FAQ's

Please browse through our frequently asked questions to find out more about our products!

What is natural stone?

In all cases, natural stone is a naturally occurring collection of chemicals and minerals formed into a dense mass. In most cases, it is in the form of a rock or a mountain or an under ground deposit. Igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary stones are all used in this industry. The stone miners locate the desired stone, cut it into blocks, then slabs, and then pieces depending on the finished size that is desired. The texture is usually mechanically achieved by grinding, hammering, sanding, polishing, using heat, etc. Generally, the product is not assembled, added to, or laminated. Mosaics are an assemblage of many small pieces of stone mounted on a mesh sheet or other backing. Typically no coatings, colors, or sealers, are added to the product until after it is installed, if needed.

How is a natural stone formed ?

It depends on the family of stone. Granite is an igneous rock. It is a collection of crystals that form during the cooling process of the magma just under the Earth’s crust. The size, shape, and colour of the crystals are determined by the chemicals present and the amount of time the granite takes to solidify. Limestone is a sedimentary stone. It is made of shells from plankton and corals laid down on the sea floor. As the sea floor meets the continental shelf, the shells are crushed and heated (subversion). The shells and corals fuse together under this pressure and are transformed into stone. Slate is a sedimentary stone that is laid down in delta areas and lake beds. Over time weight and heat, and possibly subversion, fuse the particles of mud together and form stone. Marble is a metamorphic stone formed from calcium based stones. Travertine, limestone, marble, and other local stones are mixed and subverted. Heat and pressure cause these components to fuse into marble. Travertine is a sedimentary stone that is formed in caves as minerals are deposited from water. It is also formed around hot springs and fumerals, and along the shore of some inland lakes.

Will holes in tumbled travertine make it harder to clean ?

Yes, if the holes are left unfilled they will collect dirt. Usually the holes are partially filled during the grouting process with grout. Grout does attract dirt therefore a little more effort is required to keep the floor clean. A good sealing program will help reduce the cleaning effort. Otherwise you can purchase travertine tiles that have been pre-filled with color coordinating epoxy at the factory called Honed & Filled. This will eliminate the holes.

Is marble stronger than travertine?

In most cases, yes. However, both stones are made of the same calcium based minerals. Marbles are compressed and subjected to heat during their formation. This helps bond the chemical structure together, usually making the stone a little denser.

I like the color of the sample. Will it all be the same?

That depends on the product you are looking at. For both man-made tile and natural stone, there can be differences in color, texture and size of a product compared to the sample. Different stones have different color variation levels from piece to piece or batch to batch. Ask your sales associate how much color variation the product has. You may also be able to view multiple samples to get a good feel of how the product will look on a larger scale.

What is the best way to care for natural stone ?

Although all stones are composed of different chemicals and minerals and formed differently, there are some general rules to follow. (1) Regular cleaning with a neutral stone cleaner is recommended. Use cleaning products that don’t leave a residue behind. (2) Rinse with a soft wet cloth. Buff dry with a soft cloth. (3) Do not use acids or cleaners containing acids, oils, corrosive chemicals, or abrasive cleaners. (4) Always vacuum or sweep away dirt before mopping floors. (5) Use clean rinse water to pick up any remaining dirt from the floor. Rinsing with dirty water returns the dirt to the surface. (6) For best results, buff the floor dry with a clean soft towel. (7) We recommend a sealing program for all stone products with a high quality sealer designed for your stone type. Always ask you stone supplier if there is special care needed for your product.

How do I get grout off the surface of my stone?

First, don’t let it dry on the surface of any tile or stone product. If this happens, it is very difficult to remove without damaging the tile or stone. Contact the manufacturer of the grout used on the job. They should have a grout remover. You must let them know what type of tile or stone you have installed so they can recommend a remover that won’t harm the tile or stone. The longer you wait to remove the grout the harder it will be.

Do all natural stones need to be sealed?

Yes, unless the supplier has a pre-sealed product, in this case follow their recommendations. If the stone is being used in a pond application, you may choose not to seal it. Most sealers are toxic to fish.

Does stone stain easily?

It depends on the stone and the area of use. If you used a soft stone like travertine, marble, or limestone on a barbeque top, yes it will stain easily. If you use granite on a bathroom vanity, it may never stain. Proper placement of the stone, sealing, and care will reduce or eliminate most staining.

Once a stone is stained can it be restored?

