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Get to Know Your Stone

Stone is perfect for floors, counter-tops, and other such applications due to its intense durability and ability to last for decades without ever needing to be replaced.

Of course, stone is not indestructible and will need to be properly maintained if it is to stay looking its best. For homeowners, that means knowing what type of stone you’ve used and how best to care for it.
Luckily, natural stone can be broadly categorized into basic geological classifications: either calcareous or siliceous.

Calcareous stone is composed mainly of calcium, and tends to be paler than other stones. Examples of calcareous stones include marble, limestone, and travertine. Calcium carbonate is sensitive to acidic cleaning solutions, so you’ll need to be on the lookout for milder cleaners. Anything containing lemon or vinegar should be avoided.

Examples of siliceous stones include sandstone, slate, granite, and quartzite. As the name implies, siliceous stone is primarily made up of silicates, such as quartz, mica, and feldspar. These compounds are able to resist most of the acids that cause issues with calcareous stone, but they may still contain trace levels of such substances, so acidic cleaners are still best avoided. You should also refrain from using rust removers; they contain trace levels of hydrofluoric acid, which attacks silicates.

No matter the type of stone in your house, you can keep everything clean and in good order by following the quick and easy tips provided below:

  • All you need to clean stone surfaces is a neutral cleaner, some special stone soap, or a mild liquid dishwashing detergent. Mix with warm water and then clean away.
  • Though no damage can occur when you use the products listed above, you will still find that a high concentration of cleaning agent or soap leaves a film and causes streaks, so remember to use plenty of water.
  • If you’re cleaning stone floors, a clean rag mop is best. For other surfaces, just use a soft cloth. Scouring pads may damage your stone over time.
  • Once you’re finished, make sure you rinse the surface and then dry it with another soft cloth. Change your rinsing water frequently if you need to clean a large area.
  • In outdoor areas, flush with clean water and then use a mild bleach solution to eradicate algae or moss.

Stone might be a tough material, but you still need to be careful. If you have any doubts, just contact your supplier for some detailed cleaning advice.

 

Are Stone Floors Worth the Maintenance?

If you’re thinking about what type of flooring to lay down, it’s likely that stone will have cropped up as a possible option.

After all, natural stone floors have been the top choice for centuries, and their popularity shows no signs of flagging.

That said, some homeowners worry about the maintenance work required. So, are stone floors worth it?

To help you decide, here’s a quick list of pros and cons.

The Advantages of Stone Floors

Style

First and foremost, natural stone flooring is absolutely beautiful. No other flooring material can really measure up in terms of character, and stone will provide a sense of sophistication and warmth no matter the room you use it in. Marble is particularly appealing, delivering a luxurious finish set off by unique colour variations.

Durable and Long-Lasting                 

Stone is incredibly strong, making it hard to chip or crack. If a young couple were to lay down stone flooring in their home today, it’s likely that their grandchildren would be walking on it in 50 years’ time. Despite concerns over maintenance, you’ll need to do very little over the life of your stone flooring. In contrast, wood floors need to be regularly treated, and they can easily develop dents and scratches.

Banishes Allergens

People with allergies need to be extra careful when selecting their flooring. Some choices, such as carpeting, prove disadvantageous since particles will be trapped within the fibres. Stone floors, on the other hand, make it tough for allergens to gain a foothold.

The Disadvantage of Stone Floors

Expensive

Stone flooring is undeniably expensive, and it also requires professional installation due to its weight. However, homeowners often save in the long run since their flooring won’t need to be replaced in a few years’ time.

Hard

Stone flooring isn’t recommended for seniors since it is quite hard. A fall on stone flooring is much tougher on old bones than a fall on carpeting, and stone tends to be more slippery.

 

Ultimately, the benefits of stone floors easily make the maintenance work worthwhile. In fact, most people overestimate the amount of work that will be needed. Cleaning is easy when you use the correct materials, and significant damage is hard to create. Instead of having to refinish your wood floors or tear up your carpet in a few years, you’ll have something built to last that will never go out of style.

Caring for a stone worktop

If you have invested in a natural stone worktop then you owe it to yourself to take care of it. A stone worktop is a serious investment and you want it to look as good in years to come as it does right now. For that to happen, you need to treat it well, so here is a simple guide to taking care of your worktop.

Caring for quartz

Quartz is the easiest stone to take care of, thanks to its low-absorbent surface material, but like any form of stone it has its own requirements. First of all, don’t put hot pans on it for any length of time and you should really use a heat resistant pad or a trivet to keep pans off the surface. That’s because the resin can melt and pans can easily leave an impression on the surface.

Quartz can also be damaged by strong solvents such as chlorides, triclorethane, paint, permanent inks, nail polish removers and even bleach can damage a quartz worktop. So don’t get too aggressive with the cleaning products.

In fact to clean quartz, a damp cloth will usually do the job and for serious sticky spots you can use a general cleaning solvent. Washing up liquid is normally sufficient, but for extremely stubborn spots you can opt for a non-metallic scouring pad or a steam cleaner.

You can use a blade or putty knife to remove dried on stains, but it’s better to simply deal with problems as they arise and prevent them from leaving serious marks.

Try to avoid serious impacts on the surface, too, as quartz is essentially a powder held together by resin and it can chip or fracture.

Caring for Granite and Marble

Granite and marble are, naturally, exceptionally hard and resilient surfaces that will withstand a good deal of mistreatment. Considering the investment you have made in your worktop, though, it is better not to mistreat it at all.

To clean general marks you can simply use a sponge and washing up liquid, but the trick to maintaining the shine is to dry it properly and to treat it like glass. That does not mean you should clean it with vinegar, though, as the acid can attack the surface and dull your surface. The same goes for lemon juice, wine and even the likes of nail polish remover. Keep them away from your surfaces.

Do not use abrasive cleaners, either. That goes for the cleaning fluids themselves and the pads you might use to clean a worktop. These can leave a permanent impression on the sealant that is used on most granite worktops and kill the shine altogether.

If you encounter a strong dried on stain then you can use fine, 000-grade steel wool, but there are better options. Soapy water and a little elbow grease will break down most dried on strains and a steam mop is another option that will remove almost any stain without opting for the abrasive extensions.

While a granite and marble worktop is resilient to hot pans, it’s still not a good idea to repetitively put hot pans on the same spot. This is the way it works in a kitchen, though, so you would be well-advised to use a heat resistant plate or trivet in any case.

Do not chop food on the granite worktop, too. Technically it works, but the granite can scratch and you will blunt your knives. Even china can scratch the granite if you drag plates across the surface, so be careful.