Everyone loves a stone floor. Natural stone tiles are practical, great to look at and robust, making them ideal for homes and business premises. But if they are not properly maintained, once-stunning floors can become an eyesore. In fact, we often come across tiled stone floors that have never looked their best due to poor installation. These are some of the common issues.
Common issues & stone floor cleaning fixes
Ingrained dirt – this is such a common problem. Even when floors are frequently swept and cleaned with a mop, over time dirt can get into the tiles. So, a floor installed just a few years earlier can look a little tatty. This needs a more in-depth professional clean to resolve, every now and then. Sometimes we are called in to remove the ingrained dirt from decades of use in period properties. With the correct approach stone floors such as quarry tiles and brick can be brought back to their beautiful best.
No seal – Unlike porcelain or ceramic tiles, most natural stone tiles do not have a glaze on them so after installation the correct sealant should be applied to protect the floor from the ingress of water and oil-based spills. If a floor doesn’t have a seal, then after deep cleaning it should be treated with one.
The wrong seal – Different stone tiles require different types of impregnating seal. Quite often we can see that a floor does not look as it should because the wrong seal was applied (and sometimes several layers of conflicting types of seal). This leads to a build-up of dirt and discolouration. By stripping back the seal and cleaning the tiles the correct seal can be applied to protect the tiled floor.
Algae and lichen – Where honed tiles are used outdoors, they can be prone to discolouration from algae and lichen. For example, this can happen with the marble surrounds of outdoor swimming pools. The tile surface is honed with miniscule bumps making it a suitable non-slip safety surface but also making it more prone to a build-up of dirt and algae. This can be neutralised and cleaned away to remove any stains.
Grout haze – Excess grout must be thoroughly washed away by the installer after grouting, using a cleaning solution with the right PH. If not, a thin layer of grout remains which readily traps dirt and marks. This needs to be professionally removed and the tiles cleaned and sealed.
Stains – If tiles haven’t been correctly sealed or if the seal has become compromised over time, then spills can be absorbed into tiles and show up as stains. With targeted deep-cleaning stains can be lifted from surfaces such as marble tiles and limestone tiles.
Lippage – Care is required to create a level base before tiling, and then tiles must be bedded smoothly when they are installed. If not, an uneven tile surface known as lippage will result. This can happen with any type of tile from travertine to limestone. This can usually be resolved by carefully grinding problem areas of the floor to a smooth finish before cleaning, polishing and sealing.
Ask Cornwell Services about your own stone floor cleaning project. Please contact Saul on 07738 022813. We’re a Hertfordshire-based business and we cover Hertfordshire, Essex, Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and north London.