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Stone Floor Care

Stone floor care will help it last for years, like you see in castles. Caring for your stone floor means sealing, cleaning, and maintaining it. Stone floor sealers should be applied at installation, and then as directed by professionals. Stone floor cleaning should be done regularly to keep dust, dirt and grime from marring the surface. Taking care of your stone flooring will keep it beautiful as long as you have it.

Whether you are considering the purchase or you already have it, proper stone floor care will help keep you flooring selection beautiful and protected. The better you protect it the longer it will last.

Depending on the amount of traffic, the type of stone floor, as well as the area in which you live, you have a variety of options to take into consideration. In some cases, the care of these floors is more difficult. In others, it is quite simple. But, regardless of what you need to do, doing it will allow for your stone floors to last a lifetime and longer.


Installation Right First

The first step in caring for stone floors is ensuring proper installation. When it is laid properly, it will beautiful, but more importantly it will be less likely to crack, slip, or become uneven. It is always wise to have a professional do the work. A handy person can do it themselves with the proper tools plus some basic knowledge. There are many online tutorials available to guide you. But, remember that this type of flooring is quite expensive so you may not want too many wasted pieces!


Stone Sealers

When you think of a stone, you think of a porous material. The problem with most stone flooring is that it is susceptible to staining. In porous stones like marble, you will find that even a little bit of water can cause the floor to spot. Other very porous flooring choices include limestone and sandstone. Slate is a porous stone, but more water resistant than the previously mentioned flooring materials. Granite is a very hard, non-porous surface, good for flooring; it's still wise to seal it so that it doesn't stain.

But, there are ways that you can protect the flooring from these stains. Most individuals will use a stone sealer on the floor. Sealers range in differences depending on the type of floor, the texture of the flooring as well as in quality. When properly sealed, they can help to protect the floors from easily staining. But, even with them applied, your stone flooring can become stained if a spill, especially those with acids in them, is left on the floor for very long. Anytime something is spilled, it should be cleaned up as soon as possible.


Regular Care Of Stone Flooring

When it comes to stone flooring cleaning, there are some basic things to remember.


  • The first course of action is the dust mop. A dry mop that removes debris gently is needed. This is necessary because dirt, for example, left on the stone flooring can be abrasive to the flooring material and therefore damage it. To help in this type of prevention, use a carpet near the entrance to help trap these particles before they even get into the room.

  • When cleaning stone flooring, excess water should not be used. Take a mop and wring it out, then wipe the floor. You should not use any chemicals on stone floors, especially those with acid in them. Once the floor is cleaned, those who have a marble surface should take a dry towel to immediately dry the flooring. Most other types of flooring do not require this attention.

  • Removing stains from grout will be necessary sometimes.

  • Regular polishing may be necessary for high traffic areas. Have a professional come in to do the work to ensure that the stone flooring is not damaged.

  • Lastly, stone flooring care will require that you reapply sealers to the flooring annually. Marble should be more frequent, like every nine months.


Taking care of your stone flooring will keep it looking beautiful. Your home is your castle. And as with European castles that often have stone floors, taking care of them will let them last a long time.

Comments

I have Hebron Stone floors (It's a limestone that is found in the middle east) My housekeeper used a mop incorrectly and managed to put lots of scratches on it. It can't be re-polished as the corners are rounded & there is a wide grout. If I have it sanded/polished down, I will loose the edges of the stone which really sets off the beautiful large stones.

Also it was resealed, but the company did not wash/clean it first and just sealed over the dirt!! I'm in the process of hand cleaning the scratches until they are white and then resealing the stone -- stone by stone. A really big job for a large agrea.

Do you have any better suggestions? To be honest, I'm using scouring powder (I know it's a no, no) rinsing it well and then resealing. It was the only way I could get the scratches and dirt that was sealed in out.

Shirley Loewenthal at February 10, 2008 12:30 PM

I don't have a better suggestion. I'm going to throw a few ideas at you, but since you know the situation best you can accept or reject them as appropriate.
* small hand sander
* a chemical stripper for the sealant, though I don't like what that can do to your air quality and your health

Good luck. What a big mess. I hope it turns out well for you.

