How to spot a stain
Natural stone is vulnerable to stains – that's a fact. However, it's also true that part of what makes the appearance of natural stone so striking is the unique nature of its different surfaces, from the craters of travertine to the swirling veins of marble.
Because of this, it may not always be easy to notice or determine if your natural stone is actually stained. And even if you do notice it, depending on how long it's been there, it might not be clear just what kind of stain it is, leaving you at a disadvantage when you have to carry out surface cleaning.
If you happen to be hopeless at picking out stains, consider this a handy guide for helping you spot that stain before it drives you insane.
Evaluating the stain initially
The Marble Institute of America (MIA) lists a few of the factors to consider when trying to identifying a stain. These include the location of the stain, its colour and its shape and pattern.
These principles aren't limited to marble – they apply to just about any stone. The location of a stain is particularly useful for figuring out its origin.
For example, if you have a stain on your granite kitchen countertop, then there's probably a good chance either water or perhaps a citrus-filled fruit juice was to blame. Upon further investigation, you can narrow the options and down and be more informed when you start cleaning the granite.
The shape and pattern can also be telling. If your surface has a ring-like stain, it could be you forgot to put a coaster down for that glass of water.
Identifying a metal stain
Metal stains come typically from materials such as copper, iron, bronze and rust – especially the latter, which tends to be commonly found in the home.
If the stain is brown to orange in colour, there's a good chance it came from iron or rust. The tell-tale sign will be its shape, which will conform to the material that first caused it, whether a can, screw, nail or flower pot.
Meanwhile, a muddy brown or green stain may well be the result of bronze or copper.
Spotting an oil stain
Oil stains – which can be the result of anything from cooking oil to tar – tend to have a darkening effect on stone, which can make them easier to distinguish than other stains.
The location also plays a part here. The kitchen is a prime culprit due to the use of cooking oil and grease, though you might also find such stains in the bathroom, where cosmetics could stain your bathroom counter top or splashback.