Congratulations on your decision to get new countertops installed in your home. This checklist is designed to aid in ensuring a smooth process.

1. Choose your material, edging, sink, and other applicable options at Brazilian Best Granite, Inc. (BBG)
2. Work with a BBG Project Manager to obtain a comprehensive estimate, based on your unique selections and layout.
3. Secure your material with a 50% deposit (payment in full upfront for orders under $1,000), based on your estimate.
4. Schedule a Template for us to get an accurate measurement of your space.
5. Confirm your finalized selections, quote contract, and layout (if applicable) with you Project Manager. If you are working with a Contractor, quotes will be sent to the party responsible for payments only- unless consent from the liable party is given directly to the BBG Project Manager.
6. Schedule your Installation and Plumbing disconnects and reconnects.
7. Enjoy your new countertop and refer us to everyone you know!

  • Review our materials, edging, sinks, and other options to find solutions suitable for your design taste and functional needs. Request an estimate.
  • Samples may be available for illustrating color range, pattern, and finish, to aid in coordinating design; however, samples are small and generic representations a much larger material which may possess alternate colors, patterns, and finishes and may vary from the actual lot you will receive. BBG offers and encourages each customer to inspect and approve material prior to fabrication. No claims or concerns regarding color, pattern, or finish will be addressed after fabrication has begun. BBG recommends bringing samples of flooring, cabinets, paint, tile, etc. to our warehouse to view with your material, to aid in your decision making process.
  • Sign estimate (Quote Contract) in office or return to us by email or fax.
  • Make deposit of 50% (payment in full for projects under $1,000).
  • Schedule Template Date & Time (Templators arrive within scheduled time, not on the hour. If time is 1pm – 3pm they will arrive within that time period.  Allow 1-2 hours for template for normal kitchen).
  • Ensure everything is ready for Templating by date & time scheduled.
  • If you need to reschedule please do so with a minimum notice of 48 hours, to avoid additional charges.
  • AN ADULT OVER 18 MUST BE PRESENT, AT TEMPLATE AND INSTALLATION, AND ABLE TO MAKE DECISIONS AND APPROVE COUNTERTOP DETAILS!
  • Clean off countertop (or areas to be measured), access to countertop, and surrounding area for Template appointments.
  • If cabinets are new, ensure lower cabinets are fully installed and secured in place.
  • Make sure cabinets are plumb, level (1/8” per 10’ Run), square, and secured to the walls and/or floor. Unleveled cabinets can cause the new countertop to not fit perfectly, gaps can occur, and also can cause the new countertop to crack. To remake it and/or reinstall it will be an extra charge to customer. If new cabinets are part of your remodel, they must be installed before countertops can be measured and installed.
  • Have faucets, sinks, cook tops, and other fixtures needing cutouts on site unless purchasing from BBG or delivering to us later (Fabrication will not be started until BBG has required items). Farm or Apron Front Sinks will need to be installed by a party other than BBG prior to Template.
  • Please include your Project Manager on any changes or special requests. BBG will not be liable for any special items not directly discussed with your Project Manager.
  • Make sure sinks, faucets, cook top and any other item to be mounted in the countertop are on the job site. All cutout information (that is, information on holes or cuts required in the counter top for things such as sinks, faucets, soap dispensers, hot/cold water dispenser, cook tops, etc.), must be available for the Templator. If not customer takes full responsibility for fitting. If a return service after the Installation is necessary to make adjustments, and this could have been avoided if the applicable appliances where on site during Template and they were not, then the end-client will be liable for a service fee. Apron or farmhouse sinks must be installed and properly supported, prior to the date of template, by a party other than BBG. BBG will reschedule your Template, at the BBG Scheduling Departments discretion, for a minimum fee of $75 if this style sink is not installed in place prior to the arrival of the Template Technician.

Cabinets that will rest on top of the countertop (appliance garage, etc.) must be installed after the new countertop is Templated and Installed.

