Archive | December, 2012

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3 Myths about Sealing Granite and Marble

Posted on 31 December 2012 by CRadmin2

By Ryan Burden,

The topic of sealing granite and marble countertops, floor tile or any natural stone surface invariably creates questions, concerns and confusion in the minds of consumers, homeowners and sometimes even those working in the stone industry.

Honestly, it’s no surprise when misleading, incomplete, conflicting, or incorrect information is passed around over and over… the truth gets twisted.

Let’s examine the top 3 myths about sealing granite and marble and clear up the confusion.

Myth #1: A Sealer Must Be Applied To All Natural Stone

The most common claims I come across regarding sealing granite countertops, marble and natural stone are:

  1. “Granite countertops must be sealed.”
  2. “Granite must be re-sealed every year.”
  3. “Marble stains easy.

This myth is false. The above claims are misleading
in most cases and downright false in many others. The problem here is over-simplified “general” recommendations.

We all want easy explanations and simple rules, but these statements imply that sealing granite and marble is necessary in every case and that all stone is exactly the same.

After hearing or reading such inaccurate statements over and over the consumer naturally fears a sealer must always be applied. If not applied, a stain will permanently ruin their beautiful and expensive countertop or floor tile.

The truth is that most granite countertops will benefit from application of a sealer; however, many varieties are super-dense with low rates of absorption and don’t ever need sealing. The same can be said of marble and travertine.

It is possible to stain marble; however, marble is rather dense and actually does not stain easily. This is particularly true when polished. Of course, marble will “etch” easily, and this is where the confusion lies. People confuse an etch mark for a stain and conclude “marble stains easy” when in truth it does not.

Application of a sealer is unnecessary when the stone is naturally stain-resistant. In fact, attempting to do so will generally result in a tricky problem discussed later in this article. Perform the simple “Water Drop Test” to determine if or when to apply a sealer to any stone installation.

Myth #2: Sealers Form an Impenetrable Shell

A common misconception is that marble and granite sealers form an impenetrable shell or film over the stone shielding it from any and all damage.

This myth is not true, but explains why homeowners are often surprised and frustrated when they etch a sealed marble countertop or floor tile.

The misconception is likely based on a general definition of the word and assuming that a “sealer” acts to “seal off” the countertop surface from the environment. Well, this is not how standard impregnating sealers work.

A granite sealer limits absorption to resist staining. The sealer “impregnates” the stone with a resin to fill the pores creating a barrier just below the surface. The remaining water or solvent base of the sealer evaporates as the resin hardens and cures.

By decreasing the rate of absorption, the resin-barrier allows more time to clean the spill before the liquid can penetrate and stain.

Stains can still occur if a liquid remains on the surface long enough. The sealer resin can never entirely fill the stone pores, and the barrier is just below the surface. With prolonged exposure, a surface stain can develop, or the substance may begin to leak past the barrier.

Staining a sealed surface is a rare occurrence since most liquids will evaporate before penetrating, but it is a possibility. For example, a leaky bottle of olive oil left on the countertop.

Stone sealers will not prevent chemical damage. Again, since the “sealer” does not form a film to “seal off” the surface, etching can still occur upon contact with corrosive substances on calcite-based stones like marble and travertine.

All resins can break down over time, which is why periodic resealing is necessary. The type and quality of the resin determines the durability and cost of the sealer.

Sealer technology is advancing beyond the above model. A couple sealers now on the market utilize cutting-edge chemistry to penetrate deeper and form permanent molecular bonds to the stone. These sealers provide far superior protection and durability, do not break down like resin-based sealers, and do not require re-application once effectively applied.

Topical sealers do exist although their use is questionable in most cases. This type does not allow floor installations to breath, can make the stone look artificial and have maintenance requirements apart from the stone itself.

Myth #3: Let Sealers Dry on Stone

The most crucial step when sealing granite countertops or stone floors is often performed in exactly the wrong manner.

Allowing sufficient absorption time for through coverage is necessary to effectively seal any stone installation.

A critical mistake is made, however, when leaving the sealer to dry on the stone. The usual result is a hazy film covering the surface that typically requires an intensive effort to strip it off.

The same result occurs when applying a sealer to a dense stone that should not have a sealer applied.

The correct procedure after the sealer has saturated the stone is to wipe off all excess sealer and buff the surface dry.

Sealing granite, marble, and natural stone is truly an uncomplicated procedure. Yet myths and misconceptions abound leading to confusion and unnecessary problems for consumers.

As stone industry professionals, we need to be more thorough and precise in our efforts to educate consumers when making recommendations for sealing granite countertops and other natural stone installations to clear up the confusion and better serve our clients.

About the Author

publishes the consumer-resource website providing information, ideas and product advice for marble & granite countertops.

