Is Natural Stone Hard as a Rock?
People have been hearing the old idiom "hard as a rock..." since they were young, and over the years, it has contributed to the formation of imprecise opinions about stone surfaces.
You can't imagine how many times we've been asked "is it normal that my floor has become dull and lost a lot of its beauty?" It seems that not all installation companies do a very good job of explaining what their customers should expect from a natural stone floor or what to do to maintain the luster over the years. So here are some basics and guidelines that may help.
Mohs Scale of Hardness
All architectural stone is graded to fall somewhere on the Mohs Scale of Hardness, with talc on the very soft end and diamond on the very hard end. All other stones fall somewhere in the middle. Marble is about a four or five on the Mohs Scale, whereas granite is about an eight.
The bad news is that softer stones will be scuffed and abraded much easier than harder stones, like granite or quartz. On the bright side, softer stones will also respond to repolishing very easily.
Planning a Refinishing Schedule
If you have polished marble floors, countertops, or other surfaces (or other calcium-based stone like travertine), it is reasonable to expect and plan for repolishing within an eighteen month to three year time frame, depending on traffic and use, for example, if you have a large family with dogs or like to throw frequent parties, or if your business sees a lot of foot traffic. Quality floor matting at the entries may help extend the amount of time between regularly scheduled services.
In bathroom areas, on counters or in showers, marble might need professional attention even sooner, depending upon the chemical composition of the water and whether a squeegee is used after showering. In really heavily used locations like busy hotel lobbies with lots of guests and luggage wheels, professional attention will likely be needed at intervals of eighteen months or less.
Beautiful, Renewable Natural Stone
Hard stone surfaces like granite or quartz take much longer to become dull (assuming stone-safe cleaners are used and they aren't exposed to acidic substances). However, restoration of harder stones is more expensive because it requires a more difficult and time-consuming restoration process.
We explain to customers who have second thoughts about purchasing natural stone that although there is some maintenance involved, natural stone is one of the most beautiful, renewable building materials available. A stone restoration craftsman can make a 100 year old floor look almost new again.
This is one of a series of articles written and published on behalf of surpHaces Partners.