Natural stone tiles are some of the world’s most popular design elements. With the ability to add refinement, luxury, and variation to space, natural stone tiles Brisbane are capable of transforming any project.
From classic marble to travertine, lime, slate, and more, natural stone surfaces are an incredible feature for residential and commercial spaces. The only caveat is that natural stone tiles require more maintenance than porcelain or ceramic options.
If you want your stone surfaces to look better for longer, we’re going to go over the cleaning procedure and what you should do if your tiles begin to look stained.
How Stone Tiles are Sealed
Natural stone tiles are some of the world’s most prized surfaces. Famed for their beauty and variation, there’s nothing quite like a natural stone when it comes to luxury designs. The only drawback to natural stone is the maintenance requirements.
The types of stone commonly used to make tiles – such as marble, travertine, and sandstone – are porous. That means they’re prone to staining, water damage, bacteria, and mold growth. To prevent this, modern stone tiles are typically sealed with one of two types of sealant:
- Surface sealants – These sealants are applied a little bit like a paint product, and they sit on the surface of the stone where they form a protective layer. Surface sealants often change the appearance of the stone to give it a satin or glossy look and bring out the stone’s natural details.
- Penetrative sealants – Penetrative sealing products seep into the pores of the stone. Once dry, the stone will look the same, but the pores will be filled and liquids, bacteria, and other growth won’t be able to penetrate the surface.
In addition to cleaning your tiles, natural stone surfaces also need to be resealed regularly. It’s recommended that you reseal your tiles every few years, depending on where they’re installed and how much they get used.
Procedure for Cleaning Natural Stone Surfaces
Regular cleaning is the most important part of maintaining your stone tiles. The general dirt and grit that builds up around the house are one of the biggest culprits in damaging stone surfaces. Natural stone floors should be cleaned once a week using the following instructions:
- Use a broom or a dust mop to remove dirt, dust, and grit from the floor. You can use a vacuum cleaner as long as it rolls smoothly. Dragging a vacuum cleaner across stone floors (especially if they have a polished finish) can cause scratches that are difficult to remove.
- Fill a bucket with warm water and a few drops of stone cleaning detergent. Dip your mop in the bucket and wring it out fully. Use the damp mop to clean the floor, and be sure to change the water regularly to avoid spreading the dirt around.
- Throw open your windows and doors and allow the tiles to dry quickly. Water can cause stains and damage as easily as other liquids, so never allow water to sit on top of your tiles. You can also use a soft towel to dry the floor as you go.
Avoid using conventional floor cleaners on natural stone. Conventional cleaners are often slightly acidic, which can do serious damage to your stone and the sealant that protects it.
Similarly, avoid using any products that contain caustic substances like vinegar or lemon juice. A dedicated stone cleaning product is your best bet when it comes to cleaning natural stone floors, walls, and benchtops.
How to Remove Stains from Stone Tiles
Natural stone surfaces are prone to staining. Even if you keep up with your maintenance and sealant schedule, you’ll probably find yourself dealing with a stain sooner or later.
When in doubt, the best way to clean natural stone tiles Brisbane is to engage a professional stone specialist. A specialist will have the right cleaning chemicals and tools to remove scratches, stains, and watermarks without damaging your tiles.
If you want to have a go at removing stains yourself, there are a few things you need to do:
- Immediately clean up any liquid that is spilled onto a stone surface
- Use warm water to flush the area
- Scrub with a soft brush and light pressure
- Dry the area with a soft towel
For stubborn stains or oil-based stains, you can use a drop or two of stone cleaner to help with the process. Repeat until the stone comes clean.
Serious stains will usually require some sort of scrubbing and caustic cleaner. A diluted ammonia solution will work on most types of stains, such as oil, rust marks, or organic stains.
Keep in mind that harsh cleaning of natural stone surfaces may remove the protective sealant layer. If that happens, you’ll need to properly remove and reapply the sealant to restore its protection.