INSTALLATION INFORMATION
 
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NATURAL STONE SPECIFICATIONS
•  All stone is pre-inspected for shade. Customers must be forewarned that we will not accept any claims or returns due to shade or veining. This is a natural product and variation is both unavoidable and desirable. The natural stone tiles should never be hand selected to better match. Shade variation is a 3 on our 1-4 scale, there is distinct variation in the background color.
• Stone is rectified and honed leaving a surface that is even but can be slippery in the presence of moisture. Coefficient of friction varies widely from piece to piece.
• Stone is suitable for residential and light commercial installations.
• Stone is soft. It chips easily and wears easily. High traffic areas will show evidence of wear, although the color naturally goes all the way through the tile.
• Stone must be sealed regularly to prevent staining, especially in wet areas. We will not recommend a particular sealer. This is up to the installer.
• Standard field tiles can be installed with or without a grout joint.
• Modular patterns should be installed without a grout joint.

NATURAL STONE MAINTENANCE
Toinsure your natural stone products will provide you with a lifetime of aesthetics and utility, proper maintenance is crucial. Natural Stone products are porous by nature and require a different maintenance program than traditional ceramic tile.

NEW INSTALLATION
Sealing is strongly recommended for newly installed marble and other natural stone to provide maximum below surface stain protection. Be careful to select a high quality sealer to protect your natural stone.  

PRE-GROUT SEALING
A non-sanded grout is strongly recommended for natural stone installations due to the narrow grout joints customarily preferred. This type of grout has very fine particles of cement, polymers, and color pigments that can penetrate the microscopic pores of the stone surface where they become trapped and appear as a stain in the stone. Therefore, all travertine, slate, tumbled stone, and honed/flamed/unpolished granite should be sealed prior to the grouting process to protect them from staining. The application of a good quality sealer should be used as a pre-grout sealer and applied again as the final sealing process once the installation is finished.  

SEALING
A premium natural look penetrating/impregnating sealer is the normal choice on polished or honed marble, limestone, granite, or where the natural color of a slate is desired. A stone enhancer sealer is often used on tumbled, antique stones, or on slate where a darker, enriched or highlighted character is desired. When choosing either one of these two types of sealers, make sure the brand you have chosen is formulated to provide maximum stain protection for stone products. Stone products should be tested periodically to insure that the sealer is working effectively.
Penetrating/impregnating stone sealers are a no-sheen, natural look sealer that can be water-based or solvent-based, good for interior and exterior applications. Most quality sealers of this type are rated to protect the stone a minimum of 10 years.
Stone enhancer sealers are also a no-sheen, penetrating/impregnating sealer that is formulated to darken, enrich, and highlight the natural color and beauty of tumbled, antique, or slate products. They will rejuvenate and improve the appearance of worn and weathered stone. However, they will also darken the color of grout joints. They are, generally, suitable for interior and exterior use, and rated to protect the stone a minimum of 3 years.   

FINISHING
A stone floor finish should be applied to a polished natural stone floor only. This type of product will help enhance the shine and provide a protective coating for "soft" or polished marbles. Verify the finish is a wax-type finish designed to add luster and enhance the beauty of sealed and polished natural stone only. A topical finish may change the appearance and performance of your stone, so always test a small area first. Application of topical sealer or wax should never be done as an attempt to add a shine to a honed, scratched, or non-polished stone product. This will only create a maintenance and/or slip resistance problem. Consult the manufacturer of any surface-altering products for more detailed information about the impact of its specific product on safety, maintenance, or appearance of your stone.  [ Top ]

ROUTINE STONE CARE
Natural stone requires a different maintenance routine than traditional, man-made ceramic tile. Many of the cleaners acceptable for use on ceramic tile can stain, damage, or dull stone. Dirt and dust will scratch the surface of stone. Therefore, stone floors should be vacuumed or dust mopped frequently to remove abrasive agents from the stone surface. Natural stone should be cleaned with neutral cleaners. Stone cleaners should never contain acid or bleach. Acids, even a light solution of vinegar and water, will etch and eventually damage natural stone.
(Stone care products only use cleaners specifically designed for stone.) These cleaners contain no acids and are concentrated neutral pH cleaners that will not affect existing sealers or wax-type coatings. A solution of the cleaner and water mixed to manufacturer instructions should be applied to the tile surface with a sponge or mop. On walls, kitchen counters, or vanity tops, a spray bottle can be used to apply the cleaning solution. Allow sitting for manufacturers specified amount of time (usually 3 to 5 minutes). Agitate with a sponge, synthetic mop, soft bristle brush, or through the use of a floor-scrubbing machine. Mop up dirty solution and buff dry.
Once the stone has been cleaned, you can periodically apply a Spray-Buff wax-type floor finish to enhance the beauty and luster of polished stone (including countertops). Apply the finish with spray applicator and buff immediately with a white nylon pad. Reapply as often as needed, depending on volume of surface traffic and consistency of routine maintenance program. This product is not designed to restore the original shine, but is intended to maintain and protect the original shine.  [ Top ]

HEAVY DUTY STONE CLEANING
When stone areas have been neglected, you will need to use a heavy-duty stone cleaner and degreaser to effectively remove dirt, grease, grime, waxes, and floor finishes. These cleaning products are concentrated and designed to deep clean the stone without damaging it.
Apply the solution of the cleaner and water mix per manufacturer instructions to the stone surface with a sponge or mop. Allow to stand for manufacturer-specified amount of time. Agitate with a sponge, synthetic mop, soft bristle brush, or through the use of a floor-scrubbing machine. Mop up dirty solution and buff dry. Be sure to change out the cleaning solution every 100 square feet to avoid reintroducing dirty water during the cleaning process. Rinse thoroughly with clean water when finished. After cleaning you may apply the Spray-Buff wax-type floor finish to enhance the natural shine.   [ Top ]

STAIN REMOVAL
Stone Poultice will remove stains and grout haze from stone. Poultice is a fine, non-acidic, absorptive clay cleaning powder that removes deep-set oil stains, grease and light cementious grout haze from polished and unpolished natural stone. CAUTION: Poultice may dull the shine of the polished stone. If this occurs you will need to use a marble polish to restore the natural shine.   [ Top ]

RESTORATION
If a polished marble has become dull, scratched or etched, you can restore the natural shine through the use of a marble polish. Some marble polishes are available in kits. The process can be enhanced with the use of floor buffing machines. The process is generally a re-crystallization process to remove fine scratches and restore the original shine and polish to the stone. This is not an application of a topical sealer or wax to cover-up damaged or worn surfaces.  [ Top ]

DISCLAIMER
STONEXPRESS does not manufacture installation products or tile cleaning/maintenance products. STONEXPRESS provides the information contained herein to its customers as an information source only. The products identified in this document may have chemicals that cause reactions in certain individuals. STONEXPRESS strongly recommends the use of safety glasses, respirators (masks) and gloves in handling any materials that contain chemicals. . STONEXPRESS, in keeping with its Healthy Planet objectives, recommends the proper disposal of any scrap tile/stone, installation and/or maintenance products discussed herein. Lease contact the manufacturer directly, PRIOR to usage, to obtain proper handling instructions, application instructions and warning concerning potential health hazards for any product contemplated for use. . STONEXPRESS also strongly recommends that you ALWAYS test a small area PRIOR to usage of any installation/tile/cleaning/maintenance product to determine whether the product you are about to apply serves its intended purpose.

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Important note: Stone is a naturally shaded product and its color and finish can differ from item to item. Color samples and other indications
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