13604 Natural Stone in the Shower
“Stone can be a good choice for the shower, but it does require certain care and maintenance,” said David Bonasera, owner of ESP, a San Jose, California-based distributor of environmentally safe cleaning and sealing products for natural stone. “The most important thing you can do is be a good steward to the stone.”
Know Your Material
A useful generalization is that the lighter the stone, the more porous it is. Darker stones have a tighter molecular structure and are less likely to stain, Bonasera said. There are many exceptions to this concept and a knowledgeable stone supplier and fabricator can help guide you to a suitable material.
Granite is a good choice for bathrooms, said Jacqueline Tabbah, vice president of International Stoneworks, Inc., a stone restoration company in Houston, Texas.
“Most granites are easier to maintain because they don’t react to the three As: acid, ammonia and alcohol,” she said. “Acid reacts to marble and travertine, and etches the surface, removing the polished finish.”
Understand Proper Care
“Customers may decide not to use natural stone, but porcelain tile can become discolored and grout lines can darken,” she said. “There is always upkeep, it will just be different.”
When cleaning natural stone, it is best to keep things simple. Soapy cleaners can add buildup and attract dirt while vinegar and harsh cleaners can damage stone. To avoid these issues, always use a neutral cleaner with a pH level around seven.
A few quick preventative measures can keep stone surfaces looking fresh. To help avoid water marks on the stone surface, use a squeegee on the walls after showering. Bonasera also recommends leaving the door open to accelerate air drying and using glycerin over traditional bar soap.
“It’s transparent and doesn’t have a lot of fat, lye and animal byproducts that are in regular soap,” he said. “It will cut soap scum, which is a food source for mold.”
For more information about using natural stone in your shower, or elsewhere in your home, visit usenaturalstone.com.
Main image (white marble shower) courtesy of Stoneshop
Building Stone Institute
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