People may love hearing and seeing birds, but nobody loves bird droppings, especially on their outdoor kitchen countertops or other exterior natural stone surfaces. Sometimes we get calls from frustrated customers about stains from “bird poop” (or other creative expletives). This article explains how to clean up bird droppings on natural stone, remove the stains that may persist after cleaning, and avoid having to do the same thing again next week.

How to Clean Bird Droppings on Natural Stone

First, remove any solid material. If it is dried on, use a plastic putty knife to gently scrape it away. Do not use metal, as it may leave scratch marks on your stone finish.

Next, wash the area with a stone-safe, pH-neutral cleaner and a clean rag. (You may need to allow the cleaner to dwell for a few minutes to soften and loosen dried-on solid material that would not come off with the plastic putty knife.)

If you see any remaining discoloration on the stone, give the stone time to dry before proceeding to the next step. The discoloration you see may actually be moisture absorbed into porous stone and not an actual stain.

How to Remove Bird Dropping Stains on Natural Stone

To remove stains from bird droppings, make a poultice with an absorbent material, such as diatomaceous earth, flour, or a paper towel, and 40 volume hydrogen peroxide (12%). You will need to purchase this kind of peroxide online or at a beauty supply store, because the peroxide at your local drug store isn’t strong enough.

For more information on creating and applying a poultice, including a how-to video, use our Stain Management App.

IMPORTANT

• Always read the label on the chemical bottle.
• Always follow the directions and precautions listed on the label.
• Never use a chemical if you are unsure what it is or how to protect yourself.
• Always take the time to protect yourself and those working around you.
• Always dispose of a chemical properly. Every municipality has a household hazardous waste drop-off location. For safe disposal of chemical products at work, contact your health and safety representative.

What to Do If the Poultice Doesn’t Work…

Sometimes it takes several poultice applications to remove a stain. If you notice some improvement after the first application, keep trying. It’s very likely that the stain will come out with some persistence and patience.

If you do not see any improvement after your poultice application, remember the stone may just need time to dry.

If the discoloration remains after the stone is dry, then the discoloration may not actually be a stain. Bird droppings contain uric acid and may result in etching on some stones. Etching is chemical damage to the finish. But don’t worry, the finish can be restored by a professional stone restoration contractor.

How to Avoid Bird Droppings on Natural Stone

Some people recommend buying plastic owls with big scary eyes or rubber snakes to keep birds away, but birds eventually catch on and adapt.

If you have bird feeders or bird baths, move them to an area in your yard far away from your natural stone or remove them from your yard altogether.

Movement and sound will discourage birds from getting too close. Try using wind chimes, flags, wind spinners, and the like. If all else fails, cover outdoor kitchen countertops when not in use.

This is one of a series of articles written and published on behalf of Stone and Tile PROS Partners.

whadmin September 28, 2018

Do you have streaking —cloudy, uneven patterns —on the surface of your natural stone floors? This article explains the causes of streaking and what you can do to get rid of it.

Dirty Mop Water

Sometimes, in an effort to be efficient, homeowners or cleaning and janitorial service workers fail to change mop water often enough. The result is that dirt, grime, and contaminants get spread around rather than eliminated. The solution? Damp mop (rather than wet mop) and change the mop water as soon as it no longer looks clear for streak free floors. If the streaks still appear, try buffing the floor with a white nylon pad.

Improper or Too Much Cleaner

When it comes to floor cleaning solutions, there are many cleaners to choose from, but only a few of them are safe and effective for cleaning natural stone floors. Sometimes when floors are very dirty, it is tempting to use more than the recommended amount of cleaner. Using the wrong cleaners or the right cleaners in the wrong amounts can result in streaks. The solution? Be sure to select a stone safe cleaner or stone soap and use the recommended ratio of cleaning solution to water for streak free floors. Again, if you re-mop the floor and the streaks still appear, try buffing the floor with a white nylon pad.

Waxes or Coatings

Although there may be certain circumstances where waxes or coatings are necessary, it is best to have your natural stone floors honed and/or polished to a beautiful, natural shine. However, if waxes and coatings are necessary, they must be applied properly. If your marble, limestone, granite, travertine, or other natural stone floor is streaked because of a build up of waxes or coatings, then the floors must be stripped. We highly recommend you have a professional stone restoration contractor perform this service for you, however, if you must do it yourself, be sure to use a commercial wax stripper.

Sometimes etching, scratches, or dullness from foot traffic can be mistaken for streaking. If you are unable to get rid of streaking on your natural stone floor, perhaps it isn’t streaking at all. A clear, beautiful, reflective finish can be achieved with professional stone restoration services.

This is one of a series of articles written and published on behalf of Stone and Tile PROS Partners.

whadmin September 27, 2018

Tile and grout floors and surfaces are durable and relatively easy to keep clean. When sweeping and mopping don’t suffice, some people resort to more drastic cleaning methods that can cause an unsightly appearance or even permanent damage to the tile and grout. Here are the most common cleaning mistakes.

Wet Mopping with Dirty Mop Water

The first and most common mistake is wet mopping rather than damp mopping. Dirty mop water seeps into the porous surface of grout and unglazed tiles. Damp mopping and frequently changing the mop water is the method of cleaning we recommended.

Colored Cleaners

Beware of colored cleaners. They can stain unglazed tile, because the surface of the tile is porous and may absorb dye from the cleaning agent.

