The beauty of grout is that when it’s in good shape, it does its job of securing your tile and protecting it from damage beautifully. The problem with grout is that when it’s in bad shape, it doesn’t do those things and you notice it. If you are constantly fussing over the fact that your grout has become an eyesore, you probably need grout repair.
Repairing your grout can work wonders on a room that has seriously suffered ever since the grout around the tiles took a turn for the worse.
The Trouble with Cleaning
Your own attempts at grout repair have probably involved a lot of scrubbing and back breaking work, as you tried to clean away the problem. However, herein lays another problem with grout: once it has gone over the edge, it is difficult for the average person to bring it back with cleaning.
Because it is typically both a permeable and coarse surface, cleaning grout can be kind of complex. What you think is dirt making your grout unattractive is probably more like a mixture of mold and mildew with some dirt thrown in to top it off. As such, the only way to clean it properly is to find a way to penetrate the grout, getting rid of mold and mildew at their source.
And this is where most people come in, scrubbing their grout as hard as they can with harsh chemicals like phosphoric acid and bleach, in an attempt to fix it. This may produce positive results, but they are often only temporary. Plus, the chemicals used just damage the surface of the grout and cause your problem to look filthier than ever when it returns.
So what’s the solution for your grout concerns? In all likelihood, if your efforts are failing and your grout is past the point of benefiting from basic tile and grout cleaning, you could probably use the help of a professional to tackle your grout repair.
Methods of Grout Repair
Professional Cleaning Services
First and foremost, professionals who are experts in repairing grout can identify the materials that actually make up your grout. This is important because they can use the information to determine the proper cleaning materials to use for the job, so that the process does not damage the surface of your grout or cause it to fade.
Further, professional grout repair experts have methods of cleaning that go beyond the average person’s capabilities, including techniques that use heat and high pressure to break down stains and chemicals safe for your grout that will remove the toxins, stains, and odor.
Finally, an expert in repairing grout can seal or reseal your grout to keep your grout looking sparkling and clean for as long as possible. If you are in the Denver, Colorado area, you can seek professional help for grout repair from the Marble Polishing Experts, who are skilled in restoring desperate grout.
Re-grouting Your Tile
If your problem is more than just dirt and the grout between your tiles is severely damaged, crumbled, and falling apart, it may be too late for intense cleaning. A professional can certainly advise you on your particular issue, but often the best solution at this point is to re-grout your tile.
In this method of grout repair, damaged areas of grout can be removed with a knife or grout saw, without causing harm to your tile.
These areas are then filled in with new grout, which may be more durable than the material you started out with. It is also sealed to preserve the look of your new grout and prevent new damage.
If you plan to do this process yourself, be careful to fully remove your old, damaged grout, and do not attempt to re-grout over the material that is there without removing it at all. Your new grout will not adhere effectively to the grout that is already there, and you will simply end up with a new layer of cracked and crumbly grout.
Changing the Color of Your Grout
Those that do end up re-grouting as their method of grout repair may consider using a colored grout in exchange for what they had. Choosing a different colored grout can make it easier to keep your grout looking nice and give your room a makeover as an added bonus.
Depending on your tile, a darker grout may look fantastic and give you a little leeway when it comes to trying to keep your grout close to its original color. White grout will be harder to maintain after you have used it for years than a grout with a little more color, like a sandy or gray shade. There are a lot of colored grouts to choose from these days, and it should be easy for you to find a color that complements your existing tile.
Changing the color of your grout may also be possible without re-grouting your tile; however, it could be a complicated job depending on your situation and may be best left to a professional. In this process, a staining agent is applied to the tile to permanently change its color. If this is done alongside tiles that are not glazed or sealed properly, your stain may end up damaging your tile as a consequence.
Avoid the Need for Grout Repair
If you aren’t yet to the point of needing grout repair, do your best to maintain your tile and grout so that repairs are not necessary in the future. It only takes a bit of regular maintenance to keep it looking nice.
Do your best to wipe spills or dirt before it has a chance to set in and stain your grout. If you do experience mild stains on grout that has been properly sealed, you can probably clean it with natural cleaners and a brush made with natural bristles.
You may also want to consult a grout repair expert to give you advice on the best way to maintain new grout or suggest how often you should have your grout resealed.
Without a doubt, people love natural stone, and its uses in modern design are almost endless. The variation available makes it an easy choice for people of all different styles, preferences, and even budgets.
