Natural Stone Porous Materials Protection Cleaning D.I.Y.

Iron: The silent stone stainer

You wouldn't think so, but the bathroom can be a prime location for iron staining.

In the field of music, heavy metal and rock and roll are two closely related genres. You could almost say they’re cousins.

But in the world of surface protection, iron and stone are about as far removed as paper and plastic. While they may both be tough substances that come from digging large holes in the ground, the two are simply incompatible in a domestic setting.

The origin of iron stains

Iron is one of the typical causes of stains in natural stone. According to Geoff Quick of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, iron is the most common source of yellow staining in marble. Exposure to iron can mean your once pure, bright pale marble becomes a stomach-turning yellow – the last thing you want with such an expensive item.

Unfortunately, this iron comes from many sources. It can come from the usual suspects, like nails, screws and other metal items which are left lying around too long. However, it can also come from water, or even from natural iron-bearing minerals frequently found in white marble itself. Talk about a Trojan horse!

The chances of yellowing are higher in water-saturated locations, as oxygenated water reacts to iron sulfide minerals, oxidizing them and turning them first into iron sulfate, then to iron hydroxide – otherwise known as rust.

Preventing iron staining

As unsavory as this sounds, you and your stone are not powerless against the threat of iron. There are preventive measures you can take to keep your stone looking as beautiful as the day you bought it.

Obviously, one of these is simply not leaving objects like bolts, nails screws lying around on your stone, nor buying metal furniture to sit on your marble floor. But what about preventing the oxidization of already-present minerals in your stone?

In this case, you’ll want to seal your stone with a penetrating, breathable sealer, such as Dry-Treat’s STAIN-PROOF Original™. A sealer such as this will repel moisture from the surface of the stone, whether it’s marble or anything else, helping ensure that minerals like iron sulfide don’t undergo oxidization and leave your stone looking worse for wear.

In addition to sealing the the stone surface itself, be sure to seal the grout between tiles, too. Grout can be incredibly porous, and left unsealed it will funnel moisture through into your stone. This is particularly the case in high-moisture areas like the bathroom or shower.

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