Yes, most of the time. One might try to remove the stain by using a poultice enzyme. This is a powder that is mixed with water to a paste consistency. The paste is applied over the stain. Cover the poultice with plastic wrap to prevent it from drying out. The enzymes in the poultice will “eat” the stain. This process may need to be repeated many times to get the desired results. There are also many marble and stone restoration companies that can perform this service.

Is it okay to use limestone or travertine for a kitchen counter?

It can be used in some cases, but in general it is not recommended. Limestone, travertine, and marble are all part of a stone family referred to as “soft stones”. These stones are composed mostly of calcium. Because of their nature and chemical composition, these stones must be sealed correctly and regularly. These stones are prone to scratching and staining. Most common household acids, like citrus juice, wine, vinegar, and soda can etch (chemically abrade) the surface of these stones. When the polished finish is used, the wear is even more apparent because the acids will attack the polished surface and dull it.

Can I use natural stone in a steam room shower?

This is one of the few areas natural stone is not the best choice. Natural stone expands and contracts due to the changes in temperature. Most stones will absorb and hold moisture. If these products are not installed and maintained in a specific manner you could have a job failure. An example of a failure would be continually cracking grout joints or tiles. A loss of bond could occur due to excessive movement from the expansion and contraction of the tiles. Because most stones are porous, if not cleaned and sealed regularly the stone could harbor bacteria and mold.

What are the advantages of natural stone compared to porcelain tile?

The choice is really personal preference. Some people prefer the look and feel of natural stone over porcelain. Natural stone is the real deal; most of the fashion in porcelain and ceramic tile are a copy of some type of stone. Stone also adds to the resale value of a property. Natural stone has been used from the beginning of time for structural and decorative surfacing. Stone is more “green” than man-made tile. It takes the same amount of energy to quarry the raw materials for both processes. However, after cutting the stone and transporting it to its final destination the process is complete. With tile manufacturing, the many different raw materials are shipped to a factory and then processed into tile. There is a large consumption of energy and water to manufacture tile. The tile is then packaged and shipped to its final destination. During both manufacturing processes, all of the scraps, water, and waste are recycled in one form or another.

Does stone break easier than porcelain?

Before installation in some cases, yes. If the stone makes the trip to the installation site without breaking, it will most likely not fail after installation. Porcelain is a mixture of clays and minerals that are fired at high temperatures. This process creates a very strong and consistent bond that offers a durable and predictable finished product. In both cases, the installation techniques used and the surface preparation play a more important roll in the success of the installation than the product itself. The highest quality porcelain will fail if the installation is performed incorrectly.

How do you determine the size of a tile to use for a project?

It is a personal choice. Usually a larger tile makes a room look bigger. So depending on the effect you desire, the size is related to aesthetics. Input from a designer or a tile contractor is helpful when in doubt.

How is a natural stone formed ?

It depends on the family of stone. Granite is an igneous rock. It is a collection of crystals that form during the cooling process of the magma just under the Earth’s crust. The size, shape, and colour of the crystals are determined by the chemicals present and the amount of time the granite takes to solidify. Limestone is a sedimentary stone. It is made of shells from plankton and corals laid down on the sea floor. As the sea floor meets the continental shelf, the shells are crushed and heated (subversion). The shells and corals fuse together under this pressure and are transformed into stone. Slate is a sedimentary stone that is laid down in delta areas and lake beds. Over time weight and heat, and possibly subversion, fuse the particles of mud together and form stone. Marble is a metamorphic stone formed from calcium based stones. Travertine, limestone, marble, and other local stones are mixed and subverted. Heat and pressure cause these components to fuse into marble. Travertine is a sedimentary stone that is formed in caves as minerals are deposited from water. It is also formed around hot springs and fumerals, and along the shore of some inland lakes.

Can I use metal in a shower?

Not in most cases. Each metal reacts differently to moisture. Always refer to the manufacturers recommendations. Please note that sheet Copper will patina (darken) over time. To slow the aging process, if desired, one can apply a light coat of a high quality non-abrasive Carnauba auto paste wax or Plumber’s wax to the surface of the copper (NOTE: Abrasives are very common in auto waxes. Please make sure there are no abrasives in the wax selected to protect your copper.) When the wax dries, buff off. This procedure will reduce the exposure to air and thus slow (not eliminate) the aging process as long as the wax is not removed. Be careful not to get the wax in the grout. It could discolor the grout. Although very tough, all metals can scratch or dent. Use common sense when choosing the installation location.