However, there are a few considerations that should be made with any kind of natural stone, and there are also things to think about that apply uniquely to individual types of stone. The most popular choices today are granite, slate, marble, travertine, and limestone, and each has their own challenges and appeal.
Things to Know about Natural Stone
If you love stone and want to incorporate it into your home, there are a few things for you to know, regardless of the particular stone you choose.
The first is often seen as a benefit of choosing natural stone, and it is simply that anything made from stone will include natural variations in color. These variations are all a consequence of the natural formation of the material, and they result in some of the most beautiful patterns and striking colors that have ever been imagined.
Additionally, anytime natural stone is used for any setting, it should be sealed properly to protect it against moisture, stains, and damage. This may be especially true when it is used in outdoor spaces, where environmental elements can cause cracks and other damage in unsealed stone very quickly. Depending on the stone you choose, you should be able to get advice as to how often it should be sealed and how to complete the process.
Finally, if you plan to install stone outside, it is important to talk with an expert in natural stone to determine whether your particular climate will impact the beauty and required maintenance of your favorite varieties. The weather and conditions in Denver, Colorado may be better suited for one type of stone for your particular use over another.
With a clear understanding of all these things, you can look more closely at the most popular types of natural stone to find out which ones may work best for your project!
Granite is a stone made from molten rock and is known as an incredibly dense and durable stone. In fact, it is ranked as the hardest of all the natural stones listed here. In terms of appearance, granite can be found in a wide range of color, including shades of black, brown, gray, yellow, and green, and its spotted pattern is easily distinguishable from other types of stone.
Granite conveys both professionalism and elegance, so it is found just as often as a material in high-end commercial buildings as it is in residential properties. It may be used in the form of tile, countertops, cladding, vanities, and other accessories.
The greatest challenges associated with granite may be its hardness and weight, which make it a challenge to cut the stone as well as install it in large pieces.
Slate is formed from the compression and heating of mostly soil and clay over millions of years. It can be found in a range of finishes, from flat to highly polished, and color is often variable as well, even from within the same batch. It is known for being more slip resistant than other stones and having a size and shape that make it easy to use after it has been cut.
This stone conveys a warm and comfortable feeling, making it incredibly common for use in floor surfaces in residential properties. Slate can also be used as cladding and in outdoor projects in some climates.
As far as potential difficulties, slate can also be quite heavy and may not be suitable in all regions for outdoor use.
Marble is created from the accumulation of natural materials brought together by the flow of water underground. The resulting natural stone is characterized as smooth, and the minerals that compose it create beautiful colored veins that seem to flow through the rock, providing a hint toward its liquid beginning.
Because it has often been used in the creation of sculptures as well as in the construction of ancient structures, it is often associate with the arts and seen as a classic, ageless material. In homes today, it is frequently used in flooring, countertops, backsplashes, and vanities.
It can be seen as a difficult stone to use because of its vulnerability to acid, making it somewhat hard to maintain in kitchen environments. However, its patterns and the wide range of colors available make the inclusion of marble in any home personal and valuable.
Travertine is formed in a similar fashion to marble because they both developed from the movement of water underground. However, the formation of travertine is more commonly associated with freshwater areas and hot springs, in contrast to marble, whose formation is a result of great pressure and extreme heat occurring far beneath the surface of the earth.
This key difference in development gives travertine the recognizable pores and creamy white or tan color that it often displays. Because it was frequently used as a building material in ancient Roman and Greek societies, it is somewhat associated with feelings of majesty.
Today, travertine is used in a variety of ways, including as flooring, countertop material, pool surroundings, patios, and other home accessories. As it is similar to marble in formation, its challenges are similar as well, and it requires some maintenance to keep in top shape.
Limestone is another natural stone formed from material compiled via water sources, but this stone is mostly comprised of organic material which has settled at the bottom of lake or sea floors. In fact, fossil traces can often be seen in limestone, offering a clue as to how it was formed.
The result is a natural stone that is known to be durable and provide a distinct look in a variety of colors. In appearance, it can mimic the look of both marble and travertine, but its composition tends to be less porous overall.
Limestone conveys a distinguished and strong feeling for many people, and it is often used as a material in floors, cladding, and paved surfaces. Although it is less difficult to maintain than marble and travertine, its challenges are similar.
Choosing a Natural Stone
Any one of these stones can provide an excellent material for use in your home, and they all provide their own distinct beauty. When trying to choose a natural stone, it is best to consider the style that appeals to you, the environment the stone will be used in, and the convenience of using each stone for your purpose.