  • If a responsible adult is not present, no one is home, the cabinets are not ready on the day of template, or you cancel within 48 hours, BBG will re-schedule your project and you may be charged a return trip fee minimum of $75.
  • Discuss seam location preferences and install concerns with Templator and be available if they have questions for you. Final seam location, for the best appearance and function, will be at the discretion of the BBG Shop Manager. If extra material is required for any changes requested by the customer, the final estimate will change. Seams will typically vary from 1/16” to 1/8” and will be visible to the eye or touch. Installers will use color coordinated epoxy or polyester adhesives to the form the seam and blend in with the countertop color.
  • Please make sure all areas to be measured are clean and clear of any items.
  • Make sure all appliances including (dishwasher, stoves and refrigerators, etc.) are in place at the time of template. If new appliances are not able to be installed by time of Template, please make sure they are on-site and readily available for the Templator. BBG is not responsible for the moving of appliances, furniture, or personal items. If it is necessary for our Templator/Installers to move appliances, furniture, or any personal items, BBG will NOT be responsible for damages.
  • Sign Template sheet to make final approval for fabrication (Contact your Project Manager for a revised Quote Contract/details). Your Project Manager will follow up with any adjustments, if applicable. Reminder- special requests must be discussed directly with your BBG Project Manager.
  • For exterior jobs, BBG reserves the right to reschedule at its discretion for reasons of weather related concerns.
  • Ask any questions regarding material, edging, sinks, seams, etc. BBG will custom fabricate your material’s edges, but is in no way liable for the finished top surface of the material. The top surface, as it appears on the raw slab, is considered to be the final finish. BBG, when applicable, will work closely with the customer to consider customer preferences of how the material will be fabricated but BBG reserves the right to yield any part of the material in any place of the final project. Please note, on relatively consistent types of stone, it may only be necessary to approve the specific lot BBG will fabricate from and not necessarily the exact slab(s).
  • All final decisions must be signed off (sign at template or from a revised estimate)
  • If there are any changes from your original Quote Contract, a new Quote Contract will be submitted to the customer. The updated Quote Contract, and any other applicable paperwork, must be signed and initialed before the Installation will be scheduled.
  • If you choose to layout the slab please contact your BBG Project Manager to schedule an appointment time/date (if you choose this option BBG will not begin fabrication or schedule Install until Layout is approved).
  • Please take the time to inspect the material’s surface for any variations or inclusions you may find unacceptable before giving your authorization for BBG to begin fabrication and installation. Your warranty for the job covers only what BBG has performed with the material: such as cut outs, polished edges, and installation. BBG is not liable for any kind of finish or filler on the top which was performed as a part of the slab manufacturing process.
  • Prior to your Installation, please have the following completed. Disconnect plumbing and electric/gas cook tops. Disconnect and remove all existing countertops and backsplashes. Disconnect of regular plumbing (not including gas or electrical) and removal of countertop and backsplashes may not be required in all instances. BBG can remove it for an additional charge. Ask your BBG Project Manager for details. If these items are not completed prior to the arrival of the Installers, BBG may choose to perform these services for an additional fee (with the exception of gas and electrical). BBG reserves the right to also reschedule your Installation, for an additional fee, to a later date that you can have these items completed; BBG will reschedule in a timely manner, but at the discretion of the BBG Scheduling Department.

 

  • Final wall preparation (i.e. painting, tiling, wallpapering, etc.) should not be completed prior to installation if at all possible. Care will be exercised during the countertop installation; however, scrapes, punctures, or digs to wall surface of floors are possible in the work area, as are scratches and scrapes to cabinetry. These items are considered incidental damage and are the customer’s responsibility to repair. In most cases cabinets can be easily repaired with a cabinet touch-up kit.
  • BBG suggests you schedule a plumber and electrician for the day following installation so they can reconnect plumbing and wiring as required. As a convenience, BBG offers basic plumbing reconnection for an additional fee.

Until the total 50% deposit has been received, and all decisions have been made and signed off in writing, Fabrication will not begin and your project will not be added to the Installation schedule.

