Natural stone tiles have become quite popular in recent years and are no longer the priority of the wealthy. It is quite common now to have a white marble kitchen top, grey granite floor tiles or antique travertine bathroom walls. Natural stone is a symbol of longevity and durability, however it is also a gentle material that deserves proper care and maintenance in order to reward you with its excellent qualities. The good news is that it is not difficult to clean your natural stone tiles especially if you follow these 5 simple tips given below.
Get to know your stone
In order to be able to take proper care of your natural stone you should know a few details about its origin and qualities. The stones can be divided into two main categories depending on their composition – siliceous and calcareous. The first group are sedimentary rocks that consist mainly of silicon dioxide (SiO2) in the form of quartz or quartz-like particles and silica. These stones are quite popular and include granite, sandstone, quartzite, slate, bluestone and brownstone that are used both as interior and exterior tiles. Siliceous stones are more durable and are resistant to acidic fluids, hence granite is one of the preferred stones for countertop since some juice or vinegar spills won’t ruin it. Calcareous stones, on the other hand, are more delicate and sensitive. They are composed of calcium carbonate that is found in shells or pearls and to this group belong the well-known marble, onyx, limestone and travertine. Another important feature of natural stone is their porosity, i.e. the ability to absorb water. The more porous the stone is the more prone it is to stain and to freeze in harsh conditions if used outside. according to this quality the stones that are usually used rank as follows: sandstone is the most porous, travertine, limestone and slate follow it, marble is next and granite is the least porous of all.
Choose the appropriate finish
There is not only a variety of natural stone tiles to choose from but also an array of different finishes and surfaces that enhance one or another quality of the stone. Some of the most popular finishes are polished, honed, tumbled, and antiqued.
- The polished finish gives the surface gloss and shine and makes it reflective similar to a mirror. It is often used for marble, granite and travertine but can be applied to other stones as well. The advantage of this finish is that it enhances the color of the stone but also makes the surface quite slippery, so it is not recommendable for floors.
- The honed finish makes the stone look smooth and matted, while preserving its color. The surface has a lighter shade and is not so shine and reflective. The finishing can be applied to almost all stones and is very suitable for tiles that have to withstand high wear and tear, such as floors.
- The tumbled finish of a stone makes it look aged and as if walked on for years. It is an ideal finish if you want to give your home the unique atmosphere of the ancient times. You can have marble or travertine tiles with this finishing and use them both for walls and floors in the kitchen or bathroom
- The antiqued finish is also very popular type of surface since in addition to giving the stone a worn look it also stimulates its further aging and makes it more durable. It is a popular finish for a variety of stones, including limestone, marble, granite and travertine.
You can consult the natural stone tiles manufacturer for the best finishing of your stone in accordance with its purpose.
Always seal your stone
The most important advice you should follow is to always seal your natural stone tiles, no matter what type of stone you use or what its finish is. The sealer protects the stone from scratching and stains and enhances its life span. Always choose a sealer that is recommended for your specific stone tiles.
Take daily care
The proper regular care of natural stone tiles is of extreme importance. Both countertops and floors covered with such tiles can be cleaned with mild dishwasher detergent or soap stone and warm water. All food or liquid spills should be swiped immediately to prevent the stone from staining. In order to protect the kitchen tops always use mats under hot surfaces and avoid cutting directly on them as you can scratch them. As for the floors it is good to always vacuum bigger debris and sand particles before mopping and washing them. You can also place doormats or area rugs to protect place that are subject to high traffic.
Remove stains properly
No matter how good we take care of our natural stone tiles they will get an occasional stain or two. If you use the right techniques to clean them, there is nothing to worry about. First you need to identify if the stain is organic (from tea, coffee, food, etc.), oil, rust or other and then proceed accordingly. Organic stains can be cleaned using 12% hydrogen peroxide (hair bleaching strength) and a few drops of ammonia. Oil stains are better cleaned with a poultice with acetone, ammonia or mild household detergent, while rust is best treated with a commercial rust remover.
Observe these 5 recommendations and the natural stone tiles that you have will serve you very long time, while looking as good as when first installed.