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Why you MUST clean before you disinfect

Cleaning alone can remove more than half of harmful germs

Suddenly and unexpectedly, hygiene has become a top life priority. Clean spaces directly contribute to personal health, even affecting our ability to work, go to restaurants and gather with family and friends.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) present clear guidelines for cleaning and disinfecting household surfaces. According to the CDC, cleaning refers to “the removal of germs, dirt and impurities from surfaces. It does not kill germs, but by removing them, it lowers their numbers and the risk of spreading infection.” 

Disinfection, on the other hand, is defined as “using chemicals to kills germs on surfaces. This process does not necessarily clean dirty surfaces or remove germs, but by killing germs on a surface after cleaning, it can further lower the risk of spreading infection.” The CDC further specifies that if surfaces are dirty they should be cleaned using a detergent or soap and water before disinfecting. 

Clean tile grout is fundamental for germ-free bathrooms and kitchens. Microbes can become trapped in the grime, making disinfecting the tile much more difficult. 

Why is cleaning surfaces before disinfecting them so important? Nicola Brunello, Technical Assistance and Training Manager at Fila Surface Care Solutions explained, “It’s useless to disinfect before cleaning surfaces because through the cleaning process we actually eliminate the habitat where germs and bacteria grow.” Maria Soranzo, Fila’s Head of Research and Development, further reported, “Cleaners can remove up to 70% of germs and bacteria due to the chemical synergistic action of the cleaner and the physical tool used for cleaning.” In fact, dirt on a surface can actually cover up germs, and killing them becomes more difficult. 

Clean first

The CDC recommends cleaning all surfaces before disinfecting them. Spray cleaners are perfect for everyday maintenance of countertops and frequently-touched objects.

Here’s how to proceed. First, it’s important to consider the type of material. Choose a cleaning product that suits the surface; it’s certainly not worth ruining a beautiful granite countertop with the wrong cleaner. Neutral cleaners work best on delicate surfaces, especially when they don’t leave a residue, since residue creates a nesting ground for germs. While cleaning products that are diluted in water are perfect for cleaning floors with a mop and bucket, let’s face it – most of us don’t mop on a daily basis, and that can’t become an excuse for not cleaning at all. That’s why ready-to-use spray cleaners are such a great option for those spills on counters, tables, desks and even for spot cleaning tile, stone and wood floors. On heavily-touched surfaces, a spray grease remover works wonders. 

Disinfect

Heavy duty maintenance with diluted concentrated cleaners is a great way to maintain tile and stone floors. 

Disinfection is certainly appropriate in many cases, particularly when trying to eliminate the possibility of catching a virus from an infected person. However, when using harsh chemicals like chlorine or ethanol, checking the product’s compatibility with the material is key in preventing damage to those household surfaces we hold dear. 

Prevention

Speaking of prevention, now that we know stains attract germs, wouldn’t it be nice to prevent stains in the first place? That’s where surface treatments come into play. While dirt rests on the surface, stains penetrate, making them more challenging to remove. 

Protecting tile and stone surfaces can prevent nasty food stains that are so hard to remove. Sealers create a barrier against stains, making them easier to wipe off and keep clean.

Brunello explained, “Treatment is usually carried out on absorbent materials such as natural stone, concrete and even the grout we have on tiled wall and floor coverings throughout the house. Sealers, water and oil repellents penetrate deep into the material and create a barrier against the absorption of stains.” Once the material is protected, everyday maintenance through cleaning and disinfecting is a walk in the park.”

It’s always important to keep surfaces clean, but this time it’s more important than ever. To keep living spaces clean and healthy, let’s take home the tips from the experts. 

  • Always clean before disinfecting with a cleaner that is appropriate for the material. 
  • When you disinfect, check to make sure the chemicals won’t damage the surface. 
  • Whenever possible, prevention through surface treatment is the best policy. 

Eldorado Stone introduces new, lighter color palette

 Eldorado Stone, a Boral brand, introduces a new color palette to accentuate the classically-inspired aesthetics of one of its most popular profiles. As more nuanced, up-to-date design options remain in high demand from project specifiers, the innovative multilayered color notes in Loire Valley™ RoughCut® artfully blend contemporary hues with classic, nature-inspired textures to enhance residential and commercial spaces.

Eldorado Stone adds a new lighter palette with its innovative multilayered color notes in Loire Valley RoughCut.