The term “flagstone” is generally used to describe some type of natural stone that is used in the construction of slab or paved surfaces, walkways, patio surfaces, fencing, and roofs. Stone material used to make monuments, memorials, gravestones, and other types of structures or landscaping can also be referred to as flagstone.
Historically, flagstone became incredibly popular when Europeans began using it as the primary material in the walls and flooring of elaborate architecture. In fact, surviving examples of flagstone can be seen today in England and Scotland in the flooring of ornate castles that were built over seven centuries ago.
Today, this type of stone is popular because of its durable nature as well as its beauty. As such, it is a favored material in the United States for landscaping, decks, and patios.
What exactly is flagstone?
To better understand what is meant by flagstone, it may be easier to think of it in terms of a category for stone instead of the usual geological terms we usually use to define natural stone. It is actually a more general name for a group of natural stones that share the same kind of shape and appearance, properties in flagstone that suit landscaping and related applications.
A large percentage of stone referred to as flagstone is actually quarried sandstone, which is a very common sedimentary rock made of grain-sized pieces of quartz and/or feldspar. Similar to sand, sandstone can be found in a variety of colors but is most common in shades of white, tan, brown, red, pink, and brown.
Beds of sandstone are often very observable, and unique colors have become associated with the various regions in which they are found, such as the red sandstone found in the southwestern states of Utah, Arizona, Colorado, and New Mexico.
Other types of stone that can be used to make flagstone include slate and types of limestone, but they are less common than the sandstone variety.
Flagstone made from slate is usually a bit softer than sandstone, making it less challenging to split and somewhat easier to work with. However, finding larger pieces of this type of flagstone can be difficult, and its surface has a tendency to reveal water and ice damage more readily.
Limestone varieties of flagstone are traditionally extremely appealing in terms of their beauty, but they can be more difficult to work with. Often, this kind of stone is machine-cut into regular shapes and can be polished for an elaborate look in more formal projects.
This variation allows for even more colors of flagstone, although region still determines the accessibility of certain types or colors of stone to some extent.
For example, a homeowner in Denver may find it extremely easy to obtain large quantities of red sandstone at a reasonable price due to their close proximity to the source of the rock. However, it may be very difficult for them to obtain large amounts of blue sandstone without paying exorbitant prices to have it imported from Pennsylvania, where it is formed.
Regardless of the exact source of stone, each variety shares certain characteristics, including a rough, porous surface. These properties typically provide traction, leading to their popularity in the construction of patios and walkways. However, their porous nature can also lead to cracking within the rock in icy or wet environments. As such, most types of flagstone can be sealed to reduce their potential for breaking, and those living in areas with extreme weather may be advised to choose another type of stone.
Flagstone can also be constructed artificially with concrete materials to produce less expensive, more colorful alternatives to natural flagstone, but the manufactured stone doesn’t last as long and is usually considered less beautiful than the authentic version.
Common Shapes and Uses of Flagstone
Depending on your preference and how you plan to use your flagstone, you will decide between two basic shapes of flagstone: irregular or uniform.
Irregular shaped flagstone is exactly what it sounds like: rough pieces of stone that are unpredictable in size and shape. It is relatively easy to find from local suppliers and is generally a cheaper option than uniform cut flagstone. Overall, its appearance provides an informal, comfortable feeling, which is why irregular shapes are often chosen by people looking for a natural, earthy feel for their project.
This type of stone is perfect for do-it-yourself projects because they don’t require a lot of precision in terms of their pattern or location. In fact, it is easier to use irregular flagstone if you have a lot of variation in shape and dimension and can piece the stone together in interesting ways. Most people doing a project with this kind of flagstone use sand to set the stone in place.
Uniform flagstone is stone that has been cut into standard square or rectangular shapes with a clean, straight edge. In contrast to irregular stone, the appearance of uniform flagstone provides a more formal, structured appearance, and tiles are often used to create a more polished look.
While this type of stone is still quite useable for do-it-yourself projects, it does require a higher level of precision than irregular stone in terms of pattern and formation. It is also typically more expensive and is usually set with mortar.
Overall, the properties of flagstone have made it extremely popular among the do-it-yourself crowd and creating a flagstone patio has become one of the easiest ways for homeowners to transform and raise the value of their property with natural stone. Also, it is the perfect option for those who may be intimidated by building a traditional wood patio, which can be much more complicated.
