Caring For Your Marble Floor Surfaces
Marble is a beautiful natural surface that comes in many different colors. It is best identified by its veins that can be seen throughout the stone. It typically has a more flowing look to it, almost as though you can see the layers of sediment building up over the years.
Caution: Marble is largely made of calcium carbonate like that in an anti-acid. Acid will eat the calcium out of the marble causing a damaged spot called an etch. A few items that contain acid include coffee, sodas, most fruit juices, wine, vinegar, pickle juice, limes, lemons, oranges, many sauces, room fresheners, perfumes, glass cleaners and many cleaning products actually contain acids as well.
An etch can look like a dull spot, or the surface may have a slight uniform etch to it, where the entire surface has a dull or warn look. Adding a little vinegar to mop water is a frequent cause of this.
Most people are not aware that chips and cracks can be repaired such that they blend into the background. A professional stone restoration craftsman is needed to insure that finished repair is smooth and blends with the stone, but more importantly to ascertain the root cause, so that it can be addressed to halt the appearance of more.
So What Is The Order of Care
When caring for natural stone such as Marble there is an order to things which helps to assure the best care possible based on the stones longevity and appearance. This order is:
1) First – Clean your Marble regularly using the a quality marble cleaner. Take steps to protect your marble from things that contain acids, such as soda, fruit and fruit juices, coffee, tea and wine. Dust and sweep to prevent grinding medium such as dust, dirt, and sand from collecting on the floor where it can be ground underfoot to create wear marks and scratches. Keep in mind just because a cleaner says it is a cleaner does not make it effective. Glass cleaners leave waxes behind. Acid cleaners and vinegar dull the stone as they dissolve the surface, and many cleaners are little more than water. We recommend MARBLELIFE Marble & Travertine Cleaner, as it has been engineered over 25 years to safely remove dirt and oil from your surface without streaking or leaving build-up. If your floors are sticky you have the wrong cleaner.
2) Second – Repair your Marble promptly. If you have etches, stains or cracks you have a problem. As with anything failure to address the problem can result in it getting worse. Scratches beget deeper scratches. The deeper the damage the more grinding is required to repair the floor and the more expensive the repair. A grain of sand will roll across the floor until it encounters a scratch at which point it travels down the scratch digging it deeper.
3) Third – Seal your Marble to help protect against stains and to help make cleaning easier. Stains scream that the floor is not sealed, and therefore open to further staining. There is no guarantee a stain can be removed, and if it can it is often a multi-step process to do so making it frustrating and expensive. Much easier and less expensive to insure your stone is sealed every couple of years.
4) Lastly – Conditioning to help bring out your Marble’s best appearance if needed and as desired. The fact is a well restored floor needs no conditioning as it already has the desired appearance. If you find you are looking for something to enhance the appearance of your floor, better to contact a stone craftsman to address the deficiency than to begin applying products to alter its appearance. These tend to be short-term adjustments and may result in longterm issues.
The intervals of these activities can vary greatly based on your marble’s environment. Is your Marble indoors or outdoors? Does it get high traffic or very little use? With this said here are some general guidelines. Consult a professional stone craftsman to get specific recommendations for your property and surfaces:
1) Cleaning should be done regularly between daily (hotel) to weekly.
2) Repairs should be done as needed and a promptly as possible. Just as you have an AC guy, and a vet for your pets, you want to have a craftsman for you stone that you are comfortable working with.
3) Sealing should be done regularly, typically every two years, however if your surface has been cleaned with an acidic cleaner it can damage your seal and shorten your re-seal time.
4) The need to condition should be considered the need to contact a craftsman to discuss either your changing finish preference, or the need to restore the floor to the condition you are seeking. Your stone can be adjusted to provide a matte, satin, semi-gloss, or gloss finish as desired.
Again these are very general intervals to help give some frame of reference.