Cleaning and Maintenance of Marble and Limestone Floors and Worktops
How many times have you heard of someone who has been put off using natural stone in their bathroom or kitchen because they are worried about keeping it clean? Sadly, it's something we often hear but it's very easy to avoid problems.
With the right type of sealer applied correctly when the stone is first installed, maintenance really does become very straightforward.
It's all about using a suitable type of limestone or marble for the environment, having it installed by someone who really knows what they are doing and then applying the right type of sealer using the correct process. (The substrate has to be right - but that's the subject of another blog.)
Once the stone has been laid, it is important to clean off all the residues that are left on the stone from the cutting and finishing process at the quarry and the adhesives and grout from the installation. This is so that there is nothing on the surface to prevent the sealer from penetrating the stone.
The type of cleaner that is used should be suitable for the type of stone. Limestone and marble are acid sensitive and therefore a ph neutral detergent should be used to prevent damage to the stone surface.
Sealing Natural Stone:
The stone must be allowed to dry fully after cleaning so that the sealer is properly absorbed. This is where a lot of installations can go wrong.
The sealers that usually perform best are those that "impregnate" the stone and protect from within. If the stone is still damp when the sealer is applied, it means that moisture is taking up the space within the pores of the stone where the sealer needs to be. In other words, there is no room for the sealer. Bear in mind also that sealer repels moisture so if the moisture is already present in the stone when the sealer is applied, the sealer is repelled by the moisture - definitely not we want!
So the key thing is to make certain that the stone is perfectly dry before attempting to apply the sealer.
When it comes to routine cleaning, there are a few simple rules that should be followed to ensure a long trouble-free life for your new stone surfaces.
The first rule is don't use regular supermarket cleaners to clean natural stone. Most supermarket cleaners contain bleach or acid and will very quickly degrade either the surface of the stone or the sealer that has been carefully applied. The ideal is to use a ph neutral detergent such as Filacleaner.
Fairy liquid and other washing up liquids may be kind to your hands, if you believe the old TV adverts, but they are not kind to stone as they will etch the surface of polished and honed marble and limestone.
Please, please, please do not use bleach on any form of natural stone. This will rapidly degrade the sealer and damage the surface the stone. There is always a better alternative. Just call us on 0345 260 8070 or email via our web page if you need to. Our advice is free and willingly given.
One of the main causes of damage to limestone and marble is the use of Viacal and such products to remove limescale on kitchen worktops and bathroom vanity tops. Although these products have their place, they will quickly ruin marble and limestone surfaces. In short, don't use them anywhere near a natural stone surface. There are other options produced by Fila that will be be a much better solution.
Please visit our web page where you can download Fila's technical advice sheet on care and maintenance of natural stone surfaces.