  • AN ADULT OVER 18 MUST BE PRESENT AND ABLE TO MAKE DECISIONS AND APPROVE COUNTERTOP DETAILS!
    • For safety keep children, pets, and yourself away from construction area and path of access.
    • Please ensure the job site is accessible and the Installation crew has the easiest, most direct path possible.
    • Create a clear path to the installation area and cover any furniture or floors (Do NOT place plastic on floors; this may actually cause a hazard to the Installers).
    • Move all breakables, valuables, or obstructions from area- including on joining walls in adjacent rooms (wall hangings, etc). Including items in cabinet under sink location.
  • Installing a new countertop is a construction process, and some noise and dust should be expected.
    • Disconnect gas and electrical equipment (Our installers cannot do such disconnects).
    • Ensure that all customer provided supports or other provisions are securely installed or finished prior to the arrival of the Installation crew. Jobs with sites not ready by the scheduled Installation day are subject to re-scheduling for a time at the discretion of BBG and at a minimum fee of $150. The customer assumes liability for the job site being ready.
    • If BBG is not removing your old countertop, ensure it is removed and all items are disconnected (If not removed, BBG will remove and there will be a charge to the customer).
    • BBG will install your new countertop and sink but not any cooktops, faucets, etc, or make any connections. For an additional fee, you may opt for our full-service package which includes water related plumbing reconnections- but does not include electrical or gas. In order to avoid delays, please ensure these items are scheduled in advance at the time of signing your contract with BBG.
    • Installers may sometimes need to make field modifications to jobs (cutting backsplashes to length, etc.) and may need access to power outside with an adequate place to work. Please note, cutting of material may cause dust to settle in the area. The Installers will do their best to leave the area broom clean but care should be exercised to not have vehicles or other items susceptible to damage in the area.
    • Some dishwashers only install by top mounts. Special brackets are needed for these and are provided and installed by BBG, when applicable, at no additional charge.
  • Cabinets that will rest on top of the countertop (appliance garage, etc.) must be installed after the new countertop is Templated and Installed.
  • If Job order includes a full-height backsplash, it is usually a two-part process to complete the Installation. The full-height backsplash will be measure after the Installation of the countertop. The full-height backsplash will be installed approximately one week later. Upper cabinets and range hood/microwave combinations must be installed prior to measurement for the full-height backsplash. This process allows for the best fit. The material used to this process will be the some used to make the counter top, if a different color or thickness is request by customer the cost can be increased.
  • Final wall preparation (i.e. painting, tiling, wallpapering, etc.) should not be completed prior to installation if at all possible. Care will be exercised during the countertop installation; however, scrapes, punctures, or digs to wall surface of floors are possible in the work area, as are scratches and scrapes to cabinetry. These items are considered incidental damage and are the customer’s responsibility to repair. In most cases cabinets can be easily repaired with a cabinet touch-up kit.
  • Upon completion of your project, our installers do a basic clean then review your completed project with you for inspection and signoff.
  • After the installation our installers will clean the immediate area and leave the job site in “broom-clean” condition. When applicable, natural stone materials are sealed once before leaving the fabrication facility and once by BBG Installers. BBG offers to all customers purchasing natural stone (other than soapstone) a complimentary bottle of sealer to use as needed. By practicing proper care and maintenance, your new countertop will give you years of good service.
  • Make final payment at completion (Please take a moment to fill out the survey and either sign the credit card authorization form, for BBG to run the balance on your on-file CC, or call your BBG Project Manager to arrange final payment). Contractors with established credit terms, please refer to your pre-authorized payment terms. To establish a credit account, please contact your BBG Project Manager for an application.

If you have not made previous arrangements for BBG to perform your removal if existing tops and plumbing, BBG suggests you schedule a plumber to arrive at least a few hours before installation for disconnect and the day following for the reconnect. Adhesives used during the Installation may need time to cure before a plumber begins work.

While BBG is committed to excellence, high quality, and will take every precaution feasible, please be aware that countertop installation is a construction process. Noise, dust, and scratches to walls, cabinets, floors, or nearby items are rare but possible. These items are considered incidental damage and are the customer’s responsibility to repair.

Material Disclaimer – Marble, granite, and other natural materials do vary in color, polish, structure, and movement. Inherent fissures, pits, and inclusions may be visible in the final product and are not flaws in the stone. It is the customer’s responsibility to review material for areas they wish for BBG to avoid. While BBG only uses the best quality stone available it does not guarantee flawless materials. Like all products of nature, these attributes also make up the beauty and uniqueness of natural stone. BBG will take all requests with the greatest consideration; however, BBG reserves the right to use any part of the material to complete the job.

To insure your new investment will provide you with a lifetime of aesthetics and utility, proper maintenance is critical. Natural Stone products are porous by nature and require a different maintenance program than quartz (engineered stone).