“There has been an increased interest in classic looks with a contemporary twist, so we created this new color palette to refresh one of our most time-honored profiles,” said Sarah Lograsso, Director of Marketing. “With the introduction of Loire Valley RoughCut, specifiers can now incorporate a fresh new color into their projects while still embracing more traditional stone surfaces.”

Inspired by the French countryside after which it derives its name, Loire Valley RoughCut presents a sophisticated gradient of ivories and muted creams with touches of sand and rust. The bold, hand-formed shapes of RoughCut incorporate embedded, fossilized artifacts on a roughly cleaved, pronounced face to mimic the character of limestone.

According to Remodeling Magazine, manufactured stone provides one of the highest return values of any material. Incorporating stone veneer into interior and exterior projects is a more cost-effective and higher quality finish than many other materials. An exterior façade made with manufactured stone veneer can enhance curb appeal and potentially increase home value, while using stone indoors can create a distinctive space that blends natural world elements with modern design.

To learn more about Eldorado Stone and its products, visit EldoradoStone.com.

Antolini debuts Crema Cielo marble

Mother Nature has always provided the strongest and most artistic designs imaginable. Antolini has over 60 years of experience harnessing this natural power allowing us to revel in our world’s innate elegance. New to Antolini’s lineup is the Exclusive Stone: Crema Cielo.

Antolini’s Crema Cielo

Allow yourself to be enamoured by Crema Cielo’s captivating presence in this interior design. This marble is revolutionary to the divine setting, capturing the fine details of this stone. As the room transcends into a delicate and contemporary union, Antolini has perfected Haute Nature in any design.

Captivating movement is evident in Crema Cielo

The cascading delicate and soft hues descend sinuously and create an admirable kinship throughout the surface of this fine marble. The fluent Crema Cielo enhances the spaces and gives a sense of lightness and spontaneity thanks to the wavy streams that allow a constantly evolving smooth shape.

For more information, visit http://www.antolini.com.

Natural Stone Institute announces stone of the year


Oberlin, OH, March 10, 2020—Tesoro Bianco marble by Granitos Zucchi has been chosen as the 2020 Natural Stone Institute Stone of the Year. The stone will be featured on 2020 member certificates, membership code of ethics, and association marketing materials throughout the year. 

Tesoro Bianco marble by Granitos Zucchi is the 2020 Natural Stone Institute Stone of the Year

Tesoro Bianco by Zucchi is a stunning and luxurious white marble quarried from a special site in the southeast region of Brazil where its small vein of pure white natural stone is found. Tesoro Bianco is a rare kind of marble composed of 80% dolomite. It is one of the densest and most resistant marbles found in South America. Its dominant pure white color palette is balanced with occasional light blue crystals and is suitable for interior and exterior applications.

For more information onTesoro Bianco and the Natural Stone Institute’s Stone of the Year program, visit www.naturalstoneinstitute.org/stoneoftheyear

The outlook for stone in 2020

Natural stone has been with us for millions of years, and it is still going strong.

In 2020, natural stone might not match up well with the Color of the Year announcements of Sherwin-Williams: Naval (SW 6244), Behr: Back To Nature/Light Green S340-4, Pantone: Classic Blue 19-4052 or Benjamin Moore: First Light 2102-70. Although there are blue, green and pink marbles and granites, I would expect that the tried-and-true whites, beiges and grey natural stones will continue to be preferred for floors, walls, and countertops this year.  

Quartzites have become much more readily available in a much broader range of colors and ranges. The leather finish, which has a slight undulating surface with a soft sheen, seems to be popular. Quartzite is an extremely hard material and often is harder than granite. It is tough on diamond cutting blades as they wear much faster. Taj Mahal is a popular choice as it is beige with a white background and a lot of vein movement. 

Taj Mahal quartize on the exterior walls and limestone flooring again star in this posh home.

Engineered Stone

Quartz stone has continued to grow in popularity. Also known as engineered stone, it’s not a natural stone, but contains about 90% quartzite bound with a resin. It gives a more consistent look than most natural stones. Since it isn’t natural, it doesn’t have all the benefits of a natural stone that is millions of years old, like beautiful variation of colors and veining, although for countertops the pricing tends to be better and it seems to be kind of “trendish” like the way the Corian countertops were popular years ago. Quartz stone is coming out in larger color and veining selection options, and has taken some market share from the natural stone countertop market, but hasn’t had much of an impact for floor and wall applications. Natural granite stone is still the preferred choice for kitchen countertops, and I expect a lot of it to be sold in 2020.

GPTP

This high-end home interior features Taj Mahal quartize countertops and limestone flooring.

