Caring for Natural Stone Floors & Showers

by: Halsey Tile Co.

Natural stones, especially calcite based stones such as marble, travertine, limestone, and many slates, have a delicate chemical composition that may interact in negative ways with cleaning solutions that were not specifically formulated for the task. Once you know WHAT to use, all you have to do is follow some basic guidelines and your natural stone installation will give you years and years of beautiful service.

Routine Preventive Measures

  • DO Use coaster under drinking glasses, particularly those containing alcohol or citrus juices to avoid etching.
  • DO Dry marble surfaces completely. Marble is very prone to water spots, so it is a good idea to never let it air dry.
  • DON’T place hot objects directly on the stone surface. Use trivets or mats under hot items.
  • DON’T use cleaning products, unless the label specifies it is for natural stone. This includes glass cleaner to clean mirrors over a marble vanity top or a liquid toilet bowl cleaner when the toilet sits on a marble floor.

Treating Spills

Onyx top by Halsey Tile Co., in lake home built by Martin Bros. Contracting, Inc.Some spills will turn out to be detrimental to stone if unattended: orange juice, lemonade, wine, vinegar, liquors, tomato sauce, yogurt, salad dressing, perfume, aftershave, the wrong cleaning products and so on. Though a long list, most likely won’t damage “granite” and “green marble” surfaces (at least in the short run), but will ETCH polished marble, travertine, limestone, onyx, alabaster and many slates.

Therefore,

  • DO pick up/clean any spill as quickly as possible.
  • DON’T rub the spill, only blot.
  • DON’T use cleaning products on or near your natural stone unless the label specifies that it is safe for natural marble (cultured marble is man-made and is basically a plastic material). This includes glass cleaners to clean mirrors over a marble vanity top or a liquid toilet bowl cleaner when the toilet sets on a marble floor.

Floors

Blue slate floor by Halsey Tile Co. in lake home built by Martin Bros. Contracting, Inc.Invest in quality cleaning tools.

A cleaning chore – any cleaning chore is never a matter of a cleaning product only. The implements – cleaning rag, paper towel, scrubbing pad, squeegee, etc. are important considerations as well. A good quality mop and the proper mop bucket are critical to obtaining the best results when mopping your highly polished stone or porcelain floor.

Choosing the right cleaner is critical to maintaining the beauty of your natural stone flooring. Always use a pH neutral floor cleaner like Hillyard’s Super Shine-All, or other labeled pH neutral safe cleaners, for natural stone cleaning. Using soap or vinegar WILL damage your floor. Soap builds up over time and needs to be stripped properly, so it is best to just stay away from it. Vinegar is highly acidic and will ETCH your floor most times beyond repair.

We found that sponge mops are not the best choice for highly polished stone floors. A better choice is a good-sized, closed loop cotton string mop. However, the very best choice is a microfiber mop. It is a good idea to have at least a couple of mop-heads, so that when one is dirty, all you have to do is trow it in the wash and use another in the meantime.

To seal or not to seal.

Granite top by Halsey Tile Co., in lake home built by Martin Bros. Contracting, Inc.For porous stones like hone-finished limestone or certain mercantile granites, the application of a good quality impregnating sealer is recommended if the floor is installed in a room that has the possibility for accidental spills of staining agents (example: cooking oil, coffee, juice, makeup, lotion etc.).

The application of an impregnating seal to a highly polished marble and travertine, or polished high-density granite is not recommended.

  • DON’T damp mop your floor with commercial cleaner unless they specify pH neutral. Never mop with a vinegar solution.
  • DON’T use any cleanser in powdery or creamy form.
  • DON’T use any soap film remover such as TILEX SOAP SCUM or X14 SOAP SCUM on your polished stone shower or floors.
  • DON’T use any toilet bowl cleaners or vinegar to clean your toilets. Possible spills will eat holes in marble. Clean your bowl with a powder cleanser and spray disinfectant designed safe for natural stone. (MB does not recommend using a powder cleanser in a any toilet as it will scratch the surface. Please follow the toilet manufacturer’s recommendations when cleaning your toilet; only use cleaners that are marked safe on natural stone.)
  • DO clean showers daily with diluted solution of spray cleaner and squeegee.
  • DO use proper floor mats. The leather or rubber of shoes will not damage stone floors, but the dirt on them will. It is important to have good, not just “pretty” mats. Clean floor mats often.

Granite bar top installed by Halsey Tile Co. in lake home built by Martin Bros. Contracting, Inc.Martin Bros. Contracting, Inc. provides the above care instructions for our client’s that have had stone products installed by Halsey Tile Co. We recommend that all of our client’s follow care instructions provided by the installer (see your warranty binder). Thank you for using Martin Bros. Contracting, Inc. to build your new custom home.

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