The Flooring Lady at February 10, 2008 2:41 PM

My honed marble floor in my master bath is less than a year old, but almost from the beginning we noticed dull spots appearing. They show shoe prints from our cleaning lady, they seem to come from the rubberized bottom of our shower rug. Our contractor sealed the floor, but I am wondering if he did it correctly. I know it is time to seal again, but I am worried about sealing over the marks and dull spots. Can I remove these dull spots and marks before resealing? Will the sealing itself fix the dulled spots and marks?

Ken at February 11, 2008 9:21 AM

I'm increasingly hearing to avoid rubber-backed rugs. It seems to me they react to modern floor finishes, though that's my guess only.

What are you cleaning the floor with? That could account for some of the problem(s). Don't do any sealing until you figure out what's causing the dulling and marks and get them removed. Then you may want to consider stripping the original sealer and start again with something different and you may decide to stay with the brand you have but to change cleaning materials.

I'm a huge fan of natural cleaners. They are cheaper (better for your budget) and they are better for the environment and you.

The Flooring Lady at February 11, 2008 9:52 AM

I have stone floor tiles up against a small brick wall at my foyer. I have an older dog that has started to have accidents in the house. He recently had an accident on the tile while we were out and it was not cleaned up right away. When found, I cleaned it up with paper towels and then cleaned the area with a small amount of mild dish soap and water, rinsed and wiped dry. I have concerns that it has seeped into the tile and grout. I can still smell the urine odor. What is the best way to clean brick tile and grout without leaving a film. I'm reluctant to use cleaners that will leave a film or discoloration but I want this Clean and fresh smelling! Help!

Ron at April 13, 2008 7:03 AM

Both vinegar and baking soda are good ingredients for cleaning up after this kind of accident. Since it seems the urine has seeped into the tile/brick and/or grout, use vinegar water to clean the surface. After it's dried completely, apply baking soda to the area, rub it in lightly, and let it sit for awhile before vacuuming it up. See if that works. If not, buy a commercial product that's specially formulated to remove urine smells.

The Flooring Lady at April 13, 2008 8:49 AM

Help please!!! I live un a rented apartment, with what I think are marble tiles - they are white and extremely porous. We have spilled red wine on them, and depsite immediately rushing to absorb the wine (with kitchen towel and salt), they left an instant purple stain. What can I do to remove the stain? Please help!
Thanks, Desperate

Desperate at July 6, 2008 1:41 PM

I'd recommend trying StainSolver would be better than OxyClean because it's got more leaching action. You could also try Enviro-One It's been good for stain removal in general. It sounds like the floor needs to be resealed since the wine soaked in so easily and quickly. When marble is used in a kitchen and/or dining area, it will probably need to be cleaned and sealed every 9-12 months.

The Flooring Lady at July 6, 2008 6:10 PM

Any spills containing acid like wine can easy etch and produce stains on your marble. Even if it was sealed, any types of sealer provide limited protection. It is important to understand when time for maintaining of natural stone. Make sure the selected stone sealer can be used on the your kind of stone.

Marble Guard at July 21, 2008 11:46 PM

We have limestone floors in our bathrooms. Is there anything we can use to clean up urine drops around the toilet?

Please help! at August 19, 2008 7:59 PM

Take a look at AquaMix products. I don't know if anybody carries them in your area, but at least this will help you to get an idea of the kind of products you might need. You're going to need something to get rid of discoloration (I presume) and then you need to seal it really, really well so you don't have these problems again.

The Flooring Lady at August 20, 2008 7:00 AM

Looking for pros and cons of limestone, granite and slate, also micromarble for fire-surrounds. How do you care for them? Which is most resistent to chipping and staining?

Can you advise?

Regards Diane

Anonymous at August 20, 2008 10:33 AM

Thanks for your response about the urine drops. I don't have discoloration -- just little spots which are shiny on the otherwise matte limestone. Is the solution still the same? And, more importantly, can I do it myself or do I need a tile repair firm?

Joan Chesner at August 20, 2008 6:54 PM

Joan, I heard about Enviro-one on another page of this site, and it might work for your stains. I have bought used it for other sorts of cleaning and have been mostly pleased with it. I don't have limestone so don't know how it will work for you, but it's environmentally friendly, and that's worth a lot to me.

