best shoes for walking on concrete floors all day – Stone floors are extremely popular, and they have been for many decades. The huge range of colors and colors, the durability, practicality and comparative simplicity of maintenance, and their prosperity in nature has made them a continuing choice of flooring material down the centuries. But they are not indestructible, they are easy to look after and preserve but there are a number of pitfalls to avoid.
1. Lack of Dust Mats
The number 1 enemy of all floors, not just stone, is grit. If I were to take two diamonds (the hardest known all-natural material) and rub them against each other, guess what, they will possibly wear. Every-day grit, carried in on shoes can contain all kinds of minerals such as quartz. Walking this on your floor will quickly dull and scratch its surface. The solution would be to remove self indulgent, any way you can and among the best ways would be to place a dust-collecting mat away from the door. Should you add another just inside you are giving your floor a far greater probability of avoiding harmful grit.
2. Walking in your Stone Floor with Out-Door Shoes
This is related to the initial point of course. In case you have a fancy polished wood floor, or an expensive rug, I wager you take your shoes off right? We all tend to automatically understand how to be careful on other flooring materials and treat them with the respect they deserve. Well stone is no different, it requires love and respect also. Take your shoes off and put your slippers on, that way you cannot carry harmful grit on the floor.
Some people just appear to need to wash their floor to departure. The more you clean with powerful detergents and don’t rinse efficiently, (see point #6), the greater possibility of leaving residues that produce the floor look dull and dead. Most often, all that’s needed is a few regular dry cleaning or sweeping, using a soft brush or micro-fibre floor duster and/or vacuuming. This may also help keep grit off the floor.
4. Not replying to Spills and Accidents right away
Somehow, we tend to treat hard stone floors differently to say wood or carpeting. If, for example, we have a very costly carpet and we spill something about it, like a glass of wine for instance, would we sit and watch it become a blot? I really don’t think so. Even if this rug has some kind of stain protection on it, we know that it is only going to buy us a few ‘time to react’, so we rush off to the kitchen for the towels.
Well guess what, supplying ‘reaction time’ is all sealers do for stone. Exactly enjoy the carpet, if we spill something we should absorb it up straight away, especially if it’s something like wine or some other liquid liquid. We don’t spill ‘stains’ we spill contaminants, it’s when we depart the contaminant for a length of time to penetrate the stone, that they become spots. If the floor is sealed using a great sealer, we just get a little more reaction time. Many spots would be avoided by caring for spills and injuries as the happen.
5. Wrong choice of cleaner for routine cleaning
It’s all too easy to buy an off the shelf floor cleaner out of the super markets. But the majority of them are powerful de-greasers, higher ph cleaners meant to wash very grubby floors. Furthermore, there’s a natural human inclination to ignore instructions and make it extra powerful, if it says add one capful a bucket, just how many people have inserted another one just for luck? There are causes of these instructions and dilution rates but much more significant, there’s absolutely no requirement to use such chemicals for every day or weekly cleanup.
When the floor does require a fast wash (and if we take note of the initial 4 points then this may not have to be too often) no problem, we just need to be certain to use a neutral cleaner, that’s one with a ph value of about 7 to 8. There are loads of them on the market, all designed to clean gently without a harmful influence on the floor or onto any sealer or finish that may be applied.
6. Just carrying on using the same old routine
Every now and then, the floor requires a little intensive care. This is the opportunity to use those high alkaline cleaners. However, try to use one that is designed for stone instead of simply reaching for the cheapest supermarket brand (we’re only doing this once or twice a year therefore no need to penny-pinch).
The key word here is dwell time – those cleaners will need to get left on the floor for a time period – 5 to 15 minutes on average. The greatest mistake people make this would be to just mop the floor using the large ph detergent. Ignore dwell time and you waste your time and effort. The cleansers require time to work. They then ought to get agitated, or scrubbed, remember we are not doing so every week, just a few times a year so we can afford the opportunity to do it properly. Notice, this kind of cleaner might have an effect on any sealer used, so check first; you might need to top the dyes up afterwords.