Beyond finding level ground and measuring the space properly, a flagstone patio can be relatively easy to create. Most people also find that the process of choosing a type, color, and pattern for their new flagstone patio is a lot of fun. Once the project is complete, you are left with a durable, attractive patio that is totally unique.
Although travertine has been used in construction for ages, the diversity and dependability of the natural stone makes it extremely usable for a variety of applications today. There is evidence that ancient cultures valued it as a building material, but its popularity can be seen in a wide range of present day architecture as well, such as the UCLA Medical Center and the Getty Center in California.
In addition to its use in construction and modern architecture, stone tile made from travertine is commonly used for flooring in homes and businesses. Its attractive appearance makes it a good choice for use in decor as well, leading many to choose travertine tile as a backsplash or to clad their walls.
Overall, the natural stone is resilient enough to use in either indoor or outdoor settings, and it is considered to be both practical enough to use as a building material and beautiful enough to use as decoration. It is easy to see why travertine was such a popular choice for ancient builders, and it makes sense that its appeal is just as strong, if not stronger, today.
Properties of Travertine
In terms of its physical properties, travertine shares many characteristics with both limestone and marble, and its appearance can take on the variation that is often found in these natural stones as well. The array of colors found in travertine stone are created by the unique combinations of organic material that have created it, and results can range from a soft, pale white to richer shades of red and gold.
This natural stone is quarried from sites that span almost the entire globe, but the largest deposits can be found within parts of China, Iran, Italy, Mexico, Peru, and Turkey. Each of these large deposits of travertine is unique to the area and takes on the appearance of the local materials that have formed the stone.
Travertine can also be found in the United States and is rich in areas like Yellowstone National Park, Oklahoma, and the Hill Country of Texas. You can even find a national natural landmark called Hanging Lake in Glenwood Springs, about 200 miles west of Denver in Colorado, which is famous for its shoreline composed entirely of travertine.
Much of the travertine used in construction and residential application in the United States is imported from Mexico because the short distance required to transport the stone between the two countries often brings down its cost. Turkey and Italy are also primary suppliers of high-end travertine stone to the U.S.
Working with Travertine
When travertine is quarried, it is initially taken from the ground in huge slabs before it is cut to create stone tiles. Depending on how the stone is cut, travertine tile will have one of two distinct looks. When the stone has been cut with the line of the stone bed, it has been cross cut, or fleuri cut, giving the resulting tile a relatively consistent look and feel throughout. In contrast, when the stone has been cut against the line of the stone plane, it has been vein cut, giving the resulting tile a more linear, striped appearance.
Once travertine has been cut, it is evaluated based on several factors, including the consistency of its color and thickness. The surface of the stone may also be treated using one of several different finishing options. These include:
Maintaining Your Travertine
Using travertine in your home can add a lot to its beauty and the value of your property, but it requires proper care like any other natural stone. Properly maintaining your travertine is crucial to ensuring it lasts for the lifetime of your home and remains as beautiful as it was the day you installed it.
Most of the time, people choose travertine with either a honed or polished finish for use inside their homes. Honed travertine is smoother and less reflective than the polished variety, and it is often used as flooring in higher traffic areas. In contrast, the shiny, reflective surface of polished travertine stone may be found more often in countertop surfaces, wall cladding, and as a decorative element in tabletops and furniture.
All of these surfaces can generally be maintained with regular cleaning with a dry mop or soft cloth. When a more thorough cleaning is required, a neutral cleaner is typically recommended for honed stone surfaces. For polished travertine, a neutral cleaner that does not contain soap is usually advised to avoid the layer of streaks and film that soap often leaves behind.
To prevent damage to your travertine surfaces, be aware that anything containing acid can erode the surface of the stone. As such, it is a good idea to use coasters or trivets to protect surfaces from acidic food or drinks, and you should also protect your travertine from acidic cosmetics that could harm it as well. As an additional layer of protection, any stone surfaces you intend to use in the kitchen or for food prep should be sealed properly.
You should also take care to clean any spills that occur on the surface of your travertine as quickly as you can by blotting them with a soft cloth to absorb any remaining liquid. Making sure that you quickly clean spills in this manner along with ensuring that your stone surfaces are sealed properly and conducting regular maintenance with a dry mop or cloth should be enough to keep your travertine looking flawless.
When it comes to marble polishing, you may feel a little out of the loop in terms of how the process should be completed, how often it should be done, and who should be doing it for you. The truth is that the process itself can be just as complicated, and there is a level of skill and knowledge required to polish marble properly that many just don’t have.
