Limestone deposits (calcite) that have been dissolved by groundwater. The characteristic holes in travertine are the result of the hot water and gasses escaping during the formation process. Ideal for floors, walls, and splashes. The value of this stone is determined by: 1) the size and number of fill holes (density), 2) rare qualities or limited availability, 3) color consistency from piece to piece, 4) factory honing, polishing and/or filling processes. Colors are abundant in creams, chocolate brown, golden and red tones. There is an abundance of finishes (honed, brushed, tumbled, polished), edge treatments (squared, tumbled, chiseled, antiqued) and sizes (versailles pattern, rectangles, very large and very small formats). Travertine is not acid resistant.
The same geological makeup as travertine, however, onyx is formed in cool, cavernous conditions, similar to stalactites. Onyx is dense and will take a high polish. This multi-colored, translucent stone is most commonly available with a glossy finish. It is suitable for walls and extremely light duty (bathroom) floors and splashes. Onyx is not acid resistant.
A travertine or limestone that has had heat, pressure and fluid activity applied that results in a change in structure. This metamorphic transformation results in a denser stone with a myriad of colors that can be finished with a high gloss, honed or brushed. A polished finish is ideal for vertical installations or for horizontal installations where abrasion, stain and acid resistance are not a concern. Marble is not acid resistant.
Stone that was formed by the cooling and crystallization of magma (molten rock). This extremely dense stone has hundreds of color in primarily earthy tones. Granite can be finished a number of ways including polished, honed, leathered, and flamed. Granite is acid, stain, and wear resistant. Many granites are also ideal for high traffic (commercial) floors and countertop installations.
Slate, Sandstone & Quartzite
Shale, under heat and pressure, can form into slate. Beach sand can be consolidated to form into sandstone. Sandstone, under heat and pressure, can form into quartzite. Granite is acid resistant. Many of these stones can be used indoors or outdoors in a variety of horizontal and vertical applications.
Natural stone is an investment that will give you many years of beautiful service. Stone is a natural product and simple care and maintenance will keep it looking beautiful. These are recommendations from the Marble Institute of America
Use coasters under all glasses, particularly those containing alcohol or citrus juices. Many common foods and drinks contain acids that will etch or dull the stone surface. Use trivets or placemats under china, ceramics, silver or other objects that can scratch the surface.
All stone surfaces
Clean stone surfaces with neutral cleaner, stone soap (available at hardware stores or from your stone dealer) or a mild liquid dishwashing detergent and warm water. Use a clean rag mop on floors and a soft cloth for other surfaces for best results. Too much cleaner or soap may leave a film and cause streaks. Do not use products that contain lemon, vinegar or other acids on marble or limestone. Rinse the surface thoroughly after washing with the soap solution and dry with a soft cloth. Change the rinse water frequently. Do not use scouring powders or creams; these products contain abrasives that may scratch the surface.
Dust mop interior floors frequently using a clean, non-treated dry dust mop. Sand, dirt and grit do the most damage to natural stone surfaces due to their abrasiveness. Mats or area rugs inside and outside an entrance will help to minimize the sand, dirt and grit that will scratch the stone floor. Be sure that the underside of the mat or rug is a non-slip surface. Normally, it will take a person about eight steps on a floor surface to remove sand or dirt from the bottom of their shoes. Do not use vacuum cleaners that are worn as the attachments or the wheels may scratch the surface. Bath and other wet areas In the bath or other wet areas, using a squeegee after each use can minimize soap scum. 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 use of an ammonia solution may eventually dull the surface.
Vanity top surfaces
Vanity tops may need to have a penetrating sealer applied. Check with your installer for recommendations. A good quality marble wax or non-yellowing automobile paste wax can be applied to minimize water spotting.
Food preparation areas
In food preparation areas, the stone may need to have penetrating sealer applied. Check with your installer for recommendations. If a sealer is applied, be sure that it is non-toxic and safe for use on food preparation surfaces. If there is a question, check with the sealer manufacturer.
Outdoor pool & patio areas
In outdoor pool, patio or hot tub areas, flush with clear water and use a mild bleach solution to remove algae or moss.
Do’s and Don’ts
- Do dust mop floors frequently
- Do clean surfaces with mild detergent or stone soap
- Do thoroughly rinse and dry the surface after washing
- Do blot up spills immediately
- Do protect floor surfaces with non-slip mats or areas rugs and countertop surfaces with coasters, trivets or placemats
- Don’t use vinegar, lemon juice or other cleaners containing acids on marble, limestone, travertine or onyx surfaces
- Don’t use cleaners that contain acid such as bathroom cleaners, grout cleaners of tub & tile cleaners
- Don’t use abrasive cleaners such as dry or soft cleansers .
- Don’t mix bleach and ammonia; this combination creates a toxic and lethal gas. sealing and maintenance
The Marble Institute of America supplied the above information and also offers a brochure on treating spills and stains on stone surfaces. One free copy is available by sending a self-addressed, stamped business size envelope to: Marble Institute of America, 30 Eden Alley, Ste 201, Columbus, Ohio, 43215
All ceramic tiles are stain resistant and require very little maintenance. A basic maintenance program would be to dust mop and spot-mop as necessary, then mop with a cloth-mop and neutral cleaner on a regular basis. However, some tiles will have better dirt hiding capabilities than others, and some will be easier to maintain than others.
Dirt hiding capabilities
Tiles with texture and multiple colors will hide dust and dirt better than tiles with smooth, monochromatic colors.
A ceramic tile surface is more slip resistant than almost any other flooring surface. However, be aware that an abrasive surface will require an occasional deep cleaning.
Glazed ceramic tile floor will never need sealing, waxes or coatings of any kind. Some through body porcelain tiles may; check with the porcelain manufacturer to verify requirements.
Tracked in dirt is abrasive and can damage your floor tile. Sweep floor regularly to prevent loose dust & abrasive particles from scratching your floor. Sweep floor with a dust mop or vacuum sweeper (without a beater brush or bar).
Mop floor weekly to maintain appearance using a string or cloth-type mop. Sponge mops can streak your floor and shouldn’t be used. Clear water or neutral pH cleaners are recommended for ceramic tile and grout surfaces. Follow manufacturer instructions on cleaning and rinsing for best results. Protect your investment
– Equip furniture legs with felt floor protectors. Dirt and sand embedded into plastic or wooden legs act as sandpaper as furniture is moved across your floor.
– Place rugs or mats both inside and outside of exterior entryways.
– Place rugs or mats at areas around kitchen sinks and dishwashers to prevent impact damage from dishes and utensils.
– Damaged ceramic tile floor can usually be replaced and restored to original condition if you have extra tile available from your specific shade.
– Purchase several extra pieces to keep on hand for repairs.
– Contact a licensed tile contractor to make the repair.
Never, Never, Never
– Never seal or wax your ceramic tile. These coatings are unnecessary. They will attract and hold dirt on your floor surface.
– Never use vinegar or bleach for regular cleaning. They can adversely affect the tile and grout with continual use. – Never use steel wool or abrasive cleaners for ongoing maintenance. They can mar your tile surface if used repeatedly.
Keep this in mind
Your ceramic tile can be maintained with minimal effort. Follow these basic care and maintenance guidelines and your floor will retain its beauty for years to come.
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