Anonymous at August 21, 2008 9:10 AM

Hi Diane,

They all are good choices, so long as they are installed correctly. Big thing is to seal them first, before laying them. Makes the grout easier to clean off. Any of them will look wonderful so long as they're sealed well (don't be skimpy!!) afterwards.

You can use the search function in the upper right hand corner to read about the different stones and how to take care of them.

Good luck making a choice - I don't envy you! ;~) You're going to have a tough decision to make!

The Flooring Lady at August 21, 2008 6:40 PM

Hi Joan,
I'd give Enviro-one a shot. I use it too and I am pleased with it. Did you check out the AquaMix site?

The Flooring Lady at August 21, 2008 7:00 PM

Is it possible to get a bad batch of travertine? If so, what are the signs? We had travertine laid in our LR/kitchen and are now noticing small holes and pits in the tile. I am certain that all of these holes/pits were not there when the tile was laid 4 months ago (they can be up to 1/8 inch in diameter). I have been filling them in with grout. I am wondering if the tile wasn't sealed properly (it was sealed, but perhaps not generouslly enough?) or if the tile is defective. What would you suggest? Also, what would you suggest for a sealer to add over the existing sealer? (Your site references AquaMix Enrich N' Seal but the product description says it should not be used over other sealers).

anonymous at September 15, 2008 5:11 PM

Yes, it's possible to get bad stone batches. It's also possible to not have them sealed adequately. The first question I have about it though is what you are using to clean them.

My guess is that you have a lower quality travertine, it didn't get sealed adequately, and you are using a cleaner on it that's dissolving parts of the stone. You could try sealing it more with the product that was used initially, or you could find a more durable sealant that would go over the present surface.

If you have an installer who did the work, get them involved in the process. If you did it all yourself, talk to the store that sold you the travertine to see what they have to say.

Good luck. And if you will, let us know what you have done and what the results are.

The Flooring Lady at September 15, 2008 6:16 PM

Ugh! If what you suspect is true that is the worst possible option, because everyone has some culpability. As a result I fear that each party will blame the actions of the other and all will refuse to take any corrective action ("it's not my fault because . . .").

The store the tile was purchased from insists it sells only high quality, installer insists installed according to specifications and used ample quanity of sealer, cleaning service insists haven't used any acids/vinegar. However, at least one of these statements cannot be true for us to have the current outcome. I do suspect that the cleaning service may have used vinegar to clean the floor (how else could it get these holes/pits?) and they used vinegar on the old flooring. Or perhaps they are using the mop from the prior house and it still has vinegar in it? In addition, I suspect the travertine may not be high quality and/or sealing issues - I dropped a fork from the kitchen table yesterday and it created a small chip in the floor. I'm assuming this shouldn't happen.

What do you suggest given that I have circled with everyone and they all insist it couldn't be due to anything on their end?

Also, what is the most durable sealer you recommend if I wanted to try putting another sealer on the floor? Would a really durable sealer solve these problems (creating a hard barrier like on a hard wood floor so that there wouldn't be chips/pits)? Or if it is low quality travertine will we continue to expereince these issues for the rest of our lives?

Anonymous at September 17, 2008 11:49 AM

Yeah, I still think it sounds like a bad batch of stone - especially since it chipped when a fork was dropped on it! I would call the company the stone came from and tell them of your dilemma and how you are not happy.

You need to find out what the stone has been cleaned with as well as what sealer was used as well as how many coats. It is possible that you may be able to use more of that sealer or even use the AquaMix over it - it's just going to depend on the sealer. AquaMix has a toll free number listed on their website.

I've got a feeling you're going to have a long haul as far as getting satisfaction from the travertine manufacturer, but it is ridiculous for them to expect you to put up with a floor that is already pitting and chips from the least little thing.

Even if a vinegar/water solution was used on the stone to clean it, it still shouldn't have pitted it if it were sealed well. There's something else going on I think.

On a side note, the store you bought it from may only carry high quality materials, but even that's not going to guarantee that a bad batch of stone won't sneak in. After all, how are they going to know it's a bad batch just by looking at it?

The Flooring Lady at September 18, 2008 7:03 AM

The cleaning service now admits they used a mild vinegar/water solution as I suspected. I count that they were at the house 6 times over a two month period.