In fact, you may have heard horror stories or even experienced yourself just how damaging an improper polishing technique can be to a beautiful marble floor. Unfortunately, it is not rare for contractors or even home owners to cause permanent damage to their marble by using a polishing agent that seems to work beautifully on first inspection, only to weaken and erode the surface of the stone over time.
By contrast, a professional skilled in the art of marble polishing will be equipped with the necessary tools and solutions to achieve the best look possible for your marble, a task that isn’t always so easy. A true expert will be able to evaluate all of the factors that impact your floors, including the variety of stone you own and its porosity, sealant, traffic and existing damage.
Why is Polishing Marble so Tricky?
One of the main reasons that polishing marble can be so tricky simply comes down to the natural variation that occurs in the stone. As you probably already know, marble is fairly soft compared to other stones, and it is comprised of a variety of different minerals. These minerals may respond differently in reaction to any one of the components of polishing, and a primary goal of a marble polishing expert is then to determine the best process for your particular marble.
Those with white colored marble actually own the stone in a very pure form, with little added in terms of the supplemental minerals often found in marble. This natural variation of almost pure limestone often possesses different properties than other colors or types of marble which contain larger amounts of additional minerals.
This core difference in the actual materials used to make your particular marble will ultimately impact the nature of the stone and how it should be cared for.
The Connection between Marble Polishing and Sealing
Differences in the natural materials that make up your marble and the formation process will have a subsequent effect on the porosity of the stone. On a basic level, porosity refers to things like the size of the stone’s pores, their placement within the stone, and the networking between them.
All of these aspects of your marble’s porosity will have a direct impact on the way it should be sealed. For instance, marble that is more porous in nature may require a more aggressive type of sealant that settles into the pores of the stone to offer a higher level of protection, while less porous stones may do well with a finish that simply rests on top of the stone.
In either case, the sealant which has been used on your marble will impact the method and materials used in the marble polishing process. Further, an inappropriate sealant may not be adequately preventing scratches, stains and other damage in the way it is supposed to be, making it necessary for the marble to be restored and resealed in some cases in addition to any polishing that takes place.
It is the variation in sealants that leads professionals to recommend that marble polishing be left to the experts, and it is also the reason you may have been told to steer clear of cleaning products yourself in exchange for a damp mop or microfiber cloth. Essentially, the chemicals in these cleaning products each have a different impact on not only your marble, but the sealant on your marble as well. As such, it is usually best to have an expert present who can easily determine what is required for the maintenance of your floors.
Attempting to do expert level polishing or repair without the appropriate knowledge or tools is one of the quickest ways for homeowners to create a situation they can’t handle and cost themselves time and money in restoration costs they didn’t have before.
Marble Polishing and High Traffic Areas
The amount of traffic that takes place over your marble floors may also make a difference in the marble polishing process, especially when it comes to how often you will require it. Even with regular maintenance, it is the small abrasions and slight wear of high amounts of foot traffic that build up over time and then cause natural pathways on your marble floor to look dull or less beautiful in comparison to other areas.
Proper and regular maintenance is a great way to prevent damage that could eventually cost you more in restoration or professional care, but eventually most homeowners do notice over time that at least parts of their floor lack that natural luster the marble once had. In such cases, a professional marble polishing team is the best option to assess any damage that exists, restore the natural beauty of the floors, and create a plan to keep them looking beautiful for as long as possible.
In terms of polishing marble, most of these factors hold true not just for flooring but also for other marble pieces found in your home, such as furniture, vanities, or countertops. These items can be honed and polished like your floors to provide you with beautiful examples of natural stone, but they are all likely to require a professional as well, especially in items that have deep scratches or more extensive damage.
Overall, marble polishing can be a tricky process, but choosing the right professionals to handle the job can make a huge difference in your satisfaction with your marble floors. For those local to the Denver, Colorado area, the Marble Polishing Experts are ideal for the job.
A professional with little experience in identifying the important factors that impact the marble polishing process can cause your floors costly damage. By simply choosing the right team, you can easily avoid this type of headache and expense.
Marble Polishing Experts is a woman-owned business in Denver, Colorado with years of experience in marble restoration, granite restoration, flagstone, limestone, travertine, terrazzo, and tile and grout cleaning. Looking for stone experts? Call us today!
Marble Polishing Experts
2550 S University Blvd
Denver, CO 80210
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