Another product that is new and threatening to take market share from natural stone countertops is gauged porcelain tile panels that now come in 2 cm (3/4”) thick panels. They are being promoted through stone fabricators because they can use the same equipment used to fabricate natural stone countertops. Fabricators can polish the edges or bullnose or miter them like you do with a natural stone. With digital inkjet technology, tile manufacturers can produce panels that look like natural stone and have the durability of a porcelain tile. Of course GPTP won’t have the intrinsic value of a natural stone that is millions of years old and that can be refinished to look like new after years of wear and tear. And all of these products need to be installed properly in order to get them to perform well and provide years of service and beauty. 

Limestone is still very popular particularly with the high-end residences. Many of the tile manufacturers produce porcelain tiles to replicate the soft beige limestones with subtle veining. Limestones often have fossil inclusions that give it a unique look.

Sealing stone

This high-end residence has Taj Mahal quartize on the exterior walls and limestone flooring on the pool deck. 

There is a lot of confusion about whether to seal a natural stone, and if so how to seal it and with what. There are different opinions, but I always recommend sealing with a penetrating sealer. I don’t recommend sealing all sides of a stone since sealers are general bond-breakers. Some companies recommend sealing all six sides of the stone, but require that you use an ANSI A118.15 high-strength thinset to bond the tile since it needs added strength to counteract the effect of the sealer. Sealers don’t last that long, depending on the environment and what wear and tear the stone is subjected to. The rule of thumb is if water beads up on the surface of the stone and doesn’t darken the stone when you wipe it up, the sealer is still there and working. Sealers don’t make the stone waterproof or stain proof, but it does make it resistant to moisture and staining and easier to maintain.

A Carrara quarry mountain in Italy, as natural stone marble is mined.

Natural stone does require more maintenance than a ceramic tile, but it can always be restored to look like new by professional restoration companies. There is something about touching or standing on a natural stone that is millions of years old and has the natural colors and veining with the random variations that give it such intrinsic beauty and value. After all, if you look around the world, the one thing that is always remains from ancient times as the legacy of those generations is natural stone.

Natural Stone Institute Announces 2020 Stone Industry Education Series


Oberlin, OH, January 14, 2020—The Natural Stone Institute and Stone World magazine are pleased to announce the schedule for the 2020 Stone Industry Education Series. Stone Summits will be held in nine cities across the United States.

The nine Stone Summits scheduled for 2020 will cover topics relevant to stone fabricators, including maximizing shop efficiency and profits, using metrics to measure success, understanding OSHA safety regulations, and creating a plan for finding and retaining top talent. 2020 Stone Summits will be facilitated by a team of experienced industry leaders including GK Naquin, Duane Naquin, Tony Malisani, and Eric Tryon.

2020 Stone Industry Education Series:

February 27

Arkansas Stone Summit: 12 Business Axioms

Pacific Shore Stones

Mabelvale, AR

March 12

California Stone Summit: Stone Shop Management

MSI

Orange, CA

April 2

Colorado Stone Summit: Know Your Business

Arizona Tile

Denver, CO

May 7

Massachusetts Stone Summit: Key Pulse Points for Building a Successful Stone Fabrication Business

Daltile

Westwood, MA

June 4

New Mexico Stone Summit: Key Pulse Points for Building a Successful Stone Fabrication Business

Arizona Tile

Albuquerque, NM

July 16

Oregon Stone Summit: Stone Shop Management

MSI

Tualatin, OR

September 17

Illinois Stone Summit: Know Your Business

Universal Granite & Marble

Chicago, IL

October 8

Alabama Stone Summit: Stone Shop Management

Triton Stone Group

Birmingham, AL

November 5

Texas Stone Summit: 12 Business Axioms

MSI

Austin, TX

To learn more about each event, visit www.stoneindustryeducation.com

Island Stone Tile Collections Bring Outdoor Living Spaces to Life

Dimensional split-face stone, trendy pebble tiles, and sleek glass mosaics among the options to elevate the look of walls, walkways, patios, and pools

(Watsonville, CA, December 18, 2019) As demand for outdoor living spaces continues to grow among both homeowners and homebuyers, designers are challenged to ensure those spaces are just as style-forward as the inside of the home while offering durability and livability amid the elements. Island Stone’s innovative tile collections offer the perfect opportunity to create eye-catching exterior walls, walkways, pool decks, pools, showers, and water features, with looks ranging from classic, natural split-face stone to dimensional or sleek glass mosaics that shimmer in the sun.

