Caring for Marble Part 1

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When it comes to renovating your home, look to history. There is a reason all the grand buildings of the ancient world were clad in marble. It was the most beautiful of stones and thus deemed worthy to honor the gods in temples and churches throughout history. When people decided to build their own sanctuaries—their homes were graced by marble as well and now, because you are renovating, yours can be, too.

Marble may be used on floors, porticos, stairways, countertops, art niches and even walls. With the stunning array of types and colors available (from powder blue to rich gold to the blackest of blacks) marble’s popularity in the remodeling of high-end homes continues unabated.

But, like with all precious things, marble needs specific care to maintain its beauty. Here, from the Marble Institute, is how to properly care for marble;

Coasters: Use coasters under all glasses, particularly those containing alcohol or citrus juices.

Trivets: While many stones can withstand heat, the use of trivets or mats is recommended.

Dust mopping: Dust mop interior floors frequently, using a clean non-treated dry dust mop. Sand, dirt and grit are abrasive and can damage natural stone.

Mats/rugs: Mats or area rugs inside and outside an entrance will help to minimize the sand, dirt and grit that may scratch the stone floor. Be sure that the underside of the mat or rug is a slip-resistant surface.

Vacuum cleaners: If used, be sure the metal or plastic attachments or the wheels are not worn, as they can scratch the surface of some stones.

Spills: Blot the spill with a paper towel immediately. Don’t wipe the area, it will spread the spill. Flush the area with water and mild soap and rinse several times. Dry the area thoroughly with a soft cloth. Repeat as necessary.

Cleaning: Clean stone surfaces with a neutral cleaner, stone soap, or a mild liquid dishwashing detergent and warm water. Similar to any item cleaned in your home, an excessive concentration of cleaner or soap may leave a film and cause streaks. Follow manufacturer recommendations.

Use a clean rag mop on floors and a soft cloth for other surfaces for best results. Rinse the surface thoroughly after washing with the soap solution and dry with a soft cloth. Change the rinse water frequently.

In the bath or other wet areas, soap scum can be minimized by using a squeegee after each use. To remove soap scum, use a non-acidic soap scum remover or a solution of ammonia and water (about 1/2 cup ammonia to a gallon of water). Frequent or over-use of an ammonia solution may eventually dull the surface of some stone types.

In outdoor pool, patio or hot tub areas, flush with clear water and use mild bleach solution to remove algae or moss.

Cleaning Products: Many suppliers offer products used for stone cleaning. Products containing lemon, vinegar or other acids may dull or etch calcareous stones. Scouring powders or creams often contain abrasives that may scratch certain stones. Many commercially available rust removers (laundry rust stain removers, toilet bowl cleaners) contain trace levels of hydrofluoric acid (HF). This acid attacks silicates in addition to other minerals. All stones, including granite and quartzite, will be attacked if exposed to HF.

Do not mix ammonia and bleach. This combination creates a toxic and lethal gas.

Sealing: Sealing is a common step taken on some stones as an extra precaution against staining. In fact, the sealing products used in the stone industry are “impregnators” which do not actually seal the stone, but more correctly act as a repellent rather than a sealer. Sealing does not make the stone stain proof; rather it makes the stone more stain-resistant. When consulting with your stone supplier, you may find that many stones do not require sealing. However, applying an impregnating sealer is a common practice. If a sealer is applied in a food preparation area, be sure that it is non-toxic and safe for use.

Consult with your supplier or sealing manufacturer specific to the type of sealer and frequency of use recommended.

Cornerstone Builders of Southwest Florida will be happy to discuss installing marble or other natural stone as part of your renovation or remodeling project. Our experienced designers will add some helpful knowledge and advice to make sure your renovation project exceeds your expectations. Please contact us today.

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