News & Information

Stone tiles are a great addition to any home that will stand the test of time. Unlike other flooring options, stone tiles are largely fixable and resist a good amount of wear, making them able to last your family for years to come.  

When considering home renovations, it’s important to know the facts around stone tiles so that you can ensure that they are a great fit for your household. 

1. Color Variety

Contrary to popular belief, stone tiles come in many colors outside of black or gray. Slate alone can come in deep metallics, green, purple, and blue. 
If you’re looking for a more natural look, natural stone varieties such as marble and Limestone come built with beautiful colors and patterns to brighten up any room. Natural veins and cracks in the stone can convey a more rustic look, and add to your patio’s atmosphere. 

Without a doubt, you’re able to find stone tiles that will match the preexisting color palette of your home.

2. Multiple Uses

Stone tiles are not just limited to flooring. Stone is one of the oldest building materials on the planet, it’s no wonder that it’s so versatile.

Many stone varieties are naturally porous, which makes them excellent water absorbers. That being said, stone tiles are a perfect addition to your shower wall or any outdoor construction. With all of the color variety, stone tiles make ornate kitchen backsplashes to add a pop of color to your home. 

Stone tiles can be used in the kitchen as countertops. In fact, marble white counters are very trendy and appear in the kitchens of many celebrity chefs. The stone alone has begun to convey an idea of luxury. 

3. Made to Last

One of the best parts about using stone tiles is that they are nature’s creation, meaning that they can certainly handle the wear and tear of home life since they are constructed to resist intense weathering. 

It’s no surprise that famous buildings such as St. Peter’s Cathedral or Michaelangelo’s David have continued to inspire artisans for years to come- Not only are these projects beautiful, but since they were constructed out of stone, they are able to last for centuries to come. 

Most stone can handle a good amount of moisture and is very easy to fix. You won’t have to worry about kids or pets damaging your stone tiles, as stone can always be restored. 

4. Texture Variety

When picking out your stone tiles, it’s important to consider texture as one of your deciding factors. Stones naturally have different surface types, and perforations and indentations can add unique patterns to stone, giving your home the niche look you’re seeking. 

Moreover, you should also look into the level of gloss. Stone is super flexible in terms of appearance, and a matte/glossy look can completely alter the aura of a room. 

All in all, stone tiles stand as a durable, beautiful home decorating material. Have fun using nature’s building blocks to make your home yours. 

Why does grout matter?

While it may not be the first thing guests notice when they step onto your kitchen or bathroom floor, grout is quite literally part of the foundation of lasting tilework. In addition to acting as a bonding agent, grout increases the beauty of tile flooring by smoothing out irregularities in the tiling and prevents water from permeating a floor’s substrate. But even though grout is durable and can last about a decade, factors such as time, the normal settling of a home, and improper initial application can cause grout to deteriorate more quickly than expected.

As a homeowner, you want to be aware of the danger signs and recognize when your grout may be due for a facelift as well as what your options are for fixing the problem.

Here are three signs that it’s time to renew the grout.  

The Reoccurring Mold Story

Mold is pretty common in bathrooms due to the constant moisture and humidity. In most cases, mold can be cleaned up fairly easily and at minimal cost or risk. However, if mold reoccurs in the same area, or permeates the surface of the tile, it’s quite probable that there’s a bigger problem—one that requires a fresh application of grout.

Grout itself is porous. As mold spreads over the surface of the grout, it is possibly also growing within it. To avoid potential health risks and maintain a healthy floor, if you notice reoccurring mold, contact a grouting professional as soon as possible.

Cracked Grout

If you notice that the grout lines between your tiles are cracked, chipped, or worn away altogether you want to replace the grout as soon as possible. Keep in mind that grout acts as a barrier between moisture and the underlying layers of your floor. Without a firm layer of grout between the tiles, you run the risk of extensive water damage below the tiling surface—a problem that can be very costly to fix.

