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DWYER MARBLE & STONE SUPPLY  •  DESIGN NEWSLETTER  •  Vol. 1, Issue 3 click to call: 248.476.4944
News & Views
 
5 Common Mistakes to Avoid When Cleaning Natural Stone Surfaces

© UseNaturalStone.com

Natural stone surfaces are a wonderful investment that deserve and require proper care. If you make a mistake or overlook maintenance, you could risk damaging your beautiful material. While it's true that natural stone is extremely durable and made to last, it is not indestructible. "There is a chemistry to natural stone, and making mistakes can harm it," notes Tim Lesnar, owner of Classic Marble Restoration in Blaine ...   read more>>>

Improve Home Resale Value | Renovations Increase Appraisal

© UseNaturalStone.com

First impressions count if you have your house on the market. Even if you're not selling your home, you might be wondering what updates or upgrades will increase the value of your home. Many homeowners might pause at the cost of natural stone compared to other materials. What they don't always consider is that not only does natural stone add more value to a home, its ...   read more>>>

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5 Common Mistakes to Avoid When Cleaning Natural Stone Surfaces

by Stephanie Vozza



Make Your Natural Stone Last | Skip These Common Errors

Natural stone surfaces are a wonderful investment that deserve and require proper care. If you make a mistake or overlook maintenance, you could risk damaging your beautiful material.

While it's true that natural stone is extremely durable and made to last, it is not indestructible. "There is a chemistry to natural stone, and making mistakes can harm it," notes Tim Lesnar, owner of Classic Marble Restoration in Blaine, Minnesota.

Natural stone thrives under proper maintenance, says Brian Kornet, owner of Fabra-Cleen Stone & Tile Care in Plainview, New York. "You have to take precautions," he says. "If you avoid cleaning mistakes, you'll need our [restoration] services less often."

Here are five common practices to skip to maintain and protect your natural stone surfaces.

1. Cleaning With Vinegar

Only use cleaners that are suited for natural stone. If you use an outside cleaning service, make sure they do, too, says Lesnar.

"A lot of people aren't familiar with the chemistry of cleaners and the chemistry of stone, and they'll use wrong cleaner," he says. "You have to have a cleaner that has the right pH level, which is seven (neutral). Some stones such as marble, travertine, or limestone react adversely with vinegar because it is acidic."

"Vinegar and bleach are harsh," adds Gregg Laviolette, owner of Stone Restoration Services in Troy, Michigan. "They will etch or burn the surface of your stone."

While some chemicals may not noticeably damage durable stones such as granite, they can break down any sealers that have been applied to the stone. "That means you would need to have your stone resealed more frequently," says Kornet.

2. Choosing an Abrasive Tool

Some homeowners think they can remove etches or stains with a scrubbing pad. Realistically, this often only makes the problem worse. Lesnar notes that scrubbing pads "act like abrasives on stone, especially when you put elbow grease into it."

For daily cleaning, use a soft cloth and don't attempt to "buff out" stains or scratches. Instead, call a professional. "The only way to fix a stone that has been etched is to have it honed and restored," says Kornet.

3. Skipping the Dust Mop

Minor dust particles and sand that you might not be able to see will act like an abrasive under your feet and cause wear patterns over time, says Laviolette. "Use a dry dust mop and go over your floors daily or at least every other day," he recommends.

Grit will scratch floors and give them an appearance of being dull, says Kornet. "A polished surface is a smooth surface, and light will reflect off of it," he says. "Scratches refract light. Your floors might be clean, but it gives the appearance of being dull or scuffed."

Remove dust and debris with a dust mop or vacuum, and wash your floor with a neutral cleaner each week.


4. Leaving High-Traffic Areas Unprotected

Rugs can help protect the areas of your stone floors that will get worn down due to high traffic, says Laviolette.

"Walk off matting helps keep dust and debris that can scratch your floors to a minimum," he says. Place a mat inside and outside of doors, and use runners and rugs in areas that get a lot of use, such as mudrooms, hallways, and kitchens.

5. Not Sealing Your Stone Regularly

For many stones, sealing is part of a recommended general maintenance plan. While it is possible for homeowners to seal their own stone, experts agree that a professional will deliver the best results.

"I tell customers to expect to see me once every three to five years," says Lesnar. "Sometimes if it's a high profile area with a lot of windows, you'll want to call me every year."

If you do seal your stone yourself, make sure you use a solvent-based impregnating sealer, says Laviolette. "It's preventative maintenance, but it's not a be-all, end-all cure," he says. "It's like applying stain and water repellant to your carpet; it can help prevent your stone from etching but you still need to perform regular cleaning."

