at the door. Set up a shoe location there. It can also be a transfer station, where they can change their shoes for slippers. The Japanese people have been practicing this since 700 A.D. Once you get in the habit of doing this, you will see a big difference when you vacuum your carpet.

Removing Spots
No matter how many preventative measures you take, sooner or later kids and pets will leave their mark. Handling the problem quickly will prevent any stain from spreading or leaving an odor to settle in. If you delay to take action, you will only add to the problem and it may require much more work on your part. There are stain and odor removal products available on the market that will help you when you need to clean the mess. Ask your carpet cleaning professional to make recommendations about specific products. You may even have some products on hand that will help you with clean up.

Different products can be used for specific problems. First you have to determine what type of spot or spill you have. This is important, because each discoloration needs to be treated differently. For example, little Johnny decides to surprise you and color your carpet with his favorite bright red crayon. There are different ways to remove crayon stains. You can use a dish soap solution to remove the stain. An alternative to that is to use your iron and a towel to transfer the stain. Each problem is unique and may require different measures. Remember if you are dealing with a spot or spill, don’t rub it in. Whether you are dealing with pet urine, Kool-aid, or a number of other problems associated with kids or pets, you can find plenty of helpful tips and info on spot and spill cleanup in our Carpet and Interior Textiles Care Guide and our interactive Stain Management App.

Professional Carpet Cleaning

If your carpet has a warranty, you may have to have it professionally cleaned once a year. Warranty or not, it is a good idea to have it done regularly, especially with kids and pets. Here are some of the many advantages:

  • Preventing premature wear, saving money
  • Removing allergens, dirt, and other contaminants
  • Removing spots and stains
  • Odor control
  • Deep cleaning of high traffic areas
  • Enhancing the overall look

Although kids and pets take a toll on carpet, purchasing the appropriate type of carpet, taking preventative measures, and proper upkeep will keep carpets looking great.


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