It’s no coincidence that Island Stone’s collections are well-suited to outdoor living—the company and its artisans draw inspiration from cool exterior living spaces around the world, from top designers in the US to world-famous Balinese tropical pools and gardens.

“Wanting to spend time outdoors ourselves, we appreciate the different styles and ambience created by different materials and designs,” said Nigel Eaton, CEO of Island Stone. “We have something for every outdoor living aesthetic, from great natural stone options for outdoor walkways and pool surrounds to beautiful contemporary looks for pool spas and unique water features that really stand out from the everyday. Our comprehensive selection of colors ensures a look to suit every mood.”

Among the stone claddings and mosaics ideal for eye-catching natural exteriors:

Spindrift Marble: Mosaic pebble-shaped tiles with honed, organic forms, creating a very clean, high-end pebble look.

Spindrift Marble contemporary bathroom interior with tile wall surround in grey tones.

Level Pebble: The on-trend aesthetic of natural pebble tile with a more even surface.

Paragon Hex: Perfect for unique walls, these tiles blend precision cutting and surface sculpting to create rhomboids with a tapering angled relief.

Dunes: Composed of elegantly drawn out subway tiles sculpted with an offset angled surface, these tiles create a modern, tapered trapezoid relief across the wall surface.

Rustic II: Narrow tiles with a honed surface can be combined in various horizontal and vertical stacking arrangements for unique, stunning patterns.

Among the glass mosaics and tile that dazzle outdoors:

Spindrift: The look of classic pebble tile, but with the brightness and additional color options provided by glass.

Waveline: Subtle angles create a wave pattern that evokes the rhythm of ocean swells.

Palms: This bold, large-format chevron glass tile combines fluid wedge shapes to evoke the look of a tropical palm frond.

Ripple: Combining effortless beauty and precise uniformity, these tapered, curved strips emulate an approaching ocean swell.

Glass Essentials: Go-to, every-day use shapes in stunning colors that blend effortlessly with designer offerings for timeless-yet-modern mosaics.

Glass Essentials, Midnight Gloss

“Not only are the designs fresh and new, and leading the way in dimensional looks, the quality is also superior,” said Eaton. “We have fine-tuned production processes through to installation techniques to provide a product that is reliable and efficient to use while offering a wide range of designs.”

Protecting your investment in Mother Nature with TLC

When working with natural stone, all the rules you know about porcelain tile can be immediately discarded. It’s imperative to know the stone, know the finish, know about the stain, and know what you are getting into. What works for porcelain tile does not necessarily apply when working with products created 100% by Mother Nature.

The Natural Stone Institute states that natural stone can be classified into two general categories according to its composition: siliceous stone or calcareous stone.

Understanding the key differences between these can help avoid costly damage to the product and to your reputation as a knowledgeable contractor!


Types of stones

Acid etching in Veona Rosso.

Calcareous stone is composed mainly of calcium carbonate. These stones include marble, travertine, limestone and onyx and can be classified as acid-sensitive. They are sensitive to acidic substances such as coffee, lemon juice, vinegar, and bleach, all of which can very often leave a natural stone surface etched.

Common sense dictates that by using acidic cleaning products, acid-sensitive stones could very well become damaged. Therefore, these stones should ONLY be cleaned with a neutral cleaner! Before applying any product, always test it on a section of stone not being used, or an area that will not be in plain sight.

Etching on marble counter.

Non-calcareous (siliceous) stone is composed mainly of silica or quartz-like particles. Types of non-calcareous stones include granite, slate, sandstone and quartzite. For the most part, these stones tend to be very durable and most are acid-resistant. Be advised, some of the more exotic stones have veins of calcium calcite, which can make them acid-sensitive. Whereas acid-resistant stones can generally be cleaned like porcelain tiles, I recommend to always test first via the small aforementioned exercise.

Now that you know your stone, let’s discuss the surface finish of acid-sensitive stones.

  • Honed finishes on acid-sensitive stones can withstand alkaline cleaners. 
  • Polished acid-sensitive finishes can be dulled by strong
    alkalines; again neutral cleaners are the best option.
  • Testing is ALWAYS your best option.

Removing stains without harming the stone

Rust stains on marble.

Let’s review a few types of stains. Identifying the type of stain on the surface is the key to ultimately removing it without harming the stone. Refer to the manufacturer labels when choosing the right cleaner for your stone and the stain.

