Natural & Engineered Stone Manual

Natural and engineered stone are both very durable and aesthetically pleasing, but there are a few things to keep in mind while using these materials as countertops or tabletops.

Stone countertop quick tips:

  • Never place hot items directly on your stone. Always use trivets.
  • Never cut directly on stone. This will not only dull your knife, but may damage your stone if done over time.
  • Clean with a 1:10 Dawn dish soap (1) to water (10) solution.
  • Never mix solvent-based and water-based sealers.

Granite

Granite is a porous surface that is very heat and scratch resistant. Natural granite is available in many patterns and colors. Granite is much more difficult to etch than marble - but not impossible. No matter what the color or type, granite is prone to pits and fissures. These are natural and cannot be repaired by your fabricator or the installation personnel assigned to your project. Often the "repair" of natural pits and fissures can result in chips or cracking, so it is preferred to let natural blemishes be. Cleaning granite is best done with a mild soap and water combination. Maine Stone Design Center recommends a 1:10 ratio of Dawn dish soap (1) to water (10). Use soap in moderation, as using too much may lead to residue buildup on your stone. This may take the appearance of water spots or streaking if used heavily. Approved bottled cleaners can be found through manufacturers such as DuPont™ or StoneTech™. Granite products perform best when sealed on a regular basis (approximately once a year for most stones). When your new tops are installed, be sure to ask your installer what type of sealer they are using on your tops so that you can use the same one for each reapplication. Common sealers include Miracle 511™ and DuPont StoneTech™. NEVER mix solvent-based sealers with water-based sealers.

Marble

Marble is much softer and more porous than granite. It is also more prone to etching. Etching is a chemical reaction to whatever is being exposed to the minerals in the stone. Please keep the following from contacting your new marble surface:

  • Vinegar
  • Lemon Juice
  • Household cleansers
  • Bleach
  • Ammonia
  • Peanut butter
  • Wine, and more!

If you aren't sure, please contact us before applying anything to your marble. Marble is very prone to fissures, cracks, and pitting. This is a natural part of the makeup of this stone and cannot be "repaired." Mild soap and water are the best cleaning materials for this stone product. Maine Stone Design Center recommends a 1:10 ratio of Dawn dish soap (1) to water (10). Sealing marble every 6 to 8 months is recommended for the best stain protection. Be sure to ask your installer what sealer they use to seal marble and use the same for reapplying. It is NEVER recommended to mix solvent-based and water-based sealers. Never use cutlery directly on a marble surface, as it will scratch the material. Never put hot plates, curling irons, etc. directly on marble.

Soapstone

Soapstone is a silica based metamorphic natural stone. It is completely non-porous and typically does not react to acids. Soapstone is a comparatively soft material and may scratch and wear. Luckily, almost all scratches can be repaired by the homeowner. Soapstone does not require any specials cleaners, so a mild soap and water mixture should suffice for daily cleaning.

Soapstone has two finish options:

Natural finish: No special treatment is required. Time will make this grayish-blue stone slowly darken from regular use. If a mark gets on the stone that you wish to remove, either rub it out with a dry paper towel and a bit of elbow grease or use a small piece of light grit (300-400) sandpaper. The sanded stone will return to its original blue-gray color.

Oiled finish: Use standard mineral oil that you can find in the pharmacy. Using a clean, dry cloth, rub a small amount into the stone. If the stone appears wet, remove the excess with a clean, dry cloth. This will darken the stone to an almost black color. Because soapstone is not porous, the oil will evaporate over time. Reapply mineral oil every 4 to 8 weeks to keep the countertops uniform in color.

Soapstone scratches: The size of the scratch will determine how to repair it. For deeper scratches, begin with a lower grit sandpaper. 80 grit sandpaper is quite rough and will sand a large area quickly. As the scratch is sanded out, graduate to a higher grit sandpaper (such as 220), and then finish with an even high grit (such as 300 to 400). This should essentially match the original finish. After sanding is complete, mineral oil may be used on the repaired area if desired.

Quartzite

Quartzite is a natural quartz line formed within the earth from heat and pressure, like granite. It is typically harder than granite but can have more natural fissures than granite.

Mild soap and water are the best cleaning materials for this stone product. Maine Stone Design Center recommends a 1:10 ratio of Dawn dish soap (1) to water (10). Do not use abrasive cleaners, as they may make the surface appear less polished.

Quartzite is less porous than granite, but we still recommend sealing your quartzite once per year. When your new tops are installed, be sure to ask your installer what type of sealer they are using on your tops so that you can use the same one for each reapplication. Common sealers include Miracle 511™ and DuPont StoneTech™. NEVER mix solvent-based sealers with water-based sealers.

Engineered Quartz

Quartz is a manufactured composite made of crushed rock, polymers, and other additives (such as bits of colored or reflective material). Unlike natural stones, this surface requires no sealing. Quartz should never be used for outdoor application. The resins and pigments will discolor and warp under UV exposure! Never place hot objects directly on quartz surfaces, as they may scorch. Always use a trivet. Cutting directly on quartz can scratch or even chip the surface. Always use a cutting board.

Quartz products cannot be surface polished by the fabricator or installer. The factory polish cannot be mimicked or reproduced. Quartz often comes with Microban™ protection. Microban™ is a chemical mixed into the resins to help prevent bacteria growth.

Maine Stone Design Center recommends a 1:10 ratio of Dawn dish soap (1) to water (10) to clean your quartz surfaces. Mr. Clean® Magic Erasers are fantastic to use on quartz for tough scuffs or marks.

Sealing

For stones that require yearly maintenance, setting a reminder on your calendar is the perfect way to remind yourself to reseal! If you can clean them, you can seal them; it’s similar to waxing your favorite car. Apply a small amount of sealant to a clean, dry cloth, and wipe it onto your countertops in small circles. Continue for the entirety of stone surfaces in your kitchen. Once you have finished, use another clean, dry cloth to buff the remaining sealant off in small circles. If the countertops appear hazy, you have used too much product. Simply buff off the excess with another cloth and a bit of elbow grease.

If proper care is taken with your new countertop investment, they will give you years of enjoyment and use. When spills occur, clean them up right away. Letting things sit on natural or engineered stone for any length of time may cause issues. If a problem arises, contact Maine Stone Design Center for advice. We will gladly let you know how to fix the issue, or if an appointment needs to be made.

Thermal Shock:

All natural and engineered stone surfaces can be damaged from thermal shock. Thermal shock is caused by rapid temperature changes. For example, if the surface is cold and has something very hot placed on it, or if the surface is warm and has ice placed on it. When this happens, it can cause the stone to crack and break. There is NO repair for this. The best way to prevent thermal shock is to use trivets on your countertops.