Without a doubt natural stone is the most beautifully unique flooring anyone could wish for in their home but it is not without its disadvantages. Find out more about how to care for your natural stone floor so it never loses its original beauty and lustre.
Natural stone floor tiles can be used in almost any room in the house; they are hard-wearing and have a beautiful, unique quality that cannot be matched by ceramic or porcelain tiles. There is no denying that they are expensive, even though technological advances in the processes required to transform the natural rock slabs into tiles have made them more cost-effective, but they are an investment. The quality of natural stone is instantly recognisable and will almost certainly add to the value of your home but perhaps the one disadvantage of this beautiful, natural product is that it requires regular maintenance to preserve its beauty.
It is not difficult to care for natural stone tiling but it is important to know how to do this and to avoid using some of the modern cleaning products that might damage or stain your floor and to protect it from physical damage caused by carelessness.
Serious damage can be caused to a stone surface by the dirt and grit carried into the house on people’s shoes and boots so if you have a stone tiled hallway then ensure you have a mat both inside and outside the external door so that the worst of the dirt is removed before it reaches the stone floor. If the floor has become dirty then use a vacuum cleaner to remove the dirt particles, taking care to use a vacuum attachment that will not scratch the stone. Then simply use a wet mop to remove any marks that are left.
Avoid using harsh cleaning fluids (particularly ammonia-based ones) that might stain the tiles or leave a residue that will build up over time and dull the beauty of the natural stone. Also avoid harsh scourer cloths that will scratch the surface of the tiles. There will be times when water alone will not remove sticky residue or spillages but when your floor needs something more than water and elbow-grease use a special natural stone floor cleaner. Tile manufacturers and suppliers will often recommend a particular cleaning product for certain types of stone tiles. But remember that not all natural stone tiles are the same – some are more porous than others and some (such as marble) are far more prone to stains so be certain to use the correct product for the type of stone tiles you have.
But prevention is always better than a cure: protect the floor tiles in areas of particularly heavy traffic with the use of mats or rugs and use stick-on felt pads for the legs of chairs and tables that might be dragged across the floor and scratch the surface. Wipe up any spillages as soon as you notice them – even something as innocuous as lemon juice can stain marble or limestone tiles, for example. Even though almost colourless, the acid in lemon juice (and also lime juice) reacts with the marble or limestone to create calcium citrate, which dissolves the surface of the stone leaving a permanent mark. If the damage is not too great there are professional renovation cream products that can help to remove the marks from tiles. And last but not least, always ensure your natural stone floor tiles are sealed when first laid and that the sealant is reapplied at intervals as recommended by the tile manufacturer.