Organic stains: These are caused by organic products such as fruit, tea, dirt, leaves, wine, cooking oil, and even animal droppings. Other stains can occur due to the growth of fungi, algae, mildew and other microorganisms. Generally speaking, these types of stains appear on outdoor pavers or inside a bathroom/shower stall and other wet areas.

Carrara marble with rust.

Inorganic stains: Paint, cementitious grouts, cements, rust, soap scum and other non-organic sources can cause serious staining to natural stone features, especially if not cleaned up quickly.

Preventing and removing grout haze

Last, let’s discuss grout haze on natural stone. One of the top, vexing problems is cementitious grout haze on acid-sensitive stones. 

How do we prevent grout haze on acid-sensitive stones? The only way is to always seal the stone, BEFORE grouting. This is a vital, cardinal rule – always seal an acid-sensitive stone before grouting. The use of a normal sealer will suffice.

Cement residue on stone.

What do you do if grout haze does appear on an acid-sensitive stone? Here, we need to work with a neutral cleaner and the mechanical action of scrubbing. Scrubbing is important. If the stone has a natural finish or is honed, you can use an alkaline cleaner to remove an epoxy residue. 

Before and after marble cleaning.

From granites to limestone, from marbles to slate, Mother Nature has truly created some of the most beautiful surfacing material on our planet. We’ve pulled it from the earth and brought it to life through exquisite tiles and slabs, which adorn our floors and walls across the globe. Keeping stone material in its most beautiful state takes just a few simple steps to understand what you are working with, and then learning the proper protocols to bring them back to that beautiful condition. Taking simple steps to read the recommendations, using the right products and not skipping any steps in doing so can ultimately mean that customers are happy, there will be more money in your pocket, and chances to be called back on a regular basis are optimized.

Antolini Exudes Sentiments of Tranquility and Grace with Quarzite Charme

 

Antolini introduces the latest stone, Quarzite Charme.

 

Quarzite Charme

In an expression of natural elegance, Quarzite Charme exudes sentiments of tranquility and grace as tiers of feathered textures span the body of this Exclusive Stone. Winged strokes of layered quartzite capture the essence of serenity in a mélange of pearly ivory hues and sensual undertones.  An even balance of gentle form and flamboyant brushes are captured in a composure that is subtle as a delicate breeze. This stone represents a truly remarkable signature of Haute Nature through an alluring style and refined interior experience.

www.antolini.com

Antolini:
Rooted in over 60 years of experience, Antolini has constantly evolved as the leader of innovation with technology and development in natural stone processing – without forgetting the importance of quality. Synonymous with excellence and exclusivity, Antolini processes and markets natural stones, bringing out their innate beauty through the concept of Haute Nature by a designer who has provided the world with the most artful creations: Mother Nature.

PietraArt Premier Marble from Florida Tile

PietraArt Premier Marble from Florida Tile offers an expressive collection of natural stones meant to inspire and empower today’s design leaders

Lexington, KY: September 17, 2018 ¾ Florida Tile introduces PietraArt Premier Marble.

Like the great masters throughout history, today’s interior designers use marble to create stunning masterpieces – spaces that define luxury, quality, and a timeless aesthetic that is at once current, yet made to trend beautifully into the future.

Used as the foundation for both residential and commercial destinations, PietraArt Premier Marble is an extraordinary example of nature’s beauty that will provide matchless versatility and elegance for decades.

According to Florida Tile Director of Marketing, Tressa Samdal “Florida Tile selected this exquisite line of natural stone to offer the most desirable sizes in the most desirable colors.  It fits perfectly within our brand and gives our customers an extensive array of tile choices.”

Graceful movement and unique nuances of the veining found in this line are poetic and distinctive. The broad range of color along with either polished or honed finishes provide options that will set any project apart.

Eight elegant stone choices, each with unique flare and personality, are available in varying field tile sizes.  The line has seven sizes of field tile, nine mosaics, as well as pencil and chair rails. The range of choice and style make this collection the answer to all of your natural stone needs.

Samdal adds, “Natural products are always beautiful and interesting because each piece installed is truly unique.”

To create an environment that exudes sophistication and refinement, only the natural artistry PietraArt Premier Marble from Florida Tile will do.

—–

Florida Tile is a fully owned subsidiary of Panariagroup, a publicly owned company traded on the Milan Stock Exchange (MILAN: PAN IM). Panariagroup is a leading manufacturer and distributor in over 60 countries around the world with six manufacturing sites in Italy, Portugal and the USA and nine brands positioned in the high-end of the market. 

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