By Ed Hartz and Ed Townsend

One of the strong selling points of natural stone is longevity. Natural stones endure through years of use, even centuries of harsh weather. Natural stone has been the obvious choice for monuments and prominent public buildings. Natural stone is a complement to landmark buildings; great design deserves to be preserved in durable stone.

What do we do with our monuments and significant architecture after a hundred years or even just a few years of use, when the original bright finish is dull and various stains have accumulated? We could sacrifice the history and artistry of the original by replacing it with something new, or we could celebrate its endurance by restoring the original appearance of the natural stone.

Restored natural stone encourages the use of more stone in new places. The restored marble floor in the foyer of a pre-war home, reassures the new homeowner that remodeling the master bathroom with marble will be an investment, not just a beautiful way to spend money. Restoring a significant public building or monument reminds consumers that natural stone repays the additional cost.

Natural stone has been promoting green building practices since the first caveman built the second stone wall with materials from the first stone wall. Natural stone is, well, natural. It is recyclable, reusable and renewable. In many places, restoring and reusing natural stone building materials will generate credits that will get the building permit approved or even allow a larger addition.

Restoration supports preservation. Preservation sells the unmatched durability of natural stone. Preservation maintains our connections with history. Preservation conserves our finite earth resources. Everyone benefits.
Ed Hartz
HartzStone, LLC

Tel: 203.426.0885

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The Bookshelf 
The Bookshelf

Ed Hartz continually reads books, magazines and Internet articles to keep current with topics in the stone industry. We have included references to a few of the best on a variety of topics: some that will interest the general reader and some that will interest the professional.


The photography and the quality of the printing are reason enough to read this publication of The Stone Foundation. The magazine specializes in presenting excellent photographs of ancient and enduring stone structures, some in ruins and some maintained for continual use. Of course, the accompanying stories are written from the point of view of stone industry professionals, and there are intelligent discussions of the type of stone and the methods of construction. The photographs and articles will take the reader around the world from Europe to Asia, Africa and the Americas.

In addition to artistic and literary content, the professional will find interesting descriptions of techniques used by leading professionals in different aspects of the stone industry. Professionals describe recent projects and include discussions of the key decisions they made.

The Stone Foundation publishes Stonexus,

Stone Industry News

This tabloid-sized newspaper is essential for keeping track of the people and businesses in the stone industry. Stone Industry News prints the business announcements of the stone industry: job promotions, business acquisitions, new products and the like. It also prints interesting business discussions, including ethics, promotion and successful strategies. Even the non-professional will enjoy the articles on recently completed stone projects.

Stone Industry News is independent of any stone association or trade group. It is published monthly by Industry News, Inc,

Slippery Rock Gazette

The Slippery Rock Gazette is a tabloid like the magazine in the Sunday newspaper. In addition to industry announcements, a variety of industry professionals contribute regular columns on topics ranging from business strategies, and “how-to” instruction to random topics on life in general. The advertising includes most major manufacturers operating in the US.

Find Slippery Rock Gazette at www.

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Stone Maintenance Partnerships 
Stone Maintenance Partnerships

By Ed Hartz

The stone retailer and fabricator advertises, displays and promotes to generate a continual flow of new customers, then sells a product to each customer whom the retailer will rarely see again. Consider the garden center. They sell new annual plants to the same customers every year. Even when the customer buys a tree that will live for a century or more, the garden center sells fertilizer and pest control. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a continual relationship that generates a steady cash flow every year from existing customers?

HartzStone has partnered with a significant number of stone retailers and fabricators to provide the continuing maintenance that keeps the stone looking as good as the day it left the store. The retailer sells the service and HartzStone does the work.

While some customers shop only on price, other customers demand the highest quality materials and demand that they be kept in the finest condition. These customers have a reputation to establish and they use the impression that their homes give to support that reputation. The retailer knows who these customers are, and the add-on sale of continuing care meets the customer’s need.

The price conscious commodity shopper does not know that there are quality differences between one grade of 12-inch marble tiles and another grade. Successful retailers and fabricators have acquired an intimate knowledge of the characteristics of each type of stone they sell and the differences between French limestone, Indiana limestone and Irish limestone. The stone professional knows more than just the color and texture of each stone, the professional knows the characteristics that will suit the intended installation and those that will present future problems.

The professional maintenance and restoration craftsman also has an intimate knowledge of the characteristics of each stone, with the added knowledge of how well each stone has survived daily use in real homes. The professional maintenance craftsman also has an intimate knowledge of the tools, materials and techniques that produce the desired result with each specific stone in each specific environment. Although the cost conscious commodity customer would be satisfied with service from the local handyman, the high-end customer wants careful and expert craftsmanship. The retailer and fabricator already have full-time jobs, so the attractive alternative is to out-source the service responsibilities to a reliable maintenance and restoration professional. The successful retailer knows what the customer wants, so a brief conversation with local maintenance and restoration companies will reveal which can deliver the expertise that will keep the customer coming back.

