Marble Palace: how to maintain marble floors

Introduction

Polished Marble looks beautiful, but an intriguing paradox. On one hand, marble is hard, durable and lasts for years. On the other hand, the polished surface can be marred by chemicals, stains and abrasion.
Keeping marble in its magnificent, original state, takes ongoing tender loving care.

What can ruin your marble floor?

Scratches

Sand and grit carried from outside by shoes can easily scratch and abrade the marble surface like a sandpaper. Unprotected furniture legs may leave scratches too. Dragging heavy objects or sharp items on the floor can cause very deep scratches or gouges that may be permanent.

Stains

Marble is porous and can easily be discolored by spills from food,  sitting pots, metal furniture legs, oil, ink, water damage, etc.

Acid

Spills from drinking liquids or food containing acid will etch (dull mark) marble surfaces. For example: lemon juice, orange juice, carbonated beverages, cranberry juice, apple juice, wine, tomato, etc. The dull mark may have a coin size or spread over several tiles. 
Another source for etch marks are cleaning products containing acid. For example: Tile cleaners, vinegar, Ajax, Soft Scrub, etc.

Alkaline

In addition to chemicals containing acid, chemicals that contain high alkaline or bleach can damage marble floors to loose its shine and elegance.

Moisture

Local water may contain chlorine, salts, magnesium, potassium and other minerals. When water is used continuously to clean the marble floor it may ruin certain types of marble by causing pitting, spalling and yellowing. This is why it is important to protect the floor with a premium sealer.

Improper Maintenance Procedures

Continuous use of water as the sole cleaning agent (without chemicals), or using dirty mops, or not changing the cleaning solution frequently enough, can cause the marble to look dingy, streaky and unattractive.

Improper Maintenance Program

Not having a steady use of dust mop and damp mop may cause a decrease of the shine. In addition, a yearly maintenance may be required to renew the shine especially when the floor is exposed to a medium or heavy traffic.

Maintenance Tips

  • Protect the floor with a premium penetrating sealer to reduce etch marks and prevent stains and moisture from filtering into the marble. To apply the sealer properly, call a professional stone care company. Traffic areas should be resealed on a yearly basis.

  • Install walk off  matt by the main door to prevent sand and grit from spreading on the floor causing scratches and dullness. A good quality mat will capture dirt before someone walks on the floor. When it is placed outside your door it will signal people that they need to wipe their feet before entering the house. 

  • Protect all furniture legs that come in contact with the marble with special felt pads or plastic (can be purchased in home centers). Proper protection will reduce the damage from scratches.

  • Place all plants on a special base to prevent deep stains and scratches.

  • Use only neutral cleaners or stone soap liquid specifically formulated for natural stone that will not harm the surface.

  • Dust mop or vacuum the floor at least 1-2 times per week to eliminate sand and grit to reduce possibilities of scratches. Do not use oil-treated dust mops on marble surfaces. Do not get the dust mop wet; if the floor is wet, be sure to dry it before dust mopping. Run the dust mop in one direction, do not move it back and forth. Always store the dust mop keeping its head off the ground. Wash it in cold water with laundry detergent and machine dry.

  • Damp mop the floor regularly 1-2 times per week to remove dirt and soil. Mix solutions as per manufacturers directions. Always use clean cold or warm water. Do not use hot water since it will cause the floor to streak. It is important to rinse and wring the mop as often as possible. If you don't rinse the mop enough you will only be pushing dirt.

  • Blot spills with paper towel. Don't wipe because it will spread the spill. Flush the area around the floor and then when the floor dries, it will streak or appear dingy. If your marble tends to streak every time that you mop the floor, then dry the marble with a clean terry cloth towel or buff with a residential buffing machine.

  • Seven Maintenance Mistakes & How to Prevent Them

    Mistake No. 1:    

    Cleaning only with water can be very detrimental to your marble floor. Water contains chlorine, salt and some other minerals that will diminish the shine if used on a regular basis. In addition, water doesn’t have the ability to cut through dirt and mainly dust will be removed.

    Solution: Use special neutral cleaner that when mixed properly with water will keep the floor looking beautiful all the time.

    Mistake No. 2:    

    Not replacing the cleaning solution frequently enough can create stone problems. First, it will leave streaks all over the floor and second, the grout joints (especially if they are light color) will get dirty very rapidly.

