Getting to grips with how to clean and seal those stone floor tiles!

Anyone who owns an old-ish house and has started to restore it will come across various challenges. From taking care of dirty tiles, to replacing well worn carpets and restoring old woodwork – your work is cut out for you. In all this  DIY-ing and restoration you found that after lifting the old dead-cat carpet in the outside room – it has stone floors, and not just any stone floors, but the kind that look like a young Roman might have had once sat upon, while eating grapes and reading the days news  (also on stone). So you are faced with the task of cleaning old stone. Where to start and does it ever end?

Making the right plan

Before you can start cleaning those roman-era floors we need to make sure that you know what they are and what is the best technique to apply so that you do not damage them or scar them. You will probably also want to use the best stone floor cleaning machine, that might actually be a machine or it be that good old traditional solution and reliable machine – you, a bucket, a host of brushes and some specialised cleaner.

Check the stone

The hardest part of the this task is to try and find out which cleaning products where used on the stone in the past, now as per our little role-play, getting hold of that intellectual Roman and hoping your Ancient Latin is up to scratch isn’t always possible. We strongly advise whatever you choose to use and do, do it on small section of the stone floor first (in a corner where said roman left his massive vase and where you now have a massive IKEA lamp) and leave it for II- IV days and then if there are no side effects – you can action the rest of the floor.

The items you need

The starting point is that you need to use a cleaning substance that has been formulated for calciferous stone (such as limestone, travertine and marble). The detergent you do you use should then be diluted in a I:V ratio and applied with the best stone floor cleaning machine you can get.  Remember to get the right cleaning liquid, since standard household cleaners may contain acid, which will react with the stone flooring. You will have to have a scrubbing brush handy for those stubborn stains and be prepared to scrub in the grouting grooves if there is in-grained dirt.

Once you have done the hard work, make sure that no-one walks on the surface, even that enthusiastic historian tracking that reading Roman.  You need to give it time to dry properly. Overall, timeless stone needs to be taken care of, clean regularly and mop up any spills as soon as you can. Remember that these rules apply to stones from the new quarry and from antiquity – all of them need the same attention, as stone is always going to be old – real old. Then once you have finished, get over to the Coliseum and apply your newfound skill on a real challenge – the Romans have been lazy.

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