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Freight Classification to Change for LTL Stone Shipments

Posted on 28 December 2012 by CRadmin2

Freight rates will likely increase in April 2013 for stone blocks, pieces or slabs NOT mounted diagonally or vertically on lift truck skids, pallets, platforms, shipping carriers or racks, according to a press release issued by the Marble Institute of America (MIA). Rates were last raised in April 2012.

Proposed amendments to the National Motor Freight Classification (NMFC) would create two new sub classifications changing item 90500 to provide classes based on length for stone NOT mounted diagonally or vertically for shipment. In view of their respective transportation characteristics, handling units, such as pallets, crates and boxes, not exceeding 96 inches in length would be assigned a class 60, one class higher than that called for under current Commodity Classification Standards Board (CCSB) guidelines. Handling units exceeding 96 inches in length would be assigned a class 77.5, two classes higher than that called for under current CCSB guidelines.

The CCSB will conduct a public meeting January 29, 2013, to consider these, and 11 other, freight-classification proposals amending the NMFC. They urge all interested parties to review the proposal and submit information relating to the transportation characteristics of the products involved with or relevant to packaging materials or methods in connection with proposed amendments.

Amendments resulting from these proposals will be published in a supplement to the NMFC unless reconsideration is granted or arbitration is sought in accordance with the CCSB’s rules. The supplement is scheduled to be issued on March 21, 2013, with an effective date of April 20, 2013.

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New Sales Manager Hired By Global Vacuum Presses

Posted on 27 December 2012 by cradmin

Global Vacuum Presses, a supplier of thermoforming equipment for solid surface material, has hired a new sales manager. Patrice Montignier is now responsible for the company’s sales department on both a national and international level.

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Toto Honored For Sustainability Efforts

Posted on 26 December 2012 by cradmin

Toto, supplier of faucets and related products, was recognized by the Chattahoochee Riverkeeper with a Best in Business Class award for its efforts to reduce water use in Atlanta by partnering with local government and businesses to upgrade outdated plumbing fixtures.

Accepting the award was bill Strange, senior vice president of Toto, who said, “At Toto, we have instituted a wide range of small incremental programs and processes that synergistically combine to dramatically reduce the energy and potable water we use in the manufacture of our water-saving products.”

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Five Valuable Advertising Tips

Posted on 24 December 2012 by CRadmin2

Advertising is one of the most important aspects of a successful business. And if you are selling countertops directly to the public, you should consider how you are going to reach them. Of course, the advertising must be backed up with a quality product and friendly, reliable service, but if no one knows who you are or what you have to offer, then the rest does not matter very much. Advertising is a good way to make potential customers aware of you, and it can be used to alert your current customers about new services, new products or special deals.

It is not enough to just advertise. You must make sure to implement effective advertising strategies to get the most bang for your buck. Following are five tips for a successful advertising campaign:

  1. Understand Your Customers – Effective advertising relies on your ability to understand who your customers are and the niche you serve. Generic ad campaigns directed to the general public are often expensive and may not generate enough sales to make them worth the expense. When you know your customers, you can design ads around their tastes and drop the ads directly into their laps. If your customers are kitchen & bath retailers, obviously it wouldn’t do much good to have television or newspaper ads. Or if you are trying to reach any homeowner in a two-state area, direct mail might be a very costly premise when you could take out an ad in a newspaper or on a radio station.
  2. Establish Your Image – It is important to develop an image and present a style that resonates with your customers. Many businesses are instantly recognizable by their logo and the image they have created. You want to be one of these businesses. Other than your logo, simple details such as a font, a slogan or even a mascot can all help shape your company’s image.
  3. Don’t Be Stingy – Advertising costs money, and you should not be afraid to spend it to get expertly crafted ads into the hands of your most likely future clients. Businesses that skimp on their advertising budgets often do not realize why they are not bringing in any new customers. Likewise, don’t just spend money for the sake of spending it. You should also make sure you are utilizing less expensive means of reaching new customers, such as encouraging referrals and word-of-mouth business. Although word of mouth is a great marketing tool, it cannot be relied upon as a sole source of new business, especially if you need to increase your revenue quickly. Mass media and email marketing may be able to get the job done with a price tag that is justifiable by the returns it produces.
  4. Be Aware of the Competition – Your competitors are stealing your customers. If you do not get the word out more than them, provide superior service than them and fabricate better products than them, they are going to prosper while your business crumbles. Once you understand the competition, you can analyze which markets and which angles are under-marketed. Your competition can also provide you with good ideas for advertising that you can improve upon. Of course, outright copying may not get you any points, but don’t discard a good idea just because someone else also uses it. Just make it your own.
  5. Make Full Use of Available Resources – The burden of creating advertising materials and sending them out to the right groups of people is not one you must bear alone. No matter whether you are using traditional media, email marketing or online banner ads, experts are ready to work with you to develop catchy and informational content. Be prudent, but don’t put together a poor marketing campaign just because you can save a few bucks. In the long run, you will get poor results and the money you did spend will be money wasted.

