Stone, Tile & Grout Cleaning
Natural stone, tile or glass, our technicians will safely and effectively clean, sanitize and seal your flooring, countertops/backsplashes, shower enclosures, tub and fireplace surrounds.
To determine the most effective cleaning methods, our technicians are mindful of the following service considerations:
- The characteristics and sensitivities of your stone or tile.
- The type and degree of surface residue.
- Format, design and decorative accents.
- Hard water and soap residue.
- Grout and caulk condition.
- Existing sealer.
- The surrounding surfaces that must be protected.
The products that we use are safe for your stone, tile, grout and caulk ... ones that we would be comfortable using in our own homes. Our technicians are experienced at repairing minor grout imperfections, repairing travertine fill, replacing tired caulk and minor scratch and etching removal.
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Sealing & Protecting Your Natural Stone
All natural stone is porous, some more than others. For most stone – especially very porous stones like hone-finished limestone and selective granites – the application of a quality penetrating sealer is highly recommended.
The application of a penetrating sealer to a highly polished stone may not be necessary, but when in doubt it doesn’t hurt to have it sealed. If it the sealing prevents some staining, you’ve saved yourself the cost of a stain removal service.
What Does A Sealer Do?
Most stone sealers will not alter the original finish produced by the factory. A penetrating stone sealer is a “below surface” product being absorbed into the stone reducing its natural absorbency rate. This provides protection from accidental spills of staining agents. Some stones are so porous that no sealer can provide satisfactory sealing for an extended period of time. Refrain from applying from a topical sealer, wax or coating.
How Many Applications of Sealer are Needed?
Some more porous stones may require more than one application of a sealer. At least two applications are recommended on granites. Very porous granites, sandstone, quartzite, etc. may require more sealer applications. When sealer is no longer being absorbed into the stone, it is adequately sealed.
How Long Does the Sealer Last?
There is no uniform answer; the durability of stone sealer is affected by its exposure to use, heat, direct sunlight and routine maintenance. Generally speaking, most quality penetrating sealers will last 10 years or more – if they are not damaged or removed by the use of improper cleaning methods.
When Is It Time to Reseal?
A simple test is to pour some water on your stone surface, wait approximately 30 – minutes and then wipe it dry. If the surface of the stone did not darken, it indicates that the stone is still being protected by the sealer. It’s wise to test various areas, especially those exposed to high use.
Color Enhancing Sealer
While a penetrating sealer will not alter the appearance of your stone, a color enhancing sealer provides protection but will typically give the stone a “wet look”, darkening some colors and making others more vibrant. It is recommended to view a test area of this appearance change before proceeding with a color enhancing sealer application.
Cementitious grout is porous and will absorb liquids, possibly resulting in stain and bacteria growth. Grout sealing provides a stain protection barrier, as well as making routine cleaning and maintenance easier.
Caring for Your Stone & Tile
Natural stone and tile brings value, design and functionality into your interior environment. We want to help you keep your stone and tile flooring, countertops, vanities, shower enclosures, tub and fireplace surrounds looking their best.
Natural stone – especially calcite-based stones such as marble, travertine, limestone and many slates – may have a delicate chemical composition that could potentially interact with household cleaning solutions resulting in rough, white spots or etching of the stone surface.
Some spills can be detrimental to your stone and tile surfaces, if unattended. Citrus juices, lemonade, wine, vinegar, liquors, tomato sauce, yogurt, salad dressing, perfume and after shave – to name a few – can etch marble, travertine, limestone, onyx, alabaster and many slates.
- Use coasters under drinking glasses (particularly those containing alcohol or citrus juices) to avoid etching.
- Use place mats under china, silver or other objects to avoid scratching of the surface.
- Blot up any spills as quickly as possible.
- Place hot items directly on the stone surface. Use trivets or mats under hot dishes.
- Rub to clean up spills, only blot.
- Use cleaning products that are not formulated for your specific natural stone and tile care, including glass cleaners and liquid toilet bowl cleaner.
Stone and Tile Flooring
- Invest in a good quality mop and proper mopping bucket for your polished natural stone or porcelain floors. A micro-fiber or closed-loop cotton string mop is best … free from grit that may scratch your floor surface.
- Use colored cloths or sponges that may transfer fugitive dye to your floor.
