It’s hot outside. Everyone is coming in and out of the house trying to simultaneously enjoy summer fun and stay out of the sweltering heat. That means a lot of traffic for your natural stone floors.
How can you protect your floors from the kids, pets, and projects that are always a part of summer? Here are a few ideas.
#1 Seal that Floor!
Look back through your records to find out when your natural stone was last sealed. Sealing protects it from stains and etching that can result from liquid spills.
You should reseal your stone about every year or two, so it doesn’t hurt to just remove the old sealer and give it a fresh coat in preparation for the busy summer. Use a tile sealer and adhesive remover that is safe for natural stone.
There are several types of sealer so check with a designer, contractor, or Daltile dealer to find out what is best for your particular stone flooring. Don’t forget to test all products in a small area before using.
#2 Clean that Floor!
When the kids are home all day and both indoor and outdoor improvement projects go on endlessly throughout the summer, you’ll find that you’re cleaning your floor pretty frequently. That can be tricky with a stone floor because you want to keep moisture to a minimum.
As always, wipe up spills right away—that includes the wet trails of kids just out of the pool. Never use anything but pH neutral cleaners on the floor. Steer clear of vacuuming your floor so you can avoid chipping or cracking your stone.
Get friendly with the dust mop. It is a soft, dry mop that works wonders for all the dirt and crumbs your family leaves behind all summer. You can use it as many times per day as you want with no drawbacks and your stone floor stays nice and clean. Wet mop it with a soft mop about once a week.
#3 Cover that Floor!
Use door mats, carpet runners, rugs, and the like in the areas with the heaviest traffic—especially entrances. There’s nothing like prevention when it comes to taking care of your floors.
#4 Protect that Floor!
Institute a no shoes policy on the natural stone floor, or even for the whole house. While you’re at it, ban bare feet too. Your skin contains oils, which can stain stone over time and with repeated exposure.
#5 Steam that Floor!
Steam cleaners can do wonders for your grout. They work without the use of harsh chemicals or tools that may damage your stone. There are plenty of other grout cleaning methods that are safe for your stone floor if steaming isn’t your thing.
Select products that are safe for both stone and grout cleaning and give them a little scrub. Check with a stone expert if you are unsure about what to use.
Grout is the canary on your stone tile cleanliness scale. It can get dirty and stained, in many cases, faster and more readily than your stone tile. A good cleaning will help restore it. It may be helpful to install a darker grout, which will hide some of the dirt.
#6 Deep Clean that Floor!
Your floor will occasionally need a deep cleaning. If you can wait until your busy summer has passed, you’ll experience the full effect longer. But sometimes a deep clean is necessary like when the red wine from the 4th of July party leaves its mark.
Try a regular neutral stone cleaner first. If that doesn’t work, a stone poultice might be needed. A poultice is a fine, neutral, absorptive clay powder that removes oil and stains from stone. Follow manufacturer directions so you don’t damage your floor. Read more about cleaning stone here.
Keep in mind that a poultice may dull polished stone. Use a stone polishing compound to restore the shine of your stone floor.
Taking care of your stone floors is a constant battle during the summer. But you’ll be glad, when the autumn comes, that you did the heavy work earlier and now can just enjoy your beautiful floors—at least until it starts snowing and the battle begins all over again.