Loose Tiling

Have you noticed that the tiling in your kitchen or bathroom floor seems a little loose? It may be a sign that it’s time to renew your grout. As the porous particles of grout begin to deteriorate, the spacing between the tiles increases which allows the tiles to shift. As a result, the tiles in your home may become unstable, presenting a hazard to yourself and your loved ones or pets. If the tile slippage is minor you may be able to fix the problem yourself. But if the grout has been in place for several years, it may be in your best interests to regrout.

We’re here to help

As a family-owned and operated business, Castles Home Service knows the value of making your home feel like a castle. With a passion for floor restoration and the experience to match, we are California’s natural stone cleaning and restoration experts. If the job seems a little more than you’re ready to take on, give us a call at (831) 444-0991, email us at, or message us on our website:

When taking care of your marble and stone, it is important to know what substances can cause long-term damage, stains, etching, and discoloration to the surface. Here are some everyday products and cleaning solutions you need to avoid to best care for your marble and keep it in top condition.

Acid & Alkaline

There’s a wide variety of acidic substances that cause natural stone or marble damage and etching, but it’s important to note what makes it acidic. Acidity is measured on a pH scale, and the scale goes from 0-14 (basic to acidic). If a substance measures with a pH level of 7 or below then it is acidic-based and it should avoid contact with your natural stone.

Products high in alkaline, which include a lot of cleaning and kitchen products, should also be cautioned in contact with marble. Since marble is so porous, the alkaline salts in these products can have a chemical reaction when exposed to the surface, leaving permanent deep marks and stains that can not be cleaned or wiped off.

The following list of products could damage your marble upon contact.

: Lemon, lime, tomato, orange, cranberry, and even kid’s fruit juices can be absorbed into marble and create darker spots on countertops and floors. Depending on the color of the juice, the acid can absorb into the stone, leaving a darker or lighter-colored spot. It can also dull the stone’s shiny finish.

: A majority of colas contain phosphoric acid that rate high on the pH level scale (2.5 to 3.5). It’s important to clean up spills immediately.

Toilet Bowl Cleaner
: Toilet bowl cleaners are the most acidic product that you can use in your home. With a pH level as low as 1, they can wreak long-term havoc on your stone and marble floors. To steer clear of this issue, use a product that is naturally-based and free of this acidic threat.

: Many people consider vinegar to be the greatest cleaner on earth, but it can damage marble upon contact almost instantly. Replace it with a neutral cleaner that is more suitable for natural stone surfaces.

: Any milk products can damage your natural stone as it contains lactic acid which can rank from anywhere to 4.5 to 6.5 on the pH scale. So make sure to keep those sippy cup lids on tight when on your marble countertop.

Ammonia and Heavy Duty Cleaners
: Many of the cleaners under our sink have a high level of alkaline and have damaging effects on marble. Consider replacing these out with natural home products that are safer for your stone surfaces.

Restoring your etched and damaged Stone/Marble

You may find a slew of DIY solutions, but be careful to read up on ingredients so as to not to damage your surface more. If you have stains or etch marks on your natural stone surfaces, contact an expert like Castles Home Service to help you professionally restore your stone and ask to learn more about long-term preventative measures that they recommend, like their professionally installed solution – MORE™ Surface Care AntiEtch™.

Are you in the process of a home remodel and questioning if you should restore your stone surfaces and flooring by yourself or leave it to the pros? Grinding down or polishing your marble and stone is possible to DIY, but you need to know what to look for. Here are some important tips, tricks, and insights to set your stone restoration project up for success.

What to expect

Stones such as marble are very porous and soft and can be easily chipped, scratched, or cracked. If neglected, stone surfaces can take on major buildup from harsh cleaning products, wax, food, or even water which can lead to discoloration. Depending on the age and condition of your stone, it may be impossible to get it to its original finish, but you can bring back the vibrancy and shine and have a result well worth your time.

If your stone has deep cracks, holes, or fractures, then a DIY approach to your stone restoration could lead to even more problems down the road. If you are unsure, get a professional stone restoration expert to examine and offer their advice on how you should tackle the project.

