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Get the Most Out of Your Marble Floors

By Brett Freeman
Get the Most Out of Your Marble Floors

Marble flooring is both beautiful and durable, but you need to preserve both qualities. Marble is more porous and softer than other stone flooring materials such as granite and slate, and this makes it more susceptible to stains and scratches. Keeping your marble flooring looking beautiful isn't difficult, but it does require a bit of diligence, common sense, and preventative maintenance.

Keep it Sealed

One of the best ways to protect your marble flooring is to seal it. This prevents staining and preserves the marble's finish. To a lesser degree sealing also protects against scratches, but something sharp enough to scratch marble is also sharp enough to penetrate the seal. Apply a sealant at least once a year, more often if your marble flooring is in a high traffic area. Be sure to use a product that is pH-neutral and specifically made for marble. (Note: if you have very light-colored marble floors, test the sealant on a remnant or an inconspicuous area first. Sealants can cause lighter colored marble to appear dull or discolored. If this happens, forego the sealant and be extra vigilant about following these steps to protect your floors.)

Keep it Clean

A good sealants can protect your floors from staining by slowing absorption of liquids, but it can't totally prevent that absorption from occurring, so make sure that any spilled liquids are cleaned up immediately. Acidic liquids like orange juice stain the most quickly, but even water stains marble if it is simply left alone. Mop your marble floors at least once a week with a slightly damp mop and then dry them with a cloth. Clean more often during winter and when road salt and dirt can get tracked in. Be sure to keep the floor free of dirt and grit, which can cause scratches.

Undoing Damage

Despite your best efforts, it's still possible--likely, even--that your marble floors at some point will be scratched or stained. The good news is that in most cases, the damage is reversible. For a stain, the most important thing is to determine what caused it. The same porousness that makes marble susceptible to staining allows you to draw the stain back out. Consult a marble cleaning expert to determine how this is best done for your particular stain. Scratches in marble can be buffed out. In either case, plan on having your floors repolished and resealed because any scratched or stained areas will be noticeably duller than the rest of the floor.

Marble floors do require special care, but the work required is generally minor, and the payoff is a beautiful floor that can last a lifetime.

Sources

Ask the Builder, Granite and Marble Flooring, by Tim Carter

OnlineTips.org, DIY Cleaning of Marble Flooring

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