Harsh Chemicals

Muriatic acid, bleach, and other harsh chemicals should not be used for routine cleaning and care of your tile and grout floors and surfaces for several reasons. First, harsh chemicals can be dangerous. Any mishandling or misuse of these chemicals can result in severe burns or respiratory problems. Secondly, splashes or spills can damage plumbing fixtures, appliances, or other belongings in the surrounding area. In some cases, even when no splashing occurs, the vaporous fumes can cause damage. Thirdly, strong cleaners can cause premature deterioration of grout, especially if the grout is alkaline and the chemical is acidic.

Abrasives

Never use steel wool or metal scouring pads to clean your tile, because these can cause permanent scratches, stains, and ruin a glossy finish. Abrasive powders and abrasive tools should be avoided, as well.

Waxes, Oils, and Sealers

Waxes and wax-based cleaning products may offer some temporary protection against stains, odors, and wear, but for a long-term solution, waxes pose too many problems and may actually increase maintenance costs. They must be continuously stripped and reapplied. If the stripping process isn’t thorough enough, wax build-up occurs and becomes an unsightly mess as it turns yellow, becomes scratched, and functions as a dirt magnet. Oil-based cleaners, especially on glazed tile, pose an increased risk of slip and fall accidents. Sealers can be tricky, and unless you have the knowledge and experience of a tile and grout cleaning professional to select the proper sealer and apply it appropriately, you could end up with slippery tile, stains, or peeling and flaking grout lines.

If you are trying to resolve some specific problem with the appearance of your tile and grout, avoid the mistakes mentioned here. Download our FREE Stone and Tile Care Guide for tips and helpful information about routine cleaning and care of your tile and grout floors and surfaces. Feel free to contact us for specific recommendations.

This is one of a series of articles written and published  on behalf of surpHaces Partners.

whadmin September 26, 2018

Flaking (also called spalling) in natural stone is generally an indicator of sub-florescence, a condition in which mineral salts are carried into the stone by moisture and accumulate beneath the stone’s surface. This article will inform you about this condition.

whadmin September 25, 2018

The highest concern of natural stone installers and designers is to make sure your natural stone floors, walls, countertops, or other applications look great and are installed correctly. They often don’t give much thought to what the stone might look like after traffic and use have taken a toll. As natural stone restoration contractors, we sometimes get calls from home or business owners who want us to refinish their kitchens, baths, or other areas that have soft stones like marble or travertine with hard stone inlays, such as granite. These clients are frequently surprised at the cost difference between refinishing a single stone versus refinishing a design that incorporates several types of stone. In addition, people who have combination finishes, for example a floor with some parts honed and some parts polished, run into the same situation. This article explains the reasons behind the price differences and also provides some suggestions to people who are considering utilizing more than one type of stone or one type of finish in a new installation.

Time = Money

We reached out to Fred Hueston, world-renowned natural stone expert, author of many books, instructional videos, and articles on stone installation, care, and restoration in the U.S. and abroad, and Chief Technical Director for surpHaces. He explains why mixed stone surfaces require more time to restore than single stone surfaces:

The reason for this can be a little confusing to the average client. There are diamonds made for honing and polishing marble and others specifically for granite. Some diamond pad manufactures now have combination diamonds that can be used on both. But the price difference has to do with time, not diamond cost.

For example, granite is going to take four or five times as long to refinish and polish than marble. The contractor may opt to tape off the granite, refinish the marble with one set of diamonds, and then tape off the marble and refinish the granite with another set of diamonds. If the contractor uses a diamond pad that can restore both marble and granite to refinish the entire area all at once, the amount of time spent on the floor must be based on the granite, not the marble. In certain circumstances, only the marble is refinished, because the granite is in much better condition than the marble. Even so, the granite portions of the surface will need to be taped off.

Suggestions for New Installations With Stone Combinations

We also asked Hueston what kinds of stone combinations he would recommend for people who have their hearts set on utilizing more than one kind of stone in their design. He said,

Obviously, using different colors of one type of stone would be good, for example, black marble with white marble. If you are going to use different types of stone, they need to match in hardness. So, generally marble, onyx, and limestone can be combined and then later restored or refinished with little or no price difference from a single-stone application.

Combination Finishes

Home and business owners also can expect to see a price difference to have combination finishes restored. A honed finish must be achieved first, and then the portion of the surface that should remain a honed finish must be taped off before the polished portion of the surface can be restored. This takes extra time than just achieving a single finish for the entire surface. However, there should be no price difference if you want to go from a combination finish to a single finish. If you are having new stone installed, you must either go with a single finish or be willing to pay a little bit more to maintain the appearance of a combination finish.

This is one of a series of articles written and published  on behalf of surpHaces Partners.

whadmin September 25, 2018

If you have white residue on your stone, here are a few tips and tricks for identifying the cause and possibly removing it.

whadmin August 26, 2018

Before you invest your valuable time and energy in a DIY attempt to remove discoloration from natural stone, here’s some basic information help you determine whether the discoloration is a stain.

whadmin August 25, 2018

One of the most common questions we get from our customers about their natural stone is, “Now that I have it, how do I take care of it?” These 5 essential tips will arm you with what you need to know about caring for your stone countertops.

whadmin August 25, 2018

Limestone floors are relatively easy to maintain but can become dull and dirty with time and use. Here are some tips to keep your floors looking their best.

whadmin August 22, 2018

Perhaps you have been told that your granite countertops can be cleaned with glass cleaner or a solution of dish soap and water. According to Maurizio Bertoli, the “Godfather” of natural stone, using a pH Neutral cleaner is the only way to properly clean your granite countertops.

whadmin November 30, 2017