In addition to its inherent beauty, natural stone is globally acknowl- edged as the most time-honored and time-tested building material. Now easier to work with than ever before, durable and of course, a product of Mother Nature, it clearly stands up to the challenges of tomorrow. But realistically speaking, not all stone is alike. Because of that, to maintain, protect and regularly restore the “look” of natural stone, especially for indoor horizontal sur- faces, certain regimens are abso- lutely necessary. Step one: is your stone acid resistant or acid-sensitive? Step one is to know if the stone’s characteristics include being acid- resistant or acid-sensitive. Should the stone surface be an acid-resistant stone such as natu- ral granite, post-installation clean- ing and maintenance procedures (provided the optimal products are used) should be less worrisome to end users than if they had recently installed acid-sensitive stone mate- rial such as travertine or limestone. Often times, especially for com- mercial flooring installations where epoxy grout is specified, there is a great deal of grout haze/residue on the surface of the tile, even after the entire project has cured and cleaned. If the cleaning agent con- tains any acidic formulations, after the surface is cleaned, porous lime- stone and travertine will become impregnated with chemicals which over time, can become very destructive to the stone tile’s body. Cracking, breaking, efflorescence and even the emission of harmful VOCs possibly can result. It’s highly recommended to use a grout release product to thoroughly clean the surface of the flooring. In some cases, but not all, this process can actually be considered as seal- ing the stone material. There are various educational programs and tutorials offering solutions from sur- face care professionals that clearly outline the best methods for post- installation stone floor treatments. Consider these as “insurance invest- ments,” because if applied correct- ly, building owners don’t have to worry about down-the-road failures of their stone floor expenditures. Rather, they can be confident that their beautiful stone flooring will continue to perform and look great for years and years to come. But, there is a bit more to consider. TECHNICAL FEATURE ––––––––––––––––– Keeping beautiful stone tiles beautiful By Jeff Moen, General Manager, FILA USA 78 TileLetter | August 2018