How to Maintain Natural Stone Kitchen Features
June 24, 2014.
Nothing completes a kitchen like a beautiful natural stone tiled floor, splashback or countertop. Stone is a durable material that makes any type of kitchen – from ultra-modern to classic – look more inviting and natural.
Stone is a durable material, but it needs to be cleaned and maintained properly in order to look its best over the long term. With the right care, stone kitchen features can give you decades of use without losing any of their natural beauty.
In this guide, we’ll show you how to clean and maintain your natural stone kitchen floor, splashback or countertop to prevent dirt, debris and abrasive materials from damaging it over time through wear and scratches.
Maintaining a natural stone tiled kitchen floor
Stone tiles are one of the most popular flooring options for modern kitchen owners interested in both style and function. With a calming look and a unique personality, stone floor can add character to any modern or classic home kitchen.
While stone tiles are fairly durable, the same things that wear on stone in nature – dirt, dust and impact – can also wear down your stone floor over time and affect its appearance.
Start your stone floor maintenance by taking an all-natural approach. Never use any bleaches, acids or ammonia-based cleaners on your stone floor. These chemicals can change the appearance of the stone and wear away at its face, causing damage.
As well as avoiding common cleaning chemicals, never use any store-bought grout cleaners on a natural stone floor. Like acid and ammonia-based cleaners, tile grout cleaning solutions can wear down your flooring and compromise its appearance.
The key to keeping your natural stone tiled floor in good shape is cleaning it often to remove dust and debris. Just like stone is eroded by impact in nature, your stone tile flooring can be ‘eroded’ over time by dirt and sand moving under your feet.
Start your stone tile maintenance by brushing away dust, dirt and any other types of grit. Use a vacuum cleaner to reach into corners and between drawers to make sure you remove all dust, as sand and grit often collects in these areas.
Once you’ve cleared away sand, dirt and grit, it’s time to clean your stone floor. Use a damp mop that’s been lightly rinsed in water (without any chemicals) to clean away any dirt or spills that have collected on your stone flooring.
Stone flooring can stain easily, so it’s important to clean up spills shortly after they happen to prevent them from settling in. Start by soaking up the substance using a dry towel or cloth, then use a damp mop to gently clean your stone tiled flooring.
The best way to keep your stone tiled floors looking their best is by preventing any accidents or damage from occurring. Install walk-off mats near your doors to stop sand, dirt and other potentially damaging substances from getting into your home.
Sealing your stone tiled floor to prevent damage
Natural stone flooring stains easily, especially when it isn’t sealed. Sealing your tiles prevents water and other substances from entering the small channels that exist on the surface of the stone and causing staining or corrosion.
Not all stones are equally vulnerable to water. Granite flooring absorbs liquids at an extremely slow rate, making it a great choice for ‘wet’ kitchens. Other types of stone flooring, such as sandstone, are far more porous and need to be heavily treated.
Three types of natural stone sealer are available: penetrating sealers, topical sealers and impregnating sealers. Each type of sealer is made from a different chemical and has different advantages and disadvantages for the look and feel of your floor.
Before you select a sealer and apply it to your floor, check that it’s suitable for your specific type of stone flooring. Factors such as breathability and traffic protection – protection from the impact of your feet – may influence your choice of sealer.
The more frequently your stone flooring comes into contact with water, the more important it is to keep it sealed. Reseal your stone tile flooring every one to three years to keep it protected from stains, spills and other natural hazards.
Maintaining a natural stone kitchen countertop
From messy food preparation to spilled drinks, a variety of substances can damage your stone countertop over time. Cooking oil, vinegar, fruit juice, coffee and many other liquids can sink into your countertop and cause nasty stains to show up.
As with stone flooring, the key to protecting a stone countertop is sealing it as soon as possible. After you’ve had your countertop installed, call a professional to seal it and protect it from stains, scratches and other dangers.
Unlike flooring, which you can easily seal yourself, it’s best to let a professional seal your countertop. Since countertops generally deal with far more liquid than tiles, it’s important that they’re sealed correctly (and sometimes, sealed several times).
Once your countertop has been professionally sealed, test it by pouring a few drops of water onto it. If the stone is sealed, the water beads will settle as droplets on the surface and won’t sink into the stone.
Sealing your stone countertop doesn’t just protect it from liquid staining – it’s also an effective form of protection against scratches, heat damage from pots and pans and sticky kitchen ingredients or cooking oils.
Just like you should avoid using chemicals to clean your stone flooring, you should only ever clean your stone countertop with warm or cool water. Use a damp cloth and carefully mop up spills as soon as they occur to prevent them from settling.
Keep it natural to avoid stains and damage
There are three keys to keeping your stone tile flooring or countertop looking its best:
- Prevent dirt and sand from causing scratches
- Seal it to prevent stains from settling in
- Avoid using anything that contains chemicals to clean it.
With the right level of care and protection, your stone floor or countertop will last for decades and never lose its great looks. Keep it clean, sealed and natural for the perfect warm and inviting floor, splashback or countertop in your kitchen.
If you are interested in adding natural stone to your kitchen, why not check out our great selection of natural stone floor tiles?
Image © Depositphotos.com/Tom Baker