Maintenance

There are a wide variety of available flooring options out there and each of them has a different set of cleaning and regular maintenance needs.  While you should always listen to your manufacturer and those knowledgeable about your specific product, read below for general maintenance guidelines.

Hardwood

Hardwood should be dust mopped or swept regularly and can be buffed to maintain its shine.  If a buffing no longer restores the shine, recoat the floor with a wax or surface finish (ie. polyurethane) of the same nature as the original installation.

Do not use vinyl or tile floor care products on a wood floor.  These can cause hardwood to become slippery and dull quickly, and must be removed by sanding the surface.  Similarly do not damp mop or leave spills on a wood floor.  Water will quickly stain and soften wood.

Natural Stone Care

Dust and grit will scratch the surface of most stone, so stone floors should be vacuumed or dust mopped frequently to remove abrasive material.  Many natural stone surfaces are very sensitive to acids.  Neutral pH cleaners are available specifically for stone flooring.  Stone should not be cleaned with acid or bleach.  Even a light solution of vinegar and water will eventually etch and damage most stone.

A great many stones are porous, and some are reactive to acids.  A sealer can minimize the threat of spills , and should be reapplied according to manufacturer’s instructions. Talk to us about the particular needs of your stone floor.

Stone Cleaners:

Stone cleaning solutions are specifically created with a neutral pH and manufactured to preserve existing sealers or wax type coatings.  To use, dampen the floor, apply the cleaning agent with a sponge or mop, allow to sit for the recommended period of time, then agitate it, mop it up and buff the surface dry.

Periodically after cleaning one can apply a wax-type finish to improve the luster of polished stone.  This is not a restoring agent, but instead intended to maintain and protect the original shine. Follow the instructions and reapply as often as needed.

Heavy-Duty Stone Cleaning:

A heavy duty cleaner and degreaser may be useful for removing dirt, grease, waxes and floor finishes.  Apply the solution to the surface with a sponge or mop.  Allow setting time, then agitate, mop up solution and buff dry.  Change the solution every 100 square feet to avoid re-using dirty water.  Rinse with clean water when finished.  After cleaning you may add a wax-type finish to polished stone.

Stain Removal:

Stone poultice can be used to remove stains and grout haze from stone surfaces.  Poultice may dull the shine of polished stone.  If this happens you will need to use an appropriate polish to restore the shine.

Restoration:

If marble becomes dull or scratched, the surface may be restored with a marble polish.  Polishes typically re-crystalize the stone to remove these deformities. This is different than the use of a topical sealer or wax.  Do not use polish on honed, tumbled or other non-glossy surfaces.  This will not have the desired effect, and leads to slippery surfaces.

Honed or tumbled rock can often be re-honed if necessary, removing many stains scratches and other damage to the material.  If you have a stone floor you can’t save otherwise, consider re-honing the surface.

Ceramic Tile

Glazed tile products can be cleaned routinely with an all purpose cleaner. Certain products like acids or ammonia may damage the tile and grout.  Make sure your product is rated for tile flooring.  Make sure the product chosen is also compatible with any grout.  Depending on the use of the tile, the cleaner necessary may vary.  Typically grease cutting chemicals are marketed for kitchens while mildew and hard water stain removers are useful in bathrooms.

Unglazed tile should be routinely cleaned with concentrated tile cleaners with a neutral pH, allowing safe regular use.  Again chosen products should be checked for compatibility with grout.

The entire surface should be wiped and scrubbed with a cleaning agent with the use of a cotton mop, cloth, sponge, or non-metallic brush then rinsed to remove cleaning solution residue. Sweep or vacuum before hand to remove excess dust and debris.

Glass Tile

Glass tile may be cleaned routinely with any product rated for glass or tile.

Decorative Metal Tile

Clean metal flooring with a non-abrasive liquid cleaner.  Do not use scouring pads, steel wool, or other abrasive products.  Stainless steel cleaning agents intended for appliances tend to work well on stainless steel tile. For other metals, a pH neutral cleaner or water with a mild soap solution is recommended.

Always test in a small inconspicuous area while using a new cleaner to ensure compatibility.

Grout Maintenance

The purpose of grout is to fill the joints between tiles, acting as a permanent component of the surface.  Any substance used on grout should be inconspicuously tested for safety on surrounding tile.  Be careful with grout stains as they may be absorbed, into porous material and change the color of the surrounding tile.

Penetrating/Impregnating Sealer:

Most tile uses a cement based grout.  This grout should be sealed after installation to prevent stains.  A quality impregnating grout sealer will prevent moisture penetration, deterioration, and staining or discoloration.  Refer to the product warranty and technical information for details on use, usage warnings and expected life.

An epoxy grout is chemically cured and does not require a sealer.

Grout Maintenance:

Grout should be cleaned on a regular basis to remove surface buildup.  Regular cleaning can be done with any all purpose cleaner rated for grout, and often can be done at the same time as the tile.  Professional strength tile and grout cleaners are available for removing more persistent stains.

Grout Color Restoration:

When grout has been stained too badly to be returned to its original color, a “grout stain” may be used to recolor the grout.  A grout stain is an epoxy-based product designed to penetrate and seal the grout with a permanent color.  Grout stains take the place of a sealer and when used a separate sealer should not be required.  For a good application clean the grout thoroughly prior to staining with a professional strength tile and grout cleaner.