March 6, 2020
Blog # of 2: Tips for Caring for Porcelain Tile & Natural Stone Floors
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The flooring in our homes endures everyday wear and tear. And with our Northeast Ohio winter weather, those floors often need extra TLC to keep them looking their very best year-round. This post picks up where I left off in the last blog, focusing on care and maintenance tips for hard-surface flooring: Porcelain tile and natural stone products such as marble, travertine, slate, etc.
Porcelain Tile is revered for its easy care—it requires only routine sweeping and vacuuming, and then the use of a neutral-based cleaner for maintenance. But it’s the grout that often poses a challenge for cleaning: Because the grout line sits below the tile surface, it collects dirty water from wet mops, which can leave a film on the grout making it look dirty and discolored.
Using cleaning products specific to a particular type of flooring is always best. Some multipurpose cleaners or detergents may come with an oil, wax, or polish meant to enhance or brighten your floor. These chemicals can pool on the grout line, leaving behind a residue. The texture of the grout has a tendency to grab dirt, with proper cleaning and the correct cleaning product, this can be greatly minimized. Pro tip: Consult a flooring professional who carries a high-quality line of cleaning and maintenance products for grout to get the best formulas for the job. After the grout is clean, sealer can be applied to help with future maintenance – knowing the type of grout can be helpful in knowing if, and how often, re-sealing the grout should be done.
At Dover, we use a self-sealing grout that is harder and more durable than other products. Using that high-performance grout allows for simple, topical cleaning using neutral cleaners.
Natural Stone. For natural stone tile, use neutral products for everyday cleaning. Acidic products can hurt natural stone by either etching or dulling the surface over time. While a simple mixture of water and white vinegar can be effective in cleaning many ceramic and/or porcelain tile surfaces in the home, the acid-base in vinegar can be problematic if used with natural stone—I advise my customers to use a mild cleaning product, specifically formulated for stone. After cleaning, most manufacturers recommend sealing natural stone every 12 to 24 months. Pro tip: Always consult a trusted flooring professional in regards to cleaning and maintaining a natural stone product.
Finally, here are two common-sense tips for maintaining any type of flooring:
- Use a doormat at your front door and/or in the mudroom. If you have a place to kick off your shoes so that you’re not carrying dirt (or rock salt) through the house, that’s ideal. Dirt under a microscope is jagged—so over time, it does do damage to both carpet and hard surfaces. If you can minimize that by removing shoes, it’s always a benefit.
- Less is more. No matter what type of cleaning solution you use, the rule of thumb is to go lightly. Saturating your carpet or hard floors with cleaners makes it more difficult to rinse the soap or cleaning solution and extract the liquid, which attracts more dirt.
If you’re interested in learning more or shopping products formulated for your specific type of flooring, stop by the Dover Flooring & Tile Center. We’re always here to help.