Over time most natural and even engineered stones need a certain degree of maintenance or repair. Even though different experts will say stone is “maintenance free” or “never needs sealing”, we all understand there are various situations that can affect the appearance of most materials. The Law of Entropy says in layman’s terms, ‘everything goes from a state of order to a state of disorder over time.’ This law is also applicable to natural stone. Stone changes and ages naturally, this is just one unique characteristic of your natural stone that must be considered when experiencing problems. Sometimes repairs are very minor yet others may require more attention. We want to address a few common repairs to help you achieve the best possible appearance of your stone. Remember, all repairs done by stone professionals vary depending on their skill and experience. Call Perfect Granite Solutions to help you decide on how to approach your next repair.
Click on the following repairs or scroll down the list.
Problems and Solutions:
Light Colored Edges – (Photo) Light colored edges are when edge profiles ( ie. Bullnoses and Ogees) don’t match the surface color of the stone. When granite is being processed in factories around the world, many treat the stone with a viscose resin. This resin was developed for two purposes: Strengthen the stone and improve the finish. As the resin penetrates the pores of the stone it hardens therefore strengthening the slab and preventing the stone from coming apart during processing, thus providing us with a greater variety of choices and minimizing waste during quarrying. High quality resin application optically improves the reflection of the stone by semi-filling minor natural pits and voids. Depending on the stone and the lighting, the surface top appears darker than the edge. Due to lighting, light colored edges are often not noticed until after installation. Edges matching tops are not required, yet it may improve the over-all appearance of the installation. We have a solution for lighter colored edges; let us inspect the stone to see if we can help.
- Etches – (Photo) Etches occur when an acidic type liquid causes a dull spot or ring on the stones surface. (Common etching liquids) EtchesEtching usually occur occurs on calcium rich stones such as marble, travertine and limestone. Rarely will etching occur on granite, this is why granite it is the most common material for kitchens and bar tops. Etches are also noticeable on floors where juice or vinegar may have spilled or spots around toilets caused by acid bowl cleaners or from urine (sorry for the visual).
- Scratches – (Photo) Scratches occur when an object or tool sharper than the stone drags or rubs repeatedly across the stone. Scratches appear white, making it more noticeable on darker stones. Scratches on flooring usually occur from fine dust, sand or grit worn in both on new and older installations. Granite is composed of a harder mineral that doesn’t scratch as easily as marble. Removing scratches from marble and granite requires refinishing with course stone abrasives. Granites are very difficult to refinish and should not be attempted unless the person is completely confident they can remove the scratch and restore the original finish.
- Cracks and Broken Edges – (Photo) Cracks or broken edges can occur for many reasons. Some reasons are: Applying excessive weight on the counter top, settling, caulking coming out at the sink/stone joint allowing water intrusion under slab, natural weathering, transportation or installation. Most of these reasons can be prevented or minimized through common sense and simple prevention techniques; yet, the fact of the matter is, “Crack Happens”. We are working with a natural material and it may happen to you. Let us not forget, stone is made up of minerals and rock all compacted together, these minerals have spaces or fine dust between them making it susceptible to fracturing. ALL NATURAL STONES ARE SUSCEPTIBLE TO FRACTURES! If the reality of fractures doesn’t settle well with you, look for alternative man-made products. Before replacing a perfectly good counter or starting unnecessary arguments with your installer, contact Perfect Granite Solutions about the possibility of repairing it.
- Dullness – (Photo) Dullness on stone occurs when any abrasion or previous refinishing has been performed. Older stones dull with normal wear and with repeated useusage of abrasive or acidic cleaners and course cleaning pads. Newer stones usually dull from an abrasive pad used on the stone. On newer applications, ask your installer for advice because many installers have the ability to refinish and polish the stone, yet they may want to have Perfect Granite Solutions resolve this in order to save you time and inconvenience. On older installations it is absolutely necessary to have an expert in stone repair restore the finish.
Black Granite – (Photo) Black granite is beautiful when treated correctly, yet due to its unique finish it can appear a little blotchy and sometimes spotted at different angles. Black granites are naturally a darker gray/charcoal color, not a true ‘black’ color. Only after polishing is the blacker color produced. Both polished and honed black granites are usually treated with a dye or wax in the factory to improve the appearance. When the darker gray color is not as desirable, stone professionals attempt to apply various enhancers, waxes and sealers to produce a rich dark black color, especially for the Black Absolute. It often comes out streaky, blotchy and spots quickly under normal use. Perfect Granite Solutions provides custom honed finishes for granite and marble surfaces and explains the proper care for long term enjoyment. It is very important an experienced fabricator or Perfect Granite Solutions assesses the stone prior to changing the appearance because once the stone is treated; there may be no way of restoring it back to the original finish.