NEW INSTALLATION:

Although BBG will provide two courtesy coats of good sealer to all natural stone materials purchased (other than soapstone), re-sealing is strongly recommended for newly installed marble or other natural stone products- to provide maximum below-the-surface stain protection. Be careful to select a high quality sealer to protect your natural stone.

ROUTINE STONE CARE:

Clean stone surfaces with a few drops of neutral cleaner, stone soap (available at hardware stores or from your stone dealer), or a mild liquid dish washing soap and warm water. If you have purchase a sealer warranty through a third party, follow the recommendations of the sealer manufacturer for cleaning. Use a soft cloth for best results. Too much cleaner or soap may leave a film and cause streaks. Do not use products that contain lemon, vinegar or other acids or alkaline substances on marble or limestone. Regular household cleaners with an acidic or alkaline base should not harm granite, but will most likely strip the sealer prematurely. Rinse the surface thoroughly after washing with the soap solution and dry with a soft cloth. Do not use scouring powders or creams; these products contain abrasives that may scratch the surface.

DO’s and DON’Ts:

Do clean surfaces with mild detergent or cleaner marketed for stone cleaning

Do thoroughly rinse and dry the surface after washing

Do blot up spills immediately

Do protect floor surfaces with non-slip mats or areas rugs and countertop surfaces with coasters, trivets or placemats

Don’t use vinegar, lemon juice, bleach or other cleaners containing acids on marble, limestone, travertine or onyx surfaces

Don’t use cleaners that contain acid such as bathroom cleaners, grout cleaners of tub & tile cleaners

Don’t use abrasive cleaners such as dry cleansers or soft cleansers

Don’t mix bleach and ammonia; this combination creates a toxic and lethal gas.

SEALING:

A premium natural look penetrating/ impregnating sealer is the normal choice on polished or honed marble, limestone, granite, or where the natural color of a slate is desired. A stone enhancer sealer is often used on tumbled, antique stones, or on slate where a darker, enriched or highlighted character is desired. When choosing either one of these two types of sealers, make sure the brand you have chosen is formulated to provide maximum stain protection for stone products. Follow the sealer manufacturer’s instructions. If there is a question, check with the sealer manufacturer. In most cases, you will apply the sealer to the stone (with an applicator or clean cloth) and allow it to soak for a few minutes. Then, before the sealer has dried on the surface, you will buff off with a clean cloth. If a residue appears, in most cases applying more sealer will reactivate the sealer and allow you to buff again. Again, please check the sealer manufacture’s instructions for proper procedures. Stone sealers should be tested periodically to insure that the sealer is working effectively. To test a sealer’s effectiveness, simply pour a few ounces of water on the horizontal surface and allow to sit for 10 minutes, observing, and then wiping the water away. If the water retained high walls (or beading on the surface), and the water did not saturate the stone and leave a darker coloration where the water was once sitting, then the sealer is still adequately working. If, on the other hand, the sealer allowed water to saturate the stone, then more sealer should be applied. Penetrating /impregnating stone sealers are a no-sheen, natural look sealer that can be water-base or solvent-based, good for a interior and exterior applications. They may also rejuvenate and improve the appearance of worn and weathered stone. Special Note – Although the effectiveness of a sealer is best tested with water, many sealer manufactures actually do not claim to prevent water penetration- only other food stains. Spots or rings from pure water and condensation, nonetheless, should dry without leaving a trace. If you experience issues with significant water penetration and you have already attempted to re-seal your material, BBG recommends to consult the sealer manufacturer. If you experience issues in which water appears to leave spots or rings, it may be mineral deposits left behind from hard or soft water. In this case, BBG recommends to consult a professional who can provide a water treatment solution. Many spots left behind in this case are calcium or iron deposits on the surface of the stone, left when the water evaporated. Care should be exercised when attempting removal. In most cases, holding a straight razor at a 45 degree angle will allow you to scrape the minerals from the surface of the stone- without further damage. Be careful not to gouge the surface. Consult your BBG Project Manager before attempting to use any acids, such as vinegar, to remove mineral deposits on your material.

