Care and maintenance

Stones beauty, elegance and pure uniqueness will last a lifetime as well, if it is cared for properly.

As is the case with virtually all floor and wall coverings and bench tops, tiles and stone require a certain level of ongoing care and maintenance.

Proper care and maintenance is crucial to the life span of your stone surface. But keeping your stone maintained is not as difficult as you might think. Regular sweeping or vacuuming and periodic thorough cleaning will keep your floors looking their best.

It is important to note that sealing of natural stone is highly recommended, and that it be performed by a seasoned professional. Sealing your natural stone flooring makes it less porous, more stain resistant, and protects the stone’s original beauty.

There are different types of sealers and cleaners depending on your type of stone. We recommend Du Pont sealing, care and maintenance system.

For fact sheets refer to the below Du Pont links.



Du Pont Distributor
Tilers Choice
61 Glynburn Road
Glynde SA 5070
T 08 8465 4545
E info@tilerschoice.com.au


composite stone care
and maintenance

A short summary and general guide of care & maintenance recommendations and processes which have proved practical for many composite stone surfaces over the years.


natural stone
maintenance guide

A short summary and general guide of maintenance recommendations and processes which have proved practical for many stone surfaces over the years.


natural preventive
maintenance guide

The old fashioned broom is still a valuable part of everyday maintenance of any floor surface - stone included.


stone sealing
and preservation

Steps you can take to preserve your stone's appearance using specific sealers.


natural stone
restoration guide

Natural stone ages and weathers with time. How is it possible to arrest the degenerative processes?

Composite stone care and maintenance

Taking Care of Your Composite Stone
Composite Stone surfaces blend modern sophistication and timeless luxury with unbeatable strength and durability. The ever-lasting finish of composite stone requires only simple and routine care to maintain its looks. To clean composite stone, we recommend using warm water and a mild detergent or quality spray and wipe type cleaner in order to enjoy enduring beauty and unmatched performance for years to come.

Minimal Maintenance
Virtually maintenance-free, Composite Stone’s hard, non-porous surfaces require no sealing to renew the luster and are simple to clean. In most cases, soap and water or a mild detergent is enough to keep your Composite Stone countertop looking like new. If necessary, use a non-abrasive soft soap along with a non-scratch or delicate scrub pad. Afterwards, thoroughly rinse with clean water to remove residue. Composite Stone’s non porous nature allows it to withstand short term exposure to tea, soda, wine, vinegar, lemon juice and strongly coloured spices, however leaving spills for long periods of time may cause the spill to impregnate the stones surface causing it to stain.

Stubborn Stains or Dried Spills
If needed, apply a non-abrasive household cleaners (a non-abrasive cleaner will not dull the surface shine) and rinse to remove residue. To remove adhered material such as food, gum, nail polish or even dried paint, first scrape away excess material with a plastic putty knife and then use a damp cloth to remove any marks or residual dirt. For extra-stubborn stains, a no-scratch Scotch-Brite® pad is recommended along with the non-abrasive cleaner recommended by your local Composite Stone® distributor.

Heat Tolerance
Composite Stone is more heat resistant than other stone surfaces including most granite, marble and limestone; and is not affected by temperatures lower than 100°C (212°F). However, like all stone material, Composite Stone can be damaged by sudden and rapid temperature changes. Therefore, we suggest that hot pots and pans never be directly placed on the surface. We also recommend a hot pad or trivet be placed on the surface under cooking units such as electric frying pans, crock pots, or roaster ovens.

Scratch Resistant
Composite Stone is a highly scratch resistant surface; however avoid abuse of the surface by refraining from using sharp objects such as sharp knives or screw drivers directly onto the surface.

Cleaning Agents to Avoid
It is important to be aware that like any other surface, Composite Stone can be permanently damaged if exposed to strong chemicals and solvents that can damage its physical properties. Never clean your Composite Stone surface with products that contain Trichlorethane or Methylene chloride, such as paint removers or strippers. Avoid the use of highly aggressive cleaning agents such as oven/grill cleaners and dishwasher polishing agents that have high alkaline/pH levels (pH 8.5 or higher). Products containing oils or powders may leave a residue and should be rinsed off thoroughly. Should your surface accidentally be exposed to any of these damaging products, rinse immediately with clean water to neutralize the effect.

Download care and maintenance composite stone benchtops PDF

Natural stone maintenance guide

Granite - Marble - Limestone

This report is a short summary and general guide of maintenance recommendations and processes which have proved practical for many stone surfaces over the years. It should not be assumed that any particular process description or recommendation is suitable for any particular project or situation without qualification. There are many variables which must be considered when designing a maintenance program including: physical properties of the stone, abrasion risk, hostile factors in the environment, the maintenance budget and the skill of the maintenance personnel. It is highly recommended that a maintenance professional be consulted if there is any doubt about whether or not a specific method or product is safe and effective.

