Natural Stone: Do's and Don'ts  

By Vienna Flores and Sam Ferris
Photo by Rob Karosis
Simply put, natural stone is nature?s finest. With a beauty that?s hard to surpass, you can?t match its organic feel with other flooring options. Most of all, it makes your home a naturally inviting place. We love building custom travertine fireplaces or laying broken pieces of tumbled marble down in a new shower floor.?

Here?s the thing: a lot of homeowners tend to shy away from it due to maintenance reasons. There?s certainly upkeep required, but with the right knowledge, you?ll find that maintaining natural stone flooring is easier than you think. If you?re considering natural stone tile for a floor or backsplash, or just installed it in your home, keep these do?s and don?ts in mind.

Do: Seal it, along with the grout. The sealer will penetrate the stone?s pores, protecting it against mold and mildew buildup, as well as staining. Also make sure to seal it before the grout; otherwise, the grout will penetrate the pores and stick. After grouting, let it cure for 36 hours and then re-seal again.?

Don?t: Use an oil-based sealer. Your stone?s pores need to breath; oil clogs them.

Do: Clean your floors regularly. You won?t need any special cleaner, just soap (only mild detergents) and water. Dust mopping is also recommended.

Don?t: Use abrasive cleaners or cleaners containing acids (bathroom cleaners, lemon juice, vinegar). Doing so can damage marble, limestone, travertine and other stone surfaces.

Do: Address spills immediately. It?s the second best way to avoid staining.

Don?t: Buy it if you want a consistent color body. Natural stone is, well, natural, so you?ll see different shade variations within each piece.?

Photo by Vanguard Studio, Inc.
Quick tips:

1) Re-seal your natural stone every 1-2 years. You don?t need to reseal every inch - just areas that experience heavy traffic or moisture.

2) Use stone enhancers to bring out the color in your natural stone. Water can temporarily achieve the same effect but enhancers last much longer.?

3) Clean your natural stone well before you re-seal it, and give it adequate time to dry.