Oct 4th 2018 / General Stone Care
How To: Clean and preserve natural stone floors such as marble, granite, travertine and limestone
I don’t like to bore people with a lot of technical gibberish, but the subject of preserving highly polished stone floors does need some technical explanation to be better understood. To understand and appreciate the solution, you need to first understand the problem before you. So, please bare with me in this somewhat lengthy description; after all, it is your coveted marble and granite floor we are discussing.
Keeping your Marble floor properly clean at all times is the most important rule to follow. This, however, will not totally satisfy the one thing you most likely care about which is keeping your natural stone floors as shiny as when they were originally installed in your home. Is there a simple answer? Unless you quit the nasty habit of “walking on your floor” the answer is NO! Sooner or later you will need maintenance to restore your stone’s shine. The amount of time this takes depends on several factors including the amount of traffic, the type of stone, and how shiny it was in the first place.
(The shinier a floor is, the more -and sooner- it will show patterns of wear and tear)!
In the case of marble and other natural stones, considering the unorthodox way floors are installed in this country (by setting marble tiles pre-finished to the highest possible gloss level in the factory, as opposed to the traditional “grind-in-place” installation) the problem is notably augmented. In fact, there’s hardly a topical finish of any sort on a polished marble surface.
(The stone was originally polished mechanically, by abrasion and friction, like a gemstone).
This means that you are walking on bare stone. What does this translate into? When somebody waxes, say, a matte vinyl floor (like those in the supermarkets) in order to make the floor shiny, the future requirements of that floor would be to maintain NOT the vinyl itself, but the finish that was applied onto it because people are walking on the wax, NOT on the vinyl. In other words, the wax has the task not only to make the floor shiny, but – and most importantly – to protect the actual floor (the vinyl tiles) from wear and tear. Without that protection the tiles would wear down and they could not certainly be fixed by buffing them up.
The way stone floors are installed in this country is such that nobody feels like there’s any necessity of putting any finish over the marble tiles, because their gloss could not certainly be increased – thus overlooking the most important feature of any topical floor finish, which is to create a protective buffer between the bare floor and the foot traffic. The result is as if we were to walk on mirrors! Now, if you had a floor made out of mirrors, would you keep walking over it and expect it to remain shiny and maintenance-free for a long time? Of course not! Yet, although it is well-known that marble is much more fragile and softer then glass, people somehow got the impression that marble can withstand any sort of abuse.
(Opposed to general public opinion, marble is a relatively “soft” stone).
Now that you understand the basic makeup of natural stone floors, it should seem sensible that the only way to protect the original finish of your natural stone is to apply some sort of protective finish which will act as a buffer between the bare stone and any external sources which may come in contact with it. In the case of polished marble and granite, what is needed is a specialty finish to meet the following requirements:
It must be unnoticeable so as not to detract from the natural beauty of the stone you fell in love with.
It must be non-slippery.
It must not build-up. Otherwise, it would need to be stripped periodically – a procedure that no polished stone takes well.
It has to be easy to apply and maintain.
Our MB-7 Marble Polish Preserver was specifically designed to fulfill all the above requirements, however please don’t misinterpret its definition. MB-7 PRESERVES -and only to a remarkably high but limited degree- the polish of the stone. It in itself does not “create shininess” like a wax. Therefore, applying this product to a damaged floor (worn down, etc.) would only serve to protect and preserve the damage! Moreover, please note that MB-7 is not a super hard, urethane-like kind of finish that you apply once and then forget about for the next couple of years. It is rather a combination of fine synthetic and natural resins that requires proper care on a weekly or so basis depending on usage. In fact, though completely invisible once properly applied, the finish will eventually start to show scuff marks from foot traffic. it’s OK, after all the product is doing what was intended: taking the abuse your floor would otherwise have taken. All you need to do to restore its original transparency is “buff” it up. This is a simple process you can do yourself and involves no other chemicals or even reapplication of the MB-7 itself (at least until it starts wearing down).
Can MB-7 be applied and maintained by hand? Indeed, it can. If your floor is small (I.E.: a powder room) it may prove acceptable to buff it with a dry clean cloth, however, I highly doubt you would get exited about the idea of getting on your hands and knees to scrub some 350 square feet of marble floor on a weekly basis! You may, in this case, consider using a standard buffing machine available at certain department stores, such as Sears (they sell it also as a carpet shampoo machine). In Italy-where it was first invented- this is a very common piece of equipment that practically no marble owner goes without. After all, if you need a vacuum to help you clean your carpets, it only makes sense that you have a tool to help you maintain your much more valuable marble floor.
For routine cleaning, we recommend our unrivaled MB-1 Marble, Granite and More Floor Detergent. Will these two excellent products perform the miracle of preserving the original finish of your polished stone floors for an indefinite amount of time? We’re not in the business of issuing false hopes, therefore, alas- we can’t promise you that.
(Challenging Mother Nature by putting under our feet a stone polished to a degree that She never intended, is a losing proposition).
Eventually your stone will need professional restoration and re-polishing. Since good professional stone processors are a rare and costly commodity, the implementation of a sensible and sound maintenance procedure since the very beginning will greatly postpone this requirement. In conclusion, our MB-1 teamed with our MB-7 will make your beautiful stone floor age gracefully and over a long period of time.
And THAT is our promise.
MB-1 Stone Floor Cleaner: Its pH balanced, NO RINSE formulation effortlessly cleans soil and grime and dries with NO STREAKS. Special inorganic salts in the formula act as moisturizers and optical brighteners, actually enhancing the shine on the floor. Safe to use on all natural stones. Also excellent for wood floors, ceramic and porcelain tiles and great for the maintenance of large commercial floors with automatic scrubbing machines, too!
MB-2 Heavy-Duty Stone, Tile & Grout Cleaner: This highly concentrated product is designed to clean the toughest soils from tiles, grout and all natural stones. It is a biodegradable, powerful cleaning agent, formulated with the latest cutting edge technology, to clean deep into your grout and any other treated surface effectively and easily.
MB-7 Residential Polished Stone Floor Preserver: A unique blend of fine synthetic resins, MB-7 effectively protects the finish of your polished stone floor with an invisible, non-slippery 'buffer' which greatly delays the visual effects of wear and tear by foot traffic. Because this product is not a wax, there is no buildup and never needs to be stripped. Works very effectively on high-gloss polyurethane finished wood floors, too!