What is Better…Granite or Quartz Countertops?

Don't worry about sealing natural stone like OnyxThe Great Debate – Natural Stone or Quartz?

Natural Stone including this beautiful Honey Onyx are very hard to mimic with Quartz or Porcelain surfaces, and yet many are afraid to use Natural Stone because of the myth that, “It’s Hard to Take Care Of”…. Lets examine this further (see Four Reasons to Chose Natural Stone)

Boiling it down to the essentials, in spite of the fact that there are many amazing man-made products available, NOTHING truly can replace Authentic Natural Stone. The natural coloration, veining, crystal structure, and natural image depth is difficult to reproduce even with modern technology like Reveal Imaging.

Concerned About Caring for Natural Stone?

Protecting natural stone surfaces is the primary concern for most consumers. In fact, it is quite easy to protect most natural stone surfaces by using a Professional Grade stone Impregnating Sealer. We promote the German brand Moeller-HMK Stone Care, as they were one of the first companies in the world to develop not only a Stone Sealer, but a complete Stone Care System. HMK products are distributed to more than 40 countries.

When applied correctly, a quality impregnating sealer will provide years of stain protection and allow you to enjoy the beauty that only nature can create. Please see our VIDEO on the correct way to apply Impregnating Sealers.

Daily Stone Maintenance

One of the easiest ways of caring for natural stone is to maintain it daily. This is not a difficult task, rather quite easy. Simply add 1-capful of HMK P324 Liquid Stone Soap to a 16 oz. spray bottle and fill with water (filtered is best). Then spray your counter area after use, and wipe dry with a paper towel, cloth towel, or Premium Microfiber towel. Your Granite, Marble, or other Natural Stone counter surface will be sparkling clean. PLUS, with regular use of HMK P324, it preserves the sealer, prolonging the need to re-seal.

That’s All There’s To It!

If your stone has been installed for some time, and the shine is dull or you have stains and smudges, you should likely perform a Deep Cleaning to remove the buildup of old cleaning  products, and prepare the stone for a fresh application of penetrating (Impregnating) sealer. We suggest using HMK R155 Intensive Cleaner. This is a highly concentrated cleaning product designed to remove grease, grime, polishes, waxes, and light stains. For more info from the HMK website click HERE

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Removing Oil Stains from Granite Countertops

Do You Have Oils Stains on your Granite?

Actual Customer Issue Resolved

Wendy writes:
“Our granite countertops are almost 2 years old. Our kitchen counter has an extended area that we use for eating. This area has darkened around the edges where our arms and hands rest on it during meals. What is the best way to lighten that area (remove oil stains) Thank you for your help”

Answer:

Granite and other natural stone surfaces are absorbent. Some granite, particularly lighter colors, are more absorbent than darker colors, and over time they will get darker where we often touch it with our skin. The oils in our skin as well as lotions used may come in contact with the stone and darken it. This condition needs a Deep Cleaning.

We always recommend the least aggressive solution first, then graduate to more aggressive options as needed. Please see the following steps:

clean granite

Perform the Deep Cleaning using our HMK R155 Intensive Cleaner. Despite the name, it is a very safe cleaning product for all stone, but it does wonders. Mix a solution of 1-part R155 to 5-parts warm water. Soak a cloth in the solution and cover affected or stained area with the saturated cloth and allow to soak in for 15 minutes, re-soaking the  cloth every 5 minutes. After 15 minutes, scrub area with a scrub-pad, then rinse very well. Allow to dry, then observe effectiveness of the process. Repeat as needed.

For stubborn stains, or deeply imbedded stains, you may need to use a poultice to draw-out the stain. We suggest using our HMK R152 Stain Removing Poultice.

granite poulticeThis poultice uses a chemical reaction in the paste to draw out the stains as it dries. I have found for best results perform the Deep Cleaning process first, then immediately apply a layer of the R152 paste, 1/4″ thick over stained area and cover with plastic wrap, taping down the edges. This process allows the poultice to dry much more slowly, to draw out the stains. It may take 2 days for the poultice to completely harden. Scrape off the poultice with a plastic spatula or puddy knife then immediately wash area with the R155 solution. Rinse very well (the R155 is very concentrated) and allow to completely dry. Observe results. Repeat if necessary.

These two products have been VERY effective at removing deeply imbedded stains in granite, marble, travertine, limestone and other natural stone surfaces.

remove ink from graniteFor non-organic stains like Ink, Dyes, Fingernail Polish, Mineral Oil, and other non-food oils, we suggest using the HMK R154 Stain Remover prior to using the Poultice.

 

We offer a Kit that has both R152 + R155 HERE

If you have questions about your particular stone cleaning (or protection) issues, please Contact Us

 

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Which is Better…Granite or Quartz Countertops?

