I was able to attend a presentation from Athena Stonecare, a stone restoration company based in the UK, and wanted to share with you all the tips that I learnt.
I don’t often recommend natural materials for flooring, as kitchen worktops, or within bathrooms as it is typically an investment and needs a lot of care. With busy lifestyles, children, and pets there isn’t often time, or the budget, to allow for this luxury product.
If you are thinking about investing in natural stone, there are some great benefits:
- Its an investment
- If maintained, it can be kept looking stunning.
- It is a highly sustainable product.
- It can be restored.
Plus, it has been used in building for thousands of years, so why stop now.
Lets talk sustainability.
In the UK, before a piece of land can be quarried an agreement on how the land will be developed once the natural material have been removed has to be in place. The method of removing the stone, and its manufacture into products for the home, has a much lower carbon footprint than materials like porcelain.
Choosing Natural Stone
1. Start with the finish
A highly polished floor is typically harder to maintain.
If you have a high traffic area, for example a hallway, consider having a honed finish. This is when the stone slab has been grounded to a smooth, flat consistent surface, leaving the stone with a non-shiny, matte look and velvet-like touch. This finish can also be used on worktops.
2. Consider how it can be restored – will it require a professional and how often.
Natural stone can be sealed and the two most popular types of sealing are:
- Impregnating sealant – this penetrated the stone and protects from withing. It doesn’t degrade but as new scratches appear on the stone new capillaries will open up. So, not 100% bullet proof.
- Surface sealant – this forms a physical barrier and is waxed for a matt, satin or gloss finish. It will wear over time.
The trick is to make the sealant used last as this will in turn protect the stone. Check out how to care for your stone.
3. Top tips when choosing stone
For Kitchen worktops, or bespoke dining tables, always choose granite over marble. Granite is not acid sensitive so won’t mark with everyday spills from tomato ketchup, lemon juice or wine. If these spills were made on a marble worksurface, it would need to be professionally restored.
For Bathrooms, avoid black marble in hard water areas as it will show etch marks over time.
For Floors, choose limestone over travertine. Travertine is a naturally pitted stone that’s formed in hot springs and then quickly cooled. The quick cooling forms the ‘pitting’. These holes can be filled but over time new holes will open with scratches and general day to day wearing.
4. Knowing how to care for your stone
If you are investing in a luxury product then you need to take care of it. You wouldn’t take you Lamborghini to the Tesco (other supermarkets available) car wash, would you?
- Keep your floor free from scratch hazards. Is there a risk from loose stone being walked into your hallway?
- Use a stone-safe Ph Neutral cleaner
- Avoid over wetting.
- Never use a steam cleaner
Follow the same guidelines for floors plus:
- Keep the room well ventilated.
- Clean up and dry the surface once everyone has finished each day.
- Wipe up any sitting water.
- If you live in a hard water area, consider investing in a water softener.
- Use coaster/trays under lotions and potions.
- If using bleach around the toilet then be careful not to spill or splash
- If using sprays on mirrors and glass ne careful not to spray onto the stone
- Apply a Faber worktop care cream weekly/fortnightly
- Clear up spills immediately by blotting, if you wipe the spill it will smear the stain over more of the worktop.
- Use coaster/trays under vinegars and oils
- If younger family members consider having a thin glass cover added to the surface of protection. This can be removed at a later stage if required.
Restoring Natural Stone
If you’ve moved into a new property and you need help understanding what natural stone you have then I would recommend reaching out to Athena Stonecare. From a few photos they can usually identify the stone, or if you are within their area, they can complete a scratch test.
They can then chat with you about the restoration services they can provide.
If you’d like to know more about how you could use natural stone in your home, or an alternative to your busy lifestyle, then get in touch.
I offer a free initial online chat to all new clients and you can contact me here.