Natural Stone Flooring for Enduring, Sustainable Beauty COIT

Natural Stone Flooring for Enduring, Sustainable Beauty COIT

Natural Stone Flooring for Enduring, Sustainable Beauty

For those with building or remodeling on their minds, choosing materials for flooring can be exciting and daunting. There are so many considerations: color, texture, durability, maintenance, cost, etc. And since many home buyers are ‘green’ building conscious, sustainability is also a factor.

When beauty, durability and sustainability are your key priorities, natural stone can be a wonderful option. Some of the more popular choices are granite, slate, limestone and marble.

Natural stone tiles come in an array of colors and textures each of which is as unique as a fingerprint. Since it’s manufactured by the whim of nature, there are no two exactly alike, which is part of natural stone’s appeal. Its uniquely beautiful characteristics make it a showpiece in any environment.

The fact that natural stone is also durable means it won’t need replacement in the future, ranking it high on the sustainability scale. It’s also a good choice in terms of indoor air quality; its hard surface is easy to clean and doesn’t trap allergens and contaminants the way carpet can. Plus, when properly insulated, stone tile works well with radiant floor-heating — a popular green building method.

So what about maintenance?

Natural stone, like any other significant investment, requires proper care and maintenance in order to preserve its beauty.

Though incredibly durable, most natural stone is porous making it susceptible to spills and stains. Sand, dirt and grit can also cause damage to stone flooring because they are abrasive, especially when under foot. However, by using a few precautions and a little common sense, natural stone can be fairly easy to maintain.

The first and most important rule of thumb is to know your stone! Each has specific characteristics that will influence how best to care for it.

Here are some general tips to use as guidelines for most natural stone surfaces:

  • Blot (don’t wipe) spills immediately with a paper towel or soft absorbent towel. If necessary, flush the area with plain water and mild soap. Rinse several times to avoid soapy residue and dry thoroughly with a soft towel.
  • To protect your floor (and grout) against future stains, consider having a reliable professional apply a special sealant designed for this purpose.
    • Do not use products that contain lemon juice, vinegar or other acids. Also, avoid products that are ammonia-based or that contain abrasive cleaners and scouring powders. These products will dull the stone’s luster.
    • Floors should be dust mopped frequently using a clean, non-treated dry dust mop to remove soil and grit. Microfiber dust mops are great for capturing small particles. A vacuum cleaner can also be helpful, especially on textured floors, but it needs to be in good condition and have a setting for hard surfaces. Metal wheels and plastic attachments (such as beater bars) can scratch the surface.
    • Use a damp mop as needed. For high traffic areas, flood mopping may be required. If so, flood mop sections of the floor at a time, making sure to mop up residual water as you go.
    • Mats or area rugs inside and outside entrance areas will help collect loose dirt before it can get tracked onto your floor. Always be sure the mat or rug has a non-skid backing.
    • Take extra care when moving heavy objects across your stone floor to avoid scratching or chipping. If necessary, get a small army to help you move that dining room table!

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