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Stain Care Guide & Techniques

Fri 12 Jan 2007 - 09:48

Stain Care Guide & Techniques
By Josveek O. Hugilar

Purchasing and installing natural stones is an investment in lasting beauty that will give you many years of pleasure and joy. However, stones are porous materials. This porosity is why they stain so easily. It is also why stains can be removed. In other words, the stone has literally absorbed the stain and we simply re-absorb it. But it is very important to know the proper care procedures to extent the life and enhance the beauty of natural stones. There are also pre-prepared poultice mixes that have the chemicals already added. All you have to do is add water.

Facts to know about stains:

i) Stones are made of different minerals and these minerals contain chemicals. Sometimes, these chemical compositions and staining substances together may create permanent stains.

ii) When stains become too old and deep, they might not be fully removed or not removed at all.

iii) Using wrong chemicals might make stains deep and permanent.

iv) Prolonged soiling of etches might lead to permanent and deeper stains.

It is very important to properly identify identify the type and source of stains because stains respond differently to chemical solutions and removal methods. If wrong chemical are used and wrong methods applied then it may cause. There are many materials that may cause staining, but there are five most common categories:-

Oil-Based Stains: Grease, tar, cooking oil and food stains.

Organic Stains: Coffee, tea, fruit, tobacco, cosmetics, etc.

Metal Stains: Iron (rust), copper, bronze, etc.

Biological Stains: Algae, mildew, lichens, etc.

Ink Stains: Magic marker, pen, ink, etc.

Identifying stains by color:

Black:> Grease, ink, dirt, tar, shoe polish, moss, oil, fungus, mould,asphalt,animal feces etc.

White:> Plant fertilizer, paint, efforescence.

Green:> Algae, mildew, foods, ink, dyes,copper, bronze.

Reds Shades:> Foods,fruit, drinks, blood,, dyes, rust, dirt, ink, fertilizer.

Yellow:> Eggs, mustard, oil, grease, urine,rust.

Blue:> Plant fertilizer, ink, dyes.

Orange:> Foods, fruit drinks, rust, dyes.

Gray:> Aluminum, efflorescence, paper

Brown Shads:> Coffee, tea, foods, chocolate, grease, oil, algae, moss, vegetation dirt, wood (tannin), tobacco, urine, animal feces, rust, copper, bronze, dyes, plant fertilizer.

Clear:> Eggs, shellac, lacquer, varnish, urethane, polyurethane

Other:> Paint, ink, crayon (wax), dyes, cement coloring stains, pigmented sealers, colored paste

waxes colored grouts.

Category of Stains:

Not all stains are of same size and intensity. They may be categorised as -
i) Light
ii) Very Light
iii) Moderate
iv) Severe
v) Very Severe
Light stains can be removed with normal care techniques and products. But moderate and severe stains are quite obdurate and difficult to remove with conventional care procedure. So if you have one of them, you should take advice from professional care technicians before you try to remove them.

Once the stains have been identified, you should take immediate steps to remove them. As stones are absorbent by nature, a specific absorbent called poultice is used to draw out the stains out of the stones. The poultice is mixed with special chemicals and then applied to the stained areas to remove them. Poultices are available in pre-mixed condition as well as in powder products. They are easily found marble or tiles stores. But before buying the product, make sure that you check the label throughly and it is the right product for your stones.

How to use Poultice:

Wet the stained area so that stains are loosened.
Mix the paultice so that it does not run and stick to the stone. If a paper poultice is to be used, first soak it in the chemical and then lift it until it stops dripping.
Apply the poultice to the stain approximately 1/4-inch thick over-lapping the stain area by about one inch. Be careful not to spill it on non stained areas.
Cover the poulticed area with plastic like food wraps, seal the edges and keep it for 24-48 hours until the poultice dries. Drying the poultice is very important. If the poultice is not dried properly, stains might not be completely removed.
Remove the poultice from the stain. Rinse with distilled water and buff dry with a soft cloth. If the stain is not removed, apply the poultice again. It may take up to five applications for difficult stains.

Stain Removal Guide:

ORGANIC STAINS:> These types of stains can be removed by mixing Hydrogen Peroxide with a few drops of Ammonia. Pour the mixture on the stained are, use light brush and rinse with water. If it works, keep repeating and if it does not lightens, apply poultice with chemicals as per instructions.
INK STAINS:> Usage of poultice is the most effective way to remove oily stains. Usually, a few application of poultice is required to remove them.
BIOLOGICAL STAINS:> Prepare a solution with bleach(3/4th), water(1/4th) and few drops of detergent powder. Pour the solution over the stained area, brush it and rinse with water until gone.

METAL STAINS:> "Iron Out" cleansing material should be used in this case. Apply according to instructions and rinse the area with water. ( Bleach is prohibited in this kind of stains).

All natural stone users must have a Stain Removal Kit on hand that should contain the following article:

A stone care guide brochure
1 - 24 ounce spray bottle of Revitalizer
1 - 32 ounce bottle of Impregnator Pro
A wooden or plastic spatula
A nylon scrub brush and rubber gloves
Hydrogen peroxide 6 to 35%, the higher %

Sealers and factors to consider:

Some factors should be considered while selecting sealers-
i) The life span of the sealer- how long will it last before replacement is required
ii) Location and environmental condition surrounding the stone
iv) Type of the stone and its % of absorption
v) Which type of treatment products will be used after installation of the stone

Proper and regular treatment of the stones is of paramount importance. While it might not completely prevent stains, a treated surface is less susceptible to stains as it will minimise the effect of etching substances by not allowing the damaging effects to enter deep into the surface.
If you are using natural stones, always remember to remove spills and foods from the surface as soon as possible. If they are kept there for long, stains might develop. These preventative measures does not mean that you will not require future maintenance. In fact, regular care will keep the stones ever gorgeous. Understanding stones, stone care products and techniques are pre conditions for a successful maintenance programme.

Josveek O. Huligar.
Stone Care Specialist.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Josveek_O._Hugilar

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