The installer applied the travertine sealer that the store the travertine was purchased from strongly recommends. The sealer is Superior Premium Gold for Travertine. The really interesting thing is that I was searching the internet to find out more about this product and I saw a note that it was made by Aqua Mix and sold under this label in some tile stores. I didn't find this on the AquaMix site so I don't know for certain if this is accurate.

The installer applied the sealer according to package directions and applied two coats of sealer. The installer checked to see that the tile felt consistently smooth from the sealer and checked to ensure that water beaded on the floor after sealer application. The installer has been around a long time and has a good reputation. He doesn't have a lot of experience with stone (mostly just porcelin and ceramic tile), but I do trust that he applied the sealer correctly and that he is being honest with me.

The tile store tells me that they own their own quarries (outside of this country) and inspect all shipments before they are delivered to customers. They insist they sell the highest quality travertine and haven't had any issues with quality as long as the tile is properly cared for.

Here's something else interesting, I can't be a 100% certain, but a good part of the pitting/holes seems to be occuring where the tile was filled. It looks like the fill is disolving in places. I called the tile shop and they tell me that the trvertine is filled with epoxy. I don't know what epoxy is, but is that something that should be able to be disolved by vinegar and water? I only wash the floor with hot water on a damp mop (given our issues, I'm afraid to use anything else) and I've released the cleaning service.

Anonymous at September 18, 2008 1:41 PM

Well, all I can say is this is really a mystery. If the floor was properly sealed (and it seems that this is so), then a mild vinegar/water solution shouldn't have hurt anything - seriously! The sealer would protect the stone. On the other hand, if it seems that the epoxy fill is coming out, then apparently it didn't adhere properly to the stone - again, vinegar wouldn't hurt it. Epoxy is super hard stuff, vinegar isn't going to budge it. While it's true that anything acidic is NOT recommended for cleaning travertine (or any other stone), it's a pretty common practice and usually not problematic if the floor is sealed well.

I'm presuming the water still beads?

Wouldn't hurt to find out what the 'recommeneded' cleaning process is for this stone and what the warranty exclusions are. I sure can't see how a mild vinegar/water solution on sealed stone could cause the pitting, or even cause the epoxy to come out. If the epoxy really is coming off, despite being sealed........ just sounds like it didn't adhere to the stone - could be the epoxy was defective. Something's not right and I surely hope this company that also owns the quarries stand behind their products. Hopefully, using a mild vinegar/water solution doesn't void any warranty.

Oh, I have found thru a google search where AquaMix Sealer's Choice Gold IS rebranded as Superior Premium Gold - so it sounds like your installer knows what he's talking about.

Summary: I think that it's likely there was something wrong with the epoxy filler since it appears to be popping out of the travertine. In short, that still means that the tile product is defective. Could be a ratio (measuring) error when mixing the epoxy??? Epoxies are usually 2 part, one part is the hardener. It's crucial that when you mix the two parts together (commonly referred to as 'Part A' and 'Part B'), that the ratios are exactly correct or the epoxy won't set right. It's possible that the cleaning service could be held liable, especially if it violates the warranty of the stone because of the cleaning service's cleaning method.

The Flooring Lady at September 20, 2008 1:59 PM

I've just bought a house that was recently remodeled with granite floors and countertops. I have no way of knowing if they were sealed or not.
Is there a way to tell or should I just apply sealant to be sure?

lisa at November 20, 2008 11:59 AM

Hi Lisa,
If they are sealed, a drop of water will bead up rather than spread.

The Flooring Lady at November 20, 2008 2:50 PM

We just have travertine installed and sealed in our bathroom a couple of weeks ago. Someone accidently used lysol to clean an area of the travertine which left spots all over the tile. They tried to wipe it up immediately but did more damage by wiping. The tiles look scratched and spotted. How can I get them looking new and refreshed again? Should I try resealing them? If so, what do you recommend?

Yvonne at December 7, 2008 10:43 AM

Hi Yvonne,
Since you just had this installed I'd recommend calling the installer. If nothing else you can ask what was used on the travertine to help determine if you can fix it yourself. You most likely can, probably just needs a light, fine stripping pad and reapplying a bit of the sealer.