Sink Repairs – (Photo) Sinks may periodically need adjustment or replacing. When sinks are under constant use, supports can weaken and the sink may lower a few millimeters or more. As the sink lowers, a gap will occur between the sink and the stone allowing water to get under the stone. Un-detected water intrusion may cause serious and costly damage to wood sub top and stone. Have Perfect Granite Solutions lift the sink and re-secure it before costly repairs to the stone are needed. Sometimes sink replacement is required. Sink replacement is a challenging mountain to climb and we’ve successfully climbed it several times. Our experience and understanding of stone make us the premier choice when you need your sink replaced. We will give you the best and most honest recommendations. (Before & After)
Seam Improvement – (Photo) Seams are the joints between the slabs. Seams are usually filled with a colored epoxy or a silicone caulking. Sometimes the color or the texture doesn’t look or feel just right or the filler cracked or has come out, requiring some additional work on it. Some flexibility towards the installer is required because various factors cause seams to look or feel differently. We cannot reasonably expect seams from one job location to another to look the same. SEAMS ARE NOT REQUIRED TO BE FLAT AND SEAMS WILL BE NOTICABLE.
High Edges – (Photo) High edges (also called ‘lippage’) on counter top slabs and floor tiles are very common. The two most common reasons for high edges on counter tops are: A. stone slabs prior to install are not usually perfectly flat, often experiencing cupping or bowing in them. B. wood sub-tops and cabinets are not perfectly level. Unfortunately these two factors cannot always be avoided. Sometimes installers will refinish the seams to flatten it, yet before refinishing they should explain the finished results with you first. Even though we are experts in refinishing seams, we do not recommend reducing high edges on seams unless absolutely necessary.
High edges are also common on stone floors and wall tiles. Excessive lippage on tiles usually occur from less experienced installers not aware of the challenges of stone. Homeowners on the other hand sometimes have unrealistic expectations regarding the fact that some lippage on tiles are normal and fall within industry standards. Reducing high edges on floors requires a seasoned floor refinisher. If they haven’t refinished hundreds of floors by now, don’t let them experiment on yours… it can be disastrous.
Caulking / Grout – (Photo) Caulking and grout is usually a silicone or cement based product used to fill a gap between the stones or an adjacent surface or fixture. As a general rule, caulking is used in situations where movement is expected and grout is used in more secure installations. As you have possibly experienced on tile, caulk and grout separates, cracks, falls out, or discolors and stains. These problems are normal and are to be expected. Regular maintenance and repairs are needed to ensure water and soil doesn’t get into the joints causing more serious damage. Caulking around sinks and backsplashes must be inspected and repaired periodically. Grouts in showers usually crack around floor perimeter and should also be repaired as soon as possible.
Stains / Discoloration – (Photo) Stains can be a serious bur under your saddle. For us Southern Calif. folk, a ‘bur under your saddle’ is similar to sitting on the keys in your Benz. Seriously though, stains are not a dull spot (see etches) but a true discoloration or darkening of the stone that doesn’t normally appear in other areas. This can be tricky sometimes because stone often has a significant amount of color variations and movement in it and we sometimes think it’s a stain, but quite possibly its part of the stone or a shadow from the light. Common staining areas include, around sinks, stove tops, barbeques, and kitchen flooring. If you are sure the discoloration is a stain, get it addressed right away. Delayed treatment of stains can be permanent.
Chips – (Photo) A chip is…a chip, and you shouldn’t get too worried over it. Chips occur inside the sink hole or on the edge of the counter when a heavy pan or a hard object hits it. You can minimize this by being aware and being careful. Chips can also occur during fabrication and installation. Most homeowners get pretty upset when this happens, but like we say about cracks…“Chip Happens”. Stone can easily chip along edges because those tightly formed minerals get knocked off during cutting or handling. In all cases chips under ½ inch can easily be filled and blend in with the stone. Most chip repairs will be noticed with a critical eye.
Holes, Cavities & Voids – (Photo) Holes, cavities and voids are essentially the same thing, yet to better help you describe your problem lets distinguish the differences. A hole is either natural or caused. Natural holes are a clean opening or space you can feel or poke into. Holes are very common on travertine which fill with dirt or oil and appear as dark spots. Holes also occur when factory fill comes out of the natural holes or a mineral pops out of the stone. Cavities are caused when a mineral comes out because the sand, dust or silt between the minerals doesn’t allow for a solid bond. Cavities are easy to identify because the soft dust can be scraped out with a sharp tool. Voids (or pits) are always natural which occur during the formation of the stone. Often we think voids are not acceptable yet quite the opposite is true, that voids and pits are normal and are usually not addressed. Filling holes, cavities and voids are never the responsibility of the installer. For best results, holes should be filled by a stone repair specialist.
Exterior Damage – (Photo) Exterior stone surfaces take on a more severe aging process. When we travel through Italy, we admire the stone on buildings, statues and streets. Many of these surfaces are hundreds of years old, yet to this day stone makes up a large part of the beauty of Italy and Europe. Exterior weather matures and ages the stone giving it a distinct worn or distressed appearance, this aging process is true for many exterior stones in residential homes and commercial buildings. We recommend maintaining the stone yet not disturbing the aging process. In some cases restoration is needed to improve its durability and appearance. Most circumstances we encounter are usually breakdowns of the adhesive or damage to the surface from being hit or damaged. Graffiti is also common for exterior surfaces. Whether your situation is minor or very extensive, we will find you the right solutions to ensure your stone can also survive for hundreds of years.
Specialty Repairs – (Before/After)Specialty repairs are our specialty! We are experts in finding solutions to the most difficult problems. Deciding to repair stone or replace it should be only made by a person who is expert in both repair and installation. Perfect Granite Solutions is the only qualified company to make these decisions.
Do you have a problem that is not on this list? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll respond to your question.