Many homeowners install granite or marble countertops and vanities for their durability and to add more value to the home. But in the end, nothing beats the most visible benefit — that rich shine and luster right after the workmen install the new natural stone.
It’s that gorgeous shine homeowners desire to maintain. For some, their lustrous granite or marble surfaces are the envy of dinner guests. For others, it’s a feeling of frustration and disappointment, most likely due to lack of knowledge and education on maintaining the life and beauty of natural stone. While literally solid as a rock, natural stone isn’t impervious to wear and tear, and it requires correct and regular care and maintenance. It’s important to understand the shine on granite is not from applying a wax, but a natural shine that goes through a rigorous process.
Quarried from the earth’s surface using a combination of diamond wire cables, drills and even dynamite, these stone blocks weigh in at around 40,000 pounds. The blocks are then taken to a factory for processing. A giant gang saw using diamond blades slices the blocks into a calibrated thickness similar to a giant bread slicer. The next step is over to a polishing line where they pass under diamond polishing heads that apply thousands of pounds of pressure per square inch. Here, finer and finer grits bring out the natural polish of the stone. From there the slabs are bundled and shipped to your local stone manufacturer and installer to be further cut to a homeowner’s needs. It’s this factory finish that enhances their inherent characteristics — veins, swirls, crystals — prior to installations in kitchens and baths.
There are two common routes to pursue to maintain natural stone’s durability and to ensure that brilliant shine persists. One option is contracting with a stone restoration specialist. These professionals can clean, seal and polish your natural stone. This does, however, come with a formidable price tag — north of $250 to $500 a visit. A more palatable option is the do-it-yourself route. There’s a lower price tag, less than $50, with more of an investment in a homeowner’s time and attention. Read the full story about Caring for Your Stone Surfaces, which is circulating throughout the U.S. in newspapers, magazines and online news outlets.