A clean slate

Sweep and/or vacuum the surface to start the process. Next, use a soft cloth and warm water to see if elbow grease can do the job alone. If basic cleaning won’t do, use a neutral stone cleaner to see if it can get the results you want before you turn to the grinding process. Make sure that this cleaner is not acid or alkaline-based since these could further damage or etch your stone.

Make your repairs

If it appears the only solution to revive your stone is by grinding, it’s important to fix any problem areas in your stone. Failure to repair cracks or holes can lead to more chips and scratches. There’s a variety of epoxy resins in various colors that you can use to fill these spots; these can be purchased at your local hardware store or online. Always make sure to thoroughly read instructions for these products and properly set them before the grinding process starts.

 The grinding process

Diamond-abrasive disks are the best choice for grinding large flooring areas like foyers, kitchens, or living areas. They are simply attached to floor buffers and remove the uneven tile ledges (lippage) and scratches to flatten and renew the stone’s surface. During this process, the fine grit of the disk also polishes, shines, and removes discoloration of the stone bringing it back to life.

It will take several passes with the floor buffer to achieve a quality, finished result. Operating the machine in a side to side motion, you move the buffer over the floor making sure to overlap the areas you just completed to create a smooth, consistent finish. During the process, it is necessary to change out the abrasive disks from a coarse to fine finish for the ultimate result.

Does restoring your own stone surfaces sound daunting? Then leave it to the highly skilled professionals at Castles Home Service! The finished result will drastically enhance your home’s appearance and value.

Have you just chosen that gorgeous, new natural marble countertop for your kitchen renovation and now you need to decide on a sink?  Type in “kitchen sink” into the search bar of a home center’s website, and the sheer number of choices might well leave you exasperated.  We are going to look at some of the options here, and hopefully leave you feeling more confident when the time comes to select an appropriate sink to perfectly suit that new natural stone countertop and make your kitchen complete!


What do you want that new sink to be made of?  Here are the common options:

Stainless Steel:  Stainless steel sinks have been a popular option for many years for a good reason.  They are durable, inexpensive, they don’t chip and are available in every shape and size you might need!  The only concerns are, generally, that they can scratch and sometimes become water spotted. Some people dislike the noise they can make when items are dropped into them. The noise issue, however, can be minimized by choosing a model with noise deadening coatings on the underside.

Enameled Cast Iron:  Often seen in older kitchens, but still a popular choice today, this material is sturdy but can be prone to chipping of the enamel coating.  They are available in a variety of colors and are quieter due to the weight and natural vibration dampening quality of the cast iron.

Composite:  This type of sink is molded from quartz or granite mixed with resin, and generally come in colors or patterns designed to resemble granite.  They have a reputation for heat and damage resistance but can be on the pricey side. 

Vitreous China:  Think of the typical toilet, and you know what vitreous china is.  Normally reserved for bathroom fixtures, kitchen sinks are now available in this material.  It is scratch-resistant and attractive but can be prone to chipping if you’re not careful.


How do you want it to be installed?  How many bowls do you need?

Single or Double Bowl:  When making this choice, consider how food will be prepared, and the needs of the cook.  If your kitchen is large enough to have a separate food prep sink, you might not need a double bowl sink and can consider a larger single bowl to accommodate washing larger items.  If you like having a separate place to rinse washed dishes, go for a double bowl.

Vitreous China:  Think of the typical toilet, and you know what vitreous china is.  Normally reserved for bathroom fixtures, kitchen sinks are now available in this material.  It is scratch-resistant and attractive but can be prone to chipping if you’re not careful.


How do you want it to be installed?  How many bowls do you need?

Single or Double Bowl:  When making this choice, consider how food will be prepared, and the needs of the cook.  If your kitchen is large enough to have a separate food prep sink, you might not need a double bowl sink and can consider a larger single bowl to accommodate washing larger items.  If you like having a separate place to rinse washed dishes, go for a double bowl.