7. Not Rinsing the floor after washing
It isn’t important how much effort we put into cleanup, nor how powerful the cleaning-chemical, if we depart dirty water lying around the floor, when it dries, we will have residues. Consider what we have just done: we place a solid chemical on the floor; we allow it to sit (dwell time) so it has started to break down the ingrained dirt; we scrubbed – to loosen more dirt and permit the cleaner to penetrate deeper.
Then what tends to happen is that we push all of this around with a mop, occasionally rinse the mop in plain water that by today has long since stopped being clean or fresh, and we place the only partly cleaned mop, back on the floor to disperse more grungy water around. Sure, a few of the dirt is transferred into the mop bucket, but plenty has left behind. In addition to the dirt (a few of that is now broken down and nicer, therefore it can get deeper into the floor(particularly the grout joints) we also leave behind detergent residue. This combination of residue and partly emulsified dirt rapidly builds up to depart a dull patina on the stone and is among the main reasons grout lines go dim and grubby so fast.
The remedy is simple, after washing the floor, go change the dirty water that contains the detergent, then rinse the bucket out and the mop and then fill the bucket with clean, fresh water. Now, examine the floor again with just that clean water. When it’s a significant floor, you might have to modify the wash water again, perhaps more than once – but do it since it will save you time in the long term.
8. Leaving the floor wet
Many stone floors are smooth or even polished and as a result they could behave in the exact same manner as glass. So, after draining the floor, it’s good practice to wash the floor down using an absorbent cotton towel or a micro-fiber fabric. Buffing floors dry just like this (either by hand or using a machine, based on how big your floor) will eliminate the residual moisture (and some other stray smudges that might have been missed).
If we do not react fast enough to spills (error #4) we could end up getting a blot. If we always dismiss that blot, and the next one and so on, pretty soon the floor can look deeply ingrained and generally grubby.
Once an acid sensitive stone floor, such as polished marble is exposed to an acidic contaminant, such as red wine, the end result is often both a stain (the red colour) and an etch mark. It’s often confused with a blot because it’s so often accompanied by one. The acidity essentially burns fresh holes in the stone, those holes were not there before, therefore no sealer could have got into them, Additionally, most polished floors use impregnating sealers that work beneath the surface and so provide no protection against acids in the surface itself.
The way to spot an etch mark would be to clean the ‘blot’ (deep clean or poultice for example) then after rinsing and permitting the floor to dry check where the blot was. If the stain has now gone, but in its place is a dull spot often with a rougher texture (compared to the polished surface) and a thinner or bleached (less colour anyway) appearance, then this really is an etch-mark. If we now ignore this damage (because that’s what it is, physical damage to the stone surface) then it may leave the stone more vulnerable to staining (the surface is now more textured so that it is going to often maintain dirt more readily, it’s also less dense, and therefore potentially more absorbent and some other sealer will have been compromised). Small and localized etching can be quickly repaired with a hand applied re-polishing lotion, bigger scale etching will likely require the services of a stone floor professional.
11. Using Home Remedies and Organic Acids
We’ve got all heard household elders, and TV experts rave about old homemade remedies for cleaning. Please, don’t listen to them, period. The main reason I consider such a strong stance about this is I have seen the results. The wonderful, versatile abilities of family products like vinegar and lemon juice are forever being indicated for all manor of cleaning, and yes they could work. They work by virtue of becoming acidic and will break down a number of minerals (lime scale on tiles for example).
Not only have you ever seen whole floors ruined, the surface completely piled, but they also stain the floor. After performing such as great job of taking away the polish, then they add their own colour or colour to the now much more porous floor.
12. Neglecting the Seal
Do not assume that just because your stone floor was sealed during installation, that it still has an effective seal in place two decades on. It may have, but throughout this time, the floor will have experienced a fair bit of traffic and it has most probably been exposed to a variety of cleaning chemicals. It’s highly advisable to inspect the integrity of the sealer periodically. For a coating type sealer I’d suggest checking about every 6 to 12 months, to get an impregnator every 12 to 24 months.
The way to do this is to drop some water on the floor and leave it for say 10 minutes. If it goes in fast and darkens the stone, then when wiped away it leaves a wet patch, then it would be advisable to top up the sealer. If the water does not go in the stone except for a feint surface shadow, it’s most likely fine for now.