FOOD PREPARATION AREAS:

In food preparation areas, the stone may need to have penetrating sealer applied. Check with your BBG Project Manager for recommendations. If a sealer is applied, be sure that it is non-toxic and safe for use on food preparation surfaces where applicable. Follow the sealer manufacturer’s instructions. If there is a question, check with the sealer manufacturer. Stone care products only use cleaners specifically designed for stone. These cleaners contain no acidic or alkaline solutions and are concentrated neutral PH cleaners that will not affect existing sealers. The solution of the cleaner should be applied per the manufacturer’s instructions. On kitchen counter tops, a spray bottle can typically be used to apply the cleaning solution. Allow to sit for manufacturers specified amount of time and buff dry. BBG recommends cleaning the surface immediately after any food preparation.

Bath and Other Wet Areas:

In the bath or other wet areas, soap scum can be minimized by using a squeegee after each use. To remove soap scum, use a non-acidic soap scum remover or a solution of ammonia and water (about 1/2 cup ammonia to a gallon of water). Frequent or over-use of an ammonia solution may dull the surface of the stone.

Granite (Igneous Rock)  – Prestigious and long lasting, granite has long been the chosen countertop for its high heat and scratch resistance, inertness against harsh chemicals, and natural beauty. With the availability of hundreds of various colors and patterns, as well as many finish options, granite can lend itself easily to nearly any design. There are many other stones and subgroups of this igneous category that are not true granite, but for all practical purposes are labelled and used interchangeably with true granites. For example, Absolute Black is considered a granite for generic commercial purposes, but it is actually basalt- not a true granite. You can be assured however that BBG will not mislabel certain other stones (marble), with lesser qualities, as granite. Pricing ranges from Low to High and a premium is typically placed on a demand for more movement.

Marble (Metamorphic Rock)– The natural elegance of marble’s soft, sweeping movement is hard to replace. Although it scores low on care & maintenance (prone to etching, scratching, and staining due to its high amount of calcium), we at BBG find that customers who embrace that wear and tear is inevitable are generally happy with their decision. Although the original meaning of marble meant any stone that would take a polish, today’s excepted definition is a metamorphic rock that forms through the metamorphism of limestone. Prices range from Medium to High and a premium is typically placed on a demand for whiter marble with distinctly dark veining.

Travertine and other Limestone (Sedimentary Rock) – Travertine and other limestone behold beautiful earth tones and natural movement. Limestone products often contain characteristic shell fossils, which lend to their unique natural allure. Both score low on care & maintenance (prone to etching, scratching, and staining). Prices are generally Medium.

Soapstone (Metamorphic Rock) – Known for its long and fascinating local Virginia History, soapstone is offers a distinct utilitarian look which transcends design from shabby-chic to industrial. Colors range from either green or light gray or to near black. Practical in the sense that the inherent dense properties of soapstone make it nearly non-porous, it is also inert against most chemicals which long made it the ideal choice for chemistry tables. Although it is relatively soft, soapstone can make an endearing surface for anyone who will appreciate the patina it will develop over time. A regiment of topical oils or waxes are often applied to expedite a darkening patina, and also help to hide the talc-white scratches or blemishes which can appear. Caution- using oils or waxes can sometimes also highlight a greenish hue in some soapstone. Prices are Medium to High and higher premiums are typically driven by the demand for darker colors.

Schist and Gneiss (Metamorphic Rocks) – Although there are hundreds to thousands of different colors of stone available on the market, depending on location, there are only about 12-20 true granite colors. Many other stones, for general purposes of simplifying things in the building industry, are labelled either Granite or Marble- given a description which most closely represents the characteristics of the stone. BBG will not mislabel a stone, such as a marble, as another type of stone, such as granite, in order to make it more marketable to customers concerned about durability. However, there are many relatively hard, dense stones that are called granite which truly are otherwise. A commonly mislabeled stone is Schist. Schist, although relatively hard, is in fact a metamorphic rock. A main characteristics of this stone is to exhibit foliated plate shaped minerals like mica. If further metamorphism occurred, then the stone may have become a granular rock known as gneiss.  While touring the warehouse at BBG, you may spot stones with these labels that may otherwise be called a granite elsewhere. Prices range from medium to high.

Kyanite (Metamorphic Rock) – Once quarried in Virginia for dimensional stone purposes, up until 2010, Kyanite is a unique stone exhibiting brilliant blue-greens and rust tones. Although this stone is no longer sourced locally for countertops, the material is still available from other sources for such purposes. Contact your BBG Project Manager for pricing and availability.