Drop-in mount:  Installed from the top with a small lip that overhangs onto the countertop, and then secured from underneath with brackets, or from the top with adhesive.

Undermount:  Installed from underneath, and more difficult to replace if they ever need to be. Some find that this type of sink gives a more polished look to the installation. 

Apron Front:  These are typically wider and deeper, and mounted so that the front (“apron”) extends out from the counter to give your kitchen an “old world,” rustic look.

All in all, when choosing a sink, first keep in mind how you will use it, and you won’t likely go wrong!

Renovating a kitchen is a big project that can disrupt even the calmest household. One of the biggest steps in getting a new kitchen is bringing in a new countertop. It’s also the one step that has the biggest wow factor, especially if your current countertop is incredibly dated and worn and you’re going for new material. Once you’ve decided to have a granite or stone counter installed, there’s just a bit of work to be done to make the installation process that much easier for the pros doing the work (and do leave it to the pros to do it).

Talk to Your Contractor

Ask your contractor any and all questions you have. If you have a new sink coming in, make sure they’re aware of its dimensions. One important question for your contractor is whether or not your existing cabinets can support a countertop made from a heavier material. This should be covered in an initial consultation, but like most obvious questions, it can be missed.

Schedule Everything

You’re going to want to schedule a day for this process with nothing else getting in the way. A best-case scenario would have this procedure taking roughly two hours. But as you know, best cases don’t always happen. You want to be there (or have another appointed decision-maker) on hand for any last-minute decisions. If you do have to have other work done in your house on the same day, just make sure they’re in another part of the house or otherwise out of the way. 

Removing the Old

Most likely you’ll have the installer remove the old countertop. If that’s not the case, this obviously needs to happen before the new one goes in. And not right before! Make sure the whole removal process is absolutely finished before the installation starts. The removal contractors should also make sure that the cabinets the countertop rests on are completely level. It’s possible this wasn’t the case with your initial installation, so best to make sure. 

Everything Must Go

It’s best to remove everything from your kitchen that’s loose and not a heavy appliance, even from the overhead cabinets. Best to not risk anything breaking or getting in the way. Lastly, make a clear path for the workers to travel to and from the kitchen. They’ll be transporting very heavy materials, and anything you can do to make that go easier is better. On the day of the installation, you’ll want to secure away any pets.


Once the job is done, there will no doubt be clean up to be done and epoxies that need to dry. Again, ask any questions with your contractor and see when it is safe to bring any food into the kitchen, when you can move items back into it, and when any other work (such as having a plumber install a sink) can proceed.

Taking care of these tasks can ensure that both you and your contractors will have as stress-free an experience getting a new countertop. And think of the rewards: at the end of the day, your kitchen will be completely transformed into something newer, better, and inspiring.

 You know what you like in a kitchen countertop’s aesthetics, but you probably don’t think too much about its strength. Can your countertop resist a range of scratches and temperatures? It’s pretty easy to just assume your kitchen counter can take anything you dish out, but depending on what it’s made out of, you might do damage to your counter by pushing it too far. Listed below are several materials that most kitchen countertops are made of along with their strengths and weaknesses.


Laminate countertops are made of a plastic combined with paper or particleboard, usually giving the appearance of other materials (like wood or marble). As expected with any sort of hybrid plastic product, they are not very heat resistant (a cup of coffee can discolor or mar the surface of a laminate surface). Laminate is most often the most economical solution.


Solid-surface counters are slightly better than laminate, but not by much. They are also a composite of inorganic materials, including roughly one-third polymer resins. They have a little more heat resistance, although they can crack from extreme cold or extreme temperature changes.


Granite is exceptionally heat-resistant/tolerant as a natural material, so it works great as a kitchen countertop. A hot pan can be placed right on a granite counter without leaving a mark. However, extreme changes in temperature (such as putting something frozen where there was immediately before a hot pan) can potentially cause cracking. Best to use some sort of heat protection, like a trivet.