Granite

Composition:Quartz, Feldspar (varies)
Hardness: Hard
Absorption: Varies - Oil, Water
Limitations: Absorbs oils and other liquids, brittle
Sealer: Sub-surface repellents - oil repellent type recommended
Cleaner: Neutral pH detergent or pure soap
Finish: None Normally - Wax OK
Notes: Granite is typical for kitchen counter use. Sealing is recommended for most stones. Granite is the hardest of the polished stones commercially available and is used in high stress situations. Polished granite usually is more absorbent to liquids than many people suppose. Flamed granite surfaces are very absorbent due to the stress fractures in the stone caused by the flaming process and should be sealed if it is desired to maintain the original color and appearance of the stone over time.

Download care and maintenance granite benchtops PDF

Marble

Composition:Calcite, Calcium Carbonate
Hardness: Soft
Absorption: Oil, Water
Limitations: Absorbs oils and other liquids, easily scratched, acid sensitive
Sealer: Penetrating type siloxane or fluoropolymer
Cleaner: Natural Soap or Neutral pH detergent
Finish: Polished - liquid Paste wax ; others: none
Notes: Polished marble is ideal for vertical application but requires a high level of maintenance when used as flooring especially in high traffic situations. Non-reflective finishes perform well as flooring with minimal maintenance once treated with recommended sealers. Kitchen use should be carefully evaluated due to oil absorption.

Download care and maintenance marble benchtops PDF

Limestone

Composition:Calcite, Calcium Carbonate
Hardness: Soft
Absorption: Oil, Water
Limitations: Absorbs oils and other liquids, easily scratched, acid sensitive, polished-interior use only
Sealer: Penetrating type siloxane/fluoropolymer
Cleaner: Natural Soap or Neutral pH detergent
Finish: Polished - liquid Paste wax ; others: none
Notes: Most true limestone types are porous and absorbent. Some limestone is semi-metamorphic and will have physical properties similar to metamorphic marble. If the limestone is metamorphic it is "Marble". For our purposes here, LIMESTONE is the chalky porous type typical of most French and Spanish limestone. Non-reflective finishes are practical as flooring but require sealing to minimize stains. Dense, low absorbent varieties of limestone can be suitable in shower areas but beware of using too soft a limestone in high stress areas. Sealing is normally recommended for both interior and exterior locations.

Natural preventive maintenance guide

Cleaning methods

Sweeping: The old fashioned broom is still a valuable part of everyday maintenance of any floor surface - stone included. It is very important to remove soils from flooring surfaces before they get ground into the floor. Soils are abrasive. The more often soils are removed the longer the floor will retain the original appearance. Use a broom with a bristle that matches your surface. A soft broom or brush is recommended for smooth surfaces. A medium-soft bristle is ideal for textured surfaces.

Vacuum: A good vacuum cleaner works better on textured surfaces than a broom and is very efficient. Use a vacuum on any horizontal surface when large areas are involved as it is faster than sweeping in most cases.

Damp Poming: A damp mop is capable of picking up microscopic abrasive soils and potential staining agents. Damp mopping is recommended for most smooth surfaces on a regular basis. Best done after sweeping or vacuum.

Washing: It is necessary to wash a floor regularly. The job conditions will dictate frequency. The most frequent problems encountered with stone floors are related to the floor simply not getting effectively washed often enough.

Rinsing: Rinsing is one of the most critical steps in regular floor maintenance. Dirty mop water residue is common and a cause for much complaint. A two bucket rinse method is highly effective in keeping floors from graying out due to soil residues.

Cleaning chemicals

Soaps: Natural soaps are low-tech, inexpensive and user friendly. They are also capable of providing a sealing and/or dressing function for stone floors. Vegetable based soaps are best. Specialty soaps formulated for use on stone are highly recommended and desirable on most natural stone floors and other stone surfaces.

Detergents: These are synthetic surface-active agents (surfactants) that are very good at picking up soils and emulsifying grease and oil. They make water "wetter" and more effective for cleaning purposes. The detergent used for stone cleaning should be carefully evaluated for compatibility with the stone. Detergents are typically used with water and may determine the pH of the cleaning solution. Detergents tend to leave the stone very "raw" or absorbent and residues will make water penetration into the stone more effective.

Acids: These are used for removing grout haze, removing mineral dposits and for rust removal. Acidic products attack lime and cement. Use caution with acids and acidic pH products as they attack the polish on marnbles and limestone. Phosphoric acid, citric acid and sulfamoc acid is preferred to muriatic, sulphuric and hydrocloric acids in almost all situations due to safety and control issues.

Abrasives: Abrasives are sometimes useful as a cleaning agent but should be limited to non-polished surfaces. Abrasives may be combined with detergents or soaps for scouring a surface and removing thin layers from the surface. There are many different types of materials used as abrasives - soft abrasives may be composed of nut shells or feldspars, hard abrasives can be silica quartz, carbide or even diamond.

Bleaches: Bleaches are typically oxidizing agents (generate oxygen) and are useful in stain removal. Enzyme types are available which are non-hazardous.