    Solution: When you damp mop the floor be sure to divide the area into a few sections. Whenever you notice that the cleaning solution becomes cloudy and dirty, immediately replace it with a fresh new solution.

    Mistake No. 3:     

    Cleaning mop head is not kept clean. By using a mop or cloths that are soiled and dirty, you are actually tracking the dirt back into the floor and grout joints. Dirty mops can create streaks and an unattractive look.

    Solution: Be sure to designate a special mop or cloth for your marble floor. Keep the cloth or mop head clean all the time. Wash them thoroughly after you have finished the cleaning with neutral soap and warm water.

    Mistake No. 4:

    Floor is not vacuumed or dusted enough. Remember that sand and grit is the number one enemy of your marble floor. They become like sandpaper and start to abrade the shine. If you don’t vacuum the floor enough, it will wear off faster than it should.

    Solution: Make yourself a habit to thoroughly vacuum or dust mop the floor before cleaning. You’ll be amazed how good the floor is going to look.

    Mistake No. 5:

    Not using a door mat can affect the amount of sand and grit that are brought into your house. And as you already know, sand and grit will diminish the shine and will create a lot of scratches.

    Solution: Purchase a door mat and install it by your main entrance and any other exit or entry to the house. You can buy it in any home center, janitorial supply or carpet retail store.

    Mistake No. 6:

    Using the wrong cleaning chemical can ruin your marble floor very easily. Marble is a soft material and made from calcium carbonate that is very sensitive to any acid or high alkaline chemicals. Do not use any tile cleaners, vinegar, ammonia, alcohol (Windex), Ajax, etc. on your marble floor

    Solution: Use only liquid stone soap or neutral cleaners that have pH7.00 and were made specifically for cleaning stone. In this way you prolong the stone life.

    Mistake No. 7:

    Not having a planned program for maintenance can affect the look of the marble floor. By skipping cleaning days and polishing dates inevitably will cause the shine to diminish.

    Solution: Designate the days that you want to clean the marble floor and stick to it. Have your floor cleaned and polished once a year by Royal Care Services! Doing that will keep the level of the shine steady and it won’t deteriorate rapidly (which will require restoration).

    GRANITE MAINTENANCE TIPS

     

    What Are Granite Countertops?:

    Granite is a super tough stone that is formed from volcanic magma. Granite has earned a reputation as a great building stone. It ranges in color, but is known for how beautiful it is, especially for countertops.

    Granite countertops are gorgeous additions to a home, with each piece like a unique work of art. Because granite is available in so many colors, homeowners have many options to choose from. Granite is also very durable and resists heat. This makes it great for kneading dough, making roll-out cookies, and other tasks that need a cool countertop for best results.

    Granite countertops are an investment in your home. To ensure that they continue to look great and improve the value of your home for years, follow a proper maintenance schedule. Learning the best ways to remove stains, seal the stone and clean it on a daily basis will keep your granite in its just installed state.

    Granite Kitchen Countertop

    Granite Countertop Maintenance Tips:

    Daily granite countertop care is as easy as cleaning with a gentle cleanser like Oil Soap or mild dishwashing liquid. If needed you can use a synthetic scrubbing pad to clean your granite counter. With the proper maintenance, granite countertops stay new-looking for a long time. Here are easy steps to follow:

    1. Wipe up spills immediately
    2. Use mild soap and water
    3. Rinse
    4. Use soft cloth to dry

    Removing Stains:

    Unfortunately, a lived-in kitchen will eventually experience a stain or two even on your granite counter. How to remove the stain will depend on what caused the stain. Use the suggestions found on the following chart:

    How to Treat Stains on Granite Countertops
    Stain Treatment How to Use
    Most Stains 1 cup flour, 1-2 T mild dishwashing soap, create a thick paste by mixing with water Apply to stain, cover overnight with plastic wrap, in the morning scrape mixture from stain with wooden utensil and rinse.
    Oil based stains 1 cup flour, 1-2 T mild hydrogen peroxide, form a thick paste by mixing with water Apply to stain, cover overnight with plastic wrap, in the morning scrape mixture from stain with wooden utensil and rinse.
    Organic stains Combine 12 percent hydrogen peroxide with 2-3 drops of ammonia This should help to remove stains like coffee and tea.
    Ink on dark granite Lacquer thinner or acetone Apply to stain.
    Ink on light granite Hydrogen peroxide Apply to stain.
    Wine Make a mixture of molding plaster and bleach until it becomes a paste Apply to stain for 30 minutes, remove and rinse.

