There are many variables which must be considered when designing a maintenance programme for stoneware in interiors. These include physical properties of the stone, abrasion risk, hostile factors in the environment, the maintenance budget and skill of the maintenance personnel.
Since marble absorbs oils and other liquids, is easily scratched and is acid-sensitive, the surface should be cleaned with natural soap or neutral pH detergent. Polished marble is ideal for vertical application but requires a high level of maintenance when used as flooring, especially in high-traffic situations. Non-reflective finishes perform well as flooring, with minimal maintenance required, once treated with recommended sealers. Marbles used in kitchens need extra care due to oil absorption.
Most limestone varieties are semi-metamorphic and will have physical properties similar to metamorphic marble. Non-reflective finishes are practical as flooring but require sealing to minimise stains. Dense, low absorbent varieties of limestone can be suitable in shower areas but beware of using too soft a limestone in high stress areas. Sealing is normally recommended for both interior and exterior locations. Limestone absorbs oil and water easily and should be washed with natural soap and soft detergent.
Granite is typical for kitchen counter use. Granite is the hardest of the polished stones commercially available and is used in high stress situations. Polished granite is usually more absorbent to liquids.
Flamed granite surfaces are very absorbent due to the stress fractures in the stone caused by the flaming process and should be sealed if one wants to maintain the original colour and appearance of the stone for a long period.
Cleft slate is very durable in most situations but the quality varies. Slate is typically rustic in appearance but some milled or smooth products are available too. Acrylics are used when a highly reflective finish is desired.
Many imported slates are available today with wide ranging physical characteristics and overall suitability. Evaluate your stone for density, tensile strength, absorbency and abrasion resistance. Wash with pure soap and soft detergent.
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