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Ten Potential Stone Problems

Marble, granite, limestone and other decorative stones are durable materials that will last a lifetime. However, if not laid correctly or properly cared for, problems may result that will shorten their life. The following are the most common problems that may occur:

1. Loss Of Shine

The loss of the high polish finish on certain marble and granite can be attributed to wear. This is especially true of marble, since it is much softer than granite. When shoes track in dirt and sand, the bottoms of the shoes can act like sandpaper on a stone floor surface and, over time  wear the polish off. At Hamilton's we can restore the polish using variety of different techniques.

2. Etching

The dull, whitish spot created when liquids containing acids are spilled on marble is called etching. Marble and limestone etch very easily. Granite is very acid-resistant and will rarely etch. To prevent etching, avoid using cleaners and chemicals that contain acids. Light etching can be removed with a little effort and a good marble polishing compound. Deep etching or large areas will require full polishing or micro grinding. Either way we can help.

3. Stains

Some stone surfaces can become stained easily if they are not properly sealed. Many foods, drinks, ink, oil and rust can cause stains. Most stains on stone can be removed.However permanent stains can and do occur.

4. Efflorescence

Efflorescence appears as a white powdery residue on the surface of the stone. It is a common condition on new stone installations or when the stone is exposed to large quantities of water, such as flooding. This powder is a mineral salt from the setting bed. Although a little tricky, this type of salting can be removed from most stone.

5. Spalling, flaking and pitting

If your stone is developing small pits or small pieces of stone are popping off the surface (spalling), then you have a problem. This condition is common on stone exposed to large amounts of water for instance. Like efflorescence, mineral salts are the cause for spalling. Pitting the thickness of a coin is considered excessive and we will have to grind the tile to flatten the floor. Instead of the salts depositing on the surface (efflorescence) they deposit below the surface of the stone.

6. Yellowing

There are several reasons why a stone will turn yellow: embedded dirt and grime can give the stone a yellow, dingy look; waxes and other coatings can yellow with age; certain stones will naturally yellow with age as a result of oxidation of the iron within the stone. This is especially problematic with white marbles. If the yellowing is caused by dirt or wax build-up, then we can certainly help. If the yellowing is the result of aged stone or iron oxidation, it unfortunately cannot be removed.

7. Uneven tiles

Lippage is the term given to tiles that are set unevenly. In other words, the edge of one tile is higher than the next and is the result of a poor installation. If the lippage is higher than the thickness of a coin, it is considered excessive and we will have to grind the tile to flatten the floor.

8. Cracks and chips

Cracks in stone can be caused by settling, poor installation, inadequate underlying support or excessive vibration. Chips can result from a bad installation or when a heavy object falls on a vulnerable corner. Repairs can be achieved by filling with a color-matched polyester or epoxy.

9. White stun marks

Stun marks appear as white marks on the surface of the stone and are common in certain types of marble. These stuns are the result of tiny explosions inside the crystal of the stone. Pin-point pressures placed on the marble cause these marks. High heels or blunt pointed instruments are common reasons for stun marks. Stun marks can be difficult to remove. Grinding and/or honing can reduce the number of stuns, but some travel through the entire thickness of the stone.

10. Water rings and spots

Water rings and spots are very common on marble and other natural stone surfaces. They are either areas that have become etched or are created from hard water minerals such as calcium and magnesium that are left behind when water evaporates. To remove either type of these spots, we use a marble polishing compound or diamond encrusted pads. Moderate to severe etching or larger damaged areas will require honing by our stone restoration equipment.

Find out more about types of stone and how they are created