Natural stone has been used throughout the ages in architecture and design. And today, more than ever before, consumers are choosing floor medallions of natural stone for their home and commercial construction uses. Natural stone floor medallions may have adverse reactions to certain cleaning chemicals and processes. When shopping for products be sure the product states that it is safe for “Natural Stone”.
Marble, granite and limestone are durable, long-lasting natural materials. Floor medallions made from these require minimal maintenance, there are some things you should understand about their care. Here are some tips that will keep your Floor Medallion looking new and beautiful for years to come.
Most stones are porous and may absorb liquids and moisture. Limestones and marbles are much more absorbent than granites, but all stones may absorb liquids to varying degrees. To avoid stains, the best strategy is to avoid prolonged contact between the surface and the offending substance. Wipe spills up quickly and always use coasters under glasses. Many common foods and beverages contain weak acids that can alter the polish of the surface if left for too long. This is especially true with calcareous stones such as marble and limestone. Coffee, tea, orange juice, red wine, vinegar, food grease and some fruits can leave stains, so be more attentive when handling these.
Sealing and Protecting
To further help prevent the introduction of stains, a stone sealer is recommended. Seal all products after the installation. After that, periodic re-sealing may be necessary. Some sealers are guaranteed for life. Good natural stone sealers are available at Home Depot, Lowes, ACE hardware, etc. Follow the instructions for the product you choose.
Care and Cleaning
General cleaning can be done with soap and warm water. Counter top Cleaners are great. Counter top Polish may make your floor medallion very slippery. Avoid using any cleaners which contain abrasives or acids (like orange cleaners or Ajax) as these may etch the finish.
For bathtub areas and showers where soap scum buildup is an issue, use a non-acidic soap scum remover. Remember that keeping the stone surface clean is the best way to avoid stains and maintain the beauty.
Stain Removal Tips
Blot any spills with a paper towel immediately. Don’t wipe the area, it will spread the spill. Flush the area with plain water and mild soap and rinse several times. Dry the area thoroughly with a soft cloth. Repeat as necessary. If the stain persists, there are some other things you can try.
Identifying the type of stain on the stone surface is the key to removing it. If you don’t know what caused the stain, try to determine what caused it. Where is the stain located? Is it near a plant, food service area, an area where cosmetics are used? What color is it? What is the shape or pattern? What goes on in the area around the stain? Try these solutions as a first step toward removing different types of stains.
1. Oil-based – (grease, tar, cooking oil, milk, cosmetics) An oil-based stain will darken the stone and normally must be chemically dissolved so the source of the stain can be flushed or rinsed away. Clean gently with paper towels and acetone. Never mix chemicals together as they can create potentially lethal gasses.
2. Biological – (algae, bird droppings, mildew, lichens, moss, fungi) Indoors, clean with 12% hydrogen peroxide (hair bleaching strength) and a few drops of ammonia. Never mix bleach and ammonia! This combination will produce a toxic, lethal gas. Outdoors sunlight will ‘Bleach out’ the stain.
3. Ink – (magic marker, pen, ink) On light colored stones, clean with bleach or hydrogen peroxide. On dark colored stones, clean with lacquer thinner or acetone.
4. Organic – (coffee, tea, fruit, tobacco, paper, food, urine, leaves, bark) May cause pinkish-brown stain and may disappear after the source of the stain has been removed. Outdoors, with the stain source removed, normal sun and rain action will generally bleach out the stains. Indoors, clean with 12% hydrogen peroxide (hair bleaching strength) and a few drops of ammonia.
5. Metal – (iron, rust, copper, bronze) Iron or rust stains are orange to brown in color and follow the shape of the staining object, such as nails, bolts, screws, cans, flower pots, metal furniture. These stains are slow to develop and simply removing the potentially staining object in a timely manner will avoid the stain. Copper and bronze stains appear as green or muddy brown. Metal stains may be removed on Granite tiles with CLR. CLR will instantly remove the polish on Marble and Limestone tiles. Metal stains on marble and limestone must be removed with a poultice. Most home improvement stores sell Poultice to remove these stains. Follow the directions closely. Deep, rusty stains are extremely difficult to remove and the stone may be permanently stained.
6. Water Spots and Rings – These are surface accumulations of hard water on granite. You can buff them with 0000 steel wool (available at most hardware stores). Marble and limestone may etch with steel wool. Test and inconspicuous area first.
Floor Medallions are meant to be walked on. Standing on a beautiful medallion just feels good. Characteristics from doing this are not necessarily negatives. If you have tried some of these techniques without success and the problem is offensive, please contact a local stone care professional.
Notice: Granite, Marble, and Natural Stones are a product of nature and therefore will vary in color, veining, surface texture, fissures and naturally occurring cracks.