What is marketed as quartz countertops are usually a hybrid of natural quartz and inorganic materials. The quartz itself is very heat resistant, but the polymers incorporated with them can discolor with heat or direct sunlight. Because of this, they are seldom used outdoors. 


Marble is comparable to granite for heat resistance/tolerance. However, untreated marble countertops can have issues with scratching and marring since it’s a relatively soft stone, requiring the use of trivets or other means of heat protection.

Terrazzo and recycled glass

While aesthetically very pleasing, Terrazzo and recycled glass countertops are not very common. Although their durability compares to granite, they can crack when they encounter extreme changes in temperature (just like granite). The level of resistance of the material depends on the quality of the glass used. They are also very expensive compared to the other materials listed here.


Concrete has a very high heat resistance/tolerance. But just like a sidewalk, it can develop cracks over time. The process of installation is also very expensive and difficult.


Metal countertops are usually made from stainless steel, aluminum, or copper. While metal is very heat resistant, it’s also very heat conductive, meaning you need to be careful touching any surface that’s recently had a hot pan on it. They also scratch very easily. 

Clearly, there is no one size fits all answer to ‘what is the best kitchen countertop?’, but armed with a bit of knowledge, you can make a decision for your kitchen that makes sense. Consulting with your contractor can also help you with this decision.

Whether you are gearing up for a full kitchen remodel, replacing a countertop that is damaged, or installing a new stone countertop for any other reason, you are going to want to spend a little time studying your options for this fairly significant investment.  True, it’s not the biggest investment that you might make in your home, but it’s something that will cost enough money and time that, once completed, it is unlikely that the thought of ripping it out and replacing it with something new, at least in the immediate future, will be something that you will want to deal with.  There’s no way to put every option available into this short article, but the information below should, at least, give you a good start on the journey.

Stone Type Materials

Quartz:  Made from ground quartz, nearly as hard as diamonds, that is then mixed with resin. This is easily one of the most durable materials available; the only danger for a quartz countertop is heat.  The other things that are common dangers to a countertop, however, such as knives and utensils, won’t be a problem with a quartz countertop. Also, unlike natural stone and concrete, this material does not need to be sealed.

Granite:  A very durable and heat resistant material, it can be on the pricey side and requires sealing to resist stains.  It is, however, far more available than it used to be and available in a wide variety of colors and patterns. 

Marble:  Another well-known natural stone, marble can’t be found in as many colors and patterns as quartz, or even granite, but its beauty is unmistakable.  Feel free to use it for beating dough and rolling pie crusts, but use caution with knives, and acidy citrus.

Man-Made Materials

Laminates:  You may remember the brand name “Formica,” but forget what your parents or grandparents had on their countertops!  Today’s laminates come in a dizzying array of patterns and colors and may provide a great, less expensive though somewhat less durable and heat resistant alternative to other materials.

Solid Surface:  Most commonly sold under the brand name “Corian,” this material is durable, available in a wide variety of colors and patterns and can be molded to fit many applications.  It can be damaged by hot pans and also scarred with knives, but much minor damage can actually be sanded out. Further, it does not require sealing.


The great thing about tile is that, if you have a little imagination, the possibilities are literally endless.  You can customize a countertop with solid white tiles from end to end, mix up a pattern of every color or texture in the rainbow or anything in between!  Further, if a tile ever cracks, they can be easily replaced. Add to this the fact that tile is very scratch and heat resistant and, overall, it can be a very durable, as well as customizable, solution for your new kitchen countertop!

If nothing in this list suits you, ask your local home center or contractor about limestone, crushed glass, butcher block, or even concrete for that industrial look!

It’s time to choose tile for your project. If you have never done this before, you are probably realizing that it’s not as simple as going with the “standard” tile that your contractors pick. Tile is a huge part of the room and will be there for a long time. Selecting the right tile requires some thought and planning. There is no clear right or wrong answer, it is largely up to you and your taste. That being said, there are a few things that should be considered when choosing the size of your new tile.