Stone sealing and preservation

Sealers

Water Repellents Silicone (synthetic oils): Generic synthetic oils which tend to leach from surfaces and migrate. Of limited use due to the tendency of attracting dust and limited life expectancy .There are many types but you can generally rely upon the fact that you get what you pay for. This type also darkens many types of stone surfaces.

Siliconates: Water based silicone derivative useful for light colored, porous stone. Inexpensive. This type should not be used on dark colored stone or important surfaces. Any residues not absorbed will disfigure surface with a salt-like precipitate. May be useful for some limestone and concrete surfaces. Only water beads. Re-coating is not possible due to the fact that it repels itself.

Siloxane: These are state of the art today in long life and high vapor transmission. Moderate cost. Used primarily for exterior stone surfaces including marble, granite, limestone, slate and cement based building products as well. Suitable for clay pavers and roofing tiles. Highly recommended for most surfaces exposed to weather and/or high humidity. Does not darken most surfaces. Solvent based is normal. There are some new emulsions available which can comply with VOC restrictions.

Stearates: This is the cheap water repellent sold to consumers in chain stores and hardware stores for wood, concrete, masonry etc.. Performance is poor and short lived. Not recommended for most building stone.

Oil Repellents: These are proprietary products which repel oil as well as water and other liquids. There are a number of these specialized products designed for use on stone surfaces. Most are fluoroplymer-based but there are some other types (rather exotic).

Drying Oils: These are the original natural polymers. They include Tung , Linseed and Soy. These oils become solid as they dry and are of potential use for sealing stone surfaces. They are organic and hence they are relatively sensitive to aging and may (read: will) yellow with age but are useful in some situations.

Waxes: Waxes may be natural or synthetic and include Carnuaba, paraffin, montan, beeswax etc. They are typically formulated into paste waxes or emulsions for sealing purposes. Their effect is less than permanent and typically they are re-applied on a regular basis.

Silicates: These are mineral glasses which fill up pores and densify porous surfaces. Very useful for restoration of stone which is under chemical attack or exterior weathering as it can replace lost minerals (repair) and provide protection from further degeneration. They are specialized materials which require expertise to formulate and apply for predictable results.

Finishing dressing

Waxes: This category is primarily paste waxes composed of paraffin, beeswax, and some synthetics. They can be very effective for maintaining a shine and prevention of stains. Some professional products contain dyes or pigments which can be useful in bringing out or maintaining the color of red, black and green stones (primarily for furniture). Carnuaba based waxes may be suitable for some low abrasive surfaces and is used in specialty maintenance products.

Coatings: Coatings are usually acrylics, urethanes, epoxies, varnishes, lacquers etc. and have limited use on natural stone however there are some typical uses of these film forming polymers. The most common coating is the janitorial type floor finish that is applied to floors to maintain a physical barrier which isolates the stone surface from abrasion. These coatings are considered temporary or sacrificial and are used primarily because the coating is easier to restore when it gets damaged than the stone surface would be without the coating. In general, film-forming coating are avoided on natural stone if possible.

Soaps: Soap is potentially useful in a number of categories because of the residue that soaps tend to leave behind. The residue can be utilized as a sealer in some situations or may be intentionally built up and used as a natural paste wax or dressing. Soaps are very valuable for maintaining stone surfaces and in most cases are 100% reversible. Soap residues "dress" or nourish a stone, preventing the stone from drying out and being overly absorbent.

Natural stone restoration guide

Consolidation

Natural stones age and weather with time. Binding of loose particulate is a desirable process when it is necessary to arrest degenerative processes. Limestone and sandstone are both excellent candidates for binding processes which replace lost minerals which hold the stone together.

There are many types of potential binding agents including various polymers (acrylic, urethane, silicones, polyesters etc.) as well as mineral based silicates available. Caution must be exercised in the evaluation of a potential binding agent as the physical compatibility of the binder with the stone is critical.

Binding agents and processes are underutilized today primarily due to lack of historical data regarding suitability and lack of knowledgeable restoration specialists.

Filling

It is sometimes desirable to fill cavities in natural stone in order to decrease maintenance costs, avoid mechanical trapping of soils and contaminants or for design considerations.

Hardening: Some stones may be chemically hardened in order to resist abrasion more effectively. Limestone may be hardened by a number of chemical processes including silica impregnators, silico-fluoride treatments, or binding processes may give a hardening effect.

Strengthing: Stone strength is usually the result of an increase in stone density brought about by binding processes.

Grinding: Grinding is the historical method of restoring a worn and weathered stone surface to it's original cosmetic condition. It is also the pre-conditioning stage for polishing with oxides. Silicon carbide and diamonds are the most common abrasives used.

Polishing: This is usually a mechanical abrasion process sometimes coupled with chemical action. A typical polishing compound is composed of aluminum and/or tin oxides and water. Oxalic acid is used as an additive for polishing some marbles.