Tips on cleaning and restoring your natural stone
Cleaning or restoring natural stone is an art that should be practiced religiously.
Natural stone is unmatched when it comes to look, feel, and finish, and it’s with good reason. Stone is a gift from nature, a by-product of heat and pressure, coupled by the millions of years it takes for minerals to be pushed up from the earth’s core as it goes through phases of growth and erosion. As a result, quarries are formed and this is where natural stones are sourced.
Today, natural stone is a top choice for garden areas, patios, and walkways. As a flooring solution, natural stone is extremely durable and adds to home value. The use of natural stone brings nature to your backyard and walkways but they’re not maintenance-free. To keep your natural stone to look as fresh as the day it was installed it will require just a tad bit of maintenance and we will go over the best ways to keep your natural stone (granite, marble, travertine, limestone) in tip-top condition.
The Best Ways to clean and restore the Look of Natural Stone are as follow:
Cleaning your natural stone is the first step to bringing back its luster. We first recommend removing any loose debris before starting. Once the area is clear, inspect your stone for any visual signs of damage including stains, etchings, or cracked stone. Once done, use a few drops of neutral cleaner (available through us or your local stone care store) or a mixture of warm water mixed with a mild liquid soap. DO NOT use anything acidic such as lemon, vinegar on any marble or limestone. In addition, scouring powders, creams or harsh abrasive should not be used as well as wire brushes and wire wheels.
Use the detergent, wash the stones with a soft cloth making sure to consistently rinse the pad or cloth to remove accumulated dirt.
If during the inspection, or after cleaning, you notice scratches, light staining, or oxidation then a surface honing or resurfacing may be necessary. This process involves removing a very thin layer of the stone by way of diamond abrasives or sandpaper. In addition to light scratch removal, the process will also help eliminate etches from acid or heavy alkaline damage. In short, it’s similar to exfoliation for your floor.
When done properly, this time consuming should produce no dust, and the final step involves choosing the finish of your choice. Customers can opt for high-polish, a matte flat finish, a light sheen, or paint finish. To bring back a high-polish luster, the countertop needs to be polished. Consequently, both matte and high-polish finishes should be sealed. Untreated surfaces are more susceptible to water or acid damage.
After a thorough cleaning, or honing, applying a sealer will help tremendously. Without a sealer, the open pores of your stone will absorb stains and dirt like sponge. Sealers come in a variety of finishes including flat, satin and high-luster and it’s recommended that you apply sealer every 6 months if you want the best results.
You can also test the porosity of your stone by applying a drop of water on the stone after a honing has been done. Less porous stones will take time to absorb the water whereas a stone that is more porosity will soak up in a split second. If you want to know more about sealers you can click here. In that article we will discuss the differences between Surface Sealant, Penetrating Sealant and Impregnating Sealant.
If you simply don’t have the time, you can always contact one of our representatives to get a free estimate. Top Tile & Stone has been servicing residential and commercial applications from San Diego to Orange County.
The Do’s & Don’ts of Cleaning Natural Stone
DO keep you flooring clear of dirt and debris. Use of a leaf blower is good to get rid of dust and small particles.
DO clean surfaces regularly as an accumulation of old dirt and debris can become difficult to remove.
DO clean up spills and address stains immediately. If you let the stain sit, heat may make the stain more difficult to remove.
DO make sure to use sealers on a regular basis. This will help keep your natural stone protected and looking good.
DO NOT use any acidic cleaners such as vinegar, lemon, citric acid on any stones such as marble and limestone
DO NOT mix use hard abrasives, scouring pads or mix chemicals. The results can be disastrous if you are not experienced.