Some varieties of natural stone make up some of the hardest surfaces in the world, produced from tremendous heat and pressure when still deep in the earth. When installed as a flooring, countertop or vanity top solution, they offer unparalleled durability. But, it’s a still good idea to learn how to extend their already long life expectancy. As with all surfaces, most of the wear on a granite countertop or a marble or slate floor is caused by dirt and grit that tend to scratch the finish over an extended period. So, the more you keep the stone tile flooring or granite countertop or granite vanity top free of these elements, the longer the marble or granite will retain its original sheen. It may also mean less polishing for you to do!
Using a damp mop or cloth, and taking care not to over-wet the stone tile floor, granite countertop, or granite vanity top will be enough to make sure that the marble or granite is free of the kinds of material that promote scratching and wear. Below you will learn the basics of cleaning natural stone tile surfaces, what to do about spills and stains, the definition of “poulticing” and its application, and guidelines on using polish and cleaners.
Spills and Stains
The natural surface on your granite countertop should protect against spills in general, but the material is not impervious to staining. When a spill occurs, do not let it sit long, and use a damp cloth to absorb it so that it doesn’t set. This may seem like common sense, but paying attention to spills is your first line of defense.
It is recommended that all natural stone floors be treated with a sealant of some kind, usually a silicon based impregnator which will protect the stone from excessive moisture and will also serve as a means of protecting the stone flooring from stains as well. More porous natural stone, like travertine for instance, is more resistant staining if a sealant or a stain-guard is applied, and so it is highly recommended that you do so. At the same time, it is important to keep the surface as dry as possible as the stone’s absorption to moisture contributes to its wear. Similarly, slate tile flooring is semi-porous and the same principle applies.
In the case where the granite countertop is stained, a process called “poulticing” can be employed. This is a means of drawing out a stain from the surface of the granite countertop using an adhesive material. If this process is ineffective on your granite countertop, it may be necessary to resort to diamond abrasives and a polishing powder or urethane coating.
Polish and cleaners for natural stone tile
Over time the marble or slate stone tile flooring or granite countertop will require regular polishing, depending on location and frequency of wear. You can be the best judge of how often this should be done. Avoid the use of cleaners that have a high acidic content, and be sure to use only cleaners that are specifically produced for your particular type of stone tile flooring.
Having a natural stone tile surface, a granite countertop, or granite vanity top means enjoying a surface that is hard and durable, allowing you to relax and appreciate your natural stone flooring or countertop in a way that you would not with an inferior surface material. By being aware of appropriate sealants, polishes, and cleaning methods, you can contribute to the long life of your natural stone surface, and derive maximum enjoyment for many, many years.