Limestone is a remarkable kind of rock, built from the remains of microscopic organisms. Tiny algae, corals, and shells absorb calcium carbonate from ocean water. When they perish, this material emerges from the detritus and bonds with other materials from other deceased lifeforms. When this life-death cycle occurs in warm and shallow waters over thousands of generations, it produces massive deposits of the rock we call limestone.
When you install limestone flooring, you imbue your home with a material that was millions of years in the making. If you feel a little heavier, it is only because of the weight of history that is now in your possession. You should always take care of your floors. With that said, failure to adequately attend to limestone flooring would bring all those eons of work to an inglorious end.
If you need advice on how to care for limestone flooring, then this article can show you the way.
Sweep Up the Dust Regularly
Not unlike how microscopic organisms accumulate by the million to form limestone, loose particles can pile up to create a mess. This piece of advice should be a no-brainer. No matter what material you use for your floor or how fancy it looks, it will not look perfect forever. Dust is an inevitability, and one that should be handled with frequency.
Despite what we just wrote, limestone does need to be treated somewhat different during the cleaning process. For example, you should be careful when using vacuum cleaners. They are obviously great tools for loosening and picking up dust. They are also heavy and clunky machines designed to be dragged across the floor, which is bad for limestone because it is vulnerable to scratching.
You could get around this by attaching hoses with brush hairs to the vacuum, rather than sucking everything up with the intake port. Alternatively, you could elect to stick with a broom and dustpan. Either method would reduce the risk of damaging that beautiful and expensive flooring.
Watch Out for Water When Mopping
Mopping is yet another common household chore that you should do every so often, regardless of your flooring material. However, limestone has unique properties that require special and careful treatment. The one you should work hardest to keep in mind is that this material, which originates in the ocean, can be quite absorbent.
If too much water gets on the floor, then some of it could soak into the stone. According to DoItYourself.com, “Too much water tends to infiltrate the limestone and creates discoloration and stains.” After all the time and money you invested in its installment, your beautiful floors could become garish from just a little improper treatment.
When you prepare to mop your limestone flooring, make sure that you do not use a lot of water. This may sound counterintuitive, but doing otherwise would risk seepage. You may also want to change the water in the bucket after a few uses. This practice could prevent dirt and grit from spreading after being picked up by the mop. Lastly, when you finish this task, try to wipe up the water with a dry cloth or paper towel before it disappears into the stone.
Take Care of Spills Immediately
Liquid spills are bad enough for limestone because of the material’s porousness. Even if a simple splash of water falls onto the floor, it can still damage the floor’s appearance and even its integrity. Spills of other kinds could have more apparent and grosser results — especially if they dry before you can clean them up completely.
The longer you wait to clean up the stain, the worse it will be for your floor. Porousness is not the only weakness that could potentially be exposed and exploited. Remember what we wrote while discussing the use of vacuum cleaners: limestone’s other vulnerability is scratches. If spills dry into stains, then more effort will be required to loosen them from the limestone. This in turn leads to an increase in the risk of the stone getting scratched.
You may recall that classic Chinese proverb: “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second-best time is now.” Something similar applies to stains on limestone floors. You should take care of them whenever you can, but the best time is as soon as they happen.
Apply Sealer to the Flooring
As you can see, limestone flooring requires a great deal of care and maintenance. The material’s porousness can be a pain. On the plus side, you can find a special type of product designed to coat the floor in a protective layer: floor sealer.
A layer of sealer can create a barrier over all the tiny crevices on your limestone surface. This measure can stop moisture, spills, and water penetration dead in their tracks. On top of that, floor sealer can also prevent discoloration and dispel grout. We highly recommend acquiring a good one for your collection of cleaning supplies.
We must note, and have noted in the past, that there is no such thing as a lifetime sealer. This is a common misconception, and one propagated by shady marketing from cleaning products companies. Thankfully, a layer of high-quality sealer typically lasts a couple of years. When you find that spilled water stops bubbling on the surface, you will know that it is time to apply another layer.
Use Cleaning Products Designed for Limestone Flooring
In its composition, creation, and various properties, limestone differs greatly from other materials. This extends to cleaning products: the ones that work concrete may not be effective for tile, or quartz, or other types. You must find cleaners that were created specifically for limestone flooring.
The good news is that there are plenty of great cleaners, sealers, polishes, and other such products out there that can help with limestone. My Stone Care is home to a few dozen distinct limestone products, and all of them are of the highest quality. Place an order with us today so your floors keep their shine.