I came across an interesting article comparing Quartz and Granite Countertops that I thought I would share. See LINK

Whether you chose Quartz or Granite, you still need to clean them regularly to keep the polish sparkling. We suggest using our HMK P 324 Stone Soap Concentrate. This professional grade daily maintenance cleaner will not build up on the surface like many ‘Clean & Polish’ products. Simply pour one capful of P324 into a 16 ounce spray bottle, and fill with water. When you need to spruce up your countertops (P324 is great for marble and travertine also) simply spray your stone counters and wipe dry with either a paper towel, or a microfiber cloth. We offer several kits on our website HERE

Daily_Stone_Cleaning_Special_sm

If you have questions regarding cleaning or sealing any type of natural stone, please email us HERE

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We have All Natural Antimicrobial Cleaning Towels

 We Antimicrobial Natural Cloths

New to our Cleaning Tools products…All Natural Antimicrobial Cleaning Cloths

About Fresche®-Tex:

  • Coconut Oil Based, Non-Toxic – The Fresche®-Tex active is derived from natural coconut oil. Applied to our microfiber towels, it is safe for people, pets, plants and the planet. Unlike other antimicrobial treatments, it contains no heavy metals, poison, toxic chemicals, carcinogens or endocrine disruptive compounds.
  • Lock & Bond Microbial Protection – Tested to be effective at over 100 launderings, Fresche®-Tex locks and bonds to our microfiber cleaning cloths where it delivers continuous protection. It’s not effected by conventional laundering
  • Non Leaching and Non Depleting – Fresche®-Tex will not leach from the treated textiles unlike other antimicrobials. Its mechanical mode of protection ensures protection from microbial attack.
  • Efficient Mechanical Mode of Action – Textiles treated with Fresche®-Tex are protected from bacteria and mould by a mechanical mode of action and not chemical interaction. This ensures terminal control of harmful micro organisms and will not promote the building of microbial resistance.
  • Clean, Fresh and Odor Free – Fresche®-Tex keeps our microfiber towels clean, fresh and odor free extending their life and reducing the need to launder our towels.
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Correcting Myths and Mistruths about Sealing Granite & Marble Countertops

 I had a few moments the other day to sit down with a cup of coffee and search the internet about “sealing granite countertops”, and I came across a website that had some good information, some confusing information, and some really bad information. I have decided not to publish a link to this particular website, but suffice it to say, there are numerous such sites on the web.

Of particular interest was a section that talked about ‘How A Granite Countertop Sealer Works’. A true fact is that most (impregnating) sealers do “slow down the process of absorption”, giving you time to clean up spills that have the potential to leave permanent stains. This is certainly true for high quality impregnators that are either solvent based or water based. What was not indicated in the website is that for some materials, there are topical acrylic sealers that do prevent ALL liquids and spills from penetrating the stone because the acrylic acts as a barrier. Tumbled Travertine, Tumbled Marble and Slate are prime candidates for topical acrylics, but NOT in wet areas, or on exteriors.

Some types and finishes of stone look better using a topical acrylic rather than an impregnator. See the following LINK for slate with a satin finish sealer.

For more information on our professional Protection products, please see LINK.

 

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Daily Stone Countertop Cleaning Kit

All you need for Daily Stone Cleaning!

 This kit contains all the items needed to keep your Natural Stone Countertops Clean and Sparkly.

You get 1-liter of HMK P324 Liquid Stone Soap, the worlds most respected Daily Conditioning Cleaner for all Natural Stone.

Simply mix One-Capful of P324 and water in the Industrial Grade 16 oz. spray bottle. Each time you are ready to clean your stone surfaces, give the spray bottle a quick shake to mix up the solution, then Spray & Wipe! Your polished stone surfaces will be clean and brilliant.

Save while this special kit is On Sale

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Holiday Spills on Marble & Granite

clean wine stains on marble and granite

Don’t Panic ~ Wine Spills  on Granite or Marble

The Holidays are here, and Family and Friends are visiting for holiday festivities. It is likely in all the fun and activities that someone may spill food or beverages on your new marble or granite countertops….and you may begin to freak out if you can’t immediately clean up the food, or you see a dark or colored stain. Don’t Worry, it’s Not Permanent if you follow a few tips:

  1. Mix a solution of Dish Soap and Warm Water…as if you were cleaning a greasy pot
  2. Saturate a washcloth or rag in the solution and cover the area
  3. Go back to the Holiday Fun and Enjoy….YES relax!!
  4. About evert half-hour, rinse out the cloth and repeat Step-2
  5. Do this as long as you can, or until you see the stain has been removed.
  6. Go to bed as usual with soaked cloth over effected area.

Next Day, rinse the area well with a clean cloth and blot dry with a towel, and allow to dry for several hours. Observe the area to see if the spot or stain is completely gone. If the spot has been removed then you can go on and enjoy your life. (you still may want to seal the stone). If you still see a spot then you may repeat the steps above to see how effective this may be, or move on to more aggressive cleaning products. We offer several products:

HMK R155 Intensive Cleaner is a mildly alkaline Heavy Duty Cleaner. R155 is very effective at cleaning mild food stains, hard water deposits, and built-up soap scum from all natural stone surfaces. R155 is a highly concentrated cleaner.

 

 

HMK R152 Stain Removing Poultice is a Professional Grade Poultice which chemically draws imbedded stains out of Natural Stone surfaces like Marble, Granite, Travertine, and Limestone.

 

HMK R154 Stripper and Stain Remover is a Professional Grade solvent based cleaner and coating stripper. R154 is great for non-organic stains like Ink, Petroleum based oils, Permanent Black Marker, Fingernail Polish and similar non-food stains.

 

Of course the best way of preventing Stains on Natural Stone is to protect your natural stone surfaces with a Professional Grade Impregnating Sealer. For a natural look (does not darken stone) we recommend our HMK S324 Impregnator 

 

 

If you are looking to Enhance your Natural Stone surfaces then you may want to use one of our Color Enhancing Sealers like HMK S242 

 

 

For extra stain protection with Color Enhancing (perhaps for a travertine or slate backsplash) you may want to use our HMK S244 Color Enhancing Extra product 

 

 

If you have a unique stain problem that you need further assistance with, please email us at: info@stonecareonline.org and we will respond to your questions promptly.

 

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Holiday Entertaining – And Wine Spills on Granite or Marble Counters

With the Holiday Season fast approaching, you may be concerned about how to protect your natural stone surfaces from the inevitable spills that occur during festive gatherings.

Well, with just a a few professional stone care products, you can rest assured that your beautiful natural stone won’t be permanently damaged. The key is proper treatment with an Impregnating Sealer. After using the HMK brand of Stone Care products for more than 30 years, I believe they are Best-In-Class. The flagship product for HMK Stone Care is the S234 Impregnator.

To see just how effective this sealer is, please see our video featuring spilled red wine that sat overnight on granite countertops. HERE

If you spill Oil, Cranberry Juice or Sauce, or Wine on Marble or Granite, here are emergency tips to reduce or remove the stain

  • Wipe/Blot up as much as you can with paper towels
  • Immediately make up a solution of lukewarm water and dish washing soap 
  • Soak a washcloth in the solution and cover the stain area. Allow to sit for 20 minutes
  • Repeat, Repeat, Repeat
  • If after several hours of soaking area, you still see a stain then we suggest you order our Poultice Combo
  • While you are waiting for your order to arrive, keep a soaked rag on the spot. This will help prevent the stain from “setting”

To prevent such horrors from occurring, we highly suggest you seal all light and medium colored granite and marble surfaces with the Impregnating Sealer. This is very easy to do, and you do not need to hire a professional. Please see our video on How to Seal Granite Counters

If you need further assistance, please call our office at 800-380-6881 and please leave a message and a lovely woman named Diane will call you back. If you wish to email pictures, please send emails to info@stonecareonline.org

 

 

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Protect your Encaustic Cement Tiles with Professional Grade Sealers

Cement tile floors require special care both in the installation process and in ongoing maintenance. Learn about our Professional Grade Cleaning and Sealing Products HERE

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How to Remove Stone Sealers

Slate with multiple layers of sealers and coatings

One of the most frequent questions we receive is “How do I remove an existing stone sealer?”

There are Two Answers to this question that first require a question to be answered:

  1. Do you know the Brand Name?
  2. Is it an Impregnator or Topical Sealer?

Knowing the brand of sealer used is helpful to know the quality of the product, and knowing the type is helpful to know how effective we may be using our Stripper/Cleaner Combo.

There are many brands out in the market, and some are more effective than others. Without naming other brand names, the Moeller-HMK has consistently outperformed other brands, and it is the brand/company that introduced the concept of ‘Stone Care’ to North America nearly 40 years ago.

With that being said, Topical Sealers are easier to fully remove than Impregnators because topical sealers lay on the surface, while impregnators penetrate down into the pores of the stone.

In each case, we suggest using our HMK R154 Stripper, followed by our HMK R155 Intensive Cleaner to remove residue and to prepare the surface for new sealers.

Supplies Needed:

Follow these Steps:

  1. Apply R154 using a natural bristle brush
  2. Allow to activate/dwell on surface for 15 minutes
  3. While product is activating, mix a 1-part R155 solution to 6-parts warm water.
  4. Following 15-minutes of dwell time (R154) wipe off stripper with paper towels to remove the bulk of the stripper and dissolved sealers
  5. Immediately apply the R155 + warm water solution to the stone with a sponge or scrub brush.
  6. Allow cleaner to dwell/activate for 10-minutes
  7. Scrub for 5-minutes with a Scrubbing Sponge or brush
  8. Wipe up solution with a separate sponge
  9. Rinse VERY well (we suggest triple rinse)
  10. Allow stone to dry

Once stone is dry you will be able to determine if a second application is required. Once stone is clean, then you can determine which type of sealer to apply to protect your stone.

For professional assistance, please email your questions to info@stonecareonline.org

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