Saturday, October 15, 2011

How to maintain stone floors

Unwelcome guests may be entering your home and damaging your stone floors. Small stones, tiny pebbles, sand and stone-hard grit sneak into your home on the bottom of shoes. These little invaders are your floor’s No. 1 enemies because they can easily scratch and mar elegant-looking stone.
Protect against such attacks by putting up defenses outside your front door. Put down industrial-strength mats with tough ribbing, which encourage visitors to scuff dirt from their shoes before crossing the threshold. Purchase mats that are 4 to 6 feet long, allowing guests ample opportunity to leave grit behind before they enter. Typical 2×3-foot doormats are too lightweight to handle the job. Put them at all entry doors and add a smaller mat inside as an added precaution. The best mats will also absorb significant amounts of water, so that isn’t tracked into your home either.
Having kept most of the worst outside, you also need to keep a close eye on the inside entrance area. Wet mop this area whenever dust, dirt, pebbles or stones collect on the floor. Mopping frequency depends on the amount of foot traffic and how well shoes are cleaned off at the entry. Tackling this as a once-a-week task is common.
When mopping, use a microfiber mop, instead of rayon. The newer material does a much more effective job taking up grit and water. Neutral pH cleaners are recommended for most stone because they will not harm the stone sealer. Remove as much of the water as possible to avoid streaking and clouding. Never use acidic cleaners containing lemon juice, vinegar or ammonia. Also avoid abrasive cleaners. All these may damage stone, particularly the softer varieties such as marble and limestone.
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