Dictionary for Natural Stone Care
Abrasive- A substance used to sand, scour, scrub, smooth or polish by removal of the original material. The amount of material removed is determined by the size of the abrasive particles used (ie: grit) Sandpaper, scouring powders & steel wool are examples of abrasives.
Acidic Spills- Will cause etching on the stone surface resulting in a dull spot. Acids dissolve tiny particles of stone.
Coating- Any sort of topcoat sealer, including enhancers that are overapplied, causing a buildup on the surface.
Custom Abrasive Process- We use several different abrasive processes developed specifically for cleaning all types of natural stone. Custom abrasive processes are used for finishing Travertine, Marble and Limestone, as well as all the standard methods available in the world for finishing stone.
Deep scratches or gauges- Any scratch white in color implies a deep scratch that cannot be buffed out using our standard abrasive procedure. Heavy grits, such as a diamond disc, would be needed to remove enough stone layers to even out the scratch. Replacement of the affected stone is often the best option.
Enhancer Sealers- Designed to penetrate and change the stone appearance to a darker, or “wet” look. Overapplied, this type of sealer can result in a coating.
Etching -When an acidic solution comes in contact with the stone, a dull spot is the result. The acid “eats” the stone leaving dullness, or etching behind ( see images ). Penetrating sealers help to reduce severity of etches, but cannot eliminate them. Depending on acidity, some liquids can etch immediately, such as wine, where milder acidic solutions may not etch with proper penetrating sealing.
Grinding- Utilizing the toughest abrasives to sand away a measurable amount of stone. This step would be used to even out high tiles and is a separate process from our standard finishing services. Sometimes this step is also used to sand away a coating on the stone provided the installation is even.
Grout Color Sealing- The best way to seal grout because it coats the grout and makes it far less absorbent. This makes the grout look new and helps prevent most staining. Color sealers are designed to match original grout color.
High Gloss Polish- We have developed our own system which results in the shiniest finish possible. The quality of the stones will be a factor in the overall outcome.
Hone/Honing- Webster says: "the process of sharpening something", such as a tool or skills. In the stone finishing industry,honing has as many different meanings as there are stone finishers honing stone. The finisher may refer to it as a procedure, the tile retailer may refer to it as a look or shine of the stone. The term has become too diluted and over-used to provide and accurate description. We don’t like the term and believe our ” Custom Abrasive Process” is far more descriptive as a procedure for stone. Our different finishes offered have their own categories to aptly describe the resulting shine of the stone.
Honed and Filled Travertine- It is not clear why the term “honed” is used when referring to new Travertine, Marble or Limestone because new stone is very un-uniform, dull, chalky and dusty looking. A “honed” stone does not look very “sharp” in appearance as the term would suggest. It lends more to a dirty look, which most homeowners consider unattractive rather than practical.
Lippage -Uneven edges from tile to tile. When one tile sits higher than the one(s) adjacent to it. An acceptable amount of lippage should be up to the thickness of a dime or credit card. The possibility of lippage should be discussed between homeowner and installer before starting the project. Stone floors can be ground (see “grinding”) but is not the recommended solution. Grinding can cause permanent changes that may be considered unacceptable.
Medium Polish- A custom finish that is definitely a shine, but has no defined stopping point. The shine level can be adjusted to be less or more shiny depending on homeowner taste.
Penetrating or Impregnating Sealers- Designed to penetrate the pores of the stone and prevent liquids from soaking into the stone. Helpful in keeping liquids out and lessen the severity of etching, but will not prevent etching. This type of sealer will not alter the appearance of the stone in any way if applied properly.
Polish- Using abrasives to make the stone surface so smooth that it reflects light that results in a clear shine.
Satin Finish- A low luster glow for Travertine or Limestone. Reflections from overhead lighting and outside light sources are a soft glow. This finish provides a clean even sheen.
Topcoat Sealers- Designed to lay on top of the stone and change appearance ranging from a low to high shine. Prevents liquids from soaking into the stone. This type of sealer is prone to scratching, dulling and peeling. Regular maintenance is required to keep the sealer intact and looking good.
Truck-Mounted Machine- High pressure water and vacuum system designed to apply and remove a large amount of hot water rapidly and efficiently. Purchased as a carpet cleaning machine, we have adapted it for stone cleaning. Used as a highly and much more effective replacement for mop buckets and shop vacs.