Everyone loves to have natural stone in the homes and offices, as it brings natural beauty, greater utility, and values worth to your investment. Improved stone mining to supply scenario has made easy and quick availability of a variety of stones from any corner of the world. It resulted in tremendous consumption.
However, everyone is not tech-savvy and ready to take pains of reading about natural stones, their types, and based on it cleaning as well as maintenance requirements. To bring an essential awareness today, I am going to pinpoint some common mistakes we make while dealing with natural stones as an integral part of our home; hence, life.
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Let’s start with the basics first. The stone industry classifies dimension stones into two chief categories based on their content.
|Siliceous rocks, which are high in silica or sand content and sturdy, durable, and somewhat resistant to acidic pH as well as scratching from a cleaning and maintenance perspective. Quartzite, granite, sandstone, and slate are commonly used siliceous stones in our spaces.|
|Calcareous rocks, which are high in calcites or calcium compounds and beautiful, softer, and less immune to pH and scratching damages. Limestone, marble, and travertine are ideal calcareous stones.|
I hope such clarification of basics may help you to find out the right treatments, tools, and chemicals for each category of stones. Of course, I shall try to elaborate things further in the coming sections based on two major stone categories commonly used in the construction industry.
Lack of A Regular Cleaning Program
Dirt & dust, which usually comes with normal airflow, foot traffic, and pets or animals, moving on the stone surfaces. If these particles get wet, they can give birth to bacterial colonies, the anchor for viruses, molds, mildews, and tiny insects.
How to avoid it? The simplest thing is to have a regular cleaning program in place to manage and maintain the natural beauty and extend the lifespan of stones installed in your interior and exterior spaces. We are used to practicing dry and wet cleaning treatments in our spaces.
1. Dry Mop Cleaning
Dry cleaning of stone tiles is carried out with different tools, but dry mop is popular across the globe. Today, we have high-end technology to create microfiber filaments for mopping stones like sophisticated surfaces.
- Microfiber fringe yarn traps large particles of debris from corners and areas beneath the furniture easily, it can even penetrate grouts and natural groves in the surfaces, be it floor or walls.
- Microfiber face yarn pulls up the finer particles of dust and dirt to allow prolonged application at a time.
- You can fix the stick or handle it with the pad attached to the upper surface of the mop.
- Dry mopping is essential daily in highly used areas like living rooms, kitchens, baths, toilets, façade, front porches, paths, office spaces, and manufacturing units, as well as public places with high foot traffic.
- Rests of low-usage areas you can go alternate days or more based on usage and dusting intensity in your locality.
2. Wet Cleaning
Once you have accomplished the basic job of dry cleaning attentively, the next step is to remove the oily substances, chemicals, and minerals deposited by the drying up the process of water-based liquids.
It certainly demands the application of plain water and cleaning solutions in scientific ways. Here, the role of wet mopping begins. The best application frequency for wet mopping is alternate days for high-usage areas, while once in a week is enough for low foot traffic areas.
3. Lack of Prompt Actions
Sometimes, delays in the removal of hazardous substances and chemicals can slight to severely damaging stone surfaces.
Wipe of Spills Immediately
Siliceous stones are more resistant to staining than calcareous stones. However, any delay can damage the delicate sealing or protective cover and top layer of the stone surface when spills occur. Thereby, quick action is expected to remove the spills as soon as it occurs.
Use Rug on Friction-prone Areas
Some high traffic areas are more prone to dusting and dirt than less used spaces in homes and offices. Many sand-like coarse particles stick with shoes, and soles of feet of people using those spaces.
Frequent rubbing of these coarse particles on stone surfaces can leave minute damages and exhibiting wear & tear impacts in the long run.
Thus, experts are suggesting some preventive measures to stop wears more. It is mats/carpets/rugs of different types, which can absorb dust and dirt right from the bottom of shoes or feet of moving humans on it.
Similarly, metallic or wooden bottom surfaces of furniture, which are attached to the top of the stone surfaces on the floors, are creating scratches with each unexpected drag. Here, rug or rubber buffers can help us to save from the damages.
Improper Cleaning Tools for Natural Stone Surfaces
Today, we have a variety of cleaning tools to accomplish the job of cleaning stones on a personal basis or by professionals. If these tools are not designed properly to meet the cleaning aspects of your stones according to stone types, the chances of damages increase more than we anticipate.
4. Abrasive Manual Cleaning Tools
We are used to clean natural stones regularly with wet or dry mops, clothes, or specifically designed dusters or sponges. The selection of manual cleaners becomes vital when a delicate sealing layer or beautifully finished surfaces are in question.
Many abrasive tools like metal wire sponge or hard metallic wool fabrics can damage the delicate surfaces of stones. Therefore, avoid those tools and use soft cloths, woolen, or sponge-based tools to clean the stone tile surfaces, be it dry cleaning or wet applications.
5. Damaged/Aged Automated Cleaning Tools
Fortunately, we have automated cleaning and mopping instruments like vacuum cleaner available to speed up the cleaning and washing processes with water and mixtures of cleaning solutions.
However, everyone does not have a new or fresh piece of equipment to work. Overtime, some damages or aging occurs to those parts which are directly encountering the stone surfaces while cleaning. That worn equipment can damage your stone surfaces mild to severely. Check the status of such automated instruments before the beginning of stone cleaning.
6. Inappropriate Cleaning Solutions
In general practices, we use soap solutions, detergents, vinegar, and oil-based cleansers prepared in homes or handy in retail stores in the vicinity. Unfortunately, we are devoid of scientific knowledge of stone cleaning solutions and applications on different types of stones.
For instance, siliceous stones can bear slight variations in the pH of the cleaning solutions, but calcareous stones give a sharp reaction to it. Siliceous stones are less porous, while calcareous are high in porosity.
In such conditions, expert advice has high value and may prove beneficial in the long run. You can ask your natural stone consultants regarding cleaning solutions and methods of applications before you buy the stone products. Otherwise, you can take professional cleaning services to get the best out of their experiences and expertise.
7. Lack of A Regular Sealing Program
Most natural stones are prone to corrosion and staining by natural and human-originated factors. Moreover, the porous surfaces of stones act as sponges. Thanks to capillary actions, stones can absorb, more or less amount of water, vapor, and liquids within its mass. It acts as the solvents for many minerals and chemicals within the mass. Eventually, such actions result in weakening stone strength and capacities.
It means we have to prevent seeping of liquids with stones, and some chemical sealants are excellent for it. There are three kinds of sealants used in practice.
- Topical sealers – on the surface
- Penetrating sealers – within the mass
- Impregnating sealers – modifying molecules
You can use appropriate kinds of stone sealers based on the expert advice for your stone types. Some sealing programs require annual applications, while some are quarterly.
Where is helping hand?
Yes, mistakes are many and out of scopes to go in detail. Therefore, you must have some helping hands to educate you, provide solutions, and give contacts of dependent professional natural stone cleaning services in your locality. It is World of Stones USA where you can get professional stone consulting services. They can help you make the right choice of stones and give guidance for cleaning in all aspects described in the current post.