Create A Plan and Visualize

Consider the size and layout of the room to be tiled. Is it a larger room that you want to have a more open space feeling? If so, large rectangular tiles are going to give the room a wide elongated feeling. If you are tiling a smaller room and want to have a more complex look, then small tiles will give it more of a busy look and will be perceived by the eye to be larger than it is. The tile will set the tone for the room, so be sure to develop and understand the look you are aiming for.

Grout Lines

The smaller the tile, the more grout lines you will have. Conversely, the larger the tile, the fewer grout lines. The more lines there are, the busier the room looks. Use this to your advantage – in a bathroom where there are sinks and toilets to go around, the smaller tiles will be beneficial and fit without making as many cuts. Small tiles with more grout lines are also good for grip, keep that in mind when selecting tile for the shower or outdoor patios. Large tiles in small rooms lead to needing to make several cuts to the tile for it to fit around objects. Something to keep in mind, the grout should be as close to the color of your tile as possible. By doing so, you will avoid turning your floor or walls into a giant grid.

Let’s Cut to the Chase

If you are still unsure of the right tile for your project, here are some general “rules of thumb” to get you in the right place. Use large tiles for living rooms, kitchens, and dining areas. Consider laying the tiles in a diagonal pattern rather than the standard method. Diagonal tiles make the space look larger.

Small tiles are great for smaller rooms or for making borders around larger tiles. Borders accent the room and create a more complex pattern. As mentioned, small tiles are better for areas that need extra grip like bathrooms and showers.

Once you have a general idea of the size of the tile you want, get some samples. It’s a good idea to see the actual tile in the room it is going to be in. You will be able to gauge better the size and how it will look in the space. It’s much easier to change your mind and go a different direction when there are only a few tiles in the room versus the floor being completely finished.

There are many benefits to creating your patio with stone tile. For starters, repairs and upkeep are much easier and cost much less than other materials do. Instead of spending a day or days fixing chips and cracks, with stone tile, we’re talking minutes or at most an hour to make quick repairs. No more wasting money constantly sealing or staining your patio. Here’s a guide to building your own patio with stone tile.

Gather Tools and Materials

You are going to be measuring, digging, and tamping. You will need a tape measure, a level, shovels, a hoe, and a pickaxe. You will also need to have a wheel barrel to transport the dirt you dig up, a tamp, and a broom. As for materials, pick out your stone tiles, a landscape cloth, and some sand. This is not the time to be frugal – buy a few more tiles than you think you will need. If you have some extra, they will be good to hang on to anyway for future repairs.

Start the Work

Mark off the area you want to make your patio and measure it. Measuring the area will assist you in cutting your landscape cloth to form a good fit. Before putting your shovel into the Earth, double-check that there are no plumbing lines or buried electrical cables where you will be digging. Once you confirm it’s all clear, pull your wheel barrel nearby and start digging. A good depth is at least six inches. Ensure you are past all vegetation. If you are still running into roots and plant matter, dig a little deeper. Lay your landscape cloth when finished digging to prevent weeds from growing under and through your patio.

Create a Level Base

Once your digging is complete, pack in the base. Do yourself a favor and rent an automatic tamp. It will make the job a little less physically exhausting and enable you to focus on the quality of the job, not how tired and hungry you are. Make sure the base is smooth and level. To help with drainage, you should create a 1/4 inch drop for every two feet of distance, that way the rain will run off the patio instead of soaking or creating puddles.

Lay Tiles and Finishing Touches

It’s time to lay the tile. Make sure they are as close together as possible. After the tile is down, go around the edges and shave off any pieces to create the even edge of your patio. You don’t want any corners sticking out, giving it a sloppy appearance. To complete your new patio, pour sand on top of the tile and fill the cracks. You want to get sand in between the tiles and overtop of them as to fill in any voids there may be. The sand will also assist with drainage. Once you have cleared the sand and packed the cracks, you are ready to start enjoying the result of your hard work!