Stone and Tile Kitchen Counter Tops
- Use specialty cleaners formulated for the composition of your natural stone and tile.
- Allow the cleaner to “dwell” to moisten and soften the soil. Let the cleansing agent do the work.
- Use sponges, not aggressive scouring pads.
- Don’t allow spills to dwell too long on the counter top surface. Blot up as soon as you can.
- Use generic household cleaners. They often are too harsh for your natural stone and sealer.
- Use green or brown scouring pads for dried-on spills. The silicon carbide grit can scratch even the toughest granite.
Stone and Tile Vanity Tops
- Use specialty cleaners formulated for the composition of your natural stone and tile.
- Clean your mirror with a neutral cleaner. Over-spray from glass cleaners can affect your stone.
- Use a household powder or cream cleanser.
- Do your nails or color your hair without protecting your marble vanity top.
- Don’t place wet bottles (perfume, after-shave, etc.) on the vanity top. Decorative vanity trays are a practical solution for the placement of cosmetics and fragrances.
Stone and Tile Shower Enclosures
- Inspect your grout and caulk lines periodically and immediately address any problems.
- Rinse/clean your shower enclosure daily to avoid build-up of soil and soap residue.
- Use a specially formulated soap film remover to address soap scum and hard mineral deposits.
- Use a specially formulated mildew stain remover to clean mildew stains that appear on the grout lines.
- Use generic soap film or mildew removers such as Tilex Soap Scum®, Tilex Mildew Stain Remover®, Kaboom™, X-14 Soap Scum® or X-14 Mildew Stain Remover® on your polished stone shower enclosure.
- Use harsh cleaners such as SCRUBFREE® or disinfectant such as LYSOL®.
- Use toilet bowl cleaners. They are highly acidic and can damage your natural stone.
Is Your Natural Stone Acid Sensitive?
When an acidic substance is put on an acid sensitive stone surface it may etch the surface.
An etch is defined as a rough or dull mark produced by acid eating away at a polished surface.
Common Acid Sensitive Stones
- Most Grouts (epoxy grout is acid resistant)
Polished stone is more likely to show etching.
Grout: Over time acidic cleaners can deteriorate your grout
Acid Resistant Stones
- Epoxy Grout
- Ceramic, Porcelain
- Quarry and Terra Cotta
Strong or specific acids may still etch any surface
Example: Hydrofluoric acid will etch granite
- Ketchup, Mustard
- Juice ( most all )
- Tile and Toilet Cleaning Agents
- Coffee, Tea
- Toothpaste, Mouthwash
Rule of thumb: If it goes into or on your body, or if it cleans bathrooms, it could be acidic
An Acid: has a pH of less than 7
Some Facts About Stone & Tile
Some natural stones are more resistant to damage from scratches and soils, some more sensitive to acids, water deposits and everyday cleaning agents. Our cleaning products and procedures are safe for your natural stone surfaces.
Some man-made tiles are very durable while others can be relatively soft. Many have surface textures that make cleaning more of a challenge. Although cleaning may require more dwell time and technician diligence, we leave you with a completely clean and sanitary finish.
The most widely used grout is typically a cement-type product that is actually semi-porous and relies on being sealed and having a waterproof backing. Strong alkaline or acidic cleaners sold for shower cleaning can quickly erode grout and hasten required repair. Rest assured that D. A. Burns will use methods and procedures to extend the life of your grout.
The lifespan of caulk depends on the quality of caulk used and care taken during installation. Caulks are a flexible adhesive meant to seal joints that may have some movement, such as the counter-to-wall interface or tub and shower surrounds. It is common to replace caulk when a bath or shower surround is cleaned.
Residues can be a result of mineral deposits from incoming water, greases from skin and hair conditioners, soap build-up, over the counter cleaners or even grout haze from the original installation process. Removal of each can require a different product and procedure. The amount of any build-up can also affect the amount of time required to provide a clean surface.
Schedule our in-home cleaning service, available Monday - Saturday.
You’ll like our attention to detail and find our service easy and convenient. Enhance your stone or tile’s appearance and enjoy a healthier indoor environment.
D. A. Burns on-location technicians service Seattle, Bellevue and the surrounding areas (view map of our service area). For questions or to schedule an appointment, call (206) 782-2268 or use our online scheduling form to request an appointment.