Stone is unique. It will last you a lifetime, but it needs lots of TLC to do so.
That’s the advice of Vic LaRico, Stone Division Account Manager at Mid America Specialty Services.
Before coming aboard in 2018, Vic served as the owner of Stone Masters, which he bought in 1994. The company flourished under his leadership, becoming one of the few firms to win two Craftsmanship Awards from the American Institute of Architects.
Over the course of his career, Vic has amassed a wealth of detailed knowledge on marble, terrazzo, granite and other natural stone materials. Clients benefit from his expertise on a variety of projects, including state-of-the-art office buildings and historic landmarks.
Vic also creates intricate stone floor carvings for a number of facilities, which does not impact maintenance requirements, he says.
Unique Qualities of Stone
When asked to describe the most important thing facility managers should know about stone maintenance, Vic says it’s “teaching them that stone is a different type of hard surface.”
Its durability has made it an architectural staple for centuries. You can find it in everything from ancient monuments to 21st-century architectural masterpieces.
On the other hand, stone also comes with high maintenance requirements. Pollution and even using the wrong cleaner can erode the surface. Not only does this hurt the aesthetic quality of your building, but it also increases the risk of costly slip-and-fall accidents on stone floors.
For best results, managers must invest in professional stone refinishing, which often includes stripping away old coatings, diamond honing and application of up-to-date stone floor protection. Regular cleaning, polishing and burnishing help to maintain the floor after sealing.
Using the correct products and application techniques yields a more impressive appearance and higher traction for greater floor safety.
Different Types of Buildings
With over three decades of experience under his belt, Vic has discovered that every building has a different set of maintenance requirements.
From the early days of his career, he has done lots of work on Class A buildings. For these clients, refinishing often includes polishing the floor with a couple of grits.
His resume also includes an impressive array of historic restoration projects, including the recent renovation of the Cathedral Basilica in St. Louis, slated to wrap up by the end of 2019.
Historic projects often involve facilities that are 100 or more years old, and they usually contain materials that are no longer mined. Technicians must carefully select the correct products and application methods, in order to preserve the carbon and calcium in the stone. That means avoiding acidic products and using special types of diamonds and glazing for gentler polishing.
Vic understands the importance of staying on top of the latest technology to hit the market, an insight that informs his current role at Mid America Specialty Services.
The industry changes rapidly, so restoration and maintenance professionals can best serve clients by knowing how to apply advanced stone floor systems on a wide variety of properties.
As one example, Vic points to the recent introduction of Simix, a product that lowers maintenance costs and produces high shine for a variety of stone surfaces. It never needs to be stripped and contains titanium dioxide to kill germs and bacteria.
Mid America Specialty Services has utilized Simix on projects ranging from building exteriors to pool decks to stone floors, including the Cathedral Basilica project. Following restoration, Vic trains the building staff on how to maintain the newly-refinished assets.
Vic’s passion and dedication to excellence keep Mid America Specialty Services at the forefront of stone restoration and will continue to move the industry forward.