The hazards of using natural stone in kitchens
Between its aesthetically pleasing qualities and hardiness, it’s no surprise natural stone is a common building material used in kitchens. From flooring and walls to countertops and sinks, there are many applications for this material.
Unfortunately, kitchens also contain a number of potential risks that can harm natural stone.
Kitchens are used for cooking, and that translates to oil-based stains from grease and cooking oil. These types of stains will typically darken stone, requiring them to be dissolved chemically and rinsed away.
Unfortunately, depending on the type of stone, the types of chemicals used can do more harm than good. For instance, marble is calcareous, which makes it vulnerable to acidic solutions.
This is especially troublesome in an environment where natural acids are used quite often. Everything from milk and vinegar to lemon juice and alcohol can leave etch marks that will require buffing and polishing, and may even call for professional help.
Organic stains are also a danger in kitchens, as these can stem from things such as coffee, tea, fruit and other types of food. Organic stains can result in pinkish-brown discoloration.
While sunlight and rain can naturally clean organic stains outside, hydrogen peroxide and a few drops of ammonia is recommended for indoors.
Better yet, invest in Rejuvenata™ ACTIVE to take care of stains and soiling in your kitchen. This product is specially designed to quickly remove stains from oils, grime, food residue and mold.
Water stains are also common occurrences in kitchens, thanks to the presence of sinks, dishwashers and cooking. Buffing with dry steel wool is recommended for removing water spots and rings, but depending on the type of stone used, it’s just as important to clean up the spill as quickly as possible.
Pools of water left to penetrate natural stone could lead to many other issues besides stains, such as efflorescence, freeze-thaw damage, spalling and picture framing.
Surface protection in kitchens
There are many precautions property owners can take to protect the natural stone used in their kitchens.
Rugs and floor mats can go a long way toward minimizing damage to natural stone floors, and countertop covers can be invaluable, especially if individuals often eat meals on a stone counter or table located in the kitchen.
Many kitchens also feature drip-dry racks for dishes. If used on a stone countertop, employing an absorbent material under the rack, such as a towel, can help protect the stone from water damage.
However, with so much potentially hazardous activity occurring in kitchens, the best way to keep natural stone looking great is to invest in a high-quality impregnating sealer.
Sealers help to prevent stains by working to repel water and oil. However, unlike topical sealers, an impregnating sealer penetrates deep into the stone and bonds permanently to the pores. This helps to create a barrier intended to provide stain protection while keeping water and oil out.
Impregnating sealers are also breathable, which means they allow water vapor to escape instead of keeping it trapped inside. This helps protect natural stone from freeze-thaw damage when temperatures fall and water trapped in stone may freeze.
In short, while surface cleaning and preventative measures such as coasters and placemats can help to protect natural stone in kitchens, impregnating sealers make the job much easier.