The following problems are not exclusive to their group, polished and honed stones share similar issues. Also, limestones can be honed and limestones can be polished. Yet, we have categorized them according to the frequency of times we have been able to experience and identify these problems.
Due to its polished finish, marbles are susceptible to two major blemishes: scratches and etches. Scratches are caused by dirt and sand tracked through a home. (Floor mats, especially those made of natural fibers will reduce scratches.) Etches are caused when an acidic or caustic liquid come into contact with the calcium in the stone leaving a dull, whitish mark. With professional care, both problems are easily remedied. All marble should be sealed. Tumbled marble is treated similarly and care must be taken to keep its wider grout clean. Different kinds of treatments are necessary to restore marble to its original condition.
Neutral pH stone soap is best. A deck brush can be used to remove more soiled or mineral affected areas. One must be careful not to scrub too hard, as some slates are softer and particles can loosen. Standing water should be squeegeed, as mineral build-up and efflorescence can occur during evaporation. If additional treatment is needed, more aggressive, homeowner-friendly cleaners and processes can be used.
Depending on the type of Travertine or limestone, care must be taken during cleaning. Thorough vacuuming and mopping with clean water and neutral pH soap inhibit dirt and soil build-up. Every few months, diluted bleach can be used to keep these more textured stones (even sanded grout) cleaner, and lighter and brighter in appearance.
Even though granite is very durable and some can naturally repel water, highly caustic liquids and oils can still penetrate. These liquids can react with certain minerals and cause etching, dulling, and staining. Oil molecules are smaller and usually pass easily into a stone's pores. Granite should be sealed with impregnating sealers. They help repel liquids and oils, and maintain the stone's health.