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Solid Surface, Cultured Marble Supplier Cocan Opens U.S. Office

Posted on 21 December 2012 by cradmin

Chinese supplier of solid surface and cultured marble Cocan Surfaces is opening a U.S. office near Atlanta in April. The facility in LaGran, Ga., includes a warehouse for displaying and stocking products, including solid surface panels, cultured marble products and shower pans. The company will also be displaying its products at the upcoming Coverings show in Atlanta.

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MIA To Release Stone Documentary

Posted on 20 December 2012 by cradmin

The Marble Institute of America (MIA) has been working on a full-length documentary that will be released in 2013. The documentary, titled “The History of Man and Stone: A Documentary,” will first be shown at the Surfaces/StonExpo show in January, and according to Gary Distelhorst, executive vice president of the MIA, “It will be a terrific marketing tool for the entire industry.”

The Marble Institute has recently published a nearly 6-minute preview of the video, which provides a bit of a feel as to what the full-length documentary will be like. Here it is for your review:

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Saint Gobain Donates Countertops To Charity

Posted on 19 December 2012 by cradmin

Saint-Gobain donated Grenite engineered stone countertops, along with some green building expertise, to YouthBuild Philadelphia Charter School and the Akron Summit Community Action YouthBuild Program. The programs help young people from low-income backgrounds earn high school diplomas while also picking up job skills while building sustainable and affordable housing.

YouthBuild Philadelphia built a LEED-certified two-family home, in which Grenite, in the color Birch Prada, was installed for countertops and an island. The Akron Youthbuild project was a platinum-certified split-level five-bedroom home, which also used donated Grenite countertops.

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New Brochures Offered by Schultz Forming

Posted on 18 December 2012 by cradmin

Three new brochures are now being offered by Schultz Forming Products. The full-color brochures provide information about the company’s laminate and solid surface forming equipment. One offers information on the Shultzform clamshell solid surface oven, one provides info on the company’s laminate Slotformer, and the third brochure gives information on the company’s solid surface vacuum former. The brochures are available from the company at no charge.

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Benefits and Risks of Cloud ERP Software

Posted on 17 December 2012 by CRadmin2

The cloud has finally emerged as a viable option for businesses when it comes to data, webhosting and enterprise server solutions, but many business owners are hesitant when it comes to adopting this technology. One of the types of software that is now becoming popular in business cloud hosting is enterprise resource planning (ERP) software.

ERP systems integrate internal and external management information across an entire organization, integrating accounting, manufacturing, sales and service, customer relationship management, etc. The purpose of ERP is to facilitate the flow of information between all business functions inside the boundaries of the organization and manage the connections to outside stakeholders.

Cloud-based ERP software systems offer several potential benefits, but some risk may also be involved.

Benefits of Cloud ERP Software
An important benefit of cloud ERP software is that it can greatly reduce capital expenditures, especially for startups that do not have a server infrastructure in place. With cloud ERP software, a business only has to purchase one or more standard desktop or laptop computers with Internet connections. Installing traditional ERP software would require a server, a network infrastructure and IT technicians to keep it all running smoothly, which could cost tens of thousands of dollars.

When choosing cloud ERP software, all of the hardware required to run it is owned and operated by the cloud host. The business only has to pay a monthly subscription fee, which includes use of the hardware and software. Subscription fees also include regular updates of both the ERP software and general software required to run the server, such as security applications and operating systems. This means that a business with cloud ERP software receives timely upgrades without having to pay the cost of the updated software or any hardware upgrades that must accompany the software updates.

Risks of Cloud ERP Software
Implementing cloud-based ERP software is not without its risks, but most of them can be avoided by carefully selecting a cloud host. Many business owners are especially concerned about the security of their data in a cloud-based system.

Security breaches are a risk for any business running network-connected software whether the data is in the cloud or stored locally. However, prominent cloud hosting companies are aware of this concern and have implemented the strongest security systems available. In many cases, the security system of the cloud host is much more sophisticated than any computer security system that the business could afford.

Another concern of business owners contemplating a move to the cloud is what happens to the company’s data should a decision be made to change software or cloud hosts. This should be spelled out in detail in the terms of service or the subscription contract. If this situation is not addressed, then the business faces a real risk of losing data or facing delays in the retrieval of data. However, most cloud hosts archive the data and make it retrievable by the business while disabling the functionality of the software.

Another factor that should be considered is federal and state regulations. In some instances, particular types of businesses, such as financial institutions and healthcare providers, must comply with regulations or laws covering how sensitive data is accessed or stored. If the cloud host does not meet these standards, then the business may face fines or other stiff penalties. This may not be applicable to fabrication businesses, but a thorough understanding of what regulations are applicable to a business is key before implementation.

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