The Flooring Lady at December 8, 2008 12:10 PM

Dear floor lady, I am in big trouble and need you help. we just installed travertine flooring and every one told me we should seal it. we made sure it was very clean before we sealed it but everyone failed to tell us that it takes 24hr for the floors to get dry. after 10 minutes of drying we put the sealer. Now it looks dirty and not shiny at all as if there is dirt over the stone but nothing removed the dirt. After many trips to home depot the think I have sealed the dirt and there is no way to remove it. they recommended me to use a tilelab heavy duty cleaner & stripper but the sealer company (miracle) says no chance to remove the seal. I have to sand the stone down to get the sealer out. I need your help. how can I remove the sealer, clean the surface and reseal again? I do not want to sand the area after all we went trough installing them!! any ideas..... thanks

Sam at January 9, 2009 3:35 PM

Hi Sam,
Hopefully you won't have to sand......... take a look at the products available from AquaMix. I think you'll probably need to start with their Sealer & Coating Remover. It's going to take patience and some elbow grease, but I think it'll work. Be sure to call their toll free number too - I know that they make a branded products for a big store chain, but darned if I can think of which one and what the line is called. It's a bit less expensive. Look over their sealers too - there's different kinds to get different results.

The Flooring Lady at January 12, 2009 8:34 AM

Thank you so much for the ideas.I need to make sure the product does not damage my polished stone. They say acids do damage the surface of polished stone..... is that the case???? I hate to try it and realize that it does and it would be too late. thanks again

sam at January 12, 2009 9:32 AM

Hi Sam,
Yes, acids can damage the surface of polished stone. Remember though, if it's sealed properly, then you'll be ok - even if you choose to clean your flooring with a mild vinegar/water solution.

The Flooring Lady at January 15, 2009 11:18 AM

You should never use acidic cleaners on any natural stone.Sealers don't protect the calcium in these stones from being eaten away by acids.I am a stone restorer with almost 30 years experience and this is the single number one problem that keeps me in business.Use a neutral cleaner always.Also, acidic cleaners will eat away at the area surrounding fillers in travertine making them larger allowing the fillers to pop out.

davestone at March 8, 2009 7:08 PM

Hi Dave,
A good sealer should protect the stone, though yes, a neutral cleaner won't harm the stone. With a good sealer/finish, a very mild solution of vinegar/water won't hurt - floors that are not sealed well will have a problem though - regardless of what is used to clean them.

The Flooring Lady at March 11, 2009 2:28 PM

I have a porcelain kitchen floor which was installed 2 years ago. it's beautiful but slowly the little pitted areas are turning black. suggestions?

SHARON at March 29, 2009 5:44 AM

Hi Sharon,
How did your porcelain flooring become pitted? It sounds like you need to clean the flooring really well and then seal it. Check out the products for porcelain at www.aquamix.com so you can see what kind of products are available. I'm not saying you need to buy their products (though they are very good!), it's just that their website was wonderfully created with consumers in mind who need to know what each product is for, when you should consider using it, etc. ;o)

The Flooring Lady at March 31, 2009 5:03 PM

We just put up a stone backsplash. We cleaned it really well then sealed it with Dupont Stonetech Heavy Duty Sealer. We then grouted and sealed again. The stone tiles have now lost their shine. They look flat in the middle etc. What do I do now to get their shine back?

Penny at May 11, 2009 5:30 AM

Hi Penny,
It sounds like maybe all of the grout wasn't cleaned off - this can take away it's shine. It's also possible that the sealer wasn't a high-sheen (glossy) sealer. If you feel that is the case, then just using a high-sheen finish or the same type sealer that is high-sheen will take care of it. If that doesn't work, then it's probably grout haze, and the only way to remove it is to strip the tiles and re-seal with a high-sheen product.

The Flooring Lady at May 11, 2009 11:20 AM

how do I get red wine up from limestone floor

jule at June 18, 2009 11:55 AM

Hi Julie,

Please see my reply to Dave.

The Flooring Lady at June 18, 2009 1:11 PM

I moved into a flat with a stone floor. Basically, looks like large slate stones joined together? With concrete. A hi gloss sealer was applied to it, but ive noticd that the sealer is peeling? Do i have to strip that sealer before layering another coat?

Kay at October 31, 2009 6:30 PM

Kay,

I would recommend removing the damaged sealer before applying a new one.

Be sure to check your instructions on the new sealer on the proper way to clean it.

The Flooring Lady at November 3, 2009 2:17 PM


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