Maintaining your Natural Stone
In a way, Mother Nature has taken care of your natural stone flooring for millions of years. Now it’s your turn.
In this section we’ve outlined what you need to know about caring for your beautiful natural stone today and maintaining its timeless look for many tomorrows.
Plus, knowing what’s expected of you regarding upkeep can be a determining factor in which type of natural flooring you choose to buy.
To keep natural stone clean, fight dirty.
Sand, dirt and grit do the most damage to natural stone surfaces due to their abrasiveness.
Floors should be dust mopped frequently using a clean, non-treated dry dust mop or broom. A “Swiffer” type dry mop is fine, but stay away from the “wet” attachments, as the chemicals in them can damage natural stone.
A vacuum cleaner can be very helpful, especially on textured floors, but it needs to be in good condition and have no beater bar, to avoid scratching your beautiful floor. Keep in mind many vacuums send dust into the air, only to be deposited somewhere else. Vacuum cleaner attachments are also useful for hard to reach areas.
With all of the abrasive dust we have to contend with here in the Arizona desert, be sure to use walk-off mats or area rugs on either side of exterior entrances to minimize and contain dirt being tracked in at entryways. Shake them often. Make sure that the underside of the mat or rug has a non-slip surface.
Damp mopping your natural stone floor will help keep it looking beautiful for life. We recommend Modern Stone Technologies “Balance”- a super concentrated phosphate free cleaner formulated for everyday use.
Be sure to rinse the floor thoroughly and dry the surface with a soft, clean cloth. Too much cleaner or soap may leave a film and cause streaks. Change your rinse water frequently. If you can’t see the bottom of the mop bucket, it’s time to change it. Do not use products that contain lemon juice, vinegar or other acids on any calcitic stones like marble, limestone or travertine. An easy word association is “Anything calcitic should not be cleaned with anything that is acidic.” Always consult one of the professionals at Monterrey Tile with any specific question.
You should avoid using products that contain abrasive cleaners, cleansers (dry or soft) or any ammonia-based cleaners on any stone. These products will dull its luster.
Also, never ever use retail grout cleaners, scouring powders or bathroom tub and tile cleaners on your stone.
And for heaven’s sake please don't mix bleach and ammonia; this combination creates chloramine gas which is toxic and lethal.
To remove algae or moss from your stone in outdoor pool, patio or hot tub areas, flush with clear water and use a mild bleach solution.
Finally, note the following.
Once the tile has been laid and grouted, it’s your responsibility to maintain areas exposed to water by caulking the areas where two planes intersect: wall to floor and around cabinet kick plate and floor.
Take care when moving heavy objects across your stone floor to avoid scratching or chipping.
Cover furniture and table legs with protectors to guard your floor against damage.
Each stone has its own level of porosity that makes some stone floors more susceptible to staining than others, even from tile to tile within the particular stone.
A few words of caution regarding sealers: There is no such thing as “bullet proof”, and all we can expect the sealers to do is slow down the staining process. If you spill hot coffee or hot oil on your stone and leave it; it will discolor. The purpose of sealers is to buy you some time to clean up the issue.
Sealing your stone is cheap insurance to keep the area looking wonderful for years to come. There are two general types of sealers on the market; water based and silicone based. The difference between the two is their molecule size. Silicone is smaller, so it penetrates deeper.
Silicone is the recommended sealer for granite countertops, showers and areas that will receive a lot of use.We recommend Modern Stone Technologies “Tech Seal” for such applications.Tech Seal is a premium solvent based natural look sealer formulated to provide maximum protection and excellent oil and water repellency.Tech Seal can be used on marble, limestone, travertine, granite, concrete, Saltillo and grout with little or no color change.
We recommend Modern Stone Technologies “Max Guard” water based sealer for the DIY that is sealing your whole floor.Max Guard has all of the same characteristics as “Tech Seal”, just without the strong silicone odor.For most residential stone floors the water based sealer will last for many years.
A natural stone floor is a work of wonder that needs a little work from you.
But time spent caring for it will help maintain its classic beauty and unique personality for years to come.