Since stone is solid and strong, many people think stone countertops and flooring are nearly indestructible. However, stone is prone to scratches, stains and even cracks if it is not properly cared for. The tips below will help prolong the life of stone and keep it looking beautiful.
Preventing Scratches And Cracks
Since heat can crack some types of natural stone, it is essential to use hot pads or trivets under any hot pans or dishes on a stone counter top. For natural stone flooring, always place rugs in front of entry doors. This helps reduce the amount of gravel and sand tracked in. Sand and gravel can scratch natural stone. It also helps to sweep the floor regularly with a soft broom. If a vacuum is used on the floor, make sure the wheels are in good condition. Wheels that are in poor repair may scratch the floor.
One of the most irreversible discolorations is etching. This burn-like appearance may happen if coasters are not used under drinks. Alcoholic drinks and citrus beverages are the biggest offenders for this. It is important to use coasters when putting a drink on any type of natural stone surface. If the stone surface is in a shower or tub, use a squeegee after every shower to avoid calcium or soap scum buildup. It is important to regularly seal the natural stone to prevent etches and stains. Natural stone surfaces that are used more should be sealed more often. For example, a natural stone floor where people walk every day would need to be sealed more often than a stone counter top in a laundry room that is rarely used.
Always use neutral cleaners. Vinegar, lemon juice and anything acidic can damage the stone and leave it looking dull. Avoid using bleach or harsh chemicals for cleaning. Never use ammonia, steel wool or abrasive scrubbers on natural stone. Use a high-quality granite cleaner on a non-abrasive scrub sponge that is made for natural stone to combat any discoloration spots or stains. When mopping, use cleaning formulas that are designed for natural stone. With any cleaning solution designed for natural stone, be sure to follow dilution instructions carefully to avoid streaks or a sticky film.
Treating Scratches And Stains
When any substance is spilled on the natural stone, blot it up immediately if possible. Avoid wiping from one side to the other since this spreads the substance and may increase the size of a stain. After blotting the spill, rinse the area several times with warm water. Use an approved granite cleaner if the stain persists. If there are scuff marks or ink blots on the stone, use acetone to remove them. Always reseal the stone immediately after using acetone. While scratches may not be removable, they can be minimized. Use a stone enhancer to minimize the appearance of scratches on stone.
The overall idea to remember is that even though stone is hard, be gentle on it to keep it in good condition and looking beautiful. Do not settle for harsh cleaning chemicals because they are a few cents cheaper. It is always better to invest a little more and prolong the life of a natural stone surface.