estimated cost of installing hardwood floors – Stone floors are extremely popular, and they’ve been for many decades. But they are not indestructible, they are easy to look after and maintain however there are some pitfalls to avoid.
1. Lack of Dust Mats
The number 1 enemy of all flooring, not only stone, is self explanatory. Every flooring material will wear, it is merely a matter of time. If I were to shoot two diamonds (the hardest known all-natural material) and rub them against one another, guess what, they will possibly wear. Every-day grit, carried in on shoes may contain all kinds of minerals like quartz. Walking this on your floor will quickly dull and scratch its surface. The solution is to eliminate grit, any way you can and one of the most effective ways is to put a dust-collecting mat away from the door. Should you add another only inside you are giving your floor a far better probability of preventing harmful grit.
2. Walking on your Stone Floors with Out-Door Shoes
This is associated with the first point of course. In case you have a fancy polished hardwood flooring, or an expensive carpet, I bet you take off your shoes perfect? We all tend to automatically understand the way to be mindful on other flooring materials and treat them with the respect they deserve. Well stone is no different, it requires love and esteem also. Take your shoes off and put your slippers on, that way you can’t carry harmful grit on the floor.
Some people just appear to need to wash their floor to death. The more you clean with powerful detergents and don’t rinse efficiently, (see point #6), the more possibility of leaving residues which make the floor look dull and dead. Most often, all that is needed is some regular dry cleaning or sweeping, with a gentle brush or micro-fibre floor duster and/or vacuuming. This will also help keep grit off the floor.
4. Not attending to Spills and Accidents right away
Somehow, we tend to treat hard stone flooring differently to say wood or carpeting. If, for instance, we’ve got an extremely expensive carpeting and we spill something about it, like a glass of wine for example, would we sit and see it become a stain? I really don’t think so. Even if that carpet has any sort of stain protection on it, we all know that it is only going to buy us some ‘time to react’, so we rush off into the kitchen for those towels.
Well guess what, providing ‘reaction time’ is all sealers do for stone. Just enjoy the carpeting, if we spill something we ought to absorb it up straight away, particularly if it is something such as wine or any other liquid liquid. We don’t trickle ‘stains’ we trickle contaminants, it is when we depart the contaminant for a length of time to penetrate the stone, that they become spots. If the floor is sealed with a good sealer, we just get a bit more reaction time. Many spots could be prevented by caring for spills and injuries as the occur.
5. Wrong Selection of cleaner for regular cleaning
However, the majority of these are powerful de-greasers, high ph cleaners intended to wash very grubby flooring. Furthermore, there’s a natural human inclination to ignore directions and make it extra powerful, if it says add one capful per bucket, how a lot of us have added another one just for luck? There are causes of these directions and dilution prices but much more important, there’s simply no requirement to use such chemicals for each and every day or weekly cleanup.
After the floor does require a fast wash (and if we be aware of the first 4 points then this may not need to be too often) no issue, we just must make sure to use a neutral cleaner, that is just one with a ph value of around 7 to 8. There are loads of them on the market, all designed to clean gently with no harmful effect on the floor or on any sealer or finish that may be applied.
6. Only carrying on with the same old pattern
In the business we call this a ‘Periodic Deep-Clean’ – From time to time the floor will require a deeper, more labour-intensive clean. This is the time to utilize those high alkaline cleaners.
The crucial word here is live time – these cleaners need to get left on the floor for a period of time – 5 to 15 minutes on average. The greatest mistake people make this is to just mop the floor with the high ph detergent. Ignore live time and you waste your own time and effort. The cleaners require time to work. They then need to get agitated, or scrubbed, remember we aren’t doing this each week, only a few times per year so we can manage the time to do it correctly. Note, this type of cleaner might have an impact on almost any sealer used, so check first; you might want to top up the sealer 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. Think about what we have only achieved: we put a strong chemical on the floor; we let it sit (live time) so it has begun to break down the ingrained dirt; we scrubbed – to loosen more dirt and allow the cleaner to penetrate deeper.