So, go ahead and sell the tumbled marble to be installed in a shower, where soaps, lotions and every imaginable product of the cosmetics industry will assault it. Or sell the limestone counter for the kitchen, where cooking oils, fruit juices and a world of exotic ingredients will attack it. Just be sure to sell the post-installation cleaning and conditioning by a professional maintenance and restoration company so that the stone you sell will continue to look good while it is being used. Then sell the periodic maintenance contract so that the show room appearance is renewed every year. The customer will be happy with their stone for many years, and you will pocket a share of the maintenance revenue every year.

Ed Hartz founded HartzStone more than a decade ago to provide the highest quality stone restoration services to some of the most sophisticated and demanding residential customers in the country. HartzStone has built a reputation for professionalism upon extensive study of the characteristics of natural stone, thorough testing of restoration materials and techniques, and careful attention to the details of each restoration job. Visit for more information about HartzStone and to see examples of completed restoration projects.

Granite paving outside the American Museum of Natural History, New York

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M.I.A. Quarry Tour 
Quarry Tour

Ed Hartz joined other members of the Marble Institute of America (MIA) on a tour of several marble quarries in New England. Geologic forces push calcium carbonate deposits such as limestone deep below the surface of the Earth, where heat and pressure form Marble crystals. A similar geological process forms granite from silica deposits. Later geologic forces lifted the marble and granite to the surface where it is economical to quarry the stone for architectural and artistic uses. The conditions that form each marble deposit are slightly different: the ratio of calcium carbonate to magnesium carbonate varies, the presence and amounts of other minerals varies, the pressure and temperature to form marble crystals varies, and the sequence of events that cause inclusions and veining varies. The conditions that form each granite deposit also vary; the duration of temperature and pressure as the silica deposits rise and cool determine how large the quartz crystals will become. The percentage of other minerals such as feldspar and aluminum and the fractures that allow inclusions create the patterns that make granite such an interesting material. The MIA members visited the quarries to see first hand the subtle differences throughout each quarry and the differences between the quarries.

The tour set out in a gray rain in Barre, VT, for the Rock of Ages Visitors Center in Graniteville, where company Vice President Bob Campo showed Ed the monument and mausoleum manufacturing process up close. Rough granite slabs of the desired color and pattern are cut to the required shape, polished, engraved and sand blasted to produce the individual monuments. Following the tour of the manufacturing facility, Ed visited the E. L. Smith Quarry, also owned by Rock of Ages. Granite has been quarried here since 1880. One familiar monument constructed with this granite is the World War II Memorial that opened in 2003. Ed saw diverse granite monuments at the Hope Cemetery in Barre.

A visit to the Vermont Granite Museum of Barre supplied more history and details about the quarrying and manufacturing of architectural granite. At the next stop, Granite Importers owner, Jake Colgan, accompanied Ed an the rest of the MIA group as they walked through the fabrication facility, which was in the process of working on giving a polished finish to curved pieces of Cambrian Black granite for the Mandarin hotel in Boston. Black shows every flaw and curved surfaces are difficult to polish so Ed was very interested to see the techniques that produce the highest quality finish.

The marble part of the tour included the Danby marble quarry, operated by Vermont Quarries Corp. of Rutland, VT. Luca Mannolini, General Manager, led a tour of their facility and the Imperial quarry, in Dorset Mountain, which is the largest underground marble quarry in the U.S. Danby marble was used to construct the U. S. Supreme Court Building, Jefferson Monument and several other prominent buildings, but 90% of the marble has been used for kitchen countertops. Ed examined the facility that produces 30,000 square feet of marble per month, and took photographs of the giant blocks before they are cut into slabs.

Ed and the MIA tour visited the Marble Museum in Proctor, VT, a unique resource of the extent and variety of marble from throughout the world. Philip Gawet of Gawet Marble and Granite recounted the history of the marble industry in Vermont, which is illustrated in the photographs in the museum. The museum is housed in a former factory and warehouse and includes the adjacent abandoned quarry. The worked face of the upper portion of the quarry is dramatically reflected in the rainwater that has collected in the pit. Another highlight of Proctor is a recently restored marble bridge that you will cross on the way to the museum.

The final stop on the tour was the Bethel White quarry, owned by Rock of Ages. Bob Campo explained that the stone quarried there is some of the whitest granite in the world, and a premium quality material. One characteristic of this stone is that it can be cut in either direction and still look the same.

The tour provided the depth and detail of information about New England marble and granite that is only possible with direct face-to-face discussions. Ed and the rest of the MIA group are extremely grateful to their hosts for sharing their knowledge and expertise.

