The shiny and polished look of natural-stone surfaces is made possible by three factors: finishing, cleaning, and sealing. When natural-stone tiles and slabs are extracted from quarries, they go through a fabrication process intended to make them look as regal as possible. The finishing stage of natural-stone fabrication can result in various styles. The polished look is very popular among homeowners, but other styles include brushed, sandblasted, and coarse. Invariably, all finishing styles feature a soft glow and a nice luster that is up to homeowners to maintain with proper care.
Caring for Natural Stone
The first step in caring for natural stone is to acknowledge that stone requires regular care and maintenance. Unlike laminate materials that can simply be dusted off and wiped down with regular household cleaners, natural stone requires three stages of maintenance: cleaning, sealing, and polishing.
Cleaning Natural-Stone Surfaces the Right Way
With the right liquid cleaner formulated specifically for natural-stone surfaces, caring for floor tiles and countertops is easy. The key is to never use common household cleaners since many of them contain chemicals that can penetrate the surface seal and even stain the stone. Failure to clean natural stone frequently can result in a buildup of soil particles that eventually make the surface look opaque. When scrubbing is required in the kitchen, it should only be done with a soft nylon brush or a granite scrubbing sponge.
Sealing Natural Stone
The sheen of stone tiles and countertops is protected by the surface seal, which is set once at the factory and once again during the installation process. After installation, homeowners can refresh this seal as often as necessary with a household solution formulated for this purpose. Frequent applications of natural-stone sealant protect more than just the finish of tiles and counters. They also prevent staining and etching. To test the integrity of the seal, homeowners can pour a small amount of water, about 3 inches in diameter, on top of tiles or counters and let it sit for 30 minutes. If a dark spot begins to form, the granite sealer should be applied as soon as possible. If the surface is already stained, the spots should be thoroughly removed before sealant is reapplied.
Polishing Natural-Stone Surfaces
There was a time when polishing natural stone required a visit from stone care professionals. This is no longer the case thanks to new products that let homeowners polish their countertops themselves. Granite Gold Polish® is ideal for surfaces that feature a polished and glossy finish, which is usually applied to countertops. In the case of marble, granite, travertine, quartzite, and other stone floors, only natural-stone cleaner and sealer should be applied because polishing will make them too slippery.
If you’d like to learn more about how to clean natural stone and maintain its luster, reach out to Granite Gold®. All of our cleaning, sealing, and polishing products are safe to use on granite, marble, slate, travertine, and other types of natural stone. Call 1-800-475-STONE today to speak with one of our knowledgeable representatives.