Just Tile It

Raleigh,NC

(919) 616-5844

Stone Maintenance

RULE #1 - If In Doubt, Don't Apply Any Cleaner
Or Cleaning Technique

Some mistakes can be irreversible, always check labels on the product you are thinking of using and test an inconspicuous area first to see what effects, if any, your cleaning process will have.

Tips: "A lot of people think because it’s stone, it is impossible to damage it! Nothing could be further from the truth. Stone has many potential weaknesses, but once it has been properly protected and maintained the beauty is unparalleled."

Best method for cleaning stone:

Note: The first step in stone tile maintenance is the sealing of the stone.  Generally, all stone must be sealed. Follow the Manufacturers recommendations for the product you choose.

Know hat the surface preparation (polished, honed, or natural) coupled with the density and porosity of the stone will determine the best type (petroleum or water based) of sealer to be used. The other consideration is that you use the best product the budget will allow.

Everyday cleaning:

Immediately wipe up spills and messes. Use pH balanced cleaners and soap less detergents for daily cleaning. Mild dishwashing liquid sometimes works quite well on stone surfaces.

Again, it is very important to rinse the tile and grout thoroughly to remove any remaining cleaner. 

Agitate grout joints with a soft bristled brush to loosen debris. Thoroughly rinse, dry, and polish cleaned areas.

Acidic cleaners will etch and remove the polished surfaces from alkaline stones like marble, travertine, and sandstone.

Acidic cleaners will eventually erode the grout in the joints making cleaning and maintenance more and more problematic. This is especially true if using acid cleaners on sanded grout installations.

This is due to the tendency of acid cleaners to eat away at the smaller aggregates first leaving the larger stain attracting aggregates behind.

Colored grout pigment can be permanently damaged by using acidic cleaners. This is especially true if used on a daily basis.

Heavy duty cleaning:

Again try to solve the heavy duty cleaning needs with pH balanced cleaners. These can include scouring cleaners and poultices manufactured for this purpose. Be sure to take advantage of a soft bristled brush to agitate the cleaners in the grout joints. 

Again test an inconspicuous area with any abrasive powder to evaluate if it will adversely affect the finish of the stone.

A good practice is to allow the cleaner to rest upon the surface to gain the full potential of the cleaner.

If these results are not acceptable, then proceed to the more aggressive high alkaline "heavy duty" or "deep clean" type cleaners available from good Manufacturers.

Commercial floor buffers or cleaning machines are perfectly suited to large areas of tile and grout. The biggest question here is the selection of the cleaning solution.

Again, it is very important to rinse the tile and grout thoroughly to remove any remaining cleaner. 

If the result are not satisfactory using the PH balanced cleaners, it may be necessary to use a acidic solution to solve a particular problem.

Acidic cleaners will etch and remove the polished surfaces from alkaline stones like marble, travertine, and sandstone.

Sulfamic and phosphoric acids are the safest and most used acids used in solving tile and grout cleaning problems. These two acids have very specific mixing and application recommendations that must be followed to the letter.

Regardless, thoroughly rinse the cleaned area, dry, and polish.

Other cleaning information for stone:

 

  • Most stones, once protected, require occasional scrubbing to remove surface build-up of dirt and grime. Using a neutral cleaner, mop or scrub on cleaner as directed, rinse if necessary. Towel drying after rinsing removes streaks.                            
  • On some types of stone tiles, you can apply coatings to produce a "wear layer" or "sacrificial coating", but this may change the look of the tile and may sometimes require more maintenance to maintain the beauty of the floor.                            
  • On honed (smooth but not polished) or slate (rough) finish stones, a good scrubbing is required more often, due to the texture of the product holding the dirt to the surface. A good penetrating sealer cuts down on the frequency of this task. The beauty of these finishes are in their texture or matte appearance. Most stones will be easy enough to maintain with a high quality sealer and regular maintenance.                            
  • With all stones, establish what sealer to use or has been used previously, and then work within the Manufacturer's guidelines to set up a regular maintenance schedule.                            
  • For stains on marble or stone, a product commonly referred to as "poultice" should be used. Poultice is used in a paste form and is applied to the surface, covering the entire area where the stain is. Then apply a piece of plastic, larger than the stain area, over the poultice and seal off with tape. Allow it to set the prescribed amount of time by the Manufacturer and remove plastic and poultice. The stain is normally drawn out of the stone. Some poultice type products push the stain down into the stone away from the surface of the stone and allow you to seal the stone, thus keeping the stain away from the surface. Each product has the ability to save your floor from an unsightly stain. Follow directions as always and you should be pleased with the results. Some stains may require multiple applications or can only be partially removed.                            
  • Polishing stones to make attractive edges or to fix damage done by chemicals can be done in small areas by most anyone. Kits are available which have all the products to do this in one box. If you have a large area that is damaged or if you want to establish a once-a-year regular maintenance procedure to keep your marble glowing with it's original mirror finish, contact a company that specializes in this type of work.

Search the Links database for cleaners and sealers to find products by manufacturer.

 

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