Natural stone tiles are one of our most popular products. These tiles aren’t manufactured but are quarried as slabs then cut into blocks, then further refined into the beautiful natural product that is laid in your home. While a natural stone floor or tiled bathroom makes a unique and eye-catching statement, it is important to know how to protect it from being damaged.
The tendency is to seal all stone tiles with an impregnating sealer shortly after they’ve been installed. While this is not always necessary, in areas of high traffic it is worthwhile considering as natural stone, and grout is porous and known for its tendency to absorb spills and stain. Usually, a clear sealer is used so as not to alter the appearance of the surface. This will ensure any spills remain on top of the sealer and are not absorbed into the stone. Most sealers, if maintained properly will last a few years, but will need to be reapplied periodically for best effect.
The general rule of thumb with cleaning natural stone tiles such as marble, granite or slate is not to use any cleaners with ammonia or bleach, abrasive cleaners or anything that contains acid, like vinegar and lemon juice. Abrasive cleaners will scratch the surface, and acidic cleaners will eat into the calcium in the stone and dull it – even if your tiles have been sealed these cleaners should be avoided. The best type of cleaner is one with a neutral pH tile product or mild liquid detergent.
Daily dry mop natural stone floors to keep the surface free of dust, sand, dirt and grit which can scratch floors. A non-slip mat placed inside and outside the entrance-way is recommended to help minimise these materials being tracked over the floor.
Weekly clean the natural stone by using a sponge or soft cloth, a pH-neutral tile cleaner or mild liquid detergent and warm water. Clean the floor in a circular motion and rinse the surface thoroughly. Dry the surface once clean and buff with a soft, dry towel to eliminate water spots.
If natural stone tiles have been laid in wet areas like the bathroom, soap scum can be eliminated by using a squeegee after using the shower. A non-acidic soap scum remover can also be used.
Natural stone is highly porous so will readily absorb liquids such as juice, soft drinks, coffee, tea and sauces. Even sealed stone tiles will stain if the liquid is left long enough.
If a spill occurs blot the liquid immediately with a paper towel. Don’t wipe it as it will spread the staining agent into the tile. Clean off the area straight away with a mild pH soap and warm water or tile cleaner. Dry thoroughly with a soft cloth, repeat as often as necessary.
If staining occurs then, a stain remover may be needed. These act as a poultice to draw out the stain from the pores of the stone. For heavy stains, several applications may be required.
For more information on natural stone tiles and the best tile cleaning products contact Why Not Tiles.