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Unread 08-25-2003, 06:27 PM   #1
Maintanence/Restoration Pro
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Riverside, CA
Posts: 669
Green Marble/Serpentine

I'm in the stone care business, and I have yet to inspect a green marble/serpentine installation that doesn't have some sort of spalling/blistering (stone rotting) and efflorescence problem. Maybe it's just a Southern California thing, but I have seen this problem in bathrooms, entryways, kitchens, hallways, livingrooms.... and today on a two week old installation of an beautiful serpentine fireplace surround... carved angels and cherubs.... the slab on the hearth is spalling. Is it just a problem with this type of stone? Is it because most homes in So. California are on-grade slab installations? Almost all of these clients know for a fact that their stone was installed with epoxy... like it should be. It breaks my heart to tell these people that their beautiful stone is rotting and will have to be replaced. What can be done to prevent this problem? Should they avoid green marble altogether or just certain stones?
Karen Church
Church's Home Services, Riverside, CA
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Unread 08-26-2003, 06:52 AM   #2
Michael Meyer
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Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: N Tonawanda NY
Posts: 73
Dear Karen, within my stone collection I have accumulated over 24 different forms of serpentine and related forms of natural stone. Performance characteristics, vapor transmission and mineral structures can vary. Some forms of Serpentine are superior, however large amounts of vapor transmission is never a good thing. Michael of Stonehenge
Stonehenge Restoration - >>>> We Repair Stone the Right Way !1 - 716 - 693 - 4773
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Unread 08-26-2003, 08:03 AM   #3
Maurizio Bertoli
Posts: n/a
Dear Karen:
Michael's right. The chemical makeup of green marbles (not all of them are serpentine) can vary greatly. Installations of natural stones on cement slabs on grade is always a problematic issue. A vapor-proof membrane should be mandatory in situations like that.
To the best of my knowledge there's always one green that's resistent to spalling and bleeding, namely the Verde Antique from Vermont, arguably the best green on the planet, from a mechanic point of views. Other than that ...
You see, it's like with slate. You know how much I am against it. The fact is, however, that a few slates (from New England and from Italy) would be acceptable (well, almost! ), but what about all the others which are nothing but trouble? How could I, as a professional consultant and as a maintenance guy like yourself, possibly recommend slate?
The difference with green marbles, however, is the way they get set. If the subfloor is water-prooved and the tiles are set with epoxy, there's no way that spalling or efflourescence could occur, unless the grout is missing and water finds it's way under the tiles. Once that's accomplished, green marble - unlike slate - is quite an enjoyable stone to have. After all, it's almost twice as hard as calcite-based marble!
Ciao and good luck,
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