Tiled & Stone Floor Cleaning in Cambridge, Bury St Edmunds, Newmarket, Saffron Walden & East Anglia
We provide comprehensive service.
Limestone and travertine are sedimentary rocks formed partly from tiny sea creatures, they are calcareous rocks made up of at least 50% calcium carbonate. Travertine is compressed limestone which has been exposed to steam whilst in formation; this steam causes the small holes that characterise travertine floors. These holes can be left unfilled or filled depending on the look one wants to achieve. When filled it is often with epoxy filler but may be cement or polyester. Care must be taken with the fillers when cleaning. Limestone and travertine are highly reactive to acids and are porous. They should be sealed with an impregnating solvent based sealer. Limestone and travertine can have a rough finish or be highly polished, and can even be sold as marble, in fact the industry definition of marble is any limestone capable of achieving a polish (though this is not the geologist’s definition and is technically incorrect).
True marble is a metamorphic stone derived from limestone. Marble is characterised by the high sheen / polished surface that it is often given. Marble is only moderately hard, and therefore polishes well and gives a good shine, but it also scratches easily. Polished marble is often used in expensive hotel lobbies. A marble floor should be sealed.
Slate is a metamorphic stone derived from shales and clays (a metamorphic stone being one formed by the changing of one stone to another). Slate can develop efflorescence, a white residue cause by the movement of water though the stone, which can be hard to remove permanently. A slate floor should be sealed with an impregnating solvent sealer.
The word Terracotta means ‘baked clay’ which describes just what the terracotta tiles are. Terracotta tiles can be glazed or unglazed; a glazed tile will be more stain resistant than an unglazed tile. Terracotta tiles need to be sealed as they are porous, and will therefore absorb water and oil, thus causing stains. They also need to be able to ‘breath’ so a topical sealer is not suitable and an impregnating sealer should be used.
It is said that granite symbolizes strength and longevity. It is an igneous stone – formed in the hot interior of the Earth. Granite is a very hard stone and has a high heat tolerance; it is the hardest of flooring stones. Granite has a mottled look and is full of small and large grains of crystals that glitter in the light. Although granite is very hard a granite floor should still be sealed.
These man-made tiles are generally tough, long wearing and fairly stain resistant. In fact if a ceramic tile floor needs cleaning then it’s probably because of the grout lines. On a tile and grout floor the grout line will in most cases be based on cement (often with some colour added). Cement-based grout is very porous, meaning it will draw in water and oils quickly, thus readily creating stains. This is especially true in kitchens, where grease can soak into the grout lines. The grout lines can be protected against staining by adding a sealer to prevent water & oils soaking in. The ceramic tiles, porcelain tiles and quarry tiles themselves are water resistant and therefore should not stain easily (quarry tiles when old and worn can become porous and may need protecting.)
Sandstone is another sedimentary stone. Sandstone was a very popular building material in Georgian and Victorian times. Sandstone is usually very porous and can react with acid meaning it can be easy to mark. A sandstone floor should be sealed using a solvent based impregnating sealer to prevent staining. Sandstone floors can be very porous.
Tile & grout or natural stone floors need to be sealed to prevent staining that can become permanent or difficult to remove. After tile and grout cleaning it is the grout line that need sealing (terracotta tiles also need sealing). A stone floor needs the stone as well as the normally thinner grout lines sealing. There are topical sealers or impregnating sealers, as well as various oils and waxes although these are an old fashioned method of protecting the floor and not often used anymore. Topical sealers form a coating over the top of the surface; this prevents the stone from ‘breathing’ and can cause efflorescence, so they are not advisable. Impregnating sealers absorb into the stone or grout and allow the stone to ‘breath’. A solvent based sealer will last longer than water based sealer and are often a better choice when dealing with stone. It is often necessary to visit on a separate occasion to seal the floor after it has fully dried out. It is also possible to apply an enhancing product to bring out the colours and make the stone look more vibrant.