The key to removing stains from your stone surfaces is cleaning up any spills and treating any resulting stains as quickly as you can. Determining the cause of the stain on your stone surfaces is the first step in removing them. But how do you remove a stain from your natural stone surfaces, even when you know what caused it? If you are a do it yourself type of person, then you will more than likely attempt to remove the stain yourself before you try calling a professional like Silver State Floor Restoration. We are perfectly okay with this and in fact, we even provide valuable information to help you on your stain removal journey. But before you get started, there are a few things you definitely need to know.
A Stain is a Discoloration, but not all Discolorations are Stains
A true stain is always darker than the surrounding stone. A lighter colored stain is always surface damage. There is not a single exception to this rule! Lighter colored discolorations are either a mark of etching corrosion made by an acid or a bleaching caustic mark made by a strong base (or alkali). All of the DIY stain removing tips and tricks in the world will not solve the problem if the discoloration is actually surface damage because these types of discoloration have nothing to do with the absorbency of any stain causing substances. Before you invest your valuable time and energy, you must determine if it is a stain or a lighter discoloration (in which you will need professional help from an experienced floor restoration company like Silver State Floor Restoration).
Treatable Stains on Natural Stone
All natural stones are absorbent and because of this inherent porosity, many stones will readily absorb liquids. With natural stone, most stains that occur are from spills that have penetrated deep into the pores. If such liquids are staining agents, a true stain will occur. Removing these stains can be done by using a poultice to break down and draw out the staining agent. Please see next week’s blog for how to make a poultice.
Surface Damage Discolorations
A stain is a discoloration of the stone produced by a staining agent that was actually absorbed by the stone. Other discolorations have nothing to do with the absorbency of the stone, but rather are a result of damage to the stone surface itself. All of those discolorations that look like water spots or rings are actually marks of etching corrosion created by some chemically active liquid (mostly acids) which came into contact with the stone. Let us look at it this way: if bleach is spilled on your favorite jeans or carpet, a discoloration will occur, but it can hardly be defined as a stain. Bleach is a chemically active liquid that removes the dye that originally made the color of the fabric. Similarly, with natural stone, there are discolorations that may have been caused by chemical damage. All calcite-based stones such as marble, limestone, onyx, travertine, etc., are sensitive to acids and will therefore etch readily; often within a few seconds. Many slates will also etch and so will a few granites. With chemical damage, the surface of the stone is actually physically altered! When this occurs, a professional rehoning and polishing will be required to remove the damaged layer. Silver State Floor Restoration are the experts when it comes to restoring your natural stone surfaces!
Other Types of Discolorations
There are other types of surface discolorations that can be caused from everything from excess sealer left on the surface that causes hazy or dull areas to dyed stone that may have light spots where the dyes have been removed to topical treatments that are creating problems. Contact Silver State Floor Restoration if you need help, especially if you had a floor cleaning expert out previously that wasn’t as expert as you thought! We are more than happy to diagnose the discoloration of your natural stone and recommend the appropriate measures to remove it as well as clean up the other guys mistakes!