Then what tends to happen is we push all of this around with a mop, sometimes rinse the mop in water which by today has long since ceased being clean or fresh, and we put the sole partly cleaned mop, back on the floor to disperse more grungy water around. Sure, some of the dirt is transferred into the mop bucket, but a lot has left behind. In addition to the dirt (some of which is currently broken down and finer, so it may get deeper into the floor, especially the grout joints) we also leave behind detergent residue. This combo of residue and partly emulsified grime rapidly builds up to depart a dull patina on the stone and is one of the main reasons grout lines go dim and grubby so quickly.
The remedy is simple, after washing the floor, go change the dirty water which contains the detergent, then rinse out the bucket along with the mop and then fill the bucket with fresh, clean water. Now, examine the floor again with only that clean water. If it is a big floor, you might have to modify the wash water again, maybe more than once – but do it as it’ll save you time in the long term.
8. Leaving the floor wet
Many stone flooring are smooth or even polished and as a result they could act in the specific same manner as glass. So, after draining the floor, it is good practice to wash down the floor with an absorbent cotton towel or a micro-fiber fabric. Buffing flooring dry just like that (either by hand or with a machine, depending on the size of your floor) will eliminate the remaining moisture (and any stray smudges which might have been missed).
9. Ignoring Little Stains
If we don’t react fast enough to spills (mistake #4) we could wind up getting a stain. If we always ignore that stain, and another one and so on, pretty soon the floor is able to look deeply ingrained and generally grubby.
10. Confusing Etch Marks With Stains
When an acid sensitive stone floor, like polished marble is subjected to an acidic contaminant, like red wine, the end result is often both a stain (the reddish colour) and also an etch mark. An etch-mark is what occurs when something acidic erodes away the nice polished surface of [typically] calcium-based stones. It is often confused with a stain as it is so often accompanied by one. The acidity basically burns fresh holes in the stone, those holes were not there before, so no sealer could have got into them, Additionally, most polished flooring use impregnating sealers which work below the surface and so provide no defense against acids at the surface itself.
The best way to spot an etch mark is to clean the ‘stain’ (deep clean or poultice for example) then after rinsing and permitting the floor to dry assess where the stain was. If the stain has now gone, but in its place is a dull place often with a rougher texture (in comparison to the polished surface) and a thinner or bleached (less colour anyway) look, then this is an etch-mark. If we now ignore this damage (since that is what it is, bodily damage to the stone surface) then it will leave the stone more vulnerable to staining (the surface is currently more textured so it is going to often hold dirt more easily, it is also less dense, and so potentially more absorbent and any sealer will have been compromised). Small and localized etching may be quickly repaired with a hand applied re-polishing cream, bigger scale etching will likely require the services of a stone floor specialist.
We’ve got all heard family elders, and TV experts rave about old homemade remedies for cleaning. Please, don’t hear them, period. The reason why I take such a strong stance about this is I have seen the results. The wonderful, versatile abilities of family goods such as vinegar and lemon juice are forever being indicated for all manor of cleaning, and yes they could work. They operate by virtue of becoming acidic and will break down a number of minerals (lime scale on tiles for instance).
The issue is they kill the face of calcium-based along with other acid sensitive stones (marble, limestone, travertine to mention but a few). Not only have I seen whole floors ruined, the surface completely etched, but in addition they stain the floor. After performing this as good job of removing the polish, then they add their particular colour or colour into the now much more porous floor.
Don’t 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 during that time, the floor will have experienced a fair bit of traffic and it has most probably been subjected to a variety of cleaning chemicals. It is advisable to inspect the integrity of the sealer periodically. To get a coating type sealer I would suggest checking about every 6 to 12 weeks, for an impregnator each 12 to 24 weeks.
The means to do this is to drop some water on the floor and leave it for say 10 minutes. If it moves in quickly and darkens the stone, then when wiped away it leaves a wet patch, then it would be a good idea to top up the sealer. If the water does not go into the stone except for an feint surface shadow, then it is probably fine for now.