I had a customer call me to make a complaint about the Limestone floor we had restored and sealed for them. The building is a state of the art facility in the heart of Covent Garden, in London. The problem was as an up market serviced office block the tenants were complaining that the Limestone Floor was resoling very fast and looking extremely dirty even immediately after the contract cleaners had washed the floor.
I was somewhat surprised by the complaint as we had only restored the floor a few weeks prior to the complaint. I know the floor would take quite a bit of looking after and the right guys with the right cleaning machinery and detergents should be able to keep the floor in great shape.
I had to find out exactly what was being done to maintain the floor. I enquired to my client and he promptly told me that the cleaners where using a strong "washing up" liquid in a warm bucket of plain water to perform the cleaning. I felt that I had found the root of the clients problem and realized he wasn't going to like what I was about to tell him but I soldiered on regardless.
When you are performing maintenance on a stone surface you need relatively neutral pH cleaning detergents. So in this case the "washing up" liquid that had a pH level of around 18 was leaving a greasy residue on the surface of the stone that would be invisible to see but would still be present. The floor would be attracting all dust, grease from shoes etc because of the greasy film.
The second part of the problem would be the amount of clean water used. I know from experience that a "contract cleaner" would only ever use 1 bucket of water on a floor. It would be too much trouble to keep getting fresh water to clean a stone floor and that is exactly what is required. If you continually use dirty water to clean the floor you will simply be washing dirt into the floor from the dirty water.
So I had to explain that Professional maintenance was required to keep the floor in tip top condition and we set up a maintenance regime over the course of a month at the same price the cleaning contractor's had charge and the floors look great.
So, what should you do to maintain your commercial facilities stone floor surfaces?
1. Also have a professional Stone maintenance quote for your work
2. Contract cleaners do not understand stone and will never keep it in great shape.
3. Never use a product that isn't designed to keep the stone in good order
4. Never use a high pH detergent you will leave the floor greasy.
5. Change the water in your bucket a minimum of every 5 sq mtrs.
It needn't be more expensive for your stone contractor to offer professional maintenance services for regular upkeep of your stone product so always ask, we don't bite.
Marblemasteruk.com offers regular stone maintenance services call for a quotation on 0800 7317232.
Edward Green owns and operates the highly successful Marble Master Ltd Company. Marble Master specializes in Restoration and Refinishing of all types of natural stone and consultancy services to Architects, Restoration Companies and Interior Designers. http://www.marblemasteruk.com