Quartzite(Metamorphic Rock)  – Quartzite is an excellent choice for those who may find its movement similar to marble, but are looking for something a bit more durable. Quartzite, a natural product containing the mineral quartz, is not to be confused with the blend of nature and technology which has been coined with the industry name “quartz.” Please see a description of quartz below. Quartzite, on the other hand, bears many similar properties of granite- more scratch, stain, and heat resistant than marble. Quartzite gets its strength from the quartz crystals which formed under extreme geological pressure in sandstone. The result is a dense material which is a great option for countertops. Prices are High.

Dolomite also known as Dolostone (Sedimentary Rock) – Dolostone typically appears in many similar forms to marble (white-to-gray and white to light-brown- although other colors such as red, green, or black are possible). In fact, many stone color options labeled as marble in fact are dolostones or contain a fair amount of dolomite in them. Dolomite is magnesium rich and, therefore, is a little more durable and less prone to scratching than something like a Carrara marble (which has relatively more calcium); however, it is not scratch and stain resistant. Prices range from medium to high.

Quartz (Engineered Stone) Quartz is the result of natural quartz minerals crushed into smaller particulates and then bonded together with resins. Pigments are also added to aid in producing unique colors and patterns, proprietary to each brand. Known for its incredible scratch and stain resistance, it can also be somewhat tolerable to heat- though care should still be practiced to avoid scorching or thermal shock (which said damages are most often unrepairable). Not recommended for areas exposed to high heat or UV exposure i.e. fit pits or outdoor kitchens. Traditionally uniform in design, quartz products are now available in many brilliant patterns which can mimic movement found in many natural products. Additionally, due to its man-made process, colors can also be available which are not typically found in natural stone. Prices are high and typically driven by the demand of the trending colors and patterns.

Ultra-Compact/Porcelain surfaces (Dekton) – Formed with natural minerals under extreme pressure comparable to the earth’s core, the result is a product of impressive strength and durability. Scratch resistant, stain resistant, heat resistant, and UV stable, Ultra-compact surfaces can be ideal for most any application- interior or exterior. Please note- most ultra-compact surfaces patterns are not “through baked” and therefore special consideration should be given for treating your type of edge i.e. mitering edges. Additional fees apply for such treatments. Ask your BBG Project Manager about projects where ultra-compact surfaces excel. Prices are high.

Pyrolithic Stone (Geoluxe) – The newest generation for “man-made stone,” Geoluxe is currently the only brand made with this patented technique. The description, pyrolithic stone, refers to the process of removing sensitive resins from the engineered stone process and exclusively using only natural stone minerals to manufacture the product. Formed by returning natural stone back to its original molten form, much like lava or magma, the contents are then poured in a sequence to achieve proprietary colors and patterns. The result of this natural product, altered by man, is a surface that is scratch, stain, chemical, heat, and frost resistant that is easy to maintain. Additionally, the process affords a product that is “through baked,” so color and patterns are passed through the entire product displaying edges which are consistent with the top surface. Colors and patterns of this new product are limited. Ask your BBG Project Manager for more information about pyrolithic stone. Prices are high.

By Frederick M. Hueston, Technical Editor

“Help, I spilled cooking oil all over my new granite countertop and it left a huge stain.” How do I remove the yellow stains from my white marble shower?” Can the stains on my floor be removed or do I need to replace the floor?”

These are just a few of the countless questions fabricators, restoration contractors and others in the industry get on a daily basis. Is the stone mined? Does it need to be replaced? The answer may be “yes”-unless you have the magic potion that will remove most imbedded stains from stone.

The “Guide to Stain Removal” which appears as part of this article and a few simple techniques are what I consider to be the magic potion.

Marble, granite and natural stone are porous materials. This porosity is why it stains so easily. It is also why stains can be removed. All that’s needed to remove a stain is to reverse the staining process. In other words, the stone has literally absorbed the stain and we simply re-absorb it into a different material. This different material is what we call a poultice. A poultice can be made with powdered whiting and hydrogen peroxide or a chemical reducing agent-depending on the nature of the stain. Whiting is sold in most paint stores. The poultice should be made and applied as described for removal of each particular stain.

