Care & Maintenance

The Importance of Cleaning

The secret to beautiful marble is merely keeping it clean. The cleaning and care of natural stone is different than that of ceramic or porcelain. Proper care of this porous material will allow for durability and beauty year after year. The daily removal of ordinary dirt and soil is a necessary step in caring for natural stone. Sweeping compounds containing oil must never be used on natural stone because they will eventually discolor the surface. Cleaners containing acid or bleach will scratch the surface and ruin natural stone; therefore neutral cleaners should be used. If floor is heavily trafficked it should be cleaned daily and rinsed with clean water until all traces of dirt solution are removed. Natural stone should then be allowed to dry.

Complicated cleaning agents and maintenance procedures will never be needed if the marble surfaces are regularly cleaned. When natural stone is neglected dirt and grease are allowed to accumulate, therefore the surface can be damaged almost beyond repair and cracks can be caused by general deterioration. Improper cleaning materials such as those containing alkali, acid metallic salts or other strong ingredients actually attach the natural stone itself and increase and enlarge dirt catching pores. Soap or abrasive type cleaners should never be used on marble surfaces. This type of cleaner reacts with the natural stone compound to build a soapy scum which destroys the beauty of natural stone and forms a greasy or slippery film that will catch or hold dirt. The use of an abrasive cleaner will result in unsightly scratches on the surface. Abrasive cleaners are almost impossible to remove by rinsing and normal foot traffic will grind the left over abrasive particles into the surface, thus ruining the floor. The ideal cleaner should be first of all, effective in removing soil. Secondly, it should not develop any damaging discoloration or surface film. It should be rinsed free even in hard water

Natural Stone Maintenance Procedures

The care and cleaning of natural stone is quite simple. If the proper procedures are followed, products will maintain their innate beauty and durability for a lifetime. To ensure the best service from natural stone, clean the product thoroughly after installation, and follow up with a regular maintenance program. Immediately after completing installation, wash the floor clean of loose debris, dirt and foreign material. Use clean, soft cloths, sponges or mops and fresh warm water. Allow to dry. A second rinse application may be required to remove any additional film. Apply a thin, even coat of sealer and allow it to dry for 3-5 minutes, removing excess sealer before it dries. If too much sealer is applied, it may be removed by re-applying the sealer to re-activate residue. Make sure to buff it off before it dries. Within 3-5 hours, the finished area can be used for normal foot traffic, but must be kept dry and free of staining agents for 72 hours. It is strongly recommended that the aforementioned procedures be completed immediately after installation and repeated in a regular maintenance program.

Natural Stone Maintenance Products

There are many natural stone maintenance products on the market that can be found in local home improvement stores, floor covering dealer showrooms, and online. Only cleaners designated for natural stone should be used. Products available for natural stone maintenance range from every day cleaning to heavy-duty cleaning and anything in between. Deep cleaners are used for heavy-duty cleaning. These products penetrate the stone to get any unwanted dirt or residue out without damaging it. Other products available include stain removers, etch removers, grout cleaners, polishes and color enhancers. Products may vary by manufacturer.

Natural Stone Sealers

All natural stone should be sealed prior to installation as well as incorporated in your maintenance plan. Because natural stone is porous, it is necessary to use a penetrating sealer. Such penetrating products fill the pits and voids and actually become an integral part of the floor itself. The primary purpose of sealing is to provide protection to the natural stone itself. Ordinary dirt and soil are sealed out of the floor as if all pits and voids have been filled and sealed. They are held on the surface where they can easily be removed. Natural stone floors properly sealed and finished are easy to clean and maintain. Marble floor should not be sealed until the surface is thoroughly cleaned and dried.

After installation, the entire application (grout included) should be sealed again, thus protecting both the stone and grout from color damage. Depending on the sealer, location and use, how often the area should be sealed may vary. It is very important to seal your natural stone to protect against dirt penetration and stains.

There are many different sealers available on the market. Penetrating/Impregnating sealers are generally used on all natural stone, however stone enhancers can be used if a richer color is preferred. Consult your manufacturer for specific product information and instructions.