Flooring is a key element to the look and feel of any environment, whether it is a private property or a commercial space. By adopting the right maintenance routine for your flooring, you’ll not only display a clean and professional image, but you’ll also prolong the life expectancy of your flooring, giving you maximum value for your investment. Here’s some guidelines to look after your honed flooring, whether of marble or limestone.
Honed limestone and marble have a smooth surface with little or no light reflection. It is an ideal flooring finish, which requires much less maintenance than a polished surface and also less likely to be slippery.
The concern is not so much to protect a shine, but rather to protect against infiltration of water, dirt, stains and slipping. Once this is achieved, maintenance is easier and the stone’s natural beauty is preserved. The following steps are based on general usage and can be adjusted in frequency to suit individual needs of each material and/or environment.
In all cases, avoid contact with any acidic substances, which will etch the surface and cause damage.
Step 1: Surface preparation
After installation the floor must be cleaned thoroughly to remove all grout films and construction dirt. This can be done using a stone-specific intensive cleaner/grout film remover available from many suppliers. It is important to follow the individual manufacturer’s instructions when carrying out this task.
Step 2: Protection
Once the stone is clean and dry, an impregnating sealer can be applied. This will protect the stone from water and dirt infiltration and facilitate cleaning. Again, the impregnator should be applied as per manufacturer’s instructions.
Step 3: On-going maintenance and protection
Depending on foot traffic and the stone installed, the frequency of the maintenance program should be adjusted to suit.
Internal – Sweep the floor to remove any dust and grit, which could scratch the stone. Mop the floor with a suitable stone soap diluted in water as directed by manufacturer. (This does not need to be done every day in a residential application).
External – Sweep the floor to remove any dust and grit, which could scratch stone. It is more difficult to ensure that dust and grit are removed completely from external flooring, but it is important to keep the floor as dust and grit free as possible, in order to reduce the risk damage. It is inevitable that foot traffic will wear the surface but this does not mean that a good cleaning regime cannot keep the flooring material in good order. As with the internal flooring, mopping the floor with a stone soap will remove dirt and protect the impregnated surface.
Internal – If required, the floor can be deep-cleaned using a slightly alkaline stone cleaner. This will remove heavy build-up of dirt and ensure the floor has a uniform finish. This can be done using a mop and bucket, but to remove heavy soiling a rotary scrubbing machine may be used with a suitable nylon cleaning pad. We advise that – if possible – a wet vacuum is used to remove the soiled water more efficiently than blotting with a mop.
External – The same deep-cleaning process can be carried out, as mentioned above. It is also possible to clean external paving using a pressure washer. However, care must be taken to ensure no damage is caused by this process as some commercial pressure washers can be very powerful and could cause damage to the surface of the stone. Always refer to professionals.
Not everyone knows that over-cleaning stone can have a negative effect to both its appearance and structure. It is therefore much more beneficial to use stone-specific products, which are kinder to the stone and adopt a regular cleaning regime to keep stone in good condition and prolong the need to carry out aggressive cleaning processes.
Over a prolonged period of time the impregnators used to protect the stone can become less affective. It is often a good idea to re-apply a coat of impregnator to the stone surface in order to ensure the stone is fully protected.
How long this product lasts and how often is to be re-applied depends on the type of material, the traffic and how well maintained the stone has been. In addition, the use of stone-specific cleaning products can help preserve the impregnator coat.
The products needed to maintain natural stone are available from many brands. We recommend Akemi, Lithofin and Fila.