Poulticing Materials:

I have found that most stains can be classified into one of the following categories:

Oil-Based Stains: Grease, tar, cooking oil and food stains.
Organic Stains: Coffee, tea, fruit, tobacco, cosmetics, etc.
Metal Stains: Iron (rust), copper, bronze, etc.
Biological Stains: Algae, mildew, lichens, etc.
Ink Stains: Magic marker, pen, ink, etc.

There are, of course, other materials that will cause staining. but these five categories are the most common.

Applying The Poultice

Once the stain is identified, the following steps can be followed:

Wet the stained area with distilled water. Pre-wetting fills the pores of the stone with water isolating the stain and accelerating the removal by the chemical.
Prepare the poultice. If a powder is to be used, pre mix the powder and the chemical of choice into a thick paste, the consistency of peanut butter. In other words, wet it enough so that it does not run. If a paper poulitice is to be used, soak the paper in the chemical. Lift the paper out of the chemical until it stops dripping.
Apply the poultice to the stain being careful not to spill any on the non stained areas. Apply approximately 1/4-inch thick over-lapping the stain area by about one inch.
Cover the poultice with plastic (food wrap works great). Tape the plastic down to seal the edges. It also helps to poke several small holes in the plastic. so that the powder will dry out. Failure to do this may result in the poultice staying wet.
Allow the poultice to dry thoroughly. This is a very important step. The drying of the poultice is what pulls the stain from the stone into the poultice material. If the poultice is not allowed to dry, the stain may not be removed. Drying usually takes from 24 to 48 hours.
Remove the poultice from the stain. Rinse with distilled water and buff dry with a soft cloth. If the stain is not removed, apply the poultice again. It may take up to five applications for difficult stains.
Some chemicals may etch marble and limestone surfaces. If this occurs, then apply polishing powder and buff with a piece of burlap to restore the shine.
Poulticing Powders:

Clays (Attapulgite, Kaolin, Fullers earth)
Talc
Chalk (whiting)
Sepiolite (hydrous magnesium silicate)
Diatomaceous Earth
Methyl Cellulose
Clays and diatomaceous earth are usually the best. Do not use whiting or iron-type clays, such as Fullers Earth, with acidic chemicals. They will react with the material, canceling the effect of the poultice.

Many stains are so deeply embedded that the poultice alone will not be completely effective. Some type of chemical solution will need to be added to the poultice. When the poultice and chemical are applied, the chemical is absorbed into the stone. The chemical reacts with the stain and is re-absorbed into the powder/material.

Stain Removing Chemicals

How do you choose the proper chemical for a given stain?

First, you need to identify the stain. This is the most important step in stain removal. If you know what caused the stain, you can easily look at a stain removal chart for the proper chemical to apply. If the stain is unknown, then you need to play detective. Try what caused the stain. If the stain is near a plant container, it might be that the plant was over watered and the soil has leached iron onto the stone. The color of the stain may help to identify the cause. Brownish color stains may be iron (rust) stains. The shape or the pattern of the stain may be helpful. Small droplet size spots leading from the coffeepot to someone’s desk are a sure giveaway. Do some investigating and use your powers of observation. This will almost always lead to the identification of the cause of the stain.

If, after thorough investigation, you still have no idea what the stain is, then you will need to perform a patch test. A patch test simply means applying several chemical poultices to determine which will remove the stain.

There are also pre-prepared poultice mixes that have the chemicals already added. All you have to do is add water.

One way to reduce the amount of staining on any stone surface is to make sure it is sealed with a good penetrating sealer or impregnator.

Stain Removal Guide

Iron (rust) – Poultice with Oxalic Acid + Powder + Water. May also try a product called Iron-Out (available at hardware stores). Both mixtures may etch polished marble, so re polishing will be necessary.
Ink – Poultice with Mineral Spirits or Methylene Chloride +Powder.
Oil – Poultice with Ammonia+ Powder Methylene Chloride can also be used on tough oil stains.
Coffee, Tea & Food – Poultice with 20 percent Hydrogen Peroxide + Powder.
Copper – Poultice with Ammonium Chloride + Powder
Paint (water-based) – poultice with a commercial paint remover + Powder
Paint (oil) Poultice with Mineral Spirits + Powder. Deep stains may require Methylene Chloride.

Please use extra caution when handling all chemicals listed above. Thoroughly read Material Safety Data Sheets for each chemical before use.

Originally published in August 12, 2001 issue of STONE magazine. This article appears by permission of the author.

 

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