The way you care for your stone flooring depends on the type of stone and the current condition of the stone.
Types of Stone
There are two general classifications of stone, Siliceous Stone and Calcareous Stone.
Siliceous Stone is composed mainly from silica or quartz-like particles. This type of stone is very durable and is the easiest to clean using mild acidic solutions. Examples of this kind of stone include: granite, slate, quartzite, brownstone, and bluestone.
Calcareous Stone is composed mainly from calcium carbonate. It is sensitive to acidic products and requires different cleaning procedures than siliceous stone. Examples of this kind of stone include: Marble, travertine, limestone, and onyx
If you are unsure about what type of stone flooring you have, consult a professional. Professional suppliers, installer or restoration specialists will be able help you identify the type of stone you are dealing with.
Assess the Stone’s Current Condition
There are several suggested questions to use when assessing the condition of your stone. These include:
Are the tiles flat and even?
If your floor is uneven, it may need to by ground flat, honed, and then polished.
Are there any cracked tiles?
Dirt and debris accumulates in cracked tiles, you may need to get crack tiles replaces or filled in.
Is there evidence of staining? What type?
To find the right stain removing technique, you need to identify the type of stain (organic, oil-based, etc.).
Guidelines for stain removal:
- Remove loose debris.
- Blot spills; wiping will spread the spill.
- Flush with plain water and mild soap. Rinse several times.
- Dry thoroughly with a cloth
- Repeat previous steps if necessary
- If the stain persists use stain-removing poultices.
- If the stain still persists, consult a professional.
Cleaning Do’s and Don’ts
Do dust mop floors frequently.
Do clean surfaces with mild detergent or stone soap.
Do thoroughly rinse and dry the surface with clean, clear water after washing.
Do blot up spills immediately.
Do protect floor surfaces with non-slip mats or area rugs and countertop surfaces with coasters, trivets, or placemats.
Don’t use vinegar, lemon juice, or other cleaners containing acids on marble, limestone, travertine, or onyx surfaces.
Don’t use cleaners that contain acid such as bathroom cleaners, grout cleaners, or tub & tile cleaners.
Don’t use abrasive cleaners such as dry cleansers or soft cleansers.
Don’t mix bleach and ammonia; this combination creates a toxic and lethal gas.
Don’t ever mix chemicals together unless directions specifically instruct you to do so.
Don’t use vacuum cleaners that are worn. The metal or plastic attachments or the wheels may scratch the stone’s surface.
Daily Cleaning Procedures for Your Stone Floor
Dust and mop your floor very often and use a clean, not treated dry dust mop. Sand, dirt, and grit do the most damage to natural stone surfaces due to their abrasiveness. Use mats or rugs at entrances to minimise sand, grit and dirt damaging the floor.
Regular maintenance consists of washing with clean potable water with a neutral cleaner (ph7). Soap free cleaners minimise streaks and film so are preferred.
Wet your stone surface with clean water. Then use your cleaning solution to wash in small overlapping sweeps. Then rinse thoroughly with clean water to remove soap and cleaning solution. Keep rinsing until all solution has dissipated then dry with a soft cloth and allow to air dry.
All this information was collected from the Marble institute of America. For information on sealing your stone and aspects of staining and cleaning other areas of stone, visit the Marble Institute of America.