Many people take a look at their textured stone or tile floor and see that it is dirty. So naturally, the first thought in that person’s head is: “I need to have my floor cleaned.”
Well that may not always be the case. Just because your stone or tile floor looks dirty or dingy, does not necessarily mean that simple cleaning is the answer.
A lot of ceramic, porcelain tiles, and textured stones such as flamed granite and slate look dirty because there is a wax coating on the floor. Wax coatings or topical sealers look shiny at first, but after a certain number of years, they can become yellow, attract dirt, and can accumulate surface scuffmarks and scratches. Cleaning will not remove these things from the wax coating. The coating must be stripped off first.
So what exactly is the difference between “cleaning” and “stripping?”
Cleaning: Per the Marble Institute of America, cleaning “removes deeply embedded dirt from stone, grout, tile and porous surfaces. Specialized stone soaps or neutral cleaners are recommended. Regular cleaning of natural stones is essential to the maintenance of the longevity of the finish.”
Stripping: Per the Marble Institute of America, stripping is “to remove coatings that block a stone’s ability to breathe, which may cause spalling (when the stones crack, pop, or shale). Some examples of common coatings are topical acrylic sealers, janitorial waxes, and polyurethanes. Stripping is an essential first step before refinishing or restoring natural stones.”
Basically, you cannot truly clean or refinish a waxed surface until you strip it first. Got it?
Want product recommendations?
If you need to strip your tile or stone floor, we have two products. For light waxes and for residential do-it-yourselfers, we recommend Green Solutions Floor Finish Remover.
If you need a heavy-duty stripper, we recommend Zoom.
For cleaning natural stone, stick with Lavenet or Lavenet Green. If you need to clean ceramic and porcelain tile floors, you can use MDR (Mineral Deposit Remover) or TGR (Tile and Grout Restorer). Please do not use MDR or TGR on natural stone as they are acid cleaners.
As always if you need our services or if you have questions, please contact International Stoneworks, Inc. and we would be happy to help you with your stone and tile restoration needs.