Stone Stain Removal

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Natural stones like Granite , Travertine, Marble, Slate and Terrazzo are porous by nature, this means that certain liquids can become absorbed into the pores and cause stains. Removing stains are the hardest part of the tile and stone restoration procedures.

Stone Stain Removal
Stone Stain Removal
This process of Stone stain removal involves techniques are used to lift the stain from underneath the surface of the stone, Keep in mind that if you see water marks or rings, this could be signs of corrosion (etches) that are created in the stone usually by acids. What you see there is surface damage caused by chemicals, which means that a part of the stone has been “scratched” or removed. This type of stain removal is another technique which involves buffing and resurfacing the stone. In the first part of the article we will cover the stone stain removal caused by a liquid that has absorbed into the stone and in the second part we will briefly cover removal of scratches and etches by refinishing the stone.

Natural Stone Stain Removal Process

If you’re not a professional it is possible to cause damage to the stone. The following information is provided for those who would like to try stone stain removal on their own. Please work at your own risk. Tileandstonegeeks.com cannot be held responsible for damage caused at the hands of the homeowner.

Step 1- Determine the Stain: It’s important to know type of stone you have and the type of stain since the poultice (explained below) will react differently to each surface and scenario.  The five most common families of natural stone stains and cleaning mixtures are:

Biological-(Mildew, molds, etc.) Household bleach can be effective to remove these stains, but keep in mind that it will etch the stone and you will be required to hone or polish the surface to smooth out the area.

Metal-(Rust, copper, etc. ) Find “Iron-out,” which is a powder from your hardware store.  Melt it in water and follow directions on the label.

Inorganic-(Ink, dirt, color dyes, etc.) Denatured alcohol or Hydrogen Peroxide from your beauty store can be effective.  The potency of those liquids from pharmacies may not be as strong.

Organic-(Coffee, tea, sodas, mustard, ketchup, etc.) Denatured alcohol and Hydrogen Peroxide can work here too. 

Oil-(Vegetable or mineral oils, butter, margarine, etc.) Acetone from a hardware or paint store may do the trick here.  Don’t use nail polish remover since the levels of acetone will be minimal.

Step 2-Poultice: A poultice is a chemical absorbent mixture that draws the stain out. It’s a combination of a powder and liquid (explained above) that is placed on the stain and left for 24 hours.  One of the powders to use is talc but there are many to choose from. A tile restoration professional will determine the right poultice mixture for each stain and surface.

Now that you know the cause of the stain and the liquid to mix with the talc the next step is to create your poultice. Wear gloves before you begin.  Mix the talc with the liquid in a stainless steel bowl using a metal spatula or spoon. Get it to a medium thick consistency so that it’s not runny, but not much thicker than peanut butter. If you’re working with a metal stain follow the directions on the “Iron-out” label.

Stone Stain Removal
Stone Stain Removal

Apply the poultice to the stain and cover with saran wrap and tape the edges down so that the paste remains wet. Allow the poultice to remain on the stain for 24 hours! When the time has elapsed, scrape off the poultice with a plastic spatula and clean the area with gentle soap and water and wipe it dry with a clean soft rag or a paper towel.

If some of the stain remains you will have to repeat the procedure again. Oil stains may require up to five attempts before the stain is fully removed.

Yet if the stain still remains you may have misdiagnosed the type of discoloration (etched or liquid stain) or the nature of the stain and used the wrong poultice. Stone stain removal can be considered a science because there are many variables that go along with removing stains.

Stone Refinishing – Stone Sanding

Natural stone are solid and just like solid wood flooring they can be sanded down and refinished.

That fact brings us to another technique in the stone stain removal process which is removing stains caused by etches or scratches on the surface by removing a thin layer of the stone. This process requires special tools like a sander and lot of expertise.  Just like sanding wood we would choose a rough sanding paper to start with for the faster removal of the stone surface. Once we have reached the right depth and scratches start to disappear we use a finer sanding paper for a smoother finish followed by another finer one. To complete the process we polish the surface with a special polisher and never forget to wrap it up with you choice of a stone sealer.

Example: Know you stone: Granite stain removal – Marble - Travertine

As mentioned before removing stains are the toughest part of the restoration process and that is the one part we do not recommend to do yourself.

We are famous for our stone stain removal procedures and results as we have been fighting stains all over Los Angeles for over 12 years.  Give us a chance – you will not regret it. For more information on natural stone stain removal prices please contact us at: 800.742.3585