The entrance to the marble mine

At the top of an open pit marble quarry

Descending the marble quarry—notice the tiny people

The working level of the marble quarry

Ed Hartz at the working level of the marble quarry

Approaching the Marble Museum

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This article was originally published in Stone Industry News


By Ed Hartz and Ed Townsend

Someone who works only with new materials may not be familiar with professional stone restoration services or why they may be necessary. In the extreme, a visit to the Acropolis in Athens, Greece will present the viewer with centuries of damage from soil, wear and gunpowder. Closer to home, the damage to the perfect appearance of natural stones begins with the residue from the fabrication equipment, adds grout haze during installation, and continues with soil, spills, grit enhanced abrasion, supermarket cleaners and polishes. Stains, scratches, improper maintenance and wear obscure the original beauty of natural stone, concrete, tile and grout. An inevitable, gentile deterioration you may think.

Modern standards of perfection approach those of museum displays and far exceed the expectations of previous generations. Common kitchen spills must be removed from counters, backsplashes and floors. Residues of bath soaps and lotions are simply unacceptable on showers and vanities. Dark trails leading from each doorway must be erased. The standard of performance for stone, tile and concrete in modern homes has been set very high. Occasional professional restoration is necessary for these quality materials to maintain their original appearance.

Because the stone, tile or concrete has been permanently installed, it must be restored in place, and because the restoration process is essentially an industrial process the professional restorer must exercise the most extreme care to protect the surroundings. Water, chemical cleaners, powerful machines to scour accumulated coatings and dirt with stiff brushes, and wet vacuums remove dingy residue. Diamond impregnated grinding disks remove the damaged surfaces and create new polished or honed surfaces. Appropriate polishes, waxes and sealers complete the restoration and set-up the surfaces for future. When the machinery and protective coverings are removed, the professional has worked miracles without leaving excessive evidence of the process.

Surprise, relief and even amazement follow the restoration of long abused hard surfaces. The clear, deep play of light returns to the surface of polished marble. The even color of clean sandstone, the polish of limestone and the contrasting grid of grout return to clean and restored surfaces. Granite regains its mirror smooth polish; the soft color and texture is again revealed in slate; and the industrial uniformity of concrete reemerges. Layers of dull coatings and dirt are stripped from glazed and unglazed tile and grout to reveal the original subtle shades and patterns of colors and textures. The distinctive characteristics of fine materials reveal themselves. Floors are even smoother and flatter than when originally set.

Each floor, wall and counter has had its own unique history and each restoration is a distinct story. To see a few examples of restorations of various materials, take a look at the Our Work section of

The first step in the restoration of a marble floor, the original un-restored condition is on the right.

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Deferred Maintenance 
Article originally published in Stone Industry News


By Ed Hartz and Ed Townsend

Almost every public building and monument more than 5 years old is already marked by a lack of maintenance. Under staffed and underpaid, most governments and civic organizations opt to perform only the most basic maintenance, such as taking out the trash and cleaning the toilets. Town Halls, Fire Stations, Museums and War Memorial that were proudly dedicated by prominent politicians and wealthy donors gradually acquire the patina of grime and stains that we have come to expect on our neglected symbols of community.

Eventually many deteriorated buildings and monuments are removed to make space for modern replacements. A lucky few are extensively restored and renovated, thereby preserving the community’s architectural legacy. These public monuments were, after all, designed by the best architects and built by the best contractors using the best materials. Let’s remember that it is the well preserved church or courthouse that will be photographed for the scenic calendar, and used in the tourist brochures. The brand new pre-fab office building is best ignored.

Trustees of the public heritage need professional help to maintain public buildings and monuments in a condition that reflects community pride. Periodically, professionally clean the hard surfaces on a schedule that reflects the severity of the environment. Act promptly when the evidence of neglect becomes apparent; professionally remove stains, graffiti and grime before they become extensive and before they penetrate deeply.

But all this costs money that they don’t have, the trustees complain. Wise governments and organizations have begun to require that donors include an endowment to maintain the buildings and monuments. Governments and civic organizations have founded organizations to maintain the existing public heritage; often called “The Friends of” something or other, these organizations provide a focus for the maintenance of important community symbols and facilities. Some of this maintenance is hands-on, such as a trash pick-up day or spring flower planting. Other maintenance requires professional knowledge and equipment.

Everyone in the stone industry benefits when the natural stone in public buildings and monuments is clean and unblemished. It is good P.R. The retailer, installer and maintenance professionals can work together to create a little free publicity for everyone by adopting a prominent local stone installation and forming a “Friends of” organization to maintain it. Cleaning, restoring and conserving stone architectural elements are best left to the craftsmen at professional restoration companies, but the stone maintenance companies can often get most materials donated by the manufacturers if there will be sufficient publicity. Professional restoration companies can adopt a small monument and the allied businesses need only to help provide the publicity. Major buildings are a different situation. The stone retailers, architects and builders have potent contacts needed to raise the funds for major projects, but the pay-off will be proportionate.

I know that you are busy, but a few hours now to create an event that will put your businesses in the news every year is wise and forward thinking, just don’t forget to invite the TV news to your annual clean-up events.

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