How to care for your stone surfaces
One of the biggest misconceptions about stone features in the home is that they require no maintenance. Stone upkeep and maintenance is extremely vital to the looks and preservation of these countertops, backsplashes, floors, and other items that bring a significant return on investment – when cared for.
For many homeowners the ultimate sign of an immaculate kitchen or bathroom is stone countertops. It’s hard to argue with the unique looks that stone tops bring, with no two cuts being the same. On top of that the pieces are rugged, durable, and some would say easy to maintain. Plus, stone can be used in a number of other different areas than just kitchen tops including flooring, outdoor walkways, and much more.
One of the biggest misconceptions though about stone features in the home is that they require no maintenance. That couldn’t be further from the truth however as stone care and maintenance is extremely vital to the looks and preservation of these countertops, backsplashes, floors, and other items that bring a significant return on investment – when cared for. Knowing how to maintain stone depends on the type of material used and how it’s integrated into the home. Here’s everything you need to know about stone salvation.
For the most part stone is very easy to clean because of its smooth hard surface. The majority of spills or dirt tracks can be cleaned up with nothing more than warm water and mild dish soap. It’s very important to never use acidic cleaners and abrasive materials on stone especially marble and limestone. Using product that contains lemon, vinegar, and other items high in pH levels creates ‘acid etch’ which dulls the surface and creates changes in texture. You should use only stone cleaner designed for the type of material you have, usually with neutral pH levels and no acidity.
If a Spill Occurs
Spills are likely inevitable whether you have stone countertops, flooring, or virtually any other item. When a spill occurs it’s important to take the proper steps so the liquid doesn’t damage the stone top. The cleaning process should entail:
Attack the spill immediately so it doesn’t soak into the stone.
- Blot the spill up instead of wiping. When the spill is wiped it’s ground into the stone and spread.
- Use white cotton cloth to wipe up the spill.
Difference between well-maintained stone (right) and badly-maintained stone (left)
If a spill isn’t immediately wiped up it has the potential to stain the stone surface. This doesn’t necessarily ruin the stone for good as there are steps to remove stains even from the grains of the stone. Most oil-based, organic, or ink stains can be removed with a mixture of bleach or hydrogen peroxide. Other stains caused by something like a rusty bolt need to be removed with a poultice, which is a type of absorptive cleaning powder.
The most important thing to do to protect the stone isn’t swift action after a spill, it’s preventative maintenance before. An impregnator sealer goes a long way in providing a protective surface to the stone as microscopic balls of silicone attach into miniscule crevices in the stone and form a waterproof seal. Stone countertops only need to be sealed every couple years but high-traffic floors need application every six months.
For more information about how frequently your stone should be treated or the specific maintenance for your type of material feel free to use our contact form.