Bob Buswell is Walker Zanger’s Technical Director, or as we a like to call him, “Technical Guru” of all things related to installing and caring for tile and stone. He is called on by Walker Zanger Sales Associates and Clients on a daily basis for advice on proper setting materials, challenging installations, methods for sealing and a million other issues. Now, you can ask him your own tile installation or care related question as well. Just click on the “Ask Bob” button below, jot down your question, send it to us and Bob will get you an answer!
Q: Hello Bob,
I love the Contessa tile. I am thinking about using the tile in my kitchen as a backsplash but I am wondering if it can withstand the heat and any acid ingredients. How is it sealed and could the silver leaf peel off?
A: Great question Karen!
Contessa is one of our most popular collections and the silver leaf finish is so unique. The Contessa Metallic finish tiles are pre-sealed. For sealing the grout or resealing the tiles use only water based sealers. These tiles are great for kitchen backsplashes but not directly behind a cooktop. Stainless steel or another, more heat resistant, tile would be appropriate. For cleaning: Non abrasive, pH balanced cleaners, and a soft sponge.
Q: I used the Walker Zanger Gascogne Blue limestone on a bathroom floor recently and, low and behold, the client’s aging cat peed on the floor. There is a bit of etching on the floor, and I was wondering whether you had a recommendation on what to do to help minimize the damage?
A: Limestone, Marble, and Travertine are in large part, geologically speaking, Calcium Carbonate and therefore subject to etching when they are exposed to acidic liquids. Diet Coke, wine, pet urine, and all citric acids such as orange juice and lemonade will cause etching, along with that lime necessary for making cocktails. Once they are etched, these stones must be resurfaced because the acid dissolves the exposed top surface of the stone. Sealers will only afford you a small window of time to quickly wipe up spills.
You can try different products advertized to remove etching and possibly have some level of success; but many times this type of etching may require a Stone Restoration Professional. Many of our clients with natural stone throughout there residences retain Stone Restoration Professionals to come in every eighteen to twenty-four months to clean, maintain, and possibly re-seal their investment. This is somewhat similar to Carpet Cleaning Professionals but the difference is that the carpet will most likely be replaced in 10-12 years where the stone will be there for the life of the residence and is an investment to be protected.
Q: I bought my beautiful Juparana granite from Walker Zanger about 8 years ago. It is in my kitchen, in great shape, but has never been resealed since installation. Should I be resealing it and can you suggest what I buy to do this?
A: How often a granite kitchen counter top should be resealed will vary. A residential kitchen that is used daily by a large family may require resealing annually where a second home, experiencing much less traffic, might only need to be resealed every five years. If you know what sealer was initially used then reseal with that same sealer. If not, prior to resealing you must find out what type of sealer was used, water or solvent base, and be careful not to mix the two. If this is not possible then the counter top needs to be stripped and cleaned before proceeding with a new sealer. Sealer manufacturer’s usually offer both products that are appropriate to accomplish the task. If your natural stone counter top is in need of serious restoration you may want to contact a professional in your local area that provides that service.
Q: How do I determine which Tile Installer or Stone Fabricator is best for my residential project?
A: After you have at least three estimates from Licensed, Bonded, and Insured Contractors ask them for three references from previously completed jobs in your area that you may call and possibly visit to view their workmanship. Avoid selecting your contractor on price alone! Total value equals quality, service, and price. Be certain you and the contractor have a comfortable level of communication just as you would with any job interviewee. The written contract between you and your contractor should address, but not be limited to, the scope of work to be done, payment schedule, any necessary building permits, completion date, and their warranty.
Q: How should I take care of my stone?
A: All natural stones are extremely durable, long lasting materials. Most stones though are porous and readily absorb liquids and moisture. Materials like limestone can be extremely absorbent, whereas granites are denser, but will still absorb liquids that are allowed to remain in contact with them for extended periods of time. In all applications, Walker Zanger highly recommends that sealer be applied to the stone as part if the installation process. A sealer will not make the stone “stain proof” but acts much like Scotchgard does to protect fabrics… it will prevent instant damages from spills. more . . . (more)