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

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More Praises for HMK P324 Stone Soap – Daily Maintenance Cleaner

Daily Stone Cleaner Concentrate

We recently heard from a very happy customer who used our HMK P324 Stone Soap;

I just wanted you to know that your product HMK324 has changed my life. The granite in my kitchen is Absolute Black. I have MILES of it — and nothing got it clean. It would look nice (after a lot of work!) and then one touch and it looked horrible. Someone told me about HMK324 — I have been using it for about3 months now. And my counters are absolutely beautiful. I am beyond thrilled!

I started using it on my slate floor in our foyer. It is a fairly large expanse of floor and looked dingy and sad. I was contemplating tearing it out and replacing it. But after 2 months of washing it once a week, it too looks beautiful. The change was so gradual I didn’t really notice it until I started getting compliments on it. My friends thought I had replaced it. I have now moved outdoors. We have a large slate flooring (same size as inside) right outside the house. I’ve been washing it with the HMK 324 and it looks good. I just ordered the R155 to give it a good deep cleaning. It’s looking a 100 times better then when I started, but figure the R155 will give it a huge boost.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Cindy Schafer – South Carolina
We are so happy to hear this and countless other success stories about how effective HMK P234 Stone Soap is for daily cleaning of granite countertops. Let us know if you have questions about taking care of Granite and Marble surfaces. Email Us HERE
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When is a Topical Acrylic Sealer right for your Natural Stone?

We receive many requests for information about using a “High Gloss Sealer” on slate flooring. Most of the time we discourage this type of sealer mainly because it requires more maintenance, but also, it can often look unnatural. Following is an example of an appropriate use of a Satin Finish topical sealer.

A friend referred her client to us because she needed her slate cleaned and sealed. After looking at the condition of her floor, and analyzing her use, it made sense for this client to use a topical acrylic.

Slate prior to Cleaning

This slate is in a bathroom of a retired couple with very little traffic, and none of the common issues that often present a challenge for most uses of Topical Acrylic sealers. They don’t have a big family, it’s not a high traffic area, and they don’t have big dogs running across the floor on a regular basis.

These are the most problematic issues for topical acrylics. Another issue is moving furniture, like using it under dining room tables and chairs.

One of the challenges of this installation was the fact that the stone had been sealed about 10 years prior, but the homeowner had no idea what type of sealer was used, or who the manufacturer was.

I performed a Deep Cleaning process on this slate to remove mineral buildup and to prepare the surface for the topical sealer. Because the slate still had a slight sheen to it from the prior sealer, we discussed the option of Stripping off the existing sealer by using our HMK R154 Stripper & Stain Remover which would have been a more lengthy process to completely remove the existing sealer (see previous POST for more details), or encapsulating the existing sealer with a new coat of the Satin Finish sealer. Client chose to take the quicker path and simple apply a coat of new sealer.

I used our economy sealing brushes to apply the new sealer

The finished floor turned out great, and the homeowner loved, loved, loved the look!

Finished Floor using HMK S37 Satin Finish

Using the HMK S37 Satin Finish topical acrylic sealer, gave the client the near High Gloss look she preferred.

If you need help selecting the proper sealer for your floor, please email us a picture of your stone and we will promptly answer your email and suggest the proper method and products.

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What about ‘Fake Review’ websites?

Internet Searches can be Misleading!

Please see the following video link to get my take on ‘Fake Review’ websites. There are many websites that look legitimate, and appear to ‘Review’ products or services, but when you get down to the Disclaimer…the truth really comes out.

Such is the case for Google keyword search ‘Best Granite Cleaner’. The top search result is “Best Granite Cleaner in Mar 2107” Best Granite Cleaner in Mar 2017 – Granite Cleaner Reviews that features the ‘Top 10 Granite Cleaners’ by reviewer Sarah Lytle, “who’s passion is for cooking and eating healthy”. That’s great. But is she an expert in stone care products? Have these products been Peer-Reviewed” by experts. There is not much to the methodology aside from a list of features of each product.

I do commend Sarah for providing the disclaimer at the bottom of the page that explains how she may make money on affiliate referral clicks. Tgize hat is more than can be said of other “Review Sites”

The bottom line is, be careful when making purchases off of these types of “Review Sites”.

I apologize for going off on this issue, but it really irks me to see people provide an opinion with very little knowledge or experience to back it up.

For technical assistance on stone care, stain removal, and restoration, please email us HERE

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Can Toothpaste Harm Marble Countertops

“I dropped Toothpaste on my Marble countertop. Can it be fixed”  – Theresa M.

We receive many calls and emails each week with a similar question like Theresa’s above. My usual reply is “Maybe, but we need more information”. This question doesn’t really describe the nature of the problem. Is the marble stained? Is the marble etched (polish dull), so we always ask for more information.

In the case of Theresa, the toothpaste indeed did dull the shiny polished surface. We call this etching, and it most often happens on marble surfaces when an acid comes into contact with a calcium based stone like Marble, Onyx, Travertine, and many types of Limestone. Acids dissolve calcareous stone. When an acid comes into contact with calcareous stone (marble, etc.) it burns, eats away the top layer of the stone. This top layer is what reflects light and gives polished marble and other stones it “Shine”.

As noted above in the Google Search, the pH of toothpaste varies significantly from acids (anything below pH7.0 to bases (alkaline) above pH neutral. So the quick take-away is that SOME toothpastes can damage marble surfaces.

Depending on the severity of the damage, many “Oops” moments can be repaired. In the case of light etching, many areas can be improved by using a polishing paste that is made specifically for marble. HMK Stone Care makes a great polishing compound called P21 Polishing Paste.