How do I care for metal products?

Follow the manufacturer’s care and maintenance instructions for your products. We have two basic lines of metal, our care and maintenance is as follows: (1) Care and Maintenance for Murray River, Bondi Beach Borders, and Sydney Harbor Metals; Regular cleaning with a mild bathroom cleaner, window cleaner, or mild diluted dish soap and a soft cloth or sponge is recommended. Use cleaning products that don’t leave a residue behind. Rinse with a soft wet cloth. Buff dry with a soft cloth. Do not use acids or cleaners containing acids or oils, corrosive chemicals, or abrasive cleaners. (2) Care and Maintenance for Borders with Metal, Stone, and Glass ; Regular cleaning with a neutral stone cleaner is recommended. This will also clean the glass and metal components that are in some of these products. Use cleaning products that don’t leave a residue behind. Rinse with a soft wet cloth. Buff dry with a soft cloth. Do not use acids or cleaners containing acids or oils, corrosive chemicals, or abrasive cleaners. We recommend sealing all stone products. Make sure any excess sealer is removed from the surface of the glass and metal before it is allowed to dry.

Do metal products need to be sealed?

Not normally. There are many metal and metal-like products in the market. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for care and maintenance.

Are metal mosaics suitable for floor installations ?

Yes, however they are best suited for low traffic areas, and even then as a border or accent. They are metal so they can scratch and dent.

Is limestone too soft to use on a floor ?

In general, no. Limestone has been used all over the world for buildings, statues, monuments, etc. There are many different types of limestone. Consult your supplier for the uses of the products you are interested in.

Can glass be used on counter tops?

Glass can be used in areas of light use like bar tops or bathroom vanities, but not kitchen counters. There are many different types of glass with different limitations. Consult your supplier for its practical use. Glass will scratch, and is also subject to more expansion and contraction than ceramic tile. Make sure you use an installer that is familiar with the type of glass being installed on the job.

Can I use glass on a floor?

In some cases yes. The glass is usually durable enough for floors, but it can scratch. It should not be used in the main traffic areas, but can be used as accents or borders. Always contact the supplier for their recommendations.

Is it safe to use glass on shower floors?

In some cases, yes. There are many different types of glass. Consult your supplier for their recommendation. We don’t recommend glass larger than two by two inches square, and prefer a frosted texture. This will ensure appropriate traction from grout to compensate for the slippery nature of wet glass. Ultimately it is up to the end user whether or not they are comfortable with it for their application. If the installation will be used by an elderly person, it is not recommend. If the glass is being used as a small feature strip or a decorative accent, it could almost always be used. Most glass is durable enough for shower floors when installed correctly. Some glass has a rough texture or sharp edges; this would not be recommended for fear of cutting one’s feet.

Do I need to seal glass?

In most cases, no. The sealer will just sit on top of the glass, if it sticks at all, and may sealers cloud the look of the glass. Some glass has intentional cracks in the surface like our Billabong Crackle Glass. This glass must be sealed with a high quality penetrating sealer before installation. This will prevent moisture invasion and grout from lodging in the cracks.

What should I avoid when laying glass mosaics ?

Avoid epoxy grouts if possible, as they set very ridged and it doesn’t allow for correct expansion & contraction. It is possible to see through the side of some types of glass. If you do not want to see the union of the adhesive and the colored grout, you should use white adhesive (modified thinset) and white grout. Avoid the use of sanded grouts as they can scratch the glass, if care is not taken.

Will ultraviolet light (the sun) fade the color of the glass ?

No, not for the glass in our Gosford & Simpson Desert ranges as the color backing on the glass mosaic is applied before it is fired in a kiln (baked on) at over 1630o F.

Can I use metal by the fireplace?

Metal Mosaic Tiles and Fireplaces. Fireplaces have three sections, the firebox, the surround and the hearth.

  • Metal  Mosaic Tiles are not recommended for the firebox.
  • Metal Mosaic Tiles are suitable the surround.
  • Metal Mosaic tiles are not recommended for the hearth.
NOTE: Federal, state and local building codes regulate the installation of tile on fireplaces. Check codes in your area before making any final decisions. Install with an approved thin set mortar over a suitable backing, non-sanded grout must be used. Maniscalco uses and recommends Bostik adhesive and grout systems.