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SLAB 101

Granite

Granite is a semi-porous, natural stone, and needs to be sealed on a regular basis. Due to its porosity, granite is susceptible to staining, so proper sealant is important. The “regularness” of this process is dependent on the product used for sealing. We use DryTreat by Stainproof, 15 year sealer. Very high quality product and with regular cleaning this will stretch the time between sealing. Cleaning granite can be done simply with mild soap and warm water. Avoid using bleach and heavy-duty cleaners as they can damage the granite. Granite is the most commonly used Kitchen stone.

Marble

Marble needs to be properly sealed and cared for gently. Most types of Marble are extremely porous and can stain very easily, simply from quick contact with coffee or red wine, or etched from the acidity of a cut lemon. Sealing does not prevent etching. Again, marble can be simply cleaned with mild soap and warm water. Avoid using bleach and heavy-duty cleaners as they can damage the surface. Water Spots, Staining and Etching are the major concerns with marble applications. A honed finish will often diminish the visibility of etching and scratching.

Quartz

Quartz is durable and requires very little attention to cleaning or sealing. However it is not immune to chipping and scratching. Take care with heavy pots around the sink and chairs at your island. Simply wash the surface with a soft, cotton cloth and warm water – adding mild, non oil-based soap will help, too.

Travertine

Travertine, like other porous, natural stones, needs to be sealed on a regular basis. Additionally travertine’s open holes are often filled with a resin/grout at the factory. Over time the fill will release and may need to be re-filled. See care for marble.

Soapstone

Soapstone is non-porous and does not need to be sealed. You can treat soapstone with mineral oil. However, the oil does not chemically seal or protect the stone, it just speeds up the natural darkening process and thus hides the oil transfer from skin. You can continue to oil your countertops every time the material lightens with no harm. It will take several coats of mineral oil for the soapstone to reach its final color.

After about six months of this continued treatment, the countertops will stay permanently dark and may only require a light annual coat for nourishment. In addition to the mineral oil, clean soapstone with mild soap and warm water. Also, due to its non-reactive geological structure chemicals and acids won’t necessarily harm this material (think chemistry desk in high school); however, the harsher products will remove the oil treatments.

Quartzite

A true natural quartzite’s hardness will protect it from scratching and etching, but as a natural stone, it does need sealing to help resist stains. Other than that, natural quartzite care is simple. Like engineered quartz take care to prevent chipping around the sink and heavily trafficked outside corners. Wipe frequently with a damp cloth and use mild soaps or stone cleaners. It is difficult to scratch natural quartzite, but avoid abrasives anyway to maintain the like-new appearance of your countertop.

Slate

Wash slate tiles as needed with either a stone cleaner or a mild detergent with a neutral pH. Do not use cleaners that contain lemon or vinegar; these ingredients can cause etching. Vacuuming is often the best first step to clean slate. Next rinse the slate with clean water, and dry polished and honed slates with a soft cloth to prevent water spots.

Selecting your Edge Profile for your Countertop

One final detail goes into choosing a new countertop, and it makes for quite the finishing touch. Before your countertop is custom fabricated, we’ll prepare the edge by machining into the profile of your choice.

Because we take our edge profiles very seriously, we encourage you to do the same, especially because these are the small details that really complete a look. Subsequently, the shape of your countertop’s edge can have a big effect on functionality, impacting everything from safety to cleaning. It’s the surface you’ll come into contact with most as you move through and use your kitchen, so its shape matters.

Straight edges are very popular. They’re not sharp, just rounded to best protect the stone from damage. The rounding of your edge profile can be as detailed or square as you’d like. With a basic understanding of countertop edges, feel free to view our extensive library of edge profiles. While viewing the edges, keep in mind every one of our edge profiles are completely customizable. – View our Edge Profiles

Natural Stone Care

There are many small, everyday tweaks that you can make to ensure the longevity of your natural stone surface. First and foremost, use coasters under all drinking glasses, particularly those containing alcohol or citrus juices. Many common food and drinks contain acids that will etch or dull the surface of natural stones.

Although it’s smart maintenance, sealing your stone, alone, will not prevent etching. So, additional etiquette is necessary to keep your counter tops looking beautiful. Using wood or plastic cutting boards in the kitchen will keep your knives in good condition while also preserving your natural stone surface.

Another great way to care for your material is by dust mopping interior floors frequently, using a clean, non-treated, dry dust mop. Sand, dirt and grit do the most damage to natural stone surfaces due to their abrasiveness. Mats or area rugs inside and outside an entrance will help to minimize the amount of material that reaches the floor (be sure to use no-skid rugs).

Natural Stone Cleaning

Surprisingly, there are many ways we can damage our natural stone surfaces when we’re simply trying to clean them. When going through your tidy routine, clean stone surfaces using a PH neutral cleaner, mild liquid dish washing soap, or just warm water. A clean, soft rag or mop on floors works the best. Beware of over-soaping your mop or cloth; this adds too much chemical to the surface and will cause streaking.

The traditional cleaning products like vinegar, alcohol or other harsh chemicals will only strip your professional sealant and expose your natural stone counter top, damaging its overall finish. Also, try avoiding rough sponge pads or chemical powders while cleaning as they can scratch and rough up your stone. A minimalist approach to cleaning your surface will leave you with a lovely, resilient look.

Cleaning the master bath or powder room? Keep an eye on sitting water or other consistently wet areas. Using a squeegee wand after each use can minimize soap scum. To remove soap scum, use a non-acidic soap scum remover or a solution of ammonia and water (½ cup ammonia to 1 gallon of water). However, over use of the ammonia solution may eventually dull the surface of the stone.

STONETECH™ Revitalizer

In addition to natural stone and tile cleaning and care tips, we also provide a quality cleaning solution called STONETECH™ Revitalizer. This solution safely cleans natural stone counter tops and surfaces such as granite, slate, ceramic tile and sandstone. It’s a great product to have around because it cleans everyday messes while reinforcing the protection of your stone or ceramic tile. The built-in sealer makes surfaces easier to clean and leaves a fresh citrus or cucumber scent. We back this product 100% because it not only gives your product the best clean and protection, it’s gentle on your home and family. Revitalizer is a moderate, water-based formula that requires no rinsing; simply spray and wipe. Mention STONETECH™ Revitalizer the next time you’re in or give us a call and we’ll get you set up!

Natural stone remnants for home improvement projects

With over 9,000 square feet of available natural stone remnants in stock, Tithof Tile & Marble has countless options for your smaller scale home improvement projects. The ability to pre-source remnants on our Northbrook or Kenosha showroom monitors makes selecting remnants by color, size or shape very easy. That being said nothing beats seeing stone in person…if preferred customers are always welcome to our Wisconsin fabrication facility to view the physical remnants.

What is a natural stone remnant?

The buyers at Tithof and other wholesale importers go to quarries around the world and hand select materials, theses are typically in the form of huge blocks or already cut into slabs. The slabs are then shipped to us and available to our customers for large projects. Though many choose to use granite, marble or quartz to create the master bath or kitchen of their dreams, these tend to be large-sized pieces of stone and require full slab purchases. Remnants essentially are the leftovers of these larger slabs of stone, pieces that were cut off and not used in the creation of counters, backsplashes or any other home reno project.

When a fabricator orders stone slabs for a specific project, it must be ordered in full slab increments of approximately 60 sq. feet per slab, we as the fabricator pay for the entire amount ordered.  As the granite, marble, quartz, etc. is installed, and cut to size; the slabs leftover are put back into inventory as remnants for resale.

For more information on natural stone remnants, check out our blog or give us a call!

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