Tile & Natural Stone Flooring Maintenance & Care

cleaning-maintenance-care-guideKeeping your natural stone and tile flooring clean and maintained will help it looks its best and give you the years of wear, durability and visual appeal you expect. Dirt and dust is abrasive. If left on the floor, foot traffic will cause the surface of the stone or tile to be worn, marring the finish. Care is fairly easy, however, so you should be able to keep your floors looking great and wearing durably.

This flooring guide for tile and stone flooring provides answers on how to maintain, care and clean for your stone and tile flooring. You’ll learn why it’s important to properly maintain your tile floor as well as the tools and cleaning supplies you might need to do it. You can also learn more about tile floor installation and prices of tile and stone flooring. Of course, we encourage everyone to start by reading the tile floor buying guide on our site, it’s a great way to learn more about this wonderful home flooring product.

Importance of Proper Care

The first thing to do with stone is to make sure it is properly sealed. Your stone flooring installer should do this, so check with them before making final payment to be sure. In addition, if used in a kitchen or bathroom, make sure the area between the flooring and the wall is caulked in order to prevent moisture from getting into the subfloor and damaging it. The result can be cracked flooring if the wood beneath swells or a rotted spot where the flooring becomes soft.

Both tile and natural stone should be mopped using a soft, dry mop. You can use a vacuum, but make sure it has a “Hard Floor” mode that does not use a rotating brush.

Once a week or so, mop the floors with a damp mop using a detergent formulated for stone or tile. The manufacturer or dealer will have a recommendation for you.

To keep dirt and dust off the floors, place mats by each entryway. You may also want to encourage those in your household to wear slippers or just socks indoors. Keep the mats clean by vacuuming them, shaking them or laundering them if possible.

Do not use abrasive cleaners such as liquid soft scrub type cleaners. They can scratch and dull the surface of tile or natural stone flooring. Cleaners containing acids, such as lemon cleaners or vinegar, should also be avoided. The acid can harm the sealer on stone flooring or stain the grout on tile flooring.

Tools, Equipment and Supplies

A dust mop and pan or a vacuum cleaner with a “Hard Floor” mode is essential. A wet mop and the right detergent for your flooring will keep floors clean. That’s really about all you need. Check out our reviews of the best vacuums for tile floors and our steam mop reviews for every flooring type.

Replacing Your Flooring

Depending on the porosity of your natural stone flooring, it may need to be resealed every few years. Check with the flooring manufacturer or dealer for details.

If the grout on tile becomes discolored, it can be bleached to make it white or light again. Ask a tile dealer about specific products to use and which ones you should avoid.

Keep an extra box of tile on hand for replacing chipped and cracked ones through the years. A few extra slabs of natural stone flooring will be helpful too.

Both of these flooring materials should last 50+ years, so replacing them won’t be required any time soon.

Tile & Natural Stone Flooring Maintenance and Care FAQs

Q: Should you wax stone or tile flooring?
A: Wax is not recommended. In fact, it can dull the finish of natural stone flooring.

Q: Should floor mats have rubber backing?
A: They don’t need to, but it is okay if they do. Hardwood flooring, bamboo and cork flooring and a few other types should not use rubber-backed mats.

Q: What about spills?
A: Juice, wine, oil and pet accidents should be cleaned up immediately to prevent stains to the stone or grout.

Q: Should you have the floors professionally cleaned?
A: Tile flooring doesn’t require it, but you should have home flooring pros clean your natural stone tile every few years. They will clean and extract dirt from the pores of the stone to keep it looking its best in the years ahead.

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