     

    Resealing Granite Countertops:

    Before you reseal your granite countertops, check with the manufacturer or installer to be sure it is necessary. Most granite counters do need to be re-sealed on an annual basis, but not all of them require this.

    However, for those that do require sealing to retain the color and clarity of the granite counter top, it is necessary to reseal the counter every six months to two years. Check with your installer to find what they recommend. How much you use your kitchen will play a part in how often it needs to be re-sealed. When you do re-seal, be sure to choose a non-toxic sealer, since counters are used for food preparation.

    Two Types of Sealers

    Two types of sealers can be found on the market. A penetrating sealer penetrates into the stone. The second, a topical sealer, does not penetrate but instead coats the top of the counter's surface.

    • Penetrating sealers: Protecting the structure of natural stone, a penetrating sealer absorbs into the granite for three or four minutes. When almost dry, add a little more sealer to the counter and rub with a soft, dry rag. Apply to a section at a time. Wait two hours and apply a second coat. When shopping for your sealer, look for one that says it is an oil repellent impregnator, which will help stop oil from seeping into the stone.
    • Topical sealers: These sealers form a film designed to protect the countertop's surface. Usually made from some form of natural wax, acrylic, and other plastic compounds. Topical sealers come in two types: strippable and permanent. Strippable sealers are made to be stripped or removed from the stone countertop with little work. Most often, often permanent sealers are not recommended for granite. Follow the manufacturer's recommendations when deciding what type of sealer is right for your counters.

    Water Spill Test:

    Once you've sealed your counter, test it to be sure that it is adequately sealed. As a test, spill a little water on your countertop and leave it set. After 30 minutes, wipe it up. If the water leaves your counter darkened, the granite is not sufficiently sealed.

    Warnings and Cautions for Countertop Maintenance:

    Because granite is so durable, it's easy to think you can use anything on it. However, this is not true if you really want to keep your counters in good condition. Avoid products with ingredients that include lemon, vinegar or other acids. In fact, it's a good idea to use coasters to protect your counter under glasses containing acidic drinks like alcohol or citrus juices.

    And as a final note on granite countertop maintenance, remember that even though you can use harsher chemicals to clean your counter, doing so may dull or even etch the counter's finish. Stick with milder solutions and retain that natural beauty you fell in love with in the first place. Once you've applied a topical sealer, your maintenance really shifts to maintenance of the sealer.

    At Marble Palace we can help you with advice about cleaning granite countertops and sealing granite countertops. All our granite countertops are sealed after installation and we can recommend quality products for granite countertop care and maintenance.

    Granite Floor Care and Maintenance Tips:

     

    Granite floors are wonderful floors that are natural and look great. They can be tough and delicate all at the same time. They are a hard surface and that is a plus but a granite floor can scratch easy and it can also soak in stains. Granite floors need to be taken care of to keep them looking great and to keep them from getting scratched.

    You need to keep sand and dirt off of a granite floor to prevent the granite from getting scratched. You should probable take your shoes off before you walk across the granite floor. Large mats or area rugs would be a good idea to have on granite floors in places where there might be a chance that dirt could be dragged in on the granite floor.

    Use a dust mop frequently on a granite floor to keep the floor clean and free of dirt and sand particles. Make sure the mop you use is a soft mop. You can also vacuum a granite floor but only with a attachment to prevent scratching the granite floor.

    When you need to wash a granite floor use a mild detergent and hot water. As you wash the granite floor make sure you get all the dirt so that it does not soak into the granite floor. Any remaining dirt that is left on a granite floor will soak into the granite.

    When something spills on a granite floor wipe it up as soon as you can so it does not soak into the granite. Granite is porous and it will soak in stains especially oil. If oil does spill on the granite floor try to soak the oil up immediately with a soft absorbent cloth. If you can't get all the oil up by soaking it you can try to put some dishwashing liquid on the granite and then rinse it off with clear hot water until the soap is rinsed off of the granite.

    A granite floor is a very nice floor when it is taken proper care of. A granite floor can last for years when it is kept clean. Always keep dirt and sand off of a granite floor and the granite floor will last a long time. When a spill does happen, on a granite floor, clean the spill up right away to minimize the damage to the granite floor. Never let your granite floor freeze since a freeze could crack the granite.