The contractors have gone home, and your house is finally put back together after installing new stone flooring. Now the question is, what do I know about cleaning natural stone tile?
If you have natural stone in your house, you may be intimidated by the care of it. Since natural stone comes from natural materials, it does act differently than other hard floors. There are some things you should remember when cleaning and caring for your travertine, slate, granite, or marble.
Dirt is your number one enemy. Dirt, sand and dust grind under your shoes and into the floor, gradually “sanding” the protective finish off. Avoid this by putting rugs near all the doors, dust mopping the floor often, and keeping the floor clean in general.
Enemy number two with stone floors is staining. The porous nature of the stone causes it to absorb liquids like urine and red wine and to cause staining that is almost impossible to get out. Avoid this by mopping up messes as soon as possible after the spill.
After sweeping or dusting the floor, mopping helps get what was left behind. Using the cleaner you have chosen or a mild dish soap and warm water, mop your floor with a soft mop. Then, rinse the entire surface with water alone. Allow it to dry. Be careful, wet stone (especially granite and marble) is very slippery.
Look for the right cleaning agent. Some stone, like granite, slate, sandstone, quartzite, are SILICEOUS. Siliceous stone is very durable, and you can use a mildly acidic cleaner on it. Marble, travertine and limestone is CALCAREOUS. These stones are not as durable, and you should avoid any cleaner that is acidic. Check the bottle of any stone cleaner to see which stone types it is safest for, and consult with a professional to find the right cleaners for your floor type.
Get it re-sealed. Natural stone needs to be sealed before use, and that sealer can wear thin and get permeated by use. Once it wears off, your stone will start to get stained and scratched, sometimes beyond repair. Get your stone sealed every three years by a professional. The cost of this varies, but you can expect to pay about $1-2 per square foot. This will extend the life and beauty of your stone dramatically.
Get it repaired. Sometimes your flooring will become uneven or cracked. If there are cracks or unevenness in the tiles, dirt will collect and be hard to get rid of. Have a flooring contractor come and fix the damage as soon as possible after you notice the crack or raised tile.
Make sure it’s installed correctly. A bad install will lead to cracking and lifting tiles, which means excess dirt collection and eventually, the need to reinstall the entire floor. Avoid this costly repair by hiring the right contractor in the first place.
Caring for your stone floor takes a little research and some time, but if you do the work, you will enjoy your stone for years to come. It’s one of the most beautiful and durable flooring types in the world, and because it’s natural, it’s always one of a kind.
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