Stone floors are extremely popular, and they have been for many years. The vast range of colors and shades, the durability, practicality and relative ease of maintenance, plus their abundance in nature has made them a perennial choice of Acid Stained Concrete Designs material down the centuries. But they are not indestructible, they are easy to look after and maintain but there are some pitfalls to avoid. Below are the most common mistakes people make when caring for their floors.
1. Lack of Dust Mats
The number 1 enemy of all floors, not just stone, is grit. Every flooring material will wear, it is just a matter of time. If I were to take two diamonds (the hardest known natural material) and rub them against each other, guess what, they will both wear. Every-day grit, carried in on shoes can contain all kinds of minerals such as quartz. Walking this onto your floor will quickly dull and scratch its surface. The answer is to eliminate grit, any way you can and one of the best ways is to put a dust-collecting mat outside the door. If you add another just inside you are giving your floor a much better chance of avoiding harmful grit.
2. Walking on your Stone Floor with Out-Door Shoes
This is related to the first point of course. If you have a fancy polished wood floor, or an expensive carpet, I bet you take your shoes off right? We all tend to instinctively know how to be careful on other flooring materials and treat them with the respect they deserve. Well stone is no different, it needs love and respect too. So take off your shoes and put your slippers on, that way you cannot carry harmful grit onto the floor.
Some folk just seem to want to wash their floor to death. The more you clean with strong detergents and don’t rinse effectively, (see point #6), the more chance of leaving residues that make the floor look dull and lifeless. Most often, all that is needed is some regular dry cleaning or sweeping, with a soft 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 floors differently to say carpet or wood. If, for example, we have a very expensive carpet and we spill something on it, like a glass of wine for instance, would we sit and watch it become a stain? I don’t think so. Even if that carpet has some kind of stain protection on it, we know that it will only buy us some ‘time to react’, so we rush off to the kitchen for the towels.
Well guess what, providing ‘reaction time’ is all sealers do for stone. Just like the carpet, if we spill something we should absorb it up straight away, especially if it is something like wine or some other acidic liquid. We don’t spill ‘stains’ we spill contaminants, it is when we leave the contaminant for a length of time to penetrate the stone, that they become stains. If the floor is sealed with a good sealer, we just get a bit more reaction time. Many stains would be prevented by taking care of spills and accidents as the happen.
5. Wrong choice of cleaner for routine cleaning
It is all too easy to buy an off the shelf floor cleaner from the super markets. However, most of these are strong de-greasers, high ph cleaners intended to deep clean really grubby floors. Furthermore, there is a natural human tendency to ignore instructions and make it extra strong, if it says add one capful per bucket, how many of us have added another one just for luck? There are reasons for these instructions and dilution rates but even more important, there is absolutely no need to use such chemicals for every day or weekly cleaning.
When the floor does need a quick wash (and if we take note of the first 4 points then this might not have to be too often) no problem, we just need to make sure to use a neutral cleaner, that is one with a ph value of around 7 to 8. There are plenty of them out there, all designed to clean gently with no harmful effect on the floor or on any sealer or finish that may be applied.