With proper care and maintenance, natural stone surfaces will stay beautiful for years to come. Every stone is unique – and for many homeowners, little imperfections and etches in the stone's surface become part of the stone's story.

© UseNaturalStone.com


7 Ways to Use Natural Stone to Increase Your Home's Value

by Megy Karydes



Improve Home Resale Value | Renovations Increase Appraisal

First impressions count if you have your house on the market. Even if you're not selling your home, you might be wondering what updates or upgrades will increase the value of your home.

Many homeowners might pause at the cost of natural stone compared to other materials. What they don't always consider is that not only does natural stone add more value to a home, its longevity is unmatched. "Stone does not break down and can stand the test of time. Stone features are there for the long haul, which you cannot say for other materials," says Jan Johnsen, co-principal of Johnsen Landscapes & Pools, a design/project management firm and author of The Spirit of Stone.

Our experts share seven ways that natural stone can help boost your home's value at any budget, both indoors and outdoors.

Using Natural Stone in Your Home's Exterior


Jerusulem Grey Gold Limestone.
Photo courtesy of Lurvey Supply.

1. Wide Stone Walk to Front Door. Wide walks accent the front of a house and make it appear more stately, says Johnsen.

2. Limestone Details. While limestone may be more expensive than brick or other common materials, it will always add more value and more than pay for itself, according to Derek DiSera, a real estate broker with @Properties in Chicago. He recommends using limestone pavers to create walkways and steps, or adding limestone to windowsills, crown moldings, or front stairs. "All of these have a timeless appeal and a much wider appeal to most buyers," he says.


Photo courtesy of Jan Johnson.

3. Stone Paving to Backyard Patio. Johnsen feels the durability of stone, coupled with its authentic appeal, makes stone paving a desirable feature for outdoor living and definitely a plus to a potential buyer.

4. A Low Stone Wall. For those on a budget, a low stone wall around two sides of a corner of the rear patio creates a "sheltered corner" where people can congregate, according to Johnsen. "It's very inviting and changes the look of the backyard," she says.

Using Natural Stone in Your Home's Interior

As one would expect, most of the projects indoors involve the kitchen and bath. A complete overhaul isn't required to increase a home's value. DiSera often visits tile stores with his clients to pick out materials that will help increase resale value.

"Whether they plan on selling immediately or not, it's always best to bring someone objective that can give you a sense of the marketability of any of the choices they are going to make," he says. Choosing the right materials could mean the difference of tens of thousands of dollars in resale value.

1. Cost It Out. "I think many homeowners will generally think [natural] stone will just be out of their budget and most always that is not true," says DiSera. Many of his clients consider using only ceramic tile when doing kitchen or bathroom renovation but depending on how much square feet you're covering, the difference in cost might not be significant (maybe a few hundred dollars more). The re-sale value, though, could be much greater than a few hundred dollars in materials.

2. Don't Dismiss Granite or Marble. DiSera says marble is a prime choice for bathrooms. "Any marble in the white to gray tones with different varieties of veining and patterns (aka movement) are most popular like Carrara White Antique, Italian White, Bianco Carrara, and others," he says. A little goes a long way.


Marble subway tiles need not be restricted to the shower and bath surround walls. They can be used as a backsplash in kitchens, too. Another option is to use larger marble slabs for the walls.

Granite continues to be popular for kitchens, for both its range of colors and designs as well as its durability and strength. While it can be considered a higher-end product, prospective homeowners seek it out as a feature they want in their home.

3. Patterns and Shapes. Don't overlook different patterns and shapes for kitchen floors. For bathroom floors, DiSera recommends hexagon/honeycomb shapes for their classic looks and basket weave and herringbone patterns because of their popularity.

Many homeowners are choosing different patterns and shapes for their kitchen floors, too, for texture and interest. While costs will vary based on the complexity of the design, type of natural stone and square footage, it's also possible to keep costs down by incorporating larger slabs of 2'x2' or 1'x2' in between other types of natural stone. Homeowners can still enjoy the wow factor of the pattern or shape without it being overwhelming or costly.

Increasing Curb Appeal with Natural Stone

Whether you're looking for some new ideas to spruce up your home's curb appeal or want to update your home for your own enjoyment, incorporating natural stone can be as easy as adding stone planters to your landscaping or including stone accents in a kitchen or bathroom renovation project.

The bottom line is this: using natural stone in an update or upgrade in your home often is a solid return on your investment.

© UseNaturalStone.com