Frequently Asked Questions
Over time your stone will lose reflection, if a polished reflective finish; or gain reflection, if a honed satin finish. Stone defaults to a hazy reflective finish. This is called patina. If you like a “patina” look and don’t mind the scratches caused by regular foot traffic or improper weekly maintenance, or dirt brought in by guests or pets then you do not need professional maintenance.
To maintain the look that sold you on the stone you invested in, you must higher knowledgeable stone professionals to continue the look you fell in love with. ATLAS Marble & Stone care is the company that takes ownership of managing your expectations and the preservation of your stone investment.
A simple water test will determine if your granite is sealed. The penetrating sealer will repel water without leaving a dark mark for 5 minutes.
- Take a hand full of water and place it on the counter. The water will bead up.
- Run your hand through the water and you should notice that the standing water will shrink back (not spread out).
- Leave the water there for 5 minutes.
- Wipe up the water.
- The counter is sealed if after you wipe up the water it appears like the surrounding areas that were not wet.
- The granite counter will need to be sealed if after the water is wiped up, a dark mark is evident where the water was standing.
Sealed marble will repel water and oil for 5 minutes. A sealed marble tile or slab is still damaged (etched) by acidic cleaning products, food or drinks. One of the key elements of marble (a metamorphic stone) is calcium. An etch burn (a dull whitish mark) occurs when an acid meets calcium. It is a chemical reaction that cannot be stopped. The penetrating sealer will slow down the etching or burning of the chemical reaction, but it cannot prevent it from happening.
A clear film can be installed to prevent etching on counter tops (not for floors or showers). This film is a barrier between the stone and the environment. It will not allow any acidic compounds to come across the calcium in the marble. The draw back is that the film scratches easier than the marble. Therefore, if you know plates or keys will slide across the surface, I recommend using a penetrating sealer. If only glasses and liquid substances are in contact, then the clear film is a better option. The clean film does come in a reflective finish AND a satin (low sheen) finish.
Penetrating sealers repel water and oil for up to 5 minutes. Much like a scotch guard is to carpet. When condensation occurs around a cold glass, the condensation usually stays in the area for more than 5 minutes. This will allow the moisture to penetrate the surface and discolor the stone for a short time. The moisture will evaporate, and the surface will return to normal.
Colored grout is produced in large batches. These batches have a lot number associated with it, and usually stamped on the box. A “Bone” color produced in 2015 of a certain Lot # will not necessarily be the same shade in 2018. You may never get the original color. The color name may still exist, but the shade may be slightly different. Other factors that change the shade are the temperature of water used in the mix, and humidity in the air while the grout is curing.
Patina also plays a big role in being unable to match the grout color. Cleaners used to mop the floor, dirty mops, foot traffic, and various spills can all affect the grout color over time. Therefore, ATLAS says that grout color used to repair existing grout will blend, but not match.
Multiple factors are at work in this situation. The most common reason for a crack appearing in front or behind the sink starts with the caulking or silicon seal between the counter and undermounted sink. When a gap in the caulking or silicon seal caused by mildew accumulation allows water to travel through the counter-sink joint, it finds the path of least resistance. The plywood sub-top keeps the moisture trapped in the area. The moisture will build and start to wick up into the granite slab.
The kitchen granite slab has a metal rod installed on either side of the sink. It was put there to strengthen the area for transport from the fabrication shop to the point of installation. When the moisture wicks up through the granite and finds its way to the metal bar, the metal bar begins to oxidize (rust). The pressure that rust causes is enough to start a crack in the granite. Now the moisture or water from the sink has another entry point and will speed up the oxidizing process. The crack will grow wider and longer in a fairly quick amount of time.
The best way to avoid this damage from occurring is to replace the silicon seal at the counter-sink joint every 18 to 24 months.
ATLAS can perform the regular maintenance repair to the counter-sink joint. And if you are the unfortunate owner of a cracked granite counter, ATLAS can fix this as well.
ATLAS cannot control the environment in your kitchen after we leave. If something goes wrong within 6 months, and the repair is compromised because of faulty product, we will rework the repaired area. In some cases, the crack may open due to heat and moisture from the dishwasher exhaust, or substrate movement, or counter sub-top movement, etc. and other forces outside of ATLAS scope of work.
Quartz products are generally referred to as a man-made product of crushed quartz stone and bonded together with a resin-type adhesive.
Here is a link to a good explanation - https://www.bobvila.com/articles/quartz-vs-quartzite/
Most quartz products are made with a resin. Most of these resins are not UV stable. They are not recommended for exterior use. So, if your kitchen quartz slab is under a window getting sunlight from an untreated window, the resin can yellow.
The resin in the quartz countertop is softer than the actual quartz material. Scratches can occur on the resin.
Please see quartz pluses and minuses at this website link. https://www.bobvila.com/articles/quartz-vs-quartzite/
In comparison to carpet and upholstery, stone seems costly. The reason is, It takes much more time to remove dirt, discoloration and sub-surface blemishes like etches and scratches from stone.
Special diamond abrasives and products are needed to service stone. Even different types of stone (igneous vs. metamorphic) need different types of care and equipment. Training and equipping a Stone Technician to determine the correct products and procedures to use on your stone is essential to meeting your expectations. Some maintenance companies have only a couple solutions to all types of stone. ATLAS’ specialized methods will help maintain the value of your stone investment. We are not just a maintenance company. ATLAS’ is your stone curator.