Stone Maintenance

Maintenance of Interior Stone

Polished-finish stone has a glossy surface that reflects light and emphasizes the color and marking of the material. It is used in interiors as wall veneer, furniture and desk tops, counter and lavatory tops, tables, and tiles for commercial and residential installations.

Honed-finish stone has a satin-smooth surface with relatively little light reflection. It is generally preferred for floors, treads, thresholds, and other pedestrian traffic locations where heavy traffic would wear off a polished finish.

Normal Maintenance. All stone flooring should be dust mopped as necessary to remove debris and dirt. A dry, untreated dust mop should be used. Normal maintenance involves periodic washing with clean, potable water and neutral (pH 7) cleaners. Soapless cleaners are preferred because they minimize streaks and film. Mild, phosphate-free, biodegradable liquid dishwashing soaps or powders or stone soaps are acceptable if rinsing is thorough.

Wet the stone surfaces with clean water. Using the cleaner solution (following Manufacturer’s directions), wash in small, overlapping sweeps. Work from the bottom up if it is a vertical surface. Rinse thoroughly with clean, potable water to remove all traces of soap or cleaner solution. Change the water in the rinse pail frequently. Dry with soft cloth and allow to thoroughly air dry. Alternatively, employ the use of a wet vacuum to extract contaminants. In commercial applications with high traffic levels, the use of an automatic scrubber fitted with a disc-type brush system and continuous extraction is generally the most effective method.

Safety Precautions. Any flooring surface, regardless of how it is finished, can be slippery when wet. Promptly remove liquids or foreign materials that might result in safety hazards before permitting pedestrian traffic.

For honed finishes, a neutral (pH7), mildly abrasive cleaner may be used. Use only according to Manufacturer’s directions.

For counter or table tops, use coasters under all glasses, particularly those containing alcohol or citrus juices. Many common foods, drinks, and cosmetics contain acids that will etch or dull the surface of many stones. Use trivets or mats under hot dishes and place mats under china, ceramics, silver, or other objects that can scratch the surface. Blot spills with a paper towel or cloth as they occur or as soon a possible thereafter. Clean regularly with a neutral cleaner that does not contain solvents.

In food preparation areas, the stone may need to have an impregnator or topical sealer applied. If an impregnator or topical sealer is applied, it must be nontoxic and safe for use on food preparation surfaces.

Never use any acidic cleaner or chemical on marble or limestone surfaces. It is best to use a cleaner specifically formulated for stone cleaning.

New equipment is continually being developed (e.g. integral pressurized water within vacuum systems) to clean stone flooring surfaces. Contact your MIA member company for advice on the best practices to maintain your stone.

Source: Marble Institute of America – Cleaning and Maintenance