You use P21 much like you would use a polishing compound for rubbing out a scratch on the paint of your car. I like to use a split microfiber polishing cloth when using P21 because it helps to smooth out the micro-etches or scratches on the marble and helps to get better results.

Squeeze out a quarter sized dollop of P21 on the corner of the cloth, and buff vigorously massaging the paste into the scratch or etched area. Buff area in circular motions and apply more product onto the cloth as needed. Think of the P21 Polishing Paste as a sandpaper paste which is progressively smoothing the etch marks and developing a shine. When you feel you have buffed and polished until you feel like your arm is about to fall off, then buff off any excess with the clean portion of the microfiber cloth. Repeat as necessary.

Many minor surface scratches and etch marks can be removed or greatly enhanced by using the HMK P21 Polishing Paste. For larger areas, we have a larger unit size in a .5 Liter jar.

If you have questions about natural stone, or have a specific problem, please email us with as many details as possible.

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Love Your Granite Countertops ~ Valentines Day Special Discount

We Know You LOVE Your Granite Countertops






Pamper your favorite Granite, Marble, and all Natural Stone Surfaces with Professional Grade Cleaners and Sealers from
at checkout for 15% off. ($17.00 minimum purchase)
offer good through 2/14/2017

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So Many Stone Sealers…Which One’s Are Good?

There are so many different manufacturers of Stone Sealers, and so many different opinions, so how do you make a choice?

When I entered the dimensional stone trade in the late 1970’s, there was only one company that I was aware of, Moeller HMK from Germany. There may have been other companies out there, but none were  being specified on commercial projects. Every specification I ever saw was for HMK Stone Care. At the time it was imported directly into San Francisco, and distributed throughout North America.

As other products came into the market I would test them against the HMK brand. The most important product was S34 Silicone Impregnator, as it was the Go-To sealer for natural stone. I tested Miracle 511, Dupont StoneTech, Stone Care International, and though these products are good, they just didn’t hold up agains HMK S34 Impregnator.

Fast forward 25 years, and now there are dozens of products available, and to be quite honest, I have not tested every one. We do however get numerous reports back from homeowners and stone professionals complaining that Brand-A or Brand-B failed (not mentioning the real company names) and that they have heard how great HMK S234 (new model number) is. Of the hundreds of clients who have switched from another brand to HMK Stone Care, we have not had a single incident of the product failing, or a complaint that it did not perform as expected. This remains a quite remarkable achievement.

We at StoneCareOnline have been representing the HMK Brand since 1984, and have been national distributors since 1999, and am so proud to have never had a claim of product failure.

The bottom line is, people select brands that they trust, and I have used the HMK Stone Care Products for nearly 40 years, and I trust it! Moeller HMK is a World Wide company, and remains an industry leader. HMK may not be a household brand name, because it is only sold through stone industry professionals, and it will never be sold in the box stores.

We remain committed to assisting homeowners, contractors, and stone professionals with selecting the right product for their project. Please see more at

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I Saw it on the Internet…so it must be TRUE??

cleaning graniteCleaning Granite Counters

About every two years I take the time to search the internet to see if the “Experts” have learned anything about Cleaning Granite Countertops.
I am amazed that there remains very bad advice in the top Google searches on the internet.

Having been in the dimensional stone industry for more than 35 years, I have taken it upon myself to learn about the geology of natural stone, and have traveled to dozens of quarries around the world to learn about the latest fabrication techniques. I have also interviewed industry leaders about resin sealed slabs.

Having reviewed the top four Google results, (see image above) there was some good basic information about cleaning up spills promptly, and using mild dish soap and water for cleanup, but the glaring issue remains the recommendation that people use rubbing alcohol and water, and letting it soak into the stone for several minutes.

Being a contributor to the Wiki-How page, I was able to add a warning about not using too much alcohol, as it is a powerful solvent that can quickly degrade most sealers. Most sites also recommend making a ‘Homemade Daily Cleaner’ using dish soap and alcohol. The problem with using most dish soaps is that it is highly alkaline (pH 11-14) designed to cut grease on dishes. Over time, using a high alkaline cleaner can also break down most sealers.

If you do not want to purchase a Daily Cleaner like HMK P324 Stone Soap, then only use a very mild dish soap with a low pH (near 7.0). Also, it is worth noting that granite countertops are a very good surface to protect against bacteria. See test results HERE.

For a safe and economical option, the HMK P324 Stone Soap is a highly concentrated product. When diluted (1-capful per 16oz. water in a spray bottle) using it daily, just spray and wipe your counters, one liter will last for months.

Please email your technical questions to

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Does Exterior Stone need to be Sealed?

Indian Sandstone needs to be sealed

Image Courtesy of Oz Architects

This project is part of a $30 million project completed in 2002 in Western Montana. The architect specified HMK S39 Silane Impregnator, but the sealer was only used near each joint as a way to protect the stone from the urethane caulk joints, and any smearing or residue. No impregnator was applied to the face of the stone, and no regular maintenance was completed, even though a maintenance plan was part of the architects specifications.

Fast forward to 2016, and with a combination of neglect and a faulty wall flashing, the elements have severely effected the look of the Indian Sandstone. See images below:

You can clearly see where the clean stone is adjacent to the caulk joints that has been protected from the elements since 2002. The HMK Silane Impregnator worked where it was placed. It is very unfortunate that the same product was not applied to the face of the stone. So in a word YES…exterior stone DOES need to be protected with a quality impregnating sealer.

For more information on Professional Grade Stone Care products, please see StoneCareOnline

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