Newly Installed Floors
The best thing to have done to a brand-new polished stone floor is to have it detailed by a professional stone refinisher. The detailing will involve deep-cleaning the floor (virtually square inch by square inch), removing all possible grout residue or film and adhesive, repairing possible factory flaws and opening the pores of the stone by using a specialty agent so that the stone can “breathe” and dry properly.
Should you decide not to have the floor detailed DON’T mop your floor immediately after installation and grouting. While you wouldn’t cause any real damage, the fine powder most likely left on the floor will be trapped in the water and may leave ugly and hard to remove streaks on the surface of the stone. For the first week or so, just vacuum and dust (dry) mop your floor as often as you can. You will know that it’s ready to be washed when your hand remains clean (no whitish powder) after rubbing it on the floor. Once the floor is ready for regular cleaning and maintenance, proceed to the next section (Newly Restored Floors). The same guidelines apply.
Newly Restored (Refinished Floors)
Mop your floor regularly. Don’t use just water; it won’t cut through soil and will leave streaks. For regular cleaning, use a no rinse pH neutral floor detergent (specifically rated for natural stone), diluted in water according to the proportions indicated by the manufacturer. Certain janitorial grade pH neutral detergents not formulated for natural stone may turn out to be detrimental to your stone- especially calcite based stones such as marble, travertine and limestone. For more heavy duty situations, pH neutral cleaners will not cut it; you will need to use a heavy duty alkaline cleaner specifically designed to be used on natural stones.
Don’t mop your floor using a solution of water and stone soap. Like any other soap, stone soap will leave a hard to remove deposit on the surface of the stone (soap film build up). This build up will lead to streaking and will need to be removed using a soap film remover.
Don’t mop your floor using a solution of water with a commercially available cleaner unless it’s label specifically indicates that it is safe to use on natural marble (cultured marble is not marble; it’s a man-made plastic material).
Don’t mop your floor using a solution of water and vinegar. That would be devastating to the finish of the marble, travertine, limestone or any other calcite based stone. Vinegar is not a real cleaning agent to begin with and is highly acidic.
If your floor is in a foyer or any other room with direct access to the outside, use proper floor mats. The leather or rubber of your shoes won’t damage your floor, but dirt will. Don’t look for pretty mats, look for good ones! Janitorial grade mats are the best; they come in different colors and most janitorial companies can custom cut them for you. Make sure to clean your mats regularly. When they become saturated with dirt they will need to be replaced; this will decrease the chances of dirt being tracked across your floor causing scratches and other wear and tear.
Following these simple guidelines for newly installed or newly refinished floors will help keep your natural stone looking pristine for years to come.
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