When building or remodeling a home, choosing countertops and other surfaces that are both beautiful and functional plays a major part in the eventual look and feel of the home. Unlike something as temporary as paint colors, high-end stone surfaces are an investment that is meant to last for years, even through multiple owners. With such long-lasting materials, though, comes long-term care. In order to prevent a gradual transition from classy to “shabby chic,” it’s important to know how to care for your stone appropriately.
Caring for Granite
Granite is incredibly durable, but as with any natural material, there are different varieties. Some can benefit from being sealed, while others can actually be damaged when sealants are applied. For this reason, it’s best to get an opinion from a grout and tile professional before taking any steps to increase the durability of your granite surfaces.
When it comes to day-to-day upkeep, wiping up spills as soon as possible and cleaning your granite with a mild soap and water mixture on a regular basis is the common-sense foundation for keeping your countertops in good condition. Always use a soft cloth (microfiber works well) and avoid scrubbers or bristle brushes. Also on the to-avoid list are ammonia-based cleaners like Windex, and any product that includes bleach, no matter how diluted.
For disinfecting, apply a 50/50 mix of water and isopropyl alcohol, letting it sit on the surface for around five minutes. Then all you need to do is wipe it up with a damp cloth. There are a number of fancy “granite-safe” cleaners available at your local home improvement store, but most are based on a similar mixture and are sold at a significant markup. They are safe to use if you have them on hand, but the homemade version works just as well.
Caring for Marble
Marble is similar to granite in many respects, and cleaning guidelines are similar for both. Marble’s reflective surface can also become dull with repeated use, especially when it is used for floors and staircases. A yearly polishing can help keep marble looking like new.
Since liquids can stain marble if allowed to set in, it’s important to use coasters or other barriers between your marble and food or drink. In the case of floors, it makes sense to have a rug strategically placed in any entryways where people are most likely to have wet or muddy shoes.
People often forget that floors can be delicate, and will mop with any old products even while they take excellent care of their countertops. Don’t fall into this trap! Marble floors are best cleaned with a pH neutral dish soap and water and then dried with a soft towel to ensure moisture doesn’t seep into the stone.
Using a microfiber head twist mop (and avoiding scratchy sponge mops) will ensure that you don’t accidentally scratch your floor while cleaning. If you don’t want that old flat head mop to go to waste though, tying a towel around the head makes for a quick and easy drying device that doesn’t require getting down on the floor.
Caring for Travertine
With its warm color and natural appearance, travertine is a beautiful choice for stone surfaces, especially in the bathroom. It is naturally very porous and requires sealing both on installation and on a regular basis afterward in order to avoid stains.
Since it is often used in luxury showers and bathrooms, some people might be tempted to use generic bathroom cleaners on their travertine, but this can shorten the lifespan of your stone. Specialty stone cleaners are available for a deep cleaning, but for everyday upkeep, a bit of hot water and neutral dish soap will do the trick.
Travertine floors are better off when they are damp mopped, rather than wet mopped. And like any limestone, travertine is especially sensitive to anything acidic, so ignore any blogs telling you that vinegar can clean anything. It may help get rid of dirt, but it will also take away the top layer of your stone surface with it.
Stone surfaces instantly elevate the look of your home.
With a little regular upkeep, they can continue to grace your space for decades, and never look out of date. Looking for professional help? Groutsmith Tulsa is available for a free in-home estimate and demonstration. Whether you’re looking for protection or repair, we’ve got your surfaces covered.