Three Mistakes That Can Damage Stone Floors
Natural stone flooring is a beautiful and durable addition to your home. If you have new flooring, chances are you will want to make sure it lasts a lifetime. By knowing the mistakes that are most likely to compromise your stone, you can take steps to avoid them.
#1: Using acidic cleaners
Acidic cleaners are the main cause of damage to natural stone floors. First and foremost, avoid any homemade concoctions that contain vinegar or similar mild household acids, since these can damage the finish of the stone or even etch the stone itself. Other cleansers that contain acid include lemon juice, some bathroom cleaners, some tile and grout cleaners, and concrete stain removers. If you are in doubt about the content of a cleaner, err on the side of caution and don't use it. Instead, only use products that are labeled for use on natural stone.
#2: Allowing grit to build up
Stone may be hard, but it isn't impervious to damage. Sand, grit, and other abrasives can be especially damaging as they wear down the stone over time. To protect stone from grit, place rugs to trap it in the most obvious areas, such as by entryways. Make sure to lift and shake out the rugs, as well as sweep beneath them, daily, otherwise grit trapped beneath the rug can behave like sandpaper on the stone. Also, get in the habit of sweeping or using a dust mop daily to cut down on the amount of grit that is tracked across the stone floors.
#3: Leaving spills to soak in
Although the surface seems solid, natural stone is actually a permeable material and moisture can soak in. A little bit of water isn't likely to cause damage, which is why damp mopping is a good way to keep it clean. The issue is when water is tracked in from outside, since rain and snow melt can contain chemicals or hard water minerals that can stain the stone. Spills, especially of dark colored beverages or acidic liquids, like lemonade, can also stain or etch the stone. Soak up liquids immediately with a white towel, placing weight on top the towel to help draw out the liquid. If a stain occurs, you can apply a stone poultice, available where stone care products are sold, on top of the stain to help draw it